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: 945
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.38/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a murky honey orange with a 1 inch foamy tan head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Foamy rings of lace line the glass on the drink down. Smell is very malty/grainy with some slight corn aromas. Taste is of malt/grain and some fruity and citrus zest flavors. There is a mild bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a light level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer but nothing too memorable.

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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.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.65/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

After drinking sub-par beers all weekend, this tasted fabulous! Though not the perfect specimen of Strong Ales, It has a full flavor with a serious body, alcohol, and strength. Tastes big on malts that work toward caramel, toast, syrup, and dried fruits. Hops contribute a mild earthy, pine-ey flavors on top of solid bittering. The beer falls a little out of balance with the alcoholic heat--quite fusal under a moderat (not full) body. Flavors are solid, but body is shallow. Also lacks complexity and depth for style. Needs better melding and aging. Still, worth a shot.

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Photo of biboergosum
3.63/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle. Now that I'm past the "drink now, rather than later" beers from this summer's cross-border shopping cache, time to dive into some of the stronger stuff.

This beer pours a clear pale golden copper hue, with two fingers of puffy, densely foamy, and yet somewhat soapy beige head, which leaves some thin layered lace around the glass in its fairly hasty wake.

It smells weakly of honeyed caramel malt, slightly sour green apple, some additional muddled dark bruised fruit, faint savoury spices, and leafy, kind of perfumed hops. The taste is big bready, nutty, and moderately biscuity caramel malt, with a rather isolated booze edge, and bitter leafy, ethereally piney, and earthy hops.

The carbonation is average in its bearing, just a trilling frothiness for the most part, the body medium-full in weight, generally smooth, and actually a tad creamy. It finishes well off-dry, and warm, the sweet biscuity malt still standing tough, and in the background, under-heralded hops help the booze keep things more or less balanced.

A pretty innocuous, and yet drinkable strong ale, even if the alcohol doesn't come across as seamlessly integrated. Nothing over the top, but just a straight-up, plain, and solid malt-friendly pop.

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Photo of brentk56
3.76/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a medium amber body with a tiny head that quickly disappears and leaves no lacing

Smell: Smells like a doppelbock; lots of sweet caramel malt and dark fruits; clearly a dose of alcohol and a vague hint of hops

Taste: Starts out promising, with a rich malty, dark fruit base; the middle, however, falls apart into an indistinct flatness until the finish, where the bitter hops kick in; very odd, because I liked the beginning and the end

Mouthfeel: Rich and viscous; not much carbonation

Drinkability: A peculiar beer that I enjoyed, on balance; I'll need to try this again sometime as there was something a bit weird about this bottle

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Photo of oriolesfan4
3.02/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Bought a 6 pack of this for $8.99

Pours a cloudy brown color, very small almost unnoticeable head and no lacing. Medium body to it... no off tastes to be found, although nothing "tasty" about it either. Besides a hint of alcohol, it's hard to even classify what this tastes like, or what kind of beer style this even is. Goes down smooth and is pretty drinkable though. Really, it's just an odd beer... It's easy to drink for it's 8% ABV but I feel without a style category it's kind of lost out there in terms of taste and what to expect from it. Not bad, but hard to recommend.

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Photo of zeff80
3.89/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a copper/burgandy color with a white, one-finger head. Left a small amount of lace.

S - It smelled of malt, hops and fruit.

T - It tasted of malt, spicy hops and dried fruit.

M - It was crisp and had a sharp bite. A warm alcohol presence and a medium-bodied beer.

D - A good tasting beer. My first of the style and I like the spicy hop flavor mixed with malt and dried fruit flavors. Reminds me of a good Belgian beer.

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Photo of oberon
4.08/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep orange with a real nice medium creamy,sticky head,aroma is deeply fruity with a slightly hop background.I realy like the maltiness of this beer also there is some alcohol notes that come thru in the finish.A whisky like taste stays in the mouth after each sip.Iam very impressed with this beer,very enjoyable.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
3.55/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Slightly hazy orange/peach/amber body beneath a foamy off-white head. Good head retention. Decent lacing with spots and splashes of lace left all about.

The aroma delivers some yeastiness, yeasty fruitiness, and caramel-accented malt and breadiness with just a hint of grassy/leafy hops in the background.

In the mouth it's medium-full bodied... but not quite creamy. Median carbonation.

The flavor delivers what the nose suggests with a bready, softly toasty, and gently caramelish malt lightly garnished with yeasty fruitiness and skirted by earthy/floral hops. It's solidly bitter, and the alcohol is somewhat noticeable leaving it with an edge in the finish.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
2.78/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler glass.

A: The beer is a bright orange/amber color, with a short off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a spotty lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of caramel, honey, some fruit and spice, along with a touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out malty and sweet with flavors of honey, caramel, spice and some dark fruit. There’s a decent presence of hops bitterness and a hearty malt character, but seems to lack as far as balance is concerned. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp but not very smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Not very tasty, goes down ok, not too filling, good kick, there are certainly more flavor stronger beers that I would prefer over this one. I don’t think I would choose this beer again unless my choices were very limited.

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Photo of mactrail
3.13/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Very sweet and simple at first sip. A touch of woodiness. Something like hamster pee in the nose, and I don't mean that in a good way. Slight touch of hops does little to balance the rather insipid pale malt flavor. Mouthfeel is the best quality, with a creamy light richness. Slight tanginess in the flavor, a hint of honey, and a bit of scratchy hops. Attractive golden color in the chalice with a touch of amber.

I can't see much to recommend this, but it was on sale at my favorite San Diego beer store, Likicker's in OB for $2.99. At that price, just add a bottle of IPA for a cheap date.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.82/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. single - $1.29 at Total Wine & More in Kennesaw, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours a clear, deep, dark amber body with a thin, white head. Not too dissimilar to their Red Tail Ale I had only moments ago.

Smell: Toasted grains and caramel-scented malts enlivened with notes of apricot and orange peel with a very, very minor woody background note.

Taste: Pale malts layered with a big dose of sugary, toasty caramel candy sweetness transitions into a fair amount of dried apricot fruitiness. Orange-laden citrus and spicy hops with plenty of bitterness (though never overbearing). Hint of cedar. Minor touches of acidity and alcohol warmth in the drying, fruity finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation. Ever so slight stickiness to the mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Worth a try. A reasonably well-balanced, cost effective American Strong Ale.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.58/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Hazy, buttery orange-infused amber topped with a large beige head. It's a nice combination, the two colors complement one another quite well. The cap of foam has legs; I'm getting impatient waiting for it to depart so that I can actually smell the beer. Better than average lace puts the appearance squarely into the 'good' category.

The nose is nicely malty and contains sweet, dark caramel and dark fruit. The aroma intensity isn't gangbusters though, even after I've slurped some of the head away. More hops appear on the palate than I appreciated in the nose, but it's still not a very hoppy strong ale.

The flavor profile is dominated by toasted caramel and butterscotch candy flavors. I also appreciate fruity hops and spicy alcohol (that is really more felt than tasted). The body leans toward full and has a slick, light syrupiness about it. It definitely improves with warming since I'm able to pick up nuances in the bottom few ounces that weren't present in the top few.

Eye of the Hawk is one of Mendocino's better offerings, at least of the few that I've had to date. Even though American Strong Ales aren't near the top of my favorite style list, I thought this one was pretty good.

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.43/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

burnt amber with a nice brownish tint, a huge billowing off white head faded albeit reluctantly to leave behind a ton of sticky lace puring down the sides of the glass.

The smell was odd, I had half expected a strong IPA and not a Strong ale, but that was no bother. Lots of hoppy tones, pine and citrus but the biggest players were by far caramel and a burnt sugary almost molasses like aroma.;l, also deppicted some earthy tree bark type aroma. The taste followed suit, earthy caramel tones with a definate hop presence and a sweetness that lay on the palate for a good long while. The feel was a little thin and slick, for the amount of flavor present

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Photo of russpowell
3.57/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Not a huge fan of this brewery ( at least for the last 7 years or so ), so this was a roll of the dice even when in a mixed sixer,,,

Pours amber/orange with a pinky of tan head, falls off quickly. Average head retention & lacing

S: Caramel, toffee & a bit of smoke

T: Some brown bread, figs, leafy hops & dryness up front. Herbal hops, oakyness & a bit vanilla are there as this warms. Finishes figgy, oaky, dry, & with jammy booze notes

MF: Medium bodied with low carbonation, pretty nice balance, got stickier as this warmed

Drank pretty easy, nothing stellar here, but session worthy, & easily the best from these guys I've had in a long... time

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Photo of womencantsail
3.53/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer pours an opaque amber/copper color with a thin ring of off-white head.

S: Mostly smells like overly sweet fruits and caramel. Some table sugar and brown sugar, maybe a bit of toffee, too. A light note of vanilla.

T: Mostly sweet fruits. A bit of grape and berries, maybe some plums. Sweet caramel and brown sugar are present as is some toasted bread. A touch watery on the finish, however.

M: Medium bodied with only a medium level of carbonation.

O: Better than what I had expected, but my small pour was enough.

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Photo of Jason
4/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Killer beer, killer not meaing good though. This is a good beer in a way but a bit devious with the 8% abv. We get this beer served in full pints around Boston at regular beer prices, an evil beer to love.

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Photo of smcolw
3.73/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Nice off-cream colored head. Clear. Neutral amber color.

The aroma leans closer to the malt than the hop. There are buttery alcohol smells also.

Very strong alcohol essence. I try not to have anything influence my rating but I had to check to see the style. This is very true to the strong ale category. I like that the hop is present to counter the slightly sweet flavor. Relatively high carbonation for the style--rich with an oily alcohol body.

I'd love to try this in a flight of strong ales. My gut feeling is that this would be an above average entry. Slightly more hoppy than I'm used to, but that fits into my preference anyway.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.03/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Served in a Walter Payton shaker pint glass.

Something tells me a crappy Survivor cover band tried to make their own mark with this diddy...and failed... Anyway, this stuff pours a clear copper topped by a finger of off-white foam. The nose comprises buttery caramel, biscuit, light cinnamon, and a vague sense of very mild grass. The taste holds notes of orange peel, caramel, lightly-toasted biscuit, and a touch of fennel. Things seem limp, uninspired (whatever that friggin' means...). The body is a light-leaning medium, with a very light moderate carbonation and a fluid feel. Overall, a weak little beer, one that lacks any discernible character worth paying attention to.

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Photo of woodychandler
3.77/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Good lookin' out going out to my local in-person trader, Tone77, for providing me with this one. I used to drink this pretty routinely as part of our tailgating pre-game warm-up for Pitt games as students. The mixed 12-pack case was a good deal and we ran through a lot of it about a decade ago. Since then, I have not indulged until now.

From the bottle: "This award winning brew is Handcrafted to perfection."; "A Premium American Classic from a Pioneer Brewing Legend."

My pour provided me with a thick finger of dense, tawny head with decent retention. Color was an oh-so-slightly hazy orangish-amber. Nose smelled like a Sugar Daddy bar - very caramel! Mouthfeel was medium, kind of prickly in its carbonation and the heat was immediate. Phew! Once I got past that, the caramel sweetness was about as much as I could handle. Dang, but this was making me sweat. Finish was semi-sweet as the yeast had converted much of the sugar into alcohol. Wow! And to think that we used to swig this like water ...

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Photo of WVbeergeek
3.55/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Had no idea this baby had a higher ABV, that is until I finished it off last night around my fourth beer. You can't even detect the high alcohol in this brew, which can be kind of dangerous. Pours an orange/amber with a copper head that billows pretty thick and eventually settles out. The forefront of flavor is the hop character, and then the malt crashes through (biscuit, caramel?). A very rich and complex ale, that starts with a sweet fruit tone, and then the bitterness of the hop resins marches in to blend quite a well balanced ale. I was also getting a hint of honey, in the finish. Mouthfeel is intriguing, very full just due to the amount of flavor. Medium bodied and overall very delightful ale. Drinkability is fair, but there is alot going on here, kinda complex and high in alcohol to keep throwing these down.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
3.55/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear amber with very minimal head. Nose is like sugary malts. Thick with a syrup tone as well. Flavor is thick with a syrup quality as well. I guess that appeals to the feel as much as anything else. Pretty nice, though the alcohol is a bit much. And the thick syrup tones aren't really helping either. I wonder if this could smooth out over time.

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Photo of tdm168
3.38/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark amber with a thin layer of off white head that's loose and soft and quickly fades to lacing. The nose has a very intense caramel aroma with an underlying bready, malt note. The flavor is bready and sweet with an intense caramel flavor which is followed by a light fruity note of apples and dark fruit. There is a piny, bitter hop character that tries to add balance to the sweet, caramel. The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied, smooth, and well carbonated with a crisp finish.

This is an alright beer. It's not great. It's a little unbalanced. It's like a sweet, caramelly amber ale that has been intensely hopped. I probably won't have this one again.

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Photo of jwc215
4.05/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I want to preface this review by stating that I was caught unaware of the style. Nowhere on the label does it say the style or the abv level. For some reason I assumed it was a pale ale - never assume...

Pours amber with steadily rising carbonation giving it a thin white head that lasted quite some time for the abv level.

The smell was of sweet caramel wrapped around fruity, earthy, floral tones.

The taste was of sweet caramel upfront. Earthy, floral hops give it a crisp bitterness, but do not override the predominant maltiness. A lemony zest is in the finish. Alcohol peeks through enough to give it a strong character.

It's full-bodied, creamy and rich with alcohol dryness.

Although it's an American Strong ale, there are European, esp. English, influences - esp. in hop profile. And, although alcohol is noticeable, it is restrained. A nice "sipping" brew that is easy to more than "sip".

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Photo of WoodBrew
3.64/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

The Eye of the Hawk is much better than I anticipated. The beer poured a slightly a hazy copper with thin white head that is leaving a lace. The scent is sweet with biscuit like malt. The taste is a well balanced strong ale like semi sweet bread. The mouthfeel is fuller in body with good carbonation. Overall....possibly one of the better strong ales I've had...given that I am not a strong ale fan.

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Eye of the Hawk from Mendocino Brewing Company
3.63 out of 5 based on 945 ratings.
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