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 lacqueredmouse
1.65/5  rDev -54.7%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Pours a pale orange-golden colour, with a bright and frothy white-yellow head that foams quite a bit, but stays solid enough, and forms some spectacular lacing. Light bodied, and to be honest, it looks a pretty generic English-style ale, but as generic English-style ales go, it's a good one.

Ooh, nose is full of overblown honeyed English malts. Sickly and sweet and potent, and making me turn my head away to gulp down some fresh air. It's all floral honey, and too much. Nothing to balance or pull it back. I just can't stand it, sorry.

Taste is no better, in fact, here, along with the honeyed cloying character is a buzzing chemical bitterness that almost reminds me of Pride of Ringwood, that most hated of Australian hops. Finish is dry and yeasty, giving no flavour at all to counteract the sickly aftertaste. I could go on further, but to be honest, I don't want to drink any more.

A pretty horrible beer. Cloying and sweet, and offensive where it's not purely cloying and sweet. Actively unpleasant. I don't get it.

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Photo of sudz42
2/5  rDev -45.1%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

I should have known better than to try this again, but in a moment of desperation I picked up a couple 22 oz's at the brewery.

Although it's highly praised here, at least one reviewer remarked on the sweet "watered down Scotch Ale" taste and I couldn't agree more. This beer pours thick, slogs around in the glass like motor oil, smells acrid, is highly overcarbonated as are all Shipyard products (except what they produce for Gritty's distribution, which are better products--go figure), tastes like concentrated sour malt, with an overpowering bitter aftertaste, and not of the kind associated with a floral IPA.

I hope they'll credit my second unopened 22 oz. because this one's going down the drain. Might be good to cook bratwurst in.

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Photo of granger10
2.09/5  rDev -42.6%
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.

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Photo of Hagbard
2.21/5  rDev -39.3%
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.

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Photo of kjyost
2.36/5  rDev -35.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Bottle purchased at Happy Harry's Grand Forks, South from a mixed 12, undated. Poured into a perfect pint at ~4C

A: Light copper. White tea that laces.
S: Soapy, a bit of earthy hops, corn, butter.
T: Awful, muddled mess. Aren't ESBs supposed to be bitter? Movie popcorn butter, metallic, a hint of sweetness underneath this.
M: Biting carbonation and an awful lingering metallic nature...
O: Drainpour. Need I say more?

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Photo of cjgator3
2.44/5  rDev -33%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

12oz bottle

Best before July 2011 notched on the label.

A- Pours a clear copper color with a nice off-white head.
S- The aroma is sweet malt, caramel, toffee and butterscotch with some fruity esters.

T- The taste has a high level of sweetness up front with malt, butterscotch, caramel and some hops in the finish. The taste is a bit too sweet and "syrupy" for my liking.

M- The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation.

D- Overall, I'm not a fan of this beer. It is too sweet for my taste.  

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Photo of changeup45
2.47/5  rDev -32.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Amber color with a decent head and lace and an overall nice appearance. Strong caramel malty flavor with a spiced nutty taste. It's actually not that great. It has a slight bitter finish, which actually makes it better. I'm not really a Shipyard fan.

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Photo of PBRstreetgang
2.5/5  rDev -31.3%
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!

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Photo of jizdepski
2.51/5  rDev -31%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

this esb has a reddish golden appearance under a tan head. not much lacing. smells kind of musty with notes of hops and grain. not a whole lot on the nose end of things. taste is a little strange. the hops and malts mingle together in an indistinguishable fashion. its a bit watery, with an earthy bitterness all the way through with a hop/malt bittersweetness ( a little dry) on the finish. seems to be lacking something, it just feels unbalanced. the ale is medium bodied, with medium carbonation. i'd say its about average for the style on drinkability. i'm not a huge esb person, but i don't find anything really redeeming about this one.

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Photo of Ryanm1
2.55/5  rDev -29.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

This beer was poured factory direct from a 22oz bottle into a pint glass. A moderate amount of head was found after poured.

The beer was light copper in color when poured.

This is a non-traditional English bitter which really tasted the part. This beer was incredibly bitter, and a bit lighter than I would expect in color akin to a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.

The smell was fruity, with a dry finish. The ABV on this beer was 5.8% which was slightly higher than a normal domestic beer. It also comes in cask condition. Mouthfeel is nothing better than average and taste is a hair below average. Drinkability is moderate as the alcohol content is slightly above average and the beer has a lighter feel, but the bitterness cuts down on the need for several.

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Photo of illidurit
2.55/5  rDev -29.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Clear orange amber color with a fizzy off-white head. Standard ESB aroma of cookie-ish malt, bread crusts, and light earthy hops. Flavor is thin, watery, and mineral. The maltiness is muted and there are no hops to be found. Tastes a lot like mineral water actually. The finish is absurdly short and very astringent. This beer sucks all the moisture off the tongue, leaving a non-hop bitterness. Not very good.

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Photo of shapudding
2.58/5  rDev -29.1%
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.

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Photo of ohoove
2.58/5  rDev -29.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

light copper in color almost like a watered rust with an average head that shrank relatively quick but did hang around throughout the sitting. sweet smelling combined with that of something foul, hard to say. Mouthfeel was light and easy drinking although not what I expected for a bitter, this to me ,resembled a watered down scotch ale. Not my style.

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Photo of PatandDavid
2.68/5  rDev -26.4%
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.

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Photo of silentjay
2.68/5  rDev -26.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

pretty decent reddish copper with a nice white head that retains ok and laces a bit.

buttery (which is expected for the style and the brewery and the yeast), but with some slight grains and lightly toasted cheap white bread.

a bit of fruit is added to what was expected from the aroma. plenty of butter, caramel, and toffee. hop character is in the background, almost non-existent.

a bit too much carbonation on a light-bodied ale with a melted butter stickiness after the swallow.

meh. It is ok, I guess, but after I finish this glass, I will be happy to not drink this one again. It doesnt go down well. doesnt taste good, feel good, or smell great. don't like the style much, and this isnt even a good representation of the style.

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Photo of crossovert
2.71/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

This is my first ESB. Comes in a 12 fluid ounce bottle with a cool looking twist-off cap. Can't tell about the best by date, I hope it is Aug 7 09 and not Aug 2007.

Pours with a nice 2 finger head into my pint glass, with a dark amber body.

Smell is a bit peculiar, I have not come across this scent before. Smells bitter, with some malt and paper scent.

The taste is a bit watery, with some astringent bitterness. This one isn't very full on flavor, mostly just bitterness.

Not sure what to think of this beer, it definitely tastes English and it definitely is unique. I didn't really enjoy it though.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
2.75/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Bottle: Poured a medium brown color ale with an average size head with average retention. Aroma of light caramel malt with a weird yeasty flavour which kind of clash with the malt. Taste is mostly dominated by semi-weak malt with some weird yeast finish which doesn’t really fits well. I wasn’t too fond of this one but it seems to be a recurring theme with my taste buds and Shipyard yeast.

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Photo of Philousa
2.76/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a dark gold with metallic sheen and a billowy white head that settles to a very small, but evenly distributed, creamy layer settling on top. Aroma is mainly tart yeast with wheat bread/white bread crust with a good dose of earthiness. A swirl reveals some nut aroma to boot. Tartness extends to flavor as well with burnt toast/bread crust and nuttiness, which fades to grassy bitterness and earth, which lingers for a short while. The feel is slightly astringent but mostly watery in viscosity with a slightly sweet finish.

This is like drinking a doughy bread that hasn't risen with some serious earthy bitterness. It's strange, but not wholly unenjoyable. I'm not sure, but I think that's sort of a compliment.

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Photo of rabsten
2.83/5  rDev -22.3%
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.

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Photo of DrunkMcDermott
2.88/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

We were sampling this at our homebrew club meeting, so I barely got more than a sip. But heck, that's enough for a certified beer judge, so I guess I can make do. Caramelly malt flavor. A little cidery. Taste is more like an English bitter, with hops coming up later in the sip. Nice, though.

 292 characters

Photo of frank4sail
2.91/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Deep amber color with a pale creamy white head. Slight sweet malt nose but lacks hops. Upon first taste there is much malt sweetness followed by slight bitterness, but not even close enough to balence the "bitter" brew. Quite smooth and a good look to the lace. This brew lacks true crisp bitterness. There is a good smooth malt base but nothing wows the tongue. I had this in the Orlando Airport Brew Pub.

 413 characters

Photo of magictrokini
2.98/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Okay beer. Clear light brown pour with a little head. Aroma is bland and bready, sourdough? Taste is very bitter, with toasted malt in the front. End is slightly sweeter with some metallic finish. While this was good, I am not very enthusiastic about getting it again.

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Photo of CheezyBlaster
3/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Ehhh, not so much. I'd love to try the "UK version." It has to be better, right?

Nose to mouth: All grainy, white bread toast . . . boiled rice. Lots of that. I don't know, this beer doesn't really sell it across any rubric aside from "get the job done." No hop character except to bitter. Malt is, as I said, a saltine/corn chip bomb, but central.

Ringwood yeast you say? What am I looking for?


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Photo of GeoffFromSJ
3/5  rDev -17.6%
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.

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Photo of magine
3/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into a nonic.

Pours a clear, bubbly carbonated copper colored brew. White head settles to a fluffy island and leaves some spotty lace. Average looking brew.

Brew has a light nose; biscuit malts, maybe some caramel. Really not much here. Average - at best.

Brew is light and medium bodied. Very light malts, biscuit, bread slight caramel. Yikes very light flavored. Average at best again.

This is a very unoffensive brew, goes down like water, just has nothing really going on with it. A very ho hum experience.

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