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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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 182 | Hads: 478
Photo of srandycarter
4.25/5  rDev +14.9%
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!

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Photo of MacQ32
3.35/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Closed 4 Business

A - Pours a super dark amber color with a nice half head rich caramel colored head. Pretty nice retention, really dark for a double ipa

S - Super alcoholic and hoppy, a little malty sweetness

T - Very alcoholic semi dry, hoppy bitterness, and a bit yeasty

M - Heavier body, decent caerbonation for the body, pretty drinkable for 12.5, but not drinkable enough

O - Much darker than expected. I'm drinking this after a litre of Ruination and I can still taste the hoppy bitterness (which is a good thing), strong alcohol tastes but pretty good tasdting for a twelve and a half perecenteer

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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 thecheapies
3.45/5  rDev -6.8%
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

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Photo of buschbeer
3.55/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle
Served in a tulip glass

A - It is mahogany in color with bronze highlights. Two inches of mocha colored froth capped it.

S - I get lots of sweet, caramel malt and alcohol. No hops to speak of.

T - There's a battle going on in my mouth between caramel malt, alcohol, and bitter pine hops. It starts out sweet and finishes bitter from the hops. I get a growing warming sensation from the alcohol.

M - It has a pretty full mouthfeel.

O - It has a lot of sweetness for an IPA. If it didn't say "India Pale Ale" on the bottle I would have thought I was drinking a barleywine. If I were rating this as a barleywine I would say it's pretty good. As a DIPA, not as good.

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Photo of Metalmonk
4.25/5  rDev +14.9%
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'.

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Photo of n2185
3.43/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a surprisingly dark mahogany with red light coming through when held up to light. There's about a finger of off-white head which recedes into a small ring but leaves decent lacing.

S: A strong malt presence on the nose at first followed by some pine and resin aromas from the hops.

T: There is some sweetness up front but then the hops kick in for a huge blast of pine and resin, leaving the tongue tingling. There's some bitterness in the aftertaste along with a light alcohol burn.

M: Medium-heavy body with a good amount of carbonation which goes well with the piny hops.

D: For such a big beer, this does go down pretty easily. You won't want to drink many, but it avoids being cloyingly sweet like many beers of its caliber.

Overall, I would have rated this beer higher if it had been classified as an American Barleywine or Strong Ale. There's definitely a strong hop presence, but it's too dark and malty to be a DIPA. As a barleywine or strong ale, I'd say it's in the B+/A- region.

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Photo of DIM
4.39/5  rDev +18.6%
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.

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Photo of wagenvolks
3.27/5  rDev -11.6%
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...

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Photo of Flounder57
3.8/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle was poured into a tulip glass.

Appearance: This beer poured a one finger head that reduced to a thin layer. It is a deep crimson color with some clarity when held up to a light with tiny bubbles seen coming up through the glass. Looks like a barleywine. More lacing all the way down the glass.

Smell: Caramel, toffee, tangerine, grapefruit, and warm alcohol.

Taste: Really malt forward, tangerine, grapefruit, and boozy alcohol.

Mouthfeel: full bodied, smooth, malty, medium carbonation, and a bit boozy.

Overall: What looks like a barleywine, is a huge malt bomb. Too much malt for me and not enough hop presence.

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Photo of RonfromJersey
3.75/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

$3.25 single from Abe's.

Ruby colored body, good clarity when backlit. This is definitely more Imperial red/amber than IIPA. Two fingers of off white foam decays quickly but laces well.

Aroma is huge malty sweet, with some candy sugar, and very sweet cherry. A bit boozy.

Big sweet slathering malt incapacitates the tongue. Big hops manage to balance it by the swallow. Some warming alcohol.

Full mouthfeel.

It's a good beer. It's exactly like an IIPA except for the color, aroma, and taste. Call it a barleywine, or a strong ale, but it is not what is advertised.

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Photo of atsprings
3.92/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a DFH snifter pours a crisp dark brown with a decent tan head that diminishes to a ring and leaves slight lacing on the glass. Aroma is burnt caramel malts in front of citrus and pine hops. The taste is a decent amount of caramel and brown malts balanced nicely with pine hops. The beer somewhat heavy, but a bitter dryness and decent carbonation smooth things out nicely. As I said when I reviewed it on-tap a few weeks ago, this one is borderline DIPA/Barleywine, but this one is closer to DIPA than the draft version.

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Photo of Arbitrator
4.17/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Chilled bottle into a glass. An extra in a trade with funkydelic. Thanks, Cameron!

A: Pours a porter brown in my tulip with ruby highlights near the edges of the glass. The head is an inch of off-white foam that recedes into a scattered film on the brew and the dreaded donut around the glass. Leaves some ivy lacing at the start of the drink, but the second half of the glass is clean. Why is this brew so dark?

S: Ah. It's dark because it's really a barleywine. Full-on malt aromas of caramel, brown sugar, nuts, and an earthy / dark fruit character that I can only conclude is an inseparable blend of hops and plums.

T: Strong element of roasted malt when the beer is cold, which I really don't like as the hops start coming into play. Makes for a weird clash. But as the beer approaches serving temp, the clash is muted and the beer comes into a solid barleywine blend of malt and hops. Caramel, brown sugar, plums, dates, and possibly some toffee or nuts underneath it all: these set the initial taste. But they fade gradually into a hoppy finish, mostly earthy with a progressively stronger pine presence in there. The chocolate is noticeable again at times, but it works very well with the dark fruits.

M: Full-bodied. Moderate carbonation. Some astringency that I really don't enjoy.

D: I am honestly very impressed. I thought this would just be a random local extra that would turn out to be middle-of-the-road. My expectations were far exceeded. Someone hook me up with another...

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Photo of FreshHawk
3.95/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Dark amber color, very dark for the style. About an average sized, foamy, slightly sticky, toasted marshmallow color head. Settles pretty fast leaving a thin, foamy lace.

S - Smells much more like a Barleywine or an American Strong Ale than a DIPA. Strong caramel malt mixes with a grapefruit and citrus hop aroma. Pretty sweet aroma. Alcohol is not really showing up for a 12.5% beer.

T - Similar to the nose, definitely taste like a strong ale. Sweet caramel and toffee malt along with grapefruit and other citrus hops. Big sweet and bitter flavors. Alcohol is present, but just with a slight warming on the finish. Sweetness lingers after the sip.

M - Full body with a bit above average carbonation. Pretty full feeling with a creamy and smooth feel.

D - Gets a little too sweet and cloying to be all that drinkable. Alcohol is pretty well hidden with only a little warming aftertaste. Plenty of sweetness and bitterness, but it just seems a little too much. Probably wouldn't drink more than one.

Notes: Definitely didn't taste like a DIPA, more like a strong ale or maybe a barleywine. Strong flavors with big bitter and sweet flavors coming out. Nice big, thick body is good though. Pretty good beer, but it is definitely a sipper and would just get every now and then if the price was right.

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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 sholland119
3.48/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A-Pours a very dark ruby with a frothy tan head. Some good lacing. to me, unexpected for the style.

S-Chocolaty and sweet with nary a hint of hops that I can detect.

T-Taste is way better than I expected based on the look and smell. Sweet caramel malt dominates the front, then gives way to a strong bitter hoppy finish. Nice, if somewhat boozy.

M-Medium bodied with a fine prickly carbonation that I am not a big fan of.

D-Tasty in its way but boozy, high in ABV and unpleasantly carbonated. One is nice but that's good for me.


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Photo of CampusCrew
3.87/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

We had a rare beer night and we all brought some stuff over I'll be reviewing on memory for this one as we had alot of smaples that night. Nearly 10 I beleive.
Poured really dark for an IPA categorized beer. Lots of sweetness, molasses, dark fruits. Lots of hops kick and oine aromas and falvors. Overal, a confusing beer, but since it was powerful and drinkable at the same time. I enjoyed it.

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Photo of 57md
3.93/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brownish copper in color. The dominant flavor is that of malty molasses. The hop finish is decently bitter.

I'd say that this closer to an American Strong Ale but the brewer seems committed to the marketing line of "extreme" IPA (whatever that means).

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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 Ryan011235
3.15/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter on 12/4/09

Courtesy of PDXHops

A - Dense crimson in color with ruby highlights. ¼ inch head thins quickly, though swirling revives it some. Ok retention. Sparse streaks of lace.

S - Malt-bomb central: potent caramel, toffee & candied malts. Hints of toasted bread. Not picking out much in the way of distinct hops. Surprisingly little booze considering the 12.5% abv.

T - A little hop bitterness upfront with some resiny grit throughout. Bits of pine & murky floral undertones. This gives way to what is suggested with the nose - caramel, toffee & burnt/toasted malts. In abundance.

M - Heavier in body with low & somewhat smooth carbonation. As mentioned above, there is plenty of resinous grit. Some alcohol is noticeable, more so on the finish, lingering with sweetness & a faint bitterness.

D - Drinkability is good; it's rather tasty & the alcohol is well-hidden. To this end, it doesn't help salvage the fact that as a DIPA this mostly misses the mark. It's good beer, just not exactly a good representation of the style, in my opinion. As a barleywine, it would be an easy B or B+.

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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 Spider889
3.27/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Shared at a tasting. The bottle states, "Sink the status quo, extreme IPA."

12.5%? Hmm, we don't get stuff like this in OH so I am curious, but also a bit weary, too.

A - Dark, nearing close to black once collected in the glass, wasn't expecting that. Very dark head as well.

S - Really malty. Toffee, leather, and oak aromas. Also a ton of hop bitterness.

T - Weird... black roast and char-type bitterness. Then comes the hop bitterness, it's a lot of stomach alongside all the alcohol.

O - Too harsh to drink in quantity (even as 12oz bottle to oneself).

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Photo of JerzDevl2000
3.44/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked this up in Jersey City recently, along with the Class Five IPA. While that beer was weaker than I anticipated, this turned out to be the other way around. Not only in the alcohol department, but in the sweetness. Like so many others have alluded to, this felt like a Barleywine from start to finish. It wasn't that I didn't enjoy this but this felt like it was categorized wrong and not hoppy enough to be a true Double/Imperial IPA.

The pour to this was a fairly deep brown with a mild tan head, and hardly any lacing to be seen. Not a lot of carbonation to be seen here and the aroma was a bit weak as well. Lots of Barleywine sweetness and caramel in the nose to balance out a strong and somewhat balanced mouthfeel. there was a hint of citrus and earthy hops underneath the booze but this felt quite strong from the first sip and the warming aspect of the booze never let up. There was just a hint of papaya in the back to help ease the molasses and alcohol that dominate the taste of this beer.

Yes, this was strong but it never detracted from how I felt about this beer or the mouthfeel of it. Hopheads will be disappointed at this since there wasn't any strong bitterness or dry-hopped notes to this but on its own, this was fine. If this was re-categorized as a Barleywine, I'd edit my ratings and moved it up a notch, since I certainly wouldn't mind having this again!

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Photo of SaCkErZ9
4.45/5  rDev +20.3%
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.

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Photo of mntlover
4.12/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice rich clear deep copper color with a thumb sized tan head that falls to scum and leaves some sparse lace.

Aroma is nice rich caramel malts, molasses, ripe fruits mingled together. Hops seems mellow in comparison citrus and pine resin. Aroma is nice sweet smelling brew not an I2PA per say but very good.

Taste is big on malt caramel, molasses toffee even mingled with grapefruit rind not in your face but under neath it all. Rich full bodied malty treat with enough hops to balance the sweetness. While this brew is bitter its more malty not sure where the extreme ipa labeling comes from but its good beer none the less. Alcohol is 12.5 and very well hidden could be dangerous beer as its tasty and easy to drink.

Mouthfeel is almost full nice chewy malty treat with good carbonation level.

Drinkability is good enjoyable goes down easy and is tasty wouldn't have more then two at 12.5%

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