Shipyard Bourbon Barrel Aged Smashed Pumpkin

This is a beer that sat in my basement for a few years. I picked it up during our Maine trip and given the ABV, I thought it could use some time to mellow.


ABV: 11.4%

Style: Pumpkin Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Shipyard Brewing Company has released the first in its new line of limited edition bourbon barrel aged ales. 2,100 bottles (350 cases) of Bourbon Barrel Aged Double ESB are quickly selling off store shelves in Maine, New Hampshire, Florida, and California. In October, 350 cases of Bourbon Barrel Aged Smashed Pumpkin will be released in select markets. In December, a limited number of cases of Bourbon Barrel Aged Prelude will also be released. These brews have all been brewed and carefully cellar-aged in small batches for over 100 days in decanted bourbon barrels. This line of unique beers allows Shipyard’s brew house crew to blend their creativity and passion for beer to create these special, limited release brews. These 750 milliliter (1 pint 9.4 fluid ounce) bottles are all hand filled, corked, and individually labeled with the bottle number. Recommend serving temperature is 55 degrees Fahrenheit in brandy-style stemware. The suggested retail price is $14.99 per bottle.”

Random: I miss Maine. I think we need to go back soon.

The beer poured with a quarter of a finger of cream-colored head. It went away quickly and left no lacing on the glass. The body was a deep mahogany with no visible carbonation. The nose was pungent with notes of vanilla, pumpkin and a lot of nutmeg. There was toasted oak as well. The taste didn’t have nearly as much booze as I expected, given the ABV. There was also notes of vanilla, cinnamon, clove and nutmeg up front. A ginger snap characteristic came through too. There also wasn’t nearly as much bourbon barrel as I would have thought. The body was medium thickness with light carbonation. It had a quick and spicy finish with pumpkin pie. I picked this up a few years ago at the brewery for $14.99, which came to $.68 per ounce. This was a solid offering, I just wish it had a touch more bourbon barrel.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Shipyard Bourbon Barrel Aged Barleywine

I saw this bottle on the shelf in East Windsor. Until I saw this, I didn’t know that Shipyard even had a bourbon barrel aged series, which is mostly why I picked it up. Let’s see how it was.


ABV: 9.2%

Style: American Barleywine

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Our award-winning, limited release Bourbon Barrel Aged ales are carefully cellar-aged in small batches in decanted bourbon barrels at our brewery in Portland, Maine. Aged over 100 days. Unlimited shelf life. Recommended serving temperature is 55 degrees Fahrenheit in brandy-style stemware. Rotating beers in this series include: XXXX IPA, Imperial Stout, Double Scottish, Smashed Pumpkin, Prelude, and Barley Wine.”

Random: I want to go back to Portland and spend a few days there. It was such a cute place to walk around.

This beer poured with a half a finger of slightly off white head that dissipated slowly and left some lacing on the glass. The body was a dark brown with moderate carbonation. The nose was filled with booze, tobacco, and lots of bourbon and vanilla. The taste was filled with bourbon barrel, oak and vanilla. Booze was present as well, although not as apparent as in the nose. After the beer warmed, dark fruit came out as well, which gave it a bit of depth. The body was on the thin side, with light carbonation. It had a long and oaky finish. For $12.99 a bomber, this broke down to $.59 per ounce, which was a bit expensive for what it was, although I did enjoy it. I would consider getting another bottle if I see it around. This is definitely one of the best beers I have had from Shipyard.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Shipyard Smashed Pumpkin (Pugsley’s Signature Series)

Every year at the end of summer, I start looking out for pumpkin beers that I haven’t had. It seems like each year, there are more and more new pumpkin beers that come out. I try to sample at least 4 or 5 a year and this is one that I have been trying to find for a few years. I saw this one on a shelf and decided to give it a try.

ABV: 9%

Style: Pumpkin Ale

Trivia: This was first brewed in October of 2009.

Random: My Eagles are leading 33-11 right now. I hope they can keep this up into next week.

This brew poured with a two finger white head. It was slow to dissipate and left little lacing on the glass. The body was a clear orange color with light carbonation. On the nose, I got nutmeg and booze as the dominant scents. As I continued to sniff, some pumpkin came as out well. The taste had a bit more depth to it. I got ginger snap, nutmeg and then lots of booze warming due to the 9% ABV. There was a pronounced lack of cinnamon, which tends to be prevalent in this style. Although the booze was present, the taste in general was lighter than I am used to for the style, although nutmeg definitely stood out. There was a lot of carbonation present to scrub the palate. The finish was long and warming with some nutmeg. Despite needing to integrate the booze a little bit better than they did, I would definitely have this one again, although it isn’t the best of style I’ve had.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Shipyard Melonhead

Kate and I ended up at Chickie’s and Pete’s in Bordentown a couple of weeks back. As we pulled in, the sign outside advertised that they had “new” craft beer. Don’t get me wrong, Chickie’s and Pete’s could only serve macros and I’d still go because I love the place so much. But, I’ve always been disappointed in their previous “craft” selections and wondered if they’d ever improve it. Indeed they did. They added a few taps and got some solid bottles in there, so it is a craft beer desert no more. I ordered this one on tap while there.


ABV: 4.4%

Style: Fruit/Vegetable Beer

Trivia: According to, “Melon Heads is the name given to legendary beings and urban legends in parts of Michigan, Ohio, and Connecticut generally described as small humanoids with bulbous heads who occasionally emerge from hiding places to attack people. Different variations of the legend attribute different origins.”

Random: Shipyard really seems to be getting into the fruit beers lately. I guess they’re pretty successful so far.

This brew poured with a finger of thick, white head that dissipated relatively slowly and left a lot of lacing on the pint glass. The body was a clear straw yellow color with high carbonation visible throughout. On the nose, I got cantaloupe, watermelon and a touch of honeydew. The nose was clean and had a lot of different melons. The taste was better than the nose. I got fresh cantaloupe with honeydew. Some notes of watermelon come through mid-sip and at the end, some pineapple came through as well. The body was medium thickness with high carbonation. It had a long finish with some watermelon. This was a great brew to have to beat the heat. If you see it, definitely grab one to cool down.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Shipyard Monkey Fist IPA

Yet another brew that Kate picked up for me. For once, she actually purchased an American brew. It was actually pretty odd. I think it’s because I specifically told her that I wanted an IPA. She’s so cute though. When she goes to buy me beer, she goes on the blog from her phone to make sure that I haven’t had it. I guess I’ll keep her around for a bit. So, time to crack open this relatively new brew from Shipyard.

ABV: 6.9%

Style: American IPA

Trivia: According to, “A monkey’s fist or monkey paw is a type of knot, so named because it looks somewhat like a small bunched fist/paw. It is tied at the end of a rope to serve as a weight, making it easier to throw, and also as an ornamental knot. This type of weighted rope can be used as an improvised weapon, called a slungshot by sailors. It was also used in the past as an anchor in rock climbing, by stuffing it into a crack, but this is obsolete and dangerous.”

Random: I think the AC went in my house or the settings are off. When I came home, the house was set to 82 degrees.

This brew poured with a thick, two finger, off white head that looked like whipped egg whites. It took forever to dissipate and left some lacing on the glass. The body was a slightly hazy orange color with moderate carbonation. The nose had some grapefruit and orange to it. It was really nice and fresh. The taste was grapefruit and pine bit with a little caramel malt on the end. I also got some tropical fruit to it as well. It was really pleasant and refreshing. The body was medium thickness with medium carbonation. The finish was long and fruity. The booze didn’t make an appearance on this one. I really enjoyed this one. I would definitely have this one again.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Shipyard Export Ale

I’m pretty backlogged on reviews. I had a bunch of great beers this weekend and visited a great beer spot. I also have a plan on changing the blog around a little bit. That’s not going to happen for a little while, but it’s something to look forward to…at least for me. This is a brew that I had at my local bar, Bakers. They advertise that they have 20 craft beers, but to me, they’re very odd choices. I’ve had most of them already. Here’s one that I haven’t had, complete with Katie posing for the picture.

ABV: 5%

Style: American Blonde Ale

Trivia: This is the flagship beer of Shipyard.

Random: For some reason, I thought that I’d had more offerings from Shipyard, but now that I think about it, I don’t see Shipyard beers all that often.

This poured with half a finger of white head that dissipated quickly and left no lacing on the glass. The body poured a clear amber color with almost no visible carbonation. The nose was very, very mild with a bit of caramel malt, but it was a struggle to find that. The taste started with a lot of metallic notes and no real flavor that I could find. I was struggling to find a hint of malt or something beer like, but it tastes like old beer and a nickel. After a few sips, I got a hint of citrus and some bitterness, but the damage was done. The body was light with much more carbonation that I initially noticed. It also had an unpleasantly long finish. Ugh. This was probably one of the worst beers that I’ve had in a long time. Never again.

Untappd Rating: 1.0/5.0

Shipyard Smashed Blueberry (Pugsley’s Signature Series)

This is a review I typed up before vacation. I picked this up at the beer store because I hadn’t seen any beers from the Signature Series around. Plus, I’m a big blueberry fan…

ABV: 9%

Style: Fruit/Vegetable Beer

Trivia: According to brewery website, “This beer is a hybrid between a Porter and a Scotch Ale. This beer has a rich mouth feel and a body of complex intensity. Upfront, there are distinct flavors of coffee and chocolate beautifully accentuated by the aroma of fresh blueberries. The finish features a delicate balance of sweet fruit and dry hops. ”

Random: I’m hoping to update the blog tonight with a few reviews I did on vacation. Let’s see how that goes…

The brew poured with a one and a half finger tan head on a dark brown body. The head dissipated slowly and left no lacing on the glass. There wasn’t any visible carbonation due to the color. The nose was incredibly intriguing. I got some coffee and a hint of blueberry. The taste was probably unlike any beer I’ve ever had. I can see why they said that the beer was in between a porter and a scotch ale. Initially, I got some coffee, maybe a hint of chocolate and some bitterness. The blueberry was really an afterthought. A few sips in, I started getting a bit of blueberry at the end that lingered to the finish. The finish was length, also with some bitterness. The body was thick with moderate carbonation. The booze only made an appearance on the end with a bit of warming. Honestly, this was not what I was expecting from this beer just by looking at the name. When you see a fruit beer, you think that the fruit is going to overtake the palate. Instead, this beer presents how much variance can be in the style and allows it to be a player in the beer, not completely overtake it. This is definitely worth a try if you can find it.

Untappd Rating: 3.0/5.0

Shipyard Pumpkinhead Ale

I love the fall. I love everything about it, the weather, the leaves changing…and the beer. I think that fall is my favorite season for beer. One major reason for this is because I love pumpkin beers. I love the smells of fall and especially pumpkin. So, I’m always on the lookout for great pumpkin beers. This is one that I didn’t manage to get to last year and I’ve heard great things about it. Hopefully it lives up to the hype.

ABV: 5.1%

Style: Pumpkin Ale

Trivia: According to, “To keep up with an unprecedented consumer demand for this fall favorite, Shipyard Brewing Company is extending the season for Shipyard Pumpkinhead Ale through November. ‘We usually stop brewing Pumpkinhead around Halloween,’ said Master Brewer Alan Pugsley. ‘This year, we began brewing it a bit earlier and will end after Thanksgiving.'”

Random: I think this is the most exciting label I’ve ever seen from Shipyard.

This brew poured with a one finger white head that dissipated quickly and left no lacing on the glass. The body was a clear, yellow color with lots of visible carbonation. The nose had lots of notes of cinnamon, nutmeg and pumpkin. It definitely smelled like a good pumpkin brew. On the first sip, the taste wasn’t quite as impressive as the nose, but was still very enjoyable. The body was very thin and bubbly. Flavors of spice were definitely more apparent than the pumpkin flavors. The finish was pretty quick and had subtle hints of spice. This would definitely be a great pumpkin beer for the person who really enjoys light beers (I say this because my sister tried it and really enjoyed it), and I found that it went down really easily. I would have this one again.

Untappd Rating: 5.0/5.0

Shipyard Old Thumper ESA

Today was a great day. I spent the day with my girlfriend, running errands in the morning and then we headed to Philly for the night. We went to Dave and Buster’s. Despite the fact that a) it was insanely crowded and b) the cover band for the outside bar was atrocious (they did this cover of Kings of Leon “Use Somebody” that was worse than a karaoke version), we had a blast playing video games and watching the ships go out. We got back around 1 and now I can’t sleep. So, I figured I’d do a quick beer review and hopefully be able to hit the hay afterwards.

ABV: 5.9%

Style: Extra Special/Strong Bitter (ESB)

Trivia: According to the brewery website, this beer was created in 1979 by Peter Austin of Ringwood Brewery. It’s considered to be a non-tradition English bitter.

Random: They made an arcade version of Fruit Ninja. It was even more fun than the app on my iphone.

This brew poured with a two finger pure white had that dissipated very slowly and left lots of lacing on the glass. The body was a clear amber color with lots of active, visible carbonation on the brew. The nose had a bit of sweetness on it and a hint of peat to it. On the taste, the first thing that hit me was the very active carbonation. The next thing that I got was a bit of maltiness that followed up with a hint of orange and bread. The body of the brew was pretty thin, which actually worked for the beer. There was also a hint of mild bitterness on the body. This bitterness lasted to the finish, which was pretty mild and didn’t last for that long. Not a bad brew, but I think that my qualms are more with the style than anything. I wouldn’t rush back to have it again.

Untappd Rating: 3.0/5.0

Shipyard Prelude Special Ale

I’m starting to get to the last of my stash. This could mean only one thing, almost time to restock. Tonight’s selection is a winter warmer, a style that I’m really starting to get into.

ABV: 6.8%

Style: Winter Warmer

Trivia: According to BeerAdvocate, “These malty sweet offerings tend to be a favorite winter seasonal. Big malt presence, both in flavor and body. The color ranges from brownish reds to nearly pitch black. Hop bitterness is generally low, leveled and balanced, but hop character can be pronounced. Alcohol warmth is not uncommon. Many English versions contain no spices, though some brewers of spiced winter seasonal ales will slap ‘Winter Warmer’ on the label. Those that are spiced, tend to follow the ‘wassail’ tradition of blending robust ales with mixed spices, before hops became the chief ‘spice’ in beer. American varieties many have a larger presences of hops both in bitterness and flavor.”

Random: I can’t believe that this is my first Shipyard brew. I thought by now I would have found a few more of them to try.

This brew poured with a two finger tan head that dissipated slowly, leaving some lacing on the glass. The body itself is a reddish-brown and clear, with mild visible carbonation on the brew. On the nose, definite spice to it. I’m think a bit of nutmeg and clove. There is a definite malty smell to this brew. On the taste, it almost reminds me a bit of a barleywine. There is definite sweetness to it, with a hint of spice that was apparent in the nose. I also get a lot of nuttiness to this beer. There are also some notes of caramel. The brew is thinner than I expected. Definitely thinner than the Hibernation Ale. The finish is all nuttiness and malts. This is a pretty good beer, and definitely would be a great choice on a cold winter night. But, I think I prefer the Hibernation Ale. This would be a great fallback brew though.

Untappd Rating: 3.0/5.0