1. Don't miss our 7th annual American Craft Beer Fest featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers this May 30 & 31 in Boston, MA! Buy your tickets now!
  2. BeerAdvocate on your phone?! True story. Try the beta now.

Shipyard Prelude Special Ale - Shipyard Brewing Co.

Shipyard Prelude Special AleShipyard Prelude Special Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

457 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 457
Reviews: 278
rAvg: 3.75
pDev: 13.87%

Brewed by:
Shipyard Brewing Co. visit their website
Maine, United States

Style | ABV
Winter Warmer |  6.70% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: taez555 on 02-27-2001)
View: Beers (41) |  Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Reviewers | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Shipyard Prelude Special Ale Alström Bros
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Ratings: 457 | Reviews: 278 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of CHickman

New York

3.61/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Had it on tap at Crossroads in East Northport, NY; pours clear red with a small tannish head that faded quickly and left minimal lacing.

Smells and tastes of malt, brown sugar, allspice, coriander, roasted grains, caramel and light yeast; overall spicy and malty with a hint of floral hops.

Mouthfeel is average with a medium body, average carbonation and an almost dry finish that is spicy and malty sweet like a blast of caramel.

Overall it was a nice winter beer that did not have the excessive spices that ruin some winter ales; good, but not one I'd seek out or have more than one in a session as this style is one I seem to only have because it’s winter and it’s there.

Serving type: on-tap

12-28-2013 00:01:47 | More by CHickman
Photo of Amgarnier


4.18/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Dark brown with a one finger foamy head that sticks to the glass, but quickly dissipates. dissipates.

S: Significant butterscotch aroma

T: Strong nutty malt flavor balanced with a hop background. Hints of chocolate.

M: Full body turning into a warm but not hot feeling. Medium-High carbonation.

O: Great winter warmer.

Serving type: bottle

12-23-2013 02:39:13 | More by Amgarnier
Photo of Cavanaghty


3.61/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Dark brown with a thin beige head. No lacing on the glass.

Smell: Alcohol, Malts, nutty.

Mouthfeel/Taste: A little rough, medium bodied. Taste nutty with malts and strong alcohol.

Overall: This is an ok brew. Good for warming up on a cold snowy day.

Serving type: bottle

12-15-2013 22:36:58 | More by Cavanaghty
Photo of Omnium


3.73/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle > Pint Glass

A - Cloudy dark amber with two fingers of tan head, thick bubbly lacing.
S - Cinnamon, nice roasted malt, toasted caramel, a little nutty.
T - Very sweet malt, lots of spice, and some herbal bitterness.
M - Medium feel, bubly carbonation.
O - Decent beer, the aroma is very nice, but flavor does not follow up.

Serving type: bottle

12-14-2013 22:27:12 | More by Omnium
Photo of puboflyons

New Hampshire

3.99/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

From the 12 fl. oz. dated November 2013. Sampled on October 22, 2013.

The color is a vaguely hazy medium brown-amber with a full off-white head that settles back after a moment or two.

The aroma is subtle but inviting with its caramel malts, nutmeg, and peppery spices, and clean crisp hops. It smells like it would warm me up.

The body is medium.

The taste has a slightly more bitter after effect than the aroma might suggest but the caramel and holiday spices punch it up a bit. I am a fan of Shipyard brews and I look forward to this one each year. I can't believe I had not reviewed it until 2013!

Serving type: bottle

10-22-2013 21:07:52 | More by puboflyons
Photo of Why-P-A


3.79/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: An interesting medium brown color, pouring in a pint glass yields a light head that dissipates quickly.

S: Lovely sweet malts on the nose with minimal hop aroma, mildly alcoholic, and no real sense of added spices that often define this style.

T: Lots of malt body combined with subtle flavor of oats, prunes, and molasses. Noticeable hop bitterness which was not evident on the nose helps to balance the finish at the end.

M: Quite smooth, not overpowering and the beer leaves a fairly neutral and pleasant mouth feel.

O: This has some of the traditional flavors of an old or strong ale but the ABV and esters are more muted. Very drinkable, especially in colder weather, or as a nightcap.

Serving type: bottle

07-03-2013 02:39:20 | More by Why-P-A
Photo of BurgeoningBrewhead


3.41/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from twist-off bottle into becker pint glass. Pours deep garnet red with a thin cap of loose foam that fades quickly to a loose rim of bubbles, leaving some lacing on the glass. Smells like...vinegar? Upon a second examination as it warms I can tell that that smell is more butterscotch. Taste is strong sweet malts, surprisingly a bit boozy for the relatively low % (at least compared to other "stronger" beers), and a bit of hop bitterness at the end coupled with leftover spiciness. Not sure if I enjoy this style, but it'd definitely be more enjoyable on a cold winter night (instead of the middle of June).

Serving type: bottle

06-09-2013 02:16:05 | More by BurgeoningBrewhead
Photo of viverlee


2.8/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

There’s no way it’s just 6.7% ABV. I won’t believe it.

Here’s a simple rule, for Winter Warmers, Doubles, Imperials and other Strong Ales: Beer shouldn’t sear your nostrils or your mouth. What’s really at fault here are my expectations and the thought that here’s supposed to be a warming booziness. Instead for some reason it’s cold. Real cold that shoots straight from the glass up the nose and doesn’t improve with the first or second sip.

Toffee, pomegranate juice and rubbing alcohol mix awkwardly in a fine mahogany glaze.

It’s Chimay Première without the distribution or the flavor.

Beeradvocate Rating: 85

ratebeer Rating: 73

Hayward Abbey Rating: 72

Serving type: bottle

02-27-2013 03:20:15 | More by viverlee
Photo of mttaylor1066


4.31/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A very good American winter warmer. Not a must-buy but worth buying by the six pack.

Appearance: Brown mahogany body with red highlights. A persistent head that laces nicely down the side of the glass.

Smell : Light malt on the nose with some floral hop notes. Doesn't really set you up for the taste, but it is rather pleasant.

Taste : A mix of biscuit malt and pomegranates... no winter spices that I could pick out but the sweet malt mixes nicely with the hop bitterness and the fruity flavors carry nicely through on the tongue. Delicious holiday stuff!

Mouthfeel : Not as full as I would expect for a winter ale, but not terribly disappointing either.

Serving type: bottle

01-30-2013 21:28:51 | More by mttaylor1066
Photo of DrDemento456


3.55/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

A - Pours a deep rich red amber with a 1/2 inch of opaque colored head.

S - Smells mostly like an old ale, caramel malts and some pecans highlight.

T - Mostly tastes of caramel and toffee flavors with a slight herbal hop and a metallic/copper twang. If not for that hard water taste it would be pretty decent.

M - Medium to heavy but expected for the style.

Overall not that great of a winter warmer which is what I expected from Shipyard.

Serving type: bottle

01-10-2013 18:57:45 | More by DrDemento456
Photo of Oakenator


4.03/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown with a hint of amber. Ample head at pour disappates to a rim around the glass. Nice lacing. Smell is malty and slight alcohol presence via nose. Taste has lots going on - malty sweetness maybe mixed in with some plum, nuts (pecan or other richer nut), and a trace of smoke. Quality beer for a cold day.

Serving type: bottle

01-06-2013 20:40:03 | More by Oakenator
Photo of Retta123


3.28/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

serving: on tap

appearance: dark golden brown

mouthfeel: high carbonation, bitter

Taste: I could only taste a strong note of honey. Nothing else came to mind

Overall: a bit too sweet and just not right for me. It was okay. I would drink this again, but it wouldn't be my first choice

Serving type: on-tap

01-06-2013 04:27:15 | More by Retta123
Photo of vtisme


4.95/5  rDev +32%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

From the bottle poured into a snifter
A - Amber, brown, moderate lacing, the head remains forever!
S - Dark cherry, sweet chocolate
T - Toffee, caramel, hidden chocolate hops come through on the back end
M - perfect! this baby is smooth!
Simply fantastic! One of the, if not the, best winter style beers I can get in the area!

Serving type: bottle

01-02-2013 00:19:53 | More by vtisme
Photo of chinchill

South Carolina

3.83/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle dated best before Nov. 2013.

Pours a deep clear mahogany with a small, short-lived tan head; nonetheless decent lacing was left on my snifter. Aroma is rather light and subtle but this is a flavorful ale. The nose is rather sweet with a clear note of vanilla and some fruitiness over the malts. The flavor is sweet up front, balanced in the finish, and mildly bitter in the lingering vanilla-tinted, aftertaste which suggests roasted nuts and dark bread with a trace of cinnamon. Medium-full, smooth, warming feel. Higher ABV not hidden.

O: a well-crafted winter warmer that is not overly spiced, too sweet, or boozy.

Serving type: bottle

12-29-2012 00:54:12 | More by chinchill
Photo of bmwats


4.05/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz glass into a standard pint.

A: Pours dark copper and sits medium brown. Pours about a 1 finger, frothy, whitish head. Doesn't fully disintegrate but leaves a slight but consistent blanket of foam, and an elevated ring buildup. Thick, substantial lacing.

S: Light bready malt with just a touch of hops. Fresh tea leaves, butterscotch, and just a hint of orange. Buttery and fruity.

T: Slightly sweet, slightly hoppy, slightly malty...masterfully well-balanced. Light earthy malt, with a moderate hop bite, with the tea from the nose coming in late. Some black licorice, a little pecan shell in there, a touch of honey, I think a little ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg, and some indistinct savory spice notes, too.

M: Crisp, but syrupy feel. A little hoppy in the front, and a little sweet in the finish.... light bittersweet character of pecan shells all the way through, and lingers throughout the experience. Strong alcohol character.

D: This thing goes down without a fight, but you'll want to wash it around and enjoy.

Atmosphere is really good, here. Dark hue, solid frothy head, and lots of lacing which holds court throughout the experience. Nose is an excellent combination of malt, hops, nuts, zesty fruit, and savory spice components. Slightly sweet with a complimentary hop balance. Complex combination of nuts, sweet, and savory spice. Overall, this is a really good quaff.

Serving type: bottle

12-21-2012 05:01:11 | More by bmwats
Photo of hosehead83


3.88/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz. bottle into a standard pint glass.
Dark tea color, with a big cap of light tan foam.
Aroma-Faint toasted malt
Taste-Toasted malt, subtle cinnamon, caramel, nutty. A nice little hop bite comes around in the mix. An easy-drinking, pleasant seasonal offering.

Serving type: bottle

12-10-2012 23:12:13 | More by hosehead83
Photo of rev3rb


2.85/5  rDev -24%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottom Line Up Front: This winter ale is a malty ale and is a unique beer within it's style.

Decanted 12oz bottle into a snifter.

Appearance: I loved how this ale looked. Dark amber ale with a pillow white head that has nice lacing around the glass.

Smell: Aromas of bread and dark fruit (raisins). Almost smells a bit sweet.

Taste: My first (and continued) impression is that I immediately notice a buttery diacetyl taste. I'm assuming this is on purpose, otherwise I got a bad 6-pack if this wasn't supposed to be the case. Once past the buttery taste there is some malt sweetness and some caramel. If there were hops they were masked by the malty and buttery character of the beer.

Mouthfeel: It has the right amount of carbonation for this style. This beer coated my mouth and left a lingering aftertaste. It has a medium body.

Overall: The appearance of the beer drew me in, but there wasn't really anything in this beer that kept me interested. The buttery taste for me was not a positive characteristic of this beer. I think it's worth buying once to experience as I'm sure other people would find this beer good.

Serving type: bottle

12-09-2012 18:57:14 | More by rev3rb
Photo of warrenout330


3.53/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle pour

A- pours a deep amber color,see through in the light.... off white colored head... thick and fluffy, reduces to thick ring around the beer....

S- strong caramel smell, slight candied fruit lingering

T- slightly close to taste, you get a smooth caramel, light hints of figs and caramelized raisins... a faint metallic taste that disappears due to the balance of hops

M- slick and crisp at the same time ... oily body, moderate carbonation... mild hop bite for balance

O- this is good... but I wish it was a tad bigger. It almost teases me in the sense of a old ale but tuned down for a decent price for the customer.... nice price and easy drinking bit nothing to brag about

Serving type: bottle

12-09-2012 06:09:01 | More by warrenout330
Photo of BB1313


2.63/5  rDev -29.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass. Pours a transparent auburn with a fluffy off-white head and very sticky lacing. Great looking beer here. The aromas are full of diacetyl. Warm butter blended with some caramel malts. There's a nuttiness going on in the aromas and flavors as well. Also some hints of cocoa powder and chocolate malts. There's a nice subtle bitterness in the flavors. Lots of dark fruits like raisins and plums. There's some toffee in the mix as well. Flavors aren't horrible, but it's all one note and there's not too much complexity going on. Mouthfeel is very nice. It's light, somewhat watery, but still has a solid body to it. The carbonation is spot on making this an easy drinking beer. Alcohol goes unnoticed.

Boring beer for the most part. This was my first time having it and I highly doubt I'd seek it out again.

Serving type: bottle

11-30-2012 01:28:52 | More by BB1313
Photo of GarthDanielson

North Carolina

4/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured on-tap and served in a tumbler pint, the beer is a vibrant, ruby-brown coloring with a thin, filmy, off-white head that is thin and clingy. Aromas of nut sweet and biscuit, with a strong caramel and toffee profile, also. Flavors are rich and roasty, with a boozey highlight. Toffee and tangy caramel blend with a subtle all-spice spicing. Rich, full bodied with a crisp, slightly effervescent finish and feel. Rich, slightly boozey aftertaste. Very strong, solid brew.

Serving type: on-tap

11-11-2012 23:28:39 | More by GarthDanielson
Photo of croixian1


4.45/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Ready for your taste-buds to go into flavor overload? Chocolate, pine nuts, roasted pecans, chocolate-malt flavors and aromas as well as an almost merlot-wine taste. Highly dimensional and well crafted beer.
Deep, cloudy amber in color with roasted nuts and chocolate on the nose. I'll definitely be back for more.

Serving type: bottle

10-17-2012 19:37:13 | More by croixian1
Photo of flagmantho


3.9/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle into a pint glass. Best by November 2012.

Appearance: rich amber-orange hue with a clear body and a good effervescence. Head is a finger of pillowy ivory foam. I like it.

Smell: mild caramel malt aroma. Clean, but a bit one-note.

Taste: nice flavor of toasted malt; quite nutty and caramelly. There's a little bit of dry biscuit in here, but I think it works well; toffee notes round out the malt character. Bitterness is surprisingly high toward the end, and helps punctuate the maltiness nicely. I like it.

Mouthfeel: medium-light body with a good level of carbonation and concomitant creaminess. Quite good.

Overall: I really like the taste of this winter warmer. I would definitely have this again.

Serving type: bottle

08-14-2012 01:52:17 | More by flagmantho
Photo of undeadozzy


3.88/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a deep dark brown with a thick off-white head. Leaves some lacing on the glass, but the head and the lacing disappear after a few moments.

S - Picking up on some fig, maybe some prune or dark fruit. Maybe a little bit of bran muffin and pumpernickel bread. Very dark scented, but it is to be expected with the style, so it excels in that category.

T - Dark bread on the first taste, followed up by some sweet sticky dark fruit. Prune, raisin, fig in a huge wallop on the end, kind of unexpected based on the first taste but a good start. Would've liked it to have a little more bitter element in it, but it's not bad for what it is.

M - I've had a few other winter warmers and I've noticed that they were very thick and syrupy, almost like a beer gravy. This on the other hand is kinda not, it feels fine for just an average beer, but it doesn't have that aggressive thickness that most beers of this style have.

O - Not a bad beer by any means, it is actually a very tasty beer, but not one of the best representations of the style. I've had better winter warmers, but I am by no means bashing Shipyard, as they produce many high quality beers. I do enjoy a winter warmer every now and again, but as much as I enjoy Shipyard's beers, I believe I'll stay clear of this one unless no other viable option is available.

Serving type: bottle

06-28-2012 05:08:46 | More by undeadozzy
Photo of BucannonXC5


3.78/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22-oz. bomber into a pint glass. About a finger of head. Color was reddish brown, almost mahogany. Light gray lacing on the top that dissipated fast. The occasional film on the sides.

Smelled roasty, toasty, caramel malts and some toffee. Reminded me of a Newcastle.

Tasted very malty. Roasty, nutty, caramel, toffee, all light across. Still like a Newcastle, not like that is necessarily a bad thing.

Medium body. Slick texture. Average carbonation. Surprisingly long finish. Smooth and consistent.

Not a bad beer, it had its moments. I’d probably try it again on a cold winter day on the East Coast.

Serving type: bottle

04-28-2012 07:44:23 | More by BucannonXC5
Photo of BrownNut


3.48/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Dark copper. Soapy-looking head that lingers. Loads of lingering lace.

S - Clean and malty

T - Somewhat boozy. Malty in a kind of watery way. A hint of bitterness, more like the char variety than the hop variety, which makes for some dryness on the exhale. That saves it from being really ordinary otherwise. Not really getting the winter warmer spices, though I wonder if drinking a winter warmer in April has anything to do with that.

M - A little soft and finishes a little dry.

O - There's a welcome thing or two that keep this from being totally bland, but there isn't enough of interest here for me to buy it again.

Serving type: bottle

04-05-2012 23:12:16 | More by BrownNut
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Shipyard Prelude Special Ale from Shipyard Brewing Co.
85 out of 100 based on 457 ratings.