Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Mendocino Black Hawk Stout

This is the second of two beer reviews I recorded with Johnny and Dave of In this review we check out Mendocino's Black Hawk Stout which, much like the IPA, we all had a similar opinion of.

Be sure to check out their website or their YouTube channel at

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 11/20
Chad9976 (597) - Albany, USA - JUL 16, 2011
There are certain beers and certain breweries that have a reputation for being "gateway" or "beginner-class" in that they are milder, easy-drinking brews which makes them more appealing to newbies. Mendocino Brewing Company is such a brewery and their Black Hawk Stout is such a beer - in theory. While I’m not the world’s foremost beer expert or connoisseur by any means, I still know what tastes and flavors are appealing to the pedestrian beer drinker, and Black Hawk Stout doesn’t contain much of those flavors or drinkability.

I poured a 12oz bottle into an Irish pint glass.

Appearancce: Opaque dark brown body initially forms a huge, sponge-like, tan head. It never completely evaporates and leaves on minor lacing on the glass.

Smell: Not much to smell here aside from a generic, but mild, American stout aroma. A touch of milk chocolate notes, but all very subtle.

Taste: This is basically the American version of Guinness, but without the flavor*. Not much to taste here aside from a bland, mild, watery palate. If I really concentrate I do get some roasted malt in the first half and cheap candy-like milk chocolate in the second half. Otherwise, Black Hawk Stout is overtly watery with a slightly dry bitterness in the aftertaste. There’s nothing offensive about the palate per se other than its lack of genuine good taste.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium-bodied, decent carbonation. It feels like carbonated chocolate water.

Drinkability: I’ve said it a million times - mild beers are technically easy to drink because they just slide across the tongue and down the throat because there’s no resistance by your taste buds. But if there’s nothing to appreciate you’re not very likely to drink it fast or in copious amounts. The 5.2% ABV seems about right, maybe even a little high.

Overall, Black Hawk Stout is much more boring than anything else. It’s an easy beer to tolerate, but a difficult one to enjoy. I wouldn’t even recommend this as a starter stout.

*this is a sarcastic quip because anyone that knows Guinness knows it’s not a robust beer at all.
Grade: 8/10

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