Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

Black Eye Ale | Mendocino Brewing Company

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
156 Reviews
no score
Send samples
Black Eye AleBlack Eye Ale

Brewed by:
Mendocino Brewing Company
United States

Style: Black & Tan

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 12-29-2001

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 156 | Ratings: 203
Photo of TheTrevor
3.43/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This beer porued a very dark brown with a two-finger tan head. The smell is mostly toasted malt with a little burnt coffee. The taste starts off with some bittersweet chocolate and coffee flavors that are cut by some citrusy hops towards the finish. The mouthfeel is slightly thick with some pretty minor carbonation. This beer is fairly drinkable for black and tan, but I can't imagine I'd want much more in one sitting than what was in the big bottle.

 453 characters

Photo of ScreamForMe
2.06/5  rDev -43.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Popped this opened after a 3 store beer run today after being snowed in for days. Beer had a big head - much like my own. Mouthfeel was ok. While it's not bad, I can't find much to recommend it, either. It is rather drinkable. Very unremarkable. I won't be buying this again.

 275 characters

Photo of Floydster
3.63/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle purchased from Texas Liquor in Carlsbad for four dollars, split with my dad tonight, poured into a Stone pint glass, color is medium brown or dark mahogany, head is 3/4 inch, off white, and creamy, decent retention, not much lacing, aroma is roasted malts, light hops, caramel, grapefruit and lemon, charcoal, and bread, flavor has more of a roasty profile than anything, you almost pick up a slight coffee taste at times, malt presence is similar to an amber but again roasted, lots of barley in this one, mouthfeel is roasty, chewy, and dry, medium bodied, could have probably used less carbonation, taste does not linger very long, could have finished the bomber individually, light in alcohol and on the stomach as a result, not a bad brew for the winter, always interesting to have a black and tan that is bottled and not poured by yourself, would probably drink this again, especially with how inexpensive it is, worth trying

 947 characters

Photo of magictrokini
3.48/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Surprisingly good. Pours dary brown with a short tan head. Great lacing. Aroma of burnt coffee, nuts, toasted rye, and some cocoa. Bittersweet chocolate, coffee, and roasted malt in the front that blends slowly with a malty caramel and peppery hop back. Creamy mouthfeel that is a little thin.

 293 characters

Photo of ccrida
3.73/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bomber poured into an impy pint, Black Eye is a dark, hazy garnet with a frothy, light tan head. It had a look of quickly dissipating, but head a long, creamy last, and left very heavy lace, sheets of foam coating over half the glass. Paler then I expected, but there is a nice glow to it. And the lace was so intense by the end I had to bump it up. Besides, I don't think the paler side of things is an issue for a blended style like this anyways.

Smell is soft, floral hops, some piney fresh cut wood, table sugar and tropical fruits. The citrus really came out as it warmed from fridge temp, sour orange.

Taste is interesting. The first sip struck me with a sharp metallic bite, that I soon realized with just the strong spicy hops. This is a true California Black & Tan, and I've only ever had English style. At first I though sacrilege, and that I wouldn't even finish the bottle, but I definitely warmed up to it a bit. There's a nice bit of caramel and a touch of chocolate, coupled with the hops, they help hide the bite of the alcohol, which is on the higher side for the style. Still, it started out very rough, and the improvement was only relative, with the bite not totally subsiding.

Mouthfeel is pretty good, it's got that fullness of a dark ale but lighter body that I look for in the style, but overall it's a bit to big, dried out by the spicy booze and hops.

Drinkability is pretty good, this isn't my taste in the style, but not something I was gonna pour out. I haven't had either of the base beers so I can't really comment on my thoughts on the blend. Overall I'm glad I gave it a try, but am not sure I'll be having it again anytime soon, or honestly, if ever!

 1,691 characters

Photo of theopholis
2.64/5  rDev -27.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Appearance- HUGE head with a fair amount of staying power. Head is a creamy, thick, off-white affair. Decent lacing. Body is dark, clear with ruby when held up to the light.

Aroma- Odd. Has an acrid sweetness. Also, a clean, minerally graininess. Not really a beer smell, but not overly objectionable.

Taste- A fairly soft malt sweetness up front, with some roasted grains and hop bitterness in the rear. the sweetness is a bit cloying.

Mouthfeel- Medium body. Low CO2 level, which seems appropriate).

Drinkability- One of Mendocino Brewing's less successful brews.

 571 characters

Photo of yemenmocha
4.12/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours near black with thin brown head. Nose is notably malty-roasty, with some nougat in there too.

Thin body is disappointing, but roasted malt & light chocolate flavors are pleasing. Hops provide a nice balance.

I can't help but wonder if the stout is the winner here and the "tan" is bringing down the beer a little.

 321 characters

Photo of barleywinebrewer
3.53/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I've got to say I really don't get the concept of a black & tan. occaisonally I see a multi colored beer but usually it's just a lighter shade of black. Ok, you know my thoughts on this subject, hows the beer?

I found this a nice beer overall. caramel, coffee and a faint roasted grain note. It's medium light in body, nicely carbonated and smooth drinking.

I could see enjoying this as a pint out but I still am perplexed that there is even a black and tan category. I checked BJCP and ... ok, kidding on that note but this is a nice blended beer.

 551 characters

Photo of Offa
3.62/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is pretty tasty but not outstanding and one can at times discern qualities of the two constituent beers yet the final product is not quite like either.

Very dark, almost black, red-brown, it has a large, bubbly, light brown head that shrinks steadily to a ring and wisps.

The aroma is dark toast with a little caramelized prunes, a bit of chocolate, and musky, fruity wine.

The taste is similar to the aroma with mostly dark toast with hints of caramelized prunes, chcoclate, and fruity wine. The elements are nicely married and it is pretty drinkable and smooth. However, it is a bit flat and one-dimensional in character, with a little too much dark toast. I find the latter kind of confusing since neither the supposed constituent beers has much of a strong, dark toast character to me. Ultimately, while this is good, I prefer the constituent beers separately.

 875 characters

Photo of PatrickJR
3.23/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 22 oz bottle into nonic pint glass.

A - Dark brown with some light coming through on the edges. Three finger light brown head sticks around for a couple of minutes and falls to a thin cap. Moderate lacing.

S - More simple than I'd expected. Huge buttery aroma with a touch of brown sugar. Roasted character with a touch of coffee as well.

T - Coffee/caramel sweetness comes in early palate leading into a fruity and almost vanilla flavor. Roasted flavors and bitterness quickly take hold late palate and leave a lingering bittersweet flavor. Some heat from the alcohol is noticable.

M - Medium bodied, but very highly carbonated. Body is decent but the carbonation really needs to be toned down.

D - Eh, this beer does little to excite me. It's not bad, but it's fairly uninteresting which is a shame because I really liked the Eye of the Hawk. The flavors just don't mesh terribly and this brew ends up tasting like a strange porter.

 954 characters

Photo of cvstrickland
3.88/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22-ounce bottle poured into my DFH shaped pint glass yields a clear dark ruby brown body capped with a rocky head the hue of pale khaki. The foam reduces slowly to a fluffy sheet and leaves irregular swatches of lacing on the glass.

The smell of the drink is roasty and malty with floral, herbal hops.

The taste is burnt-smoky-sweet with plenty of dark malty caramel and roasted, maybe slightly burnt, barley flavor that comes off almost as fresh-ground black coffee. The drink is mellow and a smidge fruity as it warms, with increasing dark-chocolate-cocoa-caramel sweetness and an herbal hop presence that contributes bitterness. A bit of warming in the torso indicates that this is, indeed, an alcoholic beverage.

On the full side of medium-bodied, the drink is nicely carbonated and very drinkable. I must say I didn't hold out high hopes for this bomber and am not real big on black-and-tans in general, but this was a fine drink that really hit the spot and went just fine with a breakfast of medium-rare strip steak, over-easy eggs and toast.

 1,052 characters

Photo of Neehan
3.94/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Interesting beer here. I really appreciate the distinct discernability between the ale and the stout. With each sip you may taste one, the other or both. There is not enough presence in the nose to have this same quality in the smell, as there isn't much there in that regard. The offering is very drinkable as well, a bit lighter in the mouth than I would prefer but good nonetheless. This makes me want to try the two separately to see how the whole compares to the sum of its parts.

 485 characters

Photo of AlexJ
3.38/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown with ruby highlights. A tan head puffs up and down quickly, leaving a bit of lace.

Aroma is dark and caramel malt, weak coffee, and earthy and grassy hops.

Flavor is a nice mix of dark charred and caramel malts. Theres a lite coffee note with butterscotch and a dry earthy finish.

Body is medium, well carbonated and somewhat thin feeling. $2.99 a bomber @ local foody.

 383 characters

Photo of Metalmonk
3.77/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Black & Tan in a bottle...what's the point? The tap version seems the only way to go, but I have an open mind and an empty glass. Let's fill it...

I suppose if you mixed anything black and anything tan, you'd get this dark brown color, it's glassy, glossy and looks a bit like root beer with all its ruby shading. The nearly two-inch head is fluffy and creamy...takes it's freaking time to settle, and that's cool by me.

Whoa! The aroma hits like a ton of bricks. Not that it's extremely hoppy or insanely boozy (it's neither), but it's distinctive. I'm having a hard time breaking down its fine points, but it reminds of a baltic porter, somewhere between Baltika and Perkuno's Hammer, maybe...definitely hugely malty and inviting as hell.

Flavor's not nearly as good as the aroma, but it's good. There's a gorgeous gooey maltiness happening, which is hit upside the head with something salty, and hops that seem a bit dead, or at least unnecessary amidst the big malt trying to shine through. A dry finish keeps the malt kicking in ghostlike form. Not bad, and the thin yet carbonated mouthfeel somehow works. [NOTE: Glad this was a big bottle...my first impressions were not great...then it got better...now, near the end of the bottle, it seems pretty darn good. It's not the 6.5% talking, either, as my tolerance is sturdier than that.]

It's interesting. The aroma is wonderful, big and brownie-like, you really feel like you're in for a treat, and then the collision happens (consider the style). Still, I was sold by the end of the bottle. Mendocino stuff is typically very affordable, so there's no reason not to try it. They call this Black & Tan "The Ultimate Blend", but as likable is it is, they've got serious competition from Black Sabbath & Bongs, Orange & Vanilla, and Baseball & Sunday Afternoons.

 1,819 characters

Photo of daliandragon
3.7/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A little surprised to see that this one has been retired, since it just showed up at my local Lowe's Food supermarket. i've always liked the idea of a black and tan, but the reality rarely lives up to the ideal.

This one starts with a massive head that doesn't last long but settles to a thin cap in about three minutes. The color is dark red, almost purple. The nose has stout influences like roasted coffee malt but also the high alcohol notes of Eye of the Hawk.

This one brings the expected heavy malt to the table, but the finish and texture are very smooth and relatively thin for a beer with stout in it. Roasted malt flavors with coffee and some dark fruit are dominant in the taste.

This is a little better than I expected and wort trying. However, the alcohol will slow you down a bit which is a slight drag on drinkability.

 840 characters

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

Dark brownish black; big tan head

Chocolate/coffee/sweet smells; some hop bitterness

Taste & Mouthfeel
Interesting! Definitely a mix of flavors; bitter all the way through; chocolate and malts at first and middle, followed by a hop finish; nice and balanced, sweet and tasty; good level of carbonation; medium bodied; creamy texture

It's like a light tasting stout, but filled out and balanced with the bitter ale side coming through; knowing what it is while drinking it, I can really appreciate it (if in a blind taste test, I might just think it's a weak stout)

 593 characters

Photo of barleywinefiend
2.78/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured a deep brown to black with a small head Nose is toasted, grainy and skunky with a caramel and a slight hint of coffee and chocolate but very little of it. The taste was just off. No real notes, no body, no charcater, no hops nothing but a skukned taste that was old and roasted. This beer should have never been brewed and glad its retired.

 347 characters

Photo of shabbtastic
4.27/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Split a growler with a buddy last week, reviewed from notes.

A - Poured a dark brown light white fluffy head with great retention. Minimal lacing with wonderful carbonation.

S - Roasted chocolate malt nose with a nice hop backing.

T - Mild roast to the malts of chocolate and toffee. Very smooth and balanced. A complex flavor of roasted malt and dark fruits.

M - Smooth and full bodied. Very warming with a moderate 6.5 abv that seemed stronger.

D - Easy drinking, I haven't been disappointed with Mendocino at all. Clearly one of the most underrated breweries out there. Highly recommended.

 597 characters

Photo of dsa7783
3.95/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle copped singly from Buy Rite on Oak Tree in South Plainfield for $2.99...
An aggressive pour resulted in a jet-black, ebony hue with a decent-sized foamy head that soon receded and left a copious amount of lacing around the edge of the glass...
Rich, malty aroma characterized by dark, candied sugars, yeast, phenols, figs, prunes, and dates...
Rich, creamy, thick flavor dominated by black currants, raisins, roasted malts, caramel, and a slight tinge of vanilla...
Good, creamy mouthfeel with a lot going on in this department...
An equally good level of drinkablitiy balanced out by a relatively modest 6.5% ABV and lack of cloyinig flavors...
Good stuff from Mendocino...

 702 characters

Photo of enfield249
3.08/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Dark ruby red in color, no head and a very thin band of foam.

S - Not getting much. Some roasted malt smell.

T - Lots of roast flavors, coffee, and a little bit caramel.

M - Sharp from the CO2, and some strong astringency down the middle of my tongue.

D - Not bad, but kinda boring. For the price I paid ($2/22oz) it's pretty good, but I would not seek it out.

 368 characters

Photo of williamherbert
3.3/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a glassy, deep reddish brown. Big puffy head, like an ice cream float. Looks like dark Coca-Cola with foam. Lace collapses early.

Aroma is heavy strong ale alcohol smell with undertones of dark grape. Heavy strong ale at first, deeper sweet and roasted porter aroma underneath. Really layered smell.

Taste is a sweet strong/special ale with a hint of dark grape or liqueur. A bit too cherry sweet for my liking, but the bitter does help. Still, just too sweet for me.

The feel is syrupy like cherry juice. A little dry at the end but felt inappropriate for style. Overall it's not that balanced. It's overly sweet with only a bitter accent. Pleasant enough, but not that memorable.

 690 characters

Photo of stephendr
3.59/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. glass bottle- color of black, with a thick frothy tan head - nose of red fruit, malts, and roasted coffee – taste of chocolate, subtle red fruit, malts, and roasted coffee- body is slightly watery, and with medium high carbonation – aftertaste of red fruit, malts, and roasted coffee

 292 characters

Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
4.2/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this beer in Sept. '07, but mistakenly reviewed it under the Cali. brewery, where it was listed as 'retired'.
22oz bomber,served in a pint glass.

A - deep brown color with a big fluffy tan head that settled to a layer, leaving plenty of sticky lacing on my glass.

S - roasted malt aroma, slight aroma of espresso coffee.

T - good roasted coffee and malt flavors, little bitterness, nicely balanced B & T.

M - medium bodied, good amount of carbonation.

D - not a brew I could drink all night, but I could put back a few of these very easily.

Final Note: this brew may be a 'rotating release' but you can always buy Black Hawk Stout & Eye of the Hawk and make your own version of this tasty B & T.

 707 characters

Photo of Brad007
3.5/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown color with a decent head. Aroma is sweet with hints of chocolate and coffee in the head. Taste is very much on the stout side, with a decent roastiness upfront fading to more of a fruitiness of the ale. For me, Black and Tans are always hard to review as either side of the black and tan can be overpowered by the other.

Regardless, the stout dominates the flavor more and it's not too bad either. Very drinkable and it's great if you want a stout with the lines of a typical ale and visa-versa.

 516 characters

Photo of Georgiabeer
3.62/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer may be retired, but it is still quite available. A little searching either at the store or online will get it for you if you are interested. I found mine at a whole foods in the Atlanta area. Not the greatest beer in their stable, but interesting. Pours a blackish brown with a thin head. Smell is roasty, followed by a yeasty tang and piney hops. The taste is smooth and malty up front, with spicy hops on the back end. Smooth and slightly sweet in the mouth, this is better than your average pre-mixed black and tan.

 528 characters

Black Eye Ale from Mendocino Brewing Company
3.64 out of 5 based on 203 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Extreme Beer Fest® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • 10 Years of BeerAdvocate Magazine

    We're celebrating 10 years of BA mag with $10 print subscriptions for US residents!