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Black Hawk Stout | Mendocino Brewing Company

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432 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: 432 | Ratings: 652
Photo of Knapp85
3.28/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured out as a deep black color with a tan color head on top. The lacing wasn't too bad here either. The smell of the beer has a pleasant roasted aroma coming off it it. The flavors of the beer have some dark malts, coffee and a touch of bitter chocolate on the tongue. The mouthfeel I though could have been a little thicker. Overall this stout wasn't too bad.

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Photo of metter98
3.55/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: The beer is near black in color (amber is visible near the edges of the glass when it is held up to the light) and poured with a thin creamy tan head that quickly died down into lacing.
S: There are aromas of roasted malts and some notes of coffee beans in the nose.
T: Like the smell, the taste has roasted flavors of coffee beans and malts. There is a light amount of bitterness, which particularly stands out in the finish.
M: Quite dry throughout the taste, it feels medium-bodied and a bit thin and watery on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
D: The lack of a heavy body makes this beer quite drinkable compared to others in the style.

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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 brentk56
3.83/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a tar black body with a rocky tan head that displays good retention and lacing

Smell: Roasted malt notes, some chocolate but also a bit of dishwater that degrades from the overall effect

Taste: Starts out with a roasted malt and bittersweet chocolate base; mid-palate, a strong smokey and bitter effect overpowers the malt and carries through to the finish with burnt coffee notes

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with modest carbonation

Drinkability: Certainly the best Mendocino that I have tasted (although that is not saying much), this is a respectable effort but is a tad too disjointed to come together

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Photo of biboergosum
3.35/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This beer pours a solid black, with cola edges, and a copious amount of thin foamy beige head, which settles fairly quickly, leaving a more or less consistent paint job of lace around the glass. It smells of lightly roasted, somewhat sour malt, chocolate milk, and earthy, floral hops. The taste is chocolate malt, some mild dry coffee, a bit of tangy tropical fruit, and floral, perfume-like hops. The carbonation is on the soft side, the body kind of light and thin, and it finishes off-dry, the fruity, chocolaty malt predominating.

Not a bad stout, though it could benefit from a little more heft, and backbone.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.08/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

12 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a N'Ice Chouffe beer flute in low altitude Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are above average; this is me favourite style but I'm not familiar with this brewery. Acquired in the mail as part of a beer of the month club me sister subscribed me to as a birthday gift.

A: Pours a one and a half finger head of attractive cream lacing, great thickness, and good retention. Colour is a predictable solid black. Appealing to a stout lover like meself.

Sm: Coffee, cream, nuts, and perhaps a bit of chocolate or caramel. Hard to tell with me broken nose; all apologies, lads. A light aroma all around.

T: Tasty. The nutty notes surface on the climax and hang around through the aftertaste; dominating the second half. It's not as creamy as I'd like, but what relatively little there is is present from the open and hangs on roughly until the midpoint. Criminally, there's hardly any roasted barley present. This is unforgivable considering the style. Some chocolate is present haphazardly and vaguely at best. It's strangely balanced structurally, feeling binary and divisive instead of whole and unified. Flavourwise, it's built nicely (albeit a bit simply), but the balance is a little scattershot. I like what's there, but it isn't properly distributed. Overall, I find it enjoyable if flawed.

Mf: Smooth and wet where it should by dry and coarse (but also creamy). I wouldn't go so far as to say it feels more like a porter than a stout, but it's certainly pushing it. It's a little too thick as well, but this is forgivable considering the flavours it's supporting.

Dr: Quite drinkable, in part due to its flawed mouthfeel. I could session this all night but I wouldn't want to. It'd be a bit better on nitro-draught, if only to bring out more cream. It's forgettable as a stout, but I enjoyed it for what it was.

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Photo of zeff80
3.7/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured out a jet black color with a mocha colored, one-finger head. Left some very nice lace.

S - It smelled of roasted malt. There were also hints of chocolate and coffee.

T - It tasted mainly of roasted malt and chocolate. There was also an oatmeal quality. It also had a slightly bitter taste.

M - It was crisp and smooth. A medium-bodied beer.

D - This is a good stout. A good chocolate and roasted malt blend of flavors.

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Photo of oberon
3.8/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a near pitch black with a thin wispy head,deeply roasted malt and bitter chocolate with a light piney note.There is a real hop presence to this stout for sure when drinking at room temp,bitter unsweetened chocolate and highly roasted malt are most prevelant but a dry,piney hoppiness really comes trhu as it warms and in the after-burps.An above average stout not spectacular but I would drink again for sure.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
3.61/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Mendocino's Black Hawk Stout (brewed on the East Coast at Olde Saratoga Brewing) pours an opaque black body with nary a hint of gleeming mahogany. The frothy tan head holds itself aloft majestically, and leaves almost solid, sticky walls of thick clinging lace at the outset of the glass. It eventually withers but is still able to maintain a solid, frothy surface covering, and short walls of lace.

A charred-wood roastiness, some deep, almost-burnt black coffee, and an unusual perfumey note from some floral hops can be found in the nose; and with a bit more searching, even some sweetish caramel and dark chocolate as well.

Medium-light bodied in the mouth, and with a fine-bubbled restrained carbonation, it passes smoothly from lip to throat. The only thing that could make it smoother would be a nitro-pour.

The flavor delivers a brash assault of dark malt bitterness and acidity atop an underbelly of sweet, gently caramel-nougat-like maltiness. Dull, dark bittersweet chocolate lays itself across the middle; and some grassy and floral hops make an appearance here and there (mostly in the burp...), but the ashy roastiness truly dominates. The stoney bitterness is solid, enboldened by the dark malt acidity, and it finishes quite dry with a long-lingering charred-roastiness.

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Photo of chinchill
3.81/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle.
Clear dark brown pour, nearly black in my snifter; The cocoa colored head is small and short-lived but leaves some lacing.
The nose is a little faint and subtle, but otherwise attractive. Smells a bit more like a sweet milk stout than an Irish dry.
T: It’s stronger on the palate than in the nose, with ample dark roasted malt providing hints of dark chocolate and coffee. No unwanted burnt flavors. Good sweet/bitter balance.
M: mildly creamy with medium+ body and a semi-dry finish.
O: a very good if rather mainstream version of the style, with a fine, long-lasting aftertaste of lightly bitter, very dark malts.

(revised with .25 rating system and another bottle on Feb. 2013)

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.41/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Darkest brown (nearly black) with lighter brown highlights at the edges. The cocoa brown head is semi-stiff, is softly rocky as it descends and leaves a fair-to-middlin' amount of lace. It's a pretty nice look, all things considered.

The 'nose knob' needs be be turned up a notch or three; it isn't even close to being aromatic enough for me. If Mendocino is going for lightness with this beer, then they've achieved it. It's more forceful on the palate than it was in the nose, but it's still pretty tame. Roasted black malt with a little chocolate is about it, although the flavor intensity does increase in the bottom half of the bottle.

The mouthfeel doesn't help. It isn't what I'd call thin, but neither is it very stout. Thankfully, it does firm up and become mildly creamy with warming. I think it's pretty clear that this is a better beer at near 60 degrees than it is at near 50 degrees. The finish is bitter and dry, giving the beer much more of an Irish Dry Stout feel than an American Stout one.

I like my stouts to be bigger and bolder, but Black Hawk isn't bad. It's a reasonably tasty, unchallenging beer that would be perfect for those newbies who express an interest in the style.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.36/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a black body with a medium, fizzy-looking beige head.

Smell: Not a bad aroma at all! Molasses and cookie dough with lesser notes of chocolate, coffee, and roasted grains.

Taste: A bit thin-flavored, with only hints of everything from the aroma along with an ashen, burnt bitter finish with just a tiny bit of hops.

Mouthfeel: Medium-thin body. Moderate carbonation.

Drinkability: While its not stoutstanding, it is pretty decent, but could benefit some more body.

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.88/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A Poured a deep dark brown, nearly opague with a nice tight tan head, very quick fade to a nice film with a good bit of lace. Lots of audible carbonation when poured was definatly noticeable.

Very nice robust caramel smell mixed with aromas of coffee and hints of roasted nuts and a touch of chocolate. Overall not bad. First impression was really just the perfect carbonation, great frothy and fluffy mouthfeel and just all around benefit to the palate. Lots of caramel flavors and again a bit of a smoked hint at the back. Small flavors of roasted nuits, chocolate and hints at black coffee. Very nice, but the mouthfeel was absolutly pefect. Light, balanced, a drinkers stout.

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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 Jason
3.45/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Virtually pitch black with a tin bubbly light brown lace.

Creamy malt sweetness is shunned away by a semi acrid roasted malt smell. Suggestions of coffee and charcoal come to mind.

Loose medium body with a moderate carbonation that lacks crispness and smoothness. Roasted malt flavour is a bit narrow and sticks with the sweetness to lay down faint chocolate and burnt flavours. Mild earthy tones from the malt and yeast come through towards the end with a small acrid like taste also. Finishes on the dry side with more earthy tones.

A decent stout, nothing special … just a well rounded stout that lacks bit of character.

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Photo of mdfb79
3.38/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From 02/18/12 notes. Had on tap at Rattle N Hum in NYC.

a - Poura a dark brown, almost black color, with one inch of off white head and low carbonation evident.

s - Smells of roasted malts, dark chocolate, coffee, and milk chocolate. Light sweet dark fruits as well...pretty nice.

t - Tastes of roasted malts, chocolate, coffee, and dark fruits. There is a tiny bit of sourness or tang in the dark fruits; not bad at all, just interesting. Wonder if it's supposed to be like that.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation. Smooth and easy to drink.

o - Overall a decent beer. Was surprised by the light sour dark fruit in the taste; judging by other reviews I'm guessing this is not intended, though I kind of liked it. Tried it next to O'Hara's Irish Dry Stout on cask and O'Hara's was much better...I might have to revisit my review of O'Haras.

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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 RblWthACoz
3.85/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours opaque, but with little tan head to show for it. Nose is very muted but gives just the slightest hint of roasted molasses malts. Flavor is heavily roasted and very, very smoked. Calms down as it warms and gives a nice, robust, smoky profile. Feel is nice. Well bodied liquid and the carbonation is on a good level too. Smooth. Overall this was a nice surprise. Much more developed than I figured it would be and very much worth trying.

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Photo of jwc215
3.15/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours dark brown, almost black with slight ruby highlights and a bubbly tan head that soon descends to bubbly patches and a ring along the edge.

The smell is of mild roasted coffee and semi-sweet chocolate.

The taste is of bittersweet roasted coffee with a slight hint of chocolate. It soon becomes dominated by a burnt characteristic. Charcoal soon dominates. It's more burnt than smoky, though. The body is lighter than expected, almost watery, even when approaching room temperature. There is a crispness that is unusual for the style.

It has a lingering dry finish. A burnt charcoal aftertaste lingers, but not too long. In fact, much of the taste soon fades - the high carbonation for the style doesn't really help it.

It does have some characteristics on target for the style. There are hints of the defining tastes, but the flavors don't hold up and are too muted. It has some potential, but fades all too quickly. It's not as "rich" and "smooth" as the label states, and I've yet to see the "creamy" head.
All in all an average-ish brew. Not bad, I had two or three and will be able to eventually finish the rest (or give them to visitors without having a guilty conscious), but not one that I would get again.

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Photo of tdm168
3.53/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - deep, dark brown bordering on black; big cap of brown head fades to thin lacing after a minute

S - faint roasted malts, faint chocolate

T - roasted malts, citrusy hops, light chocolate, faint coffee

M - light to medium bodied, a bit thin at times, well carbonated, very smooth

This is an easy to drink, flavorful beer. The citrusy character threw me off a bit, but overall I enjoyed it.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
3.53/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Color is a solid black, with violet highlights, and the head is tall, lush, blooming brown and leaves generous traces of lace. Aroma is sharp, deep, and replete with dark fruitiness. I've seen this described elsewhere as a "dry stout". Not in the nose, it ain't. Grapes and cherries dominate the aroma, with further hints of anise and rum, with almost none of the coffee and cocoa associations usually aligned with stouts, "dry stouts" at least.
This incredible fruitiness persists through out every aspect of the brew, not to my complete dissatisfaction. Any disappointment came from the lack of anything else in the way of balance.
Fierce, but friendly, bitterness jumps on the palate, and the finish is long, lingering, and very, very fruity.
A bit too top-heavy, this one: too much bitter and sweet, but not enough malt to give body and balance. Tasty nonetheless, so I can't fully fault this very, very, incredibly fruity stout.

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Photo of WoodBrew
3.78/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

The Black Hawk stout...has a great name #1...as in the #1 hockey team in the NHL...but is also a solid stout. The beer pours an opaque black with thin slightly offwhite head that is leaving a spotty lace. The scent carries chocolate and peat. The taste is more leaning towards espresso. The mouthfeel is fuller in body with smooth carbonation. Overall this is a solid beer.

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Photo of vfgccp
3.25/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A- Nice looking stout. Black with deep brown highlights. Light tan head, a little low on head retention. Lace was moderate.

S- Slight mineral smell on front blending into a mild copper aroma. Chocolate raisin smell in the middle note with a mild roast note on the finish.

T- Mellow char, lighter taste than expected. Roasted malt middle notes with a slightly dry finish with touches of coffee bitterness.

M- Lighter and thinner than I expect from a stout. The finish is more pleasant due to the dry finish, but the initial impression is watery. Not particularly smooth.

O- Although the look was nice and the smell was interesting, the taste was a little mellow and the mouthfeel was too light and thin for a stout. Mediocre drinkability.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
4.12/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass, the beer is black, with some dark brown highlights under light, and a light tan head that starts thick and frothy, but recedes to a decent half inch, tightly bubbled presentation. The beer is malty on the nose, with no other characteristics jumping out. The malt has notes of molasses and caramel, but very mild. Initial flavors are light, and ride through on a clean, crisp body. There are flavors heavy on chocolate, with strong backgrounds of coffee and dark, sweet malt. Well balanced with bitter and sweet flavors. Body is smooth and crisp at the same time, never overpowering and alway complementary of the flavors. The beer transitions to a quick, smooth, and clean finish. The aftertaste is similar to melting a chocolate bar in half a cup of coffee. Very tasty, and very pleasant. Easy to drink with almost anything in terms of food.

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Photo of Mebuzzard
3.63/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a medium thick-looking black body, with a slight light brown, soapy head.
Smells of coffee and a bit of leather. A bit weak.
Taste is more of a light stout. Slilght coffee flavor, some caramel and anise, but not much. Drinks well, due to its lightness.
Not a bad brew if you can find it

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Black Hawk Stout from Mendocino Brewing Company
3.53 out of 5 based on 652 ratings.
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