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Shipyard Prelude Special Ale - Shipyard Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Shipyard Prelude Special AleShipyard Prelude Special Ale

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

486 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 486
Reviews: 278
rAvg: 3.75
pDev: 13.87%
Wants: 10
Gots: 13 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: taez555 on 02-27-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 486 | Reviews: 278 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by bgildea:
Photo of bgildea
4.1/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark amber color with a nice white head that leaves a good amount of lacing.

S: Smells strongly of earthy tones. Notes of oak, berries, nuts and roasted malts.

T: The flavor starts with a roasted malt flavor with hints of nuts. The flavor then moves into a sweeter flavor of some berries and maybe some yeast. The flavor finishes with a slight bittery taste that blends well with the rest of the flavors. Overall, it was complex and enjoyable.

M: Relatively thin beer. Wasn't expecting too much chew to it so I wasn't disappointed.

Overall: Overall the beer was better than I expected. The beer has a great smell and nice complex flavor that moves from roasted flavor to a sweeter flavor and finishes with a nice bitter aftertaste. I definitely recommend trying this beer.

bgildea, Mar 21, 2011
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.

oberon, Dec 31, 2011
Photo of elinash
3.43/5  rDev -8.5%
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.

elinash, Jan 20, 2008
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.

lordofthewiens, Dec 18, 2005
Photo of csmartin6
3/5  rDev -20%

csmartin6, Mar 08, 2013
Photo of Doomcifer
3.5/5  rDev -6.7%

Doomcifer, Aug 10, 2014
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.

Jason, May 08, 2002
Photo of mtbski75
4.5/5  rDev +20%

mtbski75, Oct 20, 2012
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.

tigg924, Dec 01, 2009
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.

uconnalum2, Feb 10, 2007
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.

Cavanaghty, Dec 15, 2013
Photo of PressFastF0rward
3.5/5  rDev -6.7%

PressFastF0rward, Jun 27, 2014
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.

far333, Dec 23, 2004
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.

yankeeheel, Dec 01, 2003
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).

BurgeoningBrewhead, Jun 09, 2013
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.

ThreeDimesDown, Dec 01, 2010
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.

Beerandraiderfan, Mar 12, 2010
Photo of Jeffwildcat
4.25/5  rDev +13.3%

Jeffwildcat, Mar 22, 2014
Photo of hitshtwithsticks
3.25/5  rDev -13.3%

hitshtwithsticks, Feb 06, 2013
Photo of chinchill
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.

chinchill, Dec 29, 2012
Photo of tugg407
3.5/5  rDev -6.7%

tugg407, Jan 06, 2012
Photo of Trashcat
4/5  rDev +6.7%

Trashcat, Oct 08, 2014
Photo of dr_stevebrule
4/5  rDev +6.7%

dr_stevebrule, Jul 10, 2014
Photo of psykad
3/5  rDev -20%

psykad, Nov 27, 2012
Photo of Brenden
4.22/5  rDev +12.5%
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.

Brenden, Feb 15, 2011
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Shipyard Prelude Special Ale from Shipyard Brewing Co.
85 out of 100 based on 486 ratings.