Shipyard Prelude Special Ale - Shipyard Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Shipyard Prelude Special AleShipyard Prelude Special Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

533 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 533
Reviews: 285
rAvg: 3.75
pDev: 13.87%
Wants: 11
Gots: 30 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Shipyard Brewing Co. visit their website
Maine, United States

Style | ABV
Winter Warmer |  6.70% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: taez555 on 02-27-2001

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (47) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 533 | Reviews: 285
Reviews by WrathsU:
Photo of WrathsU
3.16/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - Clear, deep amber bodied. Thin off-white head with moderate retention. No lacing.

S - Tart (almost vinegary) smell up front, caramel hints, slight fruity ester stands out apart from the other aromas.

T - Malty and caramel up front. It almost tastes like a gruit in a sense. Slight tartness is also in the taste. Very slight alcohol taste.

M - Medium bodied. Carbonation levels are nice. Slight alcohol burn.

O - A different tasting beer. The spices aren't anything I can place. Not quite appealing to me, but I can see how it might appeal to other's tastes.

More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
4/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a roasted nut brown with a tinge of burnt orange,a fliffy off white head atop.A nice mix of roasted nuts,vanilla,cinnamon,and fruitiness in the nose,well rounded malt complexity.Roasty and even a little raw earthy on the palate,very light sweetness with some vanilla and cinnamon-like qualities in the back end.I tried this a few years back and I don't recall liking it as much as I do now,its a solid well rounded winter warmer that is not overly spiced and/or sweet.

Photo of elinash
3.42/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

It pours a translucent amber with a few dispersed soapy bubbles hanging out for a while.
The aroma is nutty, husky, and I think I detect a little plastic, though it might be too cold.
Mouthfeel is soft and pillowy, but it starts out a little spritzy like the first sip of a soda.
Taste is initially bitter and tart. That fades for a second allowing some fruit in, but hops kick in and it finishes pretty hoppy for a winter warmer.
I liked a few others this season above Prelude, but I had heard good things about years past, so I will try it again next year, or see how it is with a little age.

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

Dark reddish-brown color with a good head. A pleasant spicy smell to it, in contrast to their Pumpkinhead. It has a hoppy-spicy-chocolate flavor, which is very appealing. A good feel in my mouth. An excellent seasonal beer.

I also didn't know it was 7.5% ABV until a local pub told me I had to have a smaller serving because of the alcohol content. Tou'd never tell by it's taste.

Photo of Jason
4.4/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12oz brown long neck twist off with a best enjoyed before date clearly marked.

Appearance: Clear and bright dark garnet colour with a cake like head that floats on top and leaves lace all over.

Smell: Big aroma of butterscotch ... on the sweet side with hints of floral hop. There is even a touch of chocolate in the nose ... smells like ice cream drowning in butterscotch and a little hot fudge.

Taste: Silky smooth with a buttery malty mouth feel. Full bodied and rich in flavour with a biscuity and caramel malt sweetness ... there is even a hint of chocolate more towards the finish. Sizeable fresh juicy fruit falvour in the middle amonst the esters. Just enough hops to cut into the big malt character ... hop seem to linger for a bit. Residual sugar in the end with a leaf like hop flavour on the side and remnants of the buttery diacetyl.

Notes: Lots of great winter ales to come from the NE ... this one surely sits somewhere on the best of the best list.

Photo of tigg924
3.6/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: 1 inch head, clear, leather brown in color, moderate carbonation

Smell: toasted malt, alcohol, and wood

Taste: toasted malt, hops, and finished oak

Mouthfeel: smooth, light bodied, slightly bitter

Drinkability: One of Shipyard's better beers. I get a huge dose of finished oak. I could have two of these.

Photo of uconnalum2
3.53/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a perfectly clear, dark reddish-brown with a big tan head. Aroma is a little fruity with a hint of alcohol. The taste becomes softer and more rounded as it warms. Its slightly sweet at first but then turns bitter with a little alcoholic finish. The alcohol provides a nice warming effect. Mouthfeel is quite smooth. Drinkability is good but I wouldn't go beyond a couple of these. Overall, a nice beer to have on a cold winter night.

Photo of Cavanaghty
3.63/5  rDev -3.2%
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.

Photo of far333
3.4/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Dark tea color, a thin beige head rises up slightly and disappears quickly. Aroma is rich malt, a little sweet, some fruit, cinnamon and cotton candy. Mouthfeel is fairly smooth, a little tingly, perhaps a tad overcarbonated. Flavor is initially pungent with alcohol overpowering other flavors, a little stringent, but malt and plum emerge, as do sharp cinnamon and orange peel. Gets richer as it warms, but a little sweet, sort of syrupy and chewy. Spruce tips emerge, as do clove and frankensense, rounding out the holiday flavors.

Photo of yankeeheel
3.03/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a clear brown with a springy café colored head. Smells very weakly of nutty malt.

The taste is somewhat unremarkable. A little bit of caramel malt with some of that ever-repetitive Shipyard diacetyl. Not a unique brew by any stretch. The malts give way to a weak hop finish. I’m just a little bit disappointed that this tastes like a lot of other Shipyard beers.

Photo of BurgeoningBrewhead
3.34/5  rDev -10.9%
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).

Photo of ThreeDimesDown
3.58/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep rust color with an off-white head that lingers and leaves behind some thin lacing.

Aromas of caramel malts, light malts, spices (nutmeg, and ginger), candied sugar and a hint of pine freshness.

The taste has a solid backbone of malt character (caramel, crystal, roasted) with nice fruit flavors ranging from pear to raisin to dark plum. There is a candy-sweetness that is present but not overbearing. Bittering hops are present in the finish.

Mouthfeel is quite nice: well carbonated, med to full, slightly creamy and sticky with a bit of a dry finish. ABV % is present throughout, slightly in the nose and more pronounced in the taste.

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.55/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Brown color, good white head. Spicy aroma, some type of Christmas ale spice, coriander maybe.

Taste, reminiscient of Jubeale, which is good. Thick malt backbone, more Christmas taste feel like in the aroma, event a decent hop match.

Mouthfeel, beer gets better throughout, pick up on some flavors that defy description on the palate. Intriguing. Recommend.

Photo of chinchill
3.8/5  rDev +1.3%
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.

Photo of lambpasty
1.92/5  rDev -48.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

L - Pours a deep ruby/brown with a 1-finger off white head that quickly dissipated to a thin film, with no lacing.

S - Gentle spices and malt, but something is off here. Very vegetative, sharp bitter scent i can't put my finger on.

T - taste was overwhelmingly bad. The initial sip held promise showcasing some decent malt and light spice characteristics, but after about a second a stale, adjuct malt taste settled in and ruined the palate.

M - middle of the road with adequate carbonation

O - I was wildly disappointed in this brew given the ratings and despite the freshness date being quite a ways out in the future I can't help but think something happened to the batch I picked up. I will have to revisit again, next year, to hopefully revise.

Photo of Brenden
4.2/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The color is a sort of deep brownish-red with a touch of a lighter bronze in the light. This brew forms a sizeable and well-retained off-white head that leaves good lacing in pathces well down the glass.
Aromas are backed mostly by malts with a light balance of hops, which in my opinion is best for what a winter warmer should be attempting. There's definitely some diacetly at play, but it seems to be intentional, playing off notes of chocolate and grains, perhaps a touch of caramel, and adding a bit of balance to some fruit flavors as well.
Fruits come out stronger in the flavor; some notes of sweet, dark fruits like cherry. Caramel and butterscotch add to the sweetness without cloying and are expertly balanced by just enough floral and citic hops bitterness to keep it in check. Malts are strong and consistent all the way through, and a variety makes for nice complexity. Well done.
The mouthfeel is fairly rich and full without being too heavy, carbonated at just about the right level and chewy most of the way through. The finish is long and smooth.
This may be the best of the style I've tried, and my new go-to winter warmer.

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

A leftover from Winter 2010/11

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A-Deep amber with ruddy orange highlights and a thick sudsy light tan head that laces nicely. Attractive brew.

S-Bananna, clove, nutmeg, ringwood yeast and bready malts.

T-Roasted bready malts. A hint of clove and chocolate and a bit of citrus comes out near the finish, which is lingering and astringent with a wee bit of a hop bite.

M-decent mouthfeel. I'd like to see this a tad heavier, but it is fine.

O-Good beer for Shipyard. Decent warmer, but there are so many better ones out there. I'd like to see this a bit more aggressively spiced.

Photo of Amgarnier
4.16/5  rDev +10.9%
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.

Photo of mdaschaf
3.72/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark brown color with a 1/2 finger head. Decent retention. Decent lacing.

S: Very nutty, also some dark fruits (raisins and cherries), some vanilla, and a little bit of alcohol.

T: Definitely malty, the dark fruits come to the front on the flavor profile with the raisins, also get some brown sugar and molasses. A touch of vanilla as well.

M/D: Medium bodied, but on the thicker side. Overall, pretty good. The only thing it has going against it was the presence of the alcohol. I like a little bit of heat in my winter warmers, but a little less here would have done the trick for me. Some nice flavors and a solid beer.

Photo of dacrza1
3.52/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Black with a strong, creamy half-inch, off-white head... coffee and malt hops balanced well... medium presence, with some roasted caramel... medium, creamy body that settles on the back of the tongue--smooth...hops abound--bitter but soft in its a Christmas celebratory, not bad--alcohol is slightly present and warms as the glass expires...

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

Shipyard- Prelude

A- dark amber brown with a thick chunky head. Ringed lacing.
S- Vanilla, molasses & toffee malt with a touch of butter cream cake batter.
T- Nice brown sugar, vanilla, dark dried sweet fruits like plum, Spicy, butter cream malt with an earthy hop touch.
M- Thick sweet syrupy malt. buttery, creamy, with a mildly dry earthy hop feel.

Overall- creamy and malty. Went down well on a cold snowy night.

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

AP: Deep, dark brown tinted amber color with a 1/2" off-white head that dissipted slowly and was reduced to a 1/8' constant foamy cover.

Nose: Big bready, semi-sweet malt and a zesty, lively hop charecter with Some subtle fruity effects of dark berries.

flavor: Big bready, even doughy, semi-sweet dark wheat malt with oats... a very impressive herbal and zesty hop that finds a perfect balance together. The flavor is bold and very tastey overall.

Feel: Medium bodied, big and bold on the palate and a decent bite.

DA: Easy to drink, good for the style.

Photo of jmz62565
3.76/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This pours a dark reddish color with a large foamy head.This is really a good looking beer except that the head disappears quickly.The smell is faint to me.I could only sniff out a slight malt scent,nothing great.The taste is a very good mix of sweet maltness,hops,and holiday spices.The m/f is medium and the flavors mix very well.All in all,this is one of the more drinkable holiday beers I've tried.This is one beer that I'll look forward too.

Photo of Guardian
3.95/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Copper color...pleasing to the eye.

S- chocolate sweetness

T- A good tasting beer, but with a bit of a bitter end taste.

M- Tingly...very tingly.

D- I could drink a few of these, but I would imagine that repeated drinking would leave me with a full belly.

Photo of Sammy
3.8/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A vast complex medal meriting winter warmer, without over-the-top ABV. Mint and clove and peppercorn and mellowed with a year of ageing. Medium mouthfeel and smooth for its style. A little roasting and hops here.Decent smooth though sparkling medium mouthfeel.

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Shipyard Prelude Special Ale from Shipyard Brewing Co.
85 out of 100 based on 533 ratings.