Winter Warmer

Shipyard Prelude Special Ale

Shipyard Prelude Special AleBeer No. 66 – Shipyard Prelude Special Ale

There’s no way it’s just 6.7% ABV. I won’t believe it.

Here’s a simple rule, for Winter Warmers, Doubles, Imperials and other Strong Ales: Beer shouldn’t sear your nostrils or your mouth. What’s really at fault here are my expectations and the thought that here’s supposed to be a warming booziness. Instead for some reason it’s cold. Real cold that shoots straight from the glass up the nose and doesn’t improve with the first or second sip.

Toffee, pomegranate juice and rubbing alcohol mix awkwardly in a fine mahogany glaze.

It’s Chimay Première without the distribution or the flavor.

Beeradvocate Rating: 85

ratebeer Rating: 73

Hayward Abbey Rating: 72

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Smuttynose Winter Ale

Beer No. 53 – Smuttynose Winter Ale

The big boys want to lump – at the bottom mind you – this brew with the Abbey Dubbels. I’m going to make my own call here. It’s a seasonal brew with the marketing to match. Plus the spice bite, delicate sweetness, and semi-robust ABV just aren’t there.

STYLE: Winter Warmer

ABV: 5.8%

LOOK: The body really isn’t there either. A rich, oaky brown carries the load. Soft head, softer lacing and retention.

NOSE: Whoppers, raisins, cherries.

MOUTH: Fizz deep in the back of my throat – that’s my first impression. Not the staid malt, not the toffee dash. Odd because I remember liking it more on Xmas Eve and even thinking it better than what it replaced, my local Xmas Ale, Christkindl. Jammy toast and small purple fruits let you know what could be. But overall a little too balanced for this style.

Beeradvocate Rating: 84

ratebeer Rating: 81

Hayward Abbey Rating: 77