Shipyard Bourbon Barrel Aged Prelude | Shipyard Brewing Co.

very good
10 Reviews
no score
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Brewed by:
Shipyard Brewing Co.
Maine, United States

Style: English Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.70%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Davepoolesque on 02-04-2013

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 10 | Ratings: 52
Photo of Roguer
3.44/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark brew brew, clear around the edges, with quite a bit of sediment. Modest cream head with OK retention. No lacing.

Bourbon on the nose, with a touch of caramel malt. Not particularly complex.

Flavor follows: despite the low ABV, this is a bourbon-forward brew. Fairly unsweet caramel forms the bulk of the malt base, while slightly sour oak provides context around the malt.

Fairly easy to drink; slightly hot considering the sub-10% ABV.

 444 characters

Photo of CTbrew32
2.95/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.75

Color consists of deep reddish brown hues. Pours just about one finger worth of head. Aroma has lots sweet caramel and chocolate malts along with some fruity aromas to boot. Taste is surprisingly heavy on the chocolate and its really unpleasant. Dark fruit flavors become stronger as it warms creating a chocolate covered raspberry flavor (which sounds good, but it isn't). Very little to no barrel presence on this beer at all. Overall, its an okay beer, but the chocolate presence is overdone.

 507 characters

Photo of brureview
4/5  rDev +3.9%


Poured a dark-tea color with a 1 finger head in a snifter.
Almost opaque.

The aroma wafts from the glass: strong oak and fig.

The mouth feel is highly carbonated- perhaps too much for a Bourbon Barrel aged ESA.
I would have preferred a less carbonated MF.

The taste: some fig and plum. This is a boozy beer- one of the booziest I have tasted in while.
The alcoholic finish overwhelms the taste which has fig, plum, and raisin.

Overall, an excellent beer. I like boozy beer- the Bourbon and oak are dominant. However,
I would like a weaker alcoholic finish, which in this case dwarfs the dry fruit and plum taste.

I will try to find another bottle to cellar which hopefully will decrease the dominance of the alcoholic finish over the taste.

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Photo of OldeSchool
3.85/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Very dark brown with a small head that dissipated rather quickly.

S: Some bourbon, but mainly sweet caramel / toffee and fruit. Very pleasant aroma.

T: Plenty of bourbon flavor, but also very complex; fruity, caramel and toffee notes. No bitterness to speak of, but not overly sweet. Lots of alcohol in the finish.

M: Not bad, but seemed a bit thin for this type.

O: This beer brought some interesting flavors to the table; I'm not a huge fan of this type, but I enjoyed this offering from Shipyard.

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Photo of Damian
4.37/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Drank from a 1 pint 9.4 fl.oz. corked and caged bottle purchased at CT Beverage Mart, Newington, CT
Limited edition 2012
Bottle No 02045
Served in a snifter

Thanks to my dad for this gift.

Slightly hazed, crimson-amber color. The liquid was topped by a small, bubbly, ecru colored crown that quickly faded to a flimsy ring.

The aroma was amazingly unique and complex. Good dose of English malts. Strong raisin and plum notes. Lots of brown sugar-like sweetness. Sticky toffee pudding came to mind. Light bourbon and oaky notes. There was also a wine-y/grape-y quality that was totally unexpected but worked remarkably well. All in all, really interesting and dynamic.

The flavor profile was also fantastic. English malts appeared on the front end. Loads of brown sugar and toffee. Strong plum and raisin notes. Bourbon came through a bit more on the palate than in the nose. Light oak. Semi-tart, red wine-like notes appeared on the back end. The finish was intriguing. It reminded me a lot of a heavily oaked red wine and contained a noticeable amount of tannins. Moderately boozy, but in a good way.

The mouthfeel was the only mediocre aspect of this beer. It was thinner bodied with a crisp, large bubbled effervescence. Overall, the liquid was much lighter than I anticipated.

Shipyard Brewing often gets a bad wrap with craft beer enthusiasts, but this oak-aged offering really blew me away. This is one of the more unique and complex beers I have tried in a while. I will definitely make a point to sample their barrel-aged releases from now on.

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Photo of lordofthewiens
4.07/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Prelude is one of the few Shipyard beers I like. When I saw this bourbon barrel aged version at Gary's in Portsmouth, I had to try it.

This was the 2012 version, bottle 02843. In a snifter it was a dark brown color with no head.

It had a bourbon aroma mostly. Also some caramel and dark fruit.

Mostly bourbon taste. Caramel/toffee. Raisins.

The boozy taste predominates, but not in a bad way. This was an enjoyable sipping beer.

 432 characters

Photo of Dope
3.83/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2012 edition, bottle 02784

A: Pours a hazy mahogany. Good sized dense and fizzy tan head. Fades quite slowly with excellent head retention. Nice frothy chunks of lacing all over the glass.

S: Nice bourbon with toffee and caramel. Toasted malt is prominent too and mixes well. Quite oaky. There is another element that I can't quite place. Almost like pine sap but kinda fruity... but not exactly. Maybe the taste will reveal more.

T: Lots of bourbon again but not overpowering. It's mainly toffee with some caramel. There is a decent amount of apple up front interestingly enough. It's even tart into the middle in fact. Finish is lots of oak and toffee. A hint of tobacco and even leather. The oak is drying and lingers for quite a bit between sips.

M: Medium bodied, kinda sticky.

O: A very strange beer. I'm not sure how to classify it. It has tart apple that kind of reminds me of a funky tripel or saison or something. Bourbon isn't as sweet and caramel drenched as most are - it's lots of toffee and drying oak. It's got a decent variety of flavors and the balance is quite nice too. It's just that the flavors aren't that hot and seem like an odd combination. I'm almost wondering if they aren't unintentional in a way, especially after reading that this is a bourbon barrel winter warmer.

 1,303 characters

Photo of DrinkCraftBrews
4.79/5  rDev +24.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This Beer is one of the best beers to come out of this brewery yet. Great nose of carmel, tobacco and malt, with a brilliant deep tan or amber hue. Huge notes of malt and sweetness followed by a strong yet perfectly balanced taste of Kentucky Bourbon. If you like prelude, or ANYTHING in a barrel this beer is an absolute must to try...

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Photo of jondeelee
4.41/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Prelude opens to a pungent, fruity aroma that is part raisin, part sour apple, part Flemish sour, part vanilla caramel cream, and part bourbon. The mixture is very strange, and this is one of the more unique aromas on the market, but it works well, coming across somewhat like a tawny port with heavy cream and caramel mixed in, poured over whole bean rich vanilla ice cream. After the beer sits for a while, it begins to smell a bit more like a wine than a port, with rich grape and cherry notes rising to the surface. Still, there’s a lovely grainy thread of caramel, cream, and floury baguette that runs beneath everything, reminding that this is in fact a beer, and the slight vanilla and oak overtone from the barrel aging adds an intoxicating silky smooth overtone. This is not the kind of bourbon barrel aging that results the beer tasting more like bourbon than anything else; here, it simply adds a lovely and fantastically complementary set of aromas to what is already a very nice beer. As a whole, this literally screams to be sipped, and it’s difficult to imagine a better blend of aromas coming forth from a bottle.

On the tongue, the opening notes are very wine-like, heavy on grape and cherry fruit esters, with bits of berry, orange, raisin, and nectarine mixed in, but these combine with the barrel aging to produce an unexpected kick to the wine notes, as if small portions of a very fruity but highly alcoholic cocktail had been poured in with the wine. Bits of citrusy grapefruit, grapefruit rind, and lemon from the hops add further fruitiness, but also provide a bitter balance. The alcohol in here, though only 9.7%, is very noticeable, but not at all overpowering; instead, it blends nicely with the fruits, emphasizing their sweetness. There are also huge hits of oaky vanilla just beneath, as well as floury baguettes. The alcohol does come on stronger late in the mouthful, and is especially present in the aftertaste, which lingers in boozy, fruity, raisiny goodness on the tongue for a good while. Mouthfeel is a dry medium, and carbonation is medium-low to medium.

Overall, this is excellent fare. The beer is very nicely balanced, providing an excellent range of fruit esters, sugars, hops, and barrel aging to produce a beer that, while alcoholic, glides across the tongue. The alcohol is perhaps a bit much, and the raisiny finish is somewhat strange, but for the most part this is very much worth trying, and I have a feeling that a year's worth of aging would bring out a fantastic mellow tawny port overtone that would even make it better.

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Photo of Davepoolesque
3.71/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours hazy mahogany into a Portsmouth Brewery tulip. Tan head with little retention recedes quickly.
S: Toffee, vanilla and oak aromas.
T: Sweet, a little oak, some booze and spices in the finish.
M: A little thin for the mouthfeel.
O: Not too bad, pretty good in fact. It's not as full flavored as other BBA beers out there, but it's not terrible either. Definitely aging another one to see if the flavors meld together some more.

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Shipyard Bourbon Barrel Aged Prelude from Shipyard Brewing Co.
3.85 out of 5 based on 52 ratings.
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