Prelude - Bourbon Barrel-Aged | Shipyard Brewing Company

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Very Good
52 Ratings

Brewed by:
Shipyard Brewing Company
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.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 52 |  Reviews: 10
Reviews by ToasterChef:
Photo of ToasterChef
4/5  rDev +3.4%

More User Reviews:
Photo of lordofthewiens
4.07/5  rDev +5.2%
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 JakerLou
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%

Photo of jondeelee
4.41/5  rDev +14%
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.

 2,582 characters

Photo of alamode
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Roguer
3.44/5  rDev -11.1%
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 cjgator3
4.25/5  rDev +9.8%

Photo of ChrisL24481
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%

Photo of ricknelson
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Kmlund
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%

Photo of cyrushire
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%

Photo of 5yabbdoo
4.5/5  rDev +16.3%

Photo of Kayaker
2.75/5  rDev -28.9%

Photo of Massbmx
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%

Photo of Nicholas_Gates
4.49/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of FLBeerGuy
3.63/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Photo of kkazemi
3.22/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Photo of pisano
2.81/5  rDev -27.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

2012. gushed like crazy. sad to say it appears to be infected.

62 characters

Photo of KeyWestGator
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%

Photo of Soxfan45
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of jimilayne
4.5/5  rDev +16.3%

Photo of Davepoolesque
3.71/5  rDev -4.1%
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.

 436 characters

Photo of sammyt728
3.64/5  rDev -5.9%

Photo of mklisz
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of kdivers
4/5  rDev +3.4%

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Prelude - Bourbon Barrel-Aged from Shipyard Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.87 out of 5 with 52 ratings