Black Eye Ale | Mendocino Brewing Company

203 Ratings
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 Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 203 |  Reviews: 156
Photo of danielharper
3.71/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased from Strong Bros. Liquor Store, Fayetteville, TN.

A: Pours dark brown, very nearly black, with a creamy khaki-colored head.

S: Sweet malty aroma, caramel, slightly drying.

T: Dry, roasty flavor, sweet aftertaste. Caramel present as beer warms, some hop bite.

M: Smooth velvety mouthfeel. Enjoyable.

D: Overall quite drinkable -- wish this wasn't retired.

 381 characters

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

This beer is a bottled blend of Black Hawk Stout and Red Eye Ale. Kind of a neat combination and play on words to come up with the name.

The beer pours damn black indeed - It looks like a stout all the way, except for the head, which is bubbly rather than fluffy, as most stouts' are.

The scent has some definite stoutlike influence - roasty, dark chocolate and coffee and dark fruits - but there's also a significant light fruitiness that one doesn't find in a stout alone. Slight grassiness and lemon zest lighten up the dark scents.

The flavors are similar, except the lemony fruitiness imparted by the Red Eye Ale is more noticeable. Each sip begins with a smooth, roasty blend of stout flavors, and finishes on an upswing, with grassy hops and lemony, peachy fruits. If you try to drink too quickly or too cold, some alcohol mars the taste, so go slow.

Smooth mouthfeel, more stout than amber ale. Just a little light carbonation brightens things up a bit.

A rather enjoyable beer that doesn't necessarily have to be a novelty - it stands strong on its own points. Best part is, despite the fact that it's a limited release, it's easy to make your own.

 1,172 characters

Photo of BEERchitect
4.03/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Listed as a Black and Tan, I guess because it is a blend of a Stout and a Pale Ale. But, the flavors are much better than expected from most failed attempts of a B and T. I'd rather describe the beer as a firm American Stout with a heavy malt undertone. Or, as a Strong American Ale with a firm roasted character. I beleived that the individual beers of Eye of the Hawk and Black Hawk were good, but were a bit characterless. The blending of the two became a powerful, bold, sweet, and well balanced brew. The color was a very dark brown with faint amber highlights. Held firm retention. And, left a strong malt flavor and aroma that became almost syrupy. The hops balanced nicely, leaving a bold and crisp brew. Great for those cool spring nights. Hate to see that it is retired.

 780 characters

Photo of oracle
2.49/5  rDev -31.6%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Had this bottle sitting in the fridge for about 4 or 5 months. Finally got around to drinking last night.

Beer poured dark almost opaque mahogany color with very little head that quickly disappated and left no lacing.

Perhaps this beer sat around too long, but it had a definate wine-like sourness to it that I just didn't care for at all.
Tasted slightly sweet along with the sourness, but I just couldn't make out distinct flavors.

Slightly oily mouthfeel.

I like most beers from Mendicino, but will not get this one again

 538 characters

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

I was very impressed with this one! Sad that it was simply a one-off release. The colour was much darker than I had expected. I was thinking a little bit darker than Newcastle, but this poured nearly black. The smell is pretty malty with a "chewy" stewed prune smell and just a tiny amount of hops hiding in the back. Very appealing smell. The hops lay siege to your taste buds immediately upon your first sip. So much for their weakness in the smell. There is a wonderful roasted malt that leaves a dryness in your mouth on the finish. Nicely balanced. The mouthfeel is very smooth with only a slight hint of carbonation. Very nicely produced brew. I'm sadened it will be no more.

 681 characters

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

Appearance- A nice dark brown hue combined with a 2 finger head poured into a Family Guy mug.

Smell- Mostly roasted malts mixed with light coffee creamer.

Taste- Starst out with a mix between roasted and smokey malst with a light mocha middle and ended with a creammy hop character.

Mouthfeel- A nice crisp malt palate, slightly chewy. But nothing like a god stout.

Drinkability- A little to string to be an session beer. But worth about 3 22oz bombers a day.

 475 characters

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

Pours a deep brown that appears ruby red when held to the light. An inch of tan, coffee-with-cream head developed, quickly settling to a thin layer of uneven foam. This beer has the same powerful malt scent of the Mendocino brewery's Eye of the Hawk Ale (which makes up presumably 50% of this limited blend). Additionally there are coffee and caramel notes.

The taste is of burnt coffee, macadamia nuts and whole grain brain. On of the most interesting aspects of this blend is the stout taste with a light ale drinkability or maybe a fine English Porter. As the glass warmed, sharp alcohol astringency became a player in the taste profile.

I really enjoy this offering, too bad it was only a one-off. I'll experiment and see if the blend was 50/50 and concoct my own Black Eye stash.

 791 characters

Photo of NEhophead
3.72/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Foamy, light tan head that fades to a less than intact sheet, and a few pools of bubbles. A few drops of spotted lacing. Deep brown, almost opaque glowing ruby in color.

Sweet caramel and toffee aromas with hints of vanilla. Roasted milk chocolate. Touches of ripe fruit: grape, plum, cherry.

Milk chocolate, light vanilla; unsweetened, bitter roasted malts. Plum and light cherry fruit esters in between milk/dark chocolate and whaffs of warming alcohol. A hint of hazlenut following a semi-rough, roasted bitterness.

Almost full bodied; a little robust for the style, but still creamy on the palate.

A pleasant Black and Tan; a bit heavier on the Black Hawk side of the equation with the abv% of the Eye of the Hawk. A good blend of two quality ales.

 764 characters

Photo of Golden2wenty1
3.68/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a bomber at Riley's here in Madison for $3.99. My first blended black and tan from a bottle. Apparently this one is making a comeback tour. A mix of their Black Hawk Stout and Eye of the Hawk Strong Ale.

Pour looks black and opaque at first, but when held to the light, reveals a transparent garnet body with a light khaki head. Nose is subtle toasted malts, with a bit of a metallic astringency. Taste is woody, bready malts, hints of burnt coffee and bittersweet chocolate with a faint warming caramel finish from the strong ale. Nothing spectacular here, a predictably light stout/dark ale. Toasted malts/bitter coffee dominate the flavor palate of a rather unexiting style in general. Drinkable, but I'd probably prefer either a stout or a strong ale over a watered down blend of two mediocre versions of their styles. Worth a go I suppose.

 857 characters

Photo of orbitalr0x
3.97/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The Black Eye ale pours from the bottle a deep dark burnt brown with a thin bubbly khaki colored head atop. It forms a ring around the glass fairly quickly. Aromas of dark, roasty toasty malts with strong streams of sweet caramel, roasted nuts, chocolate and a nice smack of hoppiness. I'm really enjoying the layered aroma on this one.

First sip brings a wall of roasty, toasty maltiness upfront shrouded by chocolate, caramel, nuts and bready tones. A good helping of herbal, slightly citric hops hits on the way down. Burnt bread crusts...finishes with a slight bitterness. Overall, I find this to be a pretty nice black & tan.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a sturdy maltiness that makes itself known. Carbonation works well throughout and makes this one quite easy to drink. A bomber is no problem. An easy drinking, flavorful brew that I wouldn't mind having on occassion.

 886 characters

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.56/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark pecan brown that becomes red-orange-bronze with bright backlighting. The head is an attractive shade of golden ecru and has a firm, lathery texture as it loses altitude. Wide bands of thick, cobbled lace stick to the glass, further increasing the beer's attractiveness.

I liked the nose from two feet away. Now that I've given it my direct attention, it's something of a letdown. Black Eye is a mixture of an American stout and an American strong ale, but it doesn't smell like either one, much less a combination of the two. There's a little roasted malt, a glancing blow from hops... not much else.

Although it's better on the palate, it still isn't as forceful as it should be given the two styles of beer used. I haven't gone back to read my reviews of the individual beers (Black Hawk Stout and Eye Of The Hawk), but maybe they weren't all that powerful to begin with. In any case, this is still pretty tasty beer.

The size of the malt backbone is akin to an American porter. The flavor profile consists of roasted barley, dark chocolate and coffee. There's also a surprising amount of hoppiness that impresses me more and more with each passing ounce. I can't decide whether the beer is sweeter than it is bitter, or vice versa.

Even though it's enjoyable, at no point does that little voice in my head say 'hey, that's damn good beer'. Mixing a hugely roasted stout and an exceptional strong ale has the potential to be great, but this particular effort is considerably less than that.

The flavor profile opens up with warming, but my initial impressions haven't really changed. The mouthfeel is solidly medium and is well-mannered enough to encourage gulping rather than sipping.

Black Eye Ale was a worthy experiment in mixing. I don't believe, however, that it's superior to either beer individually. Mendocino Brewing Company has rarely impressed me, so it's not that surprising that a mating of two of their 'good but not great' beers would produce an offspring of the same general quality.

 2,025 characters

Photo of oberon
3.85/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A nice concept blending a strong ale with a stout I think,pours a near black except for some ruby highlights with a thin almond colored head.Aromas and flavors of this beer lend more to the stout side of this beer,aromas are roasty and unsweetened chocolate with a touch of hops but subdued.Like the flavors going on lightly smokey and caramelly with a touch of alcohol zip in the finish.Not an outstanding beer but not bad I would have again.

 443 characters

Photo of ommegangpbr
3.85/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Kinda like a hoppy porter in a lot of ways... pretty stouty in a lot of ways. Coffee roastedness and mouthfeel dominate.
It is easy to see where the "black" part comes into play but harder to detect the "tan".
I've not tried Eye of the Hawk nor Black Hawk stout so I am not the most educated reviewer regarding this blend.
Pretty tasty though.
Very "Californian" as I have come to understand California made beers to be (though the bottle DOES say Saratoga Springs, NY... a confuzzlement).
Another "retired" beer but it seems to me that you can get yourself the components that make this brew and easily mix up a batch yourself.
I certainly intend to try.

 661 characters

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

Very appetizing looking ale in my Imperial pint mug, very dark almost total blackness, topped by a rather bubbly,frothy tan head, that sticks. The aroma is a bit subdued but is rather pleasant and mainlly of malts, dark roasted. Thids is actually not a bad tasting beer, mostly burnt,roasty oat like flavours with a nice hoppy undertones and a pleasant alcohol sensation near the end , some faint fruitiness throughout. Very pleasant on the palate..its a very varied mouthfeel,nice. I liked this unusual ale..the first beer from this brewery that has impressed me.

 564 characters

Photo of karst
2.54/5  rDev -30.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Eye Of The Hawk Ale blends two beers - Black Hawk Stout and Eye of the Hawk Select Ale. Bomber has no best by / born on dates.

The resulting blend, comes across as predominately a stout in appearance and taste. Poured into a pint glass with tan 3 fingered head that fell but maintained a thin cover and ring with lace over a very dark brown ale with redish glints.

Aroma of caramel and some earthy stale hops (?). Never finding the hops leads me to wonder about the balance of the blend and or the age of this bottle.

I started the tasting looking for verification about that staleness in the aroma.
Basically finding sweet malt and an acceptable bitter stout finish. Higher carbonation and alcohol modify the medium thin mouthfeel. I am finding an oxidized, wet cardboard like flavor which pulls down my ratings. Not much complexity but finally with warming a chocolate favor emerges providing a much needed help drinkability.

If this is typical of this Black and Tan suggest you pass it up.

 1,007 characters

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

05/20/05- Purchased at Beverages and More in Sacramento, CA

Presentation- No dating on this 22oz bomber. Poured into my 24 oz glass mug.

Appearance- Has that opaque black color that you get from mixing a dark and light brew. Average foamy head and light lacing.

Smell- Smells good enough. A bit malty and a bit hoppy all in one. Maybe a bit of fruit bitterness in the hops.

Taste- Tastes like a black and tan as well. Much more bitterness than I imagined though. I know I don't get this much bitterness when I used the regular Guiness and Bass. A bit too much IMO. Still very drinkable. Tastes like they used 3/4 ale and 1/4 stout.

Mouthfeel- Wish it was a bit more creamy and a bit less carboanted.

Drinkability- About average for a black and tan. Surely blows away Mississippi Mud, but then, what doesn't? I can make a better one on my own though. Still, worth a try.

 888 characters

Photo of WesWes
3.58/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a translucent dark brown color with a thick frothy tan head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is decent. It has a dry and slightly metallic scent that boasts of pale, crystal, black, and roasted malts. The taste is decent as well. It has a dry and malty flavor that boasts of stout malts and a warming finish. It also has a metallic off-flavor that really brings the taste down. It lingers in the aftertaste with the black malt earthiness. The mouthfeel is good. It is a medium/full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a beer with great potential. It's a fine concept, but the metallic character ruins it for me. It drinks decent, but this will be the last one I buy.

 698 characters

Photo of WMBierguy
3.5/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is my first beer from this brewery, and is also one of my first black & tans. This poured a dark brown, and created a nice head that lingered for a few minutes. The taste is rather strange and bitter sweet, but pleasant. It has a clean taste, with very little hint of alcohol in its flavor (surprising for something with 6.5% ABV). I was pleased with this beer, and I recommend that you try it.

 399 characters

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

Black in color with some thin lines of red highlights; bubbly tan head, streaky lacing noticeable. The aroma is somewhat toasty – toasted wheat bread, some caramel undertones. Sweet and perky; pinpricks of hops are tucked into the body, along with chocolate, black licorise and coffee beans. After the introduction, it takes on a thick, smoky feel, warming releases more of the mentioned flavorings. Espresso and hazelnut tastings, just a tinge of bitterness rolling off the tongue, there is a semi-belly-warming affect. All in all, this is not a bad effort for a style that’s hard to find (bottled).

 602 characters

Photo of sulldaddy
3.69/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

scored from watermelonman. Thanks!
The beer is a 22 oz bomber and I am drinking a room temp in a pint glass. The beer pours clear rich brown with a rocky tan head foaming up very large even with a gentle pour. The head fades very quickly to an edge layer. The beer exhibits some ruby tints when held to a light. Aroma is a mix of chocolate and coffee with light grassy hops mixing in. I also get some general roasted malt and actually a bit of dark fruit. FIrst sip reveals an average body and very fine carbonation. Flavor is fairly mild but roasted malt and chocolate are present with a bit of brown sugar sweetness. Very easy to drink with no hint of ABV. Pretty nice brew overall.

 685 characters

Photo of brewdlyhooked13
3.91/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - dark ruby color when held to strong backlight. Thick mocha cap is less than a finger but steadfast. Thin sheets of lace.

Aroma - grainy with a fair dose of darkly roasted coffee beans and dark chocolate. Smells good but could use more intensity.

Taste - good roasted grain and malt taste. Coffee comes through around the swallow, along with some balancing hops. Finishes slightly bitter, pairing well with the fading coffee element.

Mouthfeel - full-feeling but not overly heavy. Good carbonation, a little to the active side.

Drinkability - goes down easy and has lots of rich flavor, I will have to try the two beers that make up this tasty creation.

 677 characters

Photo of nortmand
2.9/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Black pour, with a reddish hue and good clarity. Pretty stable head, tan in color and around two persistent.

Smell is actually quite complex. I get an initial fruitiness from the interplay between the crystal malts and west coast hops. This is definitely the barleywine coming through. As you dig deeper into the scent, there is a definite backbone of chocolate and also some thick yeastiness

At first wash over the tongue, this beer tastes fantastic! A nice sweet maltiness starts it off, giving way to a nice sharp bitterness midtongue. There is also a crisp alcohol character at the side of the tongue at this point. There is also an overall calming chocolate presence that complements the other mingling flavors. Unfortunately, this gives way to an oxidized, wet cardboard like flavor by the back of the tongue. As you breathe out of your nose post swallow, an increasingly present metallic flavor suddenly blooms into full existence. Once all of this is done, all that is left is the increasingly bitter bitch of too much black patent.

Slick, almost oily mouthfeel as the tongue is swathed in this beer gives way to the fizz of overcarbonation.

One could easily drink a bottle of this, but it isn't something that I would seek out. Except the price is fair, and like Mendocino's other brews, it'll do at the end of the month when the wallet is thin.

 1,367 characters

2.77/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Noticing this bomber on the shelf, and feeling a bit adventurous, I decided to take a flyer on this one. To be fair, I must first admit that I haven't had either of the 2 component beers of this blend in their singular form.
This pours with a dark brown, not black color and a somewhat fizzy head that dissipates into nothingness at an alarming rate. This smells a bit like a lager immersed with galenas. Not exactly a good sign.
This has a thick-ish mouthfeel with a toast-ish flavor. There is a bit of an acrid bitter taste that doesn't ring any familiar bells. I'm not picking up on any real deep flavors or intricacies resembling what I like from either stouts or ales, aside from the aforementioned toast-ish-ness. A galena-ish finish prevails. I don't really think they used them, but it sure tastes as such. The mouthfeel isn't bad, persay, but it doesn't really match the flavors very well, in my opinion. This becomes increasingly annoying as I drink the "Ultimate Blend." By the midway point, what is in my glass looks like flat RC cola that's sat in a glass for a week.
I haven't had the 2 beers separately to know for sure who the culprit is here. But, I've got the notion that we're all a little guilty here. So, Mendocino, up yours for making this. And, up mine for drinking it. I finished the bomber because I figured "What the fuck. I'm poor."

 1,365 characters

Photo of clvand0
4/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brought this beer back from a trip to Tennessee. ...turns out I can get it here now. Oh well. Pour a brown color with a very tall head that has decent retention and leaves a little lacing on the glass. The aroma is very subdued, but roasted malts. The flavor is much more smooth than I expected. Very well blended. Has a mouthfeel that is thin for a stout and thick for a lighter beer. Finish is bitter. Good beer.

 414 characters

Photo of kmpitz2
3.98/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a dark brown, letting just enough light through to let me know its is brown. The head is about 3 fingers, tan and leaves a nice bit of lace as it retreats. The nose is a bit subdued, with hints of roasted notes coming through. The flavof is nice. There is a good harmony between the roasted character from the 'black' and the sweet caramel from the "tan" in this one. The finish is a good coffee bitter that keeps me going back for more. The feel is a shade shy of moderate, but it works for this beer. Drinkability is also good on this one. I will definately try both of the beers blended to make this one.

 623 characters

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

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.