Old Thumper | Shipyard Brewing Company

Your Rating: None
Want it   Got it 
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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 748 |  Reviews: 390
Photo of Sammy
3.89/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Good cask ale, courtesy of Abbey Brewing and Raymond in Miami Beach. Good easy drink in a place where beer does not freeze. Bitterness,clean, a bit of fruit, grass a session ale. And of course, the ringwood yeast. Medium mouthfeel. Nicely hopped. Better than its imitators.

 273 characters

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

Pours a honey/amber color with an off-white head. Lots of fruity esters mixing with the caramel, crystal malt profile with a light vegetal undertone (diacetyl?). Hopping is moderate, and they certainly have an English feel to them. Scorchy, fruity and sweet with a herbal, fruity finish. Carbonation level is good. A touch too sweet and raw tasting for my liking, but it's a pretty good ale that is true to its style.

 417 characters

Photo of littlebibs
4.35/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

first off- I could drink these all night.... earthy, spiced, well balanced
extra special ale. buttery hopped notes, toasty copper malt with
some floral citrus notes hang around- slight alcohol finish but a perfect blending. This is another great find,
thanks dave

 266 characters

Photo of allengarvin
4.27/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle, served in tumbler.

Appearance: Copper-amber color, slight head that laces well.

Aroma: Good sweetish malt, with grassy/spicy hop notes.

Flavor/Body: Toasty sweet malt, with a fair amount of fruity esters and some nice butter /diacetyl notes, even more than usual for an English beer. Hop flavors begin to shine through at the end, tending to floral/spicy, and bitterness also comes through nicely at the end. Medium body, carbonation a bit high for an English beer, in my opinion.

A good English strong ale (brewed under contract of course; I've never had a chance to try the English version when I've been in the UK). This is a beer that really shines at proper English cellar temperatures, and suffers when served too cold.

 751 characters

Photo of Hagbard
2.21/5  rDev -38.4%
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.

 613 characters

Photo of twelvsies
3.41/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Good name for a beer. Appears an orangry amber color with a good finger and a half of head which sticks around a bit. Also appears very carbonated, lots of rising bubbles. Smell is very yeasty, fruity, and loaded with some nose-hair-burning something-or-other. Taste as expected is very yeasty and tastes almost like a strong sparkling cider or something. I'm definately tasting apple juice. Don't know if I've really tasted anything like this in a beer before but for some reason it kind of remids me of Ancor Steam. Slight alchohol is present but except for that it's not really all that bitter for an ESB. Pretty smooth in the mouth but maybe a bit too carbonated. Fairly drinkable beverage, but not really what I expect in general from a solid beer. Very interesting though to say the least, I'll have to seek out some more of this style.

 842 characters

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

A 22 oz bottle Old Thumper Extra Special Ale.

Poured a medium amber color with an orange hue. A tall foamy beige head dissipated slowly into a thin layer. Sticky uneven lacing.

Sweet malt aroma with a subtle background of hops, biscuits, sugar, alcohol and spice.

Loads of malt flavor, biscuit yeast, slightly fruity, fairly balanced by the sharp bitterness of the hops. At one point I thought I detected pralines. Smooth and creamy on the palate, almost chewy.

Finishes slightly on the dry side.

Lingering pleasant aftertaste. A lot of flavor action on the back of the tongue. Very enjoyable and satisfying.

I highly recommend this beer.


 667 characters

Photo of HardTarget
3.97/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brown 12 oz twisty with a best by month/year notched (J/05).
Aroma: Buttery biscuits. Some lightly floral notes infused with a sweet malt aroma. Seems on target for an ESB. Glad to have a beer that others report as having a classic “Ringwood” nose, I find it a good ESB smell.
Appearance: Deep amber body with a good finger of bright white head. Head is multi-sized and lasting (through about 2/3rds of the glass), leaving a solid ring at the pour line, and some traces of lace down the glass.
Flavor: Aroma forecasts the major taste elements, but the hops really pop in the mouth. Also a deep oak taste and a twist of lime rind. Malt start with a quick spike of earthy hops fading into an alcohol infused bittersweet linger.
Mouthfeel: Fairly heavy body coats the mouth with almost an oat feel and triggers a chew. Nice carbonation level keeps it active but not fizzy.
Overall Impression: Enjoyable, complex, drinkable. I could see a good session with this one in a pub. A dangerous session perhaps, the alcohol jumped right up on me. Overall, recommended; definitely an enjoyable karma point.

 1,102 characters

Photo of Truh
3.35/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Laid siege to the Ring of Wood with this one on 6/19/204 at the Coat of Arms in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. 16-oz. pour in a shaker glass.

Very thin carbonation with little to no attenuation to speak of. Light copper, edging towards the lighter side of brown, with some haze, though that may have been mostly due to the murky lighting in the place. Chilly, round malt nose with a definite soap character in evidence. Dandelion, chalk, and some phenol notes predominate. Slippery and smooth to the mouth, and more drinkable than some of the others propagated with the same yeast strain. Alcohol is nice, and may be what adds to my generally pleasant overall impression of this one.

 682 characters

Photo of NEhophead
3.57/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz brown bottle.

Medium, creamy off-white head that quickly fades to a thin layer. Plenty of noticeable carbonation. Some spotty lacing that has trouble sticking. Very clear auburn in color.

Sweet caramel aroma that's pretty strong. Subtle hop aroma with a moderate malty punch.

Moderate caramel-malt sweetness up front followed by a bread-biscuit flavor. A lot of carbonation from beginning to end that cuts into the flavor. There's also an odd citric aftertaste that accompanies a warming bitterness.

Medium bodied, but too carbonated. A bit of warming alcohol in the aftertaste.

This is an enjoyable version of the style. Too sweet to have more than a couple. IMO way too carbonated for the style and definitely affects drinkability. All in all, it's still worth a try.

 791 characters

Photo of chilidog
4.35/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

As part of the Captain's Collection, perhaps my favorite. A must try. The beer pours a hazy copper amber that sports a fair beige head that laces well. The aroma is of sweet malt or biscuit. The taste is mostly that sweet carameled malt, though crisp, presents a creamy, buttery feel. Earth notes of husky grain balanced well by a spicey hop. Alcohol is faint at 5.9% but does a nice job of warming the result. A dry grain finish on the mouth rounds things out. Overall this medium bodied brew is a good, refreshing, crisp with a meal or solid by itself, beer after beer.

 571 characters

Photo of ybnorml
3.82/5  rDev +6.4%
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.

 419 characters

Photo of FranklinPCombs
4.27/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A dull muted brown, iced tea color with plenty of foamy patchy head. Smell is hugely buttery and full of the Ringwood yeast that is this beer signature. Other aromas include a sharp cheddar smell and some spicy hearty beefs. An incredibly robust aroma. The taste is almost as robust with hops and malts giving the backdrop for a sharp (and again) buttery taste with the same cheesy and thick sharp spicy tastes. What a great taste for a beer, especially since the last time I had this I happened upon a bad batch which tasted more like lighter fluid than anything good. Mouthfeel is perfect for this beer too, a perfect viscocity and carbonation level to bring out the more subtle flavors within. Theres nothing undrinkable about it. A great beer this second time around!

 771 characters

Photo of Morris729
3.92/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a semi-hazy golden amber color with a creamy white head that sticks to the walls of the glass as it recedes. Nose is dominated by sweet buttery caramel along with some aromas of tropical fruit in the background. Medium in body with a rather soft and creamy texture. Taste begins with sweet malt, caramel, and toffee followed by a roasted nuttiness and an earthy yeastiness. A bit of wood is present towards the end along with more buttery diacetyl. If you like Ringwood yeast, this is a must-try.

 502 characters

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

Old Thumper pours amber with a quickly disappearing head. There is a malty nose. The hops are very much in the background while malt reminiscent of ripe fruit and toasted grain takes center state. This is a classic English ale made in America. The hops come forward as it warms to provide a spicy and long finish.

 313 characters

Photo of Goldorak
3.37/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A twist off bomber...I don't recall ever seeing that before...
Reddish orange body, With small but tough off-white head.
Has an alcohol (diacetyl), malty smell, I'd say almost barleywine-esque. Green apple aromas came through later on.

Nice smooth malty taste, the diacetyl really starts to shine as the Beer warms up. Dry finish, could use a bit more hops.

Not too bad, it's worth a try, especially if you dig the style, which I usually do, but I wouldn't go out of my way for this one.

 495 characters

Photo of Hibernator
3.82/5  rDev +6.4%
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.

 1,161 characters

Photo of TheLongBeachBum
3.33/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: 22 ounce bomber with a twist off cap and fully recessed body that accommodates a 360° label. The main label has the same design as that of the 12 ounce version pictured in the BA database. Labeled as “Ringwood Old Thumper Extra Special Ale” this is the version of the UK based brew from the Hampshire Brewers. The reverse of the label explains this in a little more detail. No strength or freshness date listed. Confusingly (for a West Coaster at least) listed as ‘Hand Brewed and Bottled by Pugsley Brewing LLC, Portland, Maine’ yet listed in the database as Shipyard Brewing in the same location. Just semantics for one and the same I am sure.

Appearance: Gorgeously reassuring gloopy pour that precipitates a creamy off-white head atop a deep amber-copper body that is perfectly clear in appearance. The head is sticky and persistent, to the point of arrogance as it fastidiously remains attached to the side walls of my Imperial Glass Mugs.

Nose: Classic Ringwood. Sweet malts, fresh dough, baked bread, toffee popcorn and some ester qualities all set amidst a buttery aroma. Hops in the last third with some bitterness late in the aroma.

Taste: See above. The aromas really constitute the tastes here. Lots of sweet malts and toffee, crisp yet chewy. Nuts and some darks fruits all buttered with a liberal coating of esters and diacetyl that is slightly annoying but not out of place. Grainy finish with a hoppy bitterness.

Mouthfeel: A chewy brew indeed. Thick toffee malts give the Old Thumper a viscous feel, but the buttery aspects lend a sickly feel on the tongue long term.

Drinkability: A decent bitterness in the finish rescues this brew from an early and sickly sweet malt toffee flavored diacteyl buttery grave. Decent enough but a tad cloying at times.

Overall: A solid tasty brew, good but not great. Having had the UK version on Cask, the UK version from the bottle (same label but with a black background) and the US version from the bottle, I have to say that I find the US version way too “buttery”. The UK version (on Cask at least) has a deeper malt profile and much less of the estery butter feel, with a more pronounced dark fruitiness. Not sure I would invest in this one again to be honest.

 2,258 characters

Photo of kbub6f
4.52/5  rDev +25.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Two fingers of yellowy-tan, thick, solid, foamy head sit atop the clear, deep amber body. Nice. Thin swoops of lacing. The nose is sweet caramel and butterscotch. Mmmm. Apples accompany the thick, malty butterscotch body. Caramel and nuts dominate the mildly bitter finish. There's a pleasant, bready aftertaste. Just delicious. Really rubs me the right way.

 358 characters

Photo of Mitchster
3.11/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Pours out to a clear, deep caramel, forming a modest light beige head with average retention and lacing. Carbonation is moderate. Aroma is quite "beery", with a very English pale nose to it...diacetyl, mellow and round English hops, butterscotch, caramel grains. Mouthfeel is bright with a medium-dense body. Taste begins with a sweet, lightly spicy hop flavor, which is quickly replaced by a strong honey flavor, caramel, and brown sugar middle...cane sugar towards the end of the middle, with a mild earthy bitterness and lingering honey and crystal malt notes in the aftertaste. Finish is dry and woody. Thankfully no fusels, which usually go hand in hand with diacetyl. Alcohol is a bit peppery in the finish.

An interesting brew...VERY English characteristics. Not quite my cup of tea, as I'm not a fan of diacetyl and English hops. ESB lovers would enjoy this. One is plenty enough for me.

 898 characters

Photo of kfoss99
3.15/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

One pint six oz bottle poured into an imperial pint glass. Purchased at the brewery.

Appearance - Clear orange/red color.

Smell - slightly citrus, with yeast in the background

Tate - Well balanced, but I pick up something like a mix between smokiness and orange rind in beers using Ringwood yeast, it was very present here and it over powered any complexity that the bottle label boasts of.

Mouthfeel - Sharp carbonation that stuck around. I would have preferred it to be a little smoother.

Drinkability - I'll have to try this on cask at the Great Lost Bear, but I was disappointed with the bottled version. Maybe my expectations were too high, as this is regarded as one of Shipyard's best products.

 716 characters

Photo of hobbes2112
3.16/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle

Pours a dark orange/light red with a massive straw tinted head.

Aroma is fresh, the major players are alcohol, crab apple, faint barley smell too.

Taste is fairly straight forward, smooth and creamy with well rounded elements. Strong bitter hops in the finish. I didn't really get a hold of the apple from the aroma like some people have.

Mouthfeel is decent. Carbonation is a bit sparky which really pushes up the tastes in the middle of the palate. Hits you with a dryness right in the cheeks and roof of your mouth.

Drinkability would stay average. The beer has its good and bad points but I would opt for another beer when I am in this price range again.

 687 characters

Photo of oberon
3.97/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is on tap at Mc'Couls Public House here in G-boro,pours a deep copper with a light soapy looking head.Aroma is much more fruity on tap than in the bottle with a little biscuit in there as well,taste is very buttery with a big lingering fruitiness,alot more umph on tap.I like this beer alot more on tap thats for sure alot more flavorful.

 343 characters

Photo of granger10
2.09/5  rDev -41.8%
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.

 599 characters

Photo of Zorro
3.98/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear amber/orange brew.

Smell is tart and ciderish, mild malt and a hint of apple in the scent.

Taste is smoky and woody, not what you would expect at all from the smell. Ale fruitiness comes through after the initial hit of smoke. Taste really is more of a 4.25 than a 4. Just enough bitterness to round out the brew.

Mouthfeel is quite good.

Super drinkable brew, I got this bottle from Hi Time in Costa Mesa so I know that it was stored correctly. A flavorful brew that isn't harsh and keeps on appealing to your tongue far more than any simply over hopped brew.

 586 characters

Old Thumper from Shipyard Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.59 out of 5 with 748 ratings