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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178 Reviews
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Reviews: 178
Hads: 468
rAvg: 3.73
pDev: 16.09%
Wants: 17
Gots: 43 | 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: 178 | Hads: 468
Photo of julian
2.91/5  rDev -22%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A: Near crystal clear, deep amber and crimson in color with a nice foamy light tan head. One of the darkest DIPAs I've seen.

S: Smell is a mix of toffee, syrup, alcohol and sweet raisin. This smells more like a Scotch ale or barleywine than a DIPA. I don't get any pronounced hop bitterness on the nose.

T&M: Sweet, and syrupy with the taste of raisin and toffee and some fruity bittering in the background which mostly takes a backseat to the malt and alcohol. Carbonation might be a bit high, and the finish leaves a sweet, almost cloying coating on your palate.

O: High ABV, very sweet, lack of hop aroma and overal just not very well balanced or representative of the style it claims to be. (697 characters)

Photo of BeerBeatnik
3.97/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into pint glass from a bottle. A deep brown red body with a medium khaki colored head. The nose has lots of caramel and some pine. There is also grapefruit. It smells good. The taste is malty and piney. As I drank more I got the grapefruit. The finish is strongly citrus. There are also tobacco hints. Pretty well done with a big ABV (340 characters)

Photo of bramsdell
4.08/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle to Imperial pint glass.

A: Dark brown with a deep ruby hue when held up to the light. A very small - maybe a finger - head of a tan color. Certainly not the light, fluffy head of an IPA. Head recedes to a thin line over the beer. Lacing is decent.

S: This is the least remarkable part of this beer. It's 12.5% and bills itself as an "Extreme IPA," I rather expected an aggressive aroma. Instead, there is a malty sweetness of no specific nature and a piney scent from the hops. Not a whole lot of smell, and really no indication of its ABV.

T: This beer is a huge surprise, and a pleasant one for this reviewer. The first flavor to hit the palate is a very manageable malty sweetness. It's all caramel, this one; its a thick, syrupy caramel. After the initial sweetness resides a bit, the hops come out. Honestly, this beer is really more malt than hops. Truly, this is a head-scratcher of a beer. The hops leave a bit of bitter on the tongue, but the malts come back to balance out the flavor for an overall sweetness. A quick sip will yield only a slight warm feeling, but to let this sit in the mouth for a moment brings out the warmth of the high ABV. Let it sit there long enough, and, sadly, the alcohol will overpower. However, in moderate sips/gulps, this beer really belies its 12.5%.

M: A great feel, but not the typical DIPA feel. No, the syrupy consistency and low-ish carbonation are more reminiscent of a stout. Again, let it sit too long and the only flavor left is booze. Just avoid that and this beer feels great.

O: Well, I'm giving it high marks for enjoyability and for being bold. Not due to the ABV, its boldness comes from its billing itself as an extreme IPA yet being a seriously malty beverage. Might incite some hardcore hop-heads, but I love it. Overall, this is a good beer, one that I would like to try fresh and on tap. (1,874 characters)

Photo of Evil_Pidde
3.56/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours dark brown with red hues. The brown thick head sinks slowly into great lacings.

S: Sweet, sweet malt, roasted and syrupy. Dark dried fruits. This is the first DIPA (or perhaps TIPA) I've ever had, where the malt overpowers the hops.

T: Tastes just like the smell. Molasses and dark dried fruits. The hops are, if possible, even more anonymous.

M: Body is full and creamy while carbonation is held back. Aftertaste is long and sweet. Lots of alcohol-precense.

O: Wow, how I loved this beer. But to review it as a DIPA is so wrong. If it was classified as a Barleywine - top grade, but as a DIPA, way too much sweet malt, and way too little hops. (659 characters)

Photo of azdback
4/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance- Dark caramel color. Cloudy, large three finger head that is tan in color. Retention is long and lace is very sticky and a patchy pattern.

Smell is very sweet malts. Much like a Barleywine. There are some citrus smells and some burnt sugar. Alcohol is also present.

Taste is very sweet, and malty. There is some citrus bitterness of a yellow grapefruit mixed with the sweetness of a pink grapefruit. There is some burnt or caramelized sugar I detect too. The alcohol is very noticeable as this warms.

Mouth is extremely rich and velvety. I once again point to a Barleywine. The maltiness stays rich and full all the way to the end. There is quite a bit of alcohol warmness all the way to the belly.

Overall I really enjoyed this. Like many high ABV Double or Triple IPA’s, as they age they turn into a Barleywine. IMO. Not at all a bad thing and I won’t grade against this for it. A very aggressive beer that must be sipped and enjoyed an entire half of a football game. (1,005 characters)

Photo of dcloeren
3.68/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a dark, yet transparent, mahogany brown with two fingers of frothy tan head

I could smell this beer as soon as I poured it but it mellowed slightly shortly after. Toffee notes dominate with possibly some molasses and brown sugar. Some pine hops make their presence known, but are over shadowed by the malt characteristics and the booze.

taste follows the nose. Not alot of hops presence at all... Great brown sugar, roasted malt and molasses notes. Definitely gives off some heat. Probably one of the least hoppy IPA's i've ever had....

Medium to full body. Thick and slightly syrupy. Drying aftertaste with some boozy heat.

Over all, this was not a bad beer by any means but I just dont think that this needs to be classified as an IPA based on what I tasted... more like a strong ale. Would have liked to have seen more hops. Pretty disappointed and having a hard time letting the hops problem go... (912 characters)

Photo of DesMoinesMike
3.7/5  rDev -0.8%
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. (419 characters)

Photo of LiquidBread219
3.06/5  rDev -18%
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. (849 characters)

Photo of chinchill
3.59/5  rDev -3.8%
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. (938 characters)

Photo of GregSVT
3.62/5  rDev -2.9%
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. (806 characters)

Photo of gigaknight
4.2/5  rDev +12.6%
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... (1,327 characters)

Photo of Netdigger2
4.63/5  rDev +24.1%
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!) (864 characters)

Photo of 1Adam12
2.32/5  rDev -37.8%
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. (569 characters)

Photo of theboozecruise
3.98/5  rDev +6.7%
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. (580 characters)

Photo of tdm168
4.38/5  rDev +17.4%
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. (518 characters)

Photo of JayAre46
3.58/5  rDev -4%
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 (834 characters)

Photo of jera1350
4/5  rDev +7.2%
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. (732 characters)

Photo of MrOH
2.54/5  rDev -31.9%
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. (781 characters)

Photo of MacQ32
3.35/5  rDev -10.2%
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 (619 characters)

Photo of ShogoKawada
4.23/5  rDev +13.4%
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. (766 characters)

Photo of AgentZero
3.63/5  rDev -2.7%
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. (664 characters)

Photo of deletedmemory
4.2/5  rDev +12.6%
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.

Recommended. (545 characters)

Photo of babaracas
3.02/5  rDev -19%
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. (570 characters)

Photo of salvo
3.64/5  rDev -2.4%
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. (853 characters)

Photo of daliandragon
3.73/5  rDev 0%
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. (784 characters)

Thomas Creek Up The Creek from Thomas Creek Brewery
84 out of 100 based on 178 ratings.