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Thomas Creek Up The Creek - Thomas Creek Brewery

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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
84
good

415 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 415
Reviews: 168
rAvg: 3.72
pDev: 16.4%
Wants: 15
Gots: 30 | 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:
111 IBU

(Beer added by: khiasmus on 06-03-2007)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 415 | Reviews: 168 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jophish17
3/5  rDev -19.4%

jophish17, Dec 04, 2011
Photo of Reagan1984
4.38/5  rDev +17.7%
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.

Reagan1984, Aug 17, 2009
Photo of VelvetExtract
3.46/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

A-Pours a dark ruby/brown color. Body is slightly hazy. Great head. Decent size and great retention. Strong lacing consistency.

S-Rich, deep candied citrus hops. Resinous oily hoppiness. Loads of sweet caramel. Booze is surprisingly not too evident here. The nose has strength but its a bit too subdued for a beer of its epic gravity.

T-Supremely sweet. Hops are sweet and candied in flavor. Loads of caramel. Doesn't taste like a DIPA to me. Sweeter than anything else. Reminds me of a Double Crooked Tree with a less pronounced hoppiness.

M-Full, full, full. Chewy and resiny. Softer carbonation. A real sipper.

O/D-As expected, the girth of this beer makes it a slow-sipping Barleywine or Strong Ale in my opinion. Its worth a try but I am incredibly thankful that most DIPAs don't taste like this.

VelvetExtract, May 25, 2013
Photo of BMart
3.25/5  rDev -12.6%

BMart, Jun 24, 2013
Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
3.9/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I got this brew from kirkpjr. Thanks John!

12oz bottle served in a standard pint glass.

L - clear mahogony color with a creamy beige head that left some lacing.
S - quite a bit of citrus and floral hops with a malty backbone.
T - taste of hops sort of blast their way through, which is not so bad, the malts are there but subtley so.
F - full bodied, creamy smooth.
D - at 12.5% one is good.

JoeyBeerBelly, Aug 16, 2010
Photo of ffejherb
3.18/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz. bottle into half pint on 1/4/09. Shared with FooFaa.

A - Hazy reddish copper-colored body with minimal carbonation and a thin off-white head that diminished, leaving behind only a sparse amount of lace.

S - Malty and floral with some perfumy notes and lots of toffee and caramel malt character. Given the ABV%, the alcohol presence is rather restrained.

T - Initial flavor is quite syrupy and sweet for a DIPA, although some floral and perfumy notes creep into the mix. However, flavor is dominated by caramel and toffee malt, as well as a burnt sugary sweetness. Finishes with minimal bitter notes and mild alcohol warmth.

M - Thick and syrupy texture with kind of chewy, sticky mouthfeel. Finishes quite sweet with minimal bitterness on the palate.

D - Big and malty for a DIPA, perhaps a bit too malty overall. Alcohol isn't too obtrusive, especially for a 12.5% brew, which helps with the drinkability factor.

ffejherb, Jan 05, 2010
Photo of merlin48
4.05/5  rDev +8.9%
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.

merlin48, May 30, 2010
Photo of ShemRahBoo
3.5/5  rDev -5.9%

ShemRahBoo, Jun 02, 2013
Photo of Deuane
4.3/5  rDev +15.6%
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.

Deuane, Jan 20, 2010
Photo of prototypic
2.88/5  rDev -22.6%
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.

prototypic, Dec 04, 2011
Photo of thecheapies
3.45/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Looks super dark for the style. Caramel brown in color. Not much head. Looks okay. 3.5

I smell roasted malts and earthy hops without much vigor. Caramel, grapefruit, and pine. 3.5

Total candy DIPA with rich toffee malts and notes of fig and orange and grapefruit. Sweet and very malty, like a barleywine. Not particularly hoppy. Light chocolate note. Heaps of alcohol. 3.5

Sticky with sweetness. Light-to-moderate carbonation. Pretty boozy. 3.0

Okay DIPA. Enjoying the strength more than the flavor, at this point. 3.5

thecheapies, Nov 17, 2012
Photo of Exiled
4/5  rDev +7.5%

Exiled, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of srandycarter
4.28/5  rDev +15.1%
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!

srandycarter, Aug 07, 2009
Photo of Bung
4/5  rDev +7.5%
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.

Bung, Nov 20, 2009
Photo of Metalmonk
4.28/5  rDev +15.1%
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'.

Metalmonk, Jul 13, 2010
Photo of Gatordaddy
4.5/5  rDev +21%

Gatordaddy, Apr 10, 2012
Photo of jera1350
4/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A deep and dark amber color with a thinner tan head. Has to be the darkest DIPA I've ever seen.

Very barleywine like smell. Very sweet and very hoppy. The hops smell juicy and fruity with pineapple and citrus notes.

The taste is very barleywine like as well. Huge malty sweetness with an equally huge hop presence that adds some solid bitterness and juicy citrus and pineapple hop notes. A bit boozy and piney as well. Tons of flavor going on here.

Full bodied, soft and smooth. Quite nice feeling.

Really digging this huge DIPA. I guess it's more of a barleywine, but sometimes, who cares. Really quite drinkable and goes down easier than it should. Could be trouble. I recommend giving this one a serious try, I was impressed.

jera1350, Jul 02, 2011
Photo of koopa
2.73/5  rDev -26.6%
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

koopa, Mar 19, 2010
Photo of WDJersey
3.25/5  rDev -12.6%

WDJersey, Jan 12, 2013
Photo of aztraz
3.75/5  rDev +0.8%

aztraz, Dec 19, 2013
Photo of buckyp
3.5/5  rDev -5.9%

buckyp, Mar 04, 2012
Photo of wagenvolks
3.25/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

12 oz. bottle into a Meantime snifter; courtesy of Ryan's Ghetto Fab BIF.

Pours dark, too dark for an IIPA, with a rusty amber hue that looks like cola once the glass is filled. More like an Imperial Amber in color, with a thin, wispy head of small khaki bubbles. [EDIT: bumped appearance rating from 3.0 to 3.5 after reading other reviewers that suggest this beer may be a barleywine] Thankfully, the aroma is on point, although I'm still getting the Imperial Amber/Red vibe. Candied amber malts and sticky-sweet caramel & brown sugar provide the breadth of the malt profile, and the hops are green and resinous. This is what a hoppy candy bar would smell like...in some ways it smells like an aged barleywine (think SN Bigfoot).

Aggressive in all ways, the flavor blasts the front of the tongue with a raw hoppiness that quickly gives way to hot rubbing alcohol. Hop cones and harsh bittering alpha acids nip at the front and sides of the tongue like a high grit sandpaper. Sweet caramel malts in the background, but most maltiness gets overwhelmed by the rawness of the booze. Way too alcoholic and medicinal to be anywhere close to drinkable. Body is syrupy and overly carbonated, exaggerating the rough edges of this monster of a beer. Thomas Creek took a risk with Up The Creek, but sometimes risks do not pay off in the beer world. This is one example. Too big, too boozy, too unrestrained, and nowhere near an IIPA for me. I'd have to pass on this one next time...

wagenvolks, Aug 21, 2009
Photo of lupercmda
3.5/5  rDev -5.9%

lupercmda, Dec 19, 2012
Photo of Immortale25
4.05/5  rDev +8.9%

Poured into a Dogfish Spiegelau glass. Bottleneck code is smeared and unreadable but I know it must be somewhat fresh because the store I work at just got it in stock.

A- The darkest IPA I've ever seen. It's medium brown in color with a 1/2 inch dark tan head that retains well before becoming a .

S- Smell is barleywine-like with lots of sweet biscuity malt and caramel. Also some moderate hop fume and some not-so-moderate alcohol fume.

T- Taste is a bit more intriguing as the caramel sweetness comes through nicely and isn't overbearing. Another thing that's not overbearing is the alcohol. I wouldn't guess this was 12.5%. More like 10%. The hops aren't prevalent enough for me to consider this an IPA. It certainly fits the barleywine style more than IPA.

M- Somewhat creamy but also prickly from the medium carbonation and alcohol. Fullish body.

O- This is a fine beer but definitely not an IPA in my opinion. It's a slow-sipping American Barleywine with a nice amount of sweetness.

Immortale25, Sep 15, 2014
Photo of BMMillsy
3.96/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle from Gator Beverage in Gainesville. Pours a deep clear reddish brown, small cream colored head. Aroma comes off with serious caramel malts and a nice backdrop of caramels. Very malt-forward IPA, with some pine bitterness and grapefruit flavor on the finish. To me, this has a very similar flavor profile to Double Crooked Tree, but hides the alcohol better. A pretty solid brew here. Much better than their regular IPA.

BMMillsy, Aug 27, 2012
Thomas Creek Up The Creek from Thomas Creek Brewery
84 out of 100 based on 415 ratings.