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Hairy Eyeball Ale | Lagunitas Brewing Company

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Hairy Eyeball AleHairy Eyeball Ale

Brewed by:
Lagunitas Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: American Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.40%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 01-12-2002

For Trade:
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Reviews: 957 | Ratings: 2,651
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 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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Photo of DrDoitchbig
3.44/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Poured a surprising chocolate brown hue with some tinges of orange and red. It's probably one of the darkest strong ales I've seen, but it is a catch all style. The cream colored head started off at about one and a half fingers and stuck around throughout leaving generous, finger width gashes of lacing along the way.

Smell: Despite my numerous attempts at agitating the beer the aroma on this is pretty weak. The aroma that is here is mainly compromised of caramel malts and some earthy, floral hops.

Taste: There was a good base going on in the smell, but it was just too weak. Thankfully the taste department picks up where the smell left off and kicks it up a notch in the process. This is a fairly balanced beer with perhaps a slight edge going to the malts. Caramel and toffee come to mind with some traces of vanilla in the background. The hops are earthen, spicy, perhaps a tad medicinal with a flash of pine. Deep down there are some fruity esters hanging around. This beer has some really nice malt characteristics, but I wish they were playing second fiddle to the hops. I suppose that's just the way I like my strong ales.

Mouthfeel: A solid medium for the body, with a very nice creaminess to it. Carbonation is also solid, could be a tad higher.

Drinkability: Perhaps I've been drinking too many highly hopped beers as of late, but to me this tastes like more of an Irish Red than an American Strong Ale. The hop and malt profiles both match up fairly well to the Irish Red category. It's a nice easy going beer and I would gladly drink another, but this style has more to offer. The alcohol is covered very well.

This is the third beer I've had from Lagunitas and it's starting to become appearant that they are a little hit or miss in my book. One of the beers was fantastic, one was middle of the road and the last I just didn't enjoy. This one was the middle of the road.

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Photo of BeerAficionadoMCMXC
3.44/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A- Appearance is dark brown, mahogany. Cabonation is Medium +.
S- Smell is of dark fruits, plums, some dark caramel malts, some lime, and an alcohol presence.
T- Taste shows the dark caramel flavor accented with a cinnamon spice flavor. Slightly cloying.
M- Body is medium heavy with a medium carbonation.
O- I say this beer is an enhanced brown ale. The alcohol is present and the body is slightly cloying.

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Photo of johnnnniee
3.44/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a brilliant reddish brown color with a decent sized creamy off white head that shows moderate retention and a fair amount of lace. An almost artificial smelling fruity nose with lots of grape, cherry, and tangerine. Brown sugar, caramel and hints of yeast esters play supporting roles. Little to no hop aroma. The flavor is quite complex actually. Sweet and sugary up front mixed with grape dimetapp and a hint of wet cardboard. A hint of earthy hop flavor mixed with a bit of alcohol comes through next as do some quad like yeasty flavors. Lingering dark sugar drizzled cherries long after each sip. Medium to thick body with a light to moderate level of carbonation and a sweet almost syrupy mouthfeel. Odd brew for sure, it took me a bit to figure it out, and it was somewhat drinkable. Probably wouldn't seek out again, but glad to try it.

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Photo of MarriedAtGI
3.44/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Crystal clear, mahogany color, less than a finger of head with light tan color and very fine bubbles. Really a great looking beer.

S: Raisins and nutmeg, but not very much aroma

T: Starts very sweet but quickly dries out on the front of the tongue. Nutmeg follows the nose.

M: Thick body, almost syrupy with light carbonation which emphasizes the sweetness of the beer

O: A good winter beer. I wouldn’t rush out for more, but I wouldn’t turn it down if offered to me either. Better at cellar temp than refrigerator temp.

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Photo of Bigfatbino
3.43/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Lagunitas the hairy eyeball ale

A = very dark in the glass like a porter or stout, poured at 42°F and had a light-syrupy characteristic. Left little head, but had beautiful lacing in the glass , very few bubbles.

S = Roasted barley, coffee, and citrus, but the smell of alcohol was unmistakable under it. (it's a hefty 8.8% abv)

T = STRONG. It does taste like it smells, and if it were served to me flat and warm, I would swear it really WAS some sort of coffee. The alcohol really comes out up front, and the taste of the brew itself is rather off-putting, but the finish really delivers well

M = Thick, syrupy and resinous. I'm eager to get the swallow through so I can enjoy the finish of the flavor.

D = not so much. Perhaps at a beer tasting or a festival, but for me this would not be placed into my collection of "drinking" beers, so much as "appreciation of brewing skill" beers. Food pairing: Mutton. Goat, or Game, but as a palate cleansing beverage, not a "beer with dinner"

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Photo of tpd975
3.43/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Dark chestnut hue with a nice thick head. Low carbonation and little to no lacing.

S: Big on the malt. Tons of caramel and some toffee. The booze can be noted as well.

T: This one is big and thick. Tons of malt flavors right up front. Caramel and molasses along with some toffee start this one off. A hint of dark fruit comes next. The alcohol taste is fairly prominent here. Very few hops noted.

M: Sort of cloying. The carbonation is on the low side. Just so so to be honest.

D: Not a favorite of mine. One bottle was fine for the session, one bottle is fine forever to be honest.

Overall: I enjoy the hop forward brews Lagunitas puts out. This is not one of my favorites and one I will most likely pass on in the future.

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Photo of Ohmmygawd
3.43/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle to glass.

A- Dark brown with a hint of red. I saw mahogany on here and agreed. Dark stained mahogany or rosewood.

S- Alcohol kick with a rich plum following.

T- Starts with a deep dark malt flavor and finishes with a little hint of sweetness.

M- High gravity and leaves a little tingle on the tongue.

O- Nice beer, deep and rich but really only one note. The ABV doesn't need to be this high for a beer like this and actually kinda hurts it. I really like how the color sets it apart from other strong ales.

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Photo of beerfairy
3.43/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Nice brown or dark caramel color with a beautiful 1 inch thinck creamy head. Great lacing on the glass. Head and lacing maintain throughout the experience.

S: Heavy malt smell, a bit of fruitiness

T: Malty but not overpowering, you can taste a slight bit of alcohol after drinking about half the bottle.

M: Coats the mouth well, bit of a bite from the alcohol at the end.

D: With the 8.8% ABV I can't drink more than a few of these in a sitting, but it's not a bad beer.

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Photo of pkalix
3.43/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

brown. very brown. nut brown ale type of brown. no head.
smells like a sweet nut brown from Newcastle. my bottle says 9.4%. and the story on the side of my bottle paints a terrible picture of utter uncomfortability. not how I want to feel. nor would I want to drink a warm 1/2 bottle of anything in that condition. also slight band aid flavor= aroma....
taste is . . . tangy. different, syrup-y, nut-brown-ale-ish, but tangy. I suppose it is categorized as a "strong ale". is that really a category, by the way?? or a catch-all for stuff that finds the cracks like coins and change in a seat cushion? thick. syrup-y (again). much thicker than it looks sitting in the glass... again, the impression is of a Newcastle, but hence, the reason for no foam.
lagunitas to me equals hops, much like stone used to. I was very happy to try this one because I thought it would be a high strength nut brown, but this is just way too syrupy for me. the smell turns out to be a warning rather than an oddity, after tasting it.
reading the other reviews of the past, I wonder if the recipe has changed. regardless, there are not many beers which are so totally toxic they do not deserve a 'decent' rating... let's call it a 'winter warmer' although it's still 72 degrees out at 5pm here on SoCal...

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Photo of pdoran10
3.43/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a ruby brown color into a snifter. two fingers of off white head. Good amount of lacing.

Smell is rich caramel, some dark fruit notes. Lots of malt diversity.

Really malt heavy beer with mostly just bitterness coming through from the hops. I the malt is halfway to a stout with out the chocolate notes, and heavy on the fig and date flavors. Complex malt profile dominates.

Mouthfeel is thick and chunky with moderate to low carbonation. Heavy and not crisp.

One of these is enough for me. Not digging the heavy figgy malt profile.

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Photo of aforbes10
3.42/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

got this at the Corkscrew in Urbana, IL. Poured much, much darker than i had expected. A dark red brown with red tinge to it. Nice head that settles well and leaves a nice lacing. Odor is hoppy, slightly fruity (raspberries?) Smells strong and flavorful. Taste has tons of hop bitterness but not a ton of hop flaovr. Some caramel mingling with dry malts. Bitterness dominates this brew and is maybe a bit overdone. heavy mouthfeel. This one is a bit of a one-trick pony. Ok if you like a hop bomb i guess, but its not all that interesting.

 539 characters

Photo of tonistruth
3.42/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- dark copper with mahogany hues, 1/2" off white head, little retent

S- dried fruit, caramel, malty, pine

T- fruit, caramel, brown sugar, sweet and sneaky alcohol at finish, molasses

M-medium body, some carbonation tickles, slight slight alcohol at finish

D- think hoppy scotch ale or a balanced scotch ale, complex and enjoyable, a more pronounced hop presence would be nice, good none the less

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Photo of Shumista
3.41/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into my Chimay goblet.

A- Hairy eyeball looks great. It pours a dark brown that has tons of red in it when you hold it up to the light. Medium light tan head resulting from an aggressive pour.
S- Sweet caramel malt and dark fruit, not what I expected for some reason.
T- Very fruity taste coming from the dark fruits, sweet brown sugar, caramel malts and a nice amount of bitterness from the hops in the background.
M- Medium bodied and syrupy.
D- It's pretty sweet so I don't think I would want to have any more than one more after this one. This would make a pretty good dessert beer I think.

Not a bad beer at all, I'm glad I picked it up on a whim. Definitely one that is worth a try. I probably won't be buying it again anytime soon though because while it wasn't bad it didn't impress me that much either.

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Hairy Eyeball Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company
3.86 out of 5 based on 2,651 ratings.
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