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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.

690 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 690
Reviews: 380
rAvg: 3.6
pDev: 13.89%
Wants: 11
Gots: 31 | 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: 690 | Reviews: 380 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BuckeyeNation
4/5  rDev +11.1%
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.

BuckeyeNation, Aug 12, 2005
Photo of rajendra82
3.8/5  rDev +5.6%
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.

rajendra82, Aug 06, 2005
Photo of GeoffFromSJ
2.93/5  rDev -18.6%
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.

GeoffFromSJ, Aug 03, 2005
Photo of HoorayBeer
3.48/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a nice amber brown color. Little carbonation, with a one inch head that disapated to a thin head.

Smells malty with hints of hops and bitters. Very aromatic.

Malty is the only flavor right off, with a slow mix of hops and bitters. Good session brew, especially if you like a malty beverage.

A little thick on the mouthfeel, not overly chewy however.

Good brew, enjoy with a nice steak.

HoorayBeer, Jul 27, 2005
Photo of BEERchitect
3.45/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a solid yet clear brown with copper and golden highlights. Highly carbonated and retention is fading. Smells malty, toasty, caramelly, and bitter. Tastes quite malty and caramelly. Toasty, bready, and slightly fruity and nutty. Hopped to allow slight flavor and bitter for balance. Light notes of butter pop-corn follow in the body. Finishes sweet and simple. Better than I thought.

BEERchitect, Jul 13, 2005
Photo of Gavage
3.45/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Arrived in a pint glass clear amber in color with a 1/2" off-white head. The aroma was very mild, consisting of bread and caramel with a hint of bitterness. The flavor slightly malty and bready, with caramel and nut tones. Hints of lemon zest, some mild bitterness and buttery tones round it out.

Mouthfeel was smooth at the start and finish. Medium bodied. Drinkability is down a bit as the bready and buttery tones are acceptable for a pint or two, but one could get tired of it.

Gavage, Jun 24, 2005
Photo of Naes
3.05/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Old thumper is golden brown with plenty of carbonation stuck to the side of the glass. The head is white and quickly disappears.

A very hop filled aroma. It’s bitter yet a bit fruity.

This beer is not nearly as bitter as I was expecting (judging by the aroma). It starts off bitter and finishes sweet and fruit like.

The mouth feel is a bit over carbonated.

This one is a semi easy drinking beer. If not for the carbonation factor, I could probably have another.

Naes, Jun 23, 2005
Photo of hungryghost
3.8/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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 TongoRad
3.85/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Best before May '05

Pours a crystal clear medium amber color with a two finger dense head.

Aroma takes a bit of swirling to come out. Fruity esters (fig, strawberry), biscuity malt, caramel and a touch of butter all combine on the bouquet. A mineral characteristic hovers in the background.

This beer is much better on the palate than on the nose. Great smooth, full (for style) mouthfeel, and a good helping of fruit and caramel. Bitterness is evident but not out of place. The butter (diacetyl) lingers in the finish. It is complex enough to stay interesting after a few- it's a pretty solid session brew.

TongoRad, May 07, 2005
Photo of ppoitras
4.05/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed at The Moan & Dove, Amherst, MA. Presented in a pint glass.

Presented with an airy 1/2" head, which quickly faded to an uneven layer of bubbles over the brew, as most cask brews are apt to do. Somewhat balanced aroma, with the scales tipping slighty towards the hoppy side. Taste starts smoothly malty, but switches to a pleasant bitterness which dominates the rest of the drinking experience. Mouthfeel and drinkability are both excellent, and for the record, I noted not a drop of butteriness in this pint. Check it out for yourself.

ppoitras, Apr 17, 2005
Photo of BrewMaster
4.05/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Reddish clear liquid topped with a thin sandy head displaying excellent head retention. As the head dies down over a long wait, a light swirling revives the foam.

Smell: Very malty nose on this beer with a spicy apple scent.

Taste: Burnt wood and malty, very malty, palate. There are a lot of complex flavors to this beer that make it quite fun to taste. There is a strong apple taste up front and it ends tasting more like red apple peel in texture and sweetness. The beer is sandy with a dry, tangy, citrus flavor that mellows into a more earthy/mossy/peat-like flavor. The ending has a touch of hop flavor to round it all out.

Mouthfeel: This beer is very smooth and creamy on the palate. The medium bodied beer sits well.

Drinkability: This is a very good beer that needs not be paired with anything else to be enjoyed. I didn't find the ringwood yeast to be anything special. It makes a good beer with lots of complex flavors, but there are plenty of yeasts that do just that.

BrewMaster, Apr 11, 2005
Photo of SupaCelt
3.75/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Best Before January 05 notched on label...

Old Thumper charged out with an orange copper tone that was quite pleasing to me eye. A sticky tan head of pinky finger proportions was noted. Sheets of lace formed early on in the sampling. Nearing the midway point until the end, there was just a hair of lacing after each swallow. These threads hastily slid back home to join the liquid ranks.

The smell was sour off the top. Sourdough bread. Malt, yeast and timid butterscotch scents backed up this boastful sourness.

The taste is heavily tilted toward sweet malt. The sourness plays second fiddle before the dry and bitter end ultimately arrives. I like the dry to bitter shift of this beer at the finish, but I wish it had a dash more bittering hops in the mix. Overall, unoffensive and fairly well balanced. There is a favorable slick character to the mouthfeel. Not quite creamy, but flirting with that idea. I could drink more of these without having any qualms about it. The sweet side could possibly end up over representing itself down the stretch though.

SupaCelt, Mar 24, 2005
Photo of TheGoon
3.8/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I first had this beer off the tap at The Black Seal in Essex, CT, and have been searching for it since! I finally found it at a store across the river where they actually sell it by the six! Anyway, I will be reviewing the bottle serving type.

When you first pour this beer you will notice its beautiful rich copper color. It carries a decent cream colored head which stays with you. The aroma is sweet, nutty and full.

This beer has a wonderful mouthfeel, and leaves an almost creamy feeling after the swallow. As far as ESBs go, this is an excellent one! The flavor is very present and fulfilling. Highly recommended.

TheGoon, Mar 14, 2005
Photo of shapudding
2.58/5  rDev -28.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Warm and dark honey colored with a thick and creamy egg-shell head that laid in a nice heavy layer across the top of the pint glass after the pour. Not much of an aroma through the entire pint, only a bit of malt, maybe a tiny touch of light orange rind. Carbination is noticable, but not too much for this one. Very crisp tasting, astringent. Getting alot of diacetyl -buttery and nutty. Deep scotch whiskey flavor more as it warms. Bit of peppery bite in the back of the tongue that just hangs on. The bitterness is not extreme, and I do like bitters. I cannot place what exactly is turning me off on this one, I cannot place what it is that I do not agree with, and just cannot enjoy this fully for some reason. Definately better as it warms and the buttery flavors come out. I am thinking that the Erie beers may need to be brought out in another season, I think they may be more of a summer brew for me.

shapudding, Mar 09, 2005
Photo of Pegasus
3.83/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Deep golden color with high clarity, there are profuse streams of fast-rising, small bubbles and lots of thick, broken lacing.

Aroma: Mild citrus and orange hops dominate the aroma with lesser light malt, overall, very pleasant.

Taste: Slightly toasty malt flavors are present throughout, there are also understated fruit notes, finishes with an mild floral hop note and a hint of buttery dicetyl.

Mouth feel: Smooth and quite full, really excellent, with just a slight sting of carbonation.

Drinkability: Excellent, easy to drink, and very pleasant.

Pegasus, Mar 09, 2005
Photo of PatandDavid
2.68/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This was on one of the beer engines during my last visit to the Coat of Arms in Portsmouth NH. Slightly orange amber, light froth of head on top. Aroma was of low malt. Tastewise, I thought it was moslty malt, of the grainy variety. Bodywise, thin, but that was expected. Old Thumper is one of those brews that when it's good, it's great, but you have to drink many avergae ones to get to that one good one.

PatandDavid, Feb 21, 2005
Photo of oggg
3.83/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to ppoitras for one of these infamous Ringwood ales.

This beer comes crystal clear tan, with a a fast fading white head. There is a welcoming British style bready aroma, with lots of caramel. Excessive carbonation. On the tongue, there's a ton of biscuit and butter. Butter sign, Usul, the likes of which not even the earth mother has seen (Stilgart I think). There is a warm soft maltiness behind it all. Very enlightening and educational. Finish is cloying.

Overall: Surprisingly complex and tasty malt profile in spite of the heavy butter.. Definitely worth trying to learn what diacetyl is all about.

oggg, Feb 20, 2005
Photo of Sammy
3.9/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Good cask ale, courtesy of Abbey Brewing and Raymond in Miami Beach. Good easy drink in a place where beer does not freeze. Bitterness,clean, a bit of fruit, grass a session ale. And of course, the ringwood yeast. Medium mouthfeel. Nicely hopped. Better than its imitators.

Sammy, Feb 17, 2005
Photo of crookedhalo
3.65/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a honey/amber color with an off-white head. Lots of fruity esters mixing with the caramel, crystal malt profile with a light vegetal undertone (diacetyl?). Hopping is moderate, and they certainly have an English feel to them. Scorchy, fruity and sweet with a herbal, fruity finish. Carbonation level is good. A touch too sweet and raw tasting for my liking, but it's a pretty good ale that is true to its style.

crookedhalo, Jan 13, 2005
Photo of littlebibs
4.38/5  rDev +21.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

first off- I could drink these all night.... earthy, spiced, well balanced
extra special ale. buttery hopped notes, toasty copper malt with
some floral citrus notes hang around- slight alcohol finish but a perfect blending. This is another great find,
thanks dave

littlebibs, Nov 16, 2004
Photo of allengarvin
4.3/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle, served in tumbler.

Appearance: Copper-amber color, slight head that laces well.

Aroma: Good sweetish malt, with grassy/spicy hop notes.

Flavor/Body: Toasty sweet malt, with a fair amount of fruity esters and some nice butter /diacetyl notes, even more than usual for an English beer. Hop flavors begin to shine through at the end, tending to floral/spicy, and bitterness also comes through nicely at the end. Medium body, carbonation a bit high for an English beer, in my opinion.

A good English strong ale (brewed under contract of course; I've never had a chance to try the English version when I've been in the UK). This is a beer that really shines at proper English cellar temperatures, and suffers when served too cold.

allengarvin, Nov 12, 2004
Photo of Hagbard
2.2/5  rDev -38.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

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
Photo of twelvsies
3.43/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Good name for a beer. Appears an orangry amber color with a good finger and a half of head which sticks around a bit. Also appears very carbonated, lots of rising bubbles. Smell is very yeasty, fruity, and loaded with some nose-hair-burning something-or-other. Taste as expected is very yeasty and tastes almost like a strong sparkling cider or something. I'm definately tasting apple juice. Don't know if I've really tasted anything like this in a beer before but for some reason it kind of remids me of Ancor Steam. Slight alchohol is present but except for that it's not really all that bitter for an ESB. Pretty smooth in the mouth but maybe a bit too carbonated. Fairly drinkable beverage, but not really what I expect in general from a solid beer. Very interesting though to say the least, I'll have to seek out some more of this style.

twelvsies, Nov 09, 2004
Photo of ThreePistols
4/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 22 oz bottle Old Thumper Extra Special Ale.

Poured a medium amber color with an orange hue. A tall foamy beige head dissipated slowly into a thin layer. Sticky uneven lacing.

Sweet malt aroma with a subtle background of hops, biscuits, sugar, alcohol and spice.

Loads of malt flavor, biscuit yeast, slightly fruity, fairly balanced by the sharp bitterness of the hops. At one point I thought I detected pralines. Smooth and creamy on the palate, almost chewy.

Finishes slightly on the dry side.

Lingering pleasant aftertaste. A lot of flavor action on the back of the tongue. Very enjoyable and satisfying.

I highly recommend this beer.


ThreePistols, Nov 08, 2004
Photo of HardTarget
3.98/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brown 12 oz twisty with a best by month/year notched (J/05).
Aroma: Buttery biscuits. Some lightly floral notes infused with a sweet malt aroma. Seems on target for an ESB. Glad to have a beer that others report as having a classic “Ringwood” nose, I find it a good ESB smell.
Appearance: Deep amber body with a good finger of bright white head. Head is multi-sized and lasting (through about 2/3rds of the glass), leaving a solid ring at the pour line, and some traces of lace down the glass.
Flavor: Aroma forecasts the major taste elements, but the hops really pop in the mouth. Also a deep oak taste and a twist of lime rind. Malt start with a quick spike of earthy hops fading into an alcohol infused bittersweet linger.
Mouthfeel: Fairly heavy body coats the mouth with almost an oat feel and triggers a chew. Nice carbonation level keeps it active but not fizzy.
Overall Impression: Enjoyable, complex, drinkable. I could see a good session with this one in a pub. A dangerous session perhaps, the alcohol jumped right up on me. Overall, recommended; definitely an enjoyable karma point.

HardTarget, Oct 23, 2004
Shipyard Old Thumper from Shipyard Brewing Co.
82 out of 100 based on 690 ratings.