Shipyard Prelude Special Ale - Shipyard Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Shipyard Prelude Special AleShipyard Prelude Special Ale

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very good

500 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 500
Reviews: 279
rAvg: 3.76
pDev: 14.1%
Wants: 12
Gots: 21 | 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)
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Ratings: 500 | Reviews: 279 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

Photo of BradMaier
3.3/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

To put it simply, this beer is Christmas. From the snow-like head to the amber color to the spicy almost ginger/ cinammon taste hidden in there it makes you want to go outside and play in the snow. Its a bit of a one trick pony that way but I didn't mind one bit, wouldn't try drinking in the summer though.

Prelude ends up being a reasonable offering from the Maine Brewery and yes, the bitterness does go away as the beer warms. Goes well will white meets and their gravy's. I'd imagine it compliments stuffing nicely as well. Only downside is that I get a bit of mixed bag within the 6 pack. Some of the bottles were on the blander side and others were quite sharp and biting. I've purchased this beer several times now and this variance continues. Don't let that discourage you as it is a very good beer in the correct situation.

Photo of Westsidethreat
3.53/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Looks a bit like a Marzen. Reddish brown hue. Crystal clear. Bubbles in the slightly tan head are too big...this head won't be lasting long. Actually, by the time I had taken a sip the head was almost gone. Might be ok for this style though. Thin wisp of head has remained thru the beer but no brussels lace.

I like the aroma of this beer. Slight hint of the alcohol its hiding within. Slightly malty and fruity. I get a sense of strawberries, maybe prunes.

First sip is very bitter, more bitter than I expected... thats my first impression. Needs to warm up, the maltiness hasn't blossomed yet. Mouthfeel is a bit thin, bit astringent on the tongue. Sweetness of the beer matches up well with the aroma, but not as malty as I thought it would be. I'm getting essence of hazelnuts with roasted coffee.

As it warms up, the true personality of the beer comes out. Bitterness subsides a bit and the alcohol sweetness shines thru. Very prevelent on the tip of the tongue. Aftertaste is roasted malt on the sides and back of tongue with a full track of bitterness down the center/back of the tongue.

Beer is a bit unbalanced but quite tasty. Too many bittering hops and not enough floral. I would have prefered more hop nose to balance the aftertaste, or less bittering hops to balance the sweet nose. Bit too thin for my tastes. But I do love winter beers and cherish any experience I can have with one I've never encountered. Its a cold weather beer, it fits the style well.

Photo of scottoale
3.85/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Best before Aug. 06 out of the 12oz brown bottle pours a dark copper ale with one-inch of foamy, off-white head. Nice streamers of tiny bubbles comming from all around the glass as well as some decent lacing as you drink.

Smells sweet, fruity and malty...almost exactly like the first batch of homebrew I brewed overseas...quite yummy! Malty with thin grassy hops in the distance.

Sweet malt nose, bananas and bubblegum into a wheatgrass clean finish. Well balanced and very interesting for sure. After a couple quaffs it gives a nice warming of alcohol...pleasant and style suited.

Mildly chewy and a wee bit over-bubbley mouthfeel, it's medium-heavy in body. Easy to drink, yet quite potent...a great winter brew !

Photo of barleywinebrewer
3.3/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

It's been a few years since I had one of these and on a visit to the north end superette I noticed a new shipyard display. The beers were displayed in a funky rotating stand almost like a wine bottle. I thought we were past the prelude season considering it's march but there were no dates on the bottle so I thought I'd give it a shot.

A - golden brown with a solid head. more carbonation than I would've thought but it settled donw quickly.

S - Light toffee aroma with a hint of nutmeg and cinamon

T - this one seemed to have a rolling flavor experience. Malty caramel / toffe one sip, nutmeg with a dash of cinamon the next sip, light hops bite the next. ends on a soft malty note.

M - light to medium bodied. some aftertaste but it seemed to come and go depending on the taste.

D - Good to retry, it reminds me of a recipe I make every couple of years. Goes down easy.

Photo of Drew966
4/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice orange, almost red with a thick almost tan head. I got a mouthfull of foam on my first sip, and its a good hoppy taste. Hoppy to the taste, not completely overpowering which is good, the malt helps to balance this out. This is pretty good, I like this better than a couple other offerings I've sampled by this brewer. I like it, definitely worth a try, probably should be getting harder to find by now, but my local shop still had a good amount.

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.68/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Best by date of November 2006, Sampled January 2006
This beer sits an almost brilliantly clear, deep amber color in my glass. It is topped by a frothy, one-finger thick, tan colored head. The aroma is initially quite fruity with notes of fig and prunes. Underneath this is an immediate note of diacetyl; it is note so strong that it overwhelms the beer though. It actually adds a bit to the complexity to this brew; after a bit it seems to accentuate the fruit character, perhaps even bringing out a straight forward berry note.

The beer has a medium full body and a finish that has a lingering, lightly-astringent bitterness. The diacetyl is definitely noticeable in the flavor as well, but at least it is subdued enough that it is not obnoxious to this diacetyl sensitive person. The diacetyl actually accentuates the fruitiness in this beer; I get notes of fig, some date-like notes and a soft berry note towards the end. This beer is quite malty; lots of toffee, a caramel note and some dry toasted notes. This is definitely a nice winter warmer, it is rich and satisfying with an interesting mix of flavors. Yes even the subtle diacetyl adds to the complexity of this brew, though I could wish there was a bit more character here (though hold the diacetyl in check please).

Photo of jmz62565
3.8/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This pours a dark reddish color with a large foamy head.This is really a good looking beer except that the head disappears quickly.The smell is faint to me.I could only sniff out a slight malt scent,nothing great.The taste is a very good mix of sweet maltness,hops,and holiday spices.The m/f is medium and the flavors mix very well.All in all,this is one of the more drinkable holiday beers I've tried.This is one beer that I'll look forward too.

Photo of rebel1771
3.53/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear, dark reddish brown color with a small head. Aroma consists of sweet caramel malts and a hint of candied fruits. The taste starts out with the same caramel malt flavor that is present in the aroma along with subtle candied fruit flavors. Pretty decent beer, good for warming up your gut on those cold nights.

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

Dense, off white head with good retention. Some cascading and spotted lace with decent strength. Clean, deep amber in color.

Rich caramel and toffee aromas. A heavy whaff of buttery diacetyl that is quite pleasant with the creaminess. Biscuit-malt profile with just a hint of earthy hops.

Creamy toffee sweetness with the butterscotch diacetyl. A warming, hearty bread-like maltiness. Dried fruit: peach, apricot. A touch of nutmeg and cinnamon followed by a brush of rustic hops. Caramel and butterscotch aftertaste.

Medium bodied; creamy on the palate with just a touch of grittiness from the hop addition.

A smooth drinking and flavorful winter ale. Where the hell is the 7.5% abv? The best Shipyard brew I can remember having.

Photo of lordofthewiens
4.45/5  rDev +18.4%
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.

Photo of horshack7
4.85/5  rDev +29%
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.

Photo of Truh
3.68/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Just managed to get to my seat before the show started with this one on 3/18/2005. 16-oz. pint in a shaker glass at the Blue Mermaid.

Loose, how much wood could a woodchuck chuck, head to start with some prevalent stick and lace. Metal copper hue that is nicely clear with very little action, just some light floaters. Fungal fling of chewy choke on nose; some cool smokiness, and a fairly good hop presence. To mouth, as usual, buttery aspects along with some sharp fangs of creamsicle, chocolate flavor. Eh, good enough but would move on to something else with no reservations.

Photo of necoadam
3.93/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured out a deep amber color with a nice head that stays with you the entire time.

Smell consisted of malts, perhaps toasted with a whiff of butterscotch. Some slight underlying of fruit can also be found.

Taste was good. Big malt flavors along with a bready taste starts out and lasts into the middle with some fruit and light spices mix in and lasts into the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel was medium with a good control on carbonation. I just wished to see a little more spcies in this brew. Finished on the dry side.

Pretty good, perhaps one of the better offerings from Shipyard. Does a good trick on a cold winter's night.

Photo of connecticutpoet
4.08/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This was a lovely red-colored beer with almost no head. I poured it in a way to generate some, but nothing significant.

The aroma was of medium-bodied caramel malts, lightly spicy hops, and plums. Very interesting, and quite nice.

The taste was primarily of bitter, pine-like hops, with some slightly sweet caramel and hints of cooking spices (nutmeg? clove? cinnamon? Not quite, but almost). A lingering bitterness finished the experience.

The mouthfeel was full-bodied, not too heavy, and very fitting, matching the bitter qualities and not loaded down with maltiness. I would definitely get this again if I found it again.

Photo of far333
3.4/5  rDev -9.6%
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.

Photo of Guinness4me
3.75/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Shipyard has NOT let me down. This beer poured an Xmas red color with minimal head and soapy lacing.

Warming malts filled my nose and left me anticipated for the taste. It smells like Christmas.

Ahhh...malt, spices and caramel sweetness are full and robust. I find it has a nice balance of alcohol tempered with sweetness which would make this 7.50% brew a bit dangerous.

Its mouthfeel was fullfilling, yet left me yearning for more. Bravo, Shipyard. I'm taking a vacation in Maine next year just to visit you!

Photo of WesWes
4.4/5  rDev +17%
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.

Photo of UnionMade
3.55/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The beer is served a translucent umber brown, slightly towards red. A thick, creamy foam of head covers the brew, thinning out to a ring about halfway through. Not much in the way of lace, just a few scattered blobs.
The aroma is rather malty, with some chocolate malt and caramel. Slight coffee and plenty of estery fruit. Fig, plum and a touch of raisin, with just an ever so slight hint of buttery diacetyl. Some cashew/almond nuttiness, with lightly present english hops. Definitely some fuggles, lending an earthy grassiness. A bit of nutmeg peeks through faintly.
The flavor starts with a sweet, rich caramel malt. Some diacetyl butteriness peeks through almost immediately, tamed by mildly bittersweet chocolate malt. A touch grainy, with a bit of earthy nutmeg creeping into the middle. Hints of sweet raisin and fig newton, moving into a subtle hoppy finish. Good balance, with an english herbal quality. Goldings and fuggles, with a slightly nutty finish, suggesting cashew. The diacetyl trails away when the hops come in, leaving the finish earthy and organic. A faint coffee flavor lingers shortly in the aftertaste, disappearing after a couple swallows. Fairly light bodied, with soft, casky carbonation.
Casked, it's bit thinner than I remember from the bottles. Enjoyable nonetheless, with a pleasant roasty maltiness and an earthy, natural tone to the overall feel. Not my most favorite winter brew, but it's a treat to have a casked pint.

Photo of mikeys01
3.2/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served from a 22oz bomber acquired shortly before Christmas. Pours into the glass a very dark amber topped with short lived off white foam. Aroma is mostly malty and sweet with a bit of rotting fruit. Taste is very malty and caramelized, with just a bit of spice and hints of raisin and cherry. Finally some hop bite comes in to save the day towards the end and finishes with a nice bitterness. moderate carbonation, quite full body. Maybe a prelude, but not the main course for me.

Photo of jdhilt
2.78/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours with a two-fingered off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a good lace. Light - medium carbonation. Deep clear amber color. Nose is soapy??. Starts with hops and malts; finishes with a hoppy/soapy overtone. Medium bodied. The ABV is currently 6.8%. $2.89 for a 22oz bottle.

Photo of ViveLaChouffe
3.73/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From a 22oz bomber.

Pours a still traslucent red with no head. Aroma is very light but is lightly spicy.

Taste is spicy. Ginger and some nutmeg. Bitter up front and then fruity and sweet. Some nice hops in the finish. Medium bodied and a bit of a sticky aftertaste.

Pretty drinkable holiday brew but nothing spectacular. Solid.

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

opened the bomber while dressing for a christmas party. Poured a nice brown/amber with a decent , rocky head. The head stayed fro the whole time with attractive lacing during consumption. the nose was nothing to speak of, mild nutty and spice notes with a hint of sweet roasted malts. The mouthfeel was ale-like, nothing too high ABV or overly spiced. The beer finished well after swallowing with a nice dry hop aroma / mouthfeel and good spicey and nutty flavors that lingered after each mouthful. Overall this was a decent holiday ale that neither dissapointed, nor exhilerated.

Photo of scottum
3.85/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep dark brown with a tan head. Tastes sweet from the malt, but not too sweet. A touch of buttery and chewey help out the sweetness. Hops are sharp and to the point of balance. The strength is almost fully hidden. The best Shipyard beer I've had so far.

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.33/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: the color's a darker shade of crimson, and the head, though small, is solid and rests languidly, though perseseveredly, creamy in color.
Aroma: interestingly, starts out orangey, then with my next whiff I came away with nothing but sour green apples, really sour, jolly rancher sour, and still a neat balance of sweetness.
Taste: great blitz of hops at first, that's easily contained, then overwhelmed by fantastic, delicious maltiness, that totally dominates from there on out. Rich, tasty, thoroughly fruity (cherries, and grapes, and berries, ringing through the palate), very sweet, without coming close to too-much-so, and thoroughly refreshing, with the significant alcohol content becoming more evident as we empty the glass. This is nearly an ideal winter warmer. Very approachable, constantly rewarding, and eternally delicious.
Very glad to have the chance to taste one of these, and for the honor I thank Mr. Rabidawg!

Shipyard Prelude Special Ale from Shipyard Brewing Co.
85 out of 100 based on 500 ratings.