I've had good results with 1187 even though everyone seems to hate it
You're not alone. I am another big fan of Ringwood.
The reason I don't like it is for about a decade one of the local brewpubs used it for every single beer they brewed. Pale ale, Red, Brown, Porter, Stout, IPA... Everything.
To me it imparts a very unique "maltiness" kind of thing that cuts through all the other flavor profiles of whatever style it's used in. After a while all I could taste was the yeast no matter what style I was drinking.
I can understand when a yeast is so distinct that it's distracting from the rest of a beer, especially if put in a style not generally known for it's yeast character. MJ Burton Union has that same potential to me, although I was able to stop using it when I wanted - good yeast, distinct, just not for every beer, and certainly not for every style of beer.
From what I've gathered, 1187, although called "ringwood", is not the true Ringwood yeast used by the likes of Shipyard Brewing or the over-the-pond breweries. My understanding is that the original Ringwood yeast is actually a blend of yeasts and that it's in that blend where the Shipyard (and related) yeast character comes from. Fortunately, or unfortunately, 1187 doesn't seem to live up to the same description as old-school ringwood. I've always found it pretty mellow, a bit fruity fermented at upper-end, and fairly neutral fermented at lower end, but that's just been my impressions.
That's interesting -- thanks! I'm sure the brewpub I was talking about is using the same stuff Shipyard is using.
Maybe some time I'll give 1187 a shot because now I'm curious about it.