Eye of the Hawk | Mendocino Brewing Company

489 Reviews
Eye of the HawkEye of the Hawk

Brewed by:
Mendocino Brewing Company
United States

Style: American Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 11-04-2000

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Reviews: 489 | Ratings: 957
Photo of 9to
5/5  rDev +37.7%

Eye of the Hawk boasts an amazing 8.0% ABV, but you wouldn't know that from the taste.

Head-lovers and carbonation-aficionados beware! This is a rich, no-frills ale.

Poured cold, even as sloppy as you can, creates the smallest head with light lacing. (Poured warm, on the other hand, and this one comes alive).

Drank cold, it's malty with a touch of hops. It's rich, sweet, bordering almost on a Baltic porter without molasses and darkness.

It's my favorite beer because it brings no nonsense with its flavor, and it doesn't make you pay with burps and air in your stomach. Highly recommended.

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Photo of jonnyroyal
4.94/5  rDev +36.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

This beer was brewed in 2005 and cellared for 11 years.

Fresh, this beer is a great red ale. However after ten years of age this beer imparts the same flavors and nose as some of the great Belgians and still holds a perfect volume of carbonation. Being aged in perfect conditions, fluctuating slowly between the extremeties of 45 and 62 degrees, this ale has developed a rich raisin flavor while maintaining a crisp water finish and full mouthfeel.

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Photo of kini
4.8/5  rDev +32.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Now this is a beer to my liking! Given the limited selection of good beer where I live, this beer is the bomb.

Currently my very favorite beer. Sweet with moderate carbonation, little to no head on pour. Beautiful color, sweet malty smell.

This beer has a high drinkability given the relatively high ABV. There is just enough alcohol taste to let you know this is a high ABV beer.

Superb mouthfeel. Just a plain wonderful brew. I pay about $10 a sixer for this where I live and it's worth every penny.

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Photo of thespaceman
4.8/5  rDev +32.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Mendocino has never failed me..

Appearance: A nice copper amber in color, awesome carbonation shown through the glass, lots of bubbles, nice full head, good lacing and retention!

Smell: Alot of fruit notes, citrus, a bit of dry hops, some apricot is there as well, almost a similar smell to a Magic Hat #9. A nice caramel zip can be detected through the malt.

Taste: Wow.. complex as all of Mendocino's brews are. The hop oil is balanced perfectly against a backdrop of sweet maltiness & caramel. Earth tones give way to a strong hop presence, some citrus elements keep the flavoring leveled between a small bite of alcohol in the finish. Any 8% ABV is hidden perfectly in this one, this might be dangerous for a novice, but I love how Mendocino hid the alcohol properties in this, it's almost genious.

Mouthfeel: Slick feeling, medium bodied, and balanced to perfection. You can't find a better dose of hops and malt anywhere else! Carbonation isn't too much, but enough to let the bitterness of the hops shine through. The malt profile makes this brew sit nice on the tongue. Perfect again!

Drinkability: If you gave this below a B, I suggest you get your head checked. This is a perfect example of when malt and hops can pair perfectly with eachother. Not only is it balanced perfectly, but the alcohol content is hidden so well, you feel like your drinking a 5% ABV brew. So much to love about this beer, it's clever, dangerous, and bold enough to keep even the big beer lover coming back for more. I hear people saying this is too wet and it's not malty enough, but this is a ale guys, it's not supposed to be all malt. The hops are what keep this interesting and I will defintley be buying more of this in the future. Highly recommended!

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Photo of DaveCS
4.73/5  rDev +30.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer is honestly one of my favorite beers of all time. It is a very deep and rich American Strong Ale that is full of malty flavor and thick mouthfeel. Not too much hops on the front of back and it finishes sweet. It is a definitely good beer in my opinion.

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Photo of Gabriel_Vaughn
4.72/5  rDev +30%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This has been one of my favorites for a while now. The coppery red brew looks irresistible when poured into a pint glass. Warm or chilled, this particular beer delivers a excellent taste with hints of malted barely.
This is a great hoppy beer. I especially like how the brewers managed to create a beer with 8 percent alc content without the overwhelming taste of the alcohol.
I would recommend this to a friend. Also a great recommendation to anyone looking for a nice, hoppy beer or one with an above average alcohol content.

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Photo of Jfn
4.59/5  rDev +26.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Great imperial ale and is one of my go-to beers. Pours a great bronze color and great balanced taste. Despite an 8% alc/vol you can hardly tell it packs a punch. A smooth beer during anytime of the year.

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Photo of Rudgers73
4.57/5  rDev +25.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass I "borrowed" from a local bar.

A- Crystal clear, reddish-orange hues. Mostly red. Looks a lot like an irish red. Not much head, very calm. Slight carbonation.

S- The smell is very clean and pleasant. Very aromatic: fruity, floural, cherries, maybe cinnamon?, bready, malty.

T- Starts out sugary sweet and ends up a little bitter and hoppy. Smooth, clean, soft flavor. This is really well made. The middle is the strongest malt flavor and that 8% ABV is hidden completely. It actually tastes like a nice abbey ale blended with a mild APA. The rich, sweet, smooth taste joined with a ripe, hoppy twist. I like this beer.

M- Creamy and smooth like an APA but sooo easy to drink. Such an interesting beer.

D- This is like drinking kool-aid so be careful. I'm glad I tried this one. I took a strong liking to it at my first taste.

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Photo of RonaldTheriot
4.53/5  rDev +24.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Mendocino Eye of the Hawk has a thin, cream-colored head, a murky, copper appearance, strong bubble streams, and very little lacing left behind. The aroma is of pungent, rich, sweet, spiced bread, and dark bread crust. Taste is of sugar, caramel, dark bread crust, light fruits (dates or figs), some bitterness, and noticeable alcohol. Mouthfeel is medium to heavy, and Mendocino Eye of the Hawk finishes wet, sweet, and heavy.


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Photo of Manswellz
4.52/5  rDev +24.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Hell of a find at my local Trader Joe's, had to go back for more. Very good tasting and strong Imperial Ale. Hits harder than any other 8% abv beer I've tried.

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Photo of EnjoyTheFlavor
4.48/5  rDev +23.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is my go to beer. Its easy to find, affordable, good abv and a good body and taste to it. This ranks up in my top 3 with Founders and Commodore Perry. Its hoppy, slightly bitter with a very med body. I rate this high because i consume it weekly but i really do recommend trying it if you have not. I have begun to find it in more and more supermarkets and party stores which means it is easy to find and affordable. As long as it does not get bought out by Anheuser i see a good future for this beer.

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Photo of RobH
4.47/5  rDev +23.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Writing this as I drink one for the first time. Not sure why I selected this bottle in the store given the label doesn't really say what it is other than "ale", but I sure am glad I picked it!

Truly lots of carbonation bubbles keeping the aroma alive. I thought it was an American Amber ale based on the color at first, but it is more copper-colored than "red".

I must say the taste suprises me in a very positive way. Something about the middle in this one...that's where it's packed with enticing flavors. A fruitiness to it that's inviting.

Maybe I got an exceptionally good bottle compared to some of the other reviews I've read, but this one I really like.

I haven't finished this bottle yet, but I know I will buy more. It's so drinkable I sort of wish the ABV weren't so high.

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Photo of JohnWaynes44
4.47/5  rDev +23.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

No freshness date but proudly boasts 8% ABV, which trumps a born on date every time. Pours a clear copper color with a cream colored thick head.

Smells wonderful. Raisins, prunes, dates. Caramel comes through behind alcohol aroma.

Big sweet malts tantalize the mouth right away. Wow, alcohol dances around and finishes strong with a nutty goodness. Subtle hop character. This is very well balanced.

Mouthfeel is surprisingly thin for the flavor and %abv, but it works. This is very creamy, especially when swirled to refresh the foam.

Very, very drinkable. Don't mind if I do. Sessionable, drinkable, shelfable...

This is one kick ass beer. I just wish it was easier to find in Indianapolis area. This has become my ace in the hole. Hard to beat it for the price.

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Photo of Cyberkedi
4.47/5  rDev +23.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Aroma is strong and very malty, inviting a taste. Pours a dark amber-brown with a thick, light tan head. Flavor is strong and rich, very malty but with some hoppiness and bitterness, a bit of a smoky hint. It leaves a tingle on the tongue and just a little bitterness. Definitely a superior ale.

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Photo of doubledslc
4.45/5  rDev +22.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Good beer if you are "just gonna have one"

I mix it with Old Rasputen Imperial Stout for an "Eye of the Rasputen". Yea honey, I only had one. "But you really are stumbling around the house."

A crowd pleaser at your next party; no doubt.

Peace off.

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Photo of blackd0g
4.45/5  rDev +22.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Simply 1 of the best. I told a friend, "this is the only beer I've found that will give me a buzz after drinking just one 12 ounce bottle" ... he knew exactly what I meant... then we drank 3 and stayed home for a while

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Photo of Rommy
4.43/5  rDev +22%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pilsner glass, a darker brownish gold with a nice, rich head that leaves lacing down to the last drop. Fantastic smell, a bit of caramel with some fruits, but not overpowering at all. Strong, firm taste, a bit more than medium body but by far not heavy at all. ABV is 8%, but tastes like a very good 6% ABV! A bit of hops taste, but not bitter. An overall high quality beer that everyone should try, it is by far a cut above your average beers out there! Highly recommended.

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Photo of wolfinthemirror
4.43/5  rDev +22%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy golden honey, quite reminiscent of an IPA, nice foamy off white head.

smells of subdued hops, maybe some toffee and not much else.

rich sweet caramel taste with a nice hop presence as well. This is really well balanced. There is a creeping sweetness from the malt that really dances on the tongue. I like this quite a bit. I think I can detect subtle citrus fruit character out throughout this beer, maybe some tangerines or something similar.

Medium bodied, and feels somewhat syrupy which makes it really smooth drinking. The carbonation is fairly moderate.

despite the higher abv i have to rate this high on drinkability simply because it's so tasty. This is one I have had before and decided it was time to revisit, I'm glad I did.
Very solid beer.

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Photo of canucklehead
4.42/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

With all the one-off, barrel aged, high buck beers out there now it is nice to come across a classic US beer that sells for the same price as the regular line up , comes in 12 oz 6 packs and has been around since the first wave of craft brewing.

The beer is a mix of a Barley Wine and and an Old Ale with that caramelly malty flavour found in Dopplebocks. The nose is lovely hops mixed in with a deep burnt sugar note. I found the beer fairly complex but very drinkable. The sweetness in the finish was probably about right and never interfered with the next sip. Great beer that is very under the radar for Today's Craft drinker

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Photo of SetarconeX
4.4/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This is what I wish all easily available beer was. Not really priced any higher than the macros, but cloudy, malty, and with a nice, but not too overwhelming dash of hops.

The exact balance of hops is really what I like about this one. A lot of brewers with an ale this strong would go a bit hop crazy, but while there are certainly some nice-quality hops in this one, they're a tad restrained. The malts are fronted on the taste, and it has a wonderful yeasty quality on the nose.

Good beer. Give it a try.

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Photo of pneumaticaxe
4.4/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a hazy amber a bit more on the red-ish side. Head is nice and frothy; off-white in color. It only sticks around for a bit, but the lacing is impressive.

Smells is overpowered with caramel malts, kind of reminds me of a caramel apple. Yeast is extremely prevalent along with some alcohol.

Taste is outstanding. Ive had a lot of Mendocino's normal line-up and this is now my favorite. Taste is sweet, mostly caramel and toasted malt, but you get a nice hop bite at the end. The carbonation is perfect and helps break up the viscosity that it appears to have in your mouth. The only thing I don't enjoy about this beer is the amount of alcohol that comes through. Although I feel the rest makes up for it.

Feels good in the mouth. Tends to seem a little thick at times due to the sweetness but that's not necessarily a bad thing, at least for me. And as I said, the carbonation helps break it up.

I'm a sucker for a good ASA and this one is no joke on the drinkability scale. It's 8% but I can drink these all night. The sweetness might get to some along with the somewhat prominent alcohol taste, but overall its extremely smooth and very delicious.

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Photo of streetcommander
4.37/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in one pint lager glass at 55F

Malt, caramel, brown sugar, ...oak, and maybe molasses? Doesn't matter, for 8.0 ABV, this is stupid quaffable and unbelievably well balanced.

MEDOCINO DOES IT RIGHT. This holds particularly true when considering the price.

If they packaged this in a bigger bottle and put a fancy cork and label on it, BA would rate it world class.

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Photo of bigdeuce
4.37/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Boy, this American strong is REALLY good!! Little hops on the back end. Very malty and the weird part is, you cannot even notice the way it goes down. One of the smoothest beers I've had the honor of tasting. Nice malty caramel smell and taste and drinks like an Oktoberfest. Highly recommended!

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Photo of xav33
4.36/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Mendocino Eye of the Hawk Select Ale
12 oz bottle
Medium pour in an English Pint
Unknown brewing (recent?), flown into 05/07

Poured a clear bronze with a huge rocky fully lasting light brown head with good lacing.

Smelt of strong caramel, citrus, spruce.

Taste was upfront strong sweet barley sugar (sucre d'orge) and moderate bitter earthy moss yeast and light sweet and sour citrus followed by a strong earthy and spruce bitterness

Palate was medium bodied, softly carbonated, creamy on a dry finish and lightly astringent.

Overall, this is a very pleasant unique taste in a strong ale. Very balanced and drinkable, with gutsy earthy flavors.

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Photo of Brent
4.35/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A joy to drink. Hefty malt that is not too sweet. I was astounded to see that this is 8% abv, certainly deserving the designation "strong ale." I did not find a hint in the flavor, which was rather hazardous, as this is a very easy drinking beer. More than a couple, and it's snooze time on the couch.

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Eye of the Hawk from Mendocino Brewing Company
3.63 out of 5 based on 957 ratings.
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