Brewmeister Monday: Black Hawk Stout

Posted on February 8, 2011


It’s that time again, and though you all may not be seeing this review until Tuesday, it was indeed posted before midnight on Monday.  My blog is on eastern time for some reason, so it will log this post on the 8th, though it was actually made on the 7th.  I’ll fix this time discrepancy soon.

This week’s brew was going to be Black Cauldron Imperial Stout, since I bought a 4-pack for the sole purpose of reviewing, but we had guests over and we ended up drinking them before I could sit down and review one.  It was a fantastic stout, perhaps one of the best I have ever had.  I’ll buy another 4-pack of it for next week’s review.

As a last-minute buy, this week’s beer review will be on Black Hawk Stout, by the Mendocino Brewing Company.  This stout is pretty low on the alcohol content at only 5.2% alcohol by volume.  I am a fan of their other beer, Eye of the Hawk, and I have high hopes for this beer.  I also like their raptor theme and imagery.  Let’s give it a go!

Opacity: 4.2. This looks like a mighty fine beer.  It’s not incredibly dark, about average for a stout.  Slight reds and browns are visible when held to a strong light.

Head: 4.1. Head starts out strong, and holds for a bit, but eventually receded faster than I would have liked.  It was a nice medium-tan head, though.  Medium-small bubbles, perhaps leaning more toward medium, which likely explains the mild ephemeral head syndrome.

Color: As stated above, red and brown hues when held to a light.  Looks black when resting on the coffee table.

Aroma:  3.5. Really hardly much of an aroma.  Nothing particularly stands out, save for the hops.  Quite disappointing.

Flavor: 3.7. Tastes like it smells.  Essence of hops, and perhaps a slight burnt flavor, but I strain to make these claims.  I would rate it lower, but since it didn’t have a bad taste it felt wrong to knock it too much.  Simple tastelessness is better than complex bitterness, I suppose.

Mouthfeel: 3.7. The medium sized bubbles makes my tongue feel under attack.  Too much carbonation.

Finish: 3.7. Nothing, really.  There is no good or bad taste to measure how it tapers off.  It feels rather like I drank club soda–too many bubbles and no taste!  But, again, no finish is marginally better than a poor finish, I guess.

Overall: 3.8. What a truly disappointing stout.  Utterly tasteless.  This makes little sense, because this is the same brewery that makes Mendocino Oatmeal Stout, a VERY good tasting brew.  How could they have lost their way with this one?  Mendocino, I still maintain, is a fine brewery, but they really dropped the ball with this stout.  I’d rather drink a lighter beer–at least they are not trying to be something they’re not.  Don’t bother with this one.  Actually, do more than just not “bothering” with it, be sure to actively avoid it.

Now I need to go find a good beer and use it as a chaser for this one.  It’s really not worth finishing.

Posted in: Brews