WestsideThreat (13) - Los Angeles, California, USA - APR 30, 2006
3.5 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 2/5 OVERALL 14/20
Looks a bit like a Marzen. Reddish brown hue. Crystal clear. Bubbles in the slightly tan head are too big...this head won’t be lasting long. Actually, by the time I had taken a sip the head was almost gone. Might be ok for this style though. Thin wisp of head has remained thru the beer but no brussels lace.
I like the aroma of this beer. Slight hint of the alcohol its hiding within. Slightly malty and fruity. I get a sense of strawberries, maybe prunes.
First sip is very bitter, more bitter than I expected... thats my first impression. Needs to warm up, the maltiness hasn’t blossomed yet. Mouthfeel is a bit thin, bit astringent on the tongue. Sweetness of the beer matches up well with the aroma, but not as malty as I thought it would be. I’m getting essence of hazelnuts with roasted coffee.
As it warms up, the true personality of the beer comes out. Bitterness subsides a bit and the alcohol sweetness shines thru. Very prevelent on the tip of the tongue. Aftertaste is roasted malt on the sides and back of tongue with a full track of bitterness down the center/back of the tongue.
Overall: Beer is a bit unbalanced but quite tasty. Too many bittering hops and not enough floral. I would have prefered more hop nose to balance the aftertaste, or less bittering hops to balance the sweet nose. Bit too thin for my tastes. But I do love winter beers and cherish any experience I can have with one I’ve never encountered. Its a cold weather beer, it fits the style well. Overall a decent beer, thanks for sending this out Wilked.
GirlyBeer (190) - Old Orchard Beach, Maine, USA - APR 27, 2006
3.3 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 12/20
Pours very very dark brown with a medium sized tan head. Smells hoppy with a bit of malt. Very wintery tasting. Roasty with hops, hints of coffee. Thick, sticky mouthfeel. Right on the mark for a winter ale, a little heavy for this time of year (late April).
2beerguys (299) - North Shore, Massachusetts, USA - APR 8, 2006
3 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 12/20
The Prelude Special Ale pours a reddish-amber color with a nice frothy head. Good lacing left behind by the mostly lasting head. Light carbonation in the body. Aroma’s are of light malts, there is something sweet we can’t put our sniffers on, and a faint hint of alcohol. Intial taste is a fleeting sweet that quickly steps aside, being ushered out by a light bitter finish. Light carbonation on the mouth with a watery feel. A slight charcoal taste is left behind.
tjthresh (1866) - Greenfield, Indiana, USA - MAR 12, 2006
2.8 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 2/5 OVERALL 11/20
Thanks to matta for this one. Pours a the color of black cherry Kool-Aid. The head was full of fizz and left as quickly as it came. Big malt aroma that presents cherry, burnt sugar, and woodiness. The flavor is maple, vanilla, toast, tin, and hop bitterness. The palate is very thin and fizzy. I would probably pass on another.
VTHopHead (1511) - Barre, Vermont, USA - MAR 5, 2006
3.4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
Bottle - Poured a deep dark reddish iin color with a whitish head that faded to a very thin rim around the glass. Aroma is very malty and sweet with caramel and brown sugar. Flavor is also quite malty with a dark sugary taste and a very nice hop bitter finish. Hop finish is quite nice and bitter. This is an truly excellent beer and I hope to experience this again...
OhioDad (2493) - Hilliard, Ohio, USA - FEB 22, 2006
3.2 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 13/20
12oz bottle via trade with porterhouse! - Thanks Kevin! - Pours dark amber with a very small offwhite head. Aromas of spice, vanilla, caramel, and toffee. Flavor is toffee, caramel, vanilla, and a bit of nutmeg and some roasted nuts. Palate is smooth and creamy but a touch on the thin side. Not too much carbonation.
asheft (2552) - Ottawa, Ontario, CANADA - JAN 31, 2006
3 AROMA 5/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
Almost clear, dark amber with off white, bubbly flanel cover. Spicy caramel- butterscotch aroma with some hops bitterness and notes of pine, ginger, juniper, and maybe even cinnamon. Plenty of bitterness from hops comes in at first sip in conjunction with diacetyly caramel malt. I found this a bit unpleasant, but it subsided a bit to let through watermelon, pine, raising, and a nutty sourness. Medium body, medium carbonation, a touch astringent.
barleyPops (1141) - Quad-Cities, Illinois, USA - JAN 28, 2006
2.9 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 11/20
bottle courtesy of Degarth.
poured a mahogany amber in color with virtually no head or lace. aroma and flavors were of a toasty caramel malt with some hopslingering in the background. some spice on the finish but kind of thin bodied.
BigBen2120 (688) - Derry, New Hampshire, USA - JAN 19, 2006
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
UPDATED: DEC 1, 2006 Second in a row Shipyard Winter beer of the night... Translucent dark copper body with a finger of offwhite head. Diacetyl dominates the aroma with just hints of hops, alcohol, and malt. Roasty or toasty flavor. Not quite as roasty as a porter, but not that far off. Diacetyl is also a big player in the flavor, but does not overwealm the roastiness, but rather enhances. Hints of alcohol are also present. On the heavier side of medium-bodied. A very solid, very tasty brew. I’d definitely get this one again.
FlacoAlto (3810) - Tucson, Arizona, USA - JAN 16, 2006
3.4 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
Best by date of November 2006, Sampled January 2006
This beer sits an almost brilliantly clear, deep amber color in my glass. It is topped by a frothy, one-finger thick, tan colored head. The aroma is initially quite fruity with notes of fig and prunes. Underneath this is an immediate note of diacetyl; it is note so strong that it overwhelms the beer though. It actually adds a bit to the complexity to this brew; after a bit it seems to accentuate the fruit character, perhaps even bringing out a straight forward berry note.
The beer has a medium full body and a finish that has a lingering, lightly-astringent bitterness. The diacetyl is definitely noticeable in the flavor as well, but at least it is subdued enough that it is not obnoxious to this diacetyl sensitive person. The diacetyl actually accentuates the fruitiness in this beer; I get notes of fig, some date-like notes and a soft berry note towards the end. This beer is quite malty; lots of toffee, a caramel note and some dry toasted notes. This is definitely a nice winter warmer, it is rich and satisfying with an interesting mix of flavors. Yes even the subtle diacetyl adds to the complexity of this brew, though I could wish there was a bit more character here (though hold the diacetyl in check please).