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 Bouleboubier
2.87/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

This reminds me of a cross between a malt soft drink (a la Malta Goya) and an export stout (a la Dragon Stout). It was served with only a small head that resembled that of Coca Cola - fizzy. Dark, caramel brown in color - once again, looking like cola soft drink. The aroma and taste both put forth sweet, syrupy malt and little else, although I did detect some faint roasty and chocolate notes after it warmed up considerably. Thin, refresco-style body to it - I wouldn't say it drinks "smooth" but just simply easy, and quite un-beer like.

Really, like I mentioned: Malta Goya/Dragon Stout mix. Does not remind me of a Guinness/Murphy's Irish stout style. A bit disappointing maybe, but hardly awful.

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Photo of MJR
2.88/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: On the scale between black and brown, this one is the shade of brown closest to black without actually being black. Has an opaque body with a head that starts big and foamy, but shrinks to a pathetic ring around the top with a few random bubbles here and there...

Smell: Semi-sweet aroma of roasted malt, coffee, and molasses.

Taste: Fairly one-dimensional with a roasted grain beginning, and a coffee-tinged middle and end. Finishes with a slightly sour note. Not much else to speak of...

Mouthfeel: Way too damn thin for a stout... Crisp and somewhat dry.

Drinkability: A boring flavor profile and thin body do not a stout make. There are far better stouts out there...I have no intention of wasting another drinking opportunity on this one.

The bottle states 'The Legend Grows.' I think Mendocino should pat themselves on the back less, and work on their brews more. They may have been one of the pioneering micros way-back-when, but you can do so much better these days...

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Photo of Sixpoint
2.88/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I bought four different stouts from HalfTime Beverages in Poughkeepsie, NY. This was the last beer I tasted of the four and I liked it the least. Perhaps the competition was fierce, but this beer was not very impressive at all.

It had an excessive protein/husky flavor that usually comes from cheap American malt. There is virtually no mass-produced QUALITY barley malt made in the U.S.... and this beer claims to have its beer made from U.S. 2-row. That explains it.

The hops are quite ordinary too. They don't mesh well with the roasted flavor which is too dry and unbalanced by crystal malts and caramelization.

The je ne sais qua of the beer leaves an unsettling vibe. I will not seek another.

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Photo of Cylinsier
2.88/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

From a bottle.

Pours essentially jet black, even when held to light. The head is thin and tan. Lacing remains for a bit.

Smells a bit smokey and also sweet like brown sugar.

The taste is VERY smokey like charcoal laced with black pepper. Seriously. Kind of weird. The aftertaste is hoppy bitter.

The mouthfeel is a bit sharp, with kind of a zing to it.

Overall this beer is a little bizarre. I'm glad I tried it, but I don't think I would enjoy having it again.

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Photo of hero27
2.89/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle.

Dark brown color with reddish hues. Light tan head that holds well and leaves spots of oily lacing behind. Aroma is faint nuts & malted barley with an off-metallic smell thrown in there as well. A little weak in flavor & mouthfeel for a stout..tastes are fairly typical roasted malts with a slight metallic/bitter character tagged on the end. At best, I'd consider it an average stout.

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Photo of kkipple
2.9/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Poured from 12oz bottle into a 16oz pilsner glass. Filled the glass with a reddish-tan head atop a deep brown beer. Typical stout color.

Smelled of malt and coffee, caramel. Nothing abnormal.

Tasted rather sweet to me. If I had to describe it simply I'd say a sweeter Guinness that felt thin in the mouth. Malt, coffee, chocolate -- the usual for a stout. Felt a bit warm in my mouth after a few sips. What little aftertaste there was disappeared after several moments.

The other posters have it nailed; this reminded me an awful lot of Sam Adams Black Lager. A bit too thin for a stout, I think.

All in all, Black Hawk is not a bad beer, but not particularly inspiring either. Drink if you can't find Guinness or your favorite stout.

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Photo of Dizzy
2.92/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours dark brown with tan head. Aroma of roasted malts, reminiscent of chocolate, some fruit aromas , and faint alcohol aroma. Some fruit flavors underneath the anticipated roasted malts. A faint tartness in the background. No significant hop presence I can detect. Nothing special but this isn't bad.

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Photo of overzealous
2.92/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Good rich smell, malts and something unidentifiable. Seemed to be promising.

The taste leaves something to be desired for me though. There is a difference between "smoky" and "burnt to a crisp". This tastes like someone roasted the malts WAY too long.

Mouthfeel is decent, though a bit thin for the style.

This is an OK beer, but I feel I can do much better in the price range.

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Photo of bkilpatr
2.93/5  rDev -17%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. 06/30/08.

Pours a very dark opaque brown color with about an inch of creamy dark tan head. The head settled to a thin layer leaving little lacing. Aromas are mostly roasted malt and milk chocolate.

Taste is roasted malt, bitter dark chocolate, and a hint of bitter roasted coffee. There's also some smokiness in there. Feel is disappointing. Very thin and watery, light body and carbonation. Drinkability isn't so good either. Body-wise, it just doesn't feel like a stout.

Overall, pretty disappointing for a stout. The taste and feel are just off.

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Photo of wiseguy142
2.94/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours black with a decent half centimeter head, nice light tan. Disappears pretty quickly but leaves a nice ring of lacing around the glass.

Tap-water like aroma. Slightly metallic and chlorine like. Not a lot of roasted grains or hops or anything.

Taste is a lot more like a porter than a stout. More chocolate than roasted bitterness. Nice light hop flavor brightens up the beer a bit. Probably the best part. Lacks a ton of malt character but is still a decent dry stout.

Medium bodied, but feels like you're drinking a guinness.. very malty in body, the typical "liquid bread" type beer. Goes down easy and is fun to drink.

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Photo of WakeandBake
2.97/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A black color pour with a thin off white head , light crbonation, little to no lacing. Aroma of roasty grain , burn toffee ,and coffee. Flavor is rather bland, roasted grain,some hoppiness , slightly bitter , coffee , and charcoal. Thin body , watey mouthfeel , dry slightly bitter finish. Drinkable but nothing I would buy again .

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Photo of SpeedwayJim
2.98/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a Surly pint glass.

A: Standard pour creates a 1 finger coarse milk chocolate colored head that fades quickly into a thin film atop the liquid. Beer itself is a near opaque dark amber. Lacing is like a tiny tidal wave in places, splashing up, but never far from the beer level.

S: Burnt liquorice, slight coffee with cream notes, rubber, tobacco, maybe a hint of chocolate. Also a weird condensed milk aroma.

T: Liquorice, burnt sour coffee dominates. Middle is more of the same with a touch of filminess that makes me think that this is ACTUALLY what motor oil tastes like. Chocolate is present but near undetectable. Finish is rubber, more licquorice and a roasted malt bitterness that goes away quickly.

M: Medium bodied, very smooth and oily. Filmy in a bad way, again, like motor oil but not as full bodied. Finish is slightly dry but really coats the mouth in an unpleasant filminess.

D: This beer is average in every way except the mouthfeel which really is unpleasant. Too thin to be imperial but too smooth and oily to be pleasant. This is just stuck in an unhappy middle. I won't be having this again, there are better stouts out there.

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Photo of acrawf6
2.98/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured out a good looking black, but did not leave a much of a head and i didnt pour to try to aggitate one. the color looked dark like any stout, but did let more light in at the bottom of my glass.

smell was sweet and had scents of molassis and roasted malts.

taste to me was way to sweet for a stout, and unbalanced from it. the malts tasted through, but overall i tasted the sweetness and wasnt all that enjoyable.

the mouthfeel was a little oily and had quite a bit of carbonation.

overall i would say to buy if it you have the chance because its cheap, but much better stouts out there. too sweet.

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Photo of xgrigorix
2.98/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Twelve ounce brown bottle - no dates.

Opaque black, topped by a firm tan head. Some patchy lace is left behind.

Dark espresso, almost overwhelming, with a bit of chocolate hiding in the background.

Bitter espresso, followed by a chalky astringent flavour. An odd hop flavour lingers. Medium bodied & somewhat oily w/ moderate carbonation.

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Photo of Mitchel
2.98/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Black Hawk Stout is a DARK beer. It is a relatively clean tasting beer. Not too bitter, not to strong.

It pours a tan head which quickly disappears to leave just a little lace on top of a black beer. It is about as dark as a beer could get. It smells of molasses and very strong coffee and tastes of it too. I can definitely smell the alcohol even though it is not that high in it (5.2% abv), interesting. Pretty malty and finishes clean and dry. This is a very stout beer, but what do you expect.

Overall this is a pretty good stout but it is deficient of something more. What more I don’t know. But it just isn’t that extraordinary to me. Watch out, that first sip will catch out off guard if you aren’t ready. Cheers!

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Photo of battlekow
2.99/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I'm trying a few new stouts, New Holland's the Poet and North Coast's Old #38 in addition to this one.

Black Hawk pours a stout, hearty black, capped by a tannish head and good lacing.

Smells and tastes very carmelly, hardly bitter at all. Mouthfeel is relatively weak. Damn, this beer is a complete disappointment after the appearance. This seems like a schwarzbier, not a stout. Black Hawk walks the walk, but doesn't talk the talk.

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Photo of SWMeyer4141
3/5  rDev -15%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I feel like this is my first American Stout in a while. Poured into a Tumbler..

Appearance-Dark brown w/ some ruby highlights. Aggressive pour yeilded a pretty smell brown head. No retention or lacing.

Smell-Roasted Malts, some dark fruits.

Taste-Pretty sweet up front, roasty and light smoke. Like the smell I pick up some dark fruits and finishes pretty sweet then quickly becomes a drying bitterness. I'm not sure when this was brewed but it taste's like faded hops.

Mouthfeel-Thin body, very watery. Carbonation is pleasant, not too much.

Overall-Just an average beer all around. Flavors are pretty subtle and body is very thin. I'll finish the 6er but will probably never encounter this beer again.

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Photo of stirgy
3/5  rDev -15%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured a deep chocolate brown, nearly black color with some ruby tints shining through. Slight phenolic or tannins in the aroma, along with roasted grains, some chocolate and coffee. Light, almost watery body. Cordial cherry fruits in there along with some buttery qualities. Not as bad as I make it out to be. Easy to drink, but middle of the road as far as stouts go.

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Photo of JamesS
3/5  rDev -15%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A completely average stout. Pours black, but with no head and no lacing. Burnt grain scent, but nothing else and weak. Same with the taste; although there is a little bit of an odd bitter aftertaste, not really hoppy, but nothing I expect from a stout.

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Photo of Chugmonkey
3/5  rDev -15%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Black, thin, tan head. Some chocolate, minimal roastiness, not much else going on here. Nice and smooth, actually too smooth. Somewhat watery, nice dry finish. Very uncomplicated and very drinkable, just not very satisfying. You better plan on having quite a few.

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Photo of Gavage
3.01/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: dark black color with a thick and fluffy 3"+ head. Only a few spots of lace develops despite the fluffy head.

Smell: burnt malts and dark chocolate are all that is picked up.

Taste: there is an overall burnt flavor here wrapped around the roasted malts, coffee, dark chocolate, brown sugar, and very soft bitterness.

Mouthfeel: unpleasantly crisp from start to finish. Very brief aftertaste. Medium bodied.

Drinkability: the crisp mouthfeel for a stout did not cut it for me along with the slighty burnt tones. Not one I would recommend.

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Photo of HardTarget
3.01/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Standard brown bottle, cap says “Use Opener”, no date
Aroma: A porter like nose, rich roasted chocolate malts and a hint of coffee and cream.
Appearance: Serious backlight shows some bubbles coming up, but not a ray of light makes it through. Nice leathery tan head of small bubbles and little carbonation fed springs. Some nice coats of lace marked its passing but the head faded to a collar about half way through the beer.
Flavor: French coffee, double sugar. Lots of bitter notes, bitter coffee, a hint of bitter hops, bitter chocolate. There is a brief sweet flash after the swallow, but it’s quickly flooded by a long, almost astringent roasted malt taste.
Mouthfeel: Medium heavy body with a creamy texture. A bit too effervescent though.
Overall Impression: A bit disjointed. There are a lot of nice feathers, but it just doesn’t gel into a bird. Nice roasted qualities, nice sweet note, but the bitter is a bit much and the carbonation is a bit high. If you’re a Stout lover, worth a shot.

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Photo of seedyone
3.01/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

07/11/13 At Rattle N Hum, NYC. On tap. Just a taste was enough for me. Member#28419's comment re Mentos & Coke was close to the mark. Lacks body & depth. Doubt I could struggle through a pint. Rate Beer touts "bottle condition"ing so perhaps I judge too harshly. Let's try to put the Genie back in the bottle 'cause this don't cut it.

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Photo of tkelley
3.03/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle poured into a dimbled mug. Bought it at the brewery in Saratoga in a mix 12 pack.

A -- Looks a lot like a cola. Very dark brown, not too many highlights. Tannish head with some big bubbles at first, dissipated pretty quickly to just some foam around the edges.

S - Roasty malt like you would expect, not much else.

T - Not very sweet. Dark malt tastes. No chocolate or coffee notes really, but there is some dried fruit kind of taste in the back.

M - Not too smooth, kind of bubbly like ginger ale.

O - I would drink a lot of other Irish Dries before this one, but it works. Cheers.

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Photo of blitheringidiot
3.03/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Artistic label with a statuesque hawk prominently displayed. Just BA brownie points-nothing more. Black pour from a 12 oz. soldier with a scant razor thin tan head covering.

Bright caramel nose, without any roasted aroma. More of a bock or maibock nose.

Oh yeah! Roasted toffee and wheat toast showed up in the taste. MENDOCINO has a unique Stout flavor here. More of a creamier, Dr. Pepper infused hop & malt balanced Stout. Along the lines of Flying Fish Porter because of the easy drinkable body & flavor. This isn’t an over-the-top Stout with tons of smoky espresso, but rather a mild toffee, sugary malts and wheat toast tastes. Finish is a tiny bit bitter and grainy, despite the label proclaiming a clean dry finish.

Lighter body than some other major league Stouts.

Last swigs: A Dr. Pepper meets Cream soda stout that finishes with malt sugars. Overall, a light Stout offering. MENDOCINO has a great mixed case 4 x 6 Red Tail Ale, Black Hawk Stout, Blue Heron Pale, and a big beer: Special 8% Ale for usually $30. Their White Hawk IPA is an excellent IPA.

Beer is good. Happy beering.

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