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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
Reviews: 282 | Hads: 539
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 flagmantho
3.88/5  rDev +2.9%
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.

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Photo of undeadozzy
3.89/5  rDev +3.2%
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.

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Photo of BucannonXC5
3.75/5  rDev -0.5%
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.

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Photo of BrownNut
3.48/5  rDev -7.7%
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.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.67/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear copper with a 1/2 inch foamy khaki head that settles to an oily film on top of the beer. Thin streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of roasty malt, toasted nuts, and some caramel aromas. Taste is of toasted malt and nuts, caramel, and some herbal hop flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of slightly medicinal bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer but I like the way it smells more than the way it tastes.

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Photo of srandycarter
3.85/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Medium light brown, fairly clear. Not much head, some spotty cling lace.

S - Very light sweetness and pine. Some medicinal spiciness.

T - Much dryer than anticipated. Very much like a brown ale with some winter spices mixed in.

M - Light body, good carb, balances to the very dry.

D - Good one to try.

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Photo of Philousa
3.48/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep red caramel with a half inch head that thins quickly. Brown Sugar, caramel, and toffee aromas with nutmeg type spices used in pies. Smells like a candied amber ale. Warm spices hit the palate first, followed by a light roast coffee flavor, tart yeast, and caramel malt ends with a barely bitter fadeout thanks to the mild English hops. A bit thin in general and definitely for the style, easily drinkable.

I'm not much of a fan of Winter Warmers, but this one was pretty good. The spices were there, but not over the top. It was sweet, but not overly so. I'm bordering on actually seeking this beer out next year. Would be great for Christmas time.

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Photo of WrathsU
3.16/5  rDev -16.2%
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.

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Photo of mactrail
2.98/5  rDev -21%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Dark reddish amber in the glass with a thin foam mustache. Overall impression is the sweet and bitter style, like an Old Ale. Murky and musty with a touch of the sweet vermouth flavor. Quite a bitter aftertaste. Not much aroma, maybe a touch of leather. Winey mouthfeel. Not particularly carbonated. A buttery touch.

From a 22 oz bottle. No indication of bottling date.

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Photo of phichifiji00
3.58/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into pint glass from tap.

Appearance: Clear, dark brown in color, white head that fades very quickly.

Smell: Candi sugar, brown sugar, toffee, malty, a bit nutty.

Taste: Malty, toffee, brown sugar, slightly hoppy.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied, good carbonation, silky, crisp.

Overall: A pretty good beer. Not terribly complex, but very drinkable.

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Photo of Darkmagus82
3.31/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bottle into pint glass

Appearance - A deep red color almost on the verge of brown. Forms a nice head that retains for some time giving way to some decent lacing.

Smell - A bit of sweetness and some maltiness. A fine hint of some tasted nut as well.

Taste - The taste is very roasted malt heavy at the forefront. There is a little bit of sweetness that peeks through at the end as well as a bit of spiciness of nutmeg toward the end.

Mouthfeel - A very nice level of carbonation and a wonderful creaminess that coats the tongue (especially at the forefront of the tasting when the carbonation is the highest).

Overall - Alright, but nothing really too special for a winter brew as the taste is a little lacking.

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Photo of metter98
3.8/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer is clear dark amber in color and has a light amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a finger high dense beige head that gradually died down and left thick patches of bubbles on the surface and a thick ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass.
S: There are moderately strong aromas of butterscotch and caramel in the nose along with hints of spices.
T: The taste is very similar to the smell and has sweet flavors of butterscotch, caramel and toffee along with notes of holiday spices.
M: It feels a bit shy of medium-bodied on the palate and smooth with a moderate amount of carbonation. A hint of warming from the alcohol is noticeable towards the finish.
O: This beer isn’t as complex as some of the other beers in the style, but the flavors begin to develop as the beer warms up. The alcohol is well hidden from the taste, which makes this easy to drink.

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Photo of oberon
4/5  rDev +6.1%
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.

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Photo of Pintofbrown
2.4/5  rDev -36.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I had the Prelude in a shaker pint.

Appearance- Slight width of off-white foam. It is pretty puffy and barely covers the cap. The body is a standard and transparent amber.

Smell- There are some big bread malt aromas and slight herbal notes. There is also a little bit of spice, maybe cinnamon and coriander. However, all the flavors coming together are not that appetizing.

Taste- There is more of that strange mix of herbal and spiciness at the front of the drink. It has notes of band-aid, charcoal, and black dirt. There is some grassy hop thrown in for good measure. The bread malt base is fine, now if only the spices were more appetizing.

Mouth feel- This is a light to medium body, watery and under carbonated. It does not help that the after taste is so terrible.

Overall- I would not drink this bready, spicy mess again. The malt base is fine, I had no problem with that. Just those spices are not helping at all.

And of course the beer may have been easier to drink had it been either a little more sparkling, or creamy.

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

Poured a 1" beige fine foam head. Very deep clear amber color verging on brown. Smell is malt but not much else. Taste again has malt and seems to me to have spices such as nutmeg though others didn't reference that. Has a hint of banana esthers. Good, interesting, but not particularly a standout.

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Photo of AmericanGothic
4/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a Sam Adams pint.

A: Pours a copper-orange color with one finger of pale tan head. Good retention and lace.

S: Caramel malt, chickory and dry coffee.

T: Spicy caramel up front, dry and slightly bitter tea on the finish, with sweet caramel returning on the aftertaste. As the beer warms, some dark fruits emerge, then a little later on, some mint.

M: Quite creamy and a bit astringent on the finish.

O: I liked this quite a bit. It's a cold rain outside tonight, and this beer is living up to the style of winter warmer. I will probably buy this again. It's good.

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Photo of jlmorgan4
3.5/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a beautiful reddish hue, but head disappears almost immediately with no lacing. Aroma is not overwhelming--some malt. Taste likewise, very malty with little hop flavor to cut through; metallic taste that lingers past the sweet malts. Mouthfeel is on the thin side, strongly carbonated, which improved after I let it sit for about an hour--much better warmer and flatter, when the beer coats the mouth and the sweetness feels rounder and more balanced.

Overall, not a bad brew, but I wouldn't rush back.

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Photo of beerbiatchMD
4.09/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle into an oversized wine glass.

A: Dark brown, reddish. Off white head with good retention.

S: Very complex. Buttery with brown sugar, bready. Coffee/chocolate as well.  Have not experience this kind of nose in a beer. Without an overpowering cliche aroma of pumpkin spice it is quite seasonal-smelling

T: Palate is malty sweat, with rye bread, and a bitter aftertaste. Minimal hops.

M: Mouthfeel is full bodied, min alcohol taste. Appropriate carbonation.

O. Very good, heavy. Great seasonal. Maybe my favorite Shipyard. Seems very English--if that makes any sense.

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Photo of Kendo
3.38/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Freshness notch on the bottle indicates a "best by" of November 2012. Consumed in early December of 2011, so I'm guessing this one is fresh.

A: Poured from the bottle (twist-off cap) into a pint glass. Body is mahogany-amber with a small off-white head that's gone quickly. Leaves some "legs" of lacing behind with each sip.

S: Not much going on in the nose at all. Toasted bread and husky grain comes to mind.

T: First impression is more about the mouthfeel than the taste - and that's not a good thing (see infra). Tastes English, if that makes sense. I get some toasted bread, toffee sweetness and then the hops add a grassy, minerally bitterness. Also some peppery spice. I feel a bit of diacetyl slickness on the roof of the mouth lingering after each sip.

M: Carbonation is way too sharp - it adds a harshness that detracts from drinkability in a big way. Call it the lighter side of medium in heft.

O: This needs improvement. Tone down the carbonation and you're halfway there.

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Photo of micromaniac129
3.5/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark amber colored ale with a weak thin head. Quite clear in which to see the weak carbonation.
Aroma is sweet sweet way to sweet malts some fruit and toffee.
Taste is very malt forward and quite sweet but not as sweet as in the nose. Some spice and hops in finish with an odd sort of funky church pew finish.
Smooth and sticky sweet finish but also with a grittiness too.
Not good, not bad.

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Photo of VelvetExtract
3.88/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Pours a transparent copper/brown color. Light tan head which is small. Leaves light rings of lace.

S-Spicy and sweet. Lighter nose. A bit of yeast. Caramel/toffee combination as well. Pretty pleasant.

T-Taste matches the flavor well but is a bit more attractive. Has some nice kick in the finish. Light grassy hoppiness end the flavor. Tastes like pound cake in the beginning. Sweet, but the hops add some depth.

M-Medium bodied. Lightly prickly carbonation. The feel sits on the palate for a bit. Sessionable body. A bit bitter aftertaste.

O/D-Don't love the style, but this one is pretty legit. Probably my favorite so far. I enjoy the hops. Its a bit paler than others I have tried and I also enjoy that. Probably one of Shipyard's best beers.

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Photo of Scourge07
3.83/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Clear, very rich amber color - almost red. Pours with a nice looking finger of cream-colored head.

S: Sweet malts, a bit of Belgian yeastiness, candy/mild butterscotch scent.

T: Again, the subtle Belgian flavor shows itself right away. Very sweet caramel, sweet malts, and bready. There is a mild hop flavor that sits in the background and becomes much more apparent in the aftertaste.

M: Thin to Medium body with moderate carbonation. It has a nice, refreshing quality to it.

O: A very nice beer, and something that I might buy again. I really enjoyed the sweet flavors, as well as the fact that there was a pleasant hoppy bitterness to balance it all out

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Photo of BeerKangaroo
3.97/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

In a pint glass:

A: dark reddish brown body, slightly creamy colored one finger head that dissipated fairly quickly, small amount of light bubbles slowly rising near the edge of the glass

S: light spices such as cinnamon, clove, and toasted malt, some really super light dark fruits that come out as it warms a little

T: sweet yet spicey yet soft all around through previously mentioned flavors

M: medium, soft carbonation on the tongue, sessionable, quick slightly spicey aftertaste and watery finish

O: so Shipyard makes a decent winter warmer, check, I'll come back to this

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Photo of SolipsismalCat
3.65/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass.

A: Clear dark amber with a two-finger, tan, foamy head that lasted a few minutes. Nice lacing.

S: Sweet malt and dark fruit. Caramel and toast.

T: Moderate sweetness and moderate hop bitterness. Roasted, bready, and bitter. Dark fruit takes a bit of back seat in the taste.

M: Medium bodied with fizzy carbonation. Slightly dry.

O: Descent winter warmer. I had higher hopes for the taste and mouthfeel, but it wasn't bad.

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