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Thomas Creek Up The Creek - Thomas Creek Brewery

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Thomas Creek Up The CreekThomas Creek Up The Creek

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447 Ratings
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Ratings: 447
Reviews: 180
rAvg: 3.7
pDev: 16.49%
Wants: 17
Gots: 40 | 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 DesMoinesMike
3.7/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Wow, this is a complex brew, lots of flavors and smells. The dark ruby color denotes some depth, The aroma almost knocks your socks off. The hops are present but are overshadowed by plum and what seems like aging in wine barrels. A bit woody with notes of grape and cherry. The body is hella thick, a bit hard to swallow, this beer lets you know who's in charge. After about 1/4 of the bottle I was feeling the alcohol.

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.

Photo of chinchill
3.59/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

An abundance of off-white head out of the tap, with a yellow gold liquid underneath. The head leaves plenty of sticky lacing. The generous carbonation also influenced the mouthfeel making feel, I think, lighter than it would otherwise.

This is one boozy beer, and the high ABV is evident but not objectionable in the nose, but too overpowering in the taste. It also lends some burn and harshness to the mouthfeel, in addition to some warming. The beer also may be mis-classified as a DIPA ... it is more like a barleywine and a bit like a Belgian tripel. There is a definite hop contribution, but also a substantial balance from sweet caramel malts. Neither the high IBU (111) nor the high ABV (12.5%) seem quite so high.

O - you want a super high ABV beer? ... usually sacrifices need to be made in mouthfeel and taste. Such is the case here although the negative effects are not as pronounced as a 12.5% reading would often produce.

Photo of GregSVT
3.62/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a snifter

A: Pours a very dark brown with a huge tan head that slowly fades to a ring leaving a ton of sticky lacing. The color is not consistent with a DIPA but the head and lacing are nice.

S: The nose is mainly caramel, toffee, and roasty malts with hints of earthy hops. This is shaping up to be more like a barleywine than a DIPA.

T: Yeah this is definitely an American Barleywine. Huge notes of caramel, toffee, piney/earthy hops, and bready malt. It tastes great but not exactly what I was expecting.

M: The feel is sticky and a bit chewy with a big amount of carbonation. Alcohol is definitely present on the finish.

O: If this was labeled differently I would have scores it higher. It's got huge flavors and would rival Bigfoot as one of the biggest barleywines I've had.

Photo of gigaknight
4.2/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- This brew pours a deep mahogany brown, much darker than expected, while the approximate finger of eggshell head and sticky lacing are more indicative of an IPA than the color of the body lets on. A bit of a swirl doesn't kick up much carbonation; it's becoming evident that this isn't your average double india.

S- Loads of toffee and caramel start you out, and are enthusiastically followed by piney hops. Somehow, though, there doesn't seem to be as much hop aroma as would be expected of the style. If anything, the hops blend with the ample malt to approximate some bitter coffee aroma. No complaints, though, this brew smells very inviting.

T- Indeed a delicious offering, but I have to agree with.the consensus that this is more of a barleywine, albeit a hoppy one. That being said, it offers a masterfull mix of dark malt sweetness and ample lupulin oiliness. Of course there's some booziness, but that's near impossible to avoid at this abv.

M- This is another strong point of the beer, the ideal middle ground of body and carbonation. Just enough 'fizz' to keep it refreshing, but a round and full oiliness to make it a sipper on its own.

O- Barleywine, DIPA, whatever you want to call it; serious beer drinkers will throw their oars to the wind going up this creek. If only I could find this stuff back home...

Photo of Netdigger2
4.63/5  rDev +25.1%
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!)

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.

Photo of theboozecruise
3.98/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served from a 12 oz. bottle into a snifter, it's a very deep red color with a small tan head. The retention on the head is great, though, and very nice pooling and lacing.

The nose is very alcoholic and warm, with hints of toffee and then bold hop flavors. This is almost a barleywine to the nose, but that's a good thing. It's fantastic.

The taste is also very barleywine-esque in nature with a little more hops but still a warm alcohol kick and definite toffee notes. I really like it, but this isn't quite spot on for the style.

Delicious, just a little misleading to me.

Photo of tdm168
4.38/5  rDev +18.4%
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.

Photo of JayAre46
3.58/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - 12oz, black and yellow label with childish print "up the creek" pours a deep reddish brown, close to black, khaki colored head that falls leaving flamed lacing down the glass.

A - big brown sugar aromas, burnt caramel malt are abundant and dominating subtle hops if any. not the first time i've had this one and the aroma frightens me bringing back memories of the last time, this time im alone....FML

T - HOLY SHIT!!!big sweet caramel and chocolate malt, hops sprinkiled in that provide a subtle bitterness that just cannot compete with the big malt flavors, alcohol laughs in your face.

M - full creamy, moderate carbonation, coats the palate and doesn't leave, leaves the lips sticky icky.

O - just overdone, huge beer, that is as refreshing as utopias. now i have to decide how im actually going to slay this cloying beast

Photo of jera1350
4/5  rDev +8.1%
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.

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.

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

Photo of ShogoKawada
4.23/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz longtime want thanks to the birthday BIF. Thanks! Into chalice.

A- Pours copper, dark dark, like an Am. brown ale. Sandy, khaki head builds and slowly settles into a nice thin outer ring of bubbles. Simply elegant, love the deep colors on this.

S- Wood, leather, brandy, overripe fruit. Boozy.

T- Heavy caramel malt, toffee, brandy-soaked biscotti. Lots of dark fruit. Hops are here, and provide a lot of powerful citrus fruit and some pine sap bitterness in the finish. Starts out like an old ale and finishes like a strong ale. High points for originality.

M- Heavy, slick in the mouth, a bit warming, but very enjoyable for the ABV. The heat intermingles with the bitterness quite well.

O- Unusual, one-of-a-kind, worth seeking out. Highly enjoyable.

Photo of AgentZero
3.63/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Dark brownish-red beer with a small, late-rising head that faded to a tight ring that lasted a really long time.

S - Lots of sweet caramel and dark fruits. Hops are present, but this is quite malt and sugar forward. Hops are mosty citrus and grapefruit, with a little bit of pineapple.

T - Dark fruits, caramel, brown sugar, some hops. It is a little hot, but at 12.5% the alcohol is very well hidden. Not particularly bitter or hoppy, but this is pretty flavorful.

M - Almost full bodied with soft carbonation. Creamy and smooth.

O - Not what I was expecting from a 'big' IPA, but this one hides the alcohol very well. Not a great beer, but not a bad one.

Photo of deletedmemory
4.2/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Found this treat tonight, still swimming in the delightful feeling it gave me. Was told this is an IPA of sorts, but I more like an Imperial of some kind. It is what I imagined the Bigfoot by Sierra Nevada to taste like (it didn't, Bigfoot at least the 2011 version is a hop bomb and this is not).

Up the Creek is not very hoppy, but goes down great, and I found it to be quite malty, with a somewhat fruity finish.

At $3 a glass at my local I managed to get 5 of them down and was left wondering how much I had just consumed.


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.

Photo of salvo
3.64/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Pours dark mahogany; head is a half inch if that (other report a huge head). Microbubbles float up in streamers from the bottom keeping the foamy head afloat. Laced glass more than etching.

Nose is caramel and honey with some darker burned sugar and blackstrap molasses; earthy. The hop pine is in the background and more like walking on fallen dry pine needles than fresh evergreen: resin.

Taste is sweeter and bigger that I expected, even at 12.5%. More barley wine character than DIPA, there's a deep fruit presence: raisins? dried fig? Boozy overtones with bread underneath; big, chewy, thick mouthfeel and a warming finish. The astringent warmth at the end is a nice ending to such a big, sweet beer. Hops assert themselves late as bitterness.

Not a really quaffable beer: it's extreme, and yet a really tasty occasional treat. A change of pace.

Photo of daliandragon
3.73/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Zoicks! Twelve point five percent. From Thomas Creek? The quiet little brewery across the border where they just popped the cap? Craziness... A lot of reviewers have disparaged the color and yeah, it's a bit darker and redder than the style but it's more the two solid fingers of tight bubbled head that I'm interested in. Nose is a threeway between piney hops, bready deep malts, and boozy alcohol.

Yeah, this isn't really an DIPA. Hops are present but the caramel malt and alcohol are the big players in this town. Plenty of dark fruit under the hood. Figs or prunes or something. Finish is oily and sticky and satisfying.

This is interesting and well made but nowhere near DIPA. As an American strong ale it's probably an A- or better. Could use a bit more hopping at any rate.

Photo of CliffBrake
4.5/5  rDev +21.6%
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.

Photo of BieresDesMoines
3.16/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Oh my if that's not the brownest double IPA I've ever seen! It's pretty enough I suppose, the head is huge and tight and leaves about as nice a lace as I could ever ask for. The aroma is sweet with banana and all sorts of assorted fruit with a bit of booze and certainly some caramel. The flavor is sweet, even too sweet and too caramel focused as well but somehow I figured it would be worse from the aroma. The beer is bitter and features some fruity hop varietals giving it a nice melon rind and grapefruit flavor that sort of gets a little bit lost in the mix of everything else going on here. At 12.5 abv the beer is obviously boozy but not even close to showing that kind of strength, if I were to guess I would have clocked it in at 8-9% abv but it does get boozier as the beer warms. They really could have called this a barley wine as easily as anything, and it's not bad altogether just a bit messy. Perhaps I'll pick up another bottle and cellar it for the heck of it.

Photo of ForWhatAlesYou
3.98/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle into a pint glass

A: At first glance, this beer appears to be a very dark brown but with a little light exposure it reveals a very sensual deep red. Head is composed loosely and pours 1-1 1/2" tall.

S: Hops. Pure hops. Like a fresh cut pine tree over deep coffee/chocolate malt.

T: Not the hop bomb I was expecting. A ton of syrupy caramel maltiness. Alcohol is big and presents itself noticeably. Hops are very well balanced but their bitterness endures the high ABV. Raisins, dates, and figs. Might be a 5 for taste if I thought it fit the style better.

M: Extremely chewy, oily and viscous. Alcohol has astringent effect causing dryness on the palate.

D: Good enough on most points but the ABV takes this one down a few points on drinkability.

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.

Photo of gford217
3.93/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle.

Pours deep, clear copper with a big, thick beige head that shows excellent retention and sits as a small cap throughout with some solid lacing. Looks like a barleywine.

Aroma is packed with resinous floral hope, tons of pine with some pithy grapefruit as well. Lots of caramel malts and bread as well. Smells like a hopped-to-hell barleywine...I like it.

The taste is a more complex version of the nose. It certainly starts out with the same biting, abrasive pine hops with a more pronounced sweet caramel malt and toffee backbone. Bitter, crazy hoppy finish.

The mouthfeel is sticky with hops and astringent as hell. Not in a bad way.

I haven't had many Thomas Creek brews but this is a great DIPA which certainly strays into hoppy barleywine territory. Whatever you call it, it's tasty.

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