The Hairy Eyeball | Lagunitas Brewing Company

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The Hairy EyeballThe Hairy Eyeball

Brewed by:
Lagunitas Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: American Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.10%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 01-12-2002

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Reviews: 972 | Ratings: 2,752
Photo of BrewMaster
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I tasted this beer because I like a lot of Lagunitas beers, but moreso because of the ingenious name. It pours a dark red with very little head development. Swirling the glass brings more of the foam out, but it dissipates quikly. The aroma is full of caramel flavors along with a non-descript hop scent and a bit of a cinnamon roll scent. The flavor is very malty with a light hop bitterness at the end. It feels and tastes a bit sandy on the palate with nores of cotton candy and sweet fruits and banana. Overall it's a decent barley wine but it really didn't spark any great desire to have it again. Being an English Barley Wine it is not surprising that the hops are a bit more mellow than an American Barley Wine.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear copper with a foamy khaki head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, caramel, slight fruit, and alcohol aromas. Taste is much the same with strong malt and slight caramel flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of toasty bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer with a strong emphasis on the malt aspect all around.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark ruby with a short head that dissipates somewhat quickly and leaves no lacing. The smell is slightly vegetal up front and with a sweet roll finish and a little dark spice. The taste is somewhat light and subtle. Somewhat surprising for the alcohol here and the profiles of some of their other beers. Soft notes of caramel, raisins, and other dark fruit. A slight tang of bready yeast on the finish. Light mouthfeel, and fairly low carbonation, but very smooth. Eh, not my favorite Lagunitas. Well made, but not all that interesting.

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Photo of AndrewMichael
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle shared with friends, and poured into a pint glass.
Brown color and malty aromas.
This beer is a major "malt bomb", but I like the spectrum covered by Lagunitas as most of their beers are great "hop bombs".

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Photo of optiontwo
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz. poured into generic pint glass

Appearance: Dark ruby red with almost a purplish hue to it. One and a half inch frothy head conjured up from a semi-vigorous pour. Great lacing.

Smell: Definitely not what I was expecting the first thing I smell is grape juice. Sweet, almost artificial smelling, fruits (plum, fig, blueberry) mix together with caramel scent. Mmmm.

Taste: Hmmm. It's hard to put my finger on some of these flavors but I'll give it a shot. Subtle blueberry and grape come through right away followed by sweet caramel flavor and it finishes with a nice resinous hop flavor and bites properly. Unfortunately, it has a slight metallic aftertaste which is not overwhelming but distracting.

Mouthfeel: Kind of thick but not bad.

Drinkability: Alcohol is hidden pretty well, I wouldn't guess that this beer is 8.8% ABV but it leans toward the syrupy side so I don't know how many I'd like in a sitting.

Overall: All in all this is a good, unique brew. The flavors blend together almost a little too much and it becomes somewhat muddled, that and it has the slight metallic aftertaste. Otherwise this is another solid effort from Lagunitas.

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Photo of mostpoetsdo
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a very dark and murky looking brown, though there is a certain ruby hue. A small, light tan head on top quickly dissipates to a few streaks. Very faint amount of lacing.

S: Quite acidic, notes of grapes and cough syrup. Has a slight Belgian-like yeast quality to it that clashes with what seems to be a lot of malt and booze.

T: A spicy-malt combination and alcohol hit you at first. Quite boozy, and this is months after having my first. Malt, again, is heavy, but there are traces of citrus and apples. Also getting a pretty heavy grape/raisin taste at points. Can't help of thinking of cough syrup at times, unfortunately.

M: Medium to full body: chewy to an extent, but not that syrupy. It's a little rough around the edges, though the alcohol burn isn't too bad.

O: It's a solid offering, getting plenty of bang for your buck. Packed with booze that almost overpowers the flavors at times. It's a personal "one and done" kind of beers, where I enjoy it, but get rather sick of it. Worth trying.

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Photo of Glibber
3.49/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Walnut colored pour with a very healthy mocha colored head that stays put. Not much of a smell, but the taste is pretty good. More malty molasses, and coffee up front, and a more bitter burnt back end. The alcohol is hidden up front and comes out at the end. It's like eating hot chips and salsa. As long as you keep eating it is great, once you stop, it is not as nice. Packs a punch. I prefer the sweeter Brown Sugga, but this is pretty good.

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Photo of jdhowe
3.49/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to MagicTacoSinus for sharing this. Reviewed from notes.

A: Pours a clear burgundy with 1/2 finger of straw-colored head. Head quickly dissipates to a thin ring. Very slight sticky lacing.

S: Caramel, red ale malt aromas, cherry cough syrup, light cinnamon and plenty of all spice, a syrupy malt sweetness, prunes, and a hint of brown sugar.

T/M: Thick and syrupy, yet still medium mouthfeel with moderate carbonation. Red ale and amber malt flavors, a slight herbaceous note, medicinal cherry cough syrup, the typical Lagunitas hop bite, caramel, and an earthy finish with lots of alcohol heat.

O: Just okay. This beer is huge and not screwing around, but it's just a little too medicinal and syrupy for what it is, probably as a consequence of its ABV. I probably will not revisit this one.

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Photo of STEG
3.49/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Auburn and completely clear in color when poured into the Duvel tulip. A light sandy colored fine bubbled head rises four fingers high and leaves some nice lacing as the beer vanishes. Medium-long head retention is also a welcome sight. Quite the looker.

Smell is mostly comprised of caramel earthy hops and a very light milk chocolate note. Not too much to talk about here, aroma wise this is pretty mild, odd given the style...

Taste is comprised of sweet malt, while some light hop flavors sit and poke and prod your taste buds slightly at varying points throughout the palate progression. Again, a bit one sided.

Mouthfeel has a bit too much carbonation towards the finish for my liking but the heat is masked exceptionally well almost to the point of being hazardous. Theres also a cooling mint/menthol feel that I haven't felt in any other beer other than Mikkeller's Monk's Brew, weird...

Overall this was a one sided meh, although it had personally hyped me with its appearance

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Photo of mrasskicktastic
3.49/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Dark reddish brew with shittons of lacing left over from the sizeable which is a little quick to vanish.

S - Grassy hops, some pine in a lesser extent, faint caramel and coffee malts. A bit of weak molasses too.

T - Slightly sweet, slightly hoppy with a bit of grassy and pine hops. The after taste is a coffee with a touch of alcohol. It is very bitter, I'd say mostly a sharp citrus bitterness with some coffee and pine.

M - Smooth, very refreshing and thin.

D - Pretty good. I wouldn't mind having it again. There was something too "rugged" about it. The flavors were complex and there were a lot of them. Even though they meshed well, it seemed to lack some sort of "flavor flow" that other beers might have. I didn't mind it terribly much, but it did strike me as odd how the flavors seemed to stand indivually rather than blend.

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Photo of MiScusi
3.48/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a dark brown. The smell is malty and earthy. The taste had a lot of sweetness in it. Caramel all over the place. To me it's maybe on the verge of being cloying. What this reminded me of is Leffe Brown which is way too sweet, almost sugary for me. The malt predominates big time in this beer. I probably wouldn't get it again although maybe I can see a beer with this sort of taste being ok in certain situations (ie maybe some sort of food pairing).

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Photo of alleykatking
3.48/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz pour from bottle

A- Pours a nice brown color with red hints when held up to the light. Good 1/4 inch off white/tannish head that melts away leaving little lacing on the sides of the glass.

S- The smells of sweet bready malts along with figs and raisin dominate the body of aroma with hints of caramel and apricot bring up the foreground.

T- From the get go all you can taste is really sugary sweet malts and well....sugary sweet malts. Upon the next couple of sips I realize you can taste a little more of the fruits but it's just faint notes. I can also detect the remains of what might have been a bigger hop bite at the end if I could have bought this fresh.

M- This has a good medium mouthfeel to it. Other than the sugary malts leaving crystals it seems like over the palate it moves gracefully over the palate and down the throat. Carbination was good and almost on the too much side but it evened itself out.

D- I would drink this again if given the chance.

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Photo of MrDanno96
3.48/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: Pours a deep brown color with amber hues when held to light. A small ring of off-white circles the outside of the glass.

S: A good amount of yeast mixed dark fruit: figs, plums and raisins. A little brown sugar.

T: Very sweet up front with notes of molasses and caramel. A little dark fruit midway through with a slightly bitter finish. Very sweet n' malty overall, with just enough bitterness in the finish to keep it from being overly cloying.

M: Full bodied with subtle carbonation.

D: A decent brew. Perhaps a touch too sweet and nothing really extraordinary about the flavors.

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Photo of PoolhouseRebel
3.48/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into an imperial pint glass. A brownish red with a decent head right in between beige and tan, not much lacing on the glass.

Smell is sweet and sugary, almost caramel with big fresh fruit or berry notes and some alcohol behind it.

Tastes the same as the nose with some nice citrus to go along with it. Not getting much of an aftertaste in this however, it seems like all the flavors happen right on the tongue leaving more of a feel than an aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is medium, nicely balanced between slick and carbonated

Good drinkability but could have been bigger and I would've liked to taste a bit more alcohol in this one. A solid brew. nonetheless.

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Photo of Svingjo
3.47/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a rich dark Amber colour with a finger thick beige head with a lengthy retention. I get a very mild sweet malt and some piney hops but it's only on the edges. I really have to get my nose almost right into the beer to get anything. The taste is quite malt heavy and sweet. Almost syrupy sweet. There is some that piney hop around the middle and finishes up with a mild bitterness. I found this slight too syrupy for my taste and feel it could use a more balanced approach.

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Photo of alexatlatx
3.47/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I loved this beer...6 months ago. I should have sipped it then. I ahve recently learned from experience, that saving Lagunitas beers longer than 6 months yields poor results.

Regardless, I still love this beer. It pours a very dark amber, slightly translucent, with little to no head. The aroma consists of raisins and chocolate, with a slight dead-hop (likely because of its age).

The old age gives the "well i should have had this 4 months ago" cardboard flavor. But it also has a great light barley flavor.

I feel bad for not drinking these Lagunitas beers sooner (brown sugar, undercover, hairy eyeball). Some say that aging beer is a crap shoot. I am now hapy to know that i should just drink Lagunitas beers rather than saving them. Fresh Laugnitas beers are amazingly hopped, so i should just focus on the fresh ones.

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Photo of Bighuge
3.47/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Murky pour. Dirty looking burgandy. Not a lot of light gets through. Thin, lifeless head that leaves little lace. Looks like Old Crusty. Real juicy malt aroma. Caramel and toffee wrapped around fig and spices. A little apple too. The taste is not quite as juicy. Contains a dulled toffee base with a little wet cardboard. Some light acidic/green apple/sour/tart like tones that don't mesh very well. Some fruitiness surfaces too with grape skin and green apple being the predominant ones. Mouthfeel is akin to Old Crusty as well. Light on the carbonation and a bit syrupy. Decent enough, but I could do without the sourness in this beer.

Thanks for the EYEBALL Mr. LBB.

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Photo of TheMultiYeast
3.47/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a dark reddish brown with some foamy bubbles congregating along the edge of the glass.

There's an unmistakable combination of molasses and apple cider that dominates the nose. Some grainy sweetness and booze behind that.

Fruit notes are more complex as stone fruits and hints of citrus combine with apple flavors. Much sweeter than the nose. Hop bitterness is there. Boozy aftertaste.

Hot, sticky, sweet. From its head to its feet.

Very interesting strong ale and certainly worth the price. Just not the best from the folks in Chico.

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Photo of WheelsPSU
3.47/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had a 12 ounce pour in a tulip at 4th Avenue Pub on New Year's Day.

The appaearance was dark mahogany brown with a khaki colored head. The lacing was great as it left rings around the glass after each sip.

The smell was a little funky, not what I was expecting. It was a combination of malt, expired bread, roasted nuts, and cream. Kinda strange.

The first taste I found was a creamy malt. Not much is the way of hops, which could be a good thing. Brown sugar comes through as does toffee but when mixed with the overwhelming bread/malt flavor it's not the most pleasant.

Mouthfeel was decent. For a strong ale, I couldn't detect too much alcohol (in a good way). The creaminess of this beer was great but the lack of wanting another sip knocked this down a notch.

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Photo of nimrod979
3.46/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bomber poured into a tall weizen glass.

Appearance: Clear amber color. Creamy beige head that settles to an 1/8" foam that lingers the entire beer. moderate lacing.

Smell: Boozy with nondescript dark fruits swirling around. Getting boozier as it warms.

Taste: Syrupy sweet booziness. Dark fruits, roasted malts, Mild hop presence on the end helps cut the sweetness. Nothing REALLY stands out but it's a decent beer. Reminds me of a barleywine.

Mouthfeel:Thick & syrupy. Mild carbonation. Bit of alcohol heat lingers and gets heavier as it warms.

Not a favorite from Lagunitas but it's alright and the price points are usually a great aspect.

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Photo of rrski198
3.46/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Big time caramel mocha colored head. Outstanding lacing. deep dark brown and charred red. looks amazing.

S: Very nuty, caramel malt, lightly roasted coffe, dark chocolate, mild booze.

T: Wow, not as impressive here. There is a big wave of sweet burnt sugar followed by a mild hop backbone. I find this beer a little too sweet and not overly balanced. Maybe it is my palate that is used to overly hopped beers. I like that it is something different and the flavor grows on me as i ontinue to drink.

M: Below average carbonation. I wish it had more. Thick and creamy in the mouth. If it had more carbonation, I would dig this much, much more.

O: It grew on me as i drank it, but, I wish it was a little more balanced. I wouldn't buy again, but this is rare from a brewery such as lagunitas. Overall, not bad

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Photo of DaveHS
3.45/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A-Ruby/burgundy with 1/4 inch of khaki colored head. Rings of stringy lacing.

S-Fruity. Cherry, brown sugar, fruitcake, brandy.

T/M-I was expecting a lot more from this. Limited in terms of flavor for what is usually a bold, flavorful style. Papery, boozy, dry. Hints of brown sugar, but none of the fruit the nose promised. This isn't doing much for me. Medium bodied, with fizzy carbonation.

D- Skip this and go straight to the Gnarlywine.

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Photo of rfgetz
3.45/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown, letting light through easily, minimal head. Scent is of musty earthy hops and combines with a strong molasses and fig backbone. Taste is slightly thin in complexity and the body follows suit with some wateryness. taste brings some more fruittyness with spice, but the earhty and musty hops cover up much of this. One of the weaker flavored and bodied strong ales I have had.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
3.45/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Brown like color to it, 1/5" off white head. Lots of winter warmer like toffee and alcohol blasts in the aroma.

Taste was more of the toffee/caramel interplay, booze, plenty of hoppy bitterness to counteract. This is a big beer that doesn't drink as big as it nice, a nice point there.

Solid beer.

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Photo of MrHungryMonkey
3.45/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Reddish copper color, good clarity, good head.

Big, maltly nose with herbal, fresh-smelling hops.

Thick, chewy malt greets me openly, pulls me in to find heavy roast tones and ample syrupy sweetness. Touches of hops blossom into splashes of full-on grassy/herbal/leafy/spicy/zesty hops. Bitterness grows too, and begins to throw the beer out of balance. The sweet malt begins tasting more like syrup and less like malt. Alcohol becomes increasingly more pronounced. Hints of vanilla.

Better than I would have thought based on my initial impressions from the bottle, but it could be better. I'd try it again.

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The Hairy Eyeball from Lagunitas Brewing Company
3.86 out of 5 based on 2,752 ratings.
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