1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Shipyard Old Thumper - Shipyard Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Shipyard Old ThumperShipyard Old Thumper

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

696 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 696
Reviews: 380
rAvg: 3.59
pDev: 14.21%
Wants: 10
Gots: 33 | 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)
View: Beers (46) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Shipyard Old Thumper Alström Bros
Ratings: 696 | Reviews: 380 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of albo
3.98/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

The first thing that caught my attention about this beer was the aroma. To me, it had a pleasant, clean hop aroma with strong floral notes.

The color is a coppery amber with a long lasting lace of head.

Taste wise, this beer is very pleasant and it reminds me of an English ESB, but not as good a quality one.

Anyway, the beer is a pleasure to drink and can be consumed in large quantities.

Photo of jslot38
3.88/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12 oz bottle to pint glass. Best Before Date clearly scored on the side of the bottle.

Appearance: Faint small off white head forms over a deep amber body and sticks around.

Smell: Toasted biscuit, earth tones, slight notes of orange rind.

Taste: Slick oiled hops upfront - a note of pine quickly overwhelmed by a biscuity backing. Roasted nuts, grains and oats with a touch of caramel. Some diacetyl rounds out the beer. Contains some nice but subtle complexeties.

Mouthfeel: Very nice on the tongue, hop oils and carbonation combine to create a great mouthfeel.

Drinkability and Notes: So far, my favorite offering from the Shipyard Brewery. This is a very drinkable ESA and stays true to its English Bitter roots. A great session beer with some interesting flavours. A great chill beer that I'll always look forward to on my way to Maine.

Photo of scottoale
3.85/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Fresh on-tap a O'Brien's today, served in a pint glass a nice honey-amber in color with 1/2inch white, foamy head and plenty of lacing as you go.

Sweet malty nose with plenty of hops lingering in the background, very inviting aroma.

Good malt flavor upfront that gets quickly extinguished by some seriously bitter hops...very nice. Definitely suites it's style to a "T", er ESB. Some very bitter and tasty beer, with the alcohol nicely tucked away.

Very drinkable, medium bodied with a crisp mouthfeel, nice bitter aftermath that went well with some salt and vinegar potato chips.

Good stuff from the Shipyard!

Photo of mynie
3.9/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice bitters pour. Dark yellow with a big, highly-retentive white head, like a highly alcholic Belgian.

Smells of lager yeast and mild hops. Kind of nice, but too weak to really matter.

Tastes pretty much like it smells, only a little more firm. Like a good euro pils, slightly pasturized lager grain with fruit esters, ending on a nice, light hop. Pretty good.

Photo of Mandrake
3.4/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a bright, deep copper with a one-finger cream coloured head that lasts well and leaves solid lacing. Smell is off though. A touch of maltiness and caramel is almost completely obliterated by hot alcohol and a touch of metal. Taste gets back on track though, and has some chocolate and toffee alongside an interesting fruitiness and a touch of hops and butter. Finishes dry and bitter. Mouthfeel is a bit thin, but well carbonated and satisfying, and drinkability is good. Not bad overall, but I prefer their IPA to this.

Photo of bignick
3.43/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle part of Captain's Collection. Poured into a pint glass.

Pours a dark golden color with a supple head. While I would say it is one of the better Shipyard brews, it is extremely imperfect. I like the nice caramel malt flavor. However, it has a metallic, shallow taste and mouthfeel. I could drink several of these, but I would not be inclined.

Photo of rabsten
2.8/5  rDev -22%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into a pint glass from a bottle with a best by date of - mercy - Feb '05. Cloudy amber, one finger head that dissipates quickly. Good, solid lacing, however.

Smell is sweet malt with a vinegary undertone that I'm going to assume is due to the age of this bottle.

Tastes just like it smells. Malt up front, some mild hop bitterness, but a definite acetic acid undertone. There're a lot of indications how this would taste if it were fresh, but it's not.

Mouthfeel and drinkablity are average. Nothing special. Again, not the bottle to judge with.

Well, this is an old bottle and it shows. I've had some old bottles of other things lately that held up a lot better, including some Left Hand Sawtooth Ale, which is the same style and was even older. My other Shipyard experiences have been uniformly positive, so I will definately give this another chance.

Photo of Phatz
4.1/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: This beer pours a tawny amber color. Large head, active carbonation and heavy lacing.

Smell: Toasty malt aroma caramel and mild hops show through in the nose.

Taste: Very nice! Toasty malts and yeastiness start off the front of the palate. Smooth and well balanced all the way through. Slightly buttery and white bread flavor through the middle. Then the finish has some earthy hops that leave a tingle on the tongue. the is a hint of ginger or nutmeg as well.

Mouthfeel: Medium body almost chewy Mouthfeel.

Drinkability: This is a very easy drinking sessionable beer.

Hope this is helpful.

[EDIT] - I have discovered that this beer is sensitive to shelf life and temperature. I it best cold and when warmed too much, the diacetyl become cloying or if it is not fresh the beer loses its refreshing spices in the flavor. A tasty beer, but drink it fresh and cold IMO.]

Photo of SixpointJMH
3.25/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I hadn't had this one in years as I'd always found it mediocre. I picked up a bottle to see if my opinion differed today. It doesn't.

Old Thumper pours a decent looking crisp orange colour with a fluffy head that dissolves quickly and leaves hardly any residue on the glass.

The aromas are buttery and rubbery, with malt interlaced throughout and a hint of some fruity hops toward the back.

The flavour is creamy and buttery. Malt is earth and bread based andnoticeable throughout. Hops are mostly tasted at the finish where there's a bit of fruit flavour as well. Mouthfeel is a bit thin but somewhat crisp overall.

This brew is semi-decent but still mediocre and nothing special. It's fairly middle of the road for the most part overall.

Photo of RedwoodGeorge
3.65/5  rDev +1.7%
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.

Photo of lordofthewiens
3.4/5  rDev -5.3%
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.

Photo of Severum27
3.8/5  rDev +5.8%
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.

Photo of Drew966
3.73/5  rDev +3.9%
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.

Photo of Manosbeeroffate
3.48/5  rDev -3.1%
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.

Photo of IntriqKen
4.45/5  rDev +24%
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.

Photo of EStreet20
3.53/5  rDev -1.7%
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.

Photo of kmpitz2
3.2/5  rDev -10.9%
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.

Photo of PBRstreetgang
2.4/5  rDev -33.1%
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!

Photo of matchz
4.33/5  rDev +20.6%
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.

Photo of BeerManDan
3.63/5  rDev +1.1%
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!

Photo of putnam
4/5  rDev +11.4%
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.

Photo of bigdeuce
3.9/5  rDev +8.6%
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.

Photo of SkeeterHawk
3.78/5  rDev +5.3%
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.

Photo of tgbljb
4.22/5  rDev +17.5%
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.

Photo of baiser
3.83/5  rDev +6.7%
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.

Shipyard Old Thumper from Shipyard Brewing Co.
82 out of 100 based on 696 ratings.