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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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447 Ratings
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(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 447
Reviews: 180
rAvg: 3.7
pDev: 16.49%
Wants: 17
Gots: 41 | FT: 2
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: 447 | Reviews: 180
Photo of t0rin0
2.75/5  rDev -25.7%

Photo of zestar
3.75/5  rDev +1.4%

Photo of acurtis
3.25/5  rDev -12.2%

Photo of Thorpe429
3.23/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottle courtesy of bmanning. Served in a Hill Farmstead wine glass.

Pours quite dark with some nice ruby highlights in the body. Single-finger head falls down a bit quickly and brings some larger carbonation bubbles. There is some pretty good lacing as it starts to fall down.The initial whiff has some light notes of cherry cough syrup. It's quite faint. Some mildly-sweet caramelized malt.

The taste has a really nice malt character as well as some sweetness and caramel. This reminds me more of an English barleywine. It could be an old bottle, but it's fairly enjoyable how it is. However, I will say that the mouthfeel is a bit of a drawback as there is a slight astringency that comes out a lot more in the finish as a sort of metallic dryness.

I like where the taste was going, but the finish was a bit too much and really affected the drinkability of this one. A nice offering, though. Thanks again, Ben.

Photo of metter98
3.78/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer is clear but very dark garnet red in color (black when viewed from afar) and has a light amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a finger high dense tan head that gradually died down, leaving a thin head covering the surface, a narrow collar around the edge and some lacing down the sides of the glass.
S: Moderately strong aromas of caramel and toffee malts are present in the nose along with some slight hints of boozy alcohol.
T: Like the smell, the malty flavors stand out much more prominently compared to the underlying pine resin hops, the latter of which contribute a light to moderate amount of bitterness.
M: It feels medium- to full-bodied and slightly crisp on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation. Faint hints of stickiness are noticeable.
O: This beer is packed with so much malts that one might think it actually is a barleywine instead of an IPA. It definitely tastes strong, but more like a 9% abv beer instead of a 12.5% one because the alcohol is rather well masked from the taste.

Photo of olradetbalder
3/5  rDev -18.9%

Photo of brentk56
4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a clear russet capped by an ecru head that grows rocky as it leaves a decent amount of lacing behind

Smell: Caramel, tobacco and pine

Taste: Caramel and tobacco tones dominate the front end, with the piney hops building to a crescendo; not to be outdone, the malts add a toffee sweetness to the finish though bitterness also remains in the aftertaste

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with moderate carbonation

Overall: As others have noted, this beer is more in barleywine territory and it is a good one when measured by that standard

Photo of ygtbsm94
3.75/5  rDev +1.4%

Photo of BEERchitect
3.78/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Billed as an Extreme IPA, at 12.5% abv. I would agree. However because of how the beer tastes, I would group it in with the American Strong Ale catagory.

The beer starts out with a strong amber/copper hue with good clarity. A dense white head forms on the beer and slowly fades to a sheet across the beer, while lacing very well.

Aromas are strong with piney, resiny hops but are equalled by strong toasted malts, molassas, maple syrup and stone fruits.

Flavors of malts hit first and reluctantly allow the hops to rival them. The syrups, molassas, and nuttiness is woven into an estery mix of grapes, dates, figs, raisons, and grapes. Hop flavor of pine, grasses, and grapefruit has a strong impact in bitterness but lesser so in flavor. Alcohols give an ethynol flavor of paint thinner in the finish.

The alcohol warmth is evident, but the beer doesn't feel like a 12.5%-er, partly because of the heavy residual malt sweetness and weight that makes the beer seem more like an American Barleywine.

I want to make comparisons to Arrogant Bastard, only with less toast, more sweetness, more alcohol roughness, and more malt-focused. Thanks Ding, this was a wild ride!

Photo of Knapp85
3.35/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This poured out as a much darker brew than I expected... This is a deep amber color, nearly black looking. There is a decent head on top with a moderate lacing. The smell of the beer is spicy, there is a decent hop aroma with lots of caramel malts on nose. The taste is very malty, it's also very hoppy too. In all honesty though it tastes like a barley wine. There is a slight herbal flavor in there as well. The mouthfeel is thick, good carbonation and oily. Overall not sure why they call this one an IPA. It's decent but not that great.

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.3/5  rDev +16.2%
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.

Photo of mikesgroove
4.28/5  rDev +15.7%
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!

Photo of womencantsail
3.78/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

An extra from Brandon. Thanks a bunch!

A: The pour is a dark, dark amber color with a finger's worth of khaki colored foam.

S: There are some slight pine hop notes to the nose along with a dominant toffee, caramel, and molasses malt base.

T: A slightly burnt sugar flavor along with lots of toffee, caramel, and brown sugar. The hop character is present here too and is somewhat bitter with a resinous pine flavor.

M: The body is on the full side with a lively and moderate level of carbonation.

D: More like a barleywine than anything, but pretty good. The alcohol was not really all that noticeable on the flavor or aroma, but this one could be a chore to drink too much of.

Photo of oberon
3.61/5  rDev -2.4%
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 ChainGangGuy
4.06/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a hazy, dark amber body with a small, beige head.

Smell: All in all, a modest aroma, but you get a sense of the malt and grapefruit awaiting you in the flavor.

Taste: Sweet, candyish toffee maltiness. Juicy ruby red grapefruit with a bright, earthy hop bitterness that grows as it warms a bit. Sure, you can tell the alcohol is in there, but it blends in very well with the other components of the beer. Bittersweet, warming finish.

Mouthfeel: A bit beyond medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: Quite good, Thomas Creek, I gotta tell ya. Drinks very easy, very smooth for being over 12%. Won't you be so good as to bottle this, TC?

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.

Photo of JAHMUR
3.25/5  rDev -12.2%

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.08/5  rDev +10.3%
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 russpowell
3.3/5  rDev -10.8%
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 smcolw
3.8/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours as if raspberry syrup were added. Borderline dark ruby and brown. Little head. Leaves plenty of ring lace. In between rings is plenty of spots.

First thought on the smell is that this is a perfumed laden brew. Sweet and floral but without the hop notes I would expect.

Strong brandy-like presence. Sweet, syrupy and port flavored. Low bitterness--the finish is quite malty. The hop which shows up is only there as a counterbalance. If I were to guess the style blindly, I'd think Doppelbock or Barley Wine. Alcohol is is strong but not dominating. Thick body and lowly carbonated.

Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev +8.1%
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 wrightst
3.75/5  rDev +1.4%

Photo of Gavage
3.83/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: pours a dark amber color with a big 3" head that creates a thick lacing on the glass during the session.

Smell: grapefruit, caramel sweetness, and a strong bitterness are up front. Some alcohol aroma is softer.

Taste: big caramel profile with golden apples, big grapefruit, some pine, and a strong biting bitterness. Alcohol is very noticable and quite warming.

Mouthfeel: heavy in body. Lightly crisp throughout with a dry finish. Very long aftertaste as the bitterness lingers on the tongue forever.

Drinkability: this beer was a bit extreme for the style and was quite a slow drinking beer. One glass was more than enough in a session.

Photo of stakem
3.85/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Review from notes taken 1/13/10. Bottle I believe care of goryshkewych, thanks! No indication of freshness but with this high of an abv, it doesn't really matter. This is strong ale/barleywine territory.

Poured into a snifter, this brew appears a surprising ruby red color with quite a bit of clarity. A tan head appears atop the brew and fades hanging closely to the edges of the glassware. Holding this brew up to the light displays some orange hues and an overall burnt look to it for a DIPA.

The aroma of this brew is sweet and fruity with a bounty of caramelized sugars. Toasty malt fills the profile with a light alcohol indication that is significantly subdued. The finish is a bit herbal with a backend to the nose that regains the toasted quality of the malt and fruity sweetness. As it warms some more Fidel alcohol becomes evident along with a smell that just seems burnt.

The taste of this brew includes a vast amount of toasted caramel malt with evident alcohol and clingy, lasting herbal bitterness. The caramel malt fills most of the profile with a flavor that is toasty leaning towards burnt. Each of the flavors in this brew seem singular and identifiable without blending or meshing together that well. Each sip is either, sweet, burnt or bitter. The alcohol is hidden quite well.

This is a medium to full bodied brew with a light amount of carbonation. It smells fruity like a finely aged barleywine, tastes excessively burnt and bitter, rindy and herbal like a strange contorting of a DIPA. The highlight is how well the alcohol is hidden. I shared this brew with a friend and I'm glad I did. It is an interesting interpretation and worth giving a try.

Photo of woodychandler
4.33/5  rDev +17%
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.

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Thomas Creek Up The Creek from Thomas Creek Brewery
84 out of 100 based on 447 ratings.