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Shipyard Prelude Special Ale | Shipyard Brewing Co.

very good
287 Reviews
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Shipyard Prelude Special AleShipyard Prelude Special Ale

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

Style: Winter Warmer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.70%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by taez555 on 02-27-2001

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Reviews: 287 | Ratings: 553
Photo of jadpsu
4.31/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Crystal clear dark with red hues and has a thick sticky abundant head.
Smell: Sweet, smells of butterscotch. Chocolate licorice an burnt malts.

Taste: Chewy bready malts, full bodied, caramel and butterscotch.

Sweet but than has a slightly dry finish.

Solid beer.

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Photo of Garypuffer
4.46/5  rDev +18%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This is my favorite brew from Shipyard, and it's probably my favorite "winter warmer" brew. The taste is not too spicy or sweet like lots of other holiday offerings, but definetely is a winter type drink. The feel in the mouth is silky smooth, even oily, but in a good way.

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Photo of CTbrew32
3.56/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

appearance- Brown in color with a two finger tan head.

aroma- Nutty, caramel, and chocolate.

taste- Lots of caramel, a little chocolate, and nutty towards the finish. Aftertaste is kind of off, but its hard to describe exactly.

feel- Medium carbonation, medium bodied, and smooth in the finish.

overall- Solid winter beer with good flavors, but an odd aftertaste at times. Really solid overall and worth getting for the winter season.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.75/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

shipyard for whatever reason gets a bad rap, or at least subpar ratings here on BA. I don't know a ton about them, but their beers are never as bad as folks make them out to be. I was excited about their winter box this year, four darker stronger types. this is good, a really hoppy big amber styled beer, majorly alive in the glass with good clarity and a deep burnt orange color. smells like European hops, but dosed like an American ipa. vegetal and bitter, but also just oily enough it seems. slight tinny notes in with the biscuit malts, and a brown sugar complexion as well. the taste mirrors the nose, I am surprised by the hops, did not expect this. highly enjoyable hop bitterness running all the way through it, upheld and kept in check at the same time by the grain, which is less sweet than it smells. hints of orange peel and pepper in there, but im not sure this beer is spiced. english yeast from what i gather. boldly flavored and strong but not too strong to be sessionable. this is a great take on a winter seasonal, unique too. I still liked the imperial stout better, but this is a nice addition to the winter mix pack!

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Photo of illpass78
3.9/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pint on draft at SoPo in South Portland, Maine.

Appearance: Pours a deep, clear amber brown with a one-finger cream head. Nice presentation.

Aroma: A lot of malt, a little spice, some leafy hops.

Taste: Malt presence is strong, and it's accented by spice and a somewhat herbal character. Almost a slight brown sugar or maple syrup note. Some dark cherries. Very pleasant flavor.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied.

Overall: One of shipyard's better offerings. Definitely a very good winter night brew.

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Photo of PhillyRiver
4.69/5  rDev +24.1%
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 superspak
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into tulip glass, best before 6/28/2015. Pours fairly crystal clear reddish brown color with a 2 finger fairly dense light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass, with a light amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of big caramel, toffee, brown sugar, toasted biscuit, raisin, plum, fig, light chocolate/nuttiness, herbal, floral, light pepper, and yeast earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/bready malts, earthy hops, and fruity yeast notes; with good strength. Taste of big caramel, toffee, brown sugar, toasted biscuit, raisin, plum, fig, light chocolate/nuttiness, herbal, floral, pepper, and yeast earthiness. Moderate amount of herbal/spicy bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, toffee, brown sugar, toasted biscuit, raisin, plum, fig, light chocolate/nuttiness, and herbal/yeast earthiness on the finish for a while. Damn nice complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/bready malt, earthy hops, and fruity yeast flavors; with a nice malt/bitterness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a very smooth, moderately creamy/bready, and lightly sticky mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish. Overall this is a damn nice English strong ale style. All around great complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/bready malt, earthy hops, fruity yeast flavors; and very smooth and easy to drink for the ABV. A very enjoyable offering.

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Photo of shabbtastic
4.36/5  rDev +15.3%
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 PorterLambic
2.92/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Red with gold throughout and a smallish tan head sitting atop. Head retention is poor but leaves good lace.
Smell is weak, nearly non-existent.
Taste is a good step up in that it has flavors. Roast malt, biscuit, wheat.
Medium bodied, lightly effervesced. No warming though.

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Photo of buzzarooski
4.02/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This Beautiful Looking Full Bodied, Malty Masterpiece pours a Gorgeous Amber Brown and falls into the Hearty Ale Category..... It would Pair PERFECTLY with a Twice Baked Potato and a Thick Juicy Steak.....Yet Another Success Story from SHIPYARD Brewing Co.

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Photo of CHickman
3.62/5  rDev -4.2%
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.

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Photo of Amgarnier
4.16/5  rDev +10.1%
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.

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Photo of Cavanaghty
3.63/5  rDev -4%
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.

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Photo of Omnium
3.76/5  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.

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Photo of puboflyons
3.99/5  rDev +5.6%
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!

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Photo of Why-P-A
3.77/5  rDev -0.3%
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.

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Photo of BurgeoningBrewhead
3.34/5  rDev -11.6%
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).

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Photo of viverlee
2.85/5  rDev -24.6%
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

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Photo of mttaylor1066
4.29/5  rDev +13.5%
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.

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Photo of DrDemento456
3.58/5  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.

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Photo of Oakenator
4.03/5  rDev +6.6%
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.

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Photo of Retta123
3.26/5  rDev -13.8%
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

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Photo of vtisme
4.95/5  rDev +31%
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 chinchill
3.8/5  rDev +0.5%
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.

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Photo of bmwats
4.07/5  rDev +7.7%
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.

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Shipyard Prelude Special Ale from Shipyard Brewing Co.
85 out of 100 based on 287 ratings.