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

Boatswain H.L.V. Ale (Heavy Lift Vessel)Boatswain H.L.V. Ale (Heavy Lift Vessel)

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179 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 179
Reviews: 72
rAvg: 3.28
pDev: 16.77%

Brewed by:
Minhas Craft Brewery visit their website
Wisconsin, United States

Style | ABV
American Strong Ale |  7.00% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: smcolw on 12-17-2011)
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Ratings: 179 | Reviews: 72 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Aaron_Ramson


3.24/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

This review is taking into account that this was a 1PT, 6 FZ OZ Bomber purchased at a Southern California Trader Joe's for $1.99, and for the brewski version of 2 buck Chuck, it was great. For the price, you simply cannot do better than Boatswain. This beer is an American Brown Ale, highly hopped at 80 IBUs, and moderately alcoholic at 7% ABV. The HLV had a dark earthy, warm color that is very common for an American Brown. Smell was malty, raisins and dates, faintly boozy and pleasant if underwhelming. The taste was molassas, raisins, caramel, toasted grains. Suprisingly multi-dimentional for a bargain beer. As I stated earlier it is hands down the best ABA you will find in this price catagory. A poor man's Moose Drool.
UPDATE: Not sure if my tastes have changed or if I am tasting a sub-par batch, but I am not enjoying this as much as I did when I first reviewed it. Tastes like bitter burnt coffee, no where near the smoothness of a moose drool. Still worth every penny of 1.99, but you'd be better of saving that money and applying it towards something more satisfying.

Serving type: bottle

11-24-2012 02:43:09 | More by Aaron_Ramson
Photo of yuichituba


3.55/5  rDev +8.2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-19-2012 04:06:34 | More by yuichituba
Photo of MoreThanWine


3.73/5  rDev +13.7%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-10-2012 12:53:20 | More by MoreThanWine
Photo of LiquidAmber


3.48/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Seattle Beer Week pint glass. Pours a dark earthy brown amber with a half finger light tan head that dissipates to a patchy layer and slippery lacing. Aroma of very light toasted malt, nuts and a spicy component similar to cinnamon . Flavor subdued brown sugar, sweet bready malt finishing sweet with light hops and a hint of chocolate. Aroma and flavors are attenuated, but pleasant. Medium bodied. Somewhat like a very light, sweet porter. The elements are all here, but it needs a little more flavor and integration. No too bad for the price, has a distinct malt syrup flavor that is uncommon in most beers.

Serving type: bottle

11-06-2012 03:35:59 | More by LiquidAmber
Photo of timjg14

1.75/5  rDev -46.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I had high hopes upon looking at this beer. A bit of nice foam atop a dark, but not-too-thick body (once poured into a glass). It's hard to know what to expect from it, as it really gives no indication of what type of beer it is, other than being an ale. But I'd compare it most to a porter, a style that I'm not all that fond of in general. As for the flavor, I found it pretty undrinkable. Very malty and bittersweet. But if you like porters, don't hesitate to give it a try. It was at Trader Joe's at a reasonable price ($2.50 or so for a 650-ml bottle).

Serving type: bottle

10-21-2012 08:12:31 | More by timjg14
Photo of chinchill

South Carolina

3.78/5  rDev +15.2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

09-23-2012 22:19:51 | More by chinchill
Photo of wedge

North Carolina

2.93/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Clear dark chestnut under a slender off-white head. Smells kind of homebrew-ish...flowers, creaminess, dark fruit, raisin bread, and a little oxidation. Malty, semi-sweet, moderate chocolate and coffee roast, light black malt char, and molasses. Medium-thin-ish mouthfeel. Not awful, but I won't be getting this again.

Serving type: bottle

09-17-2012 00:57:13 | More by wedge
Photo of Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

3.23/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Trader Joe's. Comes across like a black ale, with some hops and much sugar. Just not that drinkable. Passable taste, syrupy. Big dark head. Slightly underaverage mouthfeel. A little apple and booze in the finish. Let's try it for cooking. Good price.

Serving type: bottle

09-09-2012 03:14:14 | More by Sammy
Photo of Ryan011235


2.3/5  rDev -29.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a pint glass on 4/28/12

Dark brown, but distinctly brown nonetheless. Two finger head reduces to a thin skim. A few swaths of lace.

Smells of toasted bread, herbal hops, earth, toasted sugar and a hint of molasses. Soapy overtones. Taste of doughy, dark bread. Herbal hop bitterness, toasted sugar, burnt nuts and sunflower seeds. Fruity hints. Medium body with moderate, puffy carbonation. A tad coating on the finish. Earthy, bitter residuals.

Overall, this is ok and a decent enough value.

Serving type: bottle

09-06-2012 05:49:26 | More by Ryan011235
Photo of jonB

New York

3.2/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

The beer pours dark like motor oil and leaves a foamy head lingering on top. The smell is bready with some darker chocolaty notes. It is a smooth beer with a lot of malty sweetness. Unfortunately I don't think there are enough hops to balance it out. It is a decent beer, but not one I'll look for again.

Serving type: bottle

09-06-2012 02:50:10 | More by jonB
Photo of TheSixthRing


3.18/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Pours a dark, rusty amber brown with a 2 finger head, excellent retention, and results in a lace that's thick and sticky.

Smell - Not a whole lot in the way of smell; somewhat earthy, with hints of copper.

Taste - Follows up with the smell. Very little flavor. What is there is metallic, with a dull copper character and a sharp bitterness that peaks well into the aftertaste. If there's any caramel character, it's very subtle, and only when the beer is near room temperature does the slightest hint peak through.

Mouthfeel - Despite the lack of flavor, the mouthfeel is solid. Medium bodied and moderately carbonated. Fairly silky and smooth going down.

Overall - I really don't know what to say about this beer. It's drinkable, in the least. There's nothing much in terms of flavor to look forward to, so it's probably not going on my 'buy again' list.

Serving type: bottle

08-26-2012 00:23:05 | More by TheSixthRing
Photo of beerme626


3.28/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from Trader Joe's, poured into a snifter.

A: A nice black, with some brown tones. A solid two-finger head, and LOTS of carbonation. Too much actually. You can hear it if you put your ear anywhere close to the top of the glass. That brings it down a little, in my opinion.

S: Notes of sweetness, fruit, malt

T: Lots of sweet malts, with enough hop to keep this from being a really malty beer. A bit of raisiny fruits.

M: Very carbonated. Tingly, without being painful like soda.

O: A decent strong ale, but nothing to write home about.

Serving type: bottle

08-22-2012 16:21:46 | More by beerme626
Photo of GarthDanielson

North Carolina

3.33/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bomber into a tumbler pint, the beer is a chestnut-brown coloring, both dark and vibrant, with a thin, filmy, tan head that clings all over the glass. Aromas are very subtle, with a toasted malt backbone and some old world fruit highlights. Flavors are a complete malt bomb, with fruit characteristics of date, raisin, plum, and fig all richly blended together. Earthy highlights add to the tangible fullness of the palate. The aftertaste is roasted and darkly sweet, with a sugary highlight. Rich, lingering, slightly cloyng finish. Strong in flavor and in feel.

Serving type: bottle

08-14-2012 01:27:45 | More by GarthDanielson
Photo of mactrail


3.1/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Really a ruby red in color, somewhat obscured in the dark amber. Nice head and good retention.

Taste is a lot like a big Red Ale, though more malty. Some fairly severe bitterness comes on stage. Fairly sweet, with a sugary taste. Some sort of fruit cocktail flavor going on, heavy on the peaches. Sort of of an Old Ale taste.

The sweet and bitter combination is not one of my favorites, though it pairs well with toasted cheese and jalapeno potato chips. How cheap this is makes you want to question the price structure of the entire craft beer industry. However, I would recommend one of these and two 40 oz of Crazy Stallion for a nice mixed drink.

Serving type: bottle

08-09-2012 06:06:03 | More by mactrail
Photo of 5thOhio

South Carolina

3.58/5  rDev +9.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

08-05-2012 22:45:15 | More by 5thOhio
Photo of BEERchitect


3.1/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

With the defiance of any style perameter in mind, this umbiguous ale shares traits of porters, olde ales, brown ales, and Scottish ales and does so without preference. It makes the think that this is how European (likely English) ales would have tasted prior to the industrial revolution.

With its dark brown color and near opaqueness, the beer looks much like porter- not viscous as stout but with a firmer visual texture than brown ale. A creamy head billows to the rim before proceeding to a patient slide toward a liquified sheet that coats the beer's surface evenly with islands of lace that stick to the glass.

The nose breams with rich aromas of burnt caramel, almost-toffee, and the scent of spent coffee grounds. Toast and lightly charred woods give a dry impression just as the alcohols release a semi-fusal and estery display of cherry, plumb, and black currant.

Medium-sweet flavors come in the form of over-cooked molasses, powdered sugar, malted milk, and light aspartame. Yet, the dry taste of toast, wood, coffee, and cocoa overshadows the sweetness and takes firm command of the beer. Fleeting sweetness allows for a woody and charred taste to grow in the long linger of earth and rich flavor.

Richly textured, the residual sweetness of malt and saccharine-like tact latches onto the mouth for an indefinite development toward any would-be dryness or closure. Slightly astringent with the aid of roasted grain husk that provides a mild ashy bite to accompany hop bitterness. Alcohol warmth hides behind the unsettled sweetness for a malty-dry finish.

Root beer, cola, and artificial sweeteners come to mind as the truer malt flavors and hop bitterness sway. The residual flavors quiver and refuse to go away or develop into firmer beer flavor. Despite the beer's fundamental problems, it remains fairly rewarding in its balance and boldness.

Serving type: bottle

07-31-2012 03:53:40 | More by BEERchitect
Photo of beertunes


3.1/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Another brew in the hated 22oz format. My bottle said made by Rhinelander, while listed here as Minhas. Poured into 10oz goblet. Poured a dark red-brown color with over a half-inch of khaki head that OK retention, it quickly fell to just a ring that held up well, and light lacing.

The aroma was mostly sweet malts, with a bit of yeast tang as well. The flavors weren't particularly notable either, a malty sweetness dominated the front and there was just a bit of a hop kick at the back.

The body was medium, not really "Heavy", and had a bit of a sticky finish. While the drinkability was decent, I wouldn't have more than one 22 at a sitting. Overall, a decent beer for what it is, a cheap, strong bottle at Trader Joe's.

Serving type: bottle

07-26-2012 18:10:37 | More by beertunes
Photo of barczar


3.3/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear dark brown with ruby highlights and a solid one inch tan head that leaves spotty lacing.

Sweet, lightly roasted malt, grain, booze, caramel and a bit of nuttiness comprise the aroma, with esters of dark fruit...cherries, figs, and plums adding complexity. There's an off note that's somewhat tangy.

Flavor begins nicely, a bit sweet, malty, but an acrid, tangy flavor takes over. Chocolate, toasted bread, and nutty flavors surface late in the sip, which ends slightly roasty and bitter. Alcohol surfaces in the background. There are hints if dark fruit, but the tangy flavor dominates.

Body is fairly thick, with moderate to low carbonation, finishing with a slight alcohol warmth.

Not nearly as bad as their dipa, this at least approaches the style. There's just an off flavor.

Serving type: bottle

07-19-2012 05:56:01 | More by barczar
Photo of BeerManDan


2.75/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

The color when poured into a pint glass was of a medium dark brown with a reddish hue and very little tan foam, with no lace on the side of the glass. The smell of roasted malts and hops were evident in the aroma. The taste was of roasted malts, bitter hops and a hint of candied fruit. Overall, the bitterness killed any outstanding flavors and left me with a acidic feeling on the palate.

Serving type: bottle

07-14-2012 03:35:31 | More by BeerManDan
Photo of whatthehull


3.5/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5


A - Deep dark brown opaque, two finger darkish tan head and some sugar lacing

S - So much sugar, lots of earth, nice hop notes (highly floral and some dark fruit), bready yeast note, a little bit of a pilsner note and some fresh cut wood

T - Nutty, huge sweet/roasted malt, some dark chocolate, sugar, wheat bread, molasses, earthy hops, wet wood, maybe prunes or plums and lots of flowers

M - Medium bodied, decent balance, medium minus acidity, nice complexity and long sweet/roasted finish

D/O - Easy to drink, refreshing and a good amount of flavor. It is a little odd. Almost an esb/draught/stout/strong ale. Not bad by any means. Worth a go for sure. love the huge sweetness but not at all over the top

Final thoughts - $2 a pop and a nice 7% with great flavor. Well worth it for sure

Serving type: bottle

07-02-2012 22:38:24 | More by whatthehull
Photo of Beermazter310


3/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

very dark brown, dark amber when held to light. smell a little sweet with a a liitle hops And a little chocolalte. tastes sweet with only a little hops. mouthfeel has low to mild carbonation. overall just a little too sweet. too chocolatey for my taste and for an ale. No off tastes, for 2 bucks at trader joes it was worth a shot. didnt expect too much, but wont buy again.

Serving type: bottle

06-22-2012 04:51:00 | More by Beermazter310
Photo of ATLbeerDog


3.13/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

From Traders Joes in a 650ml brown bottle

Pours an attractive amber color with a small off white/beige head that recedes quickly leaving an average amount of lacing. Smells of booze, overly ripe dark fruits and yeast comprise the nose. First sip is a tad disappointing but not surprising based on the aroma. There’s a spice notes, those dark ripe fruits present but nothing too interesting here. Carbonation is fine making the mouthfeel stand out in a beer where not much else does. Not a bad beer but there is so much better out there to enjoy.

Serving type: bottle

06-10-2012 16:51:15 | More by ATLbeerDog
Photo of HalfFull


2.5/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

New breed from Trader Joe's Minhas Line and poured into a large wine glass. A bit of a mystery from the label and still so after checking a few reviews. Pours a clear brown with crimson highlights. Half inch of tan foam offers moderate retention.

Nose of light hops with roasted malts and some light chocolate. A bit of alcohol is evident and some cinnamon spice. Quite thin and aimless overall however, rather reaching.

Flavor is thin as well. Some caramel and light chocolate up front and a bit of alcohol and light fruitiness on the finish. Finish is malty yet chalky and offers a rather brief finish of dark chocolate powder.

Warming enhances the experience here to some degree but the finish remains too brief to keep things interesting. A bit of a harsh wanderer with no real direction or redeeming asset..

Serving type: bottle

05-29-2012 04:30:51 | More by HalfFull
Photo of Danny1217


2.3/5  rDev -29.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance is dark brown with a small tan head that disappears rather quickly

Smells of roasted malts, and some other things I can't really put my finger on. Kind of a strange smell

Tastes Way too sweet for something claiming to have 80 IBU. I taste roasted malts, some faint hops, alcohol, and syrup. Yes, syrup.

Mouthfeel is sticky with medium body and carbonation

Overall for the $2 I paid it might be worth buying simply as a way of getting messed up if you're tired of cheap malt liquor. Otherwise, it's really not even worth $2 that could be put into some decent beer.

Serving type: bottle

05-28-2012 19:12:16 | More by Danny1217
Photo of openupandsay

3.65/5  rDev +11.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

04-23-2012 14:19:17 | More by openupandsay
Boatswain H.L.V. Ale (Heavy Lift Vessel) from Minhas Craft Brewery
76 out of 100 based on 179 ratings.