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Black Hawk Stout | Mendocino Brewing Company

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431 Reviews
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Black Hawk StoutBlack Hawk Stout

Brewed by:
Mendocino Brewing Company
United States

Style: Irish Dry Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.20%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 09-15-2001

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Reviews: 431 | Ratings: 653
Photo of DogFood11
4.08/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Mountainous head is a rich brown looking froth, sticky massive coat lacing. Pitch black, mildly carbonated. This beer looks very smooth and inviting.

Nothing earthshattering here, pretty standard stout, and thats not a hack by any stretch. A good stout is not an easy thing to come by. By "standard" I mean it has the typical toasted, charred, burnt type flavors and balanced by a smooth creamy mouthfeel. This one steps out of the box a bit in that its so creamy its almost milk like, very smooth. Dry bakers chocolate creeps in there towards the end. Finishes with a barely noticeable touch of some raw hops.

Notes: I'm an advocate of this brewery overall and this is no exception. Nicely balanced stout. Price per quality ratio: this passes with flying colors.

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Photo of FreshHawk
4.07/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Dark walnut with some ruby hues on the edges. Average sized creamy, frothy off-white head. About average retention and a nice creamy layer of lace.

S - Good amount of roasted dark malt with a lot of chocolate and just a little bit of coffee. Just a hint of dark fruit as well. Nice well balanced stout aromas with nothing really standing out.

T - A lot of chocolate and a fair amount of roasted malt. Not overly bitter either. A touch of coffee along with a bit of nutty and earthy flavors. Balanced flavors that mix pretty well together. A touch of caramel malt as well.

M - Medium body with average carbonation. Extremely smooth and creamy feel.

D - Very easy to drink with plenty of nice, well balanced stout flavors.

Notes: A nice stout with a good balance. Quite tasty. Good amount of chocolate and roasted malt. Hints of other stout flavors. Overall a tasty beer and a good example of a basic stout. Didn't overly impress me, but I enjoyed drinking it.

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Photo of Vancer
4.07/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Good one, not great, but definitely worth a try.

Pretty good pour, opaque black with burgundy edges – hard to get a good tan head unless you aggressively pour. Where the hell is a born on date! Point deduction there.

Notes of charcoal and burnt toast in the aroma and also in the quaff. Nice roasted malts, a leathery body with slight hints of coffee in the finish.

Close to a Irish dry stout, especially with the dry, gritty mouthfeel. Medium bodied, but still processing a rich overall glow. It may be just a tad on the thin side, but the relatively low abv of 5% makes this a good session candidate – especially with the good sixer price tag.

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Photo of ski271
4.07/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Very dark brown, almost black, with a very small but tenacious, tan, creamy head. Smells of roasted malt, toffee, charcoal, dark bread, molasses and plum. Taste follows suit. Very bready and big, with some light brothy yeast. It has a medium-full body, lightly syrupy texture and moderate carbonation. This is a very enjoyable beer. Nothing spectacular, but a good representation of the style. The hops are a little weak on the finish in my opinion, but otherwise this is quite good.

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Photo of brewdlyhooked13
4.06/5  rDev +15%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - pours a cola black with the largest mocha head I've ever seen on stout. 6 fingers easily, 3/4ths the volume in the glass is a solid wall of foam, plus I had to 'power-sip' a mouthful off the top to avert a mess. Takes several minutes to get the beer into the glass. A cratery head well above the glass's top slowly melts down to a chunky cover.

Aroma - lots of smoky, roasted coffee with an underpinning of ripe fruit.

Taste - chalky roasted malts, more like burnt malts really, mixing with some sweetness. Some coffee flavors are popping about. The swallow turns the flavor markedly sweeter, raisiny. Picking up some grain flavors after the swallow, very unusual spot for that. Turns typically roasty, dry, bitter, mostly pleasant aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - very carbonated, a good beer to let breathe for a while, drink it slow and let some of those bubbles wotk their way out. Surprisingly thin for the taste level.

Drinkability - tone down the carbonation, but otherwise a fine stout. I could enjoy more of these.

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Photo of TastyTaste
4.05/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Nice looking stout, very symmetrical looking creamy head, that fades to a solid ring around the outside, with a thinner layer in the middle. Coffee and other roasted malts in the nose, lightl dark chocolate. Taste is good, although not great. Nice coffee flavor, not overpowering, hops are not very dominant. Sweet, but not cloying. This is a very solid and drinkable stout.

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Photo of vitrael
4.05/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Came in my beer club this month. Poured from bottle into Guinness pint glass.

A: Black as night, nearly opaque, with a small off-white head that dissipated. Remarkably bubbly.

S: Roasted barley and stone fruit. Fuggles hops or similar earthy blend make an appearance.

T: This one takes me back a little to sneaking a sip of Dad's Guinness. Bone-dry and bursting with the bittersweet flavor of roasted barley. Slightly astringent and grainy. Nicely balanced on an earthy unobtrusive hopping. Quintessential dry irish in which it is hard to find flaw.

M: I could use some help here. The body is a little light for the style and my tastes. It could use a little bit of dextrine in the mash. It's not gonna sweeten this bittersweet brew up any. I guess this is why Guinness is all tricked out on nitrogen.

Overall very enjoyable.

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Photo of cbl2
4.05/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5


Almost black with hints of red; extreme effervescence which leads to a huge tan head that is slow to settle.


Sweet malts and roasted coffee with cream.


So good. Malts are upfront and in your face with their sweetness followed by the flavors of coffee with traces of chocolate on the tongue. Finish is slightly bitter, but leaves you wanting more. The only drawback of this brew is that the carbonation is a little harsh.

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Photo of purplehops
4.05/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Black Hawk pours a very opaque black with a light brown head that leaves a nice lace on the glass. The aroma is toasted grain with hints of molasses and raisins. The taste starts with flavors of black malt and chocolate with notes of charcoal. The finish is a mixture of coffee, plums, and caramel with some bitter hop flavors. The aftertaste is dry with competing flavors of bitter and sour (in a pleasant manner) with some carbonation play on the tongue. The mouthfeel is thick and very smooth, almost like a nitro pour.
Overall a good stout that has a nice complexity of flavors and a unique body for a bottled stout. This is the only bottled stout that I drink at room temp from the get go. Cooling or chilling Black Hawk does nothing for it in any form or fashion. Even in the summer I don't chill this one (I do live in Maine though).

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Photo of ralree
4.04/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Deep brown almost black color with a weak 1-finger tan head. Head retention is pretty sad too.

S: Smells delicious - as soon as it was poured I could smell the roasted malt from a foot away. Has an almost smoky undertone as well.

T: Pretty good! Chocolate with quite a bit of coffee. A little bitter for me (coffee), but decent. Has a slightly citrus note in the finish - almost like lemon - for a little bit of sour pucker action. I'm not really a fan of the sour finish. Smoky flavor hangs around after swallowing almost like a Rauchbier.

M: Medium-bodied and great! Very slight astringency. Froths perfectly.

D: Very drinkable for this style. Goes down very smooth.

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Photo of beveritt
4.03/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: Poured from a 12 oz brown bottle into an Imperial pint glass. Label is typical of Mendocino, with what I would assume is a hawk. Contract brewed in Saratoga Springs, NY. Neck label has a brief description, "brewed with pale and black malts and whole hops." No freshness date.

Appearance: Pours with 1/5 fingers of medium tan head. This settles to just a few islands of foam, leaving behind nearly complete lacing coverage. The beer itself is black and opaque, with hints of dark brown around the edges. Some hard-packed sediment in the bottle.

Smell: Sweet chocolate with strong notes of lactose and licorice. Roasted barley bitterness in the finish.

Taste: Marshmallow like sweetness up front. Earthiness and a roasty bitterness in the finish. This beer has an incredibly long lingering flavor.

Mouthfeel: Average carbonation level. Body is good, slick and mouthcoating.

Drinkability: Very impressed. If I remember correctly, I was sorely disappointed by my last beer from Mendocino. This one is world's apart from that one.

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Photo of bluejacket74
4.03/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle. Served in a pint glass, the beer pours dark brown/black with about an inch frothy tan head. Head retention is great, and there's a lot of lacing left on the glass, too. The brew smells like roasted malt, chocolate, and some coffee. Taste is pretty much the same as the aroma, it's all roasted malt, coffee and bittersweet chocolate. There's also a nice roasty bitter finish. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's a little slick and creamy with good carbonation. I think this brew is more like an Irish style stout than an American one. If you're looking for a good, easy drinking mostly bitter stout then this is a good choice. I bought a single bottle of this for $1.55, and I'd certainly consider buying a 6 pack of this in the future. I wouldn't have any problem drinking a sixer of this in a session!

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Photo of ckollias
4.03/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed this 12oz bottle out of a large snifter glass.

A: Pours a dark black hue with a thick brown 3-finger head after a violent poor. Head quickly dissipates into a wispy lace.

S: Great malty aroma with a good roasted barley and black malt background.

T: Very smooth malty flavor with great coffee and chocolate overtones.

M: Medium body and medium carbonation.

O: Really enjoyed this brew. Very smooth with great flavors and aromas.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.03/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pretty good stuff; it just gets swallowed up by the bigger, bolder, and richer American Stouts out there. It's got the nearly opaque black / ruby hue with a dainty silk-like head and lacing. A solid, albeit tame, roasted malt flavor with a supporting, but not overwhelming, sweetness. In fact, the malts seem to balance out the bitterness that is supplied by the burned grains and the American Hops. I appreciate it that the hops are tightly controlled, not to dominate the Stout. The body is where the beer shines--great creaminess without nitro. Silky texture without being thick or chewy. Thins toward the finish without becomming watery. Finishes quite dry and with a pleasant charcoal-like powderyness(Irish Dry Stout). Alcohols remain consistant and muted. A beautiful beer that probably gets little respect.

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Photo of BeefyMee
4.03/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pitch black body. Nice head and lacing.

S: Roasty chocolate malts. Good but not too much to speak of.

T: Strong roasted almost burnt flavor. An interesting creaminess makes this better than average.

M: Pretty substantial. I'm sure if it was on nitro it would be sublime.

A plain stout but a really good one. I wouldn't mind seeing this on tap instead of Guinness in every bar.

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Photo of AlexanderSelby
4.03/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

An almost black, with light tan head, stout. Not an impressive aroma, but definitely some roasted notes in there, but slightly sour. On the palate, it has a bitterness that comes from the roasted malts, not necessarily hops, much like an over-brewed espresso. The roasted malt flavors are a-plenty with many different layers of roasty with a dry finish. But all of this happens in a very subdued way, allowing it to be both interesting and drinkable.

I always have, always will love this stout. Reasonably priced, reasonably bitter, reasonably malty, and just plain reasonable. It may not be the most impressive thing I've ever tasted, but if I want an all-night stout, which I often do, this is my choice - hands down.

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Photo of 9InchNails
4.02/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Fluffy and cratered brown head that is fading at a decent speed then dissipating into a film. Almost pitch black but some ruby highlights come through held directly up to the light.

Dark chocalate, licorice and hazelnut. All very strong and delicious smelling.

Licorice, toast, hazelnut, chocalate and a burnt caramel aftertaste. This is a very good desert beer.

Medium body, smooth, light carbonation.

This is a beer to enjoy once in a while, after dinner or on a nice cold night next to a fire pit. Not a session beer but easy drinking.

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Photo of AudioGilz
4.01/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

100th review, I must choose a stout. Black Hawk Stout randomly makes its way to my fridge. It's pitch black like a stout should be. But hardly any head formed at all, very disappointing. I poured it kind of roughly too. But then the aroma kicked in and made up for it in a way. It's a wonderful mix of dark fruits, molasses, milky sweetness, and roastiness. Just as the label says, this is a crisp and refreshing stout. There's not much of a coating and thick type of feel to it. It's medium bodied and crisp. The flavors don't really live up to the aroma though. I tasted mostly roastiness and hops. It's not unpleasant by any means, very smooth actually. I was yearning for something more to come out of the flavor though. I enjoyed the hoppy and crisp finish and the hoppy aftertaste. This is a stout worth trying. It's not gonna knock your socks off, but it'll make 'em loose. I feel that the drinkability and aroma are the best qualities.

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Photo of Todd
4/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12oz brown bottle. No freshness date.

Appearance: Pitch black in the glass with a massive rocky tan foam head.

Smell: Blackstrap molasses, dark fruits, rich-deep caramel/toffee, coffee with a delicate hop bouquet. I also get a clean "milky" aroma too.

Taste: Active level of carbonation that induces a creamy and refreshing mouthfeel. Body is full and even. Initial flavour is a limey hop character that races along the palate with a slightly dry pucker and bite. It fades into a robust roasted astringency, then melds with an earthy black malt flavour. Other malt flavours include burnt, raisin, black liquorice and a touch of sweet caramel and chocolate. Finish is dry, clean for all that's going on, with some grain in the back.

Notes: Black Hawk Stout one helluva stout, and another top-notch beer from Mendocino. Quite complex and what you'd also expect from Mendocino. Most definitely give it a try.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark cola brown nearly black, light mocha tan head with chunky sporadic lacing clinging to the sides of my glass. Aroma is a bit muted dark roasted malts herbal hops and dark chocolate with hints of anise. Flavor contains bitter chocolate roasted malt character with herbal hops and a nice black roasted malt nuttiness about it, finishes like herbal tea. Mouthfeel is mediumm bodied carbonation is light but carries the body well, nothing offensive here. Drinkability isn't bad moderate alcohol nice flavor profile this is something I could drink without difficulty.

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Photo of BeerSox
4/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into Scandanavian mug.

Deep charcoal black, thick enough that no light gets through. A creamy tan one finger head slowly settles to a bubbly cap. Stringy lacing all the way down the glass.

Roasty malts, maybe on the thinner side though. A strong molasses aroma is in there.

Bitter and roasty malts with a little bit of brown sugar coming through. Some mild hoppiness comes in through the back. Full bodied with good carbonation. The finish is lingering grain.

This is one of the first beers I ever had, and back when I tried it, I thought this was one of the most bitter beers I have ever had. For a while it was one of my favorites. Now, a few years later, I realize it's not-so-bitter in the realm of stouts, but it's still a great beer. It's a very drinkable stout, good for sessioning, and hard to set down. Recommended.

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Photo of thekanna
4/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pitch with almost no head and a sheen of ruddy hues when held to the light.

S: Strong roasted malt smell, cocoa and coffee round it out.

T/M: Strong chocolate and coffee malts, slight sweet and smoky. Low carbonation with a medium body that becomes a bit heavy over time.

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Photo of Gusler
4/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The quintessential deep brown to black color of the "stout style” with a head that is monstrous in size, creamy in its texture, light chocolate brown in its color. Lace is in thick sticky sheets that cling mightily to the glass. Sweet chocolate aroma, coffee, roasted grains also make the nose quite aromatic. The sweet taste of chocolate starts it off with the malts right before the top which is rich and thick, the finish sparingly acidic, the hops stately in their spicy bite and the semi-sweet chocolate dry aftertaste ends a quite good stout.

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Photo of mattmaples
4/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I didn't findjust a plain stout catagory, it is not really sweet, nor is it a dry stout. It is someplace in the middle. It is just a good solid stout.

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Photo of micromaniac129
4/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black with a rich mocha head. The foamy cap is tall with larger bubbles pocking the dense mousse like body. Aroma is rich with roasted malts, burnt malts, mollasses and sutle licorise. Taste runs parallel with the nose having a sutle dry flavor of roasted malts molasses sweetness and hints of chocolate nibs.
Looking at it, it has a medium weight on the palette mooth and quite dry finishing.
Good stout but a bit too dry for me.

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Black Hawk Stout from Mendocino Brewing Company
3.53 out of 5 based on 653 ratings.
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