Shipyard Prelude Special Ale | Shipyard Brewing Co.

Shipyard Prelude Special AleShipyard Prelude Special Ale
Liked This Beer
3.76 w/ 573 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: 573 |  Reviews: 291
Photo of Durge
3.91/5  rDev +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 +6.4%
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 +8.5%
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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Photo of climax
4.22/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This "special" beer started out so. It poured a glowing deep brownish red. Head was moderate, very creamy with good lacing.

The aroma is lovely: buttery caramel, butterscotch, brown sugar, over ripened fruit (especially banana), clove. warming alcohol, and spices. Nose was truly an enjoyable prelude to taste.

Flavor is right where I thought it would be after smelling it. The warmth of alcohol is quick to announce it's presence. Soon thereafter, the aforementioned flavors start to mingle in. The hops seem to take the stage in the finish, which is quite clean.

This one is very smooth, pretty easy to drink for a higher ABV. Body is about medium and carbonation is pretty mild. The warmth of alcohol is present throughout, and the finish is slightly dry.

Flavor abound, great drinkability for an ale of this genre, and all the other aspects are in check here. This one's worth checking out.

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Photo of taez555
4.42/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer poured mahogany body with a nice white head.

Nose is rich and classic English cask winter warmer. Strong earth and caramel malt. So simple, but so inviting.

Taste is medium bodied with a beautiful smooth and rich copper caramel malt taste. There a nice earthy hop taste very reminisant of so many english cask ales, that is just so perfect. Really there's not much more to this beer, even at 6.8%, just so distinct and perfect. I swear I'm drinking a true English cask ale. Wow!!!

I'm not sure why I haven't had this beer more often, it is simply DAMN good. Very much an english stle, almost cask-ish tasting, winter warmer. I could drink this all day.

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Photo of thecarster1
3.85/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a- bottle poured into a pint, little more than a fingers worth of tan head that fades to a solid covering of small and large bubbles, deep deep clear mahogany coloring.

s- roasted grains, some alcohol, dark coffee, dark chocolate, interesting light dark burnt notes.

t- roasted coffee, dark malts, bitter chocolate, huff of alcohol on the backend (that smoothes out as the beer warms), some notes of almost whiskey like flavors meet musky wood - very interesting. this beer grew on me as the pint went down.

m- thick and chewy.

d- this is a drinkable beer, and a tasty one at that. this was my first winter warmer and it was a solid one at that. i'm a fan of drinking my beers more on the cold side, this one got better and better as it warmed, the next i drink i'll let it sit out a bit before i open and pour.

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Photo of clayrock81
3.7/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a brownish body with red tints with huge head and lace patches. Had a sweet smell with some caramel and butterscotch as well as some dry malts and a little springy hops. A smooth body with some spices to match the sweetness and goes down in a medium, creamy body. Malts are mostly caramel with some toffee and some spices like cinnamon that kick it up and it finishes clean and dry thanks to spice and hop. Little bit of fruit flavor from hops but not much. This is a good beer but something about it seemed a tad off to me.

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Photo of fastpass17
3.3/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Nut brown in color, moderate head retention throughout

S: Malty, slightly nutty, no apparent hop notes

T: Brown sugar comes to the mouth, cookie like in the middle, light alcohol warmness ends

M: Somewhat viscous, lingering aftertaste coats the tongue

D: Would enjoy more than one, a nice beer for the style

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Photo of necrat
3.95/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured for me a very dark cloudy brown color.
Not a huge head but left a nice lacing.

The smell of this beer is very good! Malts, Wood, Coffee notes, and a roastyness.

The taste is very flavorfull, balanced, spicy, woodyness, and a very clean dry finish.

It got better as it warmed up too.

Not overly carbonated, with a nice smokey aftertaste too.

This is a very nice winter beer and definatley a winner from Shipyard.

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Photo of Zorro
3.72/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Clear dark red to brown colored beer with a smallish tan colored head.

Sweet smelling with a fair load of spice. Slight sour scent of rye detected. Vanilla, spruce and mint are the strongest scents. Lesser scents or ginger, cardamom and coriander.

Starts neutral in sweetness to down right dry and woody. Quite a woody and bitter version of the style, this one could never be mistaken for a spice cookie. Spices are mostly an aftertaste here really pickup more rye than anything. Actually pickup more mushroom than spice here.

Mouthfeel is reasonably full.

Very much the anti sweet and heavily spiced winter beer. Dry and woody with a hint of spices. Drinkability is going to depend on you liking a dry beer.

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Photo of thespaceman
3.95/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a pint glass:

Appearance: Pours a medium amber in color, head quickly rises up the glass and leaves being some sticky, soapy lacing. Nice bubbles from the carbonation.

Smell: I get lots of toasted malts up front, a hint of caramel and some wood-like elements. A touch of some grassy aromas are around, and a nice light fruit profile. Very earthy and aromatic, this beer has a nice malt tinge in the back that is spicy yet reserved.

Taste: Alot of english malt up front, I get hints of toffee, some caramel and some wood. Bits of cereal like grains and a touch of malt spice begins to smooth things out. A light hop profile features an array of light fruit, like some apple and a touch of citrus bite. Definetley on a different scale for a winter warmer but pleasing nonetheless.

Mouthfeel: Decent amount of carbonation, a small, bittering effect is present in this one. Medium bodied and holds up well.

Drinkability: Not your typical winter warmer, this one has a nice, dry oak like finish to it that is missing out of alot of other seasonal beers, the nice earthy aromas are pleasant, and for 6.8% ABV, this one goes down like a charm. A good toasted malt backbone is nicely aligned! A good start for the winter and a nice brew to kick back with on those colder nights.

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Photo of tigg924
3.6/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: 1 inch head, clear, leather brown in color, moderate carbonation

Smell: toasted malt, alcohol, and wood

Taste: toasted malt, hops, and finished oak

Mouthfeel: smooth, light bodied, slightly bitter

Drinkability: One of Shipyard's better beers. I get a huge dose of finished oak. I could have two of these.

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Photo of jsh420
3.97/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours light brown with a 1/2 finger white head that left no lacing

smells very fruity and also has a tang that reminds me of most english pales

taste - again strong english pale malts along side fruit with some nice spice - a very different winter warmer

mouthfeel is light with plenty of carbonation to give it a crisp and creamy feel at the sametime

srinkability - this one makes me wish i had bought more then a single but i have been burned too many times

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Photo of yelterdow
3.08/5  rDev -18.1%
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 ChainGangGuy
3.41/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Best Before: October 2009.

Appearance: Pours a clear, deep, garnet-hued body with a frothed, ivory-hued head.

Smell: A primarily malty nose with notes of pale malt, toasted biscuits, semi-dry caramel, and (though very lightly) chocolate. Faintly fruity. Lesser note of herbal hops.

Taste: Pale, biscuity malts with some accompanying tastes of light caramel and chocolate. Medium sweetness. Very modest hint of citrus alongside a touch of dark fruitiness. Leafy, herbaceous hops with no more than a medium-low amount of bitterness delivered. Drying finish with a light, lingering bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: So-so. A pleasant, if somewhat simple English-minded brew for winter or whenever, really.

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

Bottle Pours a clear reddish brown with a good froathy tan head. The head lasts well. Has a malty aroma with hints of vanilla and alcohol. Has a good carbination and a nice mouthfeel. Has a bubblie water texture. Nice blending. The flavors really come together well. Has a solid finish. This is pretty good. Lacks some hoppiness but it still works.

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Photo of cdizinno
4.2/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz brown bottle into chalice. Freshness date notched - Oct. '09. Purchased as 6-pack from Wine & More for a ridiculously low price of $2.99. That was the whole 6-pack!

A: Dark amber color, slightly cloudy with tan head and lacing.

S: Sweet smell with light spice scents and dark chocolate.

T & M: Flavor is mildly sweet, but a great balance with the hops bitterness. Medium to light bodied and a very good winter ale.
Serving type: bottle

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Photo of biggred1
3.75/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark amber with a light tan head that leaves fine thin lace on the glass. Smells of caramel malt, brown sugar and dark fruit. Tastes much like the smell with some very subtle holiday spicing in the finish. Medium bodied with crisp carbonation. A milder spiced winter warmer that suits me just fine.

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Photo of BigBoochDaddy
3.45/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Poured 12oz. bottle into a pint glass. Nice amber color. Good size head to begin with that disappeared quickly.

S- Fruits and butterscotch with a hint of floral scents

T- I get some floral tastes to begin with. I get some fruits and a little spice.

M- Not overly carbonated, feels pretty good.

D- Doesn't seem like a 6.80 ABV. Goes down pretty easy. I would have another.

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Photo of sacredduck
2.82/5  rDev -25%
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 Psilo707
3.7/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a 6 pack of this on sale for $5.99 at my local liquor store, so I didn't have too high of hopes at first. Pours a dark brown-to-red frothy opaque color with nice head and decent lacing. Smells like berries, alcohol, and pine nuts, pretty decent aroma.

Taste is one of slight raisins coated in malty darkness. A bit of a sting at first, but quickly fades into a good tasting malt. Mouthfeel is solid, drinkability as well.

A pleasant suprise to a forethought mediocrity!

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

Dark brown with small head that dissipates quickly, lively carbonation apparant. Aroma is filled with dark malt scents. Molasses, caramel, dark brown sugar. Taste is a bit tame. A nice dark malt, but not very complex. Perhaps a hint of clove. Could use some more winter spice. Mouthfeel is a bit light. Could use a little more body and creamyness. A solid very passable beer, but not a remarkable winter warmer, a style that rewards inventiveness.

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Photo of jaluria
3.43/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a six-pack of this at Cheshire Wine & Spirits based on the advice of Jim (the beer guy) and I am glad I did.

The beer poured a translucent, medium-brown color with a soft, off-white head and significant carbonation. The aroma was dominated by toast, alcohol, and roasted malt; interesting, but not unusual or overly enticing. The taste followed suit with an initial hop/malt balance that quickly shifted towards malt and a sweet, caramel flavor. The texture was rather slick and thin, but refreshing. I enjoyed this beer with some pizza and it was a good match. This beer reminded me of both a Belgian Dark Ale and a Bitter. I will certainly enjoy the remainder of the six-pack I picked up.

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

Bottle from Keg Liquor, IN.

Poured dark brown color with an average frothy light brown head that was lasting and produced good lacing. Good moderate complex spice and malt aroma. Medium body with a smooth sticky texture and soft texture. Moderate bittersweet flavor with with a moderate sweet finish of average duration.

Good drinkable beer.

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Photo of MitchW
3.8/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle poured into a tumbler.

A - Dark, amber brown. Active carbonation resulting in a bubbly, frothy head which mostly settles, but never dissipates. This beer has slight turbidity, but isn't quite cloudy.

S - Deep malty aroma. At first it seems too malty, but the feeling doesn't linger. Almost undetectable hop aroma.

T - Very balanced, biscuity malt. Good full flavor, but finishes light. Hint of alcohol on the front end, but none in the finish. Faint spice.

M - Fizzy, but doesn't feel over carbonated. Moderate thickness, but doesn't stick in the mouth. Compliments the biscuit flavor.

D - Gets easier to drink as it goes. Would be a favorite in colder weather.

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Shipyard Prelude Special Ale from Shipyard Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 58.1% out of 100 with 573 ratings
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