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Thomas Creek Up The Creek - Thomas Creek Brewery

Not Rated.
Thomas Creek Up The CreekThomas Creek Up The Creek

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BA SCORE
84
good

451 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 451
Reviews: 180
rAvg: 3.71
pDev: 16.44%
Wants: 17
Gots: 39 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Thomas Creek Brewery visit their website
South Carolina, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial IPA |  12.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: khiasmus on 06-03-2007

111 IBU
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 451 | Reviews: 180
Reviews by elgiacomo:
Photo of elgiacomo
3.53/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle, served at around 45F.

Pours dark red/copper with a good sized brown head, leaves good spotty lacing and recedes to a light cap.

Aroma starts with citrus and pine hops then a bunch of dark fruit, caramel, some bread and earth. Good strength.

Flavor is citrus hops up front, then moves to strong caramel and dark fruit with moderate sweetness, finishes with good pine bitterness. Some alcohol but really not bad at all considering it is 12.5%!

Mouthfeel is full bodied, creamy, sticky, good carbonation.

Overall pretty good stuff, but ultimately comes across more as an Imperial Red or Barleywine than a Double IPA.

More User Reviews:
Photo of 1Adam12
2.32/5  rDev -37.5%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Such a weird beer. If I rate to style, this gets horrible marks, as you can see. Pours crazy dark, brownish red. Smells malty, sweet, and thats about it. Taste is malty, sweet, maybe fig? There are some hops there, but not close to what I was expecting. This has barleywine taste all over it. Mouthfeel is creamy for a DIPA, not very carbonated, just weird. Overall, how this is classified as a DIPA I will never know. This tastes, looks, and feels like a barleywine. If I were rating a barleywine, it would've gotten higher marks, but rating as a DIPA, this was awful.

Photo of Barkmatic
1.25/5  rDev -66.3%
look: 1 | smell: 1 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.25

I gave this a poor rating based upon the the fact that it is being advertised as an extreme IPA, what I got was a decent strong ale. If you are into strong ales, I recommend this one, but if you are looking to enjoy a nice IPA, do not waste your time. The beer store I went to discounted them at a $1 a bottle, so I am happy about the purchase. How often can you get a beer at 12.5% for a buck?

Photo of Nevbo
4.47/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured dark red with a tan head. Smelled slightly hoppy but mostly malt and dark fruits. Very sweet taste, not much hops: malty and sugary with a hint of plum. The high ABV is all but hidden.

This is my second time trying this and I really dig it. True IPA or not, I like it.

Photo of oberon
3.61/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a four pack today at Bestway here in Greensboro.Poured into an oversized wine glass a darker color than expected,deep amber with a tight fomed 1/2 slight off white head.Somewhat muted aromas,I picked up some resiny and leather-like notes.Wow this is more American barley wine in nature on the palate,deep fruit esters with some brown sugar, the hops come in late with a big pine resin finish.There is a lingering licorice-like flavor that lingers wich is different for the style as well.A bit hot but its nice,maybe I should have waited till after the Wings beat the Pens to drink this because it could bring on some spleepiness.

Photo of ExtraStout
4.05/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12oz bottle.

Pours deep, clear copper with a big, thick beige head that shows excellent retention and sits as a small cap throughout with some solid lacing.

Aroma is packed with resinous floral hops, tons of pine with some pithy grapefruit as well. Lots of caramel malts and bread as well. Smells like a hopped-to-hell barleywine...I like it.

The taste is a more complex version of the nose. It certainly starts out with the same biting, abrasive pine hops with a more pronounced sweet caramel malt and toffee backbone. Bitter, crazy hoppy finish.

The mouthfeel is sticky, real sticky, with hops and astringent as hell. Not in a bad way.

Some will understand it, some won't. I would get it again when in the mood for something heavy.

Photo of Aaron420
3.3/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This brew has a very deep crimson color, with a small tan head that quickly dissipates. Has a very malty smell for an IPA, and not much alcohol for a 12 Plus beer. On first taste of this beer I would not believe it was an IPA, had very little hop flavor for an IPA. Very strong flavor of sweet malts, with a very very mild hop flavor. I would almost classify this as a strong ale, it just doesn't make me think IPA. Overall the beer is not bad though. It is not the most drinkable beer, but that is understandable being a 12 plus brew. Final thoughts, the beer is not going to my list of favorites but I would order one again.

Photo of merlin48
4.07/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle thanks to mntlover. Pours a clear copper body with a large creamy tan head. Good retention and an abundance of sticky lacing.

Aroma has malty toffee, molasses, and toasted caramel, complimented by huge notes of tropical fruits like pineapple and mango.

Mouthfeel has an almost full body due to the chewy maltiness. Moderate carbonation.

Taste has big malt and big hops, but it's more on the malty side. Chewy caramel and toffee join with some syrupy molasses to provide a malt tour de force. Citrusy and earthy hops are equally aggressive but struggle to provide a balancing bitterness. Alcohol is hidden very well, quite a feat for a 12.5 % brew. A little warmth is noted as it reaches room temperature.

Definitely a sipper, but seems more like a barleywine.

Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to FreeThyHops for sending this bottle.

The beer pours a dark red color with a tan head. The aroma is caramel, brown sugar and orange citrus hops. The beer smells more like a barleywine than a DIPA, but it still smells nice.

The flavor confirms that this beer - or at least this bottle - is more like a barleywine. The beer is very sweet and has a lot of brown sugar, orange, pine and caramel notes. The bitterness is low.

Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

The beer is this specific bottle really isn't a DIPA in my book, but it is a pretty nice hoppy barleywine.

Photo of dwren89
3.74/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: deep burgundy with nice creamy tan thick head, great clarity

Aroma: deep bready and caramel notes, piney and citrusy hop aroma with noticeable bitterness,

Taste: very malty with a deep bready and caramel flavor that finishes pretty darn bitter, though much more balanced than most double IPAs. Very developed malt character with more bitterness than hop flavor. Definite alcohol note, though not a hot or fusel one

Mouthfeel: very full bodied, thick and chewy mouthfeel, medium carbonation

Overall: A beer defined by its deep and very developed malt flavor and very bitter finish, but not much hop flavor. The hop flavor is likely very masks by the overwhelming malt because the aroma is there. At 12.5% ABV, it's no mystery why it's is so malty.

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.08/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had no clue this was 12.5% abv. What's going on all I wanted was a standard IPA...okay I will drink it. Pours a deep ruby mahogany brown hue with big flowing tan head, clings to the sides of glass actually leaves some really nice intricate lacing. Aroma has deep pine, earthiness with a big malt backbone think caramel and dark chocolate toffee notes. Robust and chewy on the palate, big resinous hops coated with a balanced level of malt. Badass beer that states: "Sink the status quo." That's exactly what this beer is doing, I would label it an old ale or barleywine if handed to me blindly but the brewer chose, extreme IPA...EXTREME IPA it is!!! Layers of alcohol intertwined with viscous caramelized malt sugars nearly burnt at times, roasted malts, earthy resinous dank hop components this thing is firing on all cylinders. Mouthfeel is...see above description of chewy, with moderate slow bubbling carbonation never cloying but a bit abrasive in a good way. Overall, I'm glad I accidentally bough some extreme IPA, most IPAs I wouldn't recommend aging but this one will lay down and turn into something beautiful, think Bigfoot aging potential. Good fresh but I can almost bet this only gets better and better. By the way I'm pairing with a petit corona from Illusione 68 aka Bombone...it is small but mighty chalk full of raging Honduran, and Nicaraguan long fillers brings the spice and strength with all of the ligero leaf they managed to package in this small cigar. Dion Giolito is blending genius!

Photo of chinchill
3.59/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

An abundance of off-white head out of the tap, with a yellow gold liquid underneath. The head leaves plenty of sticky lacing. The generous carbonation also influenced the mouthfeel making feel, I think, lighter than it would otherwise.

This is one boozy beer, and the high ABV is evident but not objectionable in the nose, but too overpowering in the taste. It also lends some burn and harshness to the mouthfeel, in addition to some warming. The beer also may be mis-classified as a DIPA ... it is more like a barleywine and a bit like a Belgian tripel. There is a definite hop contribution, but also a substantial balance from sweet caramel malts. Neither the high IBU (111) nor the high ABV (12.5%) seem quite so high.

O - you want a super high ABV beer? ... usually sacrifices need to be made in mouthfeel and taste. Such is the case here although the negative effects are not as pronounced as a 12.5% reading would often produce.

Photo of alcohline_trip
3.48/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Definitely not a DIPA/IIPA. More like a strong ale or barley wine. Not sure if I can score this accurately. I'm unaware of the freshness on this 12oz. bottle.

Pours a very clear ruby red when held up to light. Minimal lacing with a few sticky spots towards the top of the glass rim.

The nose is very sweet and fruity. Almost perfume like.

Taste is a huge fruity sweetness backed with malt and booze.

Medium bodied, somewhat smooth for the massive abv.

Overall, not as advertised. This beer is nowhere even close to a typical DIPA/IIPA. Rated as a strong ale/barleywine.

Photo of Metalmonk
4.25/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Toasty tan head, which is big and fluffy and firm, sitting on top of a burnt red liquid. Looks more barleywine or American strong ale than double IPA (the brewery labels this an "extreme IPA"). Beautiful beer.

Nose is burnt sugar, heavily roasted grain, cherry taffy, and solvent alchohol. It appeals to the barleywine/strong ale fan in me, but again, I'm not thinking "IPA" here at all.

You know that candy Boston Baked Beans? This tastes just like that, in liquid form. Nicely burnt, sweet and a little nutty. There's a laid back spice character, like cinnamon or allspice, and an earthy/grassy bitterness. Caramel/toffee in abundance, edging the hops out as the dominant force--Up The Creek is a malty monster. Alcohol is nicely incorporated, underlining everything and making it glow yet not jabbing out too strongly on its own. Grassy astringency spreads out in the finish, but so does robust malt, sweetness and the spice. However, it's broken record time: this is nothing like an IPA of any sort!

Chewy and creamy, firm and round, just a smidgen of carbonation for some vibrancy. Very, very nice.

The only two Thomas Creek brews I had previous to this were not impressive. That was four years ago. Apparently this brewery has changed its tune, and are brewing behemoth 12+ percenters to boot. And this is a good one, achieving the careful balance any beer this big demands. But it's definitely something they should be selling as what this site calls an "American strong ale," because that's what it is. Not docking them points for this, just sayin'.

Photo of haddon
3.9/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

pours a cloudy copper color with nice off-white head. lacing hangs around the glass all the way down.

Aromas of pine, resin hops teetering with toasted malts, molasses and fruits.

taste is heavy on the malts: caramel, molasses & toffee... with a twinge of hoppy fruitiness. finishes with alcohol notes on the end which is expected at 12.5% abv

medium to full body with average amount of carbonation

this beer doesn't seem like a DIPA to me. more along the lines of a strong ale or barleywine. good beer but found myself ready to move on to something else by the time I hit the end of the pint.

Photo of tdm168
4.38/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a brandy snifter.

Appearance is a light amber with a 1/4" of head. Smell is amazing; hops, alcohol, and caramel. The nose and the palate agree. Perfect balance here. Hops are evident but do not dominate this DIPA giving the caramel malt a chance to come through. Alcohol brings a great warmth to the finish. The mouthfeel is warm and boozy, but pleasant. Overall a great DIPA. This will keep the Barleywine vs. DIPA debate alive. I look forward to coming back to this one in the winter.

Photo of prototypic
2.86/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to csmiley for the bottle.

Up the Creek pours a dark, nut brown color. Looks mostly clear. When held to light, it has a strong reddish tint. Looks crimson. A tan head tops it off and stands about a finger tall. It’s relatively quick to recede. Perhaps too much abv? Lacing was a little sticky, but lighter in volume.

The nose is below average. It’s not all that aromatic to begin with. It does have a strong, sweet caramel malt scent. Eh. Not so great. Smells like there might be some dark fruit in there. Raisin and plum come through. Hops are not all that strong at all. There are hints of pine and citrus grapefruit, but they’re very subtle in the mix. Alcohol is quite prominent. No big shock there. All in all, not that great.

The flavor is a little better than the nose. It starts out with a sweet caramel malt flavor. It’s strong. Given a beer of its size, I guess it needs the malt base. It’s too much though. Dark fruit flavors of raisin and plum are noted. Is this an American Barleywine? Tastes like it to me. Hops are there, but aren’t all that strong. Light pine and citrus grapefruit flavors are most notable. Alcohol is definitely there in flavor. It’s a tad warm, but isn’t quite hot. Finishes sweet with a touch of dark fruit and hops.

Up the Creek has a medium body. It feels a little thin for its size. Carbonation is moderate, but doesn’t feel buzzy. It’s not quite smooth. Given its size, it’s definitely a sipper. It’s big. I’m not sure I’ll be able to finish of the bottle.

Up the Creek is not very impressive beer. I suppose it’s a bit of novelty. Frankly, it’s much more of an American Barleywine than it is any sort of IPA. Whatever it is, it’s not all that great. There are not enough hops and the alcohol is over the top. I’d suggest passing on this one.

Photo of Jambarino
4.32/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A:Pours a deep dark amber,very little head retention and almost no lacing.Very little carbonation.

S:Caramel,faint citrus hops,faint apple juice.

T:All malt up front,faint hop kick at the end with a lingering bitterness.Alcohol is hidden pretty well.

M:Medium mouth feel with some carbonation.Sticky at the end with a slight alcohol burn.

O:I don't understand the negative reviews,I guess because its not quite what the label says,however it is a great beer regardless.If you take yourself too seriously,or if you are expecting a hop bomb look elsewhere because this is not it.However if you want a good barleywine/ipa style beer then this is it.I would compare this to Dogfish Head Squall,maybe just slightly sweeter and not as hoppy.A top 20 beer for me.I'm really enjoying this.

Photo of russpowell
3.3/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked this up at Briusin Ales today...

Pours copper with 2+ fingers of tan head. Average head retention & good lacing

Very bready & piney

T: Floows the nose, some leafy hops as well up front. Much bready sweetness with burnt brown sugar, toffee & booze notes as this warms along herbal & leafy bitterness. Finishes dry & boozey, with tanin & herbal bitterness

MF: Super chewy with slight carbonation, skews a tad malty to me, very warming

Drinks fairly easy for the heft, but this one is too malt forward for me, maybe it's aged, but since there's no dating on the bottle it's un solved mystery. Not really what I'm looking for in a DIPA, I would believed this was an English Barley Wine before I'd thought DIPA & would've scored it higher...

Photo of thagr81us
3.28/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Served from bottle into a Duvel tulip. Pours a dark red amber with a two finger off-white head that settles to one slowly. Maintain excellent lacing throughout. The aroma was comprised of big malt and hops. The flavor was of big malt, hops, and a spicy note. It had a medium feel on the palate with high carbonation. Overall this was very nice. There was no sign of the alcohol flavor anywhere in this one (minus just the spicy hint) as it was masked quite well with the big malt. It was not overly drinkable however. This one could sneak up on your easily if you aren't careful weighing in as a heavy hitter.

Photo of bucklemyshoe
4.29/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Notes from 11/02/2010:

12 oz. bottle at 42* into a Stone IRS tulip.

A: This pours a dark reddish-brown color with a half-finger of light tan head.

S: It has aromas of pine, chocolate, some nuttiness, and a strange sour bit at the end.

T: It tastes like sweet berries, a strong hoppy flavor, caramel, dark fruits, and a just a touch of booze.

M: It has a very thick body that is sticky and chewy.

D: This is potent and dangerously drinkable. I have a hard time classifying this as a DIPA though.

Photo of Bung
3.98/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. A much deeper red pour than expected, just a ring of white bubbles around the glass. Aroma also more malt than expected. Some deep red fruits, malt and limited citrus/pine. Some light booziness. Malty taste, toffee and some vinuous fruits. Some prune and raisin. Solid medium body, good stickiness to it. Very little IPA characteristics, but very nice. Finish is more caramel and malt, not much hop presence. Warming but very drinkable, alcohol not strong at all. I'd put this somewhere between an American and English barleywine. Drink it as a winter warmer rather than an DIPA.
As long as you're not expecting a typical DIPA, this could be considered a nice little southern brewery gem.

Photo of zuperman
4.65/5  rDev +25.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

For a beer that is 12.5% this beer is great and not overbearing. The sweetness is not your typical alcohol cover up but rather a nice honey note that compliments the hops nicely

Photo of Samp01
3.87/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a reddish ruby brown with a small slowly dissipating to a thin lasting tan he’d with good lacing. Aroma is of sweet caramel malt, yeasty fruity notes with some earthy floral hops. Taste is sweet caramel malt, yeast, brown sugar and molasses, with earthy floral hops bitterness. Palate is a full body, smooth mouth feel, good carbonation, with good sweet bitter balance. Finish is sweet caramel malt, yeast, some dark fruity notes, brown sugar, molasses with earthy floral hops for balance, ending is sweet lingering caramel malt, brown sugar and some sweet alcohol. Alcohol seems well hidden. Overall a very good, flavorful and balanced brew, nice.

Photo of emerge077
2.71/5  rDev -27%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 2.5

"2021" julian date code on the bottom, june-july 2011 apparently.

Dark tawny copper, sticky cap of fluffy, creamy foam that leaves copious lacing inside the glass. Transparent, high clarity. Head retention is strong, as it's long lasting, maintaining a stiff meringue froth for the duration of the glass.

Sticky toffee and caramel aroma, more appropriate to an old ale or aged barleywine. Very sweet with a bit of pine resin and spun sugar notes.

Ugh. Sticky sweet, syrupy and very astringent. Cheesy smoked gouda notes? Wtf is going on in here >_> I like me some cheese, and toffee too, but not together getting friendly in my beer. Fusel alcohol, sickly sweet, reminds me of cheap schnapps or liqueur. Earthy herbal hop resin in the aftertaste that seems to build incrementally after each sip. Oh...there's the hops. Unfortunately they can't save this beer, especially this late in the game. A flash of an afterthought of hops and a ton of residual sugar does not equal a DIPA. This crosses the threshold into old ale/barleywine for sure. The sweetness and high level astringency are the dealbreakers here.

"Up the creek" generally means "you're screwed" and sadly, so is this beer. Glad it was only a single, i'd never buy this again.

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Thomas Creek Up The Creek from Thomas Creek Brewery
84 out of 100 based on 451 ratings.