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 metter98
3.67/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: The beer is clear amber yellow in color and has a moderate amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a finger high off white head that died down, leaving a thin head covering the surface and lots of lacing down the sides of the glass.
S: Light to moderate aromas of biscuit malts are present in the nose.
T: The taste has balanced flavors of toasted and fruity malts along with some notes of butter and caramel plus faint hints of bitterness.
M: It feels light- to medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is very easy to drink and can be considered sessionable. I really liked the mix between the fruity yeast and biscuit malts.

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Photo of Omnium
3.9/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle > Pint Glass
A - Pours a very nice amber color, less than one finger head, thin lacing, doesnt cling at all.
S - Hops come to the nose, followed by a sweet malt, along with some drier floral and pine notes.
T - Pine, malts, good hop bitterness, and some interesting spices, much more complex than your average Pale Ale.
M - Good carbonization, but dry bitterness and a little bit of malt hangs on to your palate, not the interesting complexity of the smell or taste.
O - A really different, and good EPA, It has almost a saison quality to it with the spices and malt, but there's a great bitterness of the hops. Solid brew.

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of MAbeerNE1
3.57/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

From a bottle that I bought from the brewery.

A: A clear and clean light amber color with a sparse but steady stream of bubbles feeding a very modest half centimeter head.

S: You can smell the diacetyl on this one right away. Browned butter and moist earth.

T: Buttery smell of the nose in the mix, but mixes well with the strawberry sweetness of the esters, the alcohol, and a nice hop spice that lingers long after the beer is gone. Great balance; nice mix of flavors.

M: Very light carbonation, slightly syrupy, full bodied. Smooth.

O: A nice beer. True to style and easy to drink. I like how the butter notes mix well with the sweetness of the malt and the spice of hops and alcohol. I would buy again.

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Photo of tdm168
3.39/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

A - orange with a soft, bubbly head that leaves a little lacing

S - apple, fruity

T - apple, bread, caramel

M - light to medium bodied, crisp

This is a very disappointing beer. It's all esters and simple fruity flavors. I guess it showcases the Ringwood yeast, but there is absolutely no depth nor balance. The fruit is so intense it's cloying which slows the drinkability and bored me. I definitely won't be having this beer again.

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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 Corey1978
4.06/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I have had this beer from Shipyard Brewing Company in a bottle, draft and cask. All 3 are great. Cask was my favorite, but bottle is most common. Poured into a 16oz glass. Hits of hops, malts and barley. Very drinkable beer. Not overpowering at all in any aspect.

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Photo of pmcadamis
4.24/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Dark copper and hazy with a small khaki head that shows some staying power.

S - Toasted malt notes with some burnt marshmallow and a gentle wisp of flowery hops. Yeasty and creamy aromas abound. Mellow and understated, but this nose is quite complex!

T - Biscuit-y malt with a big perfumed hop note on top. Initially flowery and slightly fruity.... sweeter fruits like melon, not the more abrasive citrus fruits typically associated with hops. Finishes a little bit grassy and some more grapefruit comes out.

M - Medium bodied and solid. This one maintains a balanced feel for almost a minute before the citrus hop notes come out to play and the mouthfeel progresses toward dry.

This is an extremely balanced and well made beer! I like that it's not off the wall or crazy, but still has enough complexity to keep you thinking and swishing. Major session potential.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.38/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a Lagunitas mason jar.

Fuck that New Thumper noise! Anyway, this stuff pours a clear bronze topped by a finger of off-cream foam. The nose comprises earthy greens, light banana, toffee, and a touch of buttery biscuit. The taste brings in more of the same, along with a kiss of Connecticut tobacco and light grapefruit peel. The buttery character is toned down a decent bit. The body is a light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a fluid feel. Overall, a nice ESB, nothing close to special, but something fairly drinkable and generally enjoyable.

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Photo of fauxpunker
3.6/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5


A: Pours orange/pale copper. Just a tiny bit of haze, but pretty clear. Head is moderate, off-white. Retains short, lacy head.
S: Caramel jumps right up front. Malt definitely dominates. Slightly perceptible grassy quality in there, as well.
T: The strong caramel aroma doesn't hold up in the flavor. A mild bitterness rushes to the front with a decent malt presence following it. Doesn't really build up to much and fades quickly. Caramel comes back a bit in the after taste, and something else. Butter possibly.
M: Light and fairly carbonated. Takes on a watery quality quickly.
O: Easy to drink and not especially offensive. Probably wouldn't buy it again, but would have no trouble grabbing it if nothing else was available. Forgettable.

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Photo of JohnnyBarman
3.53/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Single bottle brought back for me from the brewery. Shipyard has been given permission to brew this under the Ringwood name. Best before January, 2013.

Poured into a nonic. Great fluffy crown of foam here, that looks like it will last until the end. Great streaks of fluffy lace. Amber-copper, slightly hazy.

Nose is classic bitter: caramel malt, grain, tea-citrus hops, and a metallic twinge.

Similar taste as in the nose. Not a bad bitter by any stretch, it's just a hard style to be that objective with. Good malt sweetness, some fruit, tea, and that same metallic taste to the finish. Not bad - I wouldn't seek it out, but it works.

Creamy, average to higher than normal carbonation, lighter bodied.

It works - would love to try this on cask - or better yet, from the original brewery in Hampshire.

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Photo of Flounder57
3.66/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Having this beer on cask at the Great Lost Bear.

It poured a one finger head that has left some nice lacing on the glass. It has good clarity for a cask and no signs of carbonation. It smells fruity, bready, malty, and a bit funky. It tastes about the same with a bit of lingering bitterness and some yeasty boys. It drinks creamy and silky smooth with low carbonation and medium bodied filling. Overall, a good beer on cask that I seem to encounter every time up here in Maine.

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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 Maxwell
3.56/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a pretty caramel brown with some nice buttery notes and a lovely little golden-white head that sits at a half a finger width. The beer is quite hazy like a dark apple juice and there are quite a few bubbles racing to the top with carbonation. The beer smells rather skunky with nice hints of caramel and burnt malts and burnt sugars. As the beer settles the skunkiness mellows out and brings forward the malts nicely. The beer tastes heavy with the roasted malts and nice caramel hints in the taste. There is a slight bitter tinge in the back of the taste and aftertaste reminiscent of light citrus, but it is very faint. The mouthfeel is smooth and caramelly on the tongue with a little rush of carbonation that quickly smoothes out into a more velvety feel. Overall this is nice roasted example of an ESB, the bitters are not very present here even for the styles slight bitters, but the malts are excellent on the tongue.

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Photo of flagmantho
3.55/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12oz bottle into a pint glass. This bottle is labeled as being 5.6% rather than the above-noted 5.9% ABV.

Appearance: nice golden hue with a clear body and a moderate effervescence. Head poured a finger of fizzy ivory foam which didn't have much staying power. Not too bad.

Smell: very sweet malty aroma, quite English in character. There's a light nuttiness and caramel character here as well. Not bad, but a bit sweet to me.

Taste: sweet malt with the same light nuttiness as the aroma. Some earthy hops are present, and bitterness is moderate toward the end. Not bad, but again, it's really on the sweet side for my taste.

Mouthfeel: medium body with a good level of carbonation and a good creaminess. I like it.

Overall: a decent beer whose sweetness seems misplaced. I would be interested in trying a slightly drier version of this; I think it would be great that way.

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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 BeerDocT
3.5/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a chilled tulip glass.

-Appearance 3.0: Pedestrian. Is this a Killian's? Typical amber color, minuscule head and extremely clear. How much poor, innocent Irish moss has to die to make you monsters happy? :)

-Smell 3.0: "Average" is the word. Frankie Valli was wrong in this instance. Slight caramel bouquet and a somewhat deeper barley hint, but it is all very flat, dry and sterile. Not expecting much and slightly depressed at this point. The guy at "Total Wine" who recommended this to me must be out of his tree.

-Taste 4.0: Hey, wow! Front is cool and sweet, middle is big barley and caramel notes and finish is somewhat alkaline and hoppy. Aftertaste is a decent length and is very refreshing. Unexpectedly good, especially given my disappointing experience with it in the first two categories.

-Mouthfeel 3.0: Average. Nothing noteworthy in either direction.

-Overall 3.5: This brew is slightly above average based on the taste alone. Other tasting elements fall flat and reveal a beer that has been overly processed, in my opinion. This is a good beer, but nothing special at all and certainly not worth the $8+ price tag per six pack.

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Photo of Cavanaghty
3.03/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Amber with a thin white head. No lacing on the glass.

Smell: Malts and hops.

Mouthfeel/Taste: A little rough medium bodied. Taste of malts, caramel, and bitter hops.

Overall: This one is ok. Not my first choice but I will drink it.

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Photo of HamFon
3.58/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: clear amber with small white head of small bubbles that persists and generates lacing

S: malty, buttery, floral, earthy

T: fruity, buttery, caramel, earthy, moderate hop bittering into finish

M: smooth and creamy, slight oily, no alcohol warmth

O: overall a nice ESB with fruity notes and earthy and floral English hops, but that Ringwood yeast produces too much diacetyl for me, and the buttery slickness and flavor are distracting

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Photo of JWU
4.2/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

10oz straight from a firkin

A-light amber/ tea color.

S- malt vinegar, apple juice, a bit of buscuit malt

T- follows the smell, the taste is much more in your face than most ESB's.

M- medium bodied and perfectly dry.

O- only 2nd to fullers, but pretty darn tasty.

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Photo of rangerred
3.58/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

Pours a clear copper with a two finger white head. Great lacing.

Smell has a wonderful maltyness with butter and caramel. Some earthy hops in there as well.

Taste is somewhat bitter from the malt with toffee and caramel with an almost wine like flavor and bite. Earthy hops float along underneath but do not contribute overwhelmingly to the bitterness.

Overall this is a pretty good ESB. I can't quite put it on the same level as Fullers but it is definitely something I would consider picking up again.

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Photo of jlindros
3.5/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Cask at sea dog brew pub northborough.

Light fizzy bubble head fades semi quickly, decent lacing, over hazy nectar orange colored beer.

Nose light herbal almost earthy hops, more UK style bittering hops, typical brewery house hops, light toasty pale malts, light musty fruit I think from the yeast, hint of copper malts.

Taste starts similar, herbal almost vegetative hops, hint earthy, decent bitterness, bit grassy. Malts are softer thanks to the cask, light toasty copper malts, bit pale malt flavor. Then light fruits, just a touch of a fruity herbal flavor from combined yeast and hops. I also get a hint of oxidation again from cask I think, and a very slight possible diacetyl with a hint of butter and slight slimy feel. Finish has decent bitterness, soft malts, dry semi clean, hint of that bitter and bit of herbal hops.

Mouth is med to slightly lighter bodied, litte carb but typical for cask.

Overall not bad, typical house hops which are not my fav but i can't blame them if thats what they like, decent malts, nice long bitter finish, just a bit of oxidation and hint of possible diacetyl throws it off a bit.

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Photo of LiquidSanity
3.71/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Ap: Beautiful dark brown, maple syrup color. Nicely placed head with excellent lacing. Very sexy looking beer.

Ar: The weakest component of the beer. Very tame sweet, malty, butter like aroma. It isn't very compelling.

Ta: This features a rather complex yet refreshing flavor. A nice mild malty overtone matched with a sweet and bitter bite. Very bready and wine like sweetness. This is a delicious beer that gets better with each taste. Like a nice brandy.

Mf: Mildly carbonated but very refreshing. The hoppy bitter bite sits well and the foamy texture marriages the wine like aromas perfectly. This is a rather delicious and refreshing beer.

Ov: Wow, this is delicious, complex while still appearing smooth and sessionable. It starts out like a champagne, bites like brandy, finishes like wine. I need to investigate this style a little more. It has a nice hoppy bite like an APA but entertains the palate like a wine or brandy. Very surprised with this beer. Give me more!

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Photo of Zono
3.91/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From the cask, in a standard pint glass.

The color is deeply golden, almost approaching amber. There is some cloudiness. Old Thumper pours a persistent, perfect cap of white foamy head.

The aroma is very subtle, indeed, difficult to detect at all.

The taste bears a heavy note of caramel, supported pleasantly by a very full mouth-feel. It is surprisingly un-bitter, but I find no fault with this, honestly. The hop presence is along the floral to earthy range -- downright chthonic at times. Imminently drinkable. As the beer warms in the glass, the flavor sharpens somewhat, becoming a bit spicier.

Overall, certainly a treat to find out and about, especially on cask. However, it is, perhaps, a little restrained. Nothing to complain about.

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Photo of Rayek
3.25/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Old Thumper pours a pale amber hue with a soapy eggshell head. The head falls to a patchy film and leaves good lace.

Black tea and toasted grain dominate the nose. Raw grains get things going in the mouth. A toasted bread quality is there, but muted. Bitterness has a tea bite that's bolstered by a bit of pepper. The light body is dry and overly fizzy. The beer gets astringent late.

Overall, I didn't dig this that much. There are much better ESBs out there.

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