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: 570
Photo of rebel1771
3.52/5  rDev -6.9%
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.

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Photo of NEhophead
4/5  rDev +5.8%
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.

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Photo of lordofthewiens
4.45/5  rDev +17.7%
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.

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Photo of horshack7
4.83/5  rDev +27.8%
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.

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Photo of Truh
3.68/5  rDev -2.6%
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.

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Photo of necoadam
3.92/5  rDev +3.7%
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.

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Photo of connecticutpoet
4.07/5  rDev +7.7%
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.

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Photo of far333
3.4/5  rDev -10.1%
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.

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Photo of Guinness4me
3.73/5  rDev -1.3%
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!

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Photo of WesWes
4.38/5  rDev +15.9%
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.

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Photo of UnionMade
3.57/5  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.

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Photo of mikeys01
3.21/5  rDev -15.1%
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.

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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 ViveLaChouffe
3.7/5  rDev -2.1%
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.

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Photo of counselor
3.88/5  rDev +2.6%
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.

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Photo of scottum
3.81/5  rDev +0.8%
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.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.3/5  rDev +13.8%
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!

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

Nice mahogany color...head that dissipated quickly. Definite winter warmer. Malty aroma with a definite hop accent. Initial malt sweetness ended in a beautiful hop presence at the end. Mouthfeel was light for the high abv. Drinkable, but don't guzzle!

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Photo of sulldaddy
4.18/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I sampled this on cask at Eli Canon's in Middletown, CT.

The beer poured with a reddish mahogany color and cascaded with an off white foamy head. The foam lingered through most of the pint with the surface of the brew always covered with a thin layer.
The aroma was sweet like candy with flowery hops as well.
Very smooth and low carbonation, as a cask ale should be. The initial flavor is malty sweet like caramel and maybe a little spiciness. This flavor is quickly overtaken with a hop bitterness but not an overwhelming bitter, just a crisp refreshing one. The brew is medium to light bodied and is very drinkable.
Very nice hop flavor on the finish which lingers in my mouth long after the beer is in my belly.
I actually had a second pint because I enjoyed the first so much! This beer goes down very easy and I was surprised to learn it is 7.5% alcohol!
Havent had it in bottle since last year so I will have to grab some in bottle form to. Another great beer by Shipyard!

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Photo of nixhecks
4.11/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presented in a 22oz. bomber. Poured a deep, glowing ruby color with a medium off white head with medium retention. Aroma is of sweet sticky candy, not very strong but I assume it will grow while it warms. Despite the sweet smell the flavor was surprisingly not oversweet at all. Very nicely balanced, with barley malts on the forefront, finishing with a piney hop bite, and a little extra spiciness throughout. Mouthfeel has moderate carbonation and is medium-heavy in body. Excellent ale for the winter, very warming and definetely very drinkable!

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Photo of bditty187
4.47/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Clear, dark ruby-copper/brown hue… skimpy beige head that faded rather quick… soapy residue around the edges. No lace. The bouquet is largely butterscotch and caramel, plums, dark fruit, sweet maltiness… quite a pleasant and inviting nose. Awesome palate! Tremendously complex and tasty… wonderfully crafted. The hops bound to the forefront; ideally bitter… sweet maltiness and alcohol triumphs in the middle… only to be quickly inundated by spiciness… fruitiness and light butterscotch is fazed in towards the end… the long and savory finish is rich with caramel but dry with hops. The usage of hops in this beer is perfect. Minimal carbonation and the tremendous maltiness creates a full-bodied ale. The abv is well hidden in the taste; it only adds hints of scrumptiousness… negligible influence on the mind. Prelude is worth seeking out… what a wonderful beverage… highly recommended. What’s better than a Christmas beer in July?

Thanks StevieW for this topnotch brew!

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Photo of jeffboo
3.91/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A Northeastern charmer sent over by Bierman9! Yummy winter warmer as a prelude into spring. A dark amber brew with a very bubbly head, and lots of red highlights make for a delicious look. The aroma is a bit mellow, some caramel malt and a little roast and spicy hops in the backround. This is a full bodied beer with a nice roasty/nutty finish. It has a nice malt sweetness with some spicy hop flavor that builds as it comes to room temp. At the half way point it has a nice mellow bitter finish to balance the sweetness. An easy drinking big beer that fits the local weather scene.

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Photo of UncleJimbo
4.1/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I sampled this ale on cask at the Coat of Arms pub in Portsmouth, NH.

This ale poured a slightly hazy, dark, copper-red color with good, slightly off-white foam that did not leave much lace. The smell was modest but good: sweet caramel malt aroma. The taste was sweet: some caramel malt overtones on top of a candy sugar taste. There were also hints of oak and floral hops, and the sweetness lingered on the tongue. The mouthfeel was smooth and relatively clean (other than the sweetness). The body was medium. This was a very drinkable and enjoyable ale.

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Photo of paceyourself
4.13/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A reddish-brown pour produced a off-white head that was about a half inch tall. Sweet caramel, coffee, hazelnut and roasted malt flavors hide the 7.5% well when served very cold.

Served warmer this brew seems to come alive. A bolder malt profile and the spicy hoppiness lead into the warming alcohol feel very nicely. I found this very drinkable in the 12oz. bottles but i would love to try a bomber or from draft even sometime.

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Shipyard Prelude Special Ale from Shipyard Brewing Co.
3.78 out of 5 based on 570 ratings.
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