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Shipyard Old Thumper - Shipyard Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Shipyard Old ThumperShipyard Old Thumper

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

637 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 637
Reviews: 377
rAvg: 3.62
pDev: 13.81%
Wants: 11
Gots: 23 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Shipyard Brewing Co. visit their website
Maine, United States

Style | ABV
Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB) |  5.60% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: xlperro on 03-02-2001)
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Ratings: 637 | Reviews: 377 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of RedwoodGeorge


3.65/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The pour is a rather uninspiring cloudy golden with a thin white head - even with a vigorous pour the one finger of foam barely forms before it breaks down.

The nose is pretty inviting with a good amount of fruity esters and a grassy Noble hop as well.

Flavor is good - some rich caramel malts and lots of English Ale fruity notes. Strongest are Peaches and Apricots but there are also hints of apple and plum. Just the teeniest bit of diacetyl is in the flavor - if I hadn't specifically been looking for it I would have just assumed it was a musty Golding. Speaking of Goldings - there's a nice bitter finish courtesy of some variety of Goldings. The hop flavors are quite herbal, grassy and a little bit peppery.

The beer is medium bodied and carbonation is a bit on the light side. Mouthfeel is a little bit oily and there isn't enough hops to finish on a dry note. For an ESB I'd have expected a dryer finish.

This is a pretty good ESB and if it were on the beer list in a pub or restaurant I'd certainly consider drinking it again. Not something I'll be pining for but if one were put down in front of me I'd certainly drink it.

Serving type: bottle

04-23-2006 06:08:01 | More by RedwoodGeorge
Photo of lordofthewiens


3.4/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I hadn't had this beer in a while. However, this was the only decent beer on tap at the restaurant, so I went with it. Not bad. It was an amber color with a medium head. Smell and taste were both rather nondescript. A sweet caramel odor, and a sweet, mildly hoppy taste. A decent beer.

Serving type: on-tap

04-21-2006 11:43:06 | More by lordofthewiens
Photo of Severum27

New Hampshire

3.8/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Was interested in trying this beer as the bottle decoration is pretty cool... I was sure this was made in England, although I notice it is made in Maine.

The beer pours with a shallow head and a light lace as you drink it. The copper brewing is remarkably nice to drink after a long day of work. The mouthfeel is medium. I notice some yeast in the taste and nice zip in the finish. The smell is light with a little fruity base.

This beer is unique to me as I have a hard time leaving it down. The taste is so interesting that I have to keep drinking it.

Serving type: bottle

03-24-2006 02:03:13 | More by Severum27
Photo of Drew966


3.73/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a light copper color with a good head from a brown twelve ounce bottle. I can smell diacetyl in the nose and not much else. Tastes strongly of butterscotch. Either you like this beer or you don't based upon the strong taste from the ringwood yeast. It's not really my thing, but I can see why others would like it. Worth a try, your mileage may vary based upon your preferences.

Serving type: bottle

03-22-2006 00:47:50 | More by Drew966
Photo of Manosbeeroffate


3.48/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Easy to find beer here in these parts but I haven't had this in a while. Made by Shipyard. Pours a nice copper-orange color. Smell is a weak sweet smell. Taste is a bit malty, slight butter taste and a little bit citrusy, not overwhelming. Mouthfeel is ok. A nice session beer, most of Shipyard's beer are good session beers and this is one of the better ones.

Serving type: bottle

03-21-2006 19:15:20 | More by Manosbeeroffate
Photo of IntriqKen


4.45/5  rDev +22.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Matchez from Vermont rated this beer as:

"Crystal clear copper amber in the glass this ale has a bitter citrus (lemony) hop aroma with hints of butterscotch. The first drink starts with a slight sweet bread taste followed by a strong bitter hop bite. The bitterness lasts through to the finish leaving a dry crisp mouth feel. "

I can't add to this...it is EXACTLY my impression of this brew. Matchez was the only one who noted the citrus (lemony) hop aroma with butterscotch that I found so pronounced immediately on opening the bottle...even before I poured it into a glass.
I enjoyed this bitter emmensly...the dry hop finish that seems to last in your mouth may be an American version of the original, but I liked it.

"Here - Here"

Update...over two years later and I have to say this is still one of my favorite beers of all time. Definitely the best session beer I've had and I enjoy it as often as I can when I can find it fresh.

Serving type: bottle

03-08-2006 04:22:52 | More by IntriqKen
Photo of EStreet20

New Jersey

3.53/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle from the Captain's Collection variety 12 pack poured into a nonic pint glass.

A - A light golden color with a two finger off white head resulting from a hard pour. The head clings to the glass at the top as it begins to dissipate. Leaves some nice lacing on the glass.

S - Sweet malts balance with some piny hops.

T - Sweet malts on the initial sip with some well balanced hop bitterness coming through. Well balanced and finishes dry. Pretty good.

M - A smooth feeling bitter.

D - Pretty good. Nothing earth shattering but some pretty good flavors and the nice balance make for a very nice session ESB.

Serving type: bottle

02-28-2006 22:29:30 | More by EStreet20
Photo of kmpitz2


3.2/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a nice golden color with a finger and a half of fluffy white head over top. Very little carbonation is apparent and clarity is excelent. Nose is interesting. I get a buttery and lighter toasty malt overtone, with a touch of grain sharpness. Very light earthy British hops play in the background, but not as much as I would like. Not really grabbing my attention here. Flavor is a bit soapy. There is a butteryness, light graineyness and toastyness, and moderate hop bitterness that are not melding well together. Bitterness hangs on nicely on the finish. Aftertaste is a touch bready/toasty as well. Aftertaste is better than the beer itself, burps are the same way. Feel is solid moderate with a light carbonation. Good for the style. Drinkability is just okay. Its not doing a whole lot to get my overly interested. I don't think I would have it again.

Serving type: bottle

02-18-2006 23:35:53 | More by kmpitz2
Photo of PBRstreetgang


2.4/5  rDev -33.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Pours an amber gold hue, with a touch of haze. Dense and creamy three finger head, excellent retention, and spotty lacing. Malty nose, toasted malt, nuts, and rose-like alcohol. Tart sherry flavor is stronger than the toasty malt and makes any hops present difficult to detect. Aftertaste is dry and corky like cheap blush. Slow and tiny flow of carbonation, and a medium body. The freshness date is unclear, or it may have been oxidized, but if this is the way the brewer's intended it to taste, then its a bad attempt at the style. The vinous bite throws the flavor out of balance and harshens the mouthfeel, then becomes astringent in the finish. But I'd love to get a sample I can be sure is fresh!

Serving type: bottle

02-04-2006 02:45:52 | More by PBRstreetgang
Photo of matchz


4.33/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Crystal clear copper amber in the glass this ale has a bitter citrus (lemony) hop aroma with hints of butterscotch. The first drink starts with a slight sweet bread taste followed by a strong bitter hop bite. The bitterness lasts through to the finish leaving a dry crisp mouth feel.

It’s been years since I last had Old Thumper and I’d forgotten how much I enjoyed this brew.

Serving type: bottle

01-20-2006 02:03:20 | More by matchz
Photo of BeerManDan


3.63/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

When poued, the color was a deep golden yellow, with an orange hue and very little foam.

The smell of hops and lightly roasted malts filled the nose, with a hint of spices. The taste was on the lightly hoppy side with just a hint of roasted malts and spice.

An average balanced ale that was not overly tart. This would be a good summer quincher!

Serving type: bottle

01-17-2006 00:53:23 | More by BeerManDan
Photo of putnam


4/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Grade A Fancy maple syrup colored liquid gives a translucent sheet of white and a noseful of sweet caramel creme and butter. Mouthfuls are fat and filled with flavors of vanilla, roasted nutshells, candied lemon peel, red apple skins and wholemeal biscuit crust. The mild acidity helps launch a drying trail of bitterness that keeps it tidy. Spent tea leaves weasel in later. This beer is a charmer. It would be interesting to see how it shows next to Fuller's London Pride or Adnam's SSB. My guess is a little bare boned but solid as a sibling overall.

Serving type: bottle

11-09-2005 00:33:35 | More by putnam
Photo of bigdeuce


3.9/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Foamy head, pretty good rocky one at that, with nice copper color to the beer. Smell, not much to go on, but mouthfeel and taste!! Great tasting fruity, almost caramel, taste upfront. Nice light hoppy finish on the backend. Very pleasing quaff! Also I've noticed, tastes much better lukewarm than cold. Very bready, malty beer. Actually a nice beer for the October weather, terrificly refreshing and full tasting bitter. I've had Shipyard before and they've all been good, but this may be the best one I've had yet.

Serving type: bottle

10-29-2005 19:00:31 | More by bigdeuce
Photo of SkeeterHawk


3.78/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a mostly clear, light orangish amber color with a small (1/8”) head at first pour that disappeared while I was looking for a place to put the empty bottle down. Bummer...I missed it. No lacing to speak of.

Aroma: Toasty British malts lead the aroma profile. There is some British variety hops shining through in there also, along with a noticeable minerally presence...Sulfates I presume.

Taste: British malts rule the flavor profile as well. The minerally presence is not what I expected it to be...which is a good thing. There is a buttery/caramelly presence that is a huge player in the flavor, and mostly rules the show. The finish is sweet from the malt, but there is an assertive bitterness from the hops that lingers long after the swallow. It would be hard to say that it is balanced toward the hops, but that is the last thing you notice. The beer could definitely use some more carbonation to roll over the palate a bit smoother.

Opinion: Well, I first have to admit that British style beers are not my favorite, so I am probably not the best reviewer to listen to on these styles. This isn’t a bad beer for what it was intended to be. It is definitely a British ESB. I probably prefer their Fuggles IPA over this one.

Serving type: bottle

10-29-2005 01:44:37 | More by SkeeterHawk
Photo of tgbljb


4.22/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured a medium copper color with slightly off-white moderate head. Difficult to revive with swirling. Smell is malty, bread-like, slightly sweet. Taste is caramel, toffee, malt with nice sweetness and a slight hop presence. Finish if mostly walt, with a bit of bitterness that quickly disappears. Thoroughly enjoyable and easy drinking beer.

Serving type: bottle

10-23-2005 00:08:58 | More by tgbljb
Photo of baiser


3.83/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy amber/brown colour, with an off white head, ok lacing. Sweet, crisp malt flavours, with some caramel, dark fruit and subtle hops. Some fruity esters and grainy finish. Overall, a very balanced beer. Smooth mouthfeel, easy to drink. Very good session ale.

Serving type: bottle

10-08-2005 04:30:07 | More by baiser
Photo of brentk56

North Carolina

3.7/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours out a clear amber body with a luscious and creamy head that leaves plenty of lacing

Smell: Butterscotch diacetyl with a very subtle touch of fruity hops; a touch of apple, perhaps

Taste: Nice malty, but woodsy diacetyl base that sticks around while the hops come and go

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: The sweet diacetyl limits the drinkability for me; not bad, but not something I want to drink in any quantity

Serving type: bottle

10-07-2005 21:13:37 | More by brentk56
Photo of Ricochet


3.85/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Good head, amber average, looks like a standard pale. Head didn't last. Smell was a little hops and a little alchohol but seemed a slight bit better than average. Mouth was good with a nice creamy twinge and hoppy profile that finished very clean , not as bitter. Tasted good. Hops were there, malt was rich and added to the taste with alchohol to give it zip but not overpowering the other flavors and even slight raisin taste, but mostly the malts make this complex.

Drinkability: This was a bit cheaper to buy than it tasted so it was a good buy for taste/price ratio. I don't think it quite lived up to some of the American ESB's I've had but was more like the imports but for $2-$3 less, again, made this a good buy.

Serving type: bottle

10-04-2005 05:21:57 | More by Ricochet
Photo of tastybeer

North Carolina

3.65/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Amber orange with white cream head that doesn't last. Some nice lacing. Smells kind of hoppy with buttery yeast and malts. Tastes smooth with with a instant bitterness that fades quick into a sweet buttery malt and grainy hop sensation. Finishes with slight bitterness balenced nicely by malts. A good beer that would be more average without the 'ringwood' buttery yeast. Good mouthfeel too and easy to drink.

Not bad for any season. Well balenced.

Serving type: bottle

10-02-2005 23:17:16 | More by tastybeer
Photo of DogFood11


3.65/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had a hard time finding this review log as it kept coming up (UK Version) and on the label I don't see anything about the shipyard brewing but the bottle matches the picture so here we are.

Copper color that is transparent with mild carbonation. Nice fluffy swiss coffee head that holds its own. Sporadic, sliding lace.

Smelled alot of toasted/bready malts. Had to dig a bit for the hop presence but it was there in the background.

This comes across with more bitterness than first expected. The malts quickly devour any lingering effects. A nice woody though and it finishes fairly sweet with a twinge of fruit and a crisp finish.

Buttery mouthfeel is enjoyable to me so I had to mark up for that along with the crisp finish.

Notes: I would definately pick this up again. A nice representation of an ESB although there are others I'd rather have, the price is right, and its well put together.

Serving type: bottle

09-30-2005 01:09:40 | More by DogFood11
Photo of Bonhoeffer


3.48/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 ounce bottle. No freshness date. No indication on the label of what style it is. Just tells you it's an "extra special ale," as if that means anything. Now that i'm on BA, i see i correctly identified the flavor as that of an ESB. Appearance lost a mark because the head dissipated so fast and left no traces, but the color was beautiful. Amazing brilliant ruby red.

I have to say that after the second sip i found myself regretting that i alone would be forced to consume all 22 ounces. It just wasn't doing it for me.

But far be it from me to dismiss a beer so quickly. I slowly made my way through it, and found that the taste improved as it warmed it. It really redeemed itself. I wouldn't be opposed to splitting one of these with someone sometime, but it needs to start at cellar temp and be consumed slowly so that it's at room temp by the time you reach the last sip.

Also, i must note that the bottle claims this is brewed with the very same recipe as the original UK version, using the same ingredients shipped from Ringwood. So i don't see how the American version could be an ESB while the UK version an English Pale Ale. I think the UK version is misclassified on this site.

Serving type: bottle

09-27-2005 13:29:59 | More by Bonhoeffer
Photo of Dukeofearl


3.03/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a moderate copper color, with a decent head, and a bit of a cover that hangs around a while.

Aroma is smooth and creamy, very light hops, and some sweetness. Flavor, though, is disappointing. A decent malt profile, but the creaminess (is that buttery diacytl?) is just off. Finishes with a moderate hoppiness- not bad, but not exciting. Does not impress me.

Tough for me to finish the beer. Glad it was a gift, rather than a purchase of a whole six pack.

Serving type: bottle

08-17-2005 03:03:39 | More by Dukeofearl
Photo of BuckeyeNation


4/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sparkling orange-copper with a few dozen citrus pulp-like floaters swirling within and being buoyed by the effervescent carbonation. The head is lightly toasted marshmallow in color, hangs around a while and is a better than average lace maker.

The nose is evenly balanced between significantly toasted pale malt and earthy, English hops (my guess would be Goldings). There's also a sweet, buttered bread aroma that works well in the grand scheme of things since it stays to the shadows. The aroma sheds its initial shyness with warming and develops wonderfully nutty, buttered toffee notes.

Old Thumper is bold, almost chaotic, in the mouth. My fear was that it would be another average, under-malted, under-hopped, under-interesting American take on the English ESB style. I was wrong. The brash nature of the flavor profile won't be everyone's cup of tea since it pushes the boundaries of the style. It's hard to say, however, exactly where that pushing is taking place.

Toasted, woody, tea-like, fruity, bitter, herbal, spicy... all the bases are covered, as well as the pitcher's mound and both coach's boxes. Hops are more prominent than malt, but I have a feeling the yeast strain is the wildcard, the mysterious secret ingredient that gives this beer its wacky (but delicious) personality. Although I can still appreciate diacetyl, it's a non-factor due to the generous hop load. The finish is pleasantly bitter with a piquant, herbal spiciness.

The mouthfeel is up to the task at hand, keeping the beer in proximity to the taste buds long enough for it to deliver the payload and not a moment longer. I can't decide if a bigger, firmer mouthfeel would be a boon or not. Nah, it's fine as is.

I believed Old Thumper ESA to be an English beer until I glanced at the label just before popping the cap and saw Shipyard Brewing Company. Turns out it's something of a U.S.-U.K. hybrid (check out the website for details); which is, I guess, why it's called an ESA rather than an ESB or an APA. Whatever you call it, call it good beer.

Serving type: bottle

08-12-2005 20:11:32 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of rajendra82


3.8/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass, Old Thumper looked quite attractive, with its clear golden amber color, smallish off-white head, active carbonation, and average lacing. The aroma was of a nondescript fruity and nutty nature with a spicy and floral hop presence. The taste was well balanced between the sweet and fruity malt with the flavor of caramel coated red delicious apples, and a bitter hoppyness with a pomegranate like astringency. The mouthfeel was buttery (with salt) and bone dry, typical of many English bitters. Very easy to drink and sessionable, despite the nearly 6% ABV. Well crafted Maine brewed English beer, now available in Georgia.

Serving type: bottle

08-06-2005 04:18:22 | More by rajendra82
Photo of GeoffFromSJ

New Jersey

2.93/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Appearance: copper- but not a dep copper. Frothy head, but it didn't stay long. Some, but not a lot of lacing.

Smell: malt and hops notes.

Taste: Ringwood gone wild. Waaay too buttery. Hops present at first, but they aren't strong enough. Not noticeable later on either. No biscuity notes. Caramel flavors engulfed in a tsunami of diacteyl. A buttery mess.

Serving type: bottle

08-03-2005 01:52:58 | More by GeoffFromSJ
Shipyard Old Thumper from Shipyard Brewing Co.
82 out of 100 based on 637 ratings.