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

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

Brewed by:
Minhas Craft Brewery
Wisconsin, United States | website

Style: American Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by smcolw on 12-17-2011

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Reviews: 81 | Ratings: 250
Photo of hreb
2.87/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

22oz bottle served in pint glass. Beer pours dark brown with a hint of red, and a medium head, lighter brown in color. Aroma is big and malty, but slightly estery.

First sip shows a big malt bill, with caramely notes and a little bit of roast. Unfortunately it goes on to reveal serious flaws. Slightly spicy (not necessarily bad), but also cloying sweetness (bad) on top of rotting fruit (worse). Unlike the other Boatswain beers I've tried recently, there's definitely some flavor in here, unfortunately it's not very good, even if it gives the impression the guys at Rhinelander tried...though not too hard. Well, maybe considering the price. Oh well, I've learned not to be disappointed.

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Photo of Flightoficarus
3.15/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Never seen this brewery before, but decided to give this one a shot due to the very cheap price. Let's see how $1.99 fares!

A - Pours a deep, almost porter like dark brown, with a minimal tan/off-white head, that leaves moderate lacing.

S - Smell is of faint caramel, roasted malts, and a slight metallic scent. Not much of a strong scent for a stronger beer, strangely.

T - Taste is of sweet, bready roasted malts and caramel, nuts, and a slight hop balance in the finish. The overall flavors are good, but the malt heavily dominates over the hops, if a bit too much so (cloying sweetness).

M - Full bodied, with mild carbonation, and a slick, smooth feel overall.

O - Overall, I wasn't expecting a game changer for $1.99, but for the money, it's not bad. If you're looking for a super malty beer, this one may be worth a shot.

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Photo of Chadhowie
4.16/5  rDev +26.8%
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 SolaceBrewing
2.84/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 2.75

22 oz bottle from Trader Joe's

Appearance - dark red/brown; head disappears in about a minute; clear

Aroma - slightly malty; no detectable hop aroma

Flavor - sweet, light toasted malt, and light-medium hop bitterness; slight alcohol burn in the finish; little to no hop flavor

Mouthfeel - good carbonation level; balanced and smooth on the tongue

Overall - about what I would expect for a $2 beer; a decent strong brown ale; nothing noteworthy but nothing horrible; after drinking a bottle of this, the lasting bitterness and alochol bite in absence of anything else means I wouldn't buy it again

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Photo of TheMarkE
3.35/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Not bad. An American strong ale brewed by Rhinelander for Trader Joe’s, it’s a great value at only $1.99 for a 650 ml bottle. Dark malts, plenty of hops, and a 7% ABV, what more do you need? Don’t expect something that tastes like it came from Dogfish Head or Lagunitas and you won’t be disappointed.

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Photo of LXIXME
3.48/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A medium or slightly larger light brown to tan head dies into a big lacing above a clear dark reddish to off brown colored beer.

Light alcohol seems to undermine dark roasted malts, light darker spices, maybe raisins or dates, and an earthy grain aroma.

Watery dark fruits seem to overpower the lighter dark roasted grains coming through in the taste of this H.L.V.

A slightly wet aftertaste with a light dry wine taste lingering on with this mediumish bodied 7% alcohol beer.

A few different tastes coming through with this beer, at the price per 22 ounce bottle of this stuff its a very worthy try, although I don't think I'll make this my regular drink.

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Photo of TWM
3.49/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'll start with the obvious- this is biased by the fact that I like dark ales, love beers with caramel notes and love a beer that is priced reasonably.

22oz bottle; poured smoothly and formed a large head that persisted. The head lasted so long that frankly I couldn't really smell anything; almost like a lid on the beer keeping the aroma trapped in. Color dark brown, reddish tone with the light behind it. Taste hit my favorite notes- richness, just enough sweetness to balance the bitterness. Not very hoppy; could have stood a little more but not much. Definitely avoided the trap so many strong ales fall into of overwhelming the malts and flavors of the yeast by hopping the daylights out of the brew.

Taste and mouthfeel were good and consistent as the beer warmed from 50 or so up to room temp. Only thing I would focus on as a negative is that I would prefer a few more volatiles that carry the flavor through my nose and would have made the taste a little more complex.

Not sure the issues other folks had with the head- perhaps the brewer has a bit much variation in the batches?

Overall a great value for the quality. Not the best beer of this type, but I'm happy and will come back to it at some point. Just poured the rest of the 22oz bottle into my glass, and looking forwards to it!

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Photo of BeerKangaroo
3.68/5  rDev +12.2%
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 johnnnniee
3.33/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a solid dark brown with ruby highlights when held to light and a huge tan head that persists forever. Smells of toffee and brown sugar with an earthy mineral edge to provide some balance. Light caramel and a hint of chocolate round out the nose. The flavor is a bit sweet with a heavy toffee and caramel up front. There's a weird back and forth between malt and earthy mineral and metallic flavors that sustains for most of the flavor curve. Medium body with a moderate level of carbonation and a sweet mineral water mouthfeel. Not a bad beer, and it grew on me a bit after it warmed up. I probably wouldn't try it again, but thanks for the opportunity Dave.

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Photo of Aaron_Ramson
3.23/5  rDev -1.5%
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.

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Photo of yuichituba
3.56/5  rDev +8.5%
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 MoreThanWine
3.7/5  rDev +12.8%
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 LiquidAmber
3.47/5  rDev +5.8%
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.

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Photo of timjg14
1.82/5  rDev -44.5%
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).

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Photo of chinchill
3.75/5  rDev +14.3%
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 wedge
2.91/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Clear dark chestnut under a slender off-white head. Smells kind of, 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.

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Photo of Sammy
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.

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Photo of Ryan011235
2.33/5  rDev -29%
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.

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Photo of jonB
3.25/5  rDev -0.9%
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.

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Photo of TheSixthRing
3.17/5  rDev -3.4%
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.

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Photo of beerme626
3.3/5  rDev +0.6%
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.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
3.29/5  rDev +0.3%
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.

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Photo of mactrail
3.11/5  rDev -5.2%
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.

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Photo of 5thOhio
3.5/5  rDev +6.7%
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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Photo of BEERchitect
3.13/5  rDev -4.6%
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.

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Boatswain H.L.V. Ale (Heavy Lift Vessel) from Minhas Craft Brewery
76 out of 100 based on 81 ratings.
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