Shipyard Prelude Special Ale | Shipyard Brewing Company

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Shipyard Prelude Special AleShipyard Prelude Special Ale
Very Good
578 Ratings
Shipyard Prelude Special AleShipyard Prelude Special Ale

Brewed by:
Shipyard Brewing Company
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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 578 |  Reviews: 293
Photo of Goliath
3.94/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a fairly clear, dingy brown with a thin off white head on top. Poor retention and no lacing.

The aroma is pretty nice actually. A fruity bouquet with a melon component taking the lead, with a nice dose of caramel, roasted nuts, and some spices. Really pleasant.

The taste is decent. A big malt presence showing plenty of raw grain, nuts, bread, and an almost hay like quality at times. There is a slight bitterness on the finish as well. A bit of fruit and a touch of spice round out this beer.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and fairly highly carbonated.

Drinkability is fairly high. It's a solid beer, and pretty tasty. It's mild mannered for the most part, but with some interesting flavor profiles. Not overly complex but enough to sit and enjoy by a fire.

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Photo of BWH3
3.7/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: A copper still ale with some orange red high lights topped with a tan soft and full head. The head pours quite large and lasts a decent time. The beer is a touch hazy.

S: A sweet caramel, grape like fruitiness, a floral hydrangea like scent. A note of butter-scotch note as well.

T: Special B and caramel malts dominate the taste. The toasted grain provides a dry astringent bitterness. The hops are minimal. There is no spice to speak of. A nutty almond flavor is present in the aftertaste.

M: Light bodied, low gas. Above average head retention. Well masked alcohol.

D: Above average winter ale. The alcohol doesn't really warm the belly like others but it certainly is an enjoyable and sessionable seasonal beer.

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Photo of JayNH
3.83/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- A nice clear reddish copper color. Not much of a head.

S- Sweet and bready with a subtle spiciness.

T- Not overly complex. Slightly sweet, not very spicy. A subtle fruity taste.

M- Smooth with mild carbonation.

D- Very drinkable!

This brew isn't overly complex and certainly won't wow! you. I don't personally like the highly spiced winter warmers so I really enjoyed this one. Just a decent, easy drinking, "winter" beer.

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Photo of CHADMC3
3.83/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is the first winter warmer of the season for me, perfect for a brisk CT night.

Holy Cow does this brew have some aggressive carbonation. I thought I was pouring this slowly, but judging by the abundant, fluffy tan head I received I may need to take my time a little more in the future. Deep amber brown body accompanies the aforementioned dense carbonation bubbles and generous head, eventually giving away to a random, but thick sticky lacing.

A rich, sweet fruity aroma flows from the glass and gives way to added hops upon further inspection.

A very deep, nutty flavor, with a pleasant and sweet (if possible?) hop presence at the finish.

The carbonation is on the abundant side, but this is a very friendly beer for the palate. Medium bodied and chewy with a friendly hop/malt balance.

It truly is a winter warmer, great flavor character, and very enjoyable on a cold night.

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Photo of oriolesfan4
3.68/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A winter seasonal from Shipyard.

I've had a handful of Shipyard beers in the past and let's just say there were far less than spectacular. Their pumpkin ale was one of the worst beers I've ever had and their others were pretty boring... but this one is above average and proved my view of this brewery to be off. It's nothing fancy here.. a nice biscuity, bready winter warmer that goes down super smooth and looks great. It has a high ABV so it really warms you up and is super drinkable... no frills and delicious.

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Photo of zeff80
3.76/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a cloudy, copper/ruby color with a tan, bubbly, foamy, one-finger head. No lace.

S - It smelled very fruity. Sweet aromas with hints of caramel malt and alcohol.

T - It tasted of fruity (cherry) with touches of molasses and sweet caramel. It also had a slight alcohol flavor.

M - It was soft, smooth and chewy. A medium-bodied beer.

D - This is a pretty good warmer. Not spicy like most, but sweet and malty.

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

Fairly dark clear amber pour. Cream head. Malty aroma, sweet and roast, some spice. Surprisingly solid medium body. Malty, caramel/toffee with nice spice and christmas sugar cookie accents. Not as much hop presence as some Christmas ales, which I found nice. Clean finishing and very drinkable. I wasn't quite sure what to expect with this and was pleasantly surprised.

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Photo of tpd975
3.73/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a nice clear amber hue with a big bold solid fluffy head. Retention is great with some lace being noted.

S: Nice bold malty aroma with hints of caramel, toffee, and nuts coming thru. Hints of hops and be detected as well.

T: This is big on the malt but there is a nice hop addition to balance things out. Nice caramel malt flavors with a nice blast of xmas spice and soem yeast. Nothing overthetop like you find in many christmas beers. There is a nice crisp bitter hop bite in the finish that really makes this one excel.

M: Medium to full in body. Smooth.

D: This one has some age on it, but it is still a real nice beer. I found it at the back of the beer fridge and decided to consume it. I am glad I did. It was a great way to finish off a hard nights work.

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Photo of changeup45
2.85/5  rDev -24.2%
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 DMcPhee33
4.61/5  rDev +22.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I cellared a case of the stuff from last winter and glad that I did...

A-pours a deep brown with a creamy 2-finger head that settles but doesn't dissapear.

S-malty, a little caramel

T-from my take, the cellaring has heightened caramel/malty flavor that masks the taste of the Ringwood yeast used in Shipyard's brews (this sometimes strong aftertaste has made me dislike a few of their offerings in the past)

M-Silky & smooth, with slight carbonation & a hop/sprice combo coming in at the end which complements the taste nicely.

D- incredibly well-balanced & smooth brew for carrying an ABV of almost 7%. I'll be interested to see if the taste matures more when I crack the case open again later in the year.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.73/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a clear medium copper color ale with a huge foamy head with some good retention and some good lacing. Aromas of huge caramel malt are totally dominating with a nice light hoppy touch. Taste is also dominated by that huge medium-sweet caramel malt with a light hoppy finish. Full body with great carbonation and no alcohol detectable. I really like the balance between the medium sweet caramel malt light hoppy notes, really refreshing and easily drinkable.

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Photo of Hokies
3.56/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased this 22oz bomber from the brewery last weekend and served into a pint glass. Pours a deep amber color with a huge brown head that leaves lacing that lasts till the end. Smells like butterscotch and caramel and a light hop aroma. Tastes like butterscotch and then some hops come in with no spice until the end. I can also detect some toffee in the taste and a nice light bitterness at the end. Their is a decent carbonation to the beer with a nice creaminess to it. This is a nice winter warmer and pretty easy to drink.

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Photo of tempest
3.68/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I like the predominant Ringwood character and find the body to be very drinkable, but the lack of malt flavor here is holding this one back. The aroma and flavor have the creamy, candy and spice from the yeast and then the flavor has a slight roasted element to it. There's a small, earthy finishing hop bite and the body is on the light side of medium, easy enough to drink that reading the abv here is surprising. Still a nice WW overall, especially if you dig Ringwood.

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

Crystal clear reddish brown with a nice off white head. Very nice. The aroma isn't overwhelming but there's a nice bit of malt. It's a mighty tasty beverage with a great balance of hop, spice and malt. The mouthfeel is nice a bit heavy for more than a couple but over all a wonderful beer.

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

05/23/08- Purchased at Ledger's Liquors in Berkeley, CA.

Presentation- 12oz bottle with a freshness date bar on the side of the label. This one was Nov-07. Poured into my Duvel tulip.

Appearance- Brown cola like colored pour. About a 1/2 inch off white quickly fading head. Leaves ultra light lace streaks.

Smell- Minor mishmash of X-mas spices (cinnimon, clove and nutemg), plus a few woody hop notes.

Taste- Taste mimics the nose. Mostly clove and nutmeg. Maybe some chinese five spice flavor. Hops are there and piney in flavor. Malt is caramel flavored, but hidden by the spices.

Mouthfeel- Medium carbonation level with a short lived spicy aftertaste

Drinkability- A very poor man's Anchor OSA. Falvor isn't as bold as it cold be, plus hops could be a little more stronger as well. Seems watery because of somewhat dullish flavor, but it's not.

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

Pours deep brown, clear, with off white head that remains as a thin layer for quite awhile.

Nose has combination of holiday cookies, cinnamon, cocoa, and baking powder.

On the palate is some mint julep like bourbon flavors, pepper, maybe nutmeg, and butterfinger-candybar like sweetness.

Finish is warm with some citrus zing.

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Photo of riversider76
4.2/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this one in the beer cellar for a while.Pours copper with a one finger tan head. Good retention,and very nice lacing. Aroma is of dark fruits,and spices. Body is medium,and carbonated.Taste is of sweet fruits,with a mix of hops,that give it a hint of grapefruit. Spicey finish. Excellent.

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Photo of jslot38
3.53/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

'07-'08 Edition (Drank in January)

Appearance: Copper colour with red hues. Rugby filters through, borders on brown. Head is an egg white shell with specks of tan. Holds to the top.

Smell: Very grainy smell with lightly toasted bread. A bit of lightly roasted barley lingers.

Taste: Bready, lightly toasted rye bread. A few spices linger with a bit of alcohol. Not much of a hop presence.

Mouthfeel: Good level of carbonation hits up front, and the classic Shipyard buttery feel smooths it out. Not bad.

Drinkability: This is drinkable, and makes for a good winter warmer.

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Photo of williamherbert
4.25/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Rouge red colors, like a watered-down Coca-Cola. Big puffy head. Glassy and clear given its depth.

The aroma is good, pungent and slighly sweet, almost like a barleywine. Strong alcohol smell. Hint of dark grape sweetness.

Very pungent sweet grape with lots of alcohol. Like a light barleywine. Very sweet, very strong. Bitter barleymalt balances it. Spicy with some apparent ginger. Minor dry yeast.

Feels thick and chewy. Has a liqueur burn on the way down. Syrupy. Strong, sweet loaded with alcohol. Really a fine beer.

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Photo of pmcadamis
1.84/5  rDev -51.1%
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 DefenCorps
4.13/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle received as an extra via trade with deltatauhobbit

A: Crystal clear deep ruby red with a two finger beige head that has a boat load of bubbles!

S: Spicy with cinnamon sweetness, nutmeg and toffee. There's a herbal touch to it too

T: An excellent winter warmer with an excellent balance between the malts and the spices. It starts off with a spicy sweetness that is followed by the nutmeg. The body is a little thin and the finish is dry and pleasant

M and D : A lot of carbonation makes this a palate tickler. The pleasantly dry and spicy finish makes this an easy drinker too

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Photo of KOPBeerDrinker
3.87/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass a dark amber brown with pillowy off-white head of about a half of an inch. Left a small amount of lacing as it susided. Aroma was that of sweet malt, bread, and some alcohol. Tastes very sweet and a little biscuity with some hops in the finish. Mouhfeel is medium. Drinkibility is okay but may be to sweet to drink very many. Very good beer overall.

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Photo of JMScowcroft
4.08/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Look - Very nautical, very Maine. Pours yellow but settles dark amber in the glass, slight frothy head. Nice and clear, very presentable.

Smell - Sweet smelling ale with maple overtones. Very rare.

Taste - You could have this one by itself as a snack. Thick and creamy, sweet with a hoppy finish.

Mouthfeel - Hop heads rejoice! Aftertaste is hoppy but you'll only get it at the end, which is the perfect time to get the taste of hops. Hidden downside you won't notice at first is hours later you'll have a lingering sickly sweet from the maple. Eating something bready or dry may help to soak up this minor unpleasantry.

Drinkability - A bit sweet and strong for my taste. I couldn't finish my third and I was trying, so I'd have to admit this beer doesn't excel here.

Overall I would highly recommend trying this beer if you see it around, it's a unique experience and deserves a chance on your taste buds. Another hurrah for New England beer!

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Photo of Sammy
3.8/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A vast complex medal meriting winter warmer, without over-the-top ABV. Mint and clove and peppercorn and mellowed with a year of ageing. Medium mouthfeel and smooth for its style. A little roasting and hops here.Decent smooth though sparkling medium mouthfeel.

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Photo of 1fastz28
3.44/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours a reddish ruby color with a small brownish head. the smell isn't very strong, and is one of this beers only downfalls. what little smell is pretty much some sweet malty hints... the taste is very sweet and very malty, little or not hop presence. the mouthfeel and drinkability are both good and so is the beer, its a decent beer.

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Shipyard Prelude Special Ale from Shipyard Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.76 out of 5 with 578 ratings