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

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 489 | Ratings: 950
Photo of OnTheWater
1.71/5  rDev -52.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Quite the let down. Threw a few Eye of the Hawks into a make your own 6 pack from my local, and I could not finish the first one and poured out the remaining two. Tasted like soap at times and even my wife agreed it was not worth drinking. I love almost any craft beer, and am enjoying a Mt. Saint Helena Palisades Pale Ale right now, so I am not sure what went wrong with the Eye of the Hawk, it seemed to have a bland taste with no distinctive aroma whatsoever, and the occasional aforementioned soap taste.

 509 characters

Photo of BeerBelcher
1.72/5  rDev -52.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

This beer really set me up for disappointment. It had a very nice appearance and pleasant smell, but the flavor just didn't live up to the expectations set by these other elements. Flavor was an unpleasant melange of weird flavor notes that I just couldn't stomach. Most of this went down the drain.

Appearance was a copper color with a great mishmash of sturdy foam across the top. Aroma was pleasantly hoppy yet balanced...or so I thought.

Flavor was anything but balanced. This beer was far more malty than hoppy and had an unbalanced maltiness that I could characterize with flavor descriptions such as old coffee, pennies that you've sucked on for five to ten minutes, and some toffee. Eye of the Hawk had a very limited amount of hoppiness in its aftertaste. Mouthfeel was unremarkable, but due to its taste I would call this beer undrinkable. Most of mine went down the drain.

 889 characters

Photo of jwff
1.78/5  rDev -51%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Pours very fizzy with a light orange hue... goodbye head! Smell is syrupy, and something I usually only experience with Sam Adams beers. I get a little alcohol in the whiff but mostly grain. Smells almost malt liquory.

Taste is something akin to club soda with mild fruit flavorings. Very very syrupy. Very carbonated and tasteless with hints of fruit. I've had a lot of beer and this is probably the least "beer" tasting brew I've had. Tastes like a very poorly made mix drink.

I'd only call this drinkable if you have an attachment to the high abv. Alcohol isn't TOO apparant, but that doesn't make up for blandness. Seriously tastes like an under-syruped coke from Burger King, while being too syrupy at the same time (I know, it confuses me too). Avoid this one.

 773 characters

Photo of bigremy
1.86/5  rDev -48.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

I sadly didn't like this beer for some reason. The appearance was alright, your average amber in color. The aroma didn't impress me either and wasn't very appealing. The mouthfeel didn't do much for me, and I found the taste to be lacking in character. There was a strong finish to it, but I thought it overpowered any flavors lingering from the initial taste and there was too much carbonation. Definitely not my favorite choice for a Strong Ale, but others seem to like it.

 475 characters

Photo of DoubleJ
1.95/5  rDev -46.3%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Gosh, I don't remember the last time I had a Mendocino BC beer. I remember that I didn't like it, so let's hope Eye of the Hawk is at least better. On to the beer:

Dark orange peel color with a big, frothy head that leaves a lot of webbed lacing around the glass. Does anyone have secented candles nearby, because I don't know what I'm smelling. It's a little stinky at first, then spicy alcohol that's enough to decongest your nose, and something that's most resemblant to sour apple. Oh no, not again....

It happened again. There's some sweetness, like a cough syrup sweetness, that hits first. Yep, a little sweet, then it's all downhill. Spicy, alcoholic, over carbonated, and plain bitter are among the themes to this underwhelming brew. As times goes on, the beer's sweetness has an extended life and the carbonation tails off a little. At times, I can taste sour melon. Still, that won't make the beer good, it will only make the beer less bad.

Let me be honest, I wanted to poke the eye out of the hawk as I was drinking it. There's no way that I would recommend this as a beer.

 1,089 characters

Photo of Overlord
2.19/5  rDev -39.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I am somewhat shocked by the high reviews.

Pours a golden orange. Small white foam head. Smells weird. Sweetened grass? This is a strong ale?

Taste is bad. Almost like a chemical sweetness. Obliterates any malt or hops there might be. Rancid aftertaste. Somewhat watery.


 282 characters

Photo of rastaman
2.25/5  rDev -38%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Bottle. Poors a bit ugly, massive blotchy head. Dissaponting, not much going on, tinny, hoppy and short, not what i’d consider and American Strong Ale. Man these Mendocino beers are all driving me insane, i was dissapointed every time, this was dull, especially for the style.

 277 characters

Photo of TheLVBeerGuy
2.35/5  rDev -35.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

A-pours very similar to an unfiltered belgian wit, and has a frothy head which shrinks away quickly

S-very sweet nose with a slight hoppy bitterness to go with it. also has a slightly roasted character

T- a bit overwhelmingly dry with a too bitter hop middle. the finish tastes like you bit your lip and got some blood mixed in.

M-dry and bitter, not much appealing here

D-will never drink again

 399 characters

Photo of Monsteruss
2.35/5  rDev -35.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

When pouring this beer, I noticed that the wheat colored foam dissapated quickly.

The color a golden amber. In my opinion, the taste wasn't all that exciting with a medium hops taste with a light mouthfeel. In my book, it would be

a 4 or 5 out of 10.

 254 characters

Photo of DmanGTR
2.38/5  rDev -34.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A - Poured a coppery golden brown with a 1 inch head that disappeared to thin lace within a minute.

S - Malty with a whiff of fruity overtone. I can't call it skunky, but there was definitely something of that sort in the nose.

T - Currants, malts, plums, and a hoppy aftertaste. The combination is normally good but it just didn't taste right with this beer. Bittersweet aftertaste that lingered incessantly.

M - This feels a little thicker than the average macrobrew, a little less crisp and a little more "sit back an relax". Decent carbonation.

D - The smell and taste ruined this for me. I had to force myself to drink the entire glass. The alcohol is well hidden though.

Overall - I've had little success with Mendocino products. Maybe it's one of those "love it or hate it" beers, but I'm really not a fan. The Red Tail Ale is better than this one.

 861 characters

Photo of fx20736
2.43/5  rDev -33.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a Pint Glas

2 inch off white head on top of a deep coppery garnet, modestly carbonated.

Aroma: Caramel malt, fruitiness like apples and a slight floral hoppiness.

Taste: Powerful sweet maltiness comes on in on a woosh. Back taste has a medicinal alcoholic ester with a buttery diacetyl aftertaste.

Notes: Too strong, too sweet. Too Alcoholic. Combination of esthers & diacetyls remind me of vanilla extract and caramel apples. I would classify this as an Imperial English Pale Ale.

 519 characters

Photo of GilGarp
2.48/5  rDev -31.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

12oz. brown bottle, chilled, served in a pint glass. No freshness date.

Pours a hazy burnt orange color with a 1/4" of white head that settles quickly. No sign of lacing.

Aroma smells of amped up cereal malts and caramel. Possibly a twinge of wet cardboard.

Flavor is bitter and hot. Pale malt base is overwhelmed with old earthy hops. There is a white bread and yeast taste on the finish. This tastes like some of the strong euro lagers I reviewed a while back just to try things from other countries. It tastes pretty aweful.

Mouthfeel is medium-plus in body, low in carbonation. Drinkability is poor. I really wish I hadn't been tempted by the 12 pack on sale. Not worth the $12.99 I paid. Hopefully it's just a freshness issue and this might taste better from the brewery.

 780 characters

Photo of athensbeermaster
2.5/5  rDev -31.1%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

The first impression was what a good price for a high gravity beer in a 6 pk. format. When I poured the beer into a 16 oz. pint glass
there was almost no head. The nose was very mellow. And the color was a little strange. The first flavor detected was a metallic-coppery taste. mid palate got a little better with a hint of roasted almonds. The finish was bitter and was over quickly. I do like these guy's black&tan in 22oz.btl. Once again for being inexpensive high gravity beer you get what you pay for !!

 509 characters

Photo of RedwoodGeorge
2.51/5  rDev -30.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Wow - if there was ever a "why bother?" beer, this might be it...

The pour was fine, a deep coppery gold with a good healthy white head. The foam falls flat in a few minutes and leaves only a bit of lacing on the glass.

Not much nose to speak of. There's nothing offensive but besides some light grain notes and a bit of indeterminate hops there's nothing in the aroma. Put your nose in the glass and you know you're drinking a beer but that's about it.

The taste is equally unimpressive. There's absolutely nothing bad about the flavors - no diacetyls, no stale hops, no excessive sweetness or bitterness. The problem is that the most positive thing I can say about the flavor is that there aren't any negatives. There's a golden grain flavor - lightly toasted bread, a reasonable amount of residual sweetness (but not too much) and only the lightest touch of hops. If you're a hop lover you might want to skip this "Strong Ale" but if you're a macro drinker moving upwards, this is a baby step towards craft brews.

Mouthfeel is fine - the higher final gravity leaves this a medium bodied beer with a somewhat slick feel on the palate. Mild carbonation is enough to save the beer from being too sticky but no real bitterness at the end to finish each sip.

It's hard to be so tough on this beer because there's nothing really wrong about it but there's nothing to recommend it either. What's most disappointing is the utter lack of character - it's just a plain old average ale that could have come from anywhere.

 1,528 characters

Photo of AlexJ
2.57/5  rDev -29.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

In college I called this "Eye of the Fade", at 8% it was one of the strongest beers available in a small, mountain town in the Poconos.
Pours a clear amber color with ample beige head that quickly sizzles away to nothing. Extremely malty nose, sweet caramel, light spice, and big alcohol sharpness. Taste is similar, very malty with a noticable alcohol kick. Astringent and unbalanced. Needs more hops and less alcohol. The ale version of a malt liquor? Kind of hard to drink more than 1/2 a bottle.

 500 characters

Photo of Murchmac
2.65/5  rDev -27%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

I've thought for a while this brand and label is played out. I wanted to try this beer to be open minded, and I was right.

I feel bad because I want them to be good, but it just isnt. It's like a homebrewed pabst blue ribbon. Others may like it, I do not.

 256 characters

Photo of Knapp85
2.65/5  rDev -27%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

This beer pours out as a golden yellow color with a light haze to it. The head was white and fizzled away within a few minutes. The smell was grainy and semi sweet. There wasn't much hop aroma. The taste was grainy too and didn't really have much going on in it. The mouthfeel was decent but this beer really isn't something I'd wanna have again.

 346 characters

Photo of Tilley4
2.65/5  rDev -27%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Picked this up as a single to give it a go...

Very murky dull brownish liquid with a slow forming head... Looks like brackish rusty water... Hmmm...

Sweet malty aromas roll off of this...super sweet much like a doppelbock...not in a good way though... Its weird... There are no hops here at all...

Very sweet sticky malts all the way.. Whew... I'm struggling here... Very one dimensional

Man... I struggled with this one... Its a mess.. Super sweet and cloying and the malts have no hop presence to support them..

Won't be picking this one up again...

 559 characters

Photo of B967ierhunter177
2.66/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

This beer pours a clear, light copper with a thin tan head that fades quickly. The aroma hints at caramel with some dough and malt mixed in. It's flavor is mainly caramel with malt sweetness followed by hoppy bitterness in the finish. As it warms the sweetness diminishes and the bitterness increases, well balanced. The mouthfeel is a creamy medium and slightly warming. Eye Of The Hawk is a good beer and could be enjoyed 2 or 3 at a time. Recommended.

 454 characters

Photo of greebz
2.66/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I bought this beer due to my familiarity with Red Tail and Blue Heron, both of which I liked. Like other reviewers, I was not aware that this was a strong ale while I was drinking it as the alcohol is well hidden. Perhaps that explains my disappointment with it. It had nice copper color with a head that died rather quickly. More of a malty flavor, didn't notice much in the way of aroma or hops. It was an ok beer, er I mean strong ale, perhaps I may have to give it another chance.

 484 characters

Photo of josiahschlender
2.67/5  rDev -26.4%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A friend thought to pick me up a few beers from his hometown Ukiah to try... what a great guy!

As I pour this strong ale into my pint glass I glimpse a few out of the ordinary chunks flow into my glass. Usually I don't mind a little yeast sediment and won't avoid pouring it into my glass, but maybe I should have taken more care this time. Color is a rich, worn penny copper with a rocky, coarse orange-tinted head that recedes at medium pace and leaves no lacing.

Wow, as the bubbles rise to the top they show a huge amount of chunky sediment, up there with the most I've ever seen. This beer is very murky and chunky, but not in a good way. Not sure if this is typical, but not too attractive.

Aromas aren't too strong, I'm noting some caramel and biscuit malts, with a bit of yeasty fruitiness and grassy hops.

Even with the warmer-than-fridge pour, I'm disappointed with the lack of intensity in the flavors. Vague sweet caramel malts, herbal, tea-like hops on the brief finish. Feel is kind of bubbly, with a medium body.

I was excited to see this beer was an American Strong Ale, but it lacks strength in everything except ABV. Even if this was regular amber, I wouldn't be impressed. Too bad, maybe this was a bad bottle. Unfortunately, I don't have a second to compare it, but I'd give it a go again because it seems like I'm not drinking the same beer as many other reviewers.

 1,391 characters

Photo of nomad
2.68/5  rDev -26.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured a transparent glowing orange, looking like a beacon. Had a soupy head of bare bubbles and stringy lace. Pretty bare. Smelled of sweet barley, a dough scent, and some funky hop scents that sometimes popped up - they were reminiscent of hop leaves and oil. California meets Britain, so far.

Tasted of a smidge of sweet barley and then hop oil, seemingly pretty simple. To be more exact, it had a long fresh whole hop flavor, green and pungent with oil that wrapped the flavors around my tongue, leaving salty and yeasty deposits all over the back of my mouth before the flavor profile disappeared. To speak objectively, it has the strength of an old ale and the characteristics of a british pale ale. To speak subjectively, it was far from attractive.

I’m pretty generous and optimistic, and try to review according to the standard of a style and not my personal whim. I am never capricious, and am open enough to have been charmed by styles I don't like, but this beer absolutely sucks.

 1,004 characters

Photo of bsuedekum
2.7/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a Bells tulip from a 22oz. bomber

A - Golden to light amber color. Somewhat cloudy with a two finger head that fades quickly to a minimal head lacing that remains.

S - Faded malts some slight fruit aroma is in there too.

T - Not that good. Almost reminds me of a cheap Milwuakee lager with a heavier malt presence.

M - Light, nothing overwhelming.

O - Just not that good of beer to me. I typically love American Strong Ales because of the diversity and range of beers that are included in the style, but this is one I'll likely not be seeking to have again. Average beer at best.

 596 characters

Photo of mrasskicktastic
2.7/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - Poured with about one finger of creamy tan head that lasted about two minutes. The brew itself is a reddish hue, about the color of cranberry raspberry juice. No lacing.

S - Red grapes, dates, a bit of caramel malt. There is some "clean" aroma, but all around the beer is just really lacking in the aroma department..

T - There really isn't any sweetness here as I would have expected. It is has a very dry malt flavor, but mostly the taste is of grassy hops. The aftertaste is of grassy hops and a mild medicinal bitterness. Abv is present, but not easily noticeable.

M - Carbonation is rather high, making the beer a tad harsh. It has a medium viscosity. It is a pretty refreshing beer.

D - Very easy to drink. It is too strong to session, but I am really surprised how quickly I found the bottom of my glass. It is a bland hoppy flavor, so I imagine it would pair with food rather easily. It is not a terrible beer or anything, it just fails to impress all around the board. Well, except for this category.

 1,025 characters

Photo of jwinship83
2.73/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A- amber in color with a quickly vanishing head.

S- very malty and sweet. no trace of alcohol. very mild.

T- like a barleywine, but a bad one. kind of syrupy, mild fruit taste, and a bitter medicinal aftertaste.

M- kind of syrupy and no CO2 issues

D- the rather bad taste makes me never want to try this again, but it wasnt terrible or anything and i had no trouble finishing it.

 385 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Eye of the Hawk from Mendocino Brewing Company
3.63 out of 5 based on 950 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.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.