Old Thumper | Shipyard Brewing Company

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Old ThumperOld Thumper
748 Ratings
Old ThumperOld Thumper

Brewed by:
Shipyard Brewing Company
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:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 748 |  Reviews: 390
Photo of tgbljb
4.2/5  rDev +17%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured a medium copper color with slightly off-white moderate head. Difficult to revive with swirling. Smell is malty, bread-like, slightly sweet. Taste is caramel, toffee, malt with nice sweetness and a slight hop presence. Finish if mostly walt, with a bit of bitterness that quickly disappears. Thoroughly enjoyable and easy drinking beer.

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Photo of baiser
3.8/5  rDev +5.8%
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 brentk56
3.73/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours out a clear amber body with a luscious and creamy head that leaves plenty of lacing

Smell: Butterscotch diacetyl with a very subtle touch of fruity hops; a touch of apple, perhaps

Taste: Nice malty, but woodsy diacetyl base that sticks around while the hops come and go

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: The sweet diacetyl limits the drinkability for me; not bad, but not something I want to drink in any quantity

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Photo of Ricochet
3.82/5  rDev +6.4%
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 tastybeer
3.65/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Amber orange with white cream head that doesn't last. Some nice lacing. Smells kind of hoppy with buttery yeast and malts. Tastes smooth with with a instant bitterness that fades quick into a sweet buttery malt and grainy hop sensation. Finishes with slight bitterness balenced nicely by malts. A good beer that would be more average without the 'ringwood' buttery yeast. Good mouthfeel too and easy to drink.

Not bad for any season. Well balenced.

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Photo of DogFood11
3.65/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had a hard time finding this review log as it kept coming up (UK Version) and on the label I don't see anything about the shipyard brewing but the bottle matches the picture so here we are.

Copper color that is transparent with mild carbonation. Nice fluffy swiss coffee head that holds its own. Sporadic, sliding lace.

Smelled alot of toasted/bready malts. Had to dig a bit for the hop presence but it was there in the background.

This comes across with more bitterness than first expected. The malts quickly devour any lingering effects. A nice woody though and it finishes fairly sweet with a twinge of fruit and a crisp finish.

Buttery mouthfeel is enjoyable to me so I had to mark up for that along with the crisp finish.

Notes: I would definately pick this up again. A nice representation of an ESB although there are others I'd rather have, the price is right, and its well put together.

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Photo of Bonhoeffer
3.46/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 ounce bottle. No freshness date. No indication on the label of what style it is. Just tells you it's an "extra special ale," as if that means anything. Now that i'm on BA, i see i correctly identified the flavor as that of an ESB. Appearance lost a mark because the head dissipated so fast and left no traces, but the color was beautiful. Amazing brilliant ruby red.

I have to say that after the second sip i found myself regretting that i alone would be forced to consume all 22 ounces. It just wasn't doing it for me.

But far be it from me to dismiss a beer so quickly. I slowly made my way through it, and found that the taste improved as it warmed it. It really redeemed itself. I wouldn't be opposed to splitting one of these with someone sometime, but it needs to start at cellar temp and be consumed slowly so that it's at room temp by the time you reach the last sip.

Also, i must note that the bottle claims this is brewed with the very same recipe as the original UK version, using the same ingredients shipped from Ringwood. So i don't see how the American version could be an ESB while the UK version an English Pale Ale. I think the UK version is misclassified on this site.

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Photo of Dukeofearl
3.05/5  rDev -15%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a moderate copper color, with a decent head, and a bit of a cover that hangs around a while.

Aroma is smooth and creamy, very light hops, and some sweetness. Flavor, though, is disappointing. A decent malt profile, but the creaminess (is that buttery diacytl?) is just off. Finishes with a moderate hoppiness- not bad, but not exciting. Does not impress me.

Tough for me to finish the beer. Glad it was a gift, rather than a purchase of a whole six pack.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sparkling orange-copper with a few dozen citrus pulp-like floaters swirling within and being buoyed by the effervescent carbonation. The head is lightly toasted marshmallow in color, hangs around a while and is a better than average lace maker.

The nose is evenly balanced between significantly toasted pale malt and earthy, English hops (my guess would be Goldings). There's also a sweet, buttered bread aroma that works well in the grand scheme of things since it stays to the shadows. The aroma sheds its initial shyness with warming and develops wonderfully nutty, buttered toffee notes.

Old Thumper is bold, almost chaotic, in the mouth. My fear was that it would be another average, under-malted, under-hopped, under-interesting American take on the English ESB style. I was wrong. The brash nature of the flavor profile won't be everyone's cup of tea since it pushes the boundaries of the style. It's hard to say, however, exactly where that pushing is taking place.

Toasted, woody, tea-like, fruity, bitter, herbal, spicy... all the bases are covered, as well as the pitcher's mound and both coach's boxes. Hops are more prominent than malt, but I have a feeling the yeast strain is the wildcard, the mysterious secret ingredient that gives this beer its wacky (but delicious) personality. Although I can still appreciate diacetyl, it's a non-factor due to the generous hop load. The finish is pleasantly bitter with a piquant, herbal spiciness.

The mouthfeel is up to the task at hand, keeping the beer in proximity to the taste buds long enough for it to deliver the payload and not a moment longer. I can't decide if a bigger, firmer mouthfeel would be a boon or not. Nah, it's fine as is.

I believed Old Thumper ESA to be an English beer until I glanced at the label just before popping the cap and saw Shipyard Brewing Company. Turns out it's something of a U.S.-U.K. hybrid (check out the website for details); which is, I guess, why it's called an ESA rather than an ESB or an APA. Whatever you call it, call it good beer.

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Photo of rajendra82
3.76/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass, Old Thumper looked quite attractive, with its clear golden amber color, smallish off-white head, active carbonation, and average lacing. The aroma was of a nondescript fruity and nutty nature with a spicy and floral hop presence. The taste was well balanced between the sweet and fruity malt with the flavor of caramel coated red delicious apples, and a bitter hoppyness with a pomegranate like astringency. The mouthfeel was buttery (with salt) and bone dry, typical of many English bitters. Very easy to drink and sessionable, despite the nearly 6% ABV. Well crafted Maine brewed English beer, now available in Georgia.

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Photo of GeoffFromSJ
3/5  rDev -16.4%
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 HoorayBeer
3.49/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a nice amber brown color. Little carbonation, with a one inch head that disapated to a thin head.

Smells malty with hints of hops and bitters. Very aromatic.

Malty is the only flavor right off, with a slow mix of hops and bitters. Good session brew, especially if you like a malty beverage.

A little thick on the mouthfeel, not overly chewy however.

Good brew, enjoy with a nice steak.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.49/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a solid yet clear brown with copper and golden highlights. Highly carbonated and retention is fading. Smells malty, toasty, caramelly, and bitter. Tastes quite malty and caramelly. Toasty, bready, and slightly fruity and nutty. Hopped to allow slight flavor and bitter for balance. Light notes of butter pop-corn follow in the body. Finishes sweet and simple. Better than I thought.

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Photo of Gavage
3.43/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Arrived in a pint glass clear amber in color with a 1/2" off-white head. The aroma was very mild, consisting of bread and caramel with a hint of bitterness. The flavor slightly malty and bready, with caramel and nut tones. Hints of lemon zest, some mild bitterness and buttery tones round it out.

Mouthfeel was smooth at the start and finish. Medium bodied. Drinkability is down a bit as the bready and buttery tones are acceptable for a pint or two, but one could get tired of it.

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Photo of Naes
3.07/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Old thumper is golden brown with plenty of carbonation stuck to the side of the glass. The head is white and quickly disappears.

A very hop filled aroma. It’s bitter yet a bit fruity.

This beer is not nearly as bitter as I was expecting (judging by the aroma). It starts off bitter and finishes sweet and fruit like.

The mouth feel is a bit over carbonated.

This one is a semi easy drinking beer. If not for the carbonation factor, I could probably have another.

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Photo of hungryghost
3.77/5  rDev +5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Copper colored, leaning a little towards yellow. Good carbonation and head make for decent lacing.
Biscuity yeast aroma, malts and maybe some floral hops.
The flavor comes right out with a sweet malt, and a hint of caramel that mixes well with the slightly dry hop end. Feels buttery but still has an edge to it.
Well balanced and very drinkable.

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Photo of TongoRad
3.81/5  rDev +6.1%
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 ppoitras
4.03/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed at The Moan & Dove, Amherst, MA. Presented in a pint glass.

Presented with an airy 1/2" head, which quickly faded to an uneven layer of bubbles over the brew, as most cask brews are apt to do. Somewhat balanced aroma, with the scales tipping slighty towards the hoppy side. Taste starts smoothly malty, but switches to a pleasant bitterness which dominates the rest of the drinking experience. Mouthfeel and drinkability are both excellent, and for the record, I noted not a drop of butteriness in this pint. Check it out for yourself.

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Photo of BrewMaster
4.03/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Reddish clear liquid topped with a thin sandy head displaying excellent head retention. As the head dies down over a long wait, a light swirling revives the foam.

Smell: Very malty nose on this beer with a spicy apple scent.

Taste: Burnt wood and malty, very malty, palate. There are a lot of complex flavors to this beer that make it quite fun to taste. There is a strong apple taste up front and it ends tasting more like red apple peel in texture and sweetness. The beer is sandy with a dry, tangy, citrus flavor that mellows into a more earthy/mossy/peat-like flavor. The ending has a touch of hop flavor to round it all out.

Mouthfeel: This beer is very smooth and creamy on the palate. The medium bodied beer sits well.

Drinkability: This is a very good beer that needs not be paired with anything else to be enjoyed. I didn't find the ringwood yeast to be anything special. It makes a good beer with lots of complex flavors, but there are plenty of yeasts that do just that.

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Photo of SupaCelt
3.73/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Best Before January 05 notched on label...

Old Thumper charged out with an orange copper tone that was quite pleasing to me eye. A sticky tan head of pinky finger proportions was noted. Sheets of lace formed early on in the sampling. Nearing the midway point until the end, there was just a hair of lacing after each swallow. These threads hastily slid back home to join the liquid ranks.

The smell was sour off the top. Sourdough bread. Malt, yeast and timid butterscotch scents backed up this boastful sourness.

The taste is heavily tilted toward sweet malt. The sourness plays second fiddle before the dry and bitter end ultimately arrives. I like the dry to bitter shift of this beer at the finish, but I wish it had a dash more bittering hops in the mix. Overall, unoffensive and fairly well balanced. There is a favorable slick character to the mouthfeel. Not quite creamy, but flirting with that idea. I could drink more of these without having any qualms about it. The sweet side could possibly end up over representing itself down the stretch though.

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Photo of TheGoon
3.78/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I first had this beer off the tap at The Black Seal in Essex, CT, and have been searching for it since! I finally found it at a store across the river where they actually sell it by the six! Anyway, I will be reviewing the bottle serving type.

When you first pour this beer you will notice its beautiful rich copper color. It carries a decent cream colored head which stays with you. The aroma is sweet, nutty and full.

This beer has a wonderful mouthfeel, and leaves an almost creamy feeling after the swallow. As far as ESBs go, this is an excellent one! The flavor is very present and fulfilling. Highly recommended.

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Photo of shapudding
2.58/5  rDev -28.1%
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 Pegasus
3.8/5  rDev +5.8%
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 PatandDavid
2.68/5  rDev -25.3%
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 oggg
3.82/5  rDev +6.4%
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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Old Thumper from Shipyard Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.59 out of 5 with 748 ratings