1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

Shipyard Prelude Special Ale - Shipyard Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Shipyard Prelude Special AleShipyard Prelude Special Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

524 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 524
Reviews: 285
rAvg: 3.76
pDev: 14.1%
Wants: 11
Gots: 28 | 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
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Shipyard Prelude Special Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 524 | Reviews: 285 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Guardian
3.95/5  rDev +5.1%
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 Halcyondays
3.22/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle,

A: Pours a light brown/amber, with a small and a bit thin off-white head, no real lacing.

S: Winter spices, with a heavy dose of caramel malt.

T: An OK Winter Warmer taste, had the requisite spices, though I think they used a little too much cinnamon, made the spice character a little bitter, which didn't meld well with the malt in my opinion.

M: Smooth, medium-bodied, creamy, has a nice heft and a bit of warmth.

D: A fair Winter Warmer, but there are better choices out there for me, so this isn't something I'll probably go back to. I like the Victorian era New England scene on the bottle though.

Photo of spiffysamurai
3.98/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer came in a bright amber pour into a glass. The beer was extremely nice looking.

S: Smells like an standard pre-winter beer. The smell was appealing enough to drink.

T: Though a little strong on the first taste, the beer went down smoothly and had a nice light nutty, sweet malt taste.

M: Smooth in the mouth.

D: Very drinkable, able to drink nice and smoothly.

Photo of Murchmac
4.07/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours an amber brown with medium head.

Smells Fantastic!!! Smells like chocolate, caramel, cinnamon, malts, a fruitcake of sweet holiday smells.

Taste is very spicy. Nutmeg, alcohol, corriander.

Decent mouthfeel. I like this one a lot. Great Holiday beer!!!

Photo of SigEp
3.52/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured a brown/ruby hew into my sam a pint glass. Moderate head which subsided slowly. Nice toasty roasty notes in the bouquet, dark rolly large malty with a slightly hop bitter finish in the pull. Rather nice beer. Fluffy is a good word for it. Not my favorite winter beer in august but close.

Photo of jettjon
3.88/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From the 12 oz bottle scored “best by Dec 07,” consumed on 8/8/07. Into my Sam Adams glass (thanks, guys!), this one is the expected dark brown/mahogany color, pretty clear, with good carbonation streams. Thick brown-tannish head fades slowly leaving good lacing and a medium-thin cap. Nose of toasted malt, bordering on burnt. Nice, candy-sweet malt in the background. Tastes of toasted malt, a bit of alcohol warmth peeking through, and clean, dry, bitter finish with notes of coffee. Mouth is thick and rich with fairly active carbonation contributing to a full mouth feel. Perhaps a bit too fluffy. Drinkability is quite good; this one is well-balanced and the overall character of the brew commands the respect the 6.8% ABV deserves.

Overall: A good one for sitting around on a cold winter night, I enjoyed mine in the middle of the Florida summer, and it was refreshing and pleasant. Definitely worth a try.

Photo of mshallah
4.2/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

New England winter classic. Like a stronger more concentrated version of Old Thumper. Tastes like banana's foster with the banana, caramel and alcohol aromas and flavors. The hops in this brew tame the diacetyl flavors to a better balance than in any of Shipyards other brews. A winter-time caramel cordial. Drinkability is high for the 7.5%abv.

Photo of RBorsato
2.81/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2

Nice copper color with a low beige head and light carbonation. Subdued buttery diacetyl aroma and flavor; overall this beer is just too funky assuming from the use of Ringwood Yeast that Shipyard frequently uses... not a fan. Medium bodied and smooth with a yucky butter finish.

Not one I'd recommend...

Per BOM notes: 6.6% ABV & 45 IBU.
Malts: Pale Ale, Crystal, Chocolate
Hops: Cascade, Tettnang, Fuggles, East Kent Golding

Best Before: Dec '07 (notched)
Tasted: 04/09/07

Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
4/5  rDev +6.4%
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 BBM
4.12/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a burnt sierra color with a thins white, fizzy head. Not much lacing around the glass. The aroma was pungent; spices, malty caramel, slight sourness, all were so strong that it filled up the room. I've never had a beer aroma travel as well. But it was certainly not an unpleasant aroma.

Taste was a great example of a quality winter beer; big malty character, spices (corriander and cloves), slight hop bitterness (though never to the point of distraction), and a sweet, somewhat warming alcoholic finish. Mouthfeel was medium and crisp. This really is a great winter beer, and you can tell it was brewed in a place where they know about cold winters. Check it out.

Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.86/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle into an imperial pint glass.

A: The beer is a light reddish brown color with a short but foamy off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is faint overall but is very malty and contains cinnamon, nutmeg & a little chocolate along with a touch of hops.

T: The taste is bready & spicy with flavors of cinnamon, nutmeg, chocolate and caramel. There’s also a very big hops bite that flavors the maltiness, which you really don’t expect because of the lack of hops in the smell. The after-taste is bready and slightly bitter.

M: Smooth & crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, very dry finish which is a bit uncharacteristic of the style.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, nice kick, not as filling as most beers in the style, I would pick this beer over most others in the style, particularly if I’m not going for the heavy sweetness that most beers in this style typically have. I wasn’t expecting a lot from this beer, but it was a little bit different and it was pretty decent.

Photo of mikesgroove
3.55/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a light translucent brown with a minimal head which quickly faed leaving behind a decent lace. Smell was candy sweet, lots of grain and malty grass hints with an overlay of candy apple. Nice well rounded smell. The taste was suprisingly hoppy and well formed. Very nice malt presence, lots of spices and a touch of bread. But the hoppy ness grabbed you in the beginning and left a nice linger. Big sweet caramel and candied flavors as well. Nice and smooth, good quality session. Overall I don't know if I would consider this really a winter beer, but it was very nice. Actually quite pleased by it and would definaly have another. Quality ale.

Photo of Shiredave
3.89/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Deep mahogony amber color with a low tan head and dollops of lace and sparse carbonation.

Aroma is yeasty and slightly smokey with some funky phenols and a faint sour note. Dry stout type odors with dark grains evident and some acohol in the background.

Flavors are porter-like with a twist - raw flavors of roasted malt and hop blend to a chalky dryness while a burnt carmel sweetness carrys through to the finish. Light chocolate and toffee bow to the hop bite and roasty flavors. Barely medium bodied that is a bit weak to hold up to the hefty bitterness from both the hops and black malts. Finish is dry with another hint of sour cherry and a tickle of alcohol.

Always a nice winter treat and worth the trip from NY to a NE state to get.

Photo of mountdew1
3.8/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bomber into a pint glass. A nice dark golden amber with a thick foamy head. The head hung around for a while, and clung to the sides of the glass during the entire pint. Aroma was slightly sweet with a hint of bitterness. Tasted sweet, maybe butterscotch or caramel, but not sickly sweet. A hint of hops on the backend of it. A little to bubbly in the mouth to completely enjoy, but otherwise a great winter beer. Put a warmth in my cheeks.

Photo of tgbljb
4/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a deep reddish-copper color with moderate puffy head.
Smell is full of rich malts, with strong notes of caramel and toffee.
The taste is all about the malt, with sizable amounts of caramel, bread dough, and dark fruits evident.
Finish presents an extraordinary rich full mouthfeel with a slight hoppiness trying to balance the malt.
This beer is all about malt and was perfect on a cold winter night.
Thanks to BA mtanji for sharing.

Photo of BeerHonky
3.98/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice dark red with great clarity. Smalloff white head that retains well. Smells like delicious butterscotch and malt at first but then comes at you with a whole bunch of awesome fruit esters. Wow, apples, pears, prunes even? Very unique, very complex, you could get lost here before even tasting it. Tastes almost like it smells too. Great sweet malt flavor thats well balanced with some fruity hop flavors. I want to say I detected a slight trace of white grapes in this flavor as well. It also has a bit of an alcohol warming effect thats quite nice in this bitter cold. This is one of the few winter warmers I've had, and if there are others that are anything like this, I will have to make it a point to seek them out. This is just delicious.

Photo of uconnalum2
3.53/5  rDev -6.1%
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 arizcards
3.88/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Received yesterday as part of my MicroBeerClub shipment.

Beer poured an amber color with a nice well sustained off white head. Nose is of somewhat nutty with a hint of citrus and spices. Taste is of sweet caramel malts, hint of nuts, and bittering hops. It is like an amber ale with extra malts and extra bittering hops. Mouthfeel is surprisingly smooth on the palate which leads to easy sippin'. Drinkabilty is very good. There is an ever so slight hint of alcohol which fits the style to a tee! This is another nice effort by this brewery!

Photo of beeroclock
4/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It pours a copper brown color w/ a NICE fluffy head. I waited a moment for the head to tone down and took a deep breath. Ahh, spicy with buttery caramel... Let's taste.. Better than it smells and very spicy. I like it. You can taste the sweetness but the spice is really good, not like your typical winter or even pumpkin ale where the spice takes over though. The sweetness is involved in the aftertaste. Drink laces the glass significantly. Very nice. I wish it wasn't a seasonal.

Photo of spazaru
3.76/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Received as a gift in beer of the month club.

Pours a beautiful dark amber. Smells spicy and nutty; very appetizing. Taste in not mild; pretty hoppy and roasty at the same time, hoppier than I expected. More spice and alcohol warmth in the finish.

I had never tried a Shipyard product. This is the best winter warmer I've had in sometime. Definitely pick some up if you can. I look forward to trying their Blue Fin Stout that also came this month.

Photo of Boto
3.88/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz. bottle: This one pours a fairly clear, reddish brown color. There is a bit of an off-white head that drops off rather quickly. The aroma is nice, with mainly floral and spicy notes. A hint of the malts come through also. The taste is quite good also. A bit of nuttiness up front, with some of the spices in the background. A bit of a dry bitterness to the finish. A very good winter beer.

Photo of littlebibs
4/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice winter warmer/late fall Christmas time ale. Special, yeah I'd
say it is. It has some unique flavors, its got a nice warm
alcohol kick finish, caramel malty tang going on with some fruits and it
has enough bitter and hops that it balances itself out fairly well.
I like it as it warms. It does remind me somewhat of the
Halloween ale from Gritty's-Old thumper Shipyard with the bitterness and fruit and
both have a nice alcohol end that makes it nice for the holidays with friends and family. I look forward to this ale each year and
if you like an ale that has some spices and a bit on the carbonated
side with a warming alcohol buzz and is easy on the hops and
malts but has a distinct flavor of the season, this is a great ale
to give a try.

Photo of villainchiwwin
4.29/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

nice, rich maple syrup tones in the color. loosely-packed head that fell fairly fast. patchy rings of lacing while head lasted.

smells of gingerbread molasses, sweet caramel goodness - a raw malt noseful.

sweet and syrupy on the initial uptake, coats tongue with some complex caramel (very faint, well-blended diacetyl butteriness), some funky flavor meshing ekes out some particularly interesting sugary indulgence; then some woody, herbal bitterness in the tail to add some hoppy spice to this deeecent wint'ry brew. bit o' alcohol warmth to round it out. begins with sharp prickliness thru the silky smooth starting texture, syrupy deliciousness coats the tongue before giving way to the fantastic hop burn/tingle in the close and finish.

one of shipyaad's finest. yum, some spicy sweet alcohol buried treat to ease the anxiety of this global warming-stricken era.
big beer tho, effectiveness-wise.

Photo of MrHurmateeowish
4.01/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Second in a row Shipyard Winter beer of the night... Translucent dark copper body with a finger of offwhite head. Diacetyl dominates the aroma with just hints of hops, alcohol, and malt. Roasty or toasty flavor. Not quite as roasty as a porter, but not that far off. Diacetyl is also a big player in the flavor, but does not overwealm the roastiness, but rather enhances. Hints of alcohol are also present. On the heavier side of medium-bodied. A very solid, very tasty brew. I'd definitely get this one again.

Photo of BuckSpin
3.9/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I love Winter Warmers, and always enjoy the colder months when they come out from hibernating all summer - odd, huh?

A pretty, strikingly clear brew. Brassy orangish, deep amber color, warm. A fat finger of loose, dull almondesque foam faded slowly yet not entirely, lacing nicely as I drank.

The nose does a good job hiding the slighty elevated ABV. Honey, clover sweetness, mild spiciness, some soft malt & yeast are trace elements.

Its crisp, sweet, but in a syrupy way. The malts are noticable on the pallete, the spices (traces of traditional Yuletime favorites) are there but subdued on the tongue. The hops rise as the sweetness fades and then the alcohol warming oh so wonderful in Winter brews cracks sharply like the covering of a pond in mid-December. The alcohol glow continues on the throat, but a filmy aftertaste, not pleasing like the syrupy pallete wash, lingers.

This is one of the milder Winter Warmers I've tried. They seem to be rather spicy or just hint at it. I did enjoy it. I could see it pairing well with some crisp, spiced foods or a very strong cheese. Give it a shot before the thaw. I will be looking for another helping before then.

Shipyard Prelude Special Ale from Shipyard Brewing Co.
85 out of 100 based on 524 ratings.