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Thomas Creek Up The Creek - Thomas Creek Brewery

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.

182 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 182
Hads: 478
Avg: 3.7
pDev: 16.22%
Wants: 18
Gots: 49 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 182 | Hads: 478
Photo of Barkmatic
1.25/5  rDev -66.2%
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?

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Photo of thegooddoctor_b
1.59/5  rDev -57%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 2 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.5

A - Light colored pour with a white, airy head. Didn't like the color much - golden but with an off tint.

S - Bitter, bitter, bitter. Not appealing to me.

T - A ton more bitter. IPA to the extreme. Couldn't discern any more flavors. The aftertaste was not skunk or rotten, but was not pleasant, and took several sips of water and swishes to get it out.

M - Coated my mouth in a film which intensified the aftertaste.

O - It's not just a clever name! The hops in this are intense. It's only for IPA lovers.

IPAs have never been for me at all. I wanted to try this because of three points: I rarely buy them, I assumed from the name this would be very hoppy, and the high ABV. Gave it a shot, glad I did, reaffirmed my view of my tastes. I see what the brewer is shooting for and I'm sure will please the hopheads.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
2.01/5  rDev -45.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

A: Poured a slow, sluggish, deep darkish, murky orange color with a small white cap which quickly resedes leaving very minimal dirty white bubbles

S: Big caramel and breadiness with a hidden pine and citrus element

T: Immediate malt bomb; caramel and bread dominate start to finish. There is a inital orange peel and pine resin which try to break free. No dice. The beer is heavy, sticky, a bit buttery as well, a messy concoction I would not even know how or what to call it besides a Strong Ale but not a IIPA

M: Big body, heavy on palate, bittering boozey mouthfeel, sticky and off

O: This beer needs to go back to the drawing board.

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Photo of 1Adam12
2.32/5  rDev -37.3%
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.

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Photo of OWSLEY069
2.35/5  rDev -36.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Pours a clean deep amber in color with a tan head. In the aroma, a small pine hop, and a huge presence of hairspray like alcohol. In the taste, dry alcohol, caramel like notes, and mellow hops in the end. Oh, did I mention the hairspray like dryness of alcohol all the way through. A small hop bite and a medium bodied mouthfeel, with a dry small alcohol and note of hop in the aftertaste. Just a note of hops, boozy and unbalanced.

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Photo of russphillips
2.41/5  rDev -34.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.75

Given that this is marketed as a double IPA I have to give it such a low score, based simply on style. This is not a double IPA. Perhaps a fine example of an American strong ale or even a barley wine as many have suggested. Pours rich and dark reddish brown, with a short lived head. Aroma is heavily sweet and caramel with a modest piney hop character. This is complimented by a plum fruitiness. Mouthfeel is full bodied with a dark candy sugar caramelized richness. The alcohol presence on the tongue is less than I would expect given the ABV, but my sample is over a year in my conditioning refrigerator. Flavored are rich and complex. Sweet dark caramel dominates over the malt. Hop character takes a backseat to the complex sugars. As an American strong I would say 4 to 4.5 at least, perhaps higher. Much better with age, younger bottles were not as enjoyable. Not a double IPA, but a fine beer to enjoy slowly. As it warms it just gets more complex and better. One to age for a few months.

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Photo of doughanson78
2.43/5  rDev -34.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass. Thanks to storminspank for this.

A: Pretty deep dark amber, almost a redish brown tint to it. Very nice clarity. One finger light tan head that lasts forever but only leaves a light lacing.

S: Very caramely. Sweet with a slight spice. A light earthy and piney hop comes through a touch. Toffee and a slight nuttiness. Almost like an aged Barleywine.

T: Sweet caramel and toffee upfront. Some kind of hop tries to come through, maybe a pine or a citrus but the caramel mixes with it and becomes a weird raisin flavor. Alcohol and buttery caramel in the finish. Don't know if I can finish this one.

M: Medium body. High carbonation. Super syrupy, and sticky.

O: Double IPA? I don't think so. This is even less a DIPA than Double Crooked Tree. This is definitely a sipper. Just so you'll be able to stomach the whole bottle.

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Photo of taylocd
2.44/5  rDev -34.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Poured from 12-ounce bottle into pint tumbler; freshness code of TCUP-235BA, which should be ~ July 20, 2010 bottle date; brew courtesy of fellow local BA.

A - deep amber body with bubbly tan head that left decent lacing; the color was an odd surprise as I expected a brighter color

S - caramel aroma dominates here, but there is a whiff of scotch

T - another disappointing surprise here with what seemed to be a mix of caramel and butterscotch; as beer warms there is a slightly bitter finish, but nothing near expected for DIPA, and it is still outweighed by the sweet malty flavor.

M - the beer had a nice texture and carbonation and the sticky feel expected for IPA/DIPA

D - the nice sticky finish worked against the beer as it caused the overly sweet flavor to linger far too long

As much as I can relate to the name of the brew and empathize with the soon-to-be-swimming kayaker, I can't appreciate what Thomas Creek tried to do with this one. Perhaps this was just an out-of-date sample.

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Photo of VincentFrey
2.47/5  rDev -33.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

A giant beer at 12.5% for a 12oz bottle. Poured into a Heavy Seas snifter. Pours a see through amber to brown. The smell is particularly unpleasant; it smells like every other DIPA I've had off a random store shelf: booze drowning out earthy hops. It's pretty though, on those aspect.

Taste is...generic? The alcohol is present but there are many beers that hide it much worse. It's interesting to pick apart the flavors, but that just goes to show an uninteresting whole. It's pretty much a mess.

Uninteresting and unappealing. Was hoping for more for the first time seeing these guys in my area.

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Photo of Omnium
2.5/5  rDev -32.4%

In no way shape or form is this an Ipa. Maybe brewers are forgetting the fact that the P in IPA is supposed to mean Pale. This thing pours as dark as some porters do.
Aroma is black cherry, sweet sugary candy, alcohol.
Flavor is sugary sweet malt, booze, abrasive soapy pine and canned fruit mix of hops. Total mess.
Mouth feel is thick, tons of burn, cloying sweetness.
O. This is an American barleywine, nothing else. Shame on Thomas creek for trying to pass this as an ipa

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Photo of MrOH
2.54/5  rDev -31.4%
look: 1.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Dark brown with orange highlights. Thin light tan head. Doesn't look much like an IPA, more like a brown ale.

Orange, dried fruit, and caramel. Prunes, raisins, candied citron. Brandyish alcohol. It's like a well made fruit cake. Smells like an awesome young barleywine.

Bright orange flavor. Alcohol. The dried fruit shows up again. This must be one of those "double everything" DIPAs. Way more like a dark, hoppy barleywine than a standard DIPA. Good, in its way.

Slick, heavy feel. Low carbonation. Not incredibly drinkable.

Unfortunately, I went into this thinking it would be more of a standard DIPA. If it were labeled as an American barleywine, it would have gotten much better scores, because I do enjoy it, but it is not anywhere near my interpretation of the style.

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Photo of djmichaelk
2.59/5  rDev -30%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 1

12oz bottle courtesy of soulforpeanuts (thanks, Rick!) into a perfect pint.

A - Far and away the darkest DIPA I've ever seen -- looks more like an imperial amber/red than anything else. Big, fluffy two fingers of head with great retention. Rings of lace on the glass.

S - Very sweet-smelling. Lots of caramelly malt, some vanilla, brown sugar. Not much in the way of a hoppy bite, but it's there in the background. Alcohol is evident in the nose, which is not a surprise considering the abv.

T - Looks like an amber, tastes like an american barleywine. Toffee, burnt sugar, and caramel flavors, coupled with just a little bit of a hop bitterness. But the alcohol has more presence than I'd like, and makes the finish long and dry. This one definitely needs a year or two, and that would take it out of DIPA territory.

M - Thick and creamy, which is kind of strange for a DIPA. But it's not a bad thing. Full bodied and pleasant.

D - At 12.5%, with the alcohol not very well hidden, it's not really drinkable at all. You'd never buy a 4 or 6-pack of this for the afternoon (don't know if it even comes like that). Flavors are nice enough, but definitely one-and-done.

O - Strong, with a sweet malt background and hoppy overtones. Sounds like an american barleywine, right? I think the brewer has miscategorized this one. It's not bad, but not something I'd go out of my way to seek out.

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Photo of Sayson
2.6/5  rDev -29.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Dark amber/brown pour into my pint glass. White head some lacing. Very clear. Certainly filtered.
S: Lots of malt very little hops. Really kicking myself for spending $12 on a four pack by now. If this said barlieywine and not DIPA, I'd be pleased.
T: Malt, malt and more malt. No hop flavor, some residual bitterness
M: Average
D: Too much alcohol for too little flavor. I'm going to steer clear of this beer and brewery until I hear something positive. If they're willing to slap a DIPA label on a beer without making it hoppy, they won't get my money again.

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Photo of macrosmatic
2.62/5  rDev -29.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Reviewed from notes. Poured from 12 oz. bottle into pint glass.

A: Clear, very dark amber with a one and a half finger tan head that fades pretty quickly without much lacing. Only a bit of visisble carbonation.

S: Sweet caramel, boozy, with a bit of pine hops.

T: Caramel, booze, bitter from hops. I don't get a whole lot of other hop presence.

M: Sticky sweet mouthfeel. Decent carbonation sensation. Alcohol is very noticeable - this is pretty hot.

O: I'm torn as to how to review this. As a DIPA, this is a complete fail. It was decent for a barleywine, not great though. Low hop presence and over-malted which results in a very cloying sweet overall impression. If this was listed as a American Barleywine, I think it would be in the 3.5-3.75 range for me overall.

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Photo of busterwhite
2.67/5  rDev -27.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured a dark amber, light brown with no head or lacing.

Smells sweet with raisins and malt. A slight floral, bitter hop aroma.

Taste was not what I was expecting from an Imperial IPA. Like the nose it tastes sweet with raisins, figs, a little spice. Finishes with some hop bitterness and alchohol.

Mouthfeel is thick with good carbonation.

Not sure what this is, but not a typical IIPA. Definitely a sipper, the alcohol was quite noticeable. Won't be going back to this one.

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Photo of emerge077
2.71/5  rDev -26.8%
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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Photo of jzeilinger
2.75/5  rDev -25.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A - Pours a medium to dark ruby color with a thin tan lacing ring. This looks more like a strong ale than an IPA.

S - Subdued dark, ripe tropical fruit, some carmelized candy malt, and some alcohol.

T - Carmelized toasted candy malt and warm alcohol and if I REALLY reach, there's some tropical fruit buried about 12 feet under if I really concentrate.

M - Thick, full bodied and velvety on the tongue.

O - It would benefit the brewer to start dating their bottles because the first experience leaves me with the impression that's it's either poorly brewed, an old bottle, or label it a "Barleywine" instead. In any case, my first experience with a Thomas Creek beer leaves me hesitant. In its current state, it's not an "experience" and more like "get drunk and wreck sh*t in a glass". Had the label not been marked as "Extreme IPA", I would have called this one a Barleywine that sits somewhere between the U.S. and the U.K. style. I will convince myself of that so it doesn't go down the drain, this is nothing close to an Imperial IPA, not even in the ball park.

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Photo of koopa
2.76/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Bottle received as an extra in a trade a month or two ago.

Appearance: This is the first IPA I've seen that pours crimson to burgundy red. The body is fairly clear and the crown is a light khaki. At 2 fingers deep, it shows some retention and lace.

Smell: Much more malt presence than hops. Light caramel malt, hints of stone fruit, some floral hops.

Taste: Caramel covered garbage. Seriously it's not terrible, just not an IPA. Deep caramel notes, stone fruits, and a slightly bitter hop finish that is fairly enjoyable. This is more like a strong ale to me. I'm marking it low because it's a poor representation of the style.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with a touch of heft, moderate carbonation, and a touch creamy.

Drinkability: Tastes bad and has a really strong abv

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Photo of prototypic
2.86/5  rDev -22.7%
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.

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Photo of julian
2.91/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A: Near crystal clear, deep amber and crimson in color with a nice foamy light tan head. One of the darkest DIPAs I've seen.

S: Smell is a mix of toffee, syrup, alcohol and sweet raisin. This smells more like a Scotch ale or barleywine than a DIPA. I don't get any pronounced hop bitterness on the nose.

T&M: Sweet, and syrupy with the taste of raisin and toffee and some fruity bittering in the background which mostly takes a backseat to the malt and alcohol. Carbonation might be a bit high, and the finish leaves a sweet, almost cloying coating on your palate.

O: High ABV, very sweet, lack of hop aroma and overal just not very well balanced or representative of the style it claims to be.

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Photo of babaracas
3.02/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a dark ruby, half inch of khaki colored head fades quickly leaving a thin ring and then poof it's gone. Smell: a whole bunch of caramelized sugar, whiffs of black cherry, cola, date, and booze, a little candied citrus peel. Taste: dark brown sugar, caramelized, date, plum, earthy, candied citrus peel. Medium bodied, syrupy-ish but with enough carbonation to keep it interesting. This is NOT a double IPA, at least not as I'm experiencing it. A really nice barleywine though, but if I score it as a DIPA it's a bummer. As a barleywine or ASA: 3.5 / 4 / 4 / 4 / 4.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
3.05/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thomas Creek
Up the Creek

LOOK: Pours a clear amber with ruby hints.

SMELL: Fruity ale yeast, some citrus from the hops. Strong alcoholic aroma which was not unexpected, given the abv.

TASTE: Sugary sweet caramelized malts, with just s bit of grapefruit, pine and drying bitterness. Not much like an IpA, this is essentially a barleywine with just a bit more hops than the norm. The alcohol is noticeable but is felt more than tasted.

FEEL: Full bodied, well carbonated, smooth feel, a bit syrupy and weighing on the palate.

OVERALL: A ho-hum middle of the road triple ipa/barleywine that boasts of its hops that are quite subdued. This was ok and as others have stated it will get you drunk.

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.05/5  rDev -17.6%

12 oz bottle into a wine glass.

Appearance: Pours a clear dark ruby color. The head is around a finger high, and light khaki in shade. Considering its gravity (12.5%), the retention is excellent. A consistent ring of lacing is left on the glass. (3.75)

Smell: Holy fuck, this is sweet. Then again, what else can be expected from a monstrously huge IPA? The caramel notes are utterly massive, backed by a subtle dankness. Almost no citrus here, this is all pine, earth, and weed. Even better, it's not palpably boozy in the least. Very likable in that brutish, unrefined sledgehammer of a way. (4)

Taste: This is totally a barleywine. It starts off as a total caramel bomb, but there are additional notes of candy, brown sugar, and even chocolate. Some hoppiness appears past the midtaste: again, it's exclusively piny and dank. A lot of these shameless hop-and-malt bombs hide the alcohol superbly, but this has some leathery booze popping up on the finish and aftertaste. Even for the style, it's pretty imbalanced and hard to drink. (2.75)

Mouthfeel: Big, heavy, creamy...this feels massive in every way. There's a definite boozy bite that I feel going down. Carbonation is really low, as well. Honestly, this one is hard to drink...and hard to finish. (2.75)

Overall: Man, this smelled so much better than how it tasted. Normally I enjoy big and shamelessly beastly mega-IPAs, but this one is rubbing me the wrong way. It's too sweet (EVEN FOR THE STYLE!) and boozy, plain and simple. (2.75)

3.05/5: On the wrong side of the massive/moronic mega-IPA spectrum

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Photo of LiquidBread219
3.06/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A= Dark in color like a dark auburn color, nice head and lots of lacing.

S= The smell is what threw me off because it's listed as a Imperial IPA but has a barleywine nose to it huge carmel notes, maybe some chocolate, or other dark fruits almost not what a Imperial would smell like really.

T= In the taste you get a strong carmel backbone the alchol is hidden pretty good with a abv of 12.5% I don't really pick that up but again when I'm thinking Imperial Ipa I'm thinking hops and this just doesn't have it at all.

M= Thick and chewy has the feeling of a barleywine.

O= Overall a good beer I just feel that it's labeled wrong I would consider this almost a barleywine instead of a Imperial Ipa. That's why it got a lower ranking for me because I don't really think this is a Imperial IPA would have been higher if it was labeled a barleywine.

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Photo of domtronzero
3.07/5  rDev -17%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Dark reddish copper colored with a big frothy long lasting whitish head. Lots of lacing. Too dark for a double IPA, IMO.

S - Caramelly sweet malts, estery and a big piny/citrusy hop aroma. Little alcohol as it warms.

F/M - Big sweet caramelly malty flavor up front. Toffee and sweet bready malts. Big piny/citrusy/earthy hops with a moderately high, very firm bitterness. Medium full bodied, thick and a little oily. Moderate carbonation. Lingering piny hops with a big sweet caramel flavor.

D - Pretty good for what is basically a young barleywine. Big, full flavored and easy drinking.

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Thomas Creek Up The Creek from Thomas Creek Brewery
84 out of 100 based on 182 ratings.