Black Hawk Stout | Mendocino Brewing Company

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 charlzm
2.08/5  rDev -41.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

UPDATE: Re-sampled Aug 1, 2010 - beer is still exactly as described below; gotta give Mendocino props for consistency. Avoid this one.

Consumed January 3rd, 2009.

Poured into my Samuel Adams "special" glass, the beer is basically black with deep reddish brown highlights. A medium-bubbled tan head formed one-finger high but subsided VERY quickly.

Aromas - chocolate, coffee and a metallic tang, which was about 75% of the smell. Ack.

Beer is bitter in an overroast way. Metallic note continued from nose into mouth. Yuck. Subtle sour cherries, slight chocolate/coffee character before watery, slightly sour finish.

Texture is thin, watery overall with a slight granular quality: kind of like chocolate milk made from powdered mix.

Don't think I'll have another one of these; I've already poured too many beers down the drain.

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Photo of elgiacomo
2.17/5  rDev -38.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

A little confused on the two listings for this, one for Mendocino in California, another for Mendocino in NY. My bottle was labeled Saratoga Springs, NY although this listing has far fewer reviews, but it looks like they are the same beer.

With that out of the way, I did not care for this beer. I love stouts and porters but ended up pouring out the last 1/4 of this.

Appearance is its strong point, typical very dark brown stout that looks black in your glass. You can see nice brown highlights when the light hits it right. A small >1 finger head formed upon pouring but quickly disappeared to virtually no head or lacing the rest of the way down.

Aroma was severely lacking...not much going on here at all.

Initial flavor is also very lacking, its not until the finish that you get hit with a very burnt taste. I didn't enjoy that at all. If there was more up front to balance out the finish, it could be tolerable...unfortunately the burnt finish is about all you get out of this.

Mouthfeel is rather thin and watery for a stout.

Drinkability is low for the style, between the lack of aroma, unpleasant burnt taste, and thin mouthfeel this doesn't even stack up to porters, let alone stouts.

It was relatively cheap ($1.00 for a 12oz. bottle) but not even worth the buck. Won't ever buy this again...much better stouts in the same price range.

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Photo of cnally
2.22/5  rDev -37.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I have a Black Hawk Stout, watching the Blackhawks waste the Sharks later tonight. Weird coincidence?

The appearance is a deep brown/black, completely opaque, and a tannish head that really doesn't have too much substance or staying power.

Aroma is a little sour, but does have a musty smoky quality. Big fat burnt malt is where it all comes from, a little briny in a way...not a huge fan.

The flavor really has a couple of unappealing elements. All I taste during the middle of the flavor is a dose of overripe cherry and a really pungent oakiness. The finish is bitter, and smoky in a way that makes you think you are eating ashes. Or drinking liquid smoke. Those burnt malts that you can pick up in the aroma, and even in the first moments of the taste become buried to the degree that in their place, there is merely sourness and ashy flavors.

Mouthfeel is very watery for the style, but stays away from any stickiness or cloying puckering character.

Yikes. I've had a number of beers way worse, but this is just one of those that does not suit my liking. You really should love an ashy, over-smoky stout to find this appealing, but unfortunately this is not my bag. Hopefully the Hawks aren't this dissappointing tonight!

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Photo of rickyleepotts
2.48/5  rDev -29.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

The Black Hawk Stout was first brewed right after I was born… maybe this is my birthday beer! I like the label too… the hawk looks mad. Maybe this is a mean beer. The ABV isn’t very big, but the tasting notes call it “thick” and “creamy”, which is a good sign in a stout.

According to Untappd I have already had this beer. It does look familiar, but I don’t recall having it. I gave it 2 out of 5 stars. Let’s see what she can do for me when I am drinking with a purpose.

In the Glass: This is pitch black with a thin tan head and decent lace. For a beer that has been described as “thick” and “creamy”, I expected a bigger and more pronounced head.

Nose: It smells like a nitro beer. It doesn’t really smell like a stout until the end. There are also some hints of copper on the nose. I will warn you, I have been sick all week. A few days ago I couldn’t even smell. But that is all behind me now, so let’s see what the Black Hawk Stout tastes like.

Flavor: There is subtle carbonation on the front of the palate, then it slides down the throat with ease. The true flavor kicks in in the aftertaste, but we will get to that in a second. We are drinking this straight out of the fridge, so I assume this beer would get better as it heats up.

Mouthfeel: For a stout, the mouthfeel is kind of boring. I had some pretty high expectations for this one, but it’s nothing more than a mediocre stout. I hate Guinness, but would rather have one of those than this. I am glad they have a cool looking label. That at least gives me something to look at.

Aftertaste: This is where the flavor comes in. The tasting notes mentioned caramel and chocolate, and you don’t even get a hint of that until the very end. But as the beer sits there on your tongue, you start to pick up those notes. I would drink this beer again just for the aftertaste.

This beer might be my birthday beer, but there are a lot of other beers that I would rather drink. It is affordable here in the Circle City, and available almost anywhere. This beer is just nothing to write home about. I can see why I gave it 2 out of 5 stars.

Black Hawk Stout - The bottle says: “This award winning brew is Handcrafted to perfection. A Premium American Classic from a Pioneer Brewing Legend.”

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Photo of tigg924
2.49/5  rDev -29.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: black in color, 1/3 inch head

Smell: malt, milk chocolate, some nut. Really sticks out as being one of my least favorite smelling beers of the style.

Taste: burnt malt, coffee, some nut one the finish

Mouthfeel: light bodied-borderline watery, moderate carbonation, semi-sweet, dry

Drinkability: This beer really just did not come together for me. It seems as though the flavors were too separated within the beer. The smell really threw me off and while the taste was better, I was still only thinking it was ok at best. I will be passing on this.

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Photo of vegantreats
2.49/5  rDev -29.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

This beer poured with virtually no head and was of the average dark color for stouts.
Nice smell of chocolate and roasted coffee malt throughout.
First taste is quite light for a stout and I felt the beer never reached the depth expected.
My mouth was left quite dry, whereas most stouts leave my mouth feeling coated and smooth.
People who don't like deep thick stouts may find this beer agreeable, those looking for dark thick depth, will be left wanting more.

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Photo of russpowell
2.5/5  rDev -29.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Brownish red appearnce going to black with a tan head that drops off very quickly.

Slight smell of rasins and nuts and then alcohol.

Tastes bitter on the front of the tounge with some "rumminess" on the middle & the throat

Mouth feel is astringent and thin.

I'm sure I've had this before & it was much better, but memory fails me now...

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Photo of gfreed
2.54/5  rDev -28%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

One thing about the glut of beer on the market today is that there's a glut of average beer on the market. There's nothing wrong with this stout, but there's nothing very interesting about it, either. It's dark, it's slightly roasted, it has a somewhat dry finish... it tastes like coffee and wet ropes. More of same. There's no harm in drinking it, but... why bother? This stout is but one of the many ho-hummers you will drink as you seek something better.

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Photo of Vixie
2.56/5  rDev -27.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured very dark and thick, with a slight head that had lacing that lingered for some time. Very dark, not much light passes thorough it.

Smell was just average, the sweetness of the malt was the primary scent I noticed. Nowhere near as pronounced r as complex as the better beers of this type I've tasted.

Taste wasn't as good as the appearance would lead you to believe. Not complex at all, more bitterness from the hops than anything, with just a slight sweetness. I also noticed a bit of a metallic taste, the first impression I got when tasting it was trying to place the odd taste in it.

Mouthfeel was below average for what I expect from a stout. I expected it to be more substantial from the pour, but was rather weak.

Not the most drinkable of beers, it's a bit too bitter for my tastes. I've had many beers where I'd happily drink more than one, but this one isn't it. Nice to sample, but there's much better stouts out there.

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Photo of DmanGTR
2.59/5  rDev -26.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A - poured very dark brown/black, small head that disappeared without a trace

S - sweetness, dark chocolate, roasted malts, tang or sourness of raisins or grapes, touch of coffee

T - tastes like how it smells but more sweet than bitter

M - rather unstout-like, thin like a dark lager

D - drinkable but it just doesn't feel like a proper stout

Overall - I felt like it was lacking in body, texture, and taste. I can't quite put my finger on it but give it a try. I personally prefer Guinness or Murphy's Irish stout. I'm not a big fan of Mendocino after trying a few of their products.

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Photo of MisterClean
2.6/5  rDev -26.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

On tap @ Whiskey Dick's in Tahoe.

A - Dark black and not much chocolate head.

S - Lightly roasted malts. Um, that's it?

T - Lightly roasted malts. No other flavors really come from this serving.

M - Moist, but the ever presence of malts too.

D - While this beer tastes okay, i think I wanted a stout with a little more flavor than lightly roasted malts.

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Photo of BearsOnAcid
2.64/5  rDev -25.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Random tick of the night.

Dark chocolate colored pour, creamy small head.

Milk chocolate aroma. Boring otherwise.

Slightly sweet malt taste. Watery. Roasted malt flavor. Dry on the finish with a malty twang. This beer isn't really worth a full review because there's not much to describe.

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Photo of Pleepleus
2.66/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Poured a from a brown bottle into a pint glass dark muddy brown with a dark tan creamy inch of head. Had a sweet chocolatey malt smell. Tasted like sweet chocolate and bitter coffee. It had a thin consistency not very Stout. I got this for free and paid just the right amount.

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Photo of jwinship83
2.66/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

12oz bottle drank from a standard american pint glass. there is no visible freshness information on the bottle.

A- this one pours dark brown colored body. cola colored highlights become visible when held up to a light. a small khaki colored head forms on top and leaves behind random spots of lacing when it quickly fades.

S- the nose on this one is rather weak. faint roasted malts. a little bit of sweet milk chocolate. a small amount of coffee/hops at the end.

T- the taste is like the smell, very subdued. not nearly the dark and roasted malt that should be in a stout. a little bit of sweetness and chocolate. the hop/coffee finish isnt what i was expecting or hoping for.

M- light bodied. way too thin for the style. over carbonated.

D- not really a good example of the style. i dont think ill be seeking this one out. not a fan of the brewery except for the winter seasonal IIPA. the price point is ok at 6.99/sixer.

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Photo of barleypop
2.69/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

As I poured this one into a glass there was virtually no carbonation. Not a head to speak of. Just a still pool of ebony colour.

On the nose was a Folgers coffee scent.

Brew hits your tongue with a mocha coffee flavor, but finishes poorly. Bitter cold coffee aftertaste.

The mouthfeel was a bit to fizzy for my liking.

Overall this beer doesn't have that smooth, creamy quality that I look for in a quality Dry Stout. Would not buy this one again.

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Photo of bossmanjg
2.7/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

As far as Stouts go, this one is middle of the road for me.

Appearance: Dark to black in color, the head was good for a few minutes, and didn’t lace well.

Smell: Strong coffee, and that was really all I could pick up.

Taste: For a beer that only has 5.0 ABV, this beer tasted way to strong of alcohol.

Mouth feel: Not bad, but not better than any others I’ve enjoyed. Not watery like some.

Drinkability: I would not consider this a session beer. The taste would have to be much better for the price I paid, in order to enjoy more than the one I’ve had.

And as always remember the immortal words:

“Beer is proof that God loves us, and wants us to be happy.”

~Benjamin Franklin

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
2.72/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Pours a very dark brown color. There's about a finger worth of a light tan colored head, also. Retention is about average for the style, but the texturing is very nice. Some decent lacing is left behind.

S: The aroma is rather muted, unfortunately. There is a presence of chocolate backed by some brown sugar, and there's even a touch of hoppiness. As it warms up, it becomes quite caramel-forward...too caramel-forward, actually.

T: Actually, it's hoppier than I anticipated. It tries to have an initial coffee-like flavor to start, but it's general hop bitterness that I'm picking up the most. That, and a ton of caramel. I'm really missing some of the roasted and chocolaty flavors I get out of other stouts.

M: At least it deserves some credit for having a crisp dryness to it. Given that, its light body, and its decent carbonation, it's pretty easy to drink.

O: Not a fan, really. Hoppy stouts need to have a nice backbone of malt and hop flavors, not weak caramel with a ton of generic bitterness. Guess which one this achieves?

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Photo of JISurfer
2.73/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Yep, it's an average beer. The picture on the bottle was cool and that was about it for this one. I was expecting something a bit more malty, but IMO it was stronger in the hops area. That's just what my "buds" were telling me. The head was pretty nice at first, but then died out fairly rapidly, leaving nothing behind, but spotty(at best) laceing. The taste was ok, just nothing too special. Not something I'll be drinking again though.

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Photo of kevinglin
2.75/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours very dark brown to black with a very small hint of ruby highlights at the bottom of the glass. Virtually no head to speak of.

Aroma is somewhat sweet - licorice? - not at all roasty. No hops, as expected.

Taste is just kind of there, nothing spectacular - a slight roastiness, but the sweetness of the aroma does not show up.

Medium body, not a lot of creaminess or fullness you get in other stouts.

I found this to be a below average stout - much better options are available.

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Photo of Mustard
2.77/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Presentation: 12oz. brown bottle with no "bottled on" or "best by" date; $4.99/6 pack from Whole Foods in West LA.

Appearance: Pours a dark, dark brown with almost no head to speak of; very little in the way of lacing.

Smell: Roasted barley; hints of black licorice.

Taste: Coffee, to be sure, but stale, sour coffee; astrigent in an unbecoming way. Smooth, creamy mouthfeel, albeit a tad undercarbonated, even for the style.

Notes: An average, or less than average, dry stout across the board. For what it's worth, still better than Guiness.

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Photo of witster18
2.85/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5


pours a dark black which is nice but the faint head dissipates immediately. nose is malt with some astringency. Mouthfeel is light and it's a bit overcarbonated. there's a soapiness that is a little unpleasant...could have been a bit too hot during the hopping process... I think it's the hops that are causing this 'soapiness'.. budget priced and budget taste... to think I can get Blackout Stout from GLB for a dollar more a six is laughable... glad I only bought one. Very could pound these....but that's not what I'm looking for in this style.

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Photo of mralphabet
2.85/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12 oz bottle poured into pint glass

A: Very dark with hints of brown... less than a finger head... Very nice lacing.

S: I'm getting dark chocolate right up front, with some burnt malt and coffee.

T: Well first hit with the burnt malt and coffee, then light amounts of dark chocolate... The finish is very bitter coffee... I was hoping for me chocolate in the mix, like the smell.... but it is lacking.

M: Missing here for me too.... starts out with a little more carbonation than I like, a little soft and light in the mouth. This improves as the brew warms.... once it is warm it gets a little heavier and creamier. So let it warm... cold right out of the Fridge is bad with this one.

D: Not a session brew. One or two would be enough.

I was not a big fan of this stout, until it warmed up a little... Not a bad stout but not a fantastic stout.... This is my first brew from Mendocino... I'm curious...

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Photo of wanker
2.85/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Update: I drank the beer too cold. I have to stop doing that with stouts.

When warmed to room temperature, the flavor does come out. I found the taste just average, though.


I found this beer is utterly flavorless. Like drinking a glass of club soda.

It has a decent aroma, some nice dark fruits and a bit of chocolate. I was really shocked to get a nice aroma followed by absolutely no flavor. How does that happen?

If also found it overly carbonated. Again, like a glass of club soda.

At least it was cheap. Wouldn't buy it again.

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Photo of cvfish
2.86/5  rDev -19%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A - Poured a light black color that produced a tan head that didn't retain and left no lacing

S - Some burnt malts

T - Not the strong stout taste I was hoping for, but some chocolate malts

M - Mild carbonation, medium bodied

D - Decent stout, not something that I would drink again though seeing as there are much better options

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Photo of GatorBeerNerd
2.86/5  rDev -19%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

12 oz single purchased from Total Wine in Kennesaw poured into a regular pint glass.

A: A relatively aggressive pour resulted in a finger thick tan head that had decent retention before finally becoming just a slight covering of bubbles after quite a few minutes. There was decent lacing. The beer is opaque and only shows the slightest tint of red when held up to the light.

S: The smell is subtle but dominated by roasted malts. There is a hint of a bitter coffee aroma mixed in.

T: The taste is not really sweet at all which is surprising based on the aroma. The finish is dry from the coffee flavor. The real taste profile is hard to describe. There really is not a lot going on. It is just kind of there.

M: I guess you would call it a medium body, but its too thin for a stout. No in mouth carbonation to make it creamy at all.

D: I guess this is relatively drinkable since there isn't any disagreeable flavors. There just isn't a lot to make you want to come back for more.

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