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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.

665 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 665
Reviews: 378
rAvg: 3.61
pDev: 14.13%
Wants: 12
Gots: 27 | 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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 665 | Reviews: 378 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Scott1970
3.75/5  rDev +3.9%

Scott1970, Sep 02, 2012
Photo of walshclimb
4.35/5  rDev +20.5%

Pours very clear medium brown body with thin head that dissipates quickly to a thin white film. Aroma of light sweet malt with slightly sour note, more yeasty/fruity as it warms. The flavor is where this beer shines. It is a solid British-style ale with well balanced malt and hops that turns into a sweet and nicely bitter aftertaste. Excellent mouthfeel as well with a medium body, crisp carbonation and a tongue coating finish. Overall a very drinkable beer that I am happy to just have one or as a session beer. Very versatile and nice with an array of foods including spicy indian or more traditional meat and potatoes fare.

walshclimb, Nov 16, 2008
Photo of ebrifan
3.5/5  rDev -3%

ebrifan, Jul 23, 2013
Photo of Ryanm1
2.53/5  rDev -29.9%

This beer was poured factory direct from a 22oz bottle into a pint glass. A moderate amount of head was found after poured.

The beer was light copper in color when poured.

This is a non-traditional English bitter which really tasted the part. This beer was incredibly bitter, and a bit lighter than I would expect in color akin to a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.

The smell was fruity, with a dry finish. The ABV on this beer was 5.8% which was slightly higher than a normal domestic beer. It also comes in cask condition. Mouthfeel is nothing better than average and taste is a hair below average. Drinkability is moderate as the alcohol content is slightly above average and the beer has a lighter feel, but the bitterness cuts down on the need for several.

Ryanm1, Mar 11, 2011
Photo of RussBecker1
3/5  rDev -16.9%

RussBecker1, Jul 25, 2012
Photo of vitesse
4.1/5  rDev +13.6%

served in 12 oz. brown bottle.
a very distinctive english-style ale. this one poured a bright, clear copper color. nice fluffy head. moderate to light carbonation. smell is distinctly carmelly. very butterscotch and bready taste in this one. must be the ringwood yeast. flavor is very 3-dimensional and complete. mild hops balance out a really nice malt profile.
drinkable and flavorful at the same time.
i highly recommend this one.

vitesse, Oct 06, 2003
Photo of lehows
4.03/5  rDev +11.6%

Poursa semi-hazy golden color with a beautiful head. Head was creamy and hung around till the beer was gone. Big aromas of buttery grain and floral hops waft up to the nose. Taste hits you with that buttery diacetyl, then you get the toasted grain, malt, and the floral hop quality. Creamy and slick mouthfeel. Great drinkabilty and a lovely brew from Alan Pugsley.

lehows, Feb 07, 2007
Photo of HoppyMcStout
3.5/5  rDev -3%

This brew poured an orangish brown. Hardly any head whatsoever, though. The taste had a diacetyl flavor that usually turns me off. Possible caramel malt, as well. What was most noticable was the strong alcohol flavor present throughout the nose and mouth. That sort of overwhelmed the senses. An okay beer, but then again I'm not much of an ESB fan.

HoppyMcStout, Sep 23, 2008
Photo of chefdave37
4/5  rDev +10.8%

chefdave37, Thursday at 02:03 AM
Photo of Greenlabel
4.33/5  rDev +19.9%

A fine interpretation by Shipyard of an English Best Bitter. Pours an amber color with a lasting head. The impact of the Ringwood yeast is not as dominant as in some of the Shipyard brews. The overall texture of the product is very smooth with some definite fruit overtones and a somewhat hoppy finish. No unpleasant aftertaste. This product seems to be getting a wider distribution these days and I now see it available in 12-packs as well as 6-packs. Well worth the premium price of a micro.

Greenlabel, May 31, 2003
Photo of Bonhoeffer
3.48/5  rDev -3.6%

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.

Bonhoeffer, Sep 27, 2005
Photo of FleeVT
3.85/5  rDev +6.6%

Cask conditioned and hand drawn into a pint glass at the Blue Anchor Pub in Delray Beach, Fl.

A: A beautiful golden and copper with a slight haze. This brew presented a nice 1 finger head which is better than I expected from a cask drawn ale. It eventually settles down to a thin layer, eventually.

S: The nose was a combination of toasted bread malts, mild yeast, and a sweetness that hinted at dark berries. This beer also hinted at some indistinguishable spices on the nose. Really approachable and inviting.

T: A subdued beginning which slowly opens up with the toasted bread malts and hints of the spice and yeast. The palate transitions nicely from tart to bitter as the hops build up and continue gaining steam to the bitter end. The finish provides a hint of the 5.9% ABV which is a great surprise.

M: A creamy texture that is no doubt provided by the lack of carbonation.

D: I haven't had a drawn beer in years and this was the perfect compliment to a rainy south Florida afternoon. The cask conditioning seems to add a complexity to the beer in the depth of flavors, the intermingling of the different palate components are layered nicely. I'd like to find a bottle of this stuff to compare apples to apples.

FleeVT, Jun 24, 2008
Photo of outdoor7or24
1.5/5  rDev -58.4%

outdoor7or24, Jun 18, 2012
Photo of CheezyBlaster
3/5  rDev -16.9%

Ehhh, not so much. I'd love to try the "UK version." It has to be better, right?

Nose to mouth: All grainy, white bread toast . . . boiled rice. Lots of that. I don't know, this beer doesn't really sell it across any rubric aside from "get the job done." No hop character except to bitter. Malt is, as I said, a saltine/corn chip bomb, but central.

Ringwood yeast you say? What am I looking for?


CheezyBlaster, Oct 17, 2012
Photo of MAbeerNE1
3.58/5  rDev -0.8%

From a bottle that I bought from the brewery.

A: A clear and clean light amber color with a sparse but steady stream of bubbles feeding a very modest half centimeter head.

S: You can smell the diacetyl on this one right away. Browned butter and moist earth.

T: Buttery smell of the nose in the mix, but mixes well with the strawberry sweetness of the esters, the alcohol, and a nice hop spice that lingers long after the beer is gone. Great balance; nice mix of flavors.

M: Very light carbonation, slightly syrupy, full bodied. Smooth.

O: A nice beer. True to style and easy to drink. I like how the butter notes mix well with the sweetness of the malt and the spice of hops and alcohol. I would buy again.

MAbeerNE1, Mar 14, 2013
Photo of jspruit
3.2/5  rDev -11.4%

I got this beer down in Florida at Case & Keg because of its Maine ties. I am not a big fan of this style, but I thought that I would give it a shot based on my brother's advice.

Pours with a nice amber color and a 2 finger head that settles down pretty quick.

There is a bit of a yeasty smell initially along with some gentle spices.

The taste is a bit dry for me with some sweetness and some tannon hints-earthy maybe? I didnt detect too much hops, but there was some light maple taste.

The mouthfeel is nice, not too full, but plenty of taste-it just happens not to be my favorite.

I think that this could be a nice example of an ESB, but I dont know really too much since it isnt my style.

jspruit, Nov 25, 2007
Photo of mshallah
4.18/5  rDev +15.8%

Purchased at the North End Suprette in Manch-Vegas,NH at a great discount, $10.99/case. This beer is to me, a New England classic. 12oz bottle label and bottle cap display the mean-eyed wild boar graphic(looks great on the back of a t-shirt too). Pours clear copper with a white head that dissipates to a ring and stays the duration. Aroma and flavor for me is a combination of the ingredients resulting in a complex profile. Ale fruitiness(apricot), yeast diacetyl(caramel), butter/sugar cookie maltiness, all balanced with hop bitterness like the salt added to a caramel candy brightening the flavor. This complexity is what I look for in an ESA/ESB and is what makes this a great choice for so many roasted meat dishes or just on it's own. The subtle mouthfeel of the fine bubble carbonation lets you know right away this is no mass market yellow fizz but a great session beer.

Note- This beer was reviewed 11-05-06 with an Oct-06 best before date and it still tastes fresh! For even more complexity and strength try Shipyard Prelude.

mshallah, Nov 05, 2006
Photo of WizzardOfHops
3.75/5  rDev +3.9%

WizzardOfHops, Aug 14, 2013
Photo of TheMaineBeerGuy
3.75/5  rDev +3.9%

TheMaineBeerGuy, Apr 24, 2014
Photo of jimmyjazzercise
3.5/5  rDev -3%

jimmyjazzercise, Oct 01, 2013
Photo of johnsilk
3.75/5  rDev +3.9%

johnsilk, Apr 24, 2012
Photo of gestyr
4/5  rDev +10.8%

Appearance: Pours a clear copper color into the glass with a thick, long-lasting head.

Smell: crackers, malt, caramel

Taste: Malt then crackers/biscuits then caramel. Subtle hops

Mouthfeel: nice medium body

Drinkability: goes down well on a hot summer evening.

Overall, I will drink this again. A good solid ESB.

gestyr, Aug 27, 2010
Photo of MikeyJ777
4/5  rDev +10.8%

MikeyJ777, Jun 01, 2013
Photo of hungryghost
3.8/5  rDev +5.3%

Copper colored, leaning a little towards yellow. Good carbonation and head make for decent lacing.
Biscuity yeast aroma, malts and maybe some floral hops.
The flavor comes right out with a sweet malt, and a hint of caramel that mixes well with the slightly dry hop end. Feels buttery but still has an edge to it.
Well balanced and very drinkable.

hungryghost, May 28, 2005
Photo of Hagbard
2.2/5  rDev -39.1%

The bottle says best if enjoyed by March '05. Cheers for having a freshness date!

Pours a light gold with an off-white, 2 finger thick head that seems to hang around for quite a while. The aroma is very subdued, I can't pick out any individual smells, just beer. The taste begins with a nice bit of hop bitterness. Unfortunately, this quickly fades to the dreaded diacetyl butteryness. The first few sips aren't bad, but it builds up and becomes oppressive. The aftertase is overrun by this. On a positive note, the carbonation level is perfect. Overall, I wasn't impresssed, there are many better ESBs around.

Hagbard, Nov 09, 2004
Shipyard Old Thumper from Shipyard Brewing Co.
82 out of 100 based on 665 ratings.