Shipyard Old Thumper | Shipyard Brewing Co.

389 Reviews
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Shipyard Old ThumperShipyard Old Thumper

Brewed by:
Shipyard Brewing Co.
Maine, United States

Style: Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.60%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by xlperro on 03-02-2001

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Reviews: 389 | Ratings: 741
Photo of MaineBeerMan
4.83/5  rDev +32.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Amber brown color with a big head of foam that left rings on the glass with each sip. Aroma of malty sweetness with some hops in the background and a bit of caramel.
Nice creamy mouthfeel with a big malty sweetness up front, well balanced by just enough hop bitterness. Malt flavors tend toward caramel with a bit of sweet hazelnut in the back. Finish is just a twinge of hoppy citrus that balances well with the malt character of the beer.
This is yet another of my favorite local beers, I don't know how far the Shipyard distribution is, but it is worth looking for.
As a side note, this is sometimes available cask conditioned, and if you ever have the chance to try it this way it is truly spectacular.

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Photo of hustlesworth
4.72/5  rDev +29.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

only the second time i've found this beer, i forgot how much i love old thumper.

A- 1 1/2in creamy dense off-white head becomes chunky as it settles to 1/8in disk leaving patches and blankets of doily type lace everywhere. brew is clear golden copper amber and despite it's moderate ABV, i can see swirls of alcohol peacefully floating like the waves of a subaquatic ocean.
(in the magic hue seperator, its golden tan in the stem and red-copper-amber in the bowl)

S- malty and tropical fruit melon, fig, apple, mango? we'll call it creamy fruit. marshmallow, pound cake, toasted buttery caramel diacetyl, and just enough woody earthy hop fragrance to keep it from smelling like a dessert.

NOTE: the fruity aromas are nice, but as the bro said, the taste of this yeast or whatever the hell creates the distinctive flavor of this beer, is simply amazing. i've given out samples and it seems to be a hit or miss love me or hate me no in-betweens. and when you burp it tastes like fruit punch. but this is not a 'fruity' beer by any means.

T- earthy woody bread sweetness right away combined with herbal hop bitterness giving way to sweet cake, apple pie (NO cinnamon), tropical fruits like papaya or mango with marshmallow, a touch of cocoa perhaps from the chocolate malt blend, butterscotch, and a lingering dry hop finish that tapers off smoothly leaving a clean feeling on the palate.

MF- creamy velvet smooth medium carbonation, slightly astringent makes a clean mouth feel, pleasant burps.

D- i have to drive 30min. to get this beer but it's worth every drop. perfect blend of malt and hops leaning only maybe 5% toward the malty side.

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Photo of charlesw
4.7/5  rDev +29.1%
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!)

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Photo of Offa
4.62/5  rDev +26.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is one of the best US interpretations of real English-style ESB that I've had.

Copper, it has a fairly dense, medium, off-white head that slowly shrinks and leaves a little lace.

The aroma is very English. It's very fruity and nutty, with caramel, bread crust, leaves, earth, a little caramel.

The taste is similar, leafy, earthy, fruity, with nuts, bread crust, some buttery caramel, a faint yeastiness, licorice, and pepper. Lightly sweet, it is just dominated by nice earthy bitterness.

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Photo of RonaldTheriot
4.56/5  rDev +25.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Shipyard Old Thumper Extra Special Ale has a medium-to-thick, off-white head, a hazy, orange-golden appearance, which hazes even more, once the bottom of the bottle is swished and poured in. After that, one can see a descending grey cloud and little brown specks floating about. There is some lacing left on the glass. The aroma is of sweet, sugary, and toffee-like barley malt, and the flavor is of the same with a nice hop bitterness, some caramel, sugar, and alcohol. Mouthfeel is medium and soft, and Shiyard Old Thumper Extra Special Ale finishes wet, mild, and delicious. Overall, this is wonderful, and I strongly recommend it.


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Photo of kbub6f
4.52/5  rDev +24.2%
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.

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Photo of kbnooshay
4.52/5  rDev +24.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured a pretty amber orange hue with a short lived frothy tan head. Lots of carbonation sticking to the sides of the glass in clumps. The nose is delicious! Wonderfully sweet and malty with some nice fruit aroma from the esters. The delicious Diacetyl butter flavor is apparently from the ringwood yeast. Ive come across this in several beers now and really enjoy it. Hop bitterness is perfect to balance the toasty flavors. Medium bodied beer with a nice slick coating of the mouth. I could drink this all night.

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Photo of BadBadger
4.5/5  rDev +23.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow, I had this as a cask conditioned ale at the Jolly Drayman in Bethel Maine. This was my first cask conditioned ale so I can't compare it to other CC ales. But this was truely an outstanding ale. It arrived in the pint glass with a small and receeding head. The color is a slightyly hazy amber. It is very smooth and tasty, with a nice malty flavor and very pleasant mouthfeel. A great brew: I can't speak for the bottled version, but if the cask conditioned is available, do not hesitate to give this a try. You will enjoy!

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Photo of tekstr1der
4.48/5  rDev +23.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

My favorite ESB, pours bright, clear copper with thin off-white head. Aromas of caramel, bread dough, and a slight metallic note that in no was is displeasing. In fact, the smell entices well into the flavor, which translates most of the nose directly. Caramel and toast on the tongue. Finishes fairly dry with a semi-sweet lingering aftertaste. Much tasty. So session!

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Photo of mzwolinski
4.47/5  rDev +22.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Crystal clear, light copper in color, with a thin, off-white head. Aroma of caramely malt, sweet and toffee-like, with a bit of a fruity boquet. Somewhat toasty malt flavor, with an apple-like fruitiness mid-palate, followed by a nice earthy bitter finish. Ringwood yeast really lends an interesting character to the finish/aftertaste. A good beer -- rather like a slightly beefed-up English pale.

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Photo of IntriqKen
4.42/5  rDev +21.4%
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 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.

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Photo of JMScowcroft
4.39/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Look - Nice artwork and design. Pours yellow-brown and settles dark amber in the glass. Clear and almost no head. Little to no carbonation.

Smell - Smells strong and bitter, yet appetizing and mouth watering.

Taste - Incredible! Perfect creaminess with a decent bite.

Mouthfeel - The only thing left is a slight bitterness on the sides of your tongue, average here.

Drinkability - Above average, creamy and satisfying, could have a few of these without an issue.

Another great beer by Shipyard. I'm thoroughly impressed.

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Photo of TheSixthRing
4.38/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Pours a diamond clear golden orange with a thick, 3 finger head, retention for days, and a resulting lace which sits thick and sticks to the sides with a cream-like manner.

Smell - Plenty of classic dry European hops sit atop, with notes of caramel and red apple malt lying beneath.

Taste - Hop forward bitterness, not powerful bitters, but prominent. Mellow caramel and toffee complimented by some earthy, red apple character. Finishes with a creamy butter diacetyl as all flavors meld before fading away.

Mouthfeel - Medium body. Creamy carbonation. Finishes clean, semi-dry and crisp. Simply wonderful.

Overall - This is my favorite ESB. Not sure why it doesn't get better ratings here, because everything about this beer is first-rate. Complex, but harmonious. Simply one hell of a beer.

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Photo of jackndan
4.38/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Shipyard Old Thumper, cask conditioned at the Map Room. Huge head, thick, thick lace all the way to the bottom. Looks like Scotch (according to my note). Why, was this ever a fantastic beer, well balanced malts and very assertive hops. The most notable part of this beer, however, was how easy it was to drink. It was exceptionally smooth, with a slight alcohol warmth at the end. Very nice!

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Photo of StevieW
4.38/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Coasters Pub in Melbourne...Rich deep copper to tan color. Thick white foamy head. Nice bitter hop bite to the smell...Your mind starts racing with anticipation, this is going to be good. Subtle malty sweetness, then a super strong bitter hop taste makes a great combination. Bitterness stays strong to the finish. Slightly grainy toward the end, but incredibly creamy and smooth on tap. Can't help but smile, as this one goes down. I have also had the bottled version recently, and thought the flavors were slightly less noticable, but not enough to do another review. Still a very good beer bottled, and magic on tap.

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Photo of TryThemAllOnce
4.38/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I was predictably going to like this if it was done well, as I have always enjoyed the style. Did not disappoint! Wonderful cinnamon color, clear and sparkling looking through the pint glass, with about one finger of foam, that lasted a minute or so.

Aroma was quite pleasant, sweet with a bit of peppery spice. And the taste, wow... very well balanced with maltiness, crisp hop finish. It made my tongue happy. You can taste the alcohol bite just enough, and the flavors linger well after the glass was empty.

I enjoyed this beer, and will definitely buy again. Think I will have another one now.

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Photo of Madrigae
4.37/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I remember trying the original UK version 10+ years ago and the Shipyard brewed rendition is eerily similar (probably the proprietery yeast). Classic ESB, genuine bitter hoppiness instead of yet another ubiquitous, Pinesol flavored ale. I especially love the saline/mineral undercurrent from start to finish. Bravo!

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Photo of moulefrite
4.35/5  rDev +19.5%
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!

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Photo of MuddyFeet
4.35/5  rDev +19.5%
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.

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Photo of littlebibs
4.35/5  rDev +19.5%
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

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Photo of longpondbeerman
4.35/5  rDev +19.5%
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.

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Photo of chilidog
4.35/5  rDev +19.5%
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.

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Photo of Murph
4.33/5  rDev +19%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a great looking bright copper color with a creamy off-white head of tiny bubbles that lace the glass and make the beer look absolutely delicious. Nice toasty malts in the aroma but there is also a fairly generous hop presence in there as well, not over the top, but nicely balancing. Smooth toasty malts with an almost roasty flavor. Bitterness jumps in about half way through with some nice goldings and others. Smooth and slightly buttery finish that is fine for the style IMHO. Definitely exceedingly smooth and nicely medium bodied that just makes this beer an almost perfect session brew. I would love to find this on cask some day, a joy to drink.

Cheers to my friend JohnnyP in his Maine Beer Month

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Photo of jjamadorphd
4.32/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.25

Another shipyard offer that I immensely enjoyed. Out of the bottle it has a gorgeous amber hue, with "liquid caramel" hint in the light. Its head has great staying power and plenty of lacing down the glass. The smell is what knocks my socks off - sweet and tangy with a distant scent of champagne - it all mixed well for me. The mouthfeel, however, left me wanting - to much carbonation for my taste, but it didn't ruin the overall experience. Taste-wise it was a strong bitter that wasn't too bitter - for me it was just at the right level. Overall, I was impressed, and I'm glad I still have a few to enjoy in the fridge.

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Photo of walshclimb
4.32/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

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Shipyard Old Thumper from Shipyard Brewing Co.
3.64 out of 5 based on 741 ratings.
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