Brewer's Choice Special Ale 2008: Royal IPA | Shipyard Brewing Company

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Brewer's Choice Special Ale 2008: Royal IPABrewer's Choice Special Ale 2008: Royal IPA
Brewer's Choice Special Ale 2008: Royal IPABrewer's Choice Special Ale 2008: Royal IPA

Brewed by:
Shipyard Brewing Company
Maine, United States

Style: English India Pale Ale (IPA)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.50%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
None provided.

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

User Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 30 | Ratings: 35
Photo of selecter70
3.88/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First off, I love the label with the brewer hanging out with his cat (though we all know cats only drink port & sherry). This Special Brown Ale is definitely a great little pale ale with interestin qualities. The pour is a light honey brown to yellow-brown with hazy, near hefe yeast. The head sits a good 1 and a half fingers & the lace sticks around throughout. The aroma has bitter hop with fermented fruit & yeasty flowers. The flavor holds up with good crisp hoppy bitterness, mild malt to round it out and subtle apricot hints in good medium body. Refreshing & fairly hearty this ale made me a fan again of the pale ales...not extremen hops & a nice blend of the un-expected.

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Photo of ybnorml
3.15/5  rDev -13%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A hazy copper/amber beer. Has a small off white head. The aroma has more sweet malty notes ( toffee, caramel and butterscotch) than hoppy notes. Just a hint of floral and spicy hop notes in the background. A toffee sweetness runs down the middle of your tongue. The floral hops gradually become more earthy as they hit the back of your throat. I'd suppose this would be a good session beer if not for the abv.

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Photo of Yeastcakes
3.98/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Serving notes: 0.5L German glass, cellar temp
Aroma: Hop aroma present but not as dominant as I would expect in an IPA. Hops somewhat earthy seeming more like a English IPA. Nice light maltiness in the background.
Appearance: two fingers of head that goes down to a steady finger. Medium-dark amber with a very slight haze.
Mouthfeel: Medium-full body, medium carbonation.
Taste: Beautifully full hop flavor with ample malt backbone. Very balanced IPA. Rather earthy hops that give nice flavor and very smooth bitterness.
Drinkability: This is a wonderfully drinkable IPA. It has enough hoppiness to be the most notable flavor but with a smoothness and balance that stands it apart from more hop-forward American IPAs

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Photo of maximum12
2/5  rDev -44.8%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Foaming, foaming, foaming, keep those brews a'foaming...I hate foamers. It delays that all-important first sip, often leaves me with foam on my nose, & just makes me wonder if the brew is infected or the batch was screwed up. And I despise the taste, & I just had to suck some up to keep it from overflowing despite a baby-gentle pour.

This smells like something that isn't quite beer, & tastes the same. Apricots? Lighter fluid? Old malt? Funk? I can't quite identify the ingredients, but there don't seem to be any hops in here. In addition it's overcarbonated.

This beer is a mess of unidentifiable stuff.

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Photo of dsa7783
3.38/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Single, twelve-ounce bottle just copped from Nikki's Liquors in Providence, Rhode Island...
Appearance: Rusty, tawny, copper-hue with a minimal head and minor lacing...
Smell: Oil-like aroma, gasoline in the nose... Not too appealing... didn't notice too much hops here...
Taste: Gasoline-solvent flavor... Similar to the smell, not too attractive... Slight citrus noticeable with some hints of lemons...
Light-to-medium-bodied mouthfeel...
Not bad...

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Photo of tempest
3.63/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pulled from a variety case and poured into a pint glass.

So this is hoppier than their flagship IPA, but still not too huge. That's not to say it's bad. It follows the normal Shipyard character of of a dry, herbal hop finish with a whole lot of Ringwood in the aroma and flavor. This, however, has more citrus hops and American hop flavor, which makes a tasty combination. Worth a try for something a little different.

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Photo of Asgeirr
3.75/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Brewer's Choice Special Ale 2008 (Royal IPA) pours an amber-to-carrot orange colour along with a rather tall, cream toned crown (approx one and a half inch) that persists for quite some time and leaves plenty of lacing.

Smell: Apricot, plenty of hops and a tad of sourness can be detected, but overall pretty fresh and fruity.

Taste: At first there's a rather distinct bitterness which is closely followed by a slightly more reserved fruitiness -- which brings to mind the aforementioned apricot -- and finishes of with more of those bitter hops.

Mouthfeel: Low in carbonation and medium full in body.

Drinkability: This IPA bears a prominent resonance between the different sensory inputs of taste and smell and thus leaves one with a rather satisfying result.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.7/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a light golden brown color, with a short off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of caramelized malts, honey, citrus and a good amount of hops.

T: The taste is decently balanced with flavors of citrus, honey and caramel sweetness and a good hops bitterness. The malt character is hearty but not too heavy. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is clean and dry.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, decent kick, good representation of style, this is a nice solid beer that doesn't have a stand-out quality or characteristic to it, but it's worth drinking for a while if you're in the mood for the style.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
2.41/5  rDev -33.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Appears a copper amber hue with a large off white head which sticks around for a while. Scattered fine lacing strung all around my pint glass. Aroma has a tart yeast note with pungent dirty hops with underlying caramel malt tones. Also a bit of evident alcohol and again weird barrel aging effects, although I know that's just the Ringwood yeast strain. BTW, their labels are whack from the Chamberlain on to the Export ale. I guess overall I'm not a fan of Shipyard brews, this one holds true with a collision of earthy hops actually give off dirt flavors, caramel malted sour dough bread with a heavy bitterness in the finish with the funky yeast notes. Mouthfeel is medium bodied carbonation a bit softer than the last offering but still an overall unimpressive note, touch of oily lubrication from hop oils. Drinkability is no so good, I just wish the yeast didn't dominate the flavor profile so much. It wears on you with each sip, not very refreshing and flavors are very uncohesive.

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Photo of Ior
3.88/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beautiful copper colour with two finger white head. Good lacing.

Smell is dominated by hops with citrus or pineapple-like hops. Some malt.

Very nice malty taste, with notes of caramel and butter, balanced perfectly by assertive but not aggressive hops. Some alcohol presence as the beer warms. Long, dry and hoppy finish.

Medium bodied, medium carbonation. Smooth mouthfeel.

A very well-balanced and drinkable IPA. Should get some more of these before they run out at Systembolaget.

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Photo of baggio
3.95/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

[email protected]

A: Golden orange with a nice, big, head that vanishes after a bit leaving some residue on the glass.

S: Grapefruit, Malts, Bread, Metallic notes

T: Pine, Flowers, Citric Notes , Hops, Caramel

M: Nice and smooth with an initial taste of malt that ends with a nice bitterness from the hops. Medium carbonation.

Very nice IPA that i might seek out again as long as it is available. Better than your average ipa and then some!

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Photo of Ch1mpy
4.22/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This English IPA has an amber colour and a nice white creamy head. Good amounts of lacing remains on the glass.

Fresh hoppy smell which reminds me of strawberries and newly cut grass.

Mild in it's taste which contains smooth malty tones and well balanced bitterness.

Not much carbonation. Goes down quickly. The aftertaste is a lovely bitter which makes sure that this beer leave you with a smile on your lips.

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Photo of largadeer
3.91/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Copper colored with a hazy unfiltered appearance. The head on this brew lasts an exceptionally long time, leaving sheets of sticky lace all over the glass.

Smell: Biscuit malts, yeast, earthy hops - not a ton of hop aroma here but plenty of signature English ale character.

Taste & mouthfeel: Very similar to the aroma. Flavors of fresh bread, caramel and honey meld with an assertive but decidedly mild hop character. Buttery in the middle. Dryness in the finish brings out more of the hop flavor, though bitterness remains low.

Notes: I don't often like English-style IPAs, but this one won me over. Quality stuff.

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Photo of bark
4.02/5  rDev +11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The colour is deep copper; the beige head is two fingers high, very airy and firm. It leaves lots of lacing.

An almost aggressive hoppyness jumps out of the glass when sniffing. Bitter metallic flavours blends with butter, cookies, dried fruits, some alcohol and smoked traces.

The taste is bitter and hoppy, but it is in a balanced English way. Lots of bread flavours from the dry delicately roasted malts. The bitterness is robust and elegant at the same time; fruity notes of matured apples and orange peels, karambola and barely noticeable alcohol. The aftertaste is dry and bitter with some butter and fruits.

The carbonation is mild; the liquid light.

A well crafted interpretation of the English IPA style. With an added bitter bite...

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Photo of BlindPig
4.33/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- About a 1" off white head on a clear amber/copper body.
S- Sweet English grass hops, light English pale malt body, and a few earthy tones from hops.
T- Follows the smell. For an English IPA this follows the style very well with the mild English hops that have a spice bite to them and the English pale malt with a light sweet caramel character.
M- Medium body with medium/low carbonation.
D- English IPA's aren't my favorite style but this is one of the best examples of this style, if I'm being totally objective.

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Photo of MMAJYK
3.26/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- Burnt orange copper color. Crystal clear. Head is minimal but the lacing left behind is patchy.

S- Caramel malts are the most present and the hop presence is not obvious. There is a slight alcohol smell that is noticable in the nose.

T- Super rich malts and nice bittering hops. Malts are very roasty, sweet and rich. Alcohol is not hidden in the taste and comes through. It is a little bit off balance to me with the sweetness overpowering the bittering hop. It also tastes salty to me; weird.

M- Medium to thick in the mouth and the carbonation is right in the middle of the road.

D- Rich and too sweet. Alcohol taste too makes it not sessionable.

Overall- This beer is definitely fresh air from the BMC that is served at the seminar I am at although it is one-sided with the overpowering/sweet malts.

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Photo of bkilpatr
3.2/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. 04/21/08.

Pours a deep orange amber color, with about 2 fingers of beige head. The head receded quickly leaving no lacing on the glass. Aroma is very malty with a little hop presence.

Taste is strong grapefruit, very malty. The slightly bitter hop aftertaste fades very quickly. Also has that somewhat buttery flavor that most Shipyard beers seem to have.

Mouthfeel is slick and smooth, yet kinda light and watery. Carbonation level is good. Drinkability is also decent. Nothing offensive about this beer. If it weren't for that buttery flavor it would be better.

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Photo of bilyboy65
3.82/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This was poured from a 12 oz bottle, with a BBD of Nov 08. Poured into a pilsner glass.

A: A clear amber color and on the lighter side for most IPAs. There was no head on the pour. A light residue is left on the glass and very little carbonation to be seen. Also seems to be a bit on the cloudy side for most IPAs as well. After a few minutes of sitting the cloudiness diminished giving it a more distinctive IPA look.

S: Smell is very hoppy as IPAs should be. Hops have a floral and woody scent to them. Not over powering at all because of the underlining scent of the sweet malts.

T: Evenly balanced malt and hop taste. The flavor leads with a sweet malt taste and follows with a prevalent woody hops. Finishes with a fairly bitter aftertaste. Nothing about the flavor really commands attention as it all melds together and plays off of each other.

M: Without a lot of carbonation it is very smooth on the pallet. Seems a bit lighter then most IPAs.

D: The bitter aftertaste takes away from enjoying this beer all the way through. The mixture of malts to hops makes for a good tasting beer. Where a lot of IPAs tend to have a bitter taste, this one is only in the aftertaste. I'm not a fan of bitter tasting beers, but this one is a good beer and one I enjoyed.

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Photo of MuenchenerKindl
3.18/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz bottle to a pint glass the liquid is a copper color with moderate carbonation. The head is small, tan and leaves little lace.

The smell is nice mild hops and a bit of roasty malt.

The taste is mixed, I like the roasty malt, it is almost like a good brown ale, however the hopy side is mild yet fruity and sweet.

The mouthfel is light bodied and over carbonated. Too much like a soda.

The drinkability just does not work enough for my to like this much. MK

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Photo of deltatauhobbit
4.1/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottled marked best by October 08

Pours a golden amber color with a large frothy head, good retention and lots of patchy lacing.

Smell has a strong citrus hop aroma with a sweet malt backing to balance it out.

Taste is malty at first but then nicely transitions into a hop bitterness, citrus elements are quite pronounced, a very balanced IPA with a strong malt profile than most, the bitterness at the end almost reminds me of an ESB than an IPA.

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Photo of Brad007
3.16/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Just barely noticed this on the shelf.

Color: Nice reddish-copper color with a decent head of foam that fades, leaving lacing.

Aroma: Sweet and malty upfront with a decent hop aroma, though nothing impressive.

Taste: Sweet and malty upfront with a heavy emphasis on biscuit flavor. Not much bitterness to be found. It is par the style though. Smooth and drinkable. Not impressed with the buttery flavor (ringwood) but it's not too overwhelming at first.

Mouthfeel: Buttery, biscuity and smooth. Not much dryness.

Verdict: A decent stab at the style but nothing I would seek out again. The buttery flavor can be overwhelming and I feel that it affects this beer. It's still drinkable and if you're a fan of Shipyard beers, seek it out. If you're looking for something a bit hoppier, try their standard IPA instead or seek another brewery.

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Photo of OWSLEY069
2.76/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a clean orange-ish/ copper color with a small tannish head. In the aroma, a sweet malt and a small hop, very English. In the taste, a sweeter malt and a very nice hop. A small bite and a small to medium mouthfeel, with a small dry maltiness in the aftertaste. Very English, nothing offensive, yet nothing too exciting.

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Photo of gueuzeonhigh
3.56/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours as an IPA should--nice deep amber-red color, active, well proportioned lasting head with modest lacing. Slight nose with a hair of hops a tinge of alcohol and a twist of malt. I'd love a little more spring, freshly cut grass, and sunshine in that nose...

Flavor arrives in a blaze of glory and then...shrivels.
Begins with the hearty bitterness of hops flavor that's up front and center and suddenly the flavor that I had so much expectation for realizes it's in the spotlight and suddenly bequeathed with stage-fright wilts and vanishes. Nevertheless there's still a cleansed signature on my palate so what I consider a premature disappearance isn't so disappointing.

Mouthfeel is good-- partly because of the short lasting flavor this beer seems thinner or perhaps emaciated compared to other IPA's I've savored.

Drinkability is good--I'd call it excellent if the beer had more of everything. As such if a selection of other IPAs were at my disposal I'd ask for another brand. If not others, I'd ask for another beer style.

Nevertheless this IPA is worth your time and effort. Not bad, just not great.

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Photo of cjgator3
3.91/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass. Pours an amber color with a nice creamy off-white head that possesses very nice retention and lacing. The aroma is sweet buttery malt, a touch of caramel and floral hops. The taste is well balanced, with a nice malty backbone to support a nice hop bitterness in the finish. This is and English-style IPA, so it is intended to be more balanced than American IPAs. Overall, this is a well-crafted beer that is true to the style, recommended.

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Photo of joepais
4.15/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle poured amber with a good finger of white head that goes' to a thick lace that lasts

Aromas of Ringwood yeast and floral hop's

Nice full flavors of malts and nice hop finish. One of their better brews

Great mouthfeel nice and full nicely carbonated

Very drinkable Ale, their yeast actually complements this style. Might be sad to see this go out of season

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Brewer's Choice Special Ale 2008: Royal IPA from Shipyard Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.62 out of 5 with 35 ratings