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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American Strong Ale
Ranked #271
Ranked #46,409
3.31 | pDev: 16.01%
Minhas Craft Brewery
Wisconsin, United States
Boatswain H.L.V. Ale (Heavy Lift Vessel)Boatswain H.L.V. Ale (Heavy Lift Vessel)
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Reviews: 98 | Ratings: 305
Photo of scottfrie
3.51/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz can.

A: Pours a clear copper with a thick couple fingers of fluffy dark tan head that slowly collapsed onto a dense great film leaving a network of sticky lace down the glass. Lasting fuzzy collar.
S: Notes of candied dates, raisins, and similar sweet dried dark fruits, followed by notes of caramel and bready malt, and kiss of powdered coco. Slight ripe banana ester.
T: Caramel and raisin sweetness up front with bready/toast malt backbone followed by ripe banana and powdered chocolate. The finish is moderately bitter with very earthy and slight spicy hops, but there’s a slight metallic quality to the finish along with a hint of tobacco and sour bread. Fairly nice caramel/toasted flavors overall tho.
M: Medium body with a relatively light mouthfeel all things considering. I could have easily seen something with this flavor profile be overly slick and heavy. Carb is soft and easy, quick on the palate and scrubbing in the drying finish.
O: Most of the flavor profile is just fine but there’s kind of an overshadowing off-putting flavor/bitter quality that knocks down the drinkability a little bit.

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Photo of Singingcelt
4.62/5  rDev +39.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

I love this beer, been buying it from Trader Joe's for a while now. Nice dark amber color with a 2-3 finger white head that lingers on to a nice thin throughout. Malty without being sweet or cloying. At 7% ABV it's pretty potent but not with an overly noticeable alcohol tone. Great flavor! I think this is mighty fine beer whatever the cost, but when you consider I paid $5.99 for a six pack, this is fantastic beer.

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Photo of patre_tim
3.75/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Amber and clear filtered with moderate carbonation and three fingers of beige head.

Smells of raisins, figs, dark fruits, and Belgian yeast.

The taste follows the nose and is very caramel and toffee like.

Medium body with little carbonation.

I got this at Trader Joe's and am drinking in Redding, June 2, 2019.

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Photo of Ceddd99
2.56/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

This one is just too hoppy for me. Tastes like an IPA or hoppy red ale. It does have an interesting licorice note but I was not in the mood for such a hoppy beer.

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Photo of rickyfinn
3.93/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Almost clear dark copper with medium dense frothy head the holds for several minutes. Light spicy smell. Smooth with only slight bitterness retention. C!ean finish. Sessionable, but watch the high abv.

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Photo of dkoehler42
3/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

It pours a copper color with white head. The
Is beer has a strong malty flavor, and isn't overly hippy, but not sugary. It's not a bad beer, but not something I'd hunt down again.

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Photo of emerge077
2.99/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Murky brownish amber, thin skim of foam that fades fast, no lace.
Looks kind of like still pond water with a ring of froth around the edges.
Yeasty aroma, caramel malt, earthy hop, kind of muddled and dirty.
Oddly metallic, somewhat malty, earthy hop bitterness lingers.
Body is watery, as the carbonation ebbs away quickly.

Glad this was a single can, wouldn’t get this again.
Another hamfisted attempt at mediocre craft beer by Minhas. Bleh.
Why all the apologists come out of the woodwork for it, i’ll never know.

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Photo of UPMD_Bill
3.41/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

copper tint, clear, lots of head and lacing
not much smell, taste is good, towards the hoppier side. Some pine and spice almost like a pale. Plenty of malt too but not much character there. Some adjunct-like tastes in there.
Overall: not bad and outstanding for the price.

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Photo of Qcastrojr
3.9/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Nice strong little beer. Definitely gets you warm inside especially on a cold night. Reminds me of a nice strong brown ale. Slightly bitter after taste but that's a plus for me.

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Photo of infinite_athlete
2.49/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.5

This is my third beer review... I think this beer is trying to be a red/brown ale... I am pretty 50/50 on whether I would recommend.

Characteristic of a Red ale but very bitter. Bitterness lingers. Nearly no drink-ability, some DRUNK-ability. Aroma is heavy of alcohol like a malt liquor. Not many flavors to speak of and no hoppiness as advertised. Definitely some sweetness… but nothing distinct. No fruitiness. Third beer from this Brewery and all are below average… Would NOT purchase again.

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Photo of goodsuds
3.82/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

If someone poured this sight unseen they'd probably think it just a moderately hopped brown ale. I suspect the ABV is the only reason it is listed as a strong ale. Overall I've enjoyed this beer, especially for the money. If this were a $10 sixer I'd say it was okay but probably not buy it again. But for $5 this stuff is great and I'll be buying it again for sure.

L - Poured from the can into a nonic. No discernable date code. "18 004 17" printed on the bottom. Pours a reddish brown hue with a one finger head that dissipates quickly.

A - smells of dark fruits, sweet malt, earthy hops. The nose reminds me of a subdued dopplebock.

T - Sweet malt, caramel, dark fruit, slight spicy hop note followed by a pronounced long bitter finish. Alcohol is well hidden. Yum. I would say this is well balanced but the finish is mostly hop bitterness and it lingers.

M -. Not watery like others have commented, but definitely thinner than I would prefer. Carbonation is high. If they mashed this at slightly higher temp to get a bit more mouthfeel and slightly less ABV it'd be even better. But for the money I'm not splitting hairs.

O - This is a good beer. It gets even better as it warms. I think I'd call this a strong brown ale. It doesn't fit well in the same category with Arrogant Bastard. I know American Strong Ale is kind of a catch all category but this beer is more delicate and approachable than any beer I've ever had in the category. I'll buy it again for sure. There is nothing offensive or of putting about it at all and I find it to be quite enjoyable. For the money it is a steal.

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Photo of fscottkey
2.84/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

A: [3.25] The can lists the ABV (7.0%) and a date code that makes me guess (01/04/2017) but I have no idea really. Pours out a nice red hue. Has 1 1/2 fingers of chunky white bubbles and they are receding quickly.

S: [3.00] Very nondescript nose. Mild peat and leather. That is about it.

T: [2.75] Taste is the same. Vague peat and some kind of detergent taste. I got it on the nose too - but didn't report it initially but it is in both places. I also think I can taste the alcohol - not good at 7%

M: [2.75] It has "Heavy" in the name but not in the body. It is thin and watery.

O: [2.75] This beer was cheap at Trader Joe's and I figured "What's there to lose?" I lost. It is not good.

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Photo of Beginner2
3.89/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I may not comment on BA average ratings any more after this one.....
But Boatswain HLV is a way, way better ale than its 3.3 average indicates.
(I won't go through the 4 criteria because it might make some people mad... and why get in a fight over beer?)
But, I think Trader Joe beers get slammed because TJ is a big distribution behemoth. But, the facts are that they have a great way of making beer: they develop great recipes, then seek out the best mid-sized brewers who can handle TJ's capacity, and a much bigger market buys great beer at an absolutely great value... and craft brewing is the better for it.
TJ is our friend.
Be nice to your friends.

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Photo of dmcbeerington
4.75/5  rDev +43.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I have tried boatswain's other stout and it's not bad, so when I saw 6 packs of these ale in 355ML can for about $5 in Trader Joe in their name, then I ask myself why not give it a try, and It just blow me. This is definitely the best beer in an aluminum can that I have ever tasted. The taste for this ale is very similar to Anchor Steam amber ale, maybe slightly more sweet and less bitter at the same time, but in my opinion this beer is more balanced, while Anchor Steam beer is more in the bitter side. The Color for this ale is beautiful; it is slight dark golden, not very clear, probably not filtered, which is a good thing. It tastes sweet first, and gives me a slight sweet after taste, and a whole lot of beer malty goodness in between. This beer to some people could mean less complexity, but to me, it's so drinkable and tasty. As always, I only drink beer when eating something, thus, this beer can be paired with most food in my opinion. And for those who only want to get drunk, well, this beer is 7%, higher than normal, so it's pretty much equivalent to a common 12 oz glass bottle with 4-5% ABV. This is my go to beer for now. Cheap, premium, and tasty.

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Photo of Guppy314
3.42/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

From a can, pours as deep gold with a two finger frothy head. Aroma of hops, caramel and indistinct spice. Taste is fully roasted sweet malt followed by bitter hops and maybe dry fruit. Decent carbonation and some creaminess, but also a "hollowness" that's not quite watery.

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Photo of Jaredkylemccann
3.2/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I got his beer from Trader Joe's. Which I'm sure everybody knows, because that's where you get this beer. Without going into too much detail I will say that this is a very good beer for the price. It is a go to cheapy.

Color golden brown
Taste tasty hops and malt well balanced
Refreshing lightly carbonated just pin pricks on the tongue.

Over all: well-balanced refreshing beer that is about five dollars a sixpack. I get it in the cans for some reason and is my go to cheapie

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Photo of nausicaa-taos
3.53/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Gorgeous color. Brooding yet not imposing.

Taste. Very malty. A bit heavy feel wise for the alcohol content (seven per cent).

Probably best as an only beer for the day. And kinda wanted a cigar.

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Photo of TheStoutLord
3.63/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

L: Dark golden color, quite hazy. Some debris floating in it. Looks like an ale with some heft. Head disappears almost immediately.

S: Malty and boozy. Some spice.

T: A very surprising crisp start, nearly reminds me of apples. Quickly followed by the boozy/malt taste, which is less surprising due to the 7% ABV. The booze isn't overwhelming though and it has a somewhat spicy finish. The whole thing reminds me of apples and raisins for some reason.

F: Heavy. Cannot quickly drink this beer. The booze feeling leaves quickly, but the thickness stays.

O: Not a great ale in my opinion, but its good for drinking a decent bomber and getting a nice buzz.

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Photo of HopsAreDaMan
3.78/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

22oz, bought at the beginning of the year (so I am assuming it is about a year old). I intentionally cellared this to see what it would do to it. Pours somewhat like a brown ale, showing up as clear and light-caramel in color, with a nice amount of beige head that lasts. Aroma is of medium roast malts, and a bit of sweetness. It tastes of malts and a lot and sweetness (almost, but not quite, too much so) mid-pallet, with a moderate amount of hops and carbonation. The mouth-feel is where this beer stands out: it is full and almost chewy, with a satisfying finish.

This beer has lots of similarities to Stone's Arrogant Bastard, but, if I remember correctly, it is not quite as good. I have had this beer before, over a year ago, so it's hard to say if cellaring has helped it, but it certainly hasn't hurt it. For $2.30 a 22 oz bomber at Trader Joe's, this beer is a bargain.

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Photo of constantine_272
3.34/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Poured with a beautiful huge head and a clear dark brown. Smells of corn, graphite and carbon dioxide. Tastes similarly with corn and graphite mineral and a richer leathery finish. Tastes watery through the middle like it's missing something. Pine resin bitterness finishes the beer. A medium dryness finishes and build with the bitter finish. The flavorless midsection of the taste just was disappointing and overshadowed all of the good parts of this beer. Bummer.

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.18/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

This doesn't smell half-bad at all - it's a bit adjuncty, but it also features some floral hops and a touch of caramel malts. Tastes pretty decent, too: I get nice notes of caramel and chocolate, with the hops balancing it on the finish. Cereal grain is restrained, as it should be. Malt sweetness is high in terms of feel, but it has a nice and dry finish. I know I've given Minhas tons of shit, but this isn't half bad at all. As far as cheap Trader Joe's house beer is concerned, this is solid.

3.18/5: I've had FAR worse, that's for sure

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Photo of Brenden
3.06/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I don't know where this came from, but here it is...

It's a very dark brown but some light comes in and a bit of red-orange lingers in the body. The head is a sizeable creamy tan one that shows pretty good retention and some good volume on the fairly sticky lace.
There's a caramel / toffee sweetness but also roast. There's lots of dark fruits, some almost nutty character, dried bread crust, and some fusel alcohol. The flavor is much the same but with some artificial creamy sweetness, a little bit of burnt woods, overcooked brown sugar, and a sort of earthiness.
The feel is this beer's worst aspect. It's not clean, though it starts fairly smooth. It gains a roughness and astringency. It ends with lots of graininess, and it can't quite seem to figure out whether it's sweet or dry.

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Photo of Tripel_Threat
2.92/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

2.29 bomber from Trader Joe's, one of a triplet I brought home (along with Chocolate Stout and Double I.P.A.). It's been two strikes for Minhas so far, let's see how HLV stacks up.

Pours a dark, dark brown into pilsner glass, with tons of carbonation, like the Chocolate Stout. Looks more like soda pop than beer, except for the large, thick, creamy head. Pretty awesome retention. I let it warm for a bit. No lacing. The carbonation settles, letting an orange/brown color shine through. Dozens of small bubbles slowly make their way upwards through the brew. If anything, HLV is pretty attractive looking. Looks thick.

Smell is malt. Sweet.

Taste is, yep, sweet malt, some booze, and a hop bite on the back end. Mouthfeel is thick, much thicker than their stout.

Finally a winner from Minhas. Not earth-shaking, and not something I'm going to go around singing the praises of, but 2.29 gets you a damn fine ale here.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
2.6/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Pours an almost opaque super dark orange-brown with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, brown sugar, citrus fruit, and citrus zest aromas. Taste is much the same with toast, brown sugar, candied citrus zest, and intense metallic flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of earth bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and sticky mouthfeel. Overall, this is a poor beer with a surprisingly nice aroma, but the metallic flavors I am getting are really odd and pretty much ruin the drinkability for me.

Serving type: bottle.

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Photo of RDB51
3.53/5  rDev +6.6%
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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Boatswain H.L.V. Ale (Heavy Lift Vessel) from Minhas Craft Brewery
Beer rating: 78 out of 100 with 305 ratings