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RATINGS: 195   WEIGHTED AVG: 3   IBU: 79   EST. CALORIES: 210   ABV: 7%
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1.3
   AROMA 3/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 2/10   PALATE 1/5   OVERALL 4/20
GT2 (8380) - San Diego County, California, USA - FEB 25, 2012
651mL thanks to Alex. Pours deep maroon looking black in the glass with a larger, tan head. Not bad retention wise. Suddy looking lace. Nose is sweet raisin, slight brown sugar, moderate old stickiness. Lots of oxidized red apple and old cidery character. Leave this out just for a minute or so and it gains tremendous acetaldehyde and old apple slices. Taste is ultra metallic with cloying old sweetness. Astringent bitterness in the background with old apple juice overlaid. Really, very impressive to make such a complexly terrible beer. Nice job.

2.3
   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 4/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 9/20
Dragonfly1 (493) - Colorado, USA - FEB 25, 2012
Bottle, Trader Joe’s. Label is Boatswain Heavy Lift Vessel. Pours dark ruby red with a nutty sweet aroma. Taste is INCREDIBLY sweet. There are hints of chocolate, mocha, almonds, but holy cow is this sugary sweet. Dial down the sugar and this would be a winner given the other flavors, but can’t get past the cloying taste here. Like drinking a smoky sweet tea with a few extra packets of Equal thrown in. I need a nap...

2.5
   AROMA 4/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 6/20
tomhenderson (166) - Charlotte, North Carolina, USA - FEB 24, 2012
Bomber of Trader Joe’s labeled as Boatswain HLV. My scores are based on this being called a(n American) Brown. Pours a beautiful dark brown with ruby highlights, very clear, thin tan head persists. Aroma has lots of sweet dark fruits like prunes and raisins, with a moderate amount of alcohol wisps. Taste is similar and with dark crystal and roast malts. Thankfully there’s enough bittering hops to offset what would otherwise be cloyingly sweet malt, but otherwise hop presence takes a back seat to the malt show. Alcohol borders on being boozy and hot. Solidly medium body appropriate for style. This isn’t a bad beer, but for me, it’s time to look for something else if I had been expecting an American Brown.

1.7
   AROMA 3/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 3/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 6/20
backdaft (215) - Menasha Red Light District, Wisconsin, USA - FEB 19, 2012
UPDATED: FEB 23, 2012 Bomber. Pours a deep dark brown body with a good beige head. Sweet roasted chocolate malts with faint earthy hops. Mild carbonation with a pronounced alcoholic finish. Not very smooth for what it wants to be.

2.1
   AROMA 4/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 4/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 8/20
FunkyBrewster (1518) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - FEB 15, 2012
Bottle . Pouts deep amber. Smells sweet and candy. Tastes lightly fruity with more sweet bread and caramel note, boozy as well. Medium body and soft carbonation. Bad beer

3.4
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
heemer77 (5099) - Urbandale, Iowa, USA - FEB 13, 2012
Rating as Boatswain HLV from Trader Joe’s. A deep garnet colored brew with some brown when not held to light. A boozy nose with some caramel and almonds. There is also some peaches and cocoa. This big boy tastes of peaches and cocoa. There is also some light tobacco in the finish along with some booze. A thick body and a long lasting cocoa aftertaste. Decent, but definitely a sipper.

2.9
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 11/20
seymour (1414) - Maplewood, Missouri, USA - FEB 10, 2012
Sold at Trader Joe’s as Boatswain H.L.V. Ale. Tasted from 1pt 9oz bottle into a nucleated pint glass. Poured an opaque, dark brown color with creamy tan head, not long-lasting but a little lace left behind. Very roasty aroma, almost like a porter, with hints of caramel, toffee, molasses, burnt toast, faint fruity hops and ale yeast esters, hot alcohol. Flavor was malty, tart, toasty, roasty, mild chocolate and coffee, still not a lot of hops. Medium body, low carbonation, thin and watery mouthfeel, a fairly unpleasant boozy aftertaste. Reminded me a little of Turbodog or Smithwicks, but not nearly as smooth and complex, and not really any hoppier, either. The bottle states 80 IBU which is totally ridiculous. Significantly hoppier than say, Stone IPA or Lagunitas Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’? Stuff and nonsense.

2.8
   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 11/20
dougdecinces (118) - Indianapolis, Indiana, USA - FEB 7, 2012
Bottle from TJ’s. I got it more for the price than anything. Pours a cola-brown, with a small head that dissipated rather quickly.Smells mostly of toffee and bittersweet chocolate. Candied sugar on the aftertaste. Also slightly toasty and roasty. It tastes sweet with some chocolate and roastiness and resiny hops stickiness on the aftertaste. Having slowly drank this beer for about 20 minutes now, I remember the problem I have with Black IPA’s and Imperial Browns. They lack the drinkability of an IPA and the complexity and nuance of an Imperial Stout or Barleywine. Instead my palate is getting exhausted with not too much to gain from it.

3.2
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
DrnkMcDermott (2793) - Downers Grove, Illinois, USA - JAN 25, 2012
22 oz. bottle for $1.99 at Trader Joe’s, named Rhinelander Boatswain Heavy Lift Vessel Ale. The lure is just too great: a $2 beer at 7% abv that’s not a malt liquor. Blackish-brown pour. I used a straighter-sided St. Pauli Girl dimpled mug, so it kicked up a lot of tan foam. Smell tends more toward a chocolate malt porter, and it’s pretty appealing. Now I do suggest there’s a bit of corn here, but it doesn’t add that solventy malt liquor taste. First thing I get is a bit of English hop spice. Taste is actually dry at first, then warms up and sweetens. Slightly grainy background makes this interesting. But too strong to be calling itself a brown ale.

2.6
   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 9/20
ChainGangGuy (4366) - Marietta, Georgia, USA - JAN 25, 2012
22 ounce bottle - $2.29 at Trader Joe’s in Roswell, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours a dark brown body, yielding hints of garnet against the light, underneath a tall, sudsy, beige head.

Smell: Roasty, chocolaty malts, though they’re not at all effusive, nor is the scent particularly inviting. Slight dark fruitiness alongside a sting of wafting alcoholic fumes.

Taste: Roasted malt, some light, lackluster bittersweet chocolate. Lowly sweet. Scant fruitiness. Not too terribly much hop flavor, though the bitterness is there. A bit of a flat taste with a singe of alcohol from the first sip onward. Dry, malty, warm finish. Lingering nuttiness and spirits in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Overall: I’ve appreciated the Trader Joe brews (Mission Street series and the yearly Vintage Ale) for being fairly decent and always getting a decent bang for your buck, but this one wasn’t particularly enjoyable at all. It didn’t satisfying in the malt or hop department, delivering instead a cutting alcohol presence.


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