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Shipyard Prelude Special Ale - Shipyard Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Shipyard Prelude Special AleShipyard Prelude Special Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

282 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 282
Hads: 539
Avg: 3.77
pDev: 18.83%
Wants: 13
Gots: 36 | 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 (53) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Shipyard Prelude Special Ale Alström Bros
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Reviews: 282 | Hads: 539
Photo of vtisme
4.95/5  rDev +31.3%
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!

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Photo of horshack7
4.83/5  rDev +28.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: A very dark red with a little brown hue simply incredible. Head was very frothy a nice attribute.

Aromas: Hints of chocolate yet strong notes of cinnamon and allspice similar to their pumpkin ale but sweeter aromas.

Taste: Very full bodied nicely hoppy. Notes of chocolate and spices cinannmon and all spice.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth a little bubbly but great.

Notes: I am something glad I picked up this one wow what a brew. Lace lines the glass from start to finish. Simply one of the best winter brews out there Shipyard produced a well crafted beer. Cheers.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.8/5  rDev +27.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A deep mahogany body with soft ruby highlights is capped by a firm light tan head that holds quite well and leaves some nice lace. When served only lightly chilled, it will maintain a solid head as it warms. The aroma is of a sweet caramel & light chocolate malt, some mild spice, and butterscotch-like diacetyl that actually adds greatly to the character! Reminiscent of a rich holiday cake! Very nice. The body is full with a very fine and restrained carbonation that leaves it exceptionally creamy and smooth - almost syrupy as the carbonation breakout foams up under the warmth of the mouth. The flavor is rich with some limited ripe fruit upfront, coat-tailed by a biscuity maltiness that's slathered at first in caramel - and later in soft milk chocolate, a mild spiciness as it crosses that palate and then a firm butterscotch, some mineral-like & leafy hoppiness and an underlying bitterness in the finish. Long, lingering and almost as rich as the flavor itself - the aftertaste is massively impressive with swirling notes of caramel, butterscotch, drying bitterness and leafy hoppiness! Do yourself a favor and enjoy this at cellar temperature as a dessert beer. Fantastic! Absolutely worth seeking out as a special treat to be enjoyed with a good book in front of the hearth.

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Photo of MaineBeerMan
4.77/5  rDev +26.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is one of may favorite local seasonals, bought the big 22 oz. the day it hit the store. I may be a little biased, but her goes the review.
Beer pours a dark coppery brown with a full head of off white foam that left quit a bit of lace.
Aroma is all flowery hops and sweet caramel malt, very big aroma on this one.
Flavor hits with loads of creamy smooth sweet malt, not a lot of hop flavor in here. Light notes of chocolate and something that made me think of coffee ice cream.
Very drinkable but watch out for the high ABV, this is a great beer.

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Photo of Fernans
4.75/5  rDev +26%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This suprised me. Has beginnings of a malty, nut brown but shows some hops in the finish. Color is dark amber. Smell raisins, some earthiness. Taste, slight sweet malty, with some floral hints when the hops hit. Smooth mouthfeel, lingers in a good way. Very well put together. Great winter brew.

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Photo of PhillyRiver
4.69/5  rDev +24.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Absolutely delicious. Poured from single bottle that was walked home from the Foodery, into a clean tulip glass. Beautiful color- ranging copper to ruby, with an inch of caramel-colored head that laces nicely. Smell is honey-butterscotch, not complex but very pleasing. Taste is more complex, has a bite; feel is smooth, just short of syrupy but not thick. Alcohol a touch higher than I usually drink but still low for most people, would be sessionable, as there is no bad aftertaste at all. Normally I drink porters throughout a Cubs league championship game (haha, not normal) but I wish I had another of these for gametime.

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Photo of pbrian
4.64/5  rDev +23.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer really showcases the Ringwood yeast characteristics. Butterscotch aroma(along with hints of molassas), and buttery malty flavor have been mentioned more than once and blend beautifully with the bitter finsh. Great beer. I think a few months aging will do it some justice.

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Photo of fitzy84
4.62/5  rDev +22.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bought a six pack for the holiday. Beautiful amber color with patchy lacing on the sides and medium sized head that dissipates after a bit. The aromas were fantastic: malt, ginger, roasted spices, sugar, molasses, and so much more. Definitely a top aroma winner for me. The taste represented the sweet tastes with a heavy malt flavor. Really nice and dry aftertaste. The drink definitely had a clean and crisp mouthfeel to it. Overall, a fantastic seasonal.

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Photo of DMcPhee33
4.61/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I cellared a case of the stuff from last winter and glad that I did...

A-pours a deep brown with a creamy 2-finger head that settles but doesn't dissapear.

S-malty, a little caramel

T-from my take, the cellaring has heightened caramel/malty flavor that masks the taste of the Ringwood yeast used in Shipyard's brews (this sometimes strong aftertaste has made me dislike a few of their offerings in the past)

M-Silky & smooth, with slight carbonation & a hop/sprice combo coming in at the end which complements the taste nicely.

D- incredibly well-balanced & smooth brew for carrying an ABV of almost 7%. I'll be interested to see if the taste matures more when I crack the case open again later in the year.

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Photo of StevieW
4.6/5  rDev +22%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle. Traditional shipyard label with the clipper ship in the harbor. The ship on this one is cleverly covered in snow, with a festive green border. Best before Oct. '03 notched on the label.

A robust dark brown color, when held to the light a slightly ruby glow shows. Head was bubbly, full and beige. It ringed the glass nearly perfectly. Smell is a rich full combination of sweet malty goodness, butterscotch toffee, and a whisper of hop bitterness.

Taste was rich with malt, right up front. The butterscotch is much less pronounced is this one. Just a faint hint. The finish is silky smooth, with a very noticable but balanced bitter chocolate malt. Very very good. The chocolate malt is just right. As the beer warms a little the flavors erupt. Moderatly carbonated. Maybe it needs to sit for a few months. More full bodied than the Shipyard Winter Ale. A suspected higher abv, makes this an end of the evening beer or just the thing to chase the chill away. I almost wish I lived in New England to fully enjoy this one. Perfect for a snowy winter night, I am lucky to get this one down here. I think I may go back to the store tomorrow for more of these.

Happy Holidays,

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Photo of bewareOFpenguin
4.5/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

After Hampshire Ale, my favorite seasonal. I only drink it in the 22oz bottle, I think the six pack loses some of the taste. Nice deep amber color, sweet taste, the perfect "fire side" beer. Each sip puts me in the Christmas mood, as I almost feel the snowdrops melting on my face. Maybe it's the ABV, but this is just a great winter beer.

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Photo of bditty187
4.47/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Clear, dark ruby-copper/brown hue… skimpy beige head that faded rather quick… soapy residue around the edges. No lace. The bouquet is largely butterscotch and caramel, plums, dark fruit, sweet maltiness… quite a pleasant and inviting nose. Awesome palate! Tremendously complex and tasty… wonderfully crafted. The hops bound to the forefront; ideally bitter… sweet maltiness and alcohol triumphs in the middle… only to be quickly inundated by spiciness… fruitiness and light butterscotch is fazed in towards the end… the long and savory finish is rich with caramel but dry with hops. The usage of hops in this beer is perfect. Minimal carbonation and the tremendous maltiness creates a full-bodied ale. The abv is well hidden in the taste; it only adds hints of scrumptiousness… negligible influence on the mind. Prelude is worth seeking out… what a wonderful beverage… highly recommended. What’s better than a Christmas beer in July?

Thanks StevieW for this topnotch brew!

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Photo of lordofthewiens
4.45/5  rDev +18%
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.

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Photo of croixian1
4.45/5  rDev +18%
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.

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Photo of BDIMike
4.45/5  rDev +18%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark copper color with a medium thick head that lasts.

Great smell. Its a combination of a little chocolate, a little floral, a little sweet, and even a little smell of alcohol.

Tastes first like roasted malts with a caramel tone. Ends with a sweet floral taste.

The mouthfeel is nice. I am a big fan of thick beers, especially winters, so this one is slightly thin for me.

The drinkability is great for a winter warmer, very high in alcohol, but doesn't taste it, like some do.

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Photo of taez555
4.42/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer poured mahogany body with a nice white head.

Nose is rich and classic English cask winter warmer. Strong earth and caramel malt. So simple, but so inviting.

Taste is medium bodied with a beautiful smooth and rich copper caramel malt taste. There a nice earthy hop taste very reminisant of so many english cask ales, that is just so perfect. Really there's not much more to this beer, even at 6.8%, just so distinct and perfect. I swear I'm drinking a true English cask ale. Wow!!!

I'm not sure why I haven't had this beer more often, it is simply DAMN good. Very much an english stle, almost cask-ish tasting, winter warmer. I could drink this all day.

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Photo of Gehrig
4.42/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I picked this up at the terrific Galena River Wine and Cheese, very well worth it. A thick finger of light tan froth tops a brown-amber body, with modest lacing on the Yankees pint glass. Lots of pepper and other spices, as well as some fruit accompany bready malt aromas. Bittersweet taste in Prelude, and it's very delicious. Pepper and cinnamon carry much of the spice load, but there's much more--butterscotch, caramel, like cake. Excellent taste.

Delicious warmer, one I wish I had more of. I won't miss winter, but I sure will miss the slew of delicious warmers I tried this winter. Prelude will make it into the rotation as soon as I get more of it.

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Photo of yemenmocha
4.42/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours deep brown, clear, with off white head that remains as a thin layer for quite awhile.

Nose has combination of holiday cookies, cinnamon, cocoa, and baking powder.

On the palate is some mint julep like bourbon flavors, pepper, maybe nutmeg, and butterfinger-candybar like sweetness.

Finish is warm with some citrus zing.

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Photo of Jason
4.4/5  rDev +16.7%
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.

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Photo of WesWes
4.38/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a ruby red color with a thick frothy offwhite/tan head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a warm and malty scent that boasts of pale, crystal, chocolate malts, and roasted barley. The hops help balance the aroma. The taste is excellent. It has a creamy malt flavor that boasts of chocolate and crystal malts. It goes down easy and finishes smooth and slightly warm. The mouthfeel is awesome. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a great winter warmer. It is quite complex and full of flavor; a kick ass seasonal.

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Photo of dsa7783
4.37/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a beautiful ruby-red chestnut color with an impressive frothy head that lingered for a bit... Shipyard's fall offering of Pumpkinhead Ale was my favorite pumpkin beer all season, so I had high hopes for their winter warmer and wasn't in the least dissapointed... one of the best winter brews I've tried... Smell is of roasted malts, caramel, cinnamon, and sweets... the taste strongly complements the aroma, bursting with an uncanny flavor that borders on magnificent... really glad I decided to try this beer... nice warming alcohol glow accompanies a sweet caramel taste that sticks to the palate... mouthfeel is great and the brew goes down real smooth for a winter warmer... another awesome selection from a great brewery... Definitely recommended...

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Photo of shabbtastic
4.36/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Grabbed a 12pk at my local Hannaford for an unbeatable price of $12.99.

Pours a medium amber with a little cloudiness and formed a two finger head. Feels nice with a little alcohol bite. Finishes smooth, a lot smoother than the front end would suggest. You first taste dark malt with a sweet finish of brown sugar. For a minute I thought it was a Brown Ale. Overall I'm very pleased with shipyards take on this. Very good beer for a style that's sometimes overlooked. Great beer. Well done shipyard!

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Photo of cmac1705
4.35/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle. Freshness date indicates drink by November 2010.

Vigorous pour yields a sizable head that recedes into a nice lace. Deep, hazy, brick red appearance. Notes of festive spices, sweet, slightly minty and cinnamon character in the nose. Not overpowering, but discretely indicates the season.

A healthy sip yields a smooth, buttery texture that nicely accompanies the rich dark chocolate and coffee flavors. Finishes a little dry, leaves you clamoring for more.

Everything about this brew is sweet and rich except the texture. One of the more sessionable brews of its type. I feel like it could have used a little more alcohol kick, but perhaps that would detract from its charm.

Verdict: A nice Prelude to any evening.

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Photo of batty
4.33/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

bought and drank cambridge, ma - feb 2011

A: ruby tinging on brown, or brown tinging on ruby. pale tan khaki head, fairly creamy, small-bubble head which unfortunately fades pretty quick, leaves decent lace though

smells a little buttery which i'm not a big fan of, but it's not overbearing. malt also present, minimal hop

taste is really the highlight here - strong maltiness with hints of dark fruit, balanced nicely with some spicy hop notes and just a touch of roast.

nice mouthfeel, smooth,

excellent winter, great price, hits the spot every time. full flavor but still 'sessionable'

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Photo of ToasterChef
4.3/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a cellar temperature bottle into a Prelude logo glass.

A large foamy tan head rests atop brown liquid with ruby highlights wherever the light shines through. The cap is very foamy with hardly any popping bubbles. A few streams of riding carbonation make their way upwards from the bottom of the glass.

The aroma has a good spiced malt base with a few aromatic pine hops. I pick up a little bit of molasses cookie in the nose, but that could be because it's an aroma that I associate with wintertime.

Sweet molasses flavors greet my tongue as I sip my Prelude. It is velvety and slightly alcoholic. A conservative amount of spice comes in as I swallow. There is only the slightest flavoring from the Ringwood yeast. This is an excellent example of a winter warmer.

Medium-bodied with low carbonation, this beer leaves a slick watery coat. There is a bit of sugary stickiness on my lips, but the interior of my mouth isn't co much sticky as slightly tacky. Some may want to drink this beer with a glass of water on the side to clean out their mouth, but anyone who has had their share of RISes should be ok without.

This is probably one of the more drinkable Shipyard beers. Neither over-spiced nor too strong to enjoy 2 or 3 bottles, a six pack could be split between two people for an enjoyable evening of drinking. This is one winter seasonal I always make sure to get a 6 pick of; a tradition I've had since I discovered craft beer. This beer will also keep well for 6-8 months; it a great one to brake out mid-summer, for a cool taste of winter during a heatwave.

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Shipyard Prelude Special Ale from Shipyard Brewing Co.
85 out of 100 based on 282 ratings.