Shipyard Prelude Special Ale | Shipyard Brewing Co.

very good
291 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: 291 | Ratings: 569
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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Photo of hosehead83
3.85/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz. bottle into a standard pint glass.
Dark tea color, with a big cap of light tan foam.
Aroma-Faint toasted malt
Taste-Toasted malt, subtle cinnamon, caramel, nutty. A nice little hop bite comes around in the mix. An easy-drinking, pleasant seasonal offering.

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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 warrenout330
3.53/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle pour

A- pours a deep amber color,see through in the light.... off white colored head... thick and fluffy, reduces to thick ring around the beer....

S- strong caramel smell, slight candied fruit lingering

T- slightly close to taste, you get a smooth caramel, light hints of figs and caramelized raisins... a faint metallic taste that disappears due to the balance of hops

M- slick and crisp at the same time ... oily body, moderate carbonation... mild hop bite for balance

O- this is good... but I wish it was a tad bigger. It almost teases me in the sense of a old ale but tuned down for a decent price for the customer.... nice price and easy drinking bit nothing to brag about

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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 GarthDanielson
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured on-tap and served in a tumbler pint, the beer is a vibrant, ruby-brown coloring with a thin, filmy, off-white head that is thin and clingy. Aromas of nut sweet and biscuit, with a strong caramel and toffee profile, also. Flavors are rich and roasty, with a boozey highlight. Toffee and tangy caramel blend with a subtle all-spice spicing. Rich, full bodied with a crisp, slightly effervescent finish and feel. Rich, slightly boozey aftertaste. Very strong, solid brew.

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Photo of croixian1
4.45/5  rDev +17.7%
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 +2.6%
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 +2.9%
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 -0.8%
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 -7.9%
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 -2.9%
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 +1.9%
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 -7.9%
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 -16.4%
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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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 phichifiji00
3.58/5  rDev -5.3%
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 -12.4%
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 +0.5%
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 +5.8%
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 -36.5%
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 MoreThanWine
3.5/5  rDev -7.4%
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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Shipyard Prelude Special Ale from Shipyard Brewing Co.
3.78 out of 5 based on 569 ratings.
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