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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 Truh
3.38/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Laid siege to the Ring of Wood with this one on 6/19/204 at the Coat of Arms in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. 16-oz. pour in a shaker glass.

Very thin carbonation with little to no attenuation to speak of. Light copper, edging towards the lighter side of brown, with some haze, though that may have been mostly due to the murky lighting in the place. Chilly, round malt nose with a definite soap character in evidence. Dandelion, chalk, and some phenol notes predominate. Slippery and smooth to the mouth, and more drinkable than some of the others propagated with the same yeast strain. Alcohol is nice, and may be what adds to my generally pleasant overall impression of this one.

Truh, Aug 23, 2004
Photo of NEhophead
3.55/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz brown bottle.

Medium, creamy off-white head that quickly fades to a thin layer. Plenty of noticeable carbonation. Some spotty lacing that has trouble sticking. Very clear auburn in color.

Sweet caramel aroma that's pretty strong. Subtle hop aroma with a moderate malty punch.

Moderate caramel-malt sweetness up front followed by a bread-biscuit flavor. A lot of carbonation from beginning to end that cuts into the flavor. There's also an odd citric aftertaste that accompanies a warming bitterness.

Medium bodied, but too carbonated. A bit of warming alcohol in the aftertaste.

This is an enjoyable version of the style. Too sweet to have more than a couple. IMO way too carbonated for the style and definitely affects drinkability. All in all, it's still worth a try.

NEhophead, Aug 23, 2004
Photo of chilidog
4.38/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

As part of the Captain's Collection, perhaps my favorite. A must try. The beer pours a hazy copper amber that sports a fair beige head that laces well. The aroma is of sweet malt or biscuit. The taste is mostly that sweet carameled malt, though crisp, presents a creamy, buttery feel. Earth notes of husky grain balanced well by a spicey hop. Alcohol is faint at 5.9% but does a nice job of warming the result. A dry grain finish on the mouth rounds things out. Overall this medium bodied brew is a good, refreshing, crisp with a meal or solid by itself, beer after beer.

chilidog, Aug 18, 2004
Photo of ybnorml
3.83/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer has a clean amber color with a small beige head. A big malty sweet aroma with a distinctive hint of spiceyness. The sweet malt continues in the taste in a big way. A good balanced malt and spicey hop finish. Again there is something in the aroma and the flavor that I can't put my finger on. I belive it has something to do with the Ringwood yeast. It's not a aroma or flavor I don't like just can't identify.

ybnorml, Aug 17, 2004
Photo of FranklinPCombs
4.25/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A dull muted brown, iced tea color with plenty of foamy patchy head. Smell is hugely buttery and full of the Ringwood yeast that is this beer signature. Other aromas include a sharp cheddar smell and some spicy hearty beefs. An incredibly robust aroma. The taste is almost as robust with hops and malts giving the backdrop for a sharp (and again) buttery taste with the same cheesy and thick sharp spicy tastes. What a great taste for a beer, especially since the last time I had this I happened upon a bad batch which tasted more like lighter fluid than anything good. Mouthfeel is perfect for this beer too, a perfect viscocity and carbonation level to bring out the more subtle flavors within. Theres nothing undrinkable about it. A great beer this second time around!

FranklinPCombs, Aug 09, 2004
Photo of Morris729
3.93/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a semi-hazy golden amber color with a creamy white head that sticks to the walls of the glass as it recedes. Nose is dominated by sweet buttery caramel along with some aromas of tropical fruit in the background. Medium in body with a rather soft and creamy texture. Taste begins with sweet malt, caramel, and toffee followed by a roasted nuttiness and an earthy yeastiness. A bit of wood is present towards the end along with more buttery diacetyl. If you like Ringwood yeast, this is a must-try.

Morris729, Aug 07, 2004
Photo of TPoling
4/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Old Thumper pours amber with a quickly disappearing head. There is a malty nose. The hops are very much in the background while malt reminiscent of ripe fruit and toasted grain takes center state. This is a classic English ale made in America. The hops come forward as it warms to provide a spicy and long finish.

TPoling, Aug 06, 2004
Photo of Goldorak
3.38/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A twist off bomber...I don't recall ever seeing that before...
Reddish orange body, With small but tough off-white head.
Has an alcohol (diacetyl), malty smell, I'd say almost barleywine-esque. Green apple aromas came through later on.

Nice smooth malty taste, the diacetyl really starts to shine as the Beer warms up. Dry finish, could use a bit more hops.

Not too bad, it's worth a try, especially if you dig the style, which I usually do, but I wouldn't go out of my way for this one.

Goldorak, Aug 04, 2004
Photo of Hibernator
3.83/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I drank this out of a 12 oz. brown Shipyard twist cap bottle. The freshness date was marked "best enjoy before" October 2004...very fresh. I like this label design. Cool boar design on the front with nice yellow and red colors.

The story behind this beer as explained on the bottom of the 6 pack holder. The Old Thumper is contract brewed between England's Ringwood Brewery and the Pugsley Brewing in Portland, Maine.

The appearance is an amber color with a nice looking head on top. Solid lacings on the side. Probably the best I have seen from a Shipyard product.

I smell some sweet toffee like aromas and a distinctive malt note. This is the first time that I can say with confidence that I detect diacetyl in a beer. I have detected this buttery-like smell in other Shipyard brews and some other Maine craft beers as well. It's very present in this beer.

This is a well balanced bitter ale with a creamy quality. Some sweet flavors and hops blend well with that diacetyl flavor right there.

I like this offering from Shipyard and this is without question one of my favorite beers that they produce. I like the respectable 5.9 % ABV as well.

Hibernator, Jul 28, 2004
Photo of TheLongBeachBum
3.3/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: 22 ounce bomber with a twist off cap and fully recessed body that accommodates a 360° label. The main label has the same design as that of the 12 ounce version pictured in the BA database. Labeled as “Ringwood Old Thumper Extra Special Ale” this is the version of the UK based brew from the Hampshire Brewers. The reverse of the label explains this in a little more detail. No strength or freshness date listed. Confusingly (for a West Coaster at least) listed as ‘Hand Brewed and Bottled by Pugsley Brewing LLC, Portland, Maine’ yet listed in the database as Shipyard Brewing in the same location. Just semantics for one and the same I am sure.

Appearance: Gorgeously reassuring gloopy pour that precipitates a creamy off-white head atop a deep amber-copper body that is perfectly clear in appearance. The head is sticky and persistent, to the point of arrogance as it fastidiously remains attached to the side walls of my Imperial Glass Mugs.

Nose: Classic Ringwood. Sweet malts, fresh dough, baked bread, toffee popcorn and some ester qualities all set amidst a buttery aroma. Hops in the last third with some bitterness late in the aroma.

Taste: See above. The aromas really constitute the tastes here. Lots of sweet malts and toffee, crisp yet chewy. Nuts and some darks fruits all buttered with a liberal coating of esters and diacetyl that is slightly annoying but not out of place. Grainy finish with a hoppy bitterness.

Mouthfeel: A chewy brew indeed. Thick toffee malts give the Old Thumper a viscous feel, but the buttery aspects lend a sickly feel on the tongue long term.

Drinkability: A decent bitterness in the finish rescues this brew from an early and sickly sweet malt toffee flavored diacteyl buttery grave. Decent enough but a tad cloying at times.

Overall: A solid tasty brew, good but not great. Having had the UK version on Cask, the UK version from the bottle (same label but with a black background) and the US version from the bottle, I have to say that I find the US version way too “buttery”. The UK version (on Cask at least) has a deeper malt profile and much less of the estery butter feel, with a more pronounced dark fruitiness. Not sure I would invest in this one again to be honest.

TheLongBeachBum, Jul 20, 2004
Photo of kbub6f
4.53/5  rDev +25.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Two fingers of yellowy-tan, thick, solid, foamy head sit atop the clear, deep amber body. Nice. Thin swoops of lacing. The nose is sweet caramel and butterscotch. Mmmm. Apples accompany the thick, malty butterscotch body. Caramel and nuts dominate the mildly bitter finish. There's a pleasant, bready aftertaste. Just delicious. Really rubs me the right way.

kbub6f, Jul 01, 2004
Photo of Mitchster
3.13/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Pours out to a clear, deep caramel, forming a modest light beige head with average retention and lacing. Carbonation is moderate. Aroma is quite "beery", with a very English pale nose to it...diacetyl, mellow and round English hops, butterscotch, caramel grains. Mouthfeel is bright with a medium-dense body. Taste begins with a sweet, lightly spicy hop flavor, which is quickly replaced by a strong honey flavor, caramel, and brown sugar middle...cane sugar towards the end of the middle, with a mild earthy bitterness and lingering honey and crystal malt notes in the aftertaste. Finish is dry and woody. Thankfully no fusels, which usually go hand in hand with diacetyl. Alcohol is a bit peppery in the finish.

An interesting brew...VERY English characteristics. Not quite my cup of tea, as I'm not a fan of diacetyl and English hops. ESB lovers would enjoy this. One is plenty enough for me.

Mitchster, Jun 27, 2004
Photo of kfoss99
3.13/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

One pint six oz bottle poured into an imperial pint glass. Purchased at the brewery.

Appearance - Clear orange/red color.

Smell - slightly citrus, with yeast in the background

Tate - Well balanced, but I pick up something like a mix between smokiness and orange rind in beers using Ringwood yeast, it was very present here and it over powered any complexity that the bottle label boasts of.

Mouthfeel - Sharp carbonation that stuck around. I would have preferred it to be a little smoother.

Drinkability - I'll have to try this on cask at the Great Lost Bear, but I was disappointed with the bottled version. Maybe my expectations were too high, as this is regarded as one of Shipyard's best products.

kfoss99, Jun 12, 2004
Photo of hobbes2112
3.15/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle

Pours a dark orange/light red with a massive straw tinted head.

Aroma is fresh, the major players are alcohol, crab apple, faint barley smell too.

Taste is fairly straight forward, smooth and creamy with well rounded elements. Strong bitter hops in the finish. I didn't really get a hold of the apple from the aroma like some people have.

Mouthfeel is decent. Carbonation is a bit sparky which really pushes up the tastes in the middle of the palate. Hits you with a dryness right in the cheeks and roof of your mouth.

Drinkability would stay average. The beer has its good and bad points but I would opt for another beer when I am in this price range again.

hobbes2112, Jun 10, 2004
Photo of oberon
3.98/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is on tap at Mc'Couls Public House here in G-boro,pours a deep copper with a light soapy looking head.Aroma is much more fruity on tap than in the bottle with a little biscuit in there as well,taste is very buttery with a big lingering fruitiness,alot more umph on tap.I like this beer alot more on tap thats for sure alot more flavorful.

oberon, Jun 02, 2004
Photo of granger10
2.08/5  rDev -42.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

This beer poured a nice deep amber color with a medium white head but then things took a turn for the worse. Smell was really strong on the diacetyl and sour as hell. The body was quite watery imo and the flavors seemed out of place. Malts were overlysweet and the hops seemed really faded. Once again that strong sour taste came about again. I think it was from the yeast. I don't know if this is a result of improper storage or b/c it was past it's best by date (only by a month though) or that is just the way that yeast strain is supposed to taste. But this beer was really sour and untolerable.

granger10, Jun 02, 2004
Photo of Zorro
4/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear amber/orange brew.

Smell is tart and ciderish, mild malt and a hint of apple in the scent.

Taste is smoky and woody, not what you would expect at all from the smell. Ale fruitiness comes through after the initial hit of smoke. Taste really is more of a 4.25 than a 4. Just enough bitterness to round out the brew.

Mouthfeel is quite good.

Super drinkable brew, I got this bottle from Hi Time in Costa Mesa so I know that it was stored correctly. A flavorful brew that isn't harsh and keeps on appealing to your tongue far more than any simply over hopped brew.

Zorro, May 28, 2004
Photo of CRJMellor
3.4/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours crystal clear light amber with minor white head formed and leaves chunks of clingy lace on the pint glass.
Aroma of toffe, hazelnut, tea leaves and some resiny hop notes.
Flavor of caramel, burnt brown sugar and phenol alcohol hit with some floral hop tastes.
Mouthfeel is sweet malt upfront that quikcly turns to a biscuity middle and finishes with a hard water metallic bitterness.
Drinkability is very average, this is one that should have stayed on cask locally.

CRJMellor, Apr 06, 2004
Photo of merlin48
3.95/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Based on the label, I thought I had some kind of obscure, English, off-brand ale. I now see, thanks to site reviews, that I have before me an ESB, a favorite style, from one of my favorite states.
This pours a garnet toned, caramel amber body, with a minimal head and no lace.
Aroma is caramel malt, with a pleasing, fruity hop note of fried apples in butter. Obviously, this has a solid, malt profile. It's clean and medium bodied in the mouth, but I'm missing the nut flavors that I consider necessary to be a topnotch ESB. This is still a compelling brew, with ideal caramel malt sweetness playing off against a floral/herbal hops bitterness that is, surprisingly, smooth.
This is a very tasty brew, and is very well balanced. Put some walnut flavor in this, and it would be a world class ESB. Very drinkable.

merlin48, Apr 04, 2004
Photo of grynder33
3.5/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Light amberish color, no head, sweetish malt aroma, carmelly sweet taste, this dominates, not much hop to speak of, its a little thin on the palate, seems like a very good thirst quencher, sweetness stay on the tongue almost till the end. Flavorful summer beer.

grynder33, Mar 26, 2004
Photo of scriabin
3.45/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I was a little leery based on the aroma, but was pleasantly surprised by this smooth ale. Old thumper has a nice amber color and a decent head. I found the taste to be well balanced for a bitter beer, with a bit of sweetness and hops. It has a nice refreshing quality to it that I'm sure will be a great complement to some grilled food come summertime.

scriabin, Mar 22, 2004
Photo of MuddyFeet
4.38/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

One of my favorite all-time beers. It pours a tarnished copper in color, like the color of antique, stained furniture. Like that furniture, the smell makes me think of old and history. It pours clean with little head and the lace consistently clings to the side of the glass. The flaovr is slightly buttery with hints of apples; almost apple cider but no where near the taste of hard cider. It's best served at room temperature and at first feels odd on the tongue because it is gnerally flat, but that is the appeal of the beer.

MuddyFeet, Mar 15, 2004
Photo of jsolack
3.9/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poors thick and clear... color is like natural honey, dark orange/yellow. Head is very thick with lots of lacing.

Smells clean and slightly sweet. Kind of a mild smell, but that could just be because of all the head!

Taste is strong in mouth. Has a bittern initial taste which then gives way to a grainy finish. Ovearll it's nice.

Feels really nice in mouth. Has thick bubbly texture.

Overall a really solid beer. Tastes good and goes down fairly smooth. Has some bitterness that may it difficult to have a bunch.

jsolack, Mar 08, 2004
Photo of mschofield
3.45/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a clear copper-amber with a three finger rocky off white head.
Fruity, sweet aroma. Banana, the yeast is very prevalent in the aroma.
Slightly tough (rough edged) toffee taste, fruity, buttery, toasted malt, butterscotch.
Light side of medium bodied. Not terribly pleasing to me, I'd pass on having it again.

mschofield, Mar 04, 2004
Photo of ElGordo
3.98/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a golden amber hue with a smallish creamy head that adheres to the glass long after its gone. A sweet, malty aroma with a light hint of orange. More sweet malt on the palate, followed by some slight tartness. Not unlike Rogue Dead Guy, actually. I have to say, I think this is a bit misclassified as an old ale by BA, esp. since it calls itself an ESA. Regardless, I'm a fan. A great session beer, I'm glad I found it.

ElGordo, Feb 08, 2004
Shipyard Old Thumper from Shipyard Brewing Co.
82 out of 100 based on 665 ratings.