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Shipyard Old Thumper | Shipyard Brewing Co.

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Shipyard Old ThumperShipyard Old Thumper
746 Ratings
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

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 746 |  Reviews: 389
Photo of erosier
3.53/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

L: Pours a reddish amber color with a medium sized and medium bodied tan colored head that laces the glass nicely on the way down.
S: Smells of sweet roasted malts, sweet caramel malt, faint hops at the end of it as well.
T: Tastes of nice caramel malt, roasted malt, and then a nice somewhat earthy hoppy finish.
M: Very smooth, a bit warming, a nice amount of carbonation.
D: Pretty drinkable beer. Nice mix of the flavors in this beer.

 438 characters

Photo of KOPBeerDrinker
3.63/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bottle into pint glass. Amber in color with fluffy off-white head, which didn't last long.

Smells of sweet caramel malt, maybe some dark fruit notes.

Tastes of bready malt with some hops at the end. Well balanced.

Mouthfeel is medium, crisp and refreshing. Easy to drink. I enjoyed this beer.

 307 characters

Photo of Jayli
3.18/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured a golden color with medium white head that dissapated pretty quickly. Beer has a decent amount of carbonation. Smell was fruity and a little sweet. Taste seemed a little watery to me with some fruiiness and some malt background. This beer goes down relatively easily. I have always been a big fan of just about everything put out by Shipyard, so I was slightly disappointed by this beer. Not a bad beer overall, but I expected more.

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Photo of popery
3.88/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Once upon a time, I picked this beer up and, while it didn't inspire a fan of craft brewing in me, as later experiences did, it was very pleasurable and opened me up to more interesting flavors in beer. So, I have a touch nostalgia for this one. At any rate, this beer has a big caramel flavor and a fairly unique yeastiness, that I now understand is Shipyard's signature. The beer looks very nice with a highlighted amber liquid and a fairly sticky head. The aroma is caramel malt and a touch of interesting fruity esters. The flavor is quite good and big for the abv with a lot of malt and a clean, dry hop finish. It's an excellent session beer that doesn't skimp on the flavor. I imagine it's wonderful out of a cask. I would love to have that experience. The feel is nicely chewy but not astonishing. I bet fresh from a cask would up this category. The Shipyard yeast is interesting, and, while I like it, I'm not sure that the beer around it is incredible. The caramel malt is good, but it's not great. It could just use more richness. I don't have a lot of experience with ESBs, so my rating could change as my experience deepens. I will be sure to come back to Old Thumper, but then I'll be back, regardless, whenever nostalgia builds.

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Photo of gciccarelli
3.95/5  rDev +10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into Shipyard pint glass.

A - Pale amber pour with off-white head. Decent retention. Virtually no lacing.

S - Sweet malts mostly, with faint hop notes. Earthy tones as well.

T - Sweet malts with a slight hop finish. Some sweet caramel notes, and a slight bitter aftertaste. Very nicely balanced.

M - Medium body, highly carbonated. Leaves a nice coating in the mouth. Above average.

D - Great balance makes this a highly drinkable beer. A very solid brew overall.

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Photo of GreenCard
3.77/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I have just done a side-by-side comparison of UK Old Thumper and US Old Thumper. The UK version is definitely the best. It is smoother, more aromatic, a bit fruitier (pineapple?), more caramelly and biscuity, but it is a bit cloudy in comparison to the US version (I presume they filter it). The US version has less head, is drier tasting, a bit more hoppy/bitter, less balanced, and not as lively or complex.

 409 characters

Photo of magictrokini
2.98/5  rDev -17%
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.

 268 characters

Photo of Jmamay22
3.92/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Old Thumper is a slightly hazy copper colored beer with a tawny khaki colored head that settles to a thick collar. Smells of caramel, butterscotch, biscuits, and a light balanced touch of hops. Well rounded and enticing aroma.

Surprisingly more hoppy when tasted, but still well balanced. Caramel and bready biscuits stand out as the butterscotch seems to have faded once tasted. Finishes with a drying soft spiced floral hop bite. Medium and well carbonated. This is an enjoyable easy drinker.

 495 characters

Photo of MP72
3.14/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Amber with a head that diminished almost instantly.
S- smelled like a green bottled euro lager,, fortunately did not taste that way.
T- carmel, breadiness and a nice hop balance without the mineral taste of Fuller's not that thats a bad thing though. I prefer fuller's to this.
M- Good mouthfeel medium carbonation and tastes of a genuine ESB/A
D- pretty good I would have a few of these.

I think there are better ESB's but this is a good representation of the style.

 471 characters

Photo of walshclimb
4.32/5  rDev +20.3%
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.

 629 characters

Photo of caddybuyer
4.13/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 12 oz longneck purchased in the "Captains Collection" 12 pack offering.

A-Good looking medium amber with moderate clarity. Tan white head that settles rapidly to a lacy disk.

S-Malty, somwhat of an orange citrus with a hint of lemon, and a bit of yeast.

T-Malty opener with a bit back end hop balance and a mild biter finish. A bit of alcohol present throughout. Well balanced and tasty.

M-Medium carbonation and mouthfeel. Again, well balanced.

D-Very...this is one of my favorite Shipyard offerings and could toss these back all night. This one is equally at home on the dinner table, as it pairs very well with most any meal.

 645 characters

Photo of sethmeister
3.42/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy dark amber with a half inch yellowish cream colored head which disappears rapidly but leaves a small amount of spotty lace.

Scent is yeasty and malty with a hint of floral and citrus.

Taste is strongly caramel and butter. I don't really get much else. A hint of hop bittering. As with the export ale there's an aftertaste that I can't identify.

Mouth is a prickly medium.

Drinkability is OK.

To be honest this tastes pretty much like their export ale: caramel and buttery diacetyl. Wouldn't buy it again.

 523 characters

Photo of nickfl
3.65/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - One finger of off white head settles quickly and leaves nice lace. The body is dark copper colored with good clarity.

S - Mildly fruity yeast along with medium malt and a hint of caramel.

T - Malt and yeast fruit, followed quickly by spicy hops and moderate bitterness. The finish is a bit rough with some harsh hop bitterness and charcoal malt notes.

M - Medium body, medium carbonation, and a somewhat sweet finish.

D - Fairly drinkable, though the astringency and harsh finish kind of hurt the sessionability.

 520 characters

Photo of kbnooshay
4.52/5  rDev +25.9%
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.

 514 characters

Photo of Offa
4.62/5  rDev +28.7%
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.

 499 characters

Photo of HoppyMcStout
3.5/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This brew poured an orangish brown. Hardly any head whatsoever, though. The taste had a diacetyl flavor that usually turns me off. Possible caramel malt, as well. What was most noticable was the strong alcohol flavor present throughout the nose and mouth. That sort of overwhelmed the senses. An okay beer, but then again I'm not much of an ESB fan.

 349 characters

Photo of oriolesfan4
3.65/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bought as part of the Shipyard mixed 12 pack sampler.

I must come out and say I'm not a big fan of ESB's to begin with, but this one wasn't too bad. The best part about was its drinkability, going down smooth and easy. The taste is a little too malty for my liking and the aroma and appearance are subpar but its a good drinker.

 329 characters

Photo of toolbrew
4.05/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours from a 12oz bottle with a twist-off cap. Pours a clear copper color with a small white head. Head retention the entire time. Some lacing.

Sweet malt scents - maybe slight orange smell.

Sweet and bitter taste. Sweet malts that are balanced well with crisp hops.

Bitter in the back of the mouth and sweet on the tongue. Slightly dry finish.

Great session beer. Would certainly revisit.

 395 characters

Photo of ectomorph
3.68/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another mixed 6 from Riverside Bev. Looking forward to these.

12oz bottle into a pint glass.

A - Crystal clear deep copper in color. Like being able to see through a penny. With an aggressive pour, I see a 1 finger head that fades fast to a 'protective looking' layer on top.

S - Mild citrus hops and sweet malt 'crackers'. A stark contrast to the bitterness I was expecting here.

T - Well balanced but leaning toward the sweet, bread side of things. Some American hops are noticed in the finish, but the sweet beats out the bite in this one.

M - Medium body and feel. Pleasant.

D - Very high for an ESB as it's not a palate wrecker.

 639 characters

Photo of superdedooperboy
3.77/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear copper in appearance with a thin cream-colored head that fades quickly and leaves behind almost nothing.

Notes of sweet toffee and milk chocolate appear in the nose, backed by a bit of floral fruitiness.

Flavors of sweet grain, caramel, and vanilla give way to an earthy bitterness, finishing with a dryness that slowly gives way to a fairly sweet aftertaste. Body is light and easy-drinking.

I'm not very familiar with this particular style, but this brew certainly beats out the John Smith's Original Bitter that I tried earlier this month while in Germany; they shared similar characteristics, but this was actually good -- something I couldn't say of the John Smith's. I need to go after some more bitters/ESBs to orient myself with the style, and I'd like to compare this Shipyard-brewed version with the original as well.

 836 characters

Photo of changeup45
2.47/5  rDev -31.2%
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.

 250 characters

Photo of JamesS
3.53/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice light copper color with good head and nice lacing. Nice bitter scent, but more of a standard bitter than an ESB. Same for the flavor, a very nice English bar bitter, nice and crisp, with a nice light bitterness and a bit of jerky flavor, but not like the usual ESB. Still, it's a good brew, goes down well, it's worth a try from anyone who likes the range of bitter styles.

 386 characters

Photo of evanackerman
3.75/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

beer pours nice deep golden color, not quite amber, solid head.

aroma is fruity and buttery malt

taste is buttery malt up front with some fruit character, finish is bittter hops.

mouthfeel, medium viscosity, pleasant, sufficient for the style.

overall, a solid sessionable ale that doesn't stand out significantly in any way either good or bad.

 349 characters

Photo of kinger
3.5/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Good Special Ale here. This is the third offering I've had from Shipyard and they all have a similar underlying flavor, but it seems to work best for this ESB. Slightly bitter-sweet aroma buttery and malty, rather calm. Good amber color with a decent off white head and very nice lacing. Creamy and full mouthfeel, finishes nice. Flavor is also bitter-sweet malty and minimally hopped. There are hints of toffee and caramel with that distinguishable Shipyard butterness. Not great but a very good brew for a generally low key style.

 532 characters

Photo of chinabeergeek
3.72/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

on cask at british beer company in framingham, ma

poured into conical pint

almost clear, deep amber. some bubbly cask head, but soon fades to just a ring of bubbles. not really any lacing.

sweet aromas. apple, pear and caramelized maltiness with buttery diacetyl hint. hops are typically grassy english, but also some trace of citrus twang. there is an unusual acidity that peaks before the moderate bitterness and lingers into the finish. is this from the ringwood yeast or from the cask conditioning? speaking of "wood", there is actually a hint of that as well.

slightly thin, but smooth enough. very subtle carbonation.

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Shipyard Old Thumper from Shipyard Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 3.59 out of 5 with 746 ratings
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