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Thomas Creek Up The Creek - Thomas Creek Brewery

Thomas Creek Up The CreekThomas Creek Up The Creek

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BA SCORE
84
good

362 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 362
Reviews: 162
rAvg: 3.73
pDev: 16.09%


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:
111 IBU

(Beer added by: khiasmus on 06-03-2007)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 362 | Reviews: 162 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of acidicbassist
acidicbassist

Massachusetts

4.86/5  rDev +30.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

A - Dark, mahogany colour (blood red if held up to a light) with a thick, light head that leaves a nice lacing.

S - Malty, boozy. Reminiscent of a good barley wine.

T - Initial crisp hoppy flavour, but finishes following the smell with a malty taste of delicious dried fruit.

M - Thick. Coating the inside of the mouth with a syrupy drip.

O - Very full-bodied and complex beer. The high ABV definitely leaves it's mark in the boozy smell and malty flavour, but the as a DIPA, it presents a great amount of hops with lots of other flavours to compliment. Love it.

Serving type: bottle

07-04-2013 05:55:06 | More by acidicbassist
Photo of Netdigger2
Netdigger2

South Carolina

4.68/5  rDev +25.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I am reviewing this as an American Barleywine, as a DIPA to style it is awful. Tom Davis is pretty persistant with calling this an IPA, and it's a shame, really. It'd get great Barleywine marks, both here and in competition methinks.

It pours deep, cloudy brown with a full one inch head. Some of the most outrageous, sticky lacing I have ever seen, and it will glue itself to your glass.

The smell is sweet crystal malt and maybe some low aroma bittering hops, but more caramel than anything. Inviting.

The taste is sweet caramel malt, but not cloying. It has a good hop balance, but not hop forward. The Amarillo flavors play off the malt, giving this great depth and complexity. Very refreshing

The mouthfeel is medium to thick, carbonation is great, head lasts all the way through.

Easy drinker for 12.5%, very good BARLEYWINE (Tom, get the hint, please!)

Serving type: bottle

08-13-2011 12:10:36 | More by Netdigger2
Photo of zuperman
zuperman


4.66/5  rDev +24.9%
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

Serving type: bottle

01-09-2013 16:13:55 | More by zuperman
Photo of HoosBrews
HoosBrews

North Carolina

4.65/5  rDev +24.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Very dark. Looks like a strong ale.

Smell: Sweet and hoppy. The malt really dominates between the two.

Taste: BIG! But very well balanced. This is a sweet beer, but is well balanced by ample hops.

Mouthfeel: Big and sweet. Very little alcohol burn. Is this really a 12.5% abv? Finishes like a 7 or 8% abv.

Drinkability: Dangerously good. This is really a good beer and I'm happy to see a Carolina brewery finally bringing a huge IPA to the region!

Serving type: bottle

07-24-2009 22:35:30 | More by HoosBrews
Photo of MikeB1984
MikeB1984

Massachusetts

4.65/5  rDev +24.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Smell: Caramel and pine

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with moderate carbonation and hoppy.

Overall: As others have noted, this beer is more in barleywine territory than the IPA territory and it is a good one when measured by that standard. Strong hence the 12.5% alcohol.

Serving type: bottle

02-25-2014 15:43:05 | More by MikeB1984
Photo of AlCzerik
AlCzerik

Georgia

4.58/5  rDev +22.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

One of the best beers I have tried in a very long time. Extremely smooth for an IPA and is definitely worth a try for any IPA fan. Its expensive at least for my budget especially for a 4-pack but proved to be deserving of every penny. Just an all around extremely enjoyable beer

Serving type: bottle

05-29-2010 05:18:43 | More by AlCzerik
Photo of Wilson27
Wilson27

Pennsylvania

4.5/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle into snifter

1.5 in head (snifter)

Smell - Could smell it as I was pouring - very nice. Taste - Chocolate, smokey, a bit of caramel sweetness, nutty. Flavor and body carry the alcohol well.
Very full mouthfull.

Overall - Great beer. I really like beers like this. Very earthy flavor, body and flavor carry the alcohol content well. I probably wouldn't have more than one due to the intense flavor and high alcohol content. I have not been "wowed" in awhile, this is a great beer.

Serving type: bottle

07-17-2010 02:45:52 | More by Wilson27
Photo of mkitlbog
mkitlbog

Alabama

4.5/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Unusual color (to me) for an Imperial IPA - Amber color. Very Hoppy but balanced nicely with good malts. Sweet-ish if you can say that about an IPA. Labeled "extreme" i'm sure because of the 12.5% ABV, but I find the beer itself very drinkable. Maybe too drinkable for that ABV!

Serving type: bottle

08-28-2010 22:31:05 | More by mkitlbog
Photo of CliffBrake
CliffBrake

New Hampshire

4.5/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bright dark copper color with a short lived head that leaves plenty of lacing.

Complex aroma with caramel, pine, sweet bread, spices. A great smelling beer. The flavor follows suit with many of the same flavors and plenty of complexity to maintain interest. Bitterness and the sweet malty base are well balanced. Not a dry beer, but the sweetness does not detract from many other flavors present.

Big full body with a smooth mouth-coating feel. A great sipping beer that is very easy to drink for it size.

Not sure I would call this a double IPA - more like an imperial red to me. Whatever it is, it is one of the most intriguing beers I found on my trip to SC and GA. I am going to have some of this shipped home so I can try it again.

Serving type: on-tap

03-05-2011 16:55:59 | More by CliffBrake
Photo of knoxtennessee
knoxtennessee

Tennessee

4.5/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had never heard of this beer, just saw the 12.5% written on the tap handle and had to try it.

A- Deep mahogany red with an impressive light tan head that stuck around.

S- Layers and layers my friend. Lots of rich, thick, caramel malt, some toast, spicy alcohol, strawberry esters, and of course a big dose of citrus from the hops.

T- This stuff tasted almost like unfermented wort. Sweet, dense, bitter, lots of caramel, toffy, ginger bread, very spicy hop character, strong and surprising strawberry character.

M- Dense, sticky, thick, viscous... etc.

O- Much more like an American barleywine than a double IPA. Overwhelmingly rich and decadent. Everything a big beer should be. Would age wonderfully I'm sure but I prefer beers like this fresh as can be. Also a shout out to Cape Fear Wine and Beer for serving this in full pints at a great price. Made my evening.

Serving type: on-tap

05-20-2012 05:38:57 | More by knoxtennessee
Photo of SaCkErZ9
SaCkErZ9

Florida

4.47/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Served on draft at Nicks in Clemson, SC.

This beer is kind of a catch-all beer. It is listed at 12.5% abv, called an "Extreme IPA", yet has the characteristics of a Strong Ale.

The look, smell, and taste are close to a Double Bastard. However, one glaring, obvious, and awesome difference is drinkability: I have never had a touted 12.5% abv beer taste so smooth and non alcoholic. This beer will really knock you on your ass. The server at Nicks said this was extreme, but, being as this is the beer void of the south, I thought she meant "strong IPA". This beer was not that.

Pours a dark amber, almost brown chocolate with a creamy white head. Loads of lacing as well. Aroma was a heavy dose of hops followed by the sweetness of the malts. Some chocolate is present as well.

Awesome flavor. Perfect balance of sweet caramel malt, chocolate malt, citrus hops, and alcohol. Full bodied and dangerously drinkable. The most drinkable <10% beer I have ever had.

I have had several TC beers in the past and was generally unimpressed. However, this was a dangerous beer. TC is coming up in this world I believe.

Serving type: on-tap

04-27-2009 23:45:20 | More by SaCkErZ9
Photo of tdm168
tdm168

North Carolina

4.4/5  rDev +18%
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.

Serving type: bottle

07-18-2011 18:40:48 | More by tdm168
Photo of DIM
DIM

Pennsylvania

4.4/5  rDev +18%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

a: This was a dark, ruby tinted chestnut brown. It poured small, short lived creamy head.

s: Not hop forward, this was very balanced. Don't get me wrong, there were plenty of hops, there was just plenty of caramel, brown sugar, and hints of chocolate cake batter to provide balance. The hops were resiny and earthy.

t: Citrus, then sweet brown sugar/chocolate and caramel. The finish is bitter grapefruit rind and moderate warmth. 12.5% is hard to believe, it is so well incorporated.

m: Heavy and chewy.

o: I asked about local barleywines at GBX and they didn't have any. This was one they suggested as an alternative. Great suggestion, not only was this a great beer, but is definitely more b-wine than pale ale.

Serving type: bottle

01-15-2012 23:41:10 | More by DIM
Photo of ATLbeerDog
ATLbeerDog

Georgia

4.38/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(Edit)This review was for a beer was called Celebration and the recipe for the current version is different.

---
Poured a pint from a keg of this beautifully red, brown golden colored beer in to a Sam Adams glass. With a heavy hops smell of citrus and flowery pine, this so called DIPA sits on that thin line nestled between a DIPA and an American Barley Wine. What a great place to be!

First sip is overpowered by heavy malts followed by the strong hops. The 12.5% ABV is the best hidden of any beer I have tried to date. You think it is about 9 or 10% - certainly not 12.5%. What gives it away is the punch you feel after just 2 glasses. Is this the strongest beer ever legally brewed in South Carolina? It also may be the best.

Sierra Nevada is forcing Thomas Creek to change the name. The new name will be, "Up The Creek".

Serving type: on-tap

02-22-2008 02:55:41 | More by ATLbeerDog
Photo of Reagan1984
Reagan1984

Massachusetts

4.38/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked this up in Charleston at the Charleston Beer Exchange.

This is a thick looking beer. Not even to the lips yet and you can see how thick it pours. The head was creamy light tan and had great structure. Even got above the glass by a ¼ inch. This did settle to a creamy cap that remained. The beer itself is very dark ruby red/amber and a very very deep color. Looks lime some barleywines.

Aroma is of dark fruits, malty sweet and of slight alcohol. Some bright pine as well.

Wait, is this a barley wine.? It's really good, but doesn't exactly remind me of a DPA. Really deep and layered malt flavor. Big pine hop presence. Slight coconut. Really big and wonderfully balanced. Almost a black cherry or chocolate covered cherry note to it.

Almost syrup thick. Very bold yet smooth and inviting.

I really enjoy this beer. There is something about it that just warms the heart.

** I had to read some other reviews after I wrote this and see I am not alone in thinking this is like a barley wine. Strange, but this is a very good beer.

Serving type: bottle

08-16-2009 23:27:06 | More by Reagan1984
Photo of vacax
vacax

California

4.33/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Mike for hooking me up with this bottle of Extreme IPA... or is it an American Barleywine? Hell, I could ask the same question about many East Coast IPAs though. Either way it is pretty tasty. Pours a brownish red with a jolly good length of tan head that was thick and made lovely lacing. Aromas of toffee, caramel, pineapple, pine, and honey. Tastes of brown sugar, toffee, cocoa, pineapple, has a nice full bitterness and spicy cookie finish. Full body and somewhat high carbonation seems more like a barleywine than an IPA. Overall this is really nice. Think of it is a Triple East Coast IPA.

Serving type: bottle

04-09-2010 23:59:54 | More by vacax
Photo of BuckeyeNation
BuckeyeNation

Iowa

4.33/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Fiery crimson (when backlit with the rising sun) beneath a creamy dollop of pale caramel colored mousse. This has to be the single darkest DIPA in the history of beer. The foam looks good as it melts, and leaves an acceptable amount of sea foam lace on the sloping sides of the glass. In a word... unique.

As expected, there's considerable caramel malt in the nose. Thankfully, abundant hop resins are present as well. Warrior and Nugget were used for bittering, Amarillo and Willamette for flavor and aroma, and Amarillo for dry-hopping. Good choices all.

Up The Creek is deliciously hoppy big beer that hides its alcohol very well. Comparisons to an American barleywine would not be out of line. Actually, when all is said and done, that style is probably more accurate than the chosen style. No matter, because damn good beer is damn good beer, no matter what it's called.

Specifics include English toffee pudding with caramel-date sauce and loads of grapefruit and orange zest. It's easy to believe the claimed 111 IBUs, though abundant malt sugars take the rough edges off in fine fashion. UTC is not overly sweet, which is to the brewer's credit.

Warming allows the already powerful flavors to bloom to an even greater extent. It also buries the alcohol deeper and deeper with each successive sip. The mouthfeel is a well-calibrated combination of silky smooth and alpha acid raspy, with near perfect bubbles.

This Thomas Creek 'Extreme IPA' is wonderful beer that deserves a wider audience. The fact that singles are available locally makes me a very happy BA. Forget the paddle, get Up The Creek as soon as possible. You can thank me later.

Serving type: bottle

01-15-2011 14:32:44 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of Jambarino
Jambarino

South Carolina

4.33/5  rDev +16.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

09-15-2012 02:55:13 | More by Jambarino
Photo of woodychandler
woodychandler

Pennsylvania

4.31/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I think that this was another of local, in-person trader, tone77's haul from a recent trip to North Carolina. If so, well done, my friend! I was astounded when I noticed its 12.5% ABV, but I am the man for the job.

From the bottle: "Sink the Status Quo."; "Extreme IPA".

This was stunning from the pour onwards. I was a little heavy handed at first and I got a cascading action that resulted in two fingers of dense, deep-tan head with excellent retention. The color was somewhere between ruby and mahogany with NE-quality clarity and I wish that I had an SRM chart as I have never seen a DIPA of this shade. Nose was bringing the heat and I felt some nose hairs spontaneously combust. Recovering (in the form of a body wracking sneeze or two), I got caramel and mint and now I was slavering like a dog. In the interim, the head began to fall and the sticky lacing was going to require a jackhammer to remove. A monkey appeared out of my past, jumped on my back and began chattering loudly. Mouthfeel was soft, but hot and I mean vapors wafting from my tongue hot. Phew! Once I got my bearings and could properly function again, I realized that it reminded me of an American Barleywine - very hoppy and very malty at the same time. I know that aging of IPAs is frowned upon, but I wonder what this might be like given some time to mellow the heat. Finish was dry, between the alcohol heat and the peppermint hops. Schnapps also came to mind. This is a no playing around beer and should be treated as such.

Serving type: bottle

04-30-2013 23:45:40 | More by woodychandler
Photo of Chronicsurfer69
Chronicsurfer69

South Carolina

4.3/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I tried this beer at the Thomas Creek brewery and I was very impressed. I confirmed that it does infact have a ABV of 12.5%, I had a conversation with Thomas A. Davis the head brewer at TCB. This brew will most likely end up in a speical 22oz bottle.

Serving type: on-tap

01-23-2008 10:38:57 | More by Chronicsurfer69
Photo of Deuane
Deuane

Pennsylvania

4.3/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Multiple samples on tap at BrewGrass 2009.

A-Hazy, dark copper with a small light tan head that held on tight and left decent lace.

S-Bright floral and grapefruit hop punch up front with a healthy backing of sweet caramel and toffee.

T-BAM! Big fat blast of ruby red grapefruit, floralness and touch of spicy hop bitterness in the finish. Backing caramel malt comes through after the HUGE wave of hops passes over your palate. Hard to believe that this one is 12+%

M-Medium bordering on medium-light...amazing considering it's ABV strength! Nice, long lingering bitterness.

D-Ok, broken record here...this is 12%? What? Certainly doesn't drink like it. A veritable hop bomb with full on aggressiveness. An excellent brew made to capture the glory of hops. I went back time and time again to grab a sample of this one.

Serving type: on-tap

01-20-2010 14:22:16 | More by Deuane
Photo of bucklemyshoe
bucklemyshoe

Georgia

4.3/5  rDev +15.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-04-2010 02:42:57 | More by bucklemyshoe
Photo of mikesgroove
mikesgroove

South Carolina

4.28/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Was in Barleys tonight and saw this one on tap. I had been waiting for one of the locals to finally brew up a high gravity, and this is apparently the first. Went into it with very high expectations....

A - Poured a deep russet brown, nearly opaque, but not thick looking. Large off white head slowly faded to leave behind just a touch of side lace. Decent look actually. The head and color were quite nice to be honest.

S - Aroma was a bit off perhaps. Had some notes of sugar with a caramel nuttiness to it. Hops were definatly present, but not overwhleming. Not really an IPA type of smell to me, more of a strong ale type as the malts definatly dominated the nose here. Literally no hint of alcohol in the aroma, which at 12.5% struck me as a bit odd, but never the less I continue on..

T - Definatly not the Double IPA taste here. This was a strong ale, and I am guessing maybe 8% in the high end. There was just no way this was 12+%. If it was, kudos man cause that is just completely not apparent at all. Nice sugary tome up front with a nice dry finish. Somewhat of a touch of alcohol, a little warming but nothing really crazy at all.

M - Nice, not too heavy, and not watered down at all like some of the others seem to be. This one definatly had some work but into it and it was obvious. A little harsh, and apparently a little strong to be a session ale, but I found it to be a little more then a sipper to be honest.

D - Very good here. It was not strong enough to prohibit me from drinking in decent quantity. I could see this one bottled very nicely. It just had a good drinkability for something soo sdtrong.

Overall it was not bad, to be honest I have had much better, however for their first try at something big, I gotta give them props for trying, and for getting it out there. The only downside is there is no way it is 12.5%. I just cant see it. It doesnt taste that strong, no where near it. If it is, damn it could get me in trouble!

Serving type: on-tap

08-12-2007 02:48:33 | More by mikesgroove
Photo of srandycarter
srandycarter

California

4.28/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I am not docking for style. I am rating for experience.

A - Brown, cola like, off white head. Sticky lacing. Liking the look, but an IPA?

S - Big sweet malt. Cooked fruits, booze.

T - Oh, taste follows smell in a big way. Nice hop twang at end to balance it out too.

M - Good on all fronts. Nice balance, creamy but carbed, I like this one.

D - A little muted considering the ABV....

GOOD STUFF though!

Serving type: bottle

08-07-2009 05:46:24 | More by srandycarter
Photo of Metalmonk
Metalmonk

North Carolina

4.28/5  rDev +14.7%
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'.

Serving type: bottle

07-13-2010 21:24:21 | More by Metalmonk
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Thomas Creek Up The Creek from Thomas Creek Brewery
84 out of 100 based on 362 ratings.