Shipyard Old Thumper | Shipyard Brewing Co.

745 Ratings
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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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Ratings: 745 |  Reviews: 389
Photo of Darkmagus82
3.79/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Poured from bottle into a ping glass

Appearance – The beer pours deep amber, nearly copper color, with a billowy tan colored head. The head has a moderate level of retention, fading to leave a decent level of foamy lace on the sides of the glass.

Smell – The aroma of the beer is heaviest of a caramel and toffee smell mixed with some lightly toasted bready and malty smells. Along with these aromas are some others of an earthy and grainy nature. Rounding out the aroma profile is a little bit of oak which leads to a nice sweet and malty aroma overall.

Taste – The taste begins with a big sweet and bready flavor with tons of toffee and caramel and a somewhat doughy taste. The doughiness transitions more to a roasted bready flavor as the flavors advance with the sweeter tastes gaining even more butteriness with much of the caramel taking on a more toffee like flavor. Some lightly burnt flavors as well as a bit of a nutty taste come to the tongue more toward the end. These are accompanied by some herbal and earthy hop flavors, which combined with the rest, as well as a little bit of an apple and stone fruit flavor, to leave a somewhat sweet and lightly roasted and hopped, but rather strong malty flavor to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the beer is quite thick and creamy for a brew of only 5.6 % abv. with a carbonation level that is on the lower side. Both are great for the big, sweet, and malty flavors of the brew creating a very mouth coating feel.

Overall – Quite sweet and robust in flavor for only 5.6 % abv. A rather enjoyable ESB.

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Photo of baiser
3.8/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy amber/brown colour, with an off white head, ok lacing. Sweet, crisp malt flavours, with some caramel, dark fruit and subtle hops. Some fruity esters and grainy finish. Overall, a very balanced beer. Smooth mouthfeel, easy to drink. Very good session ale.

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Photo of Pegasus
3.8/5  rDev +4.4%
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.

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Photo of DrinkingDrake
3.8/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A not quite clear amber color(slightly darker) with a descent amount of head that didn't immediately lace out. It stuck around for a little while. A toasty nose with some earthy/dirt hops. Also some light fruity yeast characteristics. A solid malt base slightly roasted caramel with a toasty tingle. Sweetness. Some dry hop earth with a good bitter kick. Finishes wet and bitter with malt notes sticking around with the hops.

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Photo of tapman
3.8/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Lighter orange than average with a billowy foam off-white head.

Moderately-low U.K. crystal malt in the nose. Almost a pepsi-cola sweetness, after that some minty hop bitterness and hints of warmer caramel. I would have liked a little less toffee in the nose.

Big malt character. Full-bodied butterscotch, toffee, medium bread. Beer is rounded out by a mellow, U.K., low cohumulone (sp.) hoppiness. Bitterness is very low and balanced well for the recipe, but I was expecting something a little bigger for a Strong Bitter. Perhaps some raisin or dark fruit accents. Perhaps a little toastiness? I would call this a special bitter.

Very full. Thick, but not too syrupy. Fairly neutral palate in the finish, though edging on the side of bitterness.

A good beer, but I was expecting more as I bought this one as a single bottle. I didn't see a six pack of it around so I figured that it was a limited release. I still am not sure if it is or not, but I wouldn't count the days between servings, not like a Hopslam or a Pliny.

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Photo of Wasatch
3.8/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks goes out to mikereaser for this brew.

Best By: Jan 08

Pours a nice hazy amber color, some carbonation, nice little fizzy off-white head, with some sticky lacing left behind. The nose is malty, sweet, with some caramel. The taste is malty, sweet, bitter, and some caramel. Medium body. Drinkable, a tasty brew, glad to have had a chance to try it out.

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Photo of donteatpoop
3.8/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Somewhat hazy, this had a beautiful copper/amber color with a decent but short lived cap of white foam. No real lacing or anything left behind.

Sweet malts and a citrus hop dominate the nose. That taste is excellent, goes down smooth; citrus hops, vaguely dry bitterness, and a nice carmel malt tone. Pleasantly full mouthfeel and goes down smooth. Excellent beer.

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Photo of Foyle
3.8/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: ½” off white head that recedes quickly, leaving some lacing. Color is copper with moderate carbonation bubbles.
Aroma: floral and spicy hop nose. Smell of biscuits or bread dough
Mouthfeel: medium bodied, somewhat sticky and chewy with a semi-dry finish.
Flavor: combination of breadiness, a little toffee sweetness, and earthy hop bitterness. Nicely balanced. Bread in a glass for sure.
Overall: a classic example of an English Session Pale Ale. Well done Shipyard!

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Photo of TongoRad
3.81/5  rDev +4.7%
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.

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Photo of ybnorml
3.82/5  rDev +4.9%
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.

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Photo of Ricochet
3.82/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Good head, amber average, looks like a standard pale. Head didn't last. Smell was a little hops and a little alchohol but seemed a slight bit better than average. Mouth was good with a nice creamy twinge and hoppy profile that finished very clean , not as bitter. Tasted good. Hops were there, malt was rich and added to the taste with alchohol to give it zip but not overpowering the other flavors and even slight raisin taste, but mostly the malts make this complex.

Drinkability: This was a bit cheaper to buy than it tasted so it was a good buy for taste/price ratio. I don't think it quite lived up to some of the American ESB's I've had but was more like the imports but for $2-$3 less, again, made this a good buy.

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Photo of Hibernator
3.82/5  rDev +4.9%
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.

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Photo of oggg
3.82/5  rDev +4.9%
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.

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Photo of FleeVT
3.83/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Cask conditioned and hand drawn into a pint glass at the Blue Anchor Pub in Delray Beach, Fl.

A: A beautiful golden and copper with a slight haze. This brew presented a nice 1 finger head which is better than I expected from a cask drawn ale. It eventually settles down to a thin layer, eventually.

S: The nose was a combination of toasted bread malts, mild yeast, and a sweetness that hinted at dark berries. This beer also hinted at some indistinguishable spices on the nose. Really approachable and inviting.

T: A subdued beginning which slowly opens up with the toasted bread malts and hints of the spice and yeast. The palate transitions nicely from tart to bitter as the hops build up and continue gaining steam to the bitter end. The finish provides a hint of the 5.9% ABV which is a great surprise.

M: A creamy texture that is no doubt provided by the lack of carbonation.

D: I haven't had a drawn beer in years and this was the perfect compliment to a rainy south Florida afternoon. The cask conditioning seems to add a complexity to the beer in the depth of flavors, the intermingling of the different palate components are layered nicely. I'd like to find a bottle of this stuff to compare apples to apples.

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Photo of scottoale
3.83/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Fresh on-tap a O'Brien's today, served in a pint glass a nice honey-amber in color with 1/2inch white, foamy head and plenty of lacing as you go.

Sweet malty nose with plenty of hops lingering in the background, very inviting aroma.

Good malt flavor upfront that gets quickly extinguished by some seriously bitter hops...very nice. Definitely suites it's style to a "T", er ESB. Some very bitter and tasty beer, with the alcohol nicely tucked away.

Very drinkable, medium bodied with a crisp mouthfeel, nice bitter aftermath that went well with some salt and vinegar potato chips.

Good stuff from the Shipyard!

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Photo of colbywatts
3.83/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of beagle75
3.83/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a tulip pint glass.
Labeled as 5.6% abv

A: Clear, light amber color with over one finger of off-white foam head. Heavy lacing is nearly continuous on the glass and diffuse bubbles rise in the column.

S: Butterscotch, toffee, and bread are found to be in fairly balanced combination initially. Butter and nutty earth become more pronounced as the beer rests.

T: Begins barely off-dry, with refined bready malt and some perplexing aromatic flavors that can only be compared to pistachio pudding. This odd illusion is likely created by the combination of earthy, herbaceous English hops with diacetyl. Acidity is mild into the middle, where some minerality and toasted/nutty grain is present. The finish has a very long bitterness of moderate intensity, tasting of mild caramel and fermented plant matter.

M: Thin to medium viscosity, fairly balanced on the palate, with low carbonation.

D/O: This American-brewed ale really embraces the qualities of its English heritage, with diacetyl qualities particularly amplified. While not similar to most other American ales in any way, it fares well when compared to certain exemplary English ales (such as the recently-encountered Old Crafty Hen.)

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Photo of psugrad98
3.83/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark amber with off white head. Full aroma with more malt character than hops. Taste is rich and floral with a flower-like taste with smooth malt following. Rich mouthfeel, somewhat creamy. Taste. Finishes nicely.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
3.83/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a hazy amber, with an off white head, ok lacing. Sweet, crisp malt flavours, with some caramel, dark fruit and subtle hops. Some fruity esters and grainy finish. You can tell this is an English ale all the way by the malts and hops. Overall, a very balanced beer. Smooth mouthfeel, easy to drink.

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Photo of mmellow12
3.83/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Newglarusguy
3.83/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

News flash: beware of names. It should come as no surprise to you that there is nothing "extra special" about this Extra Special Ale. If the label said "Pretty Darned Good Ale" I'd be more inclined to agree. Because it is pretty darned good. Nice hops presence, looks good in the glass, has a nice sweetness to balance the spicy hops. This won't knock your socks off, but you'll be pleased with your purchase nonetheless. Just don't be fooled by the label.

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Photo of microbrewlover
3.84/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This brew pours a red/copper color with an off white one finger head which lasts for a while. Almost no lacing and low carbonation.

The smell is sweet and roasted malts, nuts and apples and pears. Very malty.

The taste largely follows the nose with sweet malts dominating. There is also a burnt/roasted malt taste. There is also a fruit, apple/pear taste. Slightly nutty with just enough hops on the back end to keep this brew from becoming too sweet.

The mouthfeel is slightly chewy, mostly smooth. No bite or aftertaste.

Overall this is a good mix of malts, fruits and hops. With just enough hop presence to keep it from being too sweet I would not call it "Strong Bitter" but I would recommend it just the same.

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Photo of far333
3.85/5  rDev +5.8%
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.

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Photo of neenerzig
3.85/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into my pint glass. This beer is a very clear, medium copper/amber color with a bit of an orange hue. Off-white head is about 1/4 inch when poured. Settles very quickly to a thin surface layer and then to practically nothing at all. Leaves very little lacing. Has a sweet malty aroma followed by a hint of hops. Not a very interesting smell at all. Has a sweet, malty taste upfront with bits of caramel and a touch of citrus with light hops. Has a crisp and sort of creamy mouthfeel. medium body with moderate carbonation. Quite drinkable. A good beer here, but nothing I'd go out of my way to track down again.


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Photo of packetknife
3.85/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Golden orange, off-white head that didn't hold but was full. Hay and citrus on the nose. The hops stand out nicely, sharp finish. Slight bitterness sticks to the roof of your mouth.

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Shipyard Old Thumper from Shipyard Brewing Co.
3.64 out of 5 based on 745 ratings.
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