Review: The Hairy Eyeball, Lagunitas Brewing

The Hairy Eyeball
Lagunitas Brewing Co. — Petaluma, CA

  • Style:  Strong Ale
  • Bitterness:  Not provided
  • ABV: 8.7%
  • Malts:   Several types of Crystal
  • Hops:  Not provided
  • Sampled: 12 oz. bottle

Description:  "Our New Year's release for the seasoned beer folks … Big, brown warmer with several types of crystal malt. No actual eyeballs can actually be found in the beer." — Lagunitas Brewing Co.

Random thoughts:   Someone named this beer The Hairy Eyeball.  So I bought it.  This is part of my series on Late Winter Seasonals.

The tasting:  Deep reddish-orange (garnet) in color with an off white head that dissipated slowly. The bubbles in the foam were noticeably smaller than what I usually observe in most beers.  It looks amazing!   Aroma is not very strong, but I noticed a bit of plum-like fruit, raisin, and alcohol.  Flavor of sweet caramelized malt, molasses, and alcohol.  This is a malty brew!  I didn't notice the hops in aroma or flavor.  Medium bodied with light carbonation.  It finishes with sweet malt and alcohol.   Alcohol is noticeable at every stage of the taste and it's not very drinkable. 

Rating:  2 star.  Drinkable, but not sure I want to.  Overall, I found the flavors to be one dimensional.  The heavy body and strong alcohol combined to create something that reminded me of a cough syrup.  Although I'm not crazy about The Hairy Eyeball, I do give Lagunitas an "A" for effort.  I really appreciate it when brewers try something different—and this fits the bill.  I look forward to tasting more of their beers.

Have you tried The Hairy Eyeball or any other Lagunitas beers?

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