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Boatswain H.L.V. Ale (Heavy Lift Vessel) - Minhas Craft Brewery

Not Rated.
Boatswain H.L.V. Ale (Heavy Lift Vessel)Boatswain H.L.V. Ale (Heavy Lift Vessel)

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79 Reviews
no score

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Reviews: 79
Hads: 237
Avg: 3.27
pDev: 27.83%
Wants: 1
Gots: 25 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Minhas Craft Brewery visit their website
Wisconsin, United States

Style | ABV
American Strong Ale |  7.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: smcolw on 12-17-2011

No notes at this time.
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Reviews: 79 | Hads: 237
Photo of Chadhowie
4.16/5  rDev +27.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

I've been trying all of the Boatswain beers that Trader Joes carries. So far so good. The HLV Ale was very nice, though a little syrupy. The flavor was good though and the bitterness was at a nice level. For $2, this beer is well worth the money and a nice find.

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Photo of beerenjoyer1
4.08/5  rDev +24.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I purchased this beer at Trader Joe's.

A - Nice and dark brown with hints of red when held up to sun light. The foam is creamy and 1/2" thick. The beer has "legs" left on the glass as the level in the glass go down.

S - I can smell the hops immediately with side tone of malts.

T - Taste is of hops and malts but smooth with a slight bitter aftertaste.

M - A nice combination of fullness but still being light during every drink with some carbonation.

O - I like this beer. It is not a OMG! type brew but it is still good and I would buy it again. One would think that with the name Heavy Lift Vessel that it would be a thick beer but that really is not the case. If it were heavier tasting it would most likely be stronger in alcohol, but I think it is very nice as it is.

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Photo of jlmorgan4
4.08/5  rDev +24.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased at Trader Joe's in Brookline for $2.29 for a bomber--serious bargain, but cheap enough to raise some concern. (Also picked up an IPA from the same brewer.)

Pours beautifully into a oversized pilsner: translucent dark body with red sparks when held up to the light: craggy khaki head that sticks around a long time, resolving into a quarter-inch cap with nice, intermittent lacing.

Aromas are roasty and hoppy--very inviting. Flavor is likewise--like a porter with bitter dark chocolate and a long, hoppy finish. Nice feel in the mouth--low-key effervescence, full body, but not overly thick. Very happy beer for a relaxed Jew on Christmas Day.

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Photo of RonaldTheriot
4.06/5  rDev +24.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Boatswain H.L.V. Ale has a thick, spongy, cream-colored head, a dark brown, bubbly, opaque appearance, and a little bit of lacing left behind. The aroma is of sweet, syrupy, dark-roasted barley malt or brown bread crust, and the flavor is of that element, with strong, straight-forward bitterness and sugar. Mouthfeel is medium to heavy, and Boatswain H.L.V. Ale finishes rich, sweet, and semi-wet. Overall, this one is surprisingly good. I recommend it! RJT

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Photo of dustinness22
4/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poors dark amber with a billowing beige head that sticks around. This is a very pretty ale.Malty front with a crisp hop finish. Well balanced throughout. Higher alcohol isn't overbearing. Purchased for $1.99 from the Trader Joe's I work at. Many more will follow this guy.

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Photo of LA_Hue24
3.95/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Trader Joe's offers this beer for $2 and some change that already makes it a great bargain. Nice head good retention good roasty malt taste with hints of chocolate and 7% ABV for $2 perfect for when Im broke and want a quality beer. If the price was ever raised to twice that amount, I would probably still buy it

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Photo of gobseulmuhri
3.88/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

another TJ's purchase. excellent buy for $2.29 for a tumbler btl @ the local TJ's in Princeton.

pours a dark caramel brown with an off-white half inch head with adequate yet somewhat limited retention

on the nose, it's dominantly toasted malty and dark chocolatey.

as i sip, the nose carries into the palate, with toasted malt, coffee, chocolate and toffee. not sweet, but you can sense the brown sugariness. there IS a bit of a grassiness in the finish, but it's not unpleasant. not the greatest, but most definitely serviceable for many occasions.

it's moderately carbonated with a medium-thin mouthfeel (typical of TJ's booze) - a smooth, drinkable brew overall. another + is that @ 7% abv, there isnt much of a kick.

a great everyday stocker at TJ's. and what a deal @ the price. if your TJ's carries this, i suggest you stock up if you like brown ales.

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Photo of TheSarge
3.82/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Got this brew from Trader Joe's. Poured this one into a standard Gateway Grizzlies pint glass, and the brew makes about a finger thick tan foam, and the body is dark ruby red in color... Translucent.

The aroma is of cola, sweet maple, metallic and slightly lemony hops, black tea, and brown sugar.

Taste wise I get the characteristic cola flavor, but with a cooked veggie kind of flavor, and a mild metallic trait.

Feels full in body, well carbonated, and the ale has a slight warmth in the end.

Overall not a bad strong brown ale in my opinion. Worth the $3 I paid!

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Photo of burntoutphilosopher
3.8/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

650 Ml Bottle for 2$ !

This beer is dark, as it should be. Roasted malts dominate and virtually no light gets through.


I can’t believe how good this was for it’s price point. It’s not omegang, or Unibrou, but for 2$ a bottle you get a beer that is really great.
A malt heavy sweet beer with a great bitter aftertaste. Balanced, and runs a perfect range of flavors. I really wish I’d bought more than four.
lightly carbonated. maybe too lightly.

Thick and lingering. Maybe a little too lingering. Has the aftertaste of your average stout

Very impressed. At the price point it’s fair to compare it to amber bock or some other generic canned beer. Far Cheaper by ounce than new belgiums 1554.
And what you get is… a well-balanced beer, on Lees, with complex tastes, long finish, deep, smokey, and just the right amount of bitter to not taste sweet. I wanted to guzzle it, but it also tasted great in small sips. I could enjoy many of these.
At 2$ for a 650Ml bottle, you can’t find any beer on lees at this price, and this one holds its own.

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Photo of mikeg67
3.78/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from Trader Joe’s. Pours brown with a beige, thick head. Aroma is of toasted, bready malt, dark fruit and grassy hops. Full, oily, crisp body. Taste is of toasted malt, brown sugar, roasted grain, dark fruit and earthy hops. Finish is long and bitter. Nice brew.

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Photo of chinchill
3.75/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

22oz bottle served in a Samuel Smith becker. No beer style indicated on the label other than "ale", but the IBU (80) and O.G. (17.35) are provided, as well as the accurate description of "dark brown".

Even with a vigorous pour, only a 1 finger sudsy head was raised, and this settled to a top coat rather soon. pours dark brown where bright light passes through. Modest beige head, but it lasts. There's modest temporary lace on the glass.

Smell: mildly boozy; medium/dark malts; hints of dark bread, vanilla and vague spices.

The flavor is nicely rich, although it takes a moment to develop. Plenty of dark malt flavors, with s bit of spicy hops, hints of smoke, dark fruits, vanilla and expresso. Long lasting, malty aftertaste.

M: overly thin body; very good carbonation. Both creamy and mildly (barely) harsh.

Overall: a respectable and interesting ASA with some nice resemblance to a Belgian Strong Ale. Excellent for price point. Improved a bit with warming.

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Photo of brureview
3.71/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I bought this beer at Trader Joes in Brookline, MA. I thought- what the heck, it's cheap at about $2.50 for a 22 ounce bottle.

I was pleasantly surprised. This beer is big bang for the buck!

Poured in a tulip, the color was a very dark coffee-chocolate.

The smell is very mild with no strong flavor hints , and the mouthfeel is tasty, spicy, with a bit of hops.

The finish is quite good- tangy and fruity apple.

Overall, an excellent deal. Will buy again.

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Photo of MoreThanWine
3.7/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I don't understand the hating on Boatswain, because though it's not the greatest beers it's also not the worst. Poured a 1.5" beige velvet head of pretty long life. The body is a dark burnt umber brown even when held to the light. It smells mildly of sweet roasted malt. The taste is a little bready, malty, and has a cocoa after taste. Medium weight body does betray the Heavy Lift Vessel moniker. Look, this doesn't have the impact of a truly intense microbrew but it's still enjoyable and it's a good value at Trader Joe's.

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Photo of BeerKangaroo
3.68/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Into a pint glass:

A: dark brown colored body with a one finger foamy white starting off level and becoming a slightly porous looking head. Not much lacing appears. The body is too dark for any carbonation to be seen rising.

S: dark malts up front with some light nutty breadiness along with some vanilla coming in as the beer warms.

T: nutty and malty along with some nice smokiness coming through in a slightly sweet way.

M: medium with a nice creamy smoothness. There is nothing harsh on the tongue. I would say the drinkability is a bit lower than most ASA's, but still close to par.

O: this is good for its style and good for me.

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Photo of BuzzLitebier
3.67/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

When I poured it, it was cola-black, and I would've bet my life that it was a porter. Of course you can't tell based on the label, and I hadn't consulted BA beforehand. Anyway, I was wrong! The hops comes through on this, and even though it's classified as a brown ale, I would've said that it reminds me more of a black IPA with a hint of smoked/cooked something on the end. The carbination was good and it had a nice head. I didn't have very high expectations with this beer, but it was on sale for $1.99, and I was pleasantly surprised. Would I buy it again? Maybe....

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Photo of morebeergood
3.65/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a bomber at the TJ in Brookline for under $3. Poured into a stemmed glass. Dark brown color, with a nice sized bubbly head. Some lacing, but not much. Had a nice aroma of raisins and brown sugar, and reminded me a lot of smells familiar with a nice Belgian dubbel. Taste better than expected for the price. It was malty and surprisingly hoppy, as the bottle brags about the elevated IBUs (80) on the label. The mouthfeel was the only fault here. It was a bit on the boozy side, plus there was a bitterness that lingered in the middle of my tongue. But, the finished was light and smooth. You can really buy some crap beers out there for $3, but for this price, the HLV was a pretty decent beer.

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Photo of rinhaak
3.62/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle purchased at Trader Joes in Cambridge, MA for $2+.

There's no denying the value of this beer. It's a well crafted beer, very unique from other brown ales I've had, and tremendously inexpensive. Good enough that I certainly want to try some of their other beers for the same price, but not so good that I'd want to pay much more.

There is no style listed on the bottle, though they do list the OG and FG.

Pours a dark brown color that is translucent when held up to the light. A small head floats on top but doesn't last long.

The nose is interesting with some good roasted malt aromas, a little bit of chocolate, hints of plum. There is a slightly acrid taste in the mouth that caught me off guard - almost like overripe, slightly moldy fruit. Or a pastry that's just past its prime. Lots of roasted malt flavor with a good hop presence to balance it out. A long chocolate cookie finish.

An interesting beer worth trying for the price.

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Photo of scootny
3.6/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A 22 oz bomber. Clear garnet brown with a very nice head. Good lacing. It may be an American strong ale but it has a decidedly English aroma. Toffee, brown bread, and yeast fruitiness. A hint of alcohol and coffee. Taste follows the nose. Like an English strong ale but hoppier. Still earthy but bigger. Lots of toasty malt with caramel and light fruitiness. Dry finish with lingering notes of gain grains and earth. Feel is soft and supple with a surprising lightness.. A solid tasty beer. At just over two bucks for a bottle it is an outstanding value.

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Photo of smcolw
3.6/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

There is no beer style listed on the label. Based on the taste and appearance, I'm going with American Brown Ale, although it has elements of an "ale"d Bock from the sweetness or an Imperial styled Black IPA from the strong hop and subtle alcohol presence.

It pours dark brown where bright light passes through. Modest beige head, but it lasts. There's modest temporary lace on the glass.

There's a definitive homebrew smell (yeasty). There's flowery hop and semi-sweet chocolate notes.

The flavor is bland up front, partly from the thin body, mostly from simple malt flavors. The swallow is altogether different: Lots of peppery hop, some strong vanilla notes and a definitive kick of alcohol. The aftertaste is long lasting. Overall, this is an interesting offering.

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Photo of Offa
3.6/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I hadn't expected much, but this is a pretty good beer, enjoyable if simple.

Deep brown, medium-big tan head slowly shrinks to foamy ring, no lace.

Aroma is caramelised barley, pine bark, musty raisins.

Taste is metallic dried fruit and toasted barley up front, and sweet, with slightly drier spicy finish. Feel is solid and full, not watery, not oily. It is simple but very enjoyable.

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Photo of openupandsay
3.58/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Label did not allude to what was in the bottle, but for $1.99 at Trader Joe's, it was a safe gamble. In a pint glass, people around me probably assumed I was drinking a cola based on the appearance and very mild aroma. Compared to other brown ales (a style I'm usually a fan of), I'd rate this as one of favorites, which was a nice surprise. Rich, dark, toasty, hoppier than average, but very, very, very drinkable. Smooth like Legend's Brown but with more body and more hops. I need to go buy more.

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Photo of BucannonXC5
3.58/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Type: 22-oz. bomber
Glass: Stone Ruination IPA pint glass
From: Trader Joe’s in La Mesa (San Diego), Calif.
Price: $1.99
Purchased: April 4, 2013
Consumed: April 12, 2013
Misc.: N/A

Poured an almost pitch black color with 1-2 fingers of khaki tan head. Sporadic and spider web lacing on the sides of the glass. Pretty good retention on the way down as well.

Smelled dark malts right from the get-go. Got plum and other faint dark fruits, roasty caramel nuts and chocolate.

Tasted those same dark malts for the most part. Got bitter dark fruits and roasted nuts up front. Some chocolate, toffee and light coffee as well. Some smokiness as well.

Full-to-medium body. Sticky texture. Average-to-lively (above average) retention. Longer, smooth finish.

Very surprised that I enjoyed this as much as I did. Sorry Boatswain.

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Photo of yuichituba
3.56/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I agree with the guy below (MoreThanWine). The overall rating seems to reflect subjective judgement and current expectation of big and/or hoppy beers in American craft beer. Although it is not a "great" beer, considering what it is, where it's sold, and the price ($2) it is in a sense underrated.

Color is fine, a clear dark amber. The aroma is simply caramelly & burnt sugar, like a very malty brown ale. It does have hints of an American strong ale tendency due to the malty aroma and 7% ABV (like a doppelbock).

The taste, for a malty dark ale (or as BA labels as an "American Strong Ale"), is balanced for what it is. Definitely has the caramel maltiness that fills the mouth and coats the tongue. It is not all sweet though, thanks to the roasty characters of the types of malts as well as the hops (80 IBU). Lingering sweetness from the malts

I almost want to do a YouTube review of this just to show people that it's not as bad as people make it out to be.

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Photo of RDB51
3.53/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I like this beer. The price is right and the taste was much better than I expected.

The color of the H.L.V. was dark brown with a light red tint seen when held to the light.
The smell was a very soft sent of malt. The taste had a strong malt flavor that hides the hops until the finish. The carbonation was light. This beer is fairly sweet and the taste lingers.

I would buy it again.

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Photo of 5thOhio
3.5/5  rDev +7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Got a bomber at Trader Joe's for $2.29. TJ's beers can be hit or miss but are usually better than the price.

Not much nose, slight malt and maybe ripe dark fruits like prunes. Pours a deep ruby with a creamy tan head that dissipates into a thin edge around the glass. Good lacing.

Mouthfeel is medium thickness with a good snap to the carbonation.

Taste is more like an RIS, Old Ale or Baltic Porter to me than a strong ale. Not complex but rich and deep with prunes & other dark fruits, malt, a little sweetness balanced by a hop bite at the end.

Trader Joe's beers get a bad rap for being cheap contract brews. While some definitely are, others like their Stockyard Oatmeal Stout are great beers for the price. I'd put this one in the latter category. Despite Boatswain being unable to correctly identify their products (see Boatswain IPA and DIPA) this is as good as some pricier brews of a similar dark & strong style---whatever it is. I plan to go back and get another one or two of these. I consider it a good beer for the price.

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Boatswain H.L.V. Ale (Heavy Lift Vessel) from Minhas Craft Brewery
76 out of 100 based on 79 ratings.