Apr 5, 2013

Shipyard Brewing Double Old Thumper (2 year tasting)

Just over two years ago, I received a generous package from Maine’s Shipyard Brewing. While the Brewer’s Brown was good, it was the Double Old Thumper that I was truly excited about. The three samples of the 11.2% ABV ESB gave me the opportunity to taste the beer at various ages.

Fresh, or as close to the bottling date as would allow, the beer (review here) only hinted at it’s future self with flashes of barley wine aspirations. After a year in the cellar, the beer had developed into a full-fledged English barley wine with a tremendous flavor and drinkability. And now, after two years in the bottle, I can safely say that the beer isn’t done yet.

The bitterness of the hop profile that the younger bottles showed is still there, but has faded a touch. It’s still more than enough to fully and completely balance out the malt sweetness that’s beginning to step forward more. There were no signs of aging in the aroma or taste which leads me to believe that had I received any additional samples, they too would be excellent in another year or so.


The beer appears to be a touch lighter in color with a hint of haze that was first present after a year. The head, however, started smallish and quickly dropped to a thin and patchy ring around the surface.


Based on the amount of time in the bottle, I was expecting some mild signs of aging within the aroma, but never came across any. The lightly toasted malt, sweetness and orange rind that started to show through after a year are even more pronounced now. Overall, the beer smells great though was a bit more subdued than previous encounters.


While the aroma may have been on the lighter side, the flavors of the brew are fully intact. The herbal hop notes are just about gone while the orange and marmalade characteristics have stepped to the forefront with a solid malt sweetness and hints of caramel. This beer may be potent in terms of alcohol, but it only leaves the lightest warmth in the chest that, in conjunction with it’s smoothness, only proves to make the beer that much more drinkable.


The fact that this beer continues to get better with age is a testament to the love and attention that went into its crafting. The beer tastes excellent and shows very little sign of coming apart with age. In fact, I’d say that it’s got a few more years in it yet. Thoroughly enjoyable!

Rating: 4.25/5

This is a review of a promotional sample from the brewery.

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