Shipyard Double Old Thumper Ale | Shipyard Brewing Co.

106 Reviews
no score
Send samples
Shipyard Double Old Thumper AleShipyard Double Old Thumper Ale

Brewed by:
Shipyard Brewing Co.
Maine, United States

Style: English Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.20%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by chrisgn on 02-02-2011

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 106 | Ratings: 235
Photo of zimm421
2.69/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 22 oz bottle into a tulip. Appears a nice copper color, that when held to a light, looks almost like a sunset. There is a nice aggressive head here, that leaves some pretty good lacing. Looking at this beer, I was ready to be wowed.

The smell at first seems very much like an adjunct lager, and really turned me away. As it warmed, there was some decent scents that came out, and a little hops, but this was definitely too sweet smelling. The taste at first was absolutely awful. As my palate adjusted, things became better, but still wasn't impressed. This started out overly sweet, and continued that way throughout each sip, but right at the end, the beer slowly became overly bitter, without any real, good qualities behind it.

The mouthfeel was decent, but honestly seemed a little light bodied for the style. This was one of the better characteristics however. Overall, this is not something I enjoyed drinking, and I considered pouring it for a while. I was very disappointed in the brew, and most certainly will not purchase another...

 1,059 characters

Photo of srandycarter
3.38/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Dark raw apple juice, somewhat murky. Not much head goes to ring fast. Fair amount of cling lace.

S - Earthy, kind of sickly sweet aroma. Faint juicy fruit that makes it better.

T - Bitter first, then toffee, caramel, overly sweet, then bitter again. Pretty dry despite the smell.

M - Roller coaster of flavors. Definitely finished to the dry and bitter side.

D - Maybe not my style?

 391 characters

Photo of Prime16
3.33/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours amber with an off white head.

S- Not much to take from this .... faint smell of biscuit, malt and spice.

T- Bitterness hits both sides of your tongue and cheeks. Alcohol is obvious but degree of alcohol is well hidden.

M- Lightly carbonated.

O: Bitterness and high alcohol make this an interesting beer, but I don't think I'd want to drink more than one.

 367 characters

Photo of 4000qtrap
2.6/5  rDev -27.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Source/Serving: 22oz bottle,

S: Musty, earthy toffee, moderate alcohol, faint fruit (berries, grapes, and orange oil) and butter.

T: Intense cocoa-tinged toffee and caramel riding a wave of healthy bitterness thickly coat the palette. Fruity-boozy heavily toffee/caramel malt character shoots through the middle with balanced bitterness keeping any sweetness at bay. You can definitely tell this is loaded with alcohol, there is no mystery here, but its not at all solventy or 'off'. Just too strong for me. Finish is comes close to being crushingly bitter, slightly-reminiscent of strong coffee in feel but not flavor, however its not dry. Lingering toffee, alcohol burn, and slick, grassy oils. Carbonation is light and this is VERY full-bodied with a real stick-to-your-lips quality. Has qualities much like a young, bitter barleywine.

Notes: I'm rarely overpowered by a beer and love my big beers, but this one and its unrestrained boozy bitterness almost did me in. Unfortunately it wasn't particularly in a good way with a near nil drinkability and at $7.50/22oz.

 1,073 characters

Photo of deltatauhobbit
3.08/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a clear amber color with a good sized head, fades at a slow rate and leaves a decent cap on top, bits of lacing along the glass.

Smell is mostly sweet malt with a light fruit aroma, picking up some booze in the aroma along with some off scent that I can't quite put my finger on.

Taste has quite the kick to it, can definitely tell this is 11.2%, sweet malt rules the taste with a large amount of bready/graininess, aftertaste has an earthy bitterness that helps slightly with the overall sweetness, the best thing about this beer is the soft carbonation lends a nice creaminess, quite sticky as well.

Not sure if Double Old Thumper is really any better than the regular version since I haven't really cared for either. If I'm picking up Shipyard, it's going to be Prelude.

 782 characters

Photo of Murchmac
4/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very solid beer. Has the malt ive been looking for and with the increase in everything this yeast strain really takes on a different character. This beer does not drink like an 11 percent beer. Dangerously quaffable and enjoyable. Someone else said more like an barleywine and would like to see how it ages. I would too, I dont think it will get too much better but why the hell not?

 383 characters

Photo of MrHurmateeowish
3.92/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Finally found it! 22oz bomber purchased at McKinnon's in Salem. Pours a crystal-clear amber-red body with pretty much no head to speak of. Nut, butter, bread, and just a touch of booze in the aroma. Bready, fruity, with nut, touch of butter, and just a hint of alcohol, though it's more of a warming than a flavor. Full bodied bordering on viscous, with low carbonation. A meal of a beer. A sipper for sure. This reminds me more of an English barleywine than an ESB. I'd be interested to see if/how this ages.

 509 characters

Photo of TheHoppiest
3.06/5  rDev -15%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 22 oz bottle into a pint glass. Pours a ruddy amber with an off-white head that reduces to a 1/8" lid.

Has a fruity, malty aroma, with hints of grape, pear and grass. The smell is strong and has a decent amount of alcohol in it. It almost has the smell of a sweet, cheap grocery store wine.

Whoa, the alcohol taste is almost overwhelming. The taste of this shows every bit of it's 11.2%, and then some. The alcohol taste is so strong it borders on an isopropyl alcohol taste. Beyond the alcohol is a sweet bitter, with the beer ending sweet on the back of the tongue and bitter on the middle of the tongue. There is a smokey aftertaste that reflects the astringency of this beer.

Mouthfeel is harsh, full, and astringent. My mouth is starting to numb as I drink it - is that bad?

This beer is simply overwhelming. While I like big beers, this tastes like a beer cocktail. I'm halfway through this monster, and I'm not sure I'll be finishing it.

 962 characters

Photo of aepb1
3.17/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A- Clear brown body with a fluffy white head

S- Spicy, toffee and some hopes

T- Caramel/toffee up front, hops and booze finish for a bitter taste that lingers and is not altogether pleasant

M- Full-bodied and coats the mouth and boozy warming

O- Tough to finish one and the unpleasant bitterness makes me reticent to revisit this one. It's more than other ESBs as this is more astringent than other bitters...

 413 characters

Photo of whatthehull
3.48/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

Poured into a New Belgium snifter

A - Nice copper transparent, weird grainy almost tan half finger head and some decent lacing

S - Apples, light sweet hops, huge malt, toasted grain, alcohol, syrup, cherry, oak, soil. Maybe a little to sweet and to complex

T - Alcohol, hop bitterness, sweet malt, oak, earth, apples, cherry and lots of toasted grains

M - Not that awesome. Grainy, sticky, bitterness turns into bad bitterness

D - for being 11.2% this is surprisingly easy to drink. Minus the mouth feel, this beer is pretty nice. I don't think I'd but it again at $7.50

Final thought - Shipyard, please try lowering your prices. I might want to drink your beer more often

 678 characters

Photo of cjgator3
1.91/5  rDev -46.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

22oz bottle

A- Pours a nice brownish copper color with an off-white head with good retention and lacing.

S- The aroma is surprisingly faint considering the high ABV. The aroma is sweet bready malt and caramel but not much else.

T- The taste is sweet and malty up front with some bitterness from the hops and a lot of boozy alcohol in the finish. The finish is harsh and overpowers any flavors that may be present in this beer. Not a fan at all of the taste.

M- The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation.

D- Overall, I'm not a huge fan of this beer. It will be difficult to drink this entire bottle without dumping some down the drain.

 663 characters

Photo of bierguru
3.46/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3


A: Pretty good head retention it is also kind of fizzy. The body is a dark copper light amber. Mild carbonation.

S: The smell overall is very mild. Fairly strong caramel slight toastiness as well as some hops.

T: Bold fruity flavor from beginning to end. However, during the taste I get some caramel and hops. The beer is only mildly bitter. Much less then what I expected due to its style name. Also, I do not taste much alcohol. I tasted it in the first sip but not after.

M: As I get deeper into the bottle the beer begins to dry my mouth but at the same time keep it wet. It also has a slight prickling on the tongue.

D: With this being my first of the style I liked it. Will try more in this style and this one again.

 821 characters

Photo of DIM
3.28/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

If you take a stout or IPA and make it imperial, the end result is still recognizable as a stout or IPA. If you take a pilsener and imperialze it, you get something very different but still pretty tasty. If take an ESB and "double" it you get...

a: This was a clear, moderately dark golden coppery color, It was served to me with a small fizzy head.

s: I was surprised by how strong the fruit elements were, this had a strong vinous quality. I also found toffee and a little too much heat.

t: This isn't anything close to an ESB anymore, but it is interesting. Up front I found sweet toffee and a strong grape-y flavor, maybe some apple juice as well. The finish got pretty hot very quickly.

m: Thick, sticky, and viscous.

d: There is some novelty value here, but overall this is a miss for me. I think calling this an ESB is a misleading mistake. To be fair though, they don't call it an ESB on their website. I think American strong ale or barleywine would be much more apt.

 981 characters

Photo of jerryalan
1.78/5  rDev -50.6%
look: 5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 4 | overall: 1

I saw the reviews and gave this a shot. I'm sorry but it tasted like someone mixed 50% beer and 50% vodka. All I could smell and taste was alcohol. I rarely pour a beer down the drain but that's where this one went. Perhaps I got a bad bottle? The balance was not there at all. With all that alcohol this needed more malt and hop flavors for balance. Instead it was like taking a shot of booze. Based on the good reviews I'll try this one more time and if it's better I'll update my review.

Surprisingly the mouthfeel was not bad at all. It would have been a 4.5 or 5.0 if it wasn't for the slightly excessive alcohol heat. The appearance was great. Nice caramel color and very clear.

 685 characters

Photo of mavbrew
3.65/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a transparent amber color with a finger thick, off white head that leaves slight lacing.

S: The nose has some caramel malts present and has a bit of a spicy scent as well. There is a faint scent of bready malts as well.

T: The taste is much like the smell, the spicy hops are up front and linger throughout the taste. The bready malts follow the spiciness, but not strong enough to balance out the spices. The finish is spicy and leaves a very bitter aftertaste.

M: Medium bodied with good carbonation. Very spicy and very bitter feel throughout.

D: To say this beer has characteristics of spicy hops is an understatement. This is seriously spicy throughout with a very bitter aftertaste. This is a good beer, but the spice is what really is throwing me off. I am a big fan of Old Thumper and was looking forward to the double, but sadly, I think I enjoy Old Thumper quite a bit more.

 897 characters

Photo of metter98
3.87/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is clear amber in color and poured with a thin off white head that left lacing down the sides of the glass.
S: There are moderate aromas of sweetness in the nose along with some hints of butter and caramel.
T: Like the smell, the initial taste has a lot of malty sweetness, but this is immediately balanced off by a moderate amount of bitterness from the hops.
M: IT feels medium- to full-bodied and slightly viscous on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
D: Considering its strength, the beer isn't that difficult to drink because the alcohol is well hidden from the taste.

 600 characters

Photo of Brad007
4.08/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

DOUBLE Old Thumper? Hmm. Wonder what that will taste like?

Pours a beautiful amber color with a thick white head into my glass. Looks a lot like the style.

Lots of sweet, buttery/bready malt to greet the nose. It's a bit too sweet for my liking. Must be the source of all of that extra alcohol.

Taste is more well thought out than I expected. Buttery malt with just the right amount of hops greets the taste buds. Think of an ESB ramped up and you'll end up with this.

Mouthfeel is a jumbled mess with enough alcohol lingering to cause perception issues. Is it buttery? Is it bready? Is it alcoholic? I DON'T KNOW!

Worth a try if you liked the other imperial offerings from Shipyard. I enjoyed Smashed Pumpkin and ditto on this offering.

 744 characters

Photo of Deuane
3.85/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A ramped up version of Shipyard's venerable Old Thumper. Served in a tulip glass at The Bulls Head Public House, Lititz, PA.

A-Bright, brilliant, chestnut varnished copper with a thin light tan head that diminishes to a thin ring of retention and leaves spotty lace.

S-Warmed butterscotch topping ladled over a fruit bowl of red grape, cherry, apple, pear, strawberry and plum. Alcohol heat and a touch of spiciness is present but not overwhelming. While the aroma is quite enjoyable it is rather subtle.

T-More pop on the palate with a very vinous quality from the fruit like aspect. Butterscotch and alcohol heat in the background adding a moderating sweetness and a touch of spiciness.

M-Medium-heavy bodied, smooth and viscous. Never becomes "too big" or "too syrupy". Alcohol burn becomes more prevalent upon warming but doesn't detract from the experience.

D-A big bruiser of a beer that one must drink with some respect. I really enjoyed the fruity notes combined with the malt sweetness. An enjoyable sipper for sure. Well done Shipyard ramping Old Thumper up to an eleven!

 1,088 characters

Photo of ejimhof
3.3/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance- Pours a clear amber color with no head or lacing.

Smell- smells of hops and alcohol.

Taste- Tastes the way it smells very bitter and strong.Slight butter taste that is not pleasant. Not like an ESB at all.

Mouthfeel- full bodied and bitter.

Drinkability- Once is enough for this one.

 301 characters

Photo of lordofthewiens
3.85/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I'm not a big fan of Shipyard, but I do like Old Thumper. I figured this was worth a try.
In a snifter the beer was a clear amber color. It had a thick tan head and a good deal of lace.
Sweet, caramel aroma. Herbal, peppery hops.
Caramel taste to begin, then a hit of sweet butter. Piney hops late.
Reminds me of a barleywine. A little on the hot side.
The bomber at one sitting was more than enough. Still, would drink it again.

 429 characters

Photo of sacrelicio
1.94/5  rDev -46.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

What the hell is this? Based on the reviews, I expected a fruity, buttery toasty treat. But what I got, what I got was something else.

The appearance in pretty nice, a deep amber with a cream colored head. Nice head retention and lacing.

The smell is somewhat fruity and buttery, but it has this stale, day old open beer smell. Kinda gross.

At first, the taste almost made me gag, and slowly began to make my brain wince into a mild headache. The staleness is there, but worse, and the bitterness is astringent and just nasty. The butter and fruit are sort of there, but I am just getting the weirdest noxious flavor from this. Ick. Not as bad as it warms, but still, not enjoyable.

Mouthfeel is pretty thick, average for a big beer.

Drinkabilty is piss poor.

 764 characters

Photo of jdhilt
3.94/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a one finger off-white head that fades very slowly, leaving a good lace. Nice crystal clear amber color. Medium carbonation and medium-bodied. light piney hop nose and flavor is slight caramel, piney hops and more malty than expected. Light bitter aftertaste. High ABV is hidden but is warming. $7.99 for a 22oz bottle from Northend Superette Manchester, NH.

 364 characters

Photo of jzeilinger
4/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Looks pretty inviting as it sits in my Thistle glass.

A - Pours a deep, clear, transparent dark copper color with a thick white, creamy head. There's also a very nice amount of carbonation.

S - The nose is dominated by pungent butter toffee, butterscotch, and mild spices. There's a small amount of sharpness from the hops.

T - Tastes much different than what the nose first tells you. The buttery, toffee-like flavor zings the tongue upfront but then gets knocked down by a generous amount of hops (namely Challenger, Progress, Goldings, and Simcoe). The booze effervesence is very noticeable, and surprisingly, the balance is very, very good. The inside of your mouth after the sip feels like it was smeared with a coating of butterscotch, and then a layer of hops were immediately painted over the top. The long, lingering bitterness leaves a somewhat metallic bitter red grapefruit coating and man, does it stick around for a LONG time! The buttery malt characteristic is something I've experienced quite often with the beers from Shipyard, nothing negative, just a unique personality of their beers.

M - Very full bodied, slick, viscous-like, mildly gentle on the tongue, and a generous amount of warming in the throat as it travels south.

D - Very good, but because of the high octane, I'd be pressed to attempt another bomber. I think the biggest downfall is the big, boozy nature of this beer. The alcohol is NOT well hidden, by any means. It definitely lets you know it's a beer to be treated with respect.

All this being said, I think Shipyard slugged a homerun with this one. My wife loves the Smashed Pumpkin and hated this one. Me, I really loved this one and while I still enjoy the Smashed Pumpkin, I'd much rather be sipping this mac daddy. I picked up a bottle this past week (at Shipyard) while on business in Maine because I really wanted to try this one. I'm back up there in a few weeks and I'll be stopping by again to get more bottles and cellar a few to see where they go. Big beers like this often get better with age and this one is already good when it's young. A very interesting observation is the bottled version seems to be far hoppier than the tap version. Definitely prefer the bottle which I can't say about very many beers.

 2,268 characters

Photo of Chaz
3.9/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a near-brilliant chestnut-amber in color, topped with a pale tan head which exhibits average duration and better-than-average lacing.

On the nose, Holy Ringwood, Batman! Butterscotch and loads of booze, spice, and phenols. Impressive in its own right, but I imagine it might not appeal to very many people. Nose is also fruity in general, with strawberry notes and vague pineapple-ish notes swimming in the booze-y heat.

Taste is much better than I'd expected for this strength. But an ESB? Nah, more like an Strong/Old Ale, but that's splitting hairs with the style purists at any rate. Banana and clove (!) notes here are playing with my mind a bit: is there a portion of wheat malt in the grain bill? No matter, it's almost tropical when weighed with the strawberry and pineapple notes -- a beer Daiquiri? I can only imagine what devilry might ensue were this one to see a Whiskey barrel . . .

Full-bodied, even viscous across the tongue and palate, but it works here and even adds to the drinkability Id think: too many strong beers these days are merely thin-bodied booze-y messes, but this one holds its own.

I can imagine that this one will age well, and even at $9.99 retail I'd consider this worth a second (or third) visit, especially a bottle with some age -- at 11.2% it's not gonna lose any oomph any time soon!

Note: Bonus points in that this is highly reminiscent of the original Old Thumper, which is an old favorite of mine from when I lived in Beantown : )

 1,486 characters

Photo of Damiengagnon
4.09/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

i found it very strong starting in my mouth but finished smooth in down the first i was a little nervous thiking that it might be to powering but was surprised how is it ws to drink. its something i would drink slow to savory the taste.i would drink it again

 268 characters

Shipyard Double Old Thumper Ale from Shipyard Brewing Co.
3.6 out of 5 based on 235 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.