Shipyard Prelude Special Ale | Shipyard Brewing Co.

very good
570 Ratings
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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Ratings: 570 |  Reviews: 291
Photo of erosier
3.9/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

L:Pours a nice amber copper color with a short and medium bodied white colored head that laces the glass nicely on the way down.
S: Smells of sweet malts, some caramel, and loads of different spices - cinnamon, brown sugar and molasses.
T: Tastes of nice roasted malts, then some nice sweet caramelized malts, followed with hints of cinnamon, brown sugar, molasses, then dark fruit flavors, and some hot alcohol to finish it off.
M: Smooth, warming, medium bodied, perfect amount of carbonation.
D: Pretty drinkable, it was a bit hot feeling, but the flavor was complex and interesting.

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Photo of cmac1705
4.35/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle. Freshness date indicates drink by November 2010.

Vigorous pour yields a sizable head that recedes into a nice lace. Deep, hazy, brick red appearance. Notes of festive spices, sweet, slightly minty and cinnamon character in the nose. Not overpowering, but discretely indicates the season.

A healthy sip yields a smooth, buttery texture that nicely accompanies the rich dark chocolate and coffee flavors. Finishes a little dry, leaves you clamoring for more.

Everything about this brew is sweet and rich except the texture. One of the more sessionable brews of its type. I feel like it could have used a little more alcohol kick, but perhaps that would detract from its charm.

Verdict: A nice Prelude to any evening.

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Photo of aepb1
4.1/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Russet brown with the foamy-airy tan head expected from the casking

S- Lots of malt but not a whole lot else in the nose

T- Malts and some interesting spice up front. The spice with the alcohol mix for an intriguing bite. A lot of complexity!

M- Low on carbonation and creamy from the casking, definitely a warming feel as well

D- Very easy to drink, smooth and complex

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Photo of ryanonline
3.82/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Nice dark appearance though a little mrenclear than I would expect. Little tan head and light lacing.

Smells subtle yet sweet with just a touch of hop character.

Tastes much better than expected. Light pine and maybe a touch of vanilla. Even a skosh citussy. Maybe a mite of banana. Interesting.

Kind of thin and dry but not bad.

OK drinkability.

Better than I expected.

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Photo of jlindros
4.07/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a lighter 1/2 finger head that fades very slowly. It's super hazy and dark, pretty much no light coming through, with a dark hazelnut brown color.

N: Pretty complex actually. Some dark crystal malts, quite a bit of nuttiness, some dark fruits, raisin, plum, dark dried fruits, a little vanilla, a touch of spice, slight candi brown sugar with hints of booze with that (surprisingly hotter than I would expect for less than 7%), little molasses, and a slight creamy dark malt. Seems to suit a lighter winter warmer well, too bad it's spring now (my fault).

T: Hmm, starts pretty malty, with quite a bit of fruit. Some dark malts really come out, lots of crystal, a little roast, etc. Then there lots of fruit with that. Tons of raisin, fig, dates, dark dried fruits, a little juicy. Next wave is the sugars, some complex sugars with candi sugar, brown sugar, molasses, a touch of toffee. WIth all that comes a touch of boozy heat. Some spices come through with all that giving it almost a candi bar taste. It's pretty rich and nutty as well with a little vanilla.

M: Somewhat thick with decent carbonation.

F: Finishes still a little sweet, with a lingering syrupy sweetness that sticks to the mouth. A long sticky syrup that is. A little spicy booze taste washes over and leaves a little sting for a few seconds. More lingering fruit and nuts as well. A little bitterness comes out, but not sure how pleasant the bitterness is as it seems to detract more from the beer than add to it.

Overall I was surprised with this one. I am typically disappointed by Shipyard, but this one was pretty good. A really nice body, lots of complex flavors blended well and didn't go over the top. It did drink a little hot though, especially for under 7%.

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Photo of Hojaminbag
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Shipyard Prelude has a hazy brown body that remains translucent, and becomes orange around the edges. The head is about a finger thick and soapy looking. The retention is pretty solid and the head leaves behind some nice lacing.

The aroma is very malty, with chocolate and butterscotch. There is a bit of nutmeg or spice like aroma in there also, but just a bit.

Prelude has a lot more going on in the flavor department than it does in the aroma. There is a little bit of sourness followed by a black cherry flavor in the beginning. After that a good dose of anise with a touch of nutmeg comes. The beer is rounded out by the malt characteristics that I noticed in the aroma, featuring butterscotch, caramel and chocolate. Just a hint of hops come out in the finish.

The mouthfeel has a nice thick, fullness while still being pretty highly carbonated. It works out rather well.

Prelude has a lot of stuff going on in it, and the layers of sweetness come together very nicely. I suggest drinking it at around room temperature. As winter warmers go, Prelude is a good one.

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Photo of turnstile
3.85/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This should be the last winter warmer of the season. Supposed to be in the 60s this weekend, so let's get this one in while it's still cold.

Poured from a 2009 bottle with an expiration date of October 2010.

Appearance: Deep mahogany brown with a fizzy, beige head. A trace film remains on the surface after the pour.

Smell: Huge roasted malt aromas and notes of coconut. A hint of alcohol is buried under there. Sweet and toasty malt aromas become more apparent, but no hop aromas are discernible.

Taste: It's mostly what I would expect from a well-constructed winter warmer. Sweet malts and lingering alcohol in the finish, but the spice is not very present. Mild hop bitterness lingers in the end.

Mouthfeel: This is brew is smooth, heavy, and chewy. The carbonation is fairly mild.

Drinkability: Best suited for the cold winter months, this one is great to end the night with. It's pretty heavy and best suited for one round - more than one if the weather sucks and you have nowhere to go.

I would have liked more spicing in this one to make it a little more complex and inviting, but the incredible malt character makes this one a winner.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.55/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Brown color, good white head. Spicy aroma, some type of Christmas ale spice, coriander maybe.

Taste, reminiscient of Jubeale, which is good. Thick malt backbone, more Christmas taste feel like in the aroma, event a decent hop match.

Mouthfeel, beer gets better throughout, pick up on some flavors that defy description on the palate. Intriguing. Recommend.

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Photo of ktrillionaire
3.48/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A – The hue is a deep copper-brown with an eggshell head, real foamy, and lots of lace.

S – Aroma is generally of caramel and butter and a bit of winter spice. Fairly non-descript, but inviting.

T – The taste is surprisingly very boozy and quite spicy, also very full-bodied compared to my expectatons.

M – As stated, full-bodied. Also somewhat creamy.

D – Not a bad option, and quite nice for a Shipyard brew.

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Photo of NJpadreFan
3.88/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Shipyard- Prelude

A- dark amber brown with a thick chunky head. Ringed lacing.
S- Vanilla, molasses & toffee malt with a touch of butter cream cake batter.
T- Nice brown sugar, vanilla, dark dried sweet fruits like plum, Spicy, butter cream malt with an earthy hop touch.
M- Thick sweet syrupy malt. buttery, creamy, with a mildly dry earthy hop feel.

Overall- creamy and malty. Went down well on a cold snowy night.

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Photo of aubuc1
3.88/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured in to a tulip pint glass.

Pours a clear rich brown with a steady off white head.

Smell is slightly spicy, bready, but not too significant.

Very good spicy, rich malty, bready, and hoppy finish.

Very thick mouthfeel that is nice.

Good drinkability on a nice winter beer.

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Photo of JMD
4.01/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a deep mahogany color with big off white head that dissipates slowly. Heavy lacing down the glass.

S: Sweet aroma of carmel, brown sugar and molasses. A little faint.

T: Nice malty flavor, hints of sweet carmel and brown sugar. Some winter spice, and a touch of bitter hops. Great balance.

M: Medium to full bodied, moderate carbonation.

D: This is a full flavored winter warmer. Nicely balanced with great malty flavor but enough hops to give it a little bite. I was suprised by this one, it was better than I thought it would be. Great brew from shipyard.

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Photo of Gavage
3.4/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: pours a dark amber color with a 1/2" head that hangs around a while. Some spotty lace develops.

Smell: caramel, butter, and brown sugar sweetness provide a decent aroma.

Taste: caramel, brown sugar, molasses, black plums, and a mellow bitterness is wrapped in a buttery flavor.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied. Lightly crisp from start to finish with a bit of dryness late. Aftertaste is short.

Drinkability: easy to quaff but overall it is a bit on the sweet side. A pint is enough IMHO.

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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 jwc215
3.87/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours mahogany with ruby highlights and a thin tan head that becomes a wisp. Some dotted lacing sticks.

The smell is of toffee, maple, roasted nuts and semi-dark fruits (black cherries?)

The taste is of toffee, maple syrup, butterscotch, with lightly roasted nuts. Ringwood yeast-strain shows way in the back. A touch of alcohol warmth and a mild minty touch show in the finish.

Full-bodied in a traditional "English" malty brew way. It has moderate carbonation.

A nice malty, sweet, but not cloying or sticky, sipper!

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Photo of beerad666
3.95/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

It pours out a darker amber / light brown color with a tan creamy head. The aroma is sweet with butterscotch, caramel and molasses, hitting you up front with some winter spices. The taste is much milder and malty then you expect. There is a nice hint of alcohol to complement the spices and the hops come through in the finish with some bitterness to balance it all out. This is a hearty beer in your mouth and could work excellent with some food. Its also very session-able, it goes down easy and isn't overly spiced. It comes in with an ABV of 6.8% which makes it good for a winter day or evening of drinking with friends. Shipyard did a great job with this winter warmer.

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Photo of cjgator3
4.03/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle

A- Pours a dark reddish brown color with a light tan head.

S- The aroma is sweet caramel and butterscotch with a hint of spices.

T- The taste like the aroma starts out sweet and malty with a full bodied sweet biscuity malt flavor and a spicy bitterness in the finish. Very good!

M- The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation.

D- Overall, this was a very enjoyable beer that I would not mind purchasing again. The drinkability is great despite the almost 7% ABV. Definitely Recommended!

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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 scottbrew4u
3.8/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours into pint glass a light brown color, very clear and some reddish hues. The head is tan and creamy and it settles nice and slow. Good lacing on the glass as it goes down.

S: Molasses, cranberry sauce, raisins and other dark fruit. Chicory and roasted malts are rich and complex. Hops add some spice.

T: Malt is toffee, molasses, bread and a copper penny taste. Hops bring on a earthy and spicy bitterness that matches the sweetness. Overall it is heavy on the bitter side.

M: Medium body with light carbonation.

D: Nice going down and easy to repeat. No over spice or too powerful of flavors. Shipyard does it right on this winter warmer. A nicely balanced beer with some interesting and complex flavors too.

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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 david18
4.2/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'm glad i didn't see this was a winter warmer when I first encountered this beer. It was listed at the House of Brews as a british style dark pale ale. It was very good and an interesting style that i don't have enough.

Very dark brown, good carbonation. The flavor had a very interesting malty and almost maple character. Very easy to drink. I hope I see this again soon.

The perfect winter (almost) session beer.

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

This one poured into a pint glass, slightly cooled is a deep, dark, copper colored brew with a big bumpy oatmeal colored head and tons of chunky lacing. I smell subtle evergreen cinnamon and very light malt. I taste some resinous malt and sweet herbal hop. Very nicely balanced with fine carbonation. Quite drinkable. I'd call this solidly mid-bodied. The evergreen/juniper notes speak softly but work nicely to define the style. A very enjoyable holiday choice.

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Photo of bob3701
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Sam Adam's glass. Dark mahogany color with a whites head that diminishes into a film with sporatic lacing. Very complex aroma hoppy and almost woody. This beer was unusual to me in that I really did not like the first sip I took but by the time I finished the glass I wanted more. Has a very hoppy edge to it and a bitter finish.
This beer also has a lot of meaning for me. Two years ago my late wife and I went to the Prelude celebration in Maine and we had a great time and had planned to return. I knew Shipyard brew an ale for this celebration and only very recently did I find out that they bottled it but I never saw it for sale in NJ. On Christmas eve I was in my new favorite beer store and there in the middle of the floor just delivered were 4 cases of Prelude. Was not even in their computer when I grabbed a 6. This started off my son's and mine sober celebration. A small Christmas miricale.

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Photo of morebeergood
4.08/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Normally not a fan of Shipyard, but this one changed my mind. Poured into a stemmed glass. Dark auburn color. Wonderful head and lacing. Woody and spiced smell. Taste was perfect for a winter beer. Plenty of spices that we all recognize from a winter warmer, but just enough to taste but not overwhelm. A perfect balance of flavor and restraint. Hearty on the palate, but smooth to drink. Would never guess it was 6.8%. Best winter beer of 2009 so far for me. After the six pack was done, we went out and bought a 12 pack because we liked it so much. Thank you Shipyard, for nailing this one.

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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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