Mendocino Brewing Co.
Saratoga Springs, NY
Black Hawk Stout
This stout is properly dark, and let’s only the slightest inkling of light through when held to a direct source. There is more cola brown than deep plum or garnet that you get from some darker brews. The head puffed up slowly and in the last drips of the pour, created a nice tan head that wasn’t quite an inch. It settles to a very pillowy quarter inch.
The nose is pleasantly roasty – not burnt – but soft and sweet. You can really get a good whiff of some creamy malts and soft, semi-sweet licorice. There doesn’t seem any thing powdery to the aroma, but some buttery cocoa comes through.
The mouthfeel starts off on the light side, but this beer is perhaps 5-10 degrees too cold; I really prefer stouts a bit warmer – my fault. The initial flavor is a bit more roasted than the odor indicated. Creamy malt and deep, dark chocolate notes with some licorice as an afterthought are the initial flavors.
The finish is decidedly cleaner than one might expect. What comes across initially as bittersweet chocolate opens up to some peppy hops bittering that one might not expect from a stout, but also leaves a hint of molasses coating the mouth.
Ringing the glass every inch or so, the lacing forms wide swaths, like mountain ranges draped with snow.
This is a bottle-conditioned beer so I plan on leaving one of these guys for a while to see if the character of the roasted malts builds up a bit. All in all, this is another fine offer from Mendocino, who has yet to disappoint me.