Eye of the Hawk | Mendocino Brewing Company

968 Ratings
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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Ratings: 968 |  Reviews: 491
Photo of laituegonflable
3.03/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a pale golden colour with off-white colour head, nice and dense but lowers steadily... not a lot left after a minute. Trails of lace around the glass but not a lot. Hint of haze in the glass, modest body. Not bad but quite blah.

Having trouble getting much from the smell. Slightly hoppy, but yeah, a bit bland. Fair amount of caramel malt when I get any, hops are slightly piney, maybe a bit of a grassy character. Mild citric character. Really nothing there, just over-subtle, or under-aromatic.

Taste is quite malty, a lot of grain character throughout. Lots of caramelised notes on the front with cereal notes heading towards the back, pearl barley and some grain husk bitterness. Hint of vanilla and lemon on the mid and a fair hoppy bitterness, drawn out and rich with a little bite, just sort of a laid-back bitterness, particularly on the aftertaste with a mild phenolic character. A bit of a bland beer, some flavour but deficient on the front and lacking in nuance, just doesn't interest me a lot.

A bit sizzly on the feel but not very. Decent body, not a bad texture. Good enough to carry the disappointing palate.

Could I drink it? Yes. Would I choose to? Depending on the alternatives, probably not.

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
2.81/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a clear, quite light golden colour, with a thick and frothy head of white foam that leaves some messy lacing down the edges of the glass. Quite anarchic looking. Body looks pretty thick and static. Looks pretty tasty overall.

Not a huge amount on the nose, which is very surprising. A light hint of new world hops, with characters of citrus coming through when swirled rather vigorously, and a light carbonic acidity and an unusual dusty grain note. Not what I expected, and pretty weak all up.

Taste is also a little disappointing. Flat front palate that doesn't really show a lot of flavour, hoppy (as expected) or otherwise, and the dip onto the back is dominated by a slight melted confectioners sugar sweetness. Finish is a mishmash of grain husk acridity and cloying saccharine. Mouthfeel is nice at least, but it doesn't have much to work with. Full-bodied, riddled with tiny points of carbonation that lift it - but the flavours on the palate really miss the mark.

It finishes far too sweet to my mind - although there's a dip of hop character pleading to get through, the rich sugary elements on the finish are too prominent. Not one of my favourite American Strongs.

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Photo of TheQuietMan22
3.31/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Straight pour into a pint glass. Nice, hazy honey color with an amber tint. Two fingers of thick, white head developed and dissipated slowly to leave a foamy cap.

Smell: Faint aromas out of the bottle, but scents of toffee, vanilla, caramel, and orange citrus emerge after the beer warms. There's also some corn adjunct.

Taste: Sweet caramel malts with some citrus hop bitterness.

Drinkability: It's not very potent or complex, but it's smooth and refreshing. I will say they hide the alcohol very well.

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Photo of RickS95
3.9/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark amber in color with a couple fingers of head.

Lots of great smells. Some citrus, banana and a hint of pineapple.

A lot of flavor, but a roasty malt taste hits the palate the hardest.

Very complex in the mouth. It starts off a little sweet and easy going, but finishes tart and almost burning.

A lot going on with this beer, not sure I could enjoy downing many of these at a time.

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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 david18
4/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I bought a mixed six pack of Mendocino beers and was very pleasantly surprised by this one. The pale, ipa and other beers are not as impressive as this one. Very good malt flavor and aroma. Color is a little light for an american strong but, in general, I liked this beer a lot and will get it next time i'm in that store.

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

12 oz bottle with no freshness date, or any digits to transcribe for that matter. A hawk's profile on the label is the least awesome out of the 3 Mendocino brews I've tried thus far.

Pours a rusty orange, very slightly cloudy. Tannish head soon settles into a ring that leaves a stick. Sweet and floral on the nose, a bit of caramel. Also, a bit of 'murky' leafiness. Taste is toasty and sweet, with bold and fruity undertones that I can't quite pin down. Spicy finish, and definitely carbonated. I'd like to try this one again, because the price is decent and I couldn't quite grasp what this beer was.. but it was good.

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Photo of GregSVT
3.97/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a snifter

A: Pours amber with a white head that fades to a ring leaving no lacing at all.

S: The nose is toffee and caramel with a bready/malty aroma.

T: The taste is caramel and toffee with an almost belgian style yeasty flavor. The slight bitterness on the finish balances everything out.

M: The feel is creamy and medium bodied.

D: This is pretty good and seems to have some real aging potential. Really good flavors and a nice mouthfeel.

I dropped some William Larue Weller into this and it was excellent. I bet they could barrel age this and it would be great. Really reminded me of the Insanity I had earlier.

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

Poured from a bottle to a tulip.

Pours a nice cloudy orange with a very sticky white head. After it settles a bit the head looks like the surface of the moon.

Has a little hop bite in the nose with some tangy malt characteristics.

Tastes very sweet at first. No hop presence on the tongue, and not much maltiness. Has some black tea flavor I noticed. Overall A little too sweet and not enough hops or maltiness to back it up.

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Photo of Dodo2step
3.68/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

P- Westy's Beer Distributor

A- a hazy amber/orange color. A fizzy head that is minimal but leaves a small lacing on the pint. A borwn color in the center of the pint.

S- alcohol and figs. A dark candied fruit as well. molasses and caramel malts.

T- grain is at the forefront but then i get the dark candied fruit such as raisin and figs. Burnt caramel flavor.

M- chewy and creamy like taffy or a moist raisin cookie.

D- A lil heavy after a few gulps. Starts out like a session beer but it needs to be respected. A good flavor overall and smooth as well.

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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 wahhmaster
4.32/5  rDev +19%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a Macado's Halloween 2009 shaker pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a slightly hazy tawny color. Has a small, foamy head that dissipates slowly and leaves little lacing. Has a ton of carbonation bubbles floating to the surface as well.

Smell: Fruity with a sweet malt backbone. Slightly yeasty-smelling as well.

Taste: Starts malty and fruity. Ends with a nice hoppy bitterness complemented by yeasty undertones. Very complex, yet still balanced.

Mouthfeel: Crisp and clean with a perfect amount of carbonation.

Drinkability: A great beer! This brew is truly unique and is a pleasure to drink. Be warned, it hides its 8% ABV very well; you can barely taste the alcohol in it. Pick it up whenever you see it.

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Photo of Flashsp2
3.82/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Eye of the Hawk 12oz into a snifter

A mild pour generates a pretty small eggshell head that has very little retention and no lacing to speak of. The body is gold with amber highlights.

Aroma is very fruity and similar to what I would expect in a Belgian Tripel, not an American Strong Ale. Some faint caramel malty sweetness. Some granny smith apple peal.

Taste is yeasty, caramel sweet bread, and some herbal hop flavor on the finish. A little bit of black pepper in there as well.

Mouthfeel is medium, at points syrupy, and then the heavy carbonation tears through everything and cleans the palette.

This is surprisingly easy to drink, although I am definitely thrown by the classification. I would think I was drinking a glass of La Fin Du Monde if I didn't know any better. So does that mean I like it? Hell, for $7.49 a six pack of 8% beer, I like it a whole bunch.

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

a: the head is lacking; just a white ring of foam and a few wisps; body, however, is beautiful with hazy rusty amber and yellow highlights; light movement

s: raw grains; sweet hay; light hop tinge; pretty mild;

t: warm grains/biscuit; some sweet syrupy notes; light hoppy skunky bitterness that grows as you sip more; light abv; warm and balanced

m: very mild carb; light cloy; medium thick syrupy body

d: a decent beer that is worth a try; i think it could be more of everything to make it a great beer of a bit less on certain aspects to be a decent session beer; definitely worth try

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Photo of OBeerMeGreatOne
3.37/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I poured this from a 22oz bomber into a 24oz super-stein.

Appearance: Pours a decent gold with slight amber highlights. Not much head, no lacing.

Beer Stink: Very nice on the nose. Caramel malts are the first thing I smell. Light fruit, a little molasses.

Taste: Very much how it smells but with a nice little hops kick. A little lighter of a taste then I expected though. The taste doesn't really stick around or have much of a finish.

Mouthfeel: I like the moderate carbonation and the fact that it doesn't stick to the back of your throat.

Drinkability: Pretty good for an American Strong Ale, the alcohol is hard to notice and it goes down smooth. Not too complicated but a nice beer none the less.

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Photo of WeezyBoPeep
4.22/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a standard pint glass.

A: Clear amber/brown with a reddish hue. Creamy, beige head that hung around for a good while.

S: Malted caramel and ripe fruits like bananas, figs and dates. Really nice aroma here with a faint piney hop presence in there somewhere.

T: Perfectly carbonated and well-balanced ale. A light bitter taste with the malt and the piney hops complimenting each other well. Hints of caramel and smoke in the middle. A slightly bitter (in a good way) grainy finish fades with a touch of corn flake.

D: I hardly noticed this thing had 8% alcohol. Almost dangerously drinkable.

Value: This beer is as good or better than strong ales that are way more pricey.

Seems I'm definitely ahead of the curve on this one.

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

Pours a dark amber with a very small head.

Fruity aroma; possibly cherries and raisin, and I also pick up some brown sugar.

Tastes quite malty - caramel and sweet flavors with sort of an unpleasant alcohol burn which leave a tinglyness in the mouth.

Overall not too impressed with this beer, nothing special about it.

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Photo of Andreji
3.9/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This was purchased in a small grocery store on 3rd avenue around 12st in NY.

I like the pour, it's clearly red, no midway amber tones or anything of the sort....small head but with tonnes of lacing on the sides, dirty white i'd say it is.

Smell hides some caramel among the strong hoppy notes. dominant is the grassy, hoppy feel though.

Taste i found the best, definetly complex if one sits down to elaborate beyond the grossly sweet-bitter transition. there's some burnt caramel, maybe like butterscotch, like the feel on the burnt layer of a creme brulee, not entirely sweet and with a very light bitter aftertaste. the mouthfeel's well bodied, definetly fullbodied and comes in strong at an 8%. hop taste lasts for a while reminding you of the beer you've just had. worthwhile, nice beer. First mendocino i've had so far and it's good.

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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.

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

Poured a slightly reddish gold color with 1 finger of head that faded to a ring fairly quickly. Lots of sweet malty aroma, with hints of caramel and brown sugar. A full body and a lot of malt flavor initially greet your tongue, before some mild bitterness comes into play in the middle. A big helping of syrupy sweetness returns on the back end, along with a touch of astringency in a lingering finish. The alcohol is pretty well hidden and the balance is good, tending twards the sweet side.

This is one of my go to beers - for the price you can't beat it!

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Photo of tigg924
3.4/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: red/brown in color, 1/3 inch head, moderate carbonation, clear

Smell: caramel and toasted malt

Taste: caramel, toasted malt, and citrus hops towards the end

Mouthfeel: medium bodied, medium/high carbonation, sweet with a slightly bitter backbone

Drinkability: A slightly above average strong ale. I like the caramel taste, but nothing I would rush to get again. I could have a couple of this sweet and malty beer.

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

I've not been too impressed with Mendocino's offerings in the past, but I'm looking to try something new tonight and it's $1.50 a bottle at the bodega. Served in a pint glass.

A: Pours a deep, hazy reddish color, with a one finger off-white head that dissipates into a cap. Very little lacing. Not unattractive, but nothing too special.

S: Sweet toffee and a little tart fruit.

T: A definite kick of alcohol is the first thing I notice. I'm tasting black grapes prominently, combining with the alcohol to give it almost a red wine character. A bit of caramel, though I peg the sweetness as more fruity than anything else. The finish is dry, grainy and bitter, and I like it.

M/D: Very sticky. Medium carbonation, light bodied. The taste is pretty complex and mixes well, making this fun to drink. A bit sweet for me, but I'd drink it again. Definitely good value for the price.

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Photo of dpodratsky3
3.55/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into pint glass

A: Dark amber orange with covering foam for a head

S: Pretty mild, again those distinct herbal, earthy mendocino hops

T: Very spicy compared to the smell, spice and alcohol dominate, herbal hops provide the backbone for the spices

M: Medium body, dry

D: Not a sipping beer per say, but not a session beer

Notes: Just another slightly above average beer from Mendocino. Nothing I have had from them really impresses me, but they aren't bad. They just don't have any really good qualities.

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Photo of ktrillionaire
4.1/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Saratoga Springs boasts great water, a legendary racetrack, and some damn good beer.

A - Beautiful deep bronze amber, nice head w good retention.

S - Boozy and light caramel notes with an intriguing scent that I can't place. Torula yeast? I'm thinking crazy stuff. Salmon and wild rice? Pork rinds? Gardetto's? Everytime I get to the glass, I smell the most familiar smell, but then it is gone. And as I take the final sip... there it is: Saffron. That is what I smell that made me think of all of those crazy foods that I used to eat.

T - Caramel backbone, rich buttery savory flavor, nice effervescence, a warm alcohol kick, with a lingering bitter hop. Quite tasty.

M - Medium-heavy in body. Coarse, but not overly carbonated.

D - Very drinkable, but due to the ABV, not session-able. Appropriate for many occasions.

This beer is really good, and very complex. The taste changes substantially from first sip to last.

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Eye of the Hawk from Mendocino Brewing Company
3.63 out of 5 based on 968 ratings.
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