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Draft Notes

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Archive for the category “Wisconsin”

Boatswain Chocolate Stout

This is only my 30th review on Draft Notes, but the one review which gets the most views is Boatswain Double IPA Twin Screw Steamer. So, not Bells Hopslam or a Cigar City beer, Boatswain! Ok, to clue in those who are unaware, Boatswain beers are brewed by Minhas Brewery in Wisconsin and sold at Trader Joes for $1.99 for a 22oz bottle. Basically this is the beer counterpart of their famous “Two Buck Chuck” wine. Like I was when I first tried the double IPA, people are curious. Therefore, today I will be reviewing Boatswain Chocolate Stout.Boatswain Choc Stout Label

This Chocolate Stout weighs in at 5.4% ABV and 66 IBUs. The label states they use cocoa powder in the brewing process which is fairly common, but for the calorie counters out there, you should know that powder have a fairly high fat content compared to those using syrups or cocoa nibs.

I am going to be tasting this beer in a standard beer mug, poured from the 22oz bottle.

Boatswain Choc Stout w GlassAppearance is midnight black with a British khaki head.

Aromas are chocolate and roasted barley. Not much else and those present are fairly light.

Tastes like those aromas with the chocolate dominating and that roasted barley peeking in. I also pick up some coffee as dull bitterness rolls of the tongue.

Mouth feel is slightly chalky, medium body, and a moderate amount of carbonation.

Overall this beer is easy drinking and if I take the price tag in account, not a bad buy. It just doesn’t have a whole lot of anything that sticks out. Nothing bad, nothing great, needs more flavor. I will rate Boatswain Chocolate Stout 2.75 mugs out of 5 on the Draft Notes Scale. Boatswain Choc Stout Head

Give it a try, but I suggest paying a couple of dollars more for something like Young’s Double Chocolate Stout ($4.99 17oz) or Rogue Chocolate Stout ($6.99 22oz).

If you are interested in the cocoa type discussion (Powder, Nibs, Syrup,or bar), I thought this was a pretty good article and probably helpful for home brewers: http://allaboutbeer.com/learn-beer/home-brewing/recipes/2010/01/brewing-with-cocoa/

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Boatswain Double IPA Twin Screw Steamer

As I was waiting in line to check out at Trader Joes I noticed a couple of 22 ounce beers staring me down amongst the chocolates, granola bars, and other “impulse buy” items surrounding the checkout line. Trader Joes is well-known for their cheap but quality wine – 3 Buck Chuck, so I decide that a Double IPA for $1.99 is worth a try. The beer is brewed for Trader Joes by Rhinelander Brewing Company in Monroe, Wisconsin; however, when you look on their website the Boatswain labels are nowhere to be seen.  I have also read it is by Minhas Brewery which is also in Monroe, so I assume these two are somehow related. It is now fairly common to see these larger chains contracting a brewery or winery to produce their own label of beer or wine (Costco and Whole Foods for example). Trader Joes actually has a few personalized brands/brews like Name Tag Lager and Trader Jose’s all sold at very low prices covering a variety of styles.

Botswain 2IPA Bottle

This particular beer is the Boatswain Double IPA Twin Screw Steamer and it weighs in at 8.4% ABV. As mentioned earlier it is 22 ounce bomber at a cost of $1.99. My last Imperial/Double IPA reviewed a few weeks back, Oskar Blues Deviant Dale, was one of favorites to date so it has quite a bit to measure up to.

The beer pours to reveal a brilliant copper color with fairly minimal tan head which recedes almost immediately. The smell is very nice with the obvious hops for an IPA. Grapefruit and pineapple aromas combined with a very present malt give it quite a sweet smell which actually overpowers the hops.  The taste once again starts you off with the obvious IPA hops, citrus, piney tastes. The alcohol taste is present, but not overwhelming due to the malt over powering most of the flavors giving it a sweet finish. The mouth feel is chewy and dense with very small bubbles of carbonation. Overall, this IPA reminds me more of an English style than American as the hops seem to be earthier than the American floral hops; however, it may just be that malt masking the true aromas. Given the price point of $2, I think this is a good buy and well worth a try. Measuring it up against other Double IPAs I will have to give 3 Mugs out of 5 on the Draft Notes scale.

Next time you are at Trader Joes, don’t be afraid to try this and their other labels as they have prided themselves on high quality with low prices in all their products. While trying to find some information on Trader Joe’s beers, I ran across a nice and simple beer style guide which I would like to share. Check it out at: http://www.traderjoes.com/guides/beer-styles.asp#1.

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