Eye of the Hawk | Mendocino Brewing Company

966 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

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 966 |  Reviews: 491
Photo of doubledslc
4.45/5  rDev +22.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Good beer if you are "just gonna have one"

I mix it with Old Rasputen Imperial Stout for an "Eye of the Rasputen". Yea honey, I only had one. "But you really are stumbling around the house."

A crowd pleaser at your next party; no doubt.

Peace off.

 258 characters

Photo of PlaywrightSam
4.14/5  rDev +14%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

22 oz bomber into pint glass. A: Hazy orange amber, a decent head that takes a minute to go down leaving a white caked on layer. S: Pleasant fruit--white grapes, bananas, citrus--with a solid pale malt character. Some floral hoppiness. T: Extremely refreshing, light character with a pleasant, only slightly bitter aftertaste. Along with the fruitiness there's a nice sweet caramel taste, alcohol nearly imperceptible until the finish. Very mild presence of hops, but still very well balanced. M: Slightly coarse, crisp, a tad thin. D: Holy crap, 8% abv?! I just now noticed that, I had no idea. There's a slight trace of alcohol on the finish but with it's light, refreshing character it's amazingly concealed. Especially good being that I only paid $3.50 for this bomber at a corner deli on Post and Hyde in San Francisco. I'll definitely be going back tomorrow to pick up two or three more. A really fantastic beer.

 918 characters

Photo of theopholis
4.24/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance- Body is a clear copper/red with orange highlites when held up to the light. The head is white with little staying power and just a hint of lacing.

Aroma- Nice blend of malt sweetness and a piney hoppy aroma.Just the barest hint of fresh-made bisquets.

Taste- Very smooth blend of malt sweetness and bittering hops. The aftertaste is especially hoppy, with strng notes of citrus and pine. There's quite a bit more going on in there, but the subtlty is lost on me. Quite comple for the style of beer that it is.

Mouthfeel- Slightly heavy, syrupy bodied. CO2 level is just right.

Drinkability- Wow. After 2 of these, I'm feeling it. Just saw that it is 8%. Very drinkable, even quite quaffible. Medicino rarely disaapoints, and this brew is no exception.

 776 characters

Photo of brdc
4.32/5  rDev +19%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It was a long time since I last had this one.
It pours a rich dark yellow, almost orange, with a plentiful white head that holds well, and eventually leaves sticky lacing all around the glass.
The aroma is quite pleasant, and a malty sweetness immediately hits you as you poor this beauty. On further inspection, caramel, fruity hoppiness and alcohol become quite prominent, sometimes even resembling a fine liqueur, as you swirl the glass.
Taste is as advertised by the delicious smell, well balanced, rich, alternating layers of fruity hoppiness and malty sweetness, warming alcohol, liquorice, before a usually dry finish that occasionally leaves a fruity aftertaste.
Very good, well-crafted brew, but sufficient on its own; I could not have more than one at a time, but will definitely be having more when I can get my hands on it.

 840 characters

Photo of Cyberkedi
4.47/5  rDev +23.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Aroma is strong and very malty, inviting a taste. Pours a dark amber-brown with a thick, light tan head. Flavor is strong and rich, very malty but with some hoppiness and bitterness, a bit of a smoky hint. It leaves a tingle on the tongue and just a little bitterness. Definitely a superior ale.

 295 characters

Photo of bashiba
3.95/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a nice dark copper with a hint of haze and a thin bit of tan head.

Smell had a touch of dark fruit, cedar, and molasses.

Flavor was very smooth with a nice bit of dark fruity malt with a crisp earthy hop bitterness to balance it out. Some nice hints of brown sugar, alcohol, and oak.

Mouthfeel is thick, oily, and warm with a bit of a dry cloying finish.

A tasty and easy to drink strong ale with the 8% ABV mostly hidden, one of my favorites from Mendocino.

 477 characters

Photo of Atlas1
4.05/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Here in Washington, DC, we get our Mendocino brews from the brewing company based in Saratoga Springs. I suppose it's the exact same brew as the one from Ukiah, CA, but with a slightly different label. Anyhow, I haven't been let down by any of the Mendocino beers before, and I'm hoping the Eye is no different.

Pours a rich copper/amber color with a thick, clumpy foam head. Plenty of lace decides to stick around as the beer recedes, which is always nice to see. The aroma is malty sweet, with a little bit of old shoe funk and some fruity esthers to boot. Also smells a bit earthy, with some grassy floral aroma in there as well. The taste is smooth and malty. Very subdued up front, the rich malts kick in midway through the taste, providing a noticeable caramel/vanilla flavor. A nice hop balance kicks in at the end, leaving a peppery aftertaste in the back of the mouth and throat. But the caramel flavoring rules the roost here for sure. Mouthfeel is thick and creamy. A totally drinkable beer, this Eye of the Hawk. I would suggest giving it a go in the fall or winter, or even early spring, as it's not exactly a summer refreshener. But still, it's a tasty brew. I think this would go great with a bread pudding dessert, or entirely post-meal with a nice big cigar. Nicely done here by the gang at Mendocino.

 1,322 characters

Photo of Blakaeris
3.95/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours clear coppery red with orange highlights. Moderate crisp white head that dissipates quickly leaving a thin sheen.

Smell is sweet and malty with a pleasant touch of fruit. Underlying biscuit and light hops.

Taste is initially caramel sweetness. Then the hops bring a splash of citrus bitterness, and tropical fruit. Brown sugar, molasses, honey and an earthy biscuity flavor. Very complex. Alcohol is hidden flavor wise, and presents itself only as a warming sensation in the finish.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied.

A dangerously drinkable brew for the high ABV. Tasty and complex in a way that brings English beers to mind. Flavor is unified and enjoyable. The ASA category normally makes me think of 'big' beers. This one is not.

 744 characters

Photo of RonfromJersey
3.81/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The label says "brewed & blended by...". I have no idea what that entails.

Amber body. Outstanding clarity. Some lively carbonation. Three fingers of loosely packed white bubbles of all sizes and shapes.

Aroma is deep sweet malty caramel, with a floral flourish at the end.

Taste starts off big and caramelly sweet. Good depth to the sweet though, not cloying. Still, this is an ale equivalent to a dopplebock. Sweet fruit follows, and then earthy hops charge in to try and contain and balance all that sweetness. THe bitterness does assert itself, until one final bow of sweetness in the aftertaste. Not overly hot, alcohol is well integrated while not completely hidden.

Smooth medium mouthfeel. Drinkability is ok, but I'd stick to one at a sitting.

Nice nightcapper. Little too big for happy hour.

 816 characters

Photo of shertz
4.17/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle(undated) into Pint glass. Thanks to bort11 for this one.

A- Pours with nice 2 finger head that goes down eventually to a thin coating. Nice orange hue with lots of little bubbles rising.

S- Smells fruity, malty, and quite sweet. Possible plum or sweet pineapples abound. No hint of alcohol. Quite nice.

T-Comes across quite bitter on opening sip. Nice hoppy and dry, alcohol finish. Very complex flavor with hints of fruit, alcohol, and hops.

M- Starts oily, finishes dry. Very nice. Some burning on the tongue with nice carbonation.

D- The ABV is quite strong on this one. I would have enjoyed drinking this one on a cold night, however, it's 90 outside. I really went into this one blind and not sure what to expect. But it truly is a very good beer. I think it acts more like a barleywine.


 853 characters

Photo of zeff80
3.78/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

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.

 438 characters

Photo of beeragent
3.53/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass, from a 12oz. bottle. The beer poured a light copper, forming a white 1/2 inch head. Light rings of lace along the glass. The aroma is mostly of malts, with a hint of alcohol. Not too complex. The taste is thick malts along with a slight amount of hop sweetness, and a hint of alcohol. A very interesting flavor. Medium to thick mouthfeel. Enjoyable ale, but the abv. of 8% will keep this out the session range.

 436 characters

Photo of xav33
4.36/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Mendocino Eye of the Hawk Select Ale
12 oz bottle
Medium pour in an English Pint
Unknown brewing (recent?), flown into 05/07

Poured a clear bronze with a huge rocky fully lasting light brown head with good lacing.

Smelt of strong caramel, citrus, spruce.

Taste was upfront strong sweet barley sugar (sucre d'orge) and moderate bitter earthy moss yeast and light sweet and sour citrus followed by a strong earthy and spruce bitterness

Palate was medium bodied, softly carbonated, creamy on a dry finish and lightly astringent.

Overall, this is a very pleasant unique taste in a strong ale. Very balanced and drinkable, with gutsy earthy flavors.

 663 characters

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

Poured from 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance - I agree with WasTrinkenSie's description of this beer - it looks just like honey! It was a translucent orange/copper color with a 1 finger head that lasted maybe 5 seconds after being poured. Then no foam to speak of for the rest of the drinking session. It would've looked better with a full head.

Smell - Malt, a bit of alcohol and hops. Not too much else.

Taste - Lots of malt, and a light dry citrus finish. Kinda grassy. Not as balanced as I would have liked. The flavors compete instead of blending together. It isn't bad, but it isn't mindblowing.

Mouthfeel - light bodied when compared to some other American Strong Ales that I have sampled. Good amount of carbonation for not having any head retention.

Drinkability - One could easily drink several of these in one sitting if it was the only beer that was being offered. It goes down okay.

I wasn't wowed by this beer, but I would drink it again if it was offered to me. If someone had this beer at a party I would happily drink one. I am glad I tried it but it won't be added to my beer rotation anytime soon.

 1,148 characters

Photo of JohnnyM2002
4/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled from a 12 oz bottle, poured into a chalice at 45 degrees.

A - Pours an orangish-golden color with a 2-inch white head that left good lacing in the glass.

S - Smells of orange/citrus malt with an alcohol background.

T - I was very pleasantly surprised with the more complex taste. Yeasty/grainy malt was met by earthy/semi-piney hops; both flavors were off-set by citrus notes, until the beer is finally finished off by a warming alcohol sensation. Not what I expected from the style.

M - Medium body with a strong finish.

D - I enjoyed it more than the same offering from the New York brewery - didn't expect that at all. Very enjoyable.

 661 characters

Photo of CpnYates
3.45/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I think this will be a good choice for the malty-ale lover out there, as the sticky sweet malt feeling dominates... a high abv on this one to, at 8.0, its going to be hard to drink more than a few of these down.

Stick to the previous reviews on taste and such, as at this high an abv, and such a low IBU, I couldn't truly enjoy this beer, but as a strong ale, it fits the bill, and well.
Part of an excellent sampler, purchased at the Blacksburg, VA Kroger

 462 characters

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

Pours a thin head that doesn't last long. Color is caramel-red with excellent clarity. Bubbles a rare sight. No lace.

Smells of candylike malts, winter warmer type spices, some caramel too; an overall sweet smell. Mild hops make themselves known.

Like the aroma, the taste reminds very much of an English beer, wandering between the English barleywine, pale ale and ESB styles. (I have to question the style category it's placed in on this site.) Distinctive bubblegum and grape flavors; hint of vanilla; pinch of cinnamon-like spice; nice bitter finish...but it never really defines itself.

It's not a mess, but it's not clear where the brewer was going with this one. It is interesting. The flavor is its best trait, and that's where it really counts. But it was hard to put my finger on, having a kind of elusive quality. This is the first of a 6-pack...maybe it'll reveal itself over several more tastings.

 921 characters

Photo of kimcgolf
3.88/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured to a slightly hazy, orangeish color, with a nice off-white head that lingered well and left good lacing on the glass. Pleasant aroma of malty toffee, with a hint of hops. Mouthfeel was slightly tingly and the taste was a good blend of the sweet toffee and slightly grassy hops, all leading to a nice long finish.

This was a much better beer than I was expecting.

 372 characters

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

Pours an orange tinted copper color without more than a thin cap of head on top of a clear, moderately carbonated body. Lacing is copious but thin and runny. Mostly faint smell with a sweet, malty backbone in the nose with citrus and grassy hops as a sidebar.

Heavy malt with citrus and caramel notes and a fairly strong alcohol presence that warms but does effect the taste negatively, bringing too much sweetness to the table. Mouthfeel is smooth and round. I like this beer the more I drink it but it isn't particularly interesting or wonderful enough to go looking for.

 576 characters

Photo of bort11
2.79/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

12 oz long neck bottle with very little information on the label. Mendocino calls is a Select Ale, but doesn't explain what that is.
Poured into an Imperial Pint glass. Short fizzy head that has no retention. Color is like a strong ice tea. Smell is tannic and leathery. Taste is almost medicinal.
Mouthfeel is a lot lighter than what I would expect.
Not what I was expecting at all.

 387 characters

Photo of JayTheFinn
2.79/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 1.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Slightly orangy tint to a yellow bodied beer with minute bubbles and almost no head. Malty scent with a little fruitiness. Mixed bag on the tongue. It's got indistinguishable malts as well as slightly fruity flavors and a bitter hop overtone. It's a little rough and sour for my liking. It goes down all right I suppose, but I doubt I'll be drinking this one again in the near future.

 384 characters

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

poured into a nonic glass from a 12oz. long neck brown bottle with a crimped on cap.

Clear, medium amber/coppery color with a creamy,pillowy white head with good retention leaving a ring of lace around the top of the glass with spotty lacing the rest of the way down.

Very fruitty aroma with some light candied maltiness,very pleasing not much hop aromas present.

Fruity tasting,toffee,with pleasing tartness and a bit of grassiness. A good bittersweet finish leaves a dry tart taste on the palate.

Medium body with some creaminess,tangy,juicy,leaving a puckering sensation on the palate. Good taste,enjoyable could drink a few of these. A good solid drinker could session a few of these. Worth a try.

Noticed this was listed as an american strong ale would have guessed it was an amber ale the alcohol was very well hidden. Being listed as a strong ale might have lower the overall score a bit,but i really enjoyed this beer overall.
Would never have guessed this beer was 8%.

 993 characters

Photo of bradybeer
3.95/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark golden brown with nice inch high head with citrus hops coming through.

Smell is malty with a twist of citrus hops.

Taste is good with a warming alcohol finish and slighly bitter hops end as well.

Mouthfeel is light for a strong ale which or me makes the drinkability high because it doesn't seem like you are drinking a 8% beer.

 350 characters

Photo of Byeast
3.8/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: clear copper/amber , inch of tan foam that dissipates to a thin lasting layer.

Smell: a malty nose with some fruity esters , bit of alcohol.

Taste: a nice big and "robust" malty body , sweetness is kept in check with a pleasant alcohol and orange peel raw hop. Some fruity esters in there , as well as a yeasty character to the finish.

Mouthfeel: full bodied

Drinkability: A very drinkable and balanced Strong Ale , especially for its ABV. Fair amount of malty complexity and quality. A welcome sight.

 525 characters

Photo of Georgiabeer
3.23/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a copper amber with orange highlights. Clear with no murkiness.Short head that fades quickly to a thin cap. Aromas of sweet malt, peaches, and honey. Very light hops in the background. A little sweet. The taste is quite malty, but with a veneer of hop bitterness. Unfortunately the hops and malt are not very integrated but play against one another to some degree. The result is both a sweetness and an unsupported bitterness without enough depth. Not terrible, just a little unbalanced. The mouthfeel is slightly grainy, but the right weight. Pretty drinkable, but the balance could be a little better.

 609 characters

Eye of the Hawk from Mendocino Brewing Company
3.63 out of 5 based on 966 ratings.
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.

    Learn More
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.

    Learn More
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.

    Learn More