Eye of the Hawk | Mendocino Brewing Company

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Eye of the HawkEye of the Hawk
975 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: 975 |  Reviews: 494
Photo of ibashmuck
3.4/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Purchased as part of "build-your-own-six-pack" at local grocer. Poured a very foamy, lingering thick head on an amber body. Smell was definitely sweet, with some soft floral tones, both of which came through strong in the taste. Caramel also prevalent. Had a medium hop bitterness, but a mouth-coating aftertaste that just hung on really, really powerfully. Wasn't terrible, but it was mighty strong. Nice, except that aftertaste.

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Photo of beerthulhu
3.2/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Reddish ice-tea color, thin creamy off white head.

S: Pleasant fruity caramel aroma with a touch of citrus.

T: Starts out sweet, but finishes with a big dry floral hop bite with some sourness. Thins out in the end and leaves a bitter sour hop tang and coating on tongue. There was some alcohol burn on the back of the throat.

M: Creamy caramel, oily texture, good maltiness and mouthful with a bitter hop finish.

D: Moderate drinkability.

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Photo of Gehrig
3.92/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Clear brown body with an orange tint supports two fingers of a light tan head with a texture that is too soda-like. For all its initial lather, the retention is all-too brief, and the lacing non-existent. Solid malty aromas--caramel, molasses, a bit of berry, chocolate. Fine and somewhat complex taste, bring the aromas present to the fore in the flavor. There is a somewhat nutty flavor that is enjoyable. However, despite a nice, creamy taste, the texture is rather thin for what I like in a strong ale. Perhaps more hops would do the trick, rounding out mouthfeel. Good and smooth, this is easy to consume.

Not the best strong ale, but not exactly a disappointment either. Good and worth trying.

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Photo of HalfFull
3.82/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass from a 12 oz. bottle. Pours a deep hazy golden color with a thin head. Spotty lacing throughout. Nice bottle conditioned carbonation yields a constantly refreshed surface.

Smells of piney hops and damp peat, feathering into carbonated hop oils. Taste was initially unimpressive but improved quickly. Butterscotch malt up front with nice roasted malt complexity in the finish, ever so slightly chewy and with a bit of hops. Feel and drinkability surprised me given the ABV, or I guess I should say, the ABV surprised me given the drinkability! I was half way through before I looked up, thinking I had an APA in my glass.

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Photo of MisterClean
4.2/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Golden orange, little head, which dissipates fast. Little carbonation is present too.

S - Peach, honey, cardamom, pear, and light alcohol.

T - Pretty much the same as above, less the alcohol. Note, the pear is not acetyl tasting.

M - Pscked with fruit flavor, yet great. No alcohol or warming presence.

D - Such a deceiving beer. Boasts flavors for session beers, yet has the alcohol presence to kick your butt.

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Photo of cjgator3
3.55/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass. Pours a dark brownish amber color with an off-white head that forms into a ring of lace. The aroma is very malty with some dark fruits and alcohol. The taste is pretty thick and syrupy with a big malty base with some hops coming through in the finish and a long warming sensation from the high ABV. The mouthfeel is on the thicker side with a moderate level of carbonation. Overall, Eye of the Hawk is a pretty decent brew that is worth a shot.

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Photo of PatrickJR
4.19/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12 oz bottle into pint glass.

A - Deep clear copper, with a small 1/4 inch head that dissipated quickly to nothing, leaving no lace. Somewhat expected with high ABV.

S - Caramel, butterscotch, toffee, and a hint of raisin all hit me at once. Deep, rich, and brilliant.

T - Big sweet malt that grows from early to mid palate, filled with dark baked bread, almonds, caramel, brown sugar, and hints of cinnamon, nutmeg, and mace. Begins drying out late palate, with a quick burst of earthy hops. Slight bitterness and alcohol in the aftertaste, though alcohol is well hidden.

M - Moderate carbonation with a nice light to medium body. A little less carbonation may have brought out the malt fully, but may also have rendered this brew a bit cloying.

D - I could probably get through a few of these very easily. A little on the sweet side, and definitely a bit strong, it's still a flavorful and light enough beer to have a few of.

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Photo of kevinglin
3/5  rDev -18%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a straight sided glass. No date on the bottle.

Amber colored, very clear with an off-white head that didn't stick around too long.

A bready, malt aroma with a bit of woody spice. Taste followed suit, with a mild hop bite in the aftertaste and a bit of warming from the 8% ABV.

Medium body with somewhat of a slick mouthfeel.

Not a bad beer, not my favorite. If you like malty beers, you will probably like this one.

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Photo of omnigrits
3.9/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a somewhat light amber with a thick head that subsides after about five minutes to leave a film of bubbles on top of the beer and no lacing.

Strong bready smell from the beer, which always pleases me. Very strong toffee notes with a sweet maltiness on the tongue. The carbonation is good - just right for my tastes. I've knocked half a point off the drinkability, but only because the relatively high ABV precludes this from being a session beer for me. Apart from that I find it to be an excellent beer.

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Photo of xare
3.66/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours as a dark amber / somewhat hazy brew with outstanding carbonation that has constant bubbles and maintains a 1/8" head that lasts nearly 15 minutes. Outstanding retention!

Smells like an ale. A strong ale. That's pretty much the best that I can define the aroma as. Average - nothing that distinguishes the aroma as anything else.

Taste is somewhat fruity and malty. Nice blend of flavors and then a touch or two of things here and there that enhance it somewhat.

Mouthfeel is clean, creamy, and then a bit of soapiness from a hops hit at the end. Overall, nice mouthfeel.

Drinkability is much higher than it should be for a 8% beer. You'll definitely feel the hit at the end of the beer. I was able to gulp the beer down without feeling any of the heavy-handness of the alcohol. Can easily see myself seeking out this beer to purchase and consume again.

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Photo of JamesS
3.94/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice mid-amber color with decent head and decent lacing. It has a nice aroma, if a little light, a nice malty scent with bits of caramel and cream. Very nice taste, if a bit on the soft side, a bit of a malt bomb, with hints of chocolate. It goes down great, with a nice little hit of hops in the aftertaste. Nice beer!

EDIT: maybe it's my experience or maybe they're getting better... this is better each time I try it.

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Photo of AshevilleSippin
2.83/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Short Version:
This is an average unremarkable ale. Heavy on the malt, low on the hops. Metallic dishwatery tang with a flat sugary finish, no head, and no lace.

The Hawk was poured strong into my pint and it quickly offered up a white 2 finger fizzy head in gratitude. Short lived gratitude that is. It toppled to a thin film like dominoes in an earthquake. Reddish amber in color with near perfect clarity. Carbonation was furious.

Smell is mild and unremarkable. I pick up caramel and that sharp metallic/citrus scent common to wannabe-good beers. Sometimes I refer to it as a cheap dishwatery smell but it's especially faint in this beer. There nonetheless.

Taste is big malt with a silky oversweet ripe fruit vein in the background. Malt flavor is stronger than I expected given the anemic smell. A hard mouth swirl reveals a little alcohol and a tangy metallic bite that isn't especially pleasant yet drinkable. Some grain is evident as it warms.

Finish is flat with that, that, that... taste again. Metallic dishwater in the back of the palate and nostrils. I use those terms in the friendliest way than can be used... because it's not a bad beer. Just doesn't seem like a very high quality one. One dimensional on-the-cheap malt bomb. I think an average home brewer could knock this thing out in their basement with one hop scooper tied behind their back.

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Photo of Offa
4.05/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is tasty,, full in feel, very enjoyable, and very smooth.

Amber, it has a largeoff-white head that lasts a long time and leaves some nice lace.

It has a pleasant, flowery, bready aroma with toasty grain, honey, hints of caramel, citrus, and earth, as well as a light alcoholic element lurking underneath.

The taste is somewhat sweet and spicy-zesty with a light bitterness slowly becoming present. It has rather sweet caramelly, toasty bread with light yeast element, a hint of winey-fruitiness, and a full, but smooth, lightly spicy alcoholic warmth. It's really best on tap, but it doesn't go all that well with some foods.

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Photo of donteatpoop
3.75/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a deep red with absoultely no head.

The scent revealts hints of cinnamon and vanilla that blend nicely with the malts.

Tastes of caramel and malts.

A bit creamy in the mouth with a carbonation level that is a little too high.

Great beer, I was very pleased with this one.

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3.17/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

No head at alland no lace. Bronze-orange. Sweet, fruity malt. Minimal hops. Sweet. Buttery malt. Alcohol. Again, where are the hops, they are missing. Slight bitterness finally in the finish. Medium bodied, medium carbonation. Just OK...kinda plain unfortunately.

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Photo of dacrza1
3.08/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Somber orange-brown effervescent body with a halo of white head, bald in the middle... not far off from the Belgians in appearance... somewhat blunted, fruity aroma--not sharp or round, but present... warms the mouth with effervescent movement in the teeth... the throat is treated last with a late simmer of warmth... solid, but not substantial in its style... quite sour--the alcohol is marked early by citrus--grapefruit; a bit gassy and more than a bit acidic--sticks in the teeth... quite immediate astringency. Not a compliment--to me or Mendocino-- that I drank my first of these in a pint glass, not recognizing (or realizing) it was a storng ale. In a researched session, the genre becomes clearer, and actually works within its suggested expectations.

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Photo of ubermick
3.9/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22oz bumper into a standard American pint glass.

A: Poured a coppery amber with a beautiful head with lots of lacing. Head disippated to a thin coat after about 2 minutes.

S: Sweet and malty, with subtle dried fruits (figs?)

T: Sweet and malty, with dried fruits! An additional taste of hops and yeast swim through, leaving you with a pleasant warm mouthfeel. Which brings me to...

MF/D: It's a very tasty beer - smooth, slightly silky, and finishes almost like a brandy. Great colder weather brew, I'd stay away from it on days when it's warmer outside (like now, when I'm trying to put away 22oz when it's 80 degrees outside!)

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Photo of cswhitehorse
3.53/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The Eye of the Hawk poured a hazy burnt orange with a good finger head and tight sudsy lacing.

The smell is fruity malty. When it hits your taste buds you get the malt first and malty second. It has has some hopiness that cuts though near the end. You are left with dry maltiness on the tongue. It is pretty decent brew not overly complex.

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Photo of John_M
3.1/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

What a travesty. This beer was once a favortie of mine; I went to the brewpub summer anniversity party every year for good times and, more importantly, the annual unveiling of the new Eye of the Hawk. At one time this beer was very, very limited. It was only available at the Brewpub in Hopland, and even then only some of the time. The current version is barely a shadow of its former self.

The beer pours a solid copper amber color with fair head retention and virtually no lacing. On the nose this beer smells very sweet and malty. To no great surprise, flavors on the palate replicate the nose. This beer is excessivly sweet and malty with no noticeable underlying hoppy bitterness to hold up all that malt. The beer is only 8% abv, but yet it still tastes heavy and tiring to drink. This beer tastes like a simple, one dimensional, overly sweet amber. Extremely disappointing, espescially in light of what this beer once was and has now become. I doubt I will ever again buy anything from Mendocino brewing.

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Photo of bluemoonswoon
3.65/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a snifter. No freshness date.

A: Pours a clear dark amber and with a frothy thin looking inch head that fades away in a minute or less even into a thin ring and little lacing. I know the alcohol content is high but I was expecting a bit more from this, the color is what saves this from being plain average.

S: Green apple dominates here and seems a bit strange to be found, but this is my first strong ale so maybe its par for the course. Decent amount of caramel maltyness that becomes sweeter as the beer warms.

T/MF: Strange balance here its like a hybridization of a pale ale and a strong lager with a very noticeable green apple taste both in the beginning and in the finish, to be fair the finish does not taste all that bad. Let it warm up a bit and it gets at least a bit better with more distinction between the hoppy opening and the caramel malty and slightly boozy finish. Mouthfeel is pretty slick with little pinpricks of carbonation and leaves a nice tingling sensation over the whole mouth after the swallow. If I weren't writing about beer or the context was taken away this would sound very strange.

D: Bit let down by this beer, I had high hopes for this style and won't give up on it but not really what I was expecting, but considering its ABV this beer is still surprisingly easy to drink.

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Photo of SMark
3.78/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer was poured into an Imperial pint glass at 50° from a 12 ounce bottle with no date information. Over three fingers of foamy carbonated head resulted from the pour down the middle of the glass. Having that much head required a resting period (sic) and a second pour was needed to empty the bottle. After five minutes there was quite a bit of lacing left on the glass of this hazy amber colored beer.

A malt bouquet was first noticeable with hop aromas coming out later.

The beer was smooth with a bit of alcohol and a hint of vanilla. This is packed with different flavors of which I find difficulty in describing.

This one has a nice feeling with the alcohol providing punch and dispersing flavors throughout the mouth.

There was a good marriage of the alcohol malt and hops to give this beer a lot to think about. This was a good effort and definitely worth drinking again.

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Photo of andrewt960
3.06/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured a dark gold, and had a small head that was just off white. initial smell was nice mix of floral hops and malty caramel scent. A litlle alcohol scent at a 8%AC but not over whelming. Initial taste i wasn't sure what to think. A little malty but some hops pop through, and the after taste was nice, not to sweet, and had a nice mouthfeel. Not a bad beer, but certainly not the best.

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Photo of dreadnatty08
3.55/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I believe this is the Saratoga Springs bottle as per label.
8% abv
Pours a hazy, medium amber color with a solid, just off-white head. Aromas are mostly malt dominated, some caramel, toasty, bready notes; also some noticeable floral, piney hop aroma. On the palate, it is a richly layered malt bomb with tons of biscuity, crackerlike, raisiny and fruity flavors. Quite a dextrinous, sweet finish with very little coming from the hops to balance. Almost candylike and cloying. Certainly a brew I couldn't handle more than one of, and at 8%, no noticeable alcohol either.

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Photo of shabbtastic
3.73/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured a crisp clear copper color with a white two finger head. Tons of sticky lacing.

S - Sweet toasted malt up front, hops kinda linger in the back, very solid for an ASA!

T - Malt bomb, but in a very good way. Tangling between the caramel maleness and biscuit maleness it pleased my taste buds. Notes of citrus hops followed by the warming of the alcohol finish.

M - Medium bodied with a strong carbonation feel.

D - There's allot going on in this one! Pretty complex than the smell has you think. Very drinkable, and mighty tasty. Recommended.

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Photo of RobH
4.47/5  rDev +22.1%
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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Eye of the Hawk from Mendocino Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.66 out of 5 with 975 ratings