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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180 Reviews
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Reviews: 180
Hads: 474
Avg: 3.7
pDev: 26.49%
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: 180 | Hads: 474
Photo of rfbenavi80
4.25/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle given to me by a friend. Bottle kept in fridge. Poured into a tulip.

A- Pours a very deep, deep, amber color. With 2 fingers of tan colored head that lingers for a while, and leaves some sticking lacing on the glass.

S- Seems kind of off style. Smells rich with lots of sweet caramel. Very thick resinous pine aroma underneath all of that sweet caramel. Smells good.

T- Very sweet malt bomb with a huge amount of hoppy kick. Again, seems a tad off style but good nonetheless. Is that a light roasted coffee after taste? Or maybe rich dark caramel / toffee? Very interesting. There is a huge resinous, bitter, piney kick, followed quickly by more rich sweetness and that interesting aftertaste. Well done.

M- HUGE! This beer coats the mouth with a stickiness that seems unparalleled. This one brings a new definition to a full bodied beer. The 12.5% ABV is really unnoticeable and well hidden. Moderately low amount of carbonation.

O- A great beer! Just seems a tad off style. Who are we to judge what the Brewer calls his beer? This is one intense in-your-face beer. Not for the faint of heart. A huge, full bodied, malt explosion, hop BOMB. A beer that tests the limits of brewing and takes the art of brewing to the next level.

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Photo of CHADMC3
3.38/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark copper body with reddish hues beneath the dense tan head that has some serious staying power and leaves quite a sticky lacing behind.

Big sweet malt aromas lead the way with generous resiny pine and earthy hops.

Similar to the aroma the flavor offers abundant sweet toffee and caramel malt and earthy hops. A touch of candy sugar and dark fruits are present as well.

Medium carbonation with a thick, chewy body and a palate coating finish that sticks around for a while.

The focus is clearly on the malts as this brew lacks the generous hop profiles typical of the style but it is still quite tasty.if such a thing as an imperial bock existed this may be it.

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Photo of scvance
3.08/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a deep clear amber color with a thin, quickly disappearing head. Aroma is caramel, sweet, alcohol, and slight citrus. Taste is very intense right up front. Taste follows the aroma, high alcohol flavor, and a lingering caramel sweetness, as well as a nice long lasting bite of hop bitterness. In my opinion, it's good, it's interesting, but it's just not for me. The alcohol is too pronounced, and there isn't the definitive hop aroma I was expecting. I'm glad I tried it, but I can't say I'll be having it again soon. Worth a taste if it's available to you, but obviously this one is not for me.

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Photo of Jambarino
4.32/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A:Pours a deep dark amber,very little head retention and almost no lacing.Very little carbonation.

S:Caramel,faint citrus hops,faint apple juice.

T:All malt up front,faint hop kick at the end with a lingering bitterness.Alcohol is hidden pretty well.

M:Medium mouth feel with some carbonation.Sticky at the end with a slight alcohol burn.

O:I don't understand the negative reviews,I guess because its not quite what the label says,however it is a great beer regardless.If you take yourself too seriously,or if you are expecting a hop bomb look elsewhere because this is not it.However if you want a good barleywine/ipa style beer then this is it.I would compare this to Dogfish Head Squall,maybe just slightly sweeter and not as hoppy.A top 20 beer for me.I'm really enjoying this.

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Photo of BMMillsy
3.96/5  rDev +7%
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.

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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 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 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 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 kawilliams81
3.45/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a Alesmith Horny Devil snifter.

A- pours a garnet with a 1 finger light beige head. Small waves of lacing remain on the glass.

S- sweet candi sugar, dark fruits, tobacco, some citrus bitterness.

T- dark malts, dark fruits, candi sugar, slight citrus, citrus rind bitterness. Caramel, tobacco, and leather characteristics similar to a Barleywine.

M- full body, medium carbonation. Abv is noticeable but the beer is not hot.

O- very peculiar beer. No resemblance of an ipa, except some bitterness, not even a American Barleywine. Resembles a English barleywines hopped up. Lower rating due to the lack of resemblance to the style.

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Photo of knoxtennessee
4.5/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had never heard of this beer, just saw the 12.5% written on the tap handle and had to try it.

A- Deep mahogany red with an impressive light tan head that stuck around.

S- Layers and layers my friend. Lots of rich, thick, caramel malt, some toast, spicy alcohol, strawberry esters, and of course a big dose of citrus from the hops.

T- This stuff tasted almost like unfermented wort. Sweet, dense, bitter, lots of caramel, toffy, ginger bread, very spicy hop character, strong and surprising strawberry character.

M- Dense, sticky, thick, viscous... etc.

O- Much more like an American barleywine than a double IPA. Overwhelmingly rich and decadent. Everything a big beer should be. Would age wonderfully I'm sure but I prefer beers like this fresh as can be. Also a shout out to Cape Fear Wine and Beer for serving this in full pints at a great price. Made my evening.

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Photo of SLeffler27
3.65/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Builds a half-inch, dark beige head that is almost creamy over a dark ruby beer. The head is short-lived, leaving thin rings on a tulip glass. The viscosity of the beer is evident with each sip.

The aroma is a sharp mix of orange peel and pine tips.

As expected, this is a highly bitter beer with sweet grapefruit, caramel malt and a long, bitter, peppery finish.

Has a sticky texture and medium body with strong astringency.

The bitterness overwhelms the flavors, though this is still a good match for spicy Italian foods.

I nice gift.

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Photo of cvm4
3.93/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours the color of a rootbeer. Very dark brown but you can still see light penetrate through it. Has a nice off white/cream almost tan one finger head.

S - I smell a lot of sweetness (raisins or stoned fruit) mixed with malt. There's just a glimmer of hops. The abv is not well hidden so far.

T - Very malty, sweet, and raisins/honey abound. A little bitterness at the end with the alcohol pronounced.

M - Heavy bodied, good carbonation. It just coats your mouth.

O - I'm torn by this beer. I love it, but at the same time there's no way it's a double or even an imperial IPA. It's more barely wine. BUT, it is very good to me because I don't mind when an Extreme IPA pushes the limits. DFH does it all the time and blurs the beer categories.

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Photo of shand
3.63/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a snifter!

Alas, I have been hoodwinked! My typical "pick up anything new that says IPA on it" strategy has fooled me! Actually, there's nothing pale at all about the muddy brown color that this pours, with little head to speak of. The aroma is sweet and alcoholic, denying any of the hops I might have expected. The taste does do a bit better on this front, delivering a hop presence akin to a hoppier American barleywine along with some sweet fruits and malts. The finish is sweet, but a drying sensation stops it from being too cloying. A sipper. The mouthfeel is full and lightly carbonated, and the drinkability is about what you'd expect from such a 12.5% alcohol brew. It's a pretty good beer, but don't be fooled by the "Extreme IPA" moniker plastered on the bottle. This one's a barleywine through and through.

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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 Durge
4.05/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pouring the 12 ounces into a room temperature pint glass this stuff fills the vicinity quickly with pungent herbal hop and fruity wine, fairly barleywine-like actually, and very nice with nutty nuances. It's color is ruby brown, dark but clear, with a thin but stubborn light brown head and a luscious coat of lacing. The flavor comes on with thick, near seaweed flavored hops over earthy tobacco juice malt. Not quite sure how much I like this taste at first but it feels luxurious with foamy smoothness and tiny bubbles that coat the tongue. I pick up licorice and intense root beer but the sweetness seems muted by this sort of saltiness that brings some molasses and peanut with it. The feel is beautiful and the aroma works well though not real typical of the style. But I'm not sure if the flavor holds up quite as well. Considering the fairly hefty ABV, it should be more of a sipper I suppose, in which case it might work better. But the feel and aroma are so inviting that it's hard not to tip it back pretty quickly, and there I sort of want a little more sweetness perhaps. But really, it's not bad at all, just a little shy of my expectations here.

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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 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 thain709
3.73/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A big thanks to Deuane for supplying this bottle.

A - From the bottle, the beer poured a semi-clear, chestnut colored had a few ruby highlights...two fingers worth of tan head held very well and left great lacing...slow carbonation bubbles were visible

S - The nose indicates this is a very big was bold in both the hop additions (juicy, resiny) and the malt bill (sweet caramel)...both came across in a nice balance

T - First sip shows the beer is actually a little more tame than the nose suggests...a heavy malt bill comes across first...deep flavors bring forward very sweet caramel and toffee...the hops come in towards the middle and finish the beer...they are oily and really show some piney bitter notes...the combination of hops and malts in this beer actually bring out some coffee and chocolate notes towards the finish

M - Medium/thick bodied...chewy and oily...sweet yet the bitterness lingers

O - This was an interesting beer to say the's very big in ABV and flavor...just when you think it's becoming too sweet/malty for an IPA, the hops come in full force and leave your palate wiped

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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 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 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...

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Photo of evilkalla
4.08/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving: Bottle into an ale glass.

A: Pours an amber brown with a scant eighth inch of head on it. A fair amount of carbonation is visible. I've never seen an IPA this color. Very interesting.

S: Smells malty and sweet, with a slight resinous hop character to it. A little muted in the smell department honestly.

T: Has a slightly dark, amber malt taste, a little sweetness, with a fair bit of hop bitterness on the finish. Some caramel hints. More like a barleywine, like some other people mentioned. The bottle says 12.5% ABV but the booze is not really detectable at all. Very nice. This one could be dangerous.

M: Has a thicker, solid feel in the mouth. You definitely know you're drinking something with some backbone in this one.

O: Very interesting beer, haven't had an IPA like this one before. I A pretty smooth brew, I could see drinking a few of these in a sitting, before I fell off my chair, that is.

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Photo of rajendra82
3.96/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The burnt umber color, and the smallish head made me let known that this was not your typical DIPA. The aroma was very mild for something billed as an "extreme IPA". I could detect some chocolate, toffee, and a tinge of spruce via the nose. The taste was closer to a mild American Barleywine than a DIPA, with toasted malts, woody hops, and drying finish. There was none of the grapefruit and pine prevalent in most DIPAs. It was a pretty balanced Barleywine, but not at all like any extreme IPA. The alcohol content was jacked up to 12.5%, but there was not much burn. The finish was very dry, and somewhat medicinal. A pretty solid Barleywine.

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Photo of Viciousknishs
3.86/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- pours a deep red garnet with a Lucious two fingers of khaki tan head. Very good retention. Pale ale?!?! Not exactly.

S- very malty aromas of toffee and burnt caramel. Slight oily nut aroma which reminds me of walnuts. Spicy phenonlic alchohol with a very rum like quality and a hint of sugar cane gives the nose a good kick. Aged dry pine aroma on the finish. The aroma is more akin to a high ABV barleywine then a IPA.

T- rich malt flavors of toffee and burnt caramel hit the palate at first. There is a definate alchohol presence yet it doesn't overpower the other flavors. It gives a great warming hint of rum. The finish is turbinado sugar and oily walnut with a doughy bready quality that flushes out in the aftertaste. A smidge of dry pine is barely percieved on the finish as well.

MF- syrupy chewy mouthfeel with a heavy body and soft carbonation.

D- one 12 oz and you are good. A really nice sipper that goes down at the appropriate rate!

Overall I would not place this in the realm of IPA. Barleywine seems to fit much better. Nice complexity with a good structure. Very good beer!

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Thomas Creek Up The Creek from Thomas Creek Brewery
84 out of 100 based on 180 ratings.