738: Old Thumper Extra Special Ale

738 - Old Thumper Extra Special AleName: Old Thumper Extra Special Ale
Brewery: Shipyard Brewing Co.
Country of Origin: United States
City & State: Portland, Maine
Style: Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)
Alcohol Content (ABV): 5.60%
First Brewed: 1994
Price: $2.49

Tasting Notes
This rich amber-copper-beer pours with a generous off-white head. The nose features a flurry of light hop notes, while fruity flavors dance on the plate. Overall, Old Thumper has a very smooth mouthfeel with a pleasant hop note in the finish.

Ricky’s Thoughts

Double Thumper is readily available here in Arizona, but I have never seen Old Thumper. However, while we were in San Diego over Thanksgiving visiting our friend Erick (imagine a review without me mentioning Erick… Never!) he took us to an old school liquor store that was out of this world. They had a ton of great beer, and we grabbed a few bombers that we had been wanting to try. Then I found myself in the cooler and saw several bottles of this on the bottom shelf in the back corner. They were discounted to $2.49 per bottle, and I about fell over… I didn’t think they even brewed this beer anymore. Needless to say, I was buying this beer!

We haven’t reviewed a beer in a while, but I hope to get back on track now that the Waste Management Phoenix Open is over. We partied like rock stars last week for the Open and visited the Birds Nest several times. Oh, and I got to interview Paul Oakenfold on Saturday night at El Santo Cantina. It was a long week, but it was worth it. Now we need to bring our focus back to the beer. I’ll drink to that. Cheers!

In the Glass: This beer came a long way, and I am excited to drink it. I will say this isn’t my favorite style. But I am keeping an open mind and am hoping for the best. The beer produced a lot of head, and while light in complexion, I am seeing a lot of tiny champagne like bubbles rushing to the surface. That isn’t a bad thing. I just hope it smells and tastes good. I have been in a funk with beers lately. Just ask Erick. I was venting to him about it earlier tonight.

Nose: It smells like an ESB. Actually it smells like a beer should smell in a pub in England on a wet cold evening in the fall. I say that… It’s really cold here right now. Well, 65! Most of the country is covered in snow and ice, while I ran 6 miles tonight after work. Hey, that is cold. For the desert!

I hope this tastes better than it smells.

Flavor: It does. But not much better. The first impression is nice, but as I really start to experience the beer, it brings back the typical “bitter” flavor that I am used to when drinking an ESB. Like I said, the initial flavor is really nice. But man. The finish is bitter, hence the style, and the aftertaste just sucks. Ugh. Oh well, it was only $2.49.

Mouthfeel: It is getting a little better as it heats up, but I just don’t like this style. When I think of a bitter beer, I want a lip sucking double IPA. Not an English style bitter that makes me wish I was in a pub in London. Although, perhaps we should plan another trip to London. I do enjoy the city and would love to see a show at the Ministry of Sound. I would LOVE to see Above & Beyond at the Ministry of Sound.

Aftertaste: The aftertaste is weak, which is fine. I don’t like the flavor. I am going to pass the rest of the bottle over to Sheryl. I am not even sure I can finish my glass. Fine, I will finish my glass. But only because it is beer! I need a shot of whiskey to wash the flavor down. Boo!

Old Thumper Extra Special Ale – The bottle says: “Hampshire’s New Forest was historically the hunting ground for legendary fierce wild boar, the price kill of many an English King. RINGWOOD BREWERY celebrates this heritage with a real beast of a beer in ‘OLD THUMPER.’ It delivers a coppery coloured head with a spicy, fruity hop aroma, and a warming malty finish. The distinctive taste has made it a champion Beer of Britain, popular at home and abroad.”

“OLD THUMPER is now available in the United States unique arrangement between England’s RINGWOOD BRWERY and Shipyard Brewing Co. of Portland, Maine. The original recipe is being brewed here under watchful eye of Alan Pugsley who trained and worked at RINGWOOD BREWERY for many years and is an award-winning brewer in his own right. Because freshness, without use of preservatives, is essential to taste and integrity of this fine ale, Pugsley ships the famed Ringwood yeast and the ingredients directly from England to recreate here in Maine, the unique flavours of OLD THUMPER.”

“We hope that you enjoy the fruits of our endeavour.”

Rating: 1.5/5

Sheryl’s Thoughts

Well, first of all, this beer has a LOT of head. And a lot of bubbles. Bubbles everywhere. It must be pretty carbonated. Ricky says it’s a “double ESB”. I’ve never seen a double ESB before, so this is something new. It’s kind of a golden orange in color and not cloudy or thick. The head looked thick and creamy. It smells kind of like muted spices, like cinnamon or ginger or something. It also smells wet, but not really hoppy. It’s kind of a hard read. Guess I should just taste it and see. Here we go!

It tastes pretty much like I expect from an IPA. It does have a little richer flavor, but it almost tastes flat, honestly. Did we get a bad bottle or is this just what it is supposed to taste like? If it didn’t have that subtle flatness to it, the flavor might not be too bad, honestly. It’s hard to tell for sure. It’s a little bit of a honey taste with a little bit of a bitter aftertaste. It can’t be flat, really, can it? I mean, what about all those bubbles? It’s an odd one, that’s for sure. I keep trying it in hope the flatness will go away, but it doesn’t. Maybe I’m just getting a weird flavor for the beer. It’s definitely different, but a bit weird and unimpressive for me. I don’t think I’d choose this one again if given the opportunity.

Rating: 2.5/5

737 bottles of beer on the wall…

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