Shipyard Prelude Special Ale | Shipyard Brewing Co.

very good
289 Reviews
Shipyard Prelude Special AleShipyard Prelude Special Ale

Brewed by:
Shipyard Brewing Co.
Maine, United States

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: 289 | Ratings: 567
Photo of pmcadamis
1.84/5  rDev -51.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

A - A big old three finger tan head sits prettily above a deep garnet brew that looks shadowy and mysterious. A good deal of lace is left on the sides of my Rochefort chalice, and the head looks pitted and that tan stuff on top of a meringue pie.

S - Dates, raisins, and dried cranberries (Craisins). Some strawberry-like notes are there too, along with a fruitcake malt base.

T - Again, dried fruits and yogurt covered raisins. This reminds me of a type of cereal breakfast bar that my fiance's basically oatmeal studded with dried strawberries and covered with a hard sugary yogurt topping. Oddball flavors abound, and the unfocused nature of this brew is throwing me off.

M - Medium bodied, slick, and oily with moderate carbonation and a funky rotten-fruit finish.

D - Poor. I really don't like this one at's way off base.

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Photo of Brad007
2/5  rDev -47.1%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Pours a ruby-reddish color with a thin head. Aroma is mostly malty and a bit sweet with spices. Taste is somewhat bitter upfront like a pale ale and there's not much spice or anything else showing through. Kind of rough around the edges as well. As it warms up a bit, it softens somewhat. However, I just don't think I could drink another bottle of this beer. I've had better winter warmers.

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Photo of Pintofbrown
2.4/5  rDev -36.5%
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 DogFood11
2.59/5  rDev -31.5%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Single 12oz brown bottle. Highly filtered clarity and is a mild ruby red color. Head is modest and fades quickly.

Slightly tinny smell is squashed by a nice malt bill. Its not enough. Maple syrup makes an appearance. Not much on the spice end. Aftertaste lingers a bit.

Notes: I can't get past the metallic twinge. Pass.

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Photo of BB1313
2.64/5  rDev -30.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass. Pours a transparent auburn with a fluffy off-white head and very sticky lacing. Great looking beer here. The aromas are full of diacetyl. Warm butter blended with some caramel malts. There's a nuttiness going on in the aromas and flavors as well. Also some hints of cocoa powder and chocolate malts. There's a nice subtle bitterness in the flavors. Lots of dark fruits like raisins and plums. There's some toffee in the mix as well. Flavors aren't horrible, but it's all one note and there's not too much complexity going on. Mouthfeel is very nice. It's light, somewhat watery, but still has a solid body to it. The carbonation is spot on making this an easy drinking beer. Alcohol goes unnoticed.

Boring beer for the most part. This was my first time having it and I highly doubt I'd seek it out again.

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Photo of jdhilt
2.8/5  rDev -25.9%
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.

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Photo of RBorsato
2.81/5  rDev -25.7%
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

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Photo of sacredduck
2.82/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A wholly unremarkable beer. As a lover of Maine beers (where I went to college), even this one doesn't excite me. The darkness in color is surprising considering the taste, which is light. Smokiness dominates the taste, which is pleasant, but far from complex. The smell is almost non-existent. I can smell that there is malt and hops present, but that's about the end. The drinkability is average. I happened to pick up this 12-pack on sale for $8, which is a steal. I would never pay full price for this beer. There is nothing unpleasant about this beer except for its complete boringness.

I'm no fan of special ales, but I've had many that are better than this.

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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 changeup45
2.85/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Chalk up another average beer for Shipyard. Pours a dark brown color with minimal head. Malty with some sugar spicy flavor in there and slightly sour in the finish. It's decent and warming but nothing too great. It was however $5 for a six pack so the price was very good.

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Photo of Manosbeeroffate
2.88/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

My first time with Prelude, found at local Hannaford Market. Pours a dark clear brown color, little bit of head that fades quickly. Smells of malt and some kind of christmas popurri. Tastes quite sweet with spices, buttery, a bit of citrus and back to the popurri again, kind of odd. Average mouthfeel, fizzy. Overall not that impressed, the flavors don't do it for me. It's not horrible but not something that I can really enjoy. Shipyard can do better.

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Photo of rev3rb
2.89/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottom Line Up Front: This winter ale is a malty ale and is a unique beer within it's style.

Decanted 12oz bottle into a snifter.

Appearance: I loved how this ale looked. Dark amber ale with a pillow white head that has nice lacing around the glass.

Smell: Aromas of bread and dark fruit (raisins). Almost smells a bit sweet.

Taste: My first (and continued) impression is that I immediately notice a buttery diacetyl taste. I'm assuming this is on purpose, otherwise I got a bad 6-pack if this wasn't supposed to be the case. Once past the buttery taste there is some malt sweetness and some caramel. If there were hops they were masked by the malty and buttery character of the beer.

Mouthfeel: It has the right amount of carbonation for this style. This beer coated my mouth and left a lingering aftertaste. It has a medium body.

Overall: The appearance of the beer drew me in, but there wasn't really anything in this beer that kept me interested. The buttery taste for me was not a positive characteristic of this beer. I think it's worth buying once to experience as I'm sure other people would find this beer good.

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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 wangbruins
2.98/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A- Pretty decent looking dark brown but kind of flat at the top. The lacing is minimal but still looks pretty appealing

S- Sugar and syrup mostly, which is odd to me. Maybe I'm missing something but I can't really catch much else

T- It has a strong sugar taste to me, like brown sugar or molasses. Maybe I wasn't missing anything in the scent

M- It's semi-thick but finishes quite oily. Not too much bite, it's really rather plain

D- It seems easy to throw this one back so ten to twelve shouldn't be a problem. This, however, should not be mistaken for high quality as I was not too impressed

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Photo of mactrail
2.98/5  rDev -21.2%
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 maxpower
3/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours clear brown-copper color, has an average white lasting head, light malty caremel, nutty aroma. Malty flavors of candy caremel and nuts, has some strange off flavors, mabye a bit unbalanced, light body, with the hops noticable in the finish, not all that great, some doesn't seem right.

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Photo of yankeeheel
3.03/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a clear brown with a springy café colored head. Smells very weakly of nutty malt.

The taste is somewhat unremarkable. A little bit of caramel malt with some of that ever-repetitive Shipyard diacetyl. Not a unique brew by any stretch. The malts give way to a weak hop finish. I’m just a little bit disappointed that this tastes like a lot of other Shipyard beers.

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Photo of ohoove
3.03/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A copper color with an off white half inch head and very good lacing.
This was a pretty average offering in most aspects. I really didn't get much at all as far as the nose and as far as taste the only thing I could detect was roasted malts. The alchohol was present but not overly done. This one could use a touch of personality.

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Photo of scottg
3.05/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

from thecarster1 as part of the Review This! BIF
12oz bottle poured into a pint glass
Best before 11-10

Pours a crystal clear garnet with a one finger off white head that leaves light rings of lacing. Aromas of sweet caramel, brown sugar, clove and other spices. Nice, very sweet malt up front, caramel with some chocolate in the middle. Then the finish has a very bitter lemon, like the pith not the rind and the spices come in to overpower. Light carbonaiton, medium body with a chalky mouthfeel with a solid dry finish. Looks, smells and starts out good but the finish ruins the drinkability in this one, not balanced at all.

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Photo of yelterdow
3.08/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Served at about cellar temperature in an Achel wide-mouthed goblet. Sample from S.K.I. Beer Corp, the distributor in New York. Best by October 2009... right on the money.

Appearance- Pours a nice burnished reddish-brown, almost cognac. The head summons a finger's worth of foam, then it slowly fizzles away to a disorganized cluster of various size bubbles. Some thin lacing clings to the glass.

Smell- A combination of toffee and cardboard... with just a suggestion of toasted malts. I'm trying my best to get the holiday spices here, but they're so far in the background that the aromas are almost indiscernable. Maybe a hint of graham cracker.

Taste- Though the balance of malt and hops is good, there's not much else to say. It's lacking big time in delivering the classic Winter Warmer flavors, it tastes more just like a standard, ordinary ale. Substantial hop bitterness in the finish, where I'd much more prefer a malty departure.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- Frothy and unassuming, the texture is good. Painfully average and unremarkable.

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Photo of secondtooth
3.09/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A clean amber ale, this one begins with a warm and comfortable aroma of clove and spice. The taste reflects this, with a strong spicy palate and smooth malty inclination. Unfortunately, there's little residual complexity. The sweetness is overpowering, rendering this beer decent, but not outstanding.

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Photo of kelticblood
3.12/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured a soapy looking head with minimal white lace.The color was a dark red.The smell is very acidic and malty with a floral hop hint.The taste is extremely malty with a roasted finish.Alcohol is noticed immediately and all throughout the mouthfeel which makes it kind of harsh.Nothing really stands out as far as the taste is concerned.Leaves a dry feeling on the pallate.A touch of cherries is noted on the finish.Not really impressed here.Very average and boring.Needs some work to make me buy this again.

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Photo of cookin420
3.15/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

pours a reddish brown with nice off white creamy head. medium size bubbles with very little lacing. Head subsided shortly after 2nd quaff. Smells of toasted malt and fruit like sweet, can smell the alcohol but not over bearing. First taste is slight bittering, roasty caramel then finishing faint melon and pineapple. Smooth and creamy mouthfeel with just enough carbonation. Very drinkable beer as we have found it to be a good session beer.

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Photo of Gosox8787
3.15/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Presentation: Poured into a snifter glass from a 12 oz. bottle.

Appearance is dark to medium brown with ruby highlights throughout. Two finger tan mocha head with decent retention. Smell is warm winter spices, molasses, and a rather large hint of booze. Smells rather unbalanced. Taste hits upfront with strong, astrigent burnt sugar. Brown sugar and molasses follow with some sweetness. Some spices also blend in nicely (cinnamon and clove) but do not really stand out. Mouthfeel is medium to light bodied without a lot of carbonation. Nice warming feel after every sip. Drinkability is low for me. The slighty high ABV and the really astrigent burnt sugar taste are a bit off putting.

Overall, a decent winter warmer that can come off a bit strong and has a slightly offensive taste upfront.

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Photo of WrathsU
3.16/5  rDev -16.4%
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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Shipyard Prelude Special Ale from Shipyard Brewing Co.
3.78 out of 5 based on 567 ratings.
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