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.
BA SCORE
82
good

630 Ratings
THE BROS
81
good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 630
Reviews: 377
rAvg: 3.61
pDev: 13.85%
Wants: 10
Gots: 20 | 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 (41) |  Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Shipyard Old Thumper Alström Bros
Ratings: 630 | Reviews: 377 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of AtLagerHeads
AtLagerHeads

Ohio

3.9/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A nice clean ESB that impressed of a fine heritage. The look is a bright mid-amber with a fine cream-colored head and nice lacing. The nose is malty and fruity, with hints of caramel. A very fine smooth body that is very creamy and drinkable. The flavors are mostly of the sweet malt bas, but light hopping keeps the sweetness in check and finishes with a nice dryness.

Serving type: on-tap

10-26-2003 15:00:20 | More by AtLagerHeads
Photo of Mustard
Mustard

District of Columbia

3.65/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: 12oz. brown bottle; "best enjoyed before" warning -- in this case Feb 04 -- notched on the bottom label's left edge; no ABV %; purchased as part of a ten beer "Winter Brews" sampler pack from Cost Plus for $14.99.

Appearance: Pours a dark, rich, carrot hue; voluminous, batter-like head; a healthy c-cup's worth of lace; excellent head retention.

Aroma: Potently of caramel and green apples.

Taste: Much like its nose; sweet malts predominate, though a firm, earthy bitterness does much to balance things out in the finish; spicy and tart with a fruity twang; slight metallic note; hints of plum in there too; medium to full bodied with a smooth, creamy mouthfeel.

Notes: Not bad; sizeable flavor profile for 5.6% ABV; would drink this again.

Serving type: bottle

10-25-2003 06:40:32 | More by Mustard
Photo of vitesse
vitesse

Georgia

4.1/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

Serving type: bottle

10-06-2003 00:33:59 | More by vitesse
Photo of RockyTopHeel
RockyTopHeel

North Carolina

3.13/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Old Thumper has a thin beige head and appeared a glowing shade of red-amber in my faceted Hoegaarden glass (it was the only one I had that was clean). Anyway, it had a strong, sweet smell with notes of soft malt and maybe caramel. The taste had the same maltiness and sweetness, with a heavy aftertaste. This beer started a touch heavy, but got lighter as I drank, and the expected warmness was also present. Thumper is average, but better than I remember from the last time I had it. Still, I won't run back to this one.

Serving type: bottle

09-28-2003 23:52:37 | More by RockyTopHeel
Photo of far333
far333

Connecticut

3.88/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark copper color with a low and sinking off-white head. Aroma is low, but sweet and malty. Flavor is reminscent of a typical English style ale, with emphasis on sweet malts and light hop presence. Very smooth mouthfeel, with mild flavors of caramel and light brown sugar in the finish and aftertaste. Very smooth and clean flavor.

Serving type: on-tap

09-27-2003 12:08:39 | More by far333
Photo of UnionMade
UnionMade

Colorado

4.1/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer is a deep golden amber, the color of wet straw, topped with a thick ring of head. Very clear, with some carbonation bubbles floating to the top.
Aroma is malty and toasty, with mild fruitiness. Excellent apple and pear, with some of that signature ringwood diacetyl buttery aroma. Hops are very mild, definitely riding in the child seat. Distinctly english hopping, mild and herbal, allowing the malts to really bloom.
Flavor is malty sweet, with some toasted malt, and a touch of caramel. Some cidery apple and pear esters come through, providing a sweetly estery flavor that rides over the malt. Light buttercotch diacetyl poking through the middle. Mild hops come through the end, with an herbal bitterness finishing the flavor. A trace of graininess lingers on your tongue, with a little toasty caramel in the aftertaste.
Very tasty. Definitely a session beer if there ever was one. Certainly worth a try if you're a fan of english ale.

Serving type: on-tap

09-19-2003 21:45:35 | More by UnionMade
Photo of UncleFrank
UncleFrank

Connecticut

4.33/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

It was odd to see the Ringwood Brewery website description vs. the Shipyard description. I understand the relationship between the beers, but didn’t think the descriptions would vary. But, I have never had the original. As for this version, it is love in a bottle. One of my first introductions to craft beer and I should revisit it more often. I went away from it because I thought the flavor had changed, but the flavor I once loved is back in this six-pack, inspiring me to finally do a review on it. This one of the few styles where a high level of diacetyl is acceptable and I feel adds complexity and a unique touch.

The color is orange with a thin quickly fading head. The aroma is of fruit and butterscotch. The taste is a bready/toasty malt mix with a touch of chocolate and grassy hops. A slick residue lingers on the tongue with slight apple taste. Medium body, but it is not filling, allowing you to enjoy more of it. In the words of Homer J. Simpson, "MMM, Beeeerr." Cheers!

Serving type: on-tap

09-14-2003 22:39:53 | More by UncleFrank
Photo of Brent
Brent

Kentucky

4.33/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A top-notch ESB. Even though my bottle was several months beyond the "best-by" date, the beer held up quite well. Can't imagine what it would be like on cask. Tawny amber with a dense, rocky head and firm mouthfeel. Toffee-ish malt and vague, slightly overripe fruit flavors from the yeast. Very smooth and pleasant.

Serving type: bottle

09-10-2003 13:43:56 | More by Brent
Photo of pezoids
pezoids

Pennsylvania

4.15/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Could not tell if the notch on the label said good through September 03 or 04. Some unclear markings there. Regardless of that, the beer poured a handsomely bright and clear copper color. The head was huge which simmered down into a small film and left a nice lacing behind. There’s a sweet malt aroma with some fruitiness, maybe green apples or sour cherries. The taste is sweet and fruity with a nice tang. This is a very nice ale, but for an Extra Special Ale, which this beer claims to be – The benchmark for me is Yard’s ESA. Although this ale is very drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

09-09-2003 05:21:23 | More by pezoids
Photo of garymuchow
garymuchow

Minnesota

4.05/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Complex enough of a brew that I had to do more than one sample.
Aaahh, the nose of diacetyl. Also fairly brief with darker malt notes.
Dark amber, approaching brown, but mostly dark orange. Medium to full tan to beige head that dissappates pretty quickly.
The taste of diacetyl too, with nice malt qualities and hop bitterness in the biginning and on the finish. Malt qualities include a bisquit character along with darker malt qualities and this increases in presence as beer warms. Feel is soft and fairly fluffy from carbonation and it's almost a stronger sensation than the taste. Enjoyed this more the warmer it became.

Serving type: bottle

09-06-2003 14:45:41 | More by garymuchow
Photo of yankeeheel
yankeeheel

Maine

4/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had as a cask conditioned ale at the infamous Great Lost Bear. An orange/coppery brew with a big white head. Good lacing as it dissapeared.

The smell is of sweet malt and breads, with some light citrus in the background. The taste is superb. When I think of balanced ale this fits my defenition. Malty up front, with a slight hop/bitter taste in back. Moderate carbonation carries it through from end to end.

Very drinkable, especially the cask conditioned variety. Another Shipyard wnner.

Serving type: on-tap

09-05-2003 21:34:29 | More by yankeeheel
Photo of Loki
Loki

North Carolina

3.78/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Sampled from a cask in an traditional pint glass.

Well color me disappointed. I walked in and order this without even looking at what else they had. After all I liked Old Thumper in the bottle, and it was cask conditioned so it had to be better. Right?

It was served a dark copper, almost antique bronze color with a white head that faded way to quickly. Great lacing throughout the entire beer. Looked like Mountain ranges viewed from a top another mountain. You could see the lower and upper ranges. Had the head retention been better this would have scored perfectly.

The aromas were very muted. I picked up malt, cask, earth, and some very mild hops.

The taste was sweet malt, then a bit watery, then dry cask, earth, a little more malt, with a dry finish. It was a little plain. Medium bodied and some what clean finish. But a little plain and a little disappointing. Maybe my expectations were too high.

Serving type: cask

08-24-2003 02:40:59 | More by Loki
Photo of longpondbeerman
longpondbeerman

Maine

4.38/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Ahhh, a fine bitter ale with a slightly buttery mouthfeel. This dark, golden-amber ale from the good old Portland Shipyard may be their best brew; it is complex and tantalizing, from the ringwood yeast taste (very full) which balances off the citrusy hops to the toffee finish edged with just the right slice of bitterness, there's a lot to like about this ale. Thankfully, it's a local favorite for me; I'll be having more of this.

Serving type: bottle

08-11-2003 21:10:30 | More by longpondbeerman
Photo of moulefrite
moulefrite

Massachusetts

4.38/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Tried just before trying Fuller's ESB which I loved. I must say though that this was a damn good eample of the style. The beer poured a nice golden caramel and sported a thick pillowey head. Aromas of malt extract, hop and bisquit were at the forefront. A rich yet velvety ale that slides down the old gullet with ease. An extracted, malted milk sort of sweetness coats the tongue and mouth-I love the flavor of malt!! As the beer warms it takes on an even larger malt persona. A very drinkable number with some citric hoppiness way in the background evening things out. Nice!

Serving type: bottle

08-09-2003 01:40:45 | More by moulefrite
Photo of BierReise
BierReise

Florida

4.3/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Served cask conditioned at the Wharf Pub in Newport RI. I had this about six years ago here at this very same pub and was completely delighted to find them still serving it. This ale is quite a treat conditioned. Slightly hazy and deep amber in color with a creamy white head. Aroma is as complex as its flavor, a bit musky, grainy and earthy with a delicious maltiness and slightly bitter. Super smooth and creamy body that glides down your throat like butter. So smooth and delicious that I had finished 3 pints in less than a half hour. Hope they have it when I return again someday.

Serving type: cask

08-04-2003 03:35:04 | More by BierReise
Photo of Darkale
Darkale

Virginia

4.03/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear, dark bronze body with a tight, cream-colored head. Mild aroma, smells faintly of fruit. Not very strong; would have liked a stronger aroma. Sweet in the mouth at first, then dry, astringent and a tad bitter. Slightly chewy and round. Aftertaste is like burnt caramel, almost smoky. An interesting beer. I have not much experience with ESBs, and this beer suggests that I ought to.

Serving type: on-tap

07-28-2003 12:24:03 | More by Darkale
Photo of NeroFiddled
NeroFiddled

Pennsylvania

4.1/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A clear, orange-ish/copper body displays dozens of streams of tiny bubbles rising steadily towards its creamy off-white head. The retention is great, and it maintains a short creamy cap throughout the entire pint; as well as leaving some nice lace. The nose displays the typical Ringwood yeast signature of gentle buttery diacetyl amidst a caramelish malt and some earthy hops. It's quite pleasant and welcomes you back to the pint with each ensuing sip. It's lightly crisp but also mildly creamy in the mouth due to it's fine and moderate carbonation and light/medium body. The flavor delivers a mildly buttery, nutty, and caramel/toffee-ish malt upfront; followed by a quick flash of fruit and then some more nuttiness. Earthy hops emerge (must be Fuggles!) towards the swallow as the bitterness rises. It finishes dry with some ligering earthy hop amidst a wide but low-key bitterness and some residual buttery biscuit-like malt. It's very well-balanced with a firm bitterness that keeps it from becoming cloying, yet allows the malt character to come through clearly.Well done! For those who find a touch of buttery diacetyl pleasing, this is a great session ale (with the exception of it's slightly high alcohol at 5.7%).

Serving type: bottle

07-01-2003 14:18:50 | More by NeroFiddled
Photo of clvand0
clvand0

Kentucky

3.3/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This beer pours an amber color with a creamy white head and moderate lacing on the glass. The aroma is sweet and slightly fruity. The taste is very full of caramel and pretty smooth. There is a slight hint of alcohol in the flavor and also a little fruit is also evident. The taste has a very warm feel even when the beer is cold. I would recommend trying this one.

Serving type: bottle

06-20-2003 22:35:47 | More by clvand0
Photo of tavernjef
tavernjef

Minnesota

3.95/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Color is a amber with slight chill haze with slow bubbly carbonation inside, a thin off-white head that faded fast and minimal lacing in spots. Smell is sweet caramel malt, lightly earthed, nice fruity esters and a light hoppy backing. Taste is crispy with a caramel creamyness following with a small warmth of alcohol and fruity esters get involved leading into some toasty biscuit and breadish sweet grain, a touch of fruitiness from some loosely layered hop bitterness. Finish is a balancing act of lingering aftertastes of dry, lightly piney and very light fruity hoppyness. Quite interesting little finish. Feel is medium bodied with a play of slight roughness in the front with a bit of creamyness and chewyness into the light dry playful finish. Seems to smooth out as it warms. Drinkable ESB, but its not all that "Extra Special" but would make for a good session beer.

Serving type: bottle

06-20-2003 16:36:28 | More by tavernjef
Photo of charlesw
charlesw

New York

4.75/5  rDev +31.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Enjoyed a nice Old Thumper on tap last night at Fore Street... Mmm! I'd previously sampled the beer in bottles, but on tap it was really something special!

It was a bit dark, so it's hard to tell too much about the appearance... Dark coppery is the best I could tell. Pretty darned clear. The pour was suboptimal, so I can't say too much about the head, either, as there was only a hint of it around the edges of the glass when I got it. (Might it have been cask-conditioned? Hmm. I could give them a call and ask...)

Ah, but let's skip straight to the taste without passing by the aroma... Ahhh! Fantastic! (Ok, taste and mouthfeel...) Very creamy - smooth - buttery (buttery texture, not flavor, eh?)! A good strong, complex malt flavor that was all over the back of the tongue. (Reading down a bit in reviews I can call some of this butterscotch which apparently is all about diacetyl... Yummy! Creamy!) A very very light hint of hoppy bitterness to it. Very smooth and gentle aftertaste (not gaining in power or complexity - just gently fading out).

This is the first beer I've had in a really long time where I just couldn't stop saying, "Wow!" with every sip!

Now, how does it fit in with the style of an ESB? I'll have to try it again a few times to make sure :) It might be just a tad malty for an ESB - I'll have to think about it...

(Fore Street is a fine bar/restaurant in which to sample this little delight!)

Serving type: on-tap

06-06-2003 05:56:10 | More by charlesw
Photo of Greenlabel
Greenlabel

New Hampshire

4.33/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

Serving type: bottle

05-31-2003 21:51:14 | More by Greenlabel
Photo of marc77
marc77

California

4/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Clear bronze hue. Thin, light cream white head leaves lace. Earthy hops along with a buttery toffee like caramel malt and diacetyl combination dominate the aroma. Mild figgy esters and notes of dilute molasses drizzled bready malt are secondary, while an agreeable hint of sweet, nutty marzipan emerges as the beer breathes. Brief snap of bread crust sweetness in flavor is quickly washed by buttery rich toffee and faintly roasty dark lovibind caramel malt. Becomes distinctly nut driven mid palate, with soft notes of almonds and peanuts lending a mildly sugary, brittle impression. Earthy, slightly dirty, Fuggles hop flavor. Fruit esters surface late and are comprised of ripe dates and sweet figs. Hop bitterness is mild, and allow malt character to dominate, but residual sweetness never becomes cloying. A touch lightly bodied, with an oily, but thinnish and passably dextrinous mouthfeel. Finishes with a lingering suggestion of burnt bread and butter. Almost spot on for an ESB. Heavy on the diacetyl, yet well integrated in that respect. Malt driven and very tasty. Thanks Mainebeerman!

Serving type: bottle

05-29-2003 14:12:13 | More by marc77
Photo of bmills1608
bmills1608

Pennsylvania

4.25/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I grabbed this almost as an after thought just to fill out my six pack of singles. It had a cool name and I see on the label 'Ringwood Brewery'. I have been intrigued about the ringwood yeast strain as it seems to produce a love it or hate it kind of flavor - heavy diacetyl, which I happen to like quite a bit. I am sure glad I did pick it up.

Poured a light amber color with excellent clarity. Smallish head fades fast, leaves a bit of lace. On the nose is butterscotch (diacetyl) and lots of it. Smell rich, sweet and inviting. I love that smell. For a second there I thought I was nosing a S. Smith Winter Welcome. Heaps of richness on the nose.

Taste is full and buttery all the way, very doughy with hints of caramel malts. Bitterness is low but enough to balance. My guess is they use some variety of British hop, as it tasted to me to be on the herbal/floral side of the hop fence. The finish of this beer is quite nice, very long, mouthcoating richness. While this beer is 'rich' in flavor, it still remained highly drinkable. The carbonation was tight and hard, a bit too fine I thought. Mouthfeel was velvety.

This beer was a big hit with me for a very specific reason. The overall impression for me was British, very British. I have been trying to find an American pale ale/bitter that captures a specific "British ale" flavor that I personally have in my head and have yet to find a close match until Old Thumper. Great job here.

Serving type: bottle

05-27-2003 06:19:40 | More by bmills1608
Photo of shirfan
shirfan

New York

3.33/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Fluffy, retentive off-white head tops off a clear copper-hued brew.

Smell is thick and sweet malt, with fruit aromas.

Taste doesn't match the nose at all. Dusty, floury yeast plays havoc with what could be an otherwise fine session ale. The boar on the bottle is a harbinger of the bore in the bottle.

Biscuit-like malt flavor, hints of fruit, noticeable but not overpowering sour diactyl. A dry and slightly bitter finish. For some reason, this got much better when I paired it with a bowl of tomato rotini....I'm guessing the acidic content of the sauce helped balance things out.

Not bad with a meal, but I wouldn't seek this out again as something to enjoy by itself.

Serving type: bottle

05-23-2003 21:19:19 | More by shirfan
Photo of feloniousmonk
feloniousmonk

Minnesota

3.43/5  rDev -5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On my first encounter with this ale, my judgements were rather harsh. As the word "Old" This or That is most often used in the names of barleywines and imperial stouts, and with such a menacing boar fiercely glaring on the label, I'd been geared for something exciting. I was let down to say the least. But bottle #2 was taken in more judiciously.
Amber color, small off-white head. Aroma: nutty and malty, caramelly, traces of vegetal notes, and sweet, overall. Taste is nice, body light/medium, and residual sweetness rides through the finish. Good malt taste, but I couldn't pick up on any hop activity at all. It's called "Extra Special Ale", is it meant as a slightly tastier ESB?
Quite drinkable, and an easy candidate for a session brew, but lacking in any zip or zing that would make it a choice for me.

Serving type: bottle

05-11-2003 16:43:52 | More by feloniousmonk
Shipyard Old Thumper from Shipyard Brewing Co.
82 out of 100 based on 630 ratings.