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 jadpsu
3.94/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance, via the weak head retention is not up to par with rest of beer. Pours hazy amber with a tan head with mostly small tight bubbles. Head retention is poor.
Has fruity aroma with some raisens (?) in it.
Taste is malty smooth and yeasty with a mild tang and a little bitter at the finish.
Mouthfeel is light on carbonation and hops. Creamy.
Only my first but easier to drink than any beer I have ever had with this high an ABV (8%). The high alcohol content is well masked in the complexity of the malt hop abundance and balance.

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Photo of PsychoJedi
3.98/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a filmy copper color with little head. The smell is a crisp fruity smell that is not too strong or not too weak. The taste is like the smell: fruity that is not too strong and not too weak. There is a little after taste, but nothing a true bear drinker would frown at. I could drink a good bit of this. Verdict: try it.

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Photo of kiel
3.79/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Burnt orange to copper in color with a medium head.
S- Very faint sweet odor.
T- Medium malt taste with very little hop bitterness. Sort've one noted but still fantastic. The 9% ABV is all but unnoticeable.
M-Great. Just enough body but still goes down easy.
D- Great session beer.

Dangerous given the high % of alcohol and incredible drinkability.

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Photo of MLasoski
4.18/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

For this beer to have an 8.0% ABV, it is pretty smooth tasting. I poured this into a pint glass giving it a nice 1 inch head. The aroma isn't impressive; however, the taste makes up for it. The body is a clear cedar color. I caught a mild fruity taste and a malty overtone. I must say it is not a bad strong ale at all. I will likely drink this again. Pretty good.

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Photo of pandashaver
3.86/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle poured into snifter.

A - Hazy orange, red, and amber body with 1 finger white head. Head dissipated quickly and didn't leave a ton of lacing.

S - Fruity, pick up some defined cherry and raisin aroma. Interesting! Malts. No hops, except for possibly some of the fruit.

T - Sweet malts hit you. Not sour really at all. Hops very faint in the background.

M - Thin to medium. Sticks to the tongue and palate nicely but not too aggressively. Doesn't overwhelm your taste buds, but is enjoyable on it's own for sure. Could detect some alcohol in the finish.

D - Fairly high. Goes down Easy and definitely not overpriced. Solid. But watch out for the 8% ABV.

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Photo of cdkrenz
3.35/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Medium to dark brown body with white head.

S - Malt, brown sugar and citrus.

T - It has a Belgian hops flavor with an English hops pungentness.

M - The feel is soft at the start and toward the end it has a subtle coarseness at the back of my tongue.

~ Overall I like this brew. It offers allot of nice features I did not expect. Everything from the look to the taste.

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Photo of rowew
3/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Presentation: 12 oz longneck with a drawing of a hawk, label could certainly use some updating. No date, but the ABV is listed.

Appearance: Pours a slightly hazy amber - there was quite a bit of sediment in the bottom of the bottle that I tried to leave. It makes me wonder if the bottle is old - but since there is no date I'm not sure about that. Thin head.

Smell: Caramel, a bit of yeast - just a hint of alcohol.

Taste: Fairly malty - caramel and sweet flavors, there is a bit of alcohol burn.

Overall impression: This is an odd beer - it is a bit generic in flavor despite the high abv. It is relatively drinkable, but its not interesting enough for me to seek out more.

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

Appearance - Pours with very little head, therefore no lacing. The brew is a lightly cloudy orange/red color.

Smell - Not extremely volatile...I'm getting caramel and some bready yeast. Not a lot more than this but it doesn't smell bad...that's for sure.

Taste - The taste mimics the scent. Getting lots of caramel goodness. Heavy on the malts up front and a bit of a hoppy bite on the finish. For the relatively high ABV, I'm surprised how well masked the alcohol really is. I'm really impressed with the taste of this one.

Mouthfeel & Drinkability - Velvet smooth and creamy. Medium bodied and extremely light on the carbonation. Seems almost oily on the tongue, but doesn't leave much of an aftertaste. This is an extremely drinkable brew, even with the higher ABV. I'm not sure how they disguised the alcohol so well, but they did a good job of it. Judging from taste alone I would guess it's closer to 5%. I've yet to be disappointed with Mendocino, and will be recommending it to all my friends in the future!

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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 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.

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Photo of grayburn
3.92/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours a copperish color with a small head that is quite rocky while it lasts.
The smell is quite interesting, there is a smoky layer that brings in some raisin and oak notes. The alcohol is present, but not overstated.
The taste is thick and malty, there is some decent bittering that carries the ship along quite nicely. The oak and smoke come back to play in the taste and mouth as well, smoke lends the beer a dry slightly tannic finish that leaves some oily residue on the tongue.
I could drink a few of these, a well crafted big beer that is quite balanced.

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

This poured a clear copper with tan head. It smelled like caramel and roasted barley malt, with bready yeast and copper hops. It tasted like copper hops with roasted barley and nutty malt, with some caramel and bready yeast. It was slightly thick with some carbonation, and had a bitter aftertaste. Overall this had a very nice malty flavor that was fairly clean and hides the alcohol pretty well. It had good body too, and was quite easy to drink. It wasn't very unique, reminding me a lot of a doppelbock. But that's a style I really enjoy, and this one is a great value. Definitely enjoyable, even if it's not super exciting.

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Photo of EnojysAnyBeer
4.13/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Dark amber color, almost copper. Transparent, but a bit foggy. Nice head with some lacing

S- Plenty of all the malts that make a beer. Flavors of caramel, bread, and a touch of alcohol

T- Very easy drinking for a strong ale. About as sweet as a pale, but with more bitter characteristics. Some metallic twang

M- Standard carbonation with a big body

D- A couple of these will have you on the floor if you aren't careful

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

A: Cloudy orange/amber color. Poured a 1 finger slightly off-white head that dissipated to a ring on the outside edge. Broken, inconsistent lacing. Decanted continually.

S: Sweet caramel and toffee. Cirtus and orange peel in the background.

T: Big malts up fron; caramel and toffee most prominent. Sweet malts linger briefly ahead of a bitter hop finish to balance.

M: Medium body. Balance carbonation. Smooth and coating - almost oily.

D: This beer is good-tasting, smooth and goes down easy. ABV is disguised well.

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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 ironlung
4.05/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle. No freshness date. Into Chimay snifter...

Pours a bright amber/orange with a nice white head that makes an exit rather quickly. My nose makes out notes of fruit and alcohol. A rather nice smelling blend that can be detected as soon as the bottle is opened. Taste is sweet malt up front with grassy hops and alcohol in the finish. The rather thin mouthfeel is lacking for such a "big" brew, but that steps up the drinkability. I'd never know this was an 8% brew if it wasn't printed on the label!

Overall this is the best beer so far that I've picked up at Trader Joes. If your looking for good beer on a budget(and who isn't theese days?)you've gotta give this one a shot!

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Photo of Windigstadt
3.92/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

A: Pours a clear, deep amber/light chestnut with a thin but creamy head.

S: A whiff of this beer reveals an inviting mix of sweet, dark sugars and resiny pine.

T: A malt sweetness hits the tongue... lots of caramelized crystal and molasses flavors and a touch of sweet rye. Before it becomes overbearing the hop bitterness kicks in. Like the aroma, it's piney with very little citrus other than a bit of grapefruit pith in the bitter finish. A kiss of roast malt and a slight booziness also contribute to a dry note at the end despite the initial sweetness. Very well balanced.

M: This is where the beer loses me... it feels thin and watery where I was expecting a richer, creamier texture.

D: While I expect a fuller body from an American strong ale, I suppose the upside to a thinner beer is it definitely increases the drinkability. I don't think I would have ever guessed this was 8% ABV.

Overall: I get the feeling hopheads will complain this beer isn't hoppy enough, but those who appreciate more balanced beers should seek this one out. The flavors are really in harmony here. It's just too bad it's so thin... if they boosted the maltiness a bit this would be a killer beer. As is, it's definitely a great buy at its price (I scored a sixer for under $7) but it's not in the upper echelon.

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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 dudecandle
3.41/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle poured into pint glass:
A: Slightly hazy burnt-orange color with a yellowish tint. Kinda looks like lemon iced tea. I didn't get any head at all, even with a pretty vigorous, straight enough pour, so I don't really know what's going on there.
S: Mostly bready with a burnt toffee feel to itself along with a light citrus
T: Feels like a certain chocolatiness, a sweet malt, feeling somewhere between a brown ale and an IPA, a cross that I like. The hoppy bitterness is an interesting complement to finish off where the sweet malts started.
M: A little thin, but leaves behind a certain chewiness typical of an IPA
D: Would have liked a little more body to complement the strong smell/taste. Something significant was forgotten when making this beer.

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Photo of BitterLover
3.01/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

I first tried this beer very shortly after North Carolina repealed it's 6% cap on ABV for beer in 2005. I just wanted to celebrate by buying a newly legal beer, and the big 8% on the six pack holder was what sold me. :-)

Presentation: Poured into a standard American pint glass from a 12 oz. bottle. When I didn't see much of a head forming about halfway, I poured more vigorously.

Appearance: Even poured straight into the glass, I only achieved about a one finger head, off white in color, which lingered only for about a minute before becoming a thin blanket on the surface of the beer. Odd since I see a lot of carbonation when I hold it up to the light. Very little lacing forms as I drink.

Smell: I get something like sourdough bread with lemonade. I don't really get a hoppy aroma at all.

Taste: Sweet. Very malty. The sweetness hides the alcohol for a few moments. Only a slight hop bitterness makes itself known after the sweetness subsides.

Mouthfeel: A substantial mouthfeel no doubt because of the prodigious malt content.

Drinkability: This beer is too sweet for my taste. That, combined with the high alcohol, would not make it a good session beer for me.

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Photo of beveritt
2.82/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Presentation: Poured from a 12 oz brown bottle into a standard pint glass. Label depicts the head of a hawk, turned such that you can only see one side. No freshness date and no ABV, I had no idea this was 8%. This is one of the few beers I remember drinking pre-BA, when I would grab cool looking bottles of the shelf, but didn't know a whole lot about the styles. This is also brewed in a place where I used to live, which may be why I remember it.

Appearance: Pours with 1 finger of light tan head. This falls slowly, eventually dropping nothing, nada, zilch, zip. I guess I can give them some slack due to the high ABV, but I have seen decent heads on big beers. The beer itself is the color of polished copper and perfectly clear. No sediment in the bottle.

Smell: Sweet and fruity malt, with hints of cherries and strawberries. Alcohol level is evident.

Taste: Very, very sweet. Not a malty sweet, but a sugary sweet, than an alcohol sweet, with a kind of flat, sweetness in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Average carbonation level. Body is okay.

Drinkability: Not a favorite. This comes across as unbalanced, with a very present alcohol sweetness and warming, but no associated big malts or hops. It simply tastes like high ABV malt water. Disappointed.

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Photo of RunDWP
3.35/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This has long been a favorite of mine, but I haven't had it in a while. Now, working my way through a six-pack, I'm a little surprised that it isn't as good as I remembered.

On the other had, it is more complex than I realized. The aroma is slightly fruity and floral. I found the taste has an interesting blend of hops that gives it a grapefruity, floral, and slightly resin taste, with the resin dominating the aftertaste. A decent amount of malt gives it some heft. This is an undeniably complex brew, with a good balance. Looks OK in the glass, sort of a hazy orange with thin head.

At 8%, it's give you an alcohol wallop, and I found the alcohol a bit detectable. The resin aftertaste and the alcohol compromised the drinkability in my opinion.

Still gives me that warm fuzzy feeling despite my lukewarm review.

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Photo of magictrokini
3.3/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bright amber with more red than brown, and a bubbly white head. Nice lacing. Crisp aroma of malt and strong Saaz hops. Clean malty taste that pops out of the glass. Nice blend of the Saaz bitter and Cascade citrus. Tastes a little like an ESB in that regard. Alcohol is well hidden. Very nice.

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

pours a golden copper color with one finger head that dissipates but does not disappear. aroma is faint, apricot and grass. taste is sweet malt with an citrusy hoppy bite at the end. alcohol is up front, but not in the way. earthy type of aftertaste that lingers but is not unpleasant. mouthfeel is a little thin, but goes down easy for a higher alcohol brew.

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