Bitch Creek ESB (Extra Special Brown) - Grand Teton Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Bitch Creek ESB (Extra Special Brown)Bitch Creek ESB (Extra Special Brown)

Educational use only; do not reuse.

740 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 740
Reviews: 336
rAvg: 3.74
pDev: 13.37%
Wants: 13
Gots: 54 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Grand Teton Brewing Co. visit their website
Idaho, United States

Style | ABV
English Brown Ale |  6.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 10-04-2003

Bitch Creek perfectly balances big malt sweetness and robust hop flavor for a full bodied, satisfying mahogany ale. Like the stream for which it is named, our Bitch Creek ESB is full of character... not for the timid.

54 IBU
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 740 | Reviews: 336
Reviews by TCMike:
Photo of TCMike
4.28/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a glass, it produced a dense, 2 finger beige head. The beer color was a dark copper/caramel color.

The smell was of light pine hops,caramel, biscuit.

The taste was very good. Hoppy for a brown ale. Taste was like smell. Low carbonation, and medium mouth-feel.

More User Reviews:
Photo of hophead723
3.91/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I've been striving lately to try as many new beers as I can and I have seen this one one the shelves many times so I figured I would give it a go. I love the name Bitch Creek, very intriguing. I poured from a bottle brewed on 2/11/15 into a claret glass.

Look: Pours a very dark brown that reveals itself to be a brilliant clear mahogany with a unique off white head that has a touch of beige to it. The lacing was thick and swirling.

Smell: A touch of brown sugar and roasted malts but with a distinct fruity flavor from the yeast. Sweet as well and the alcohol is subtly present.

Taste: The taste is quite similar to the smell and is roasty malt, fruity yeast, a touch of sweetness and a flourish of alcohol. I also get cavendish, beechwood, and licorice.

Feel: Quite full and medium bodied yet with a nice amount of carbonation. Definitely smooth and pleasantly coating.

Overall: This is a good one that drank quite cleanly and paired well with my hot dog and baked beans. Definitely a good option for a barbecue and certainly high quality. I would recommend this beer, especially if you are not in the mood for hops.

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.01/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Lucent bloody brown, at least as dark as the bottle it came in and much darker than any ESB in existence. The dark tan head displays a compact creaminess, furious surface pits and cheese cloth-like lace in the form of thin rings up top and thicker rings down near the receding surface of the beer.

Moderately hoppy nose whose intensity, unfortunately, levels off after the initial nasal rush, causing it to never really hit its stride. Something seems to be blunting it... must be that infernal malt. There's very little maltiness in the aroma though, must be some of that stealth malt that I've been hearing so much about. Fruity, earthy English-style hops (Fuggles?) are dominant with grapefruit peel playing a subservient role.

Bitter Creek is a big beer lover's ESB; Grand Teton most certainly did not skimp on ingredients. It isn't quite a bitch slap of an experience, but is more intense than your garden variety ESB. Plenty o' malt gives it a sweet caramel flavor that is beaten into submission by a few well-timed, solid, bitter hoppy thumps akin to candied white grapefruit coated with caramelized sugar and pine sap. The medium-firm, resinous body/mouthfeel leaves a pleasant bitter scum on the tongue.

I've been impressed by Grand Teton. Sweetgrass IPA was a good one and I still have Teton Ale (APA) to sample. If things hold true to form, it'll be a keeper as well. Many thanks to Ragsdale for a trio (I'm hoping) of wonderful Idaho beers.

Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.7/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Review from BeerAdvocate magazine Vol. II Issue XI:

An ESB brewed with American malt and hops is another way of saying this is a hoppy American Brown Ale. Deep reddish-brown color, darker than anticipated. Thick latte tan head with good retention and lacing that sticks on the glass. There's rich toasted biscuit and caramel flavors from the malt along with a mildly pungent herbal and citric rind hop in the aroma. Smooth, slick and semi-creamy medium body. Toasted bread, dried hay, hint of unsweetened chocolate and burnt caramel coming from the malt. Sturdy hop character with a slightly heavy hand of bitterness to begin with, then the flavor moves more toward a light citric rind and herbal tone. Fruity, with suggestions of ripe plum and raisins. Finishes bittersweet as the malt stays around and the hops just don't want to let go.

Bitch Creek ends up being a quite tasty, old-school microbrew style, which we really dig. If you are looking for a full-flavored, bigger-bodied session beer, here it is.

Photo of blitz134
3.6/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked this up randomly in Colorad several months back. Again one of those I've had for a bit and want to drink before it gets too old...

Dark amber caramel color, hazy. Small off white head, quickly reduced to a thin layer with larger bubbles clumped around the edge.

Lots of sweetness when I inhale this, more than I would expect. Hops are somewhat floral over a bed of sweet roll type malts. Alcohol is evident as well. This seems to be quite kicked up over typical ESB's.

Flavor seems to be based on sweet biscuit and medium crystal malts. Forms a pretty nice backbone for this one. Hops are somewhat muted but still have that herbal, earthiness to them and even some pine, but again not as strong as I usually expect. Finishes with a bit of the typical ESB soapiness I'm used to. Overall this one is okay in the flavor department.

Mouthfeel is medium or so, maybe a little thinner than others of the style. Carbonation levels are good though adding just a bit of crispness to finish it off.

Good drinkability really. Nothing turns me off about this beer. Its pretty straightforward and easy to put down.

Photo of NWer
3.97/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle into a brandy snifter.

Appearance is dark brown with no light at all - even around the edges. Some stuff (yeast?) floating around.

Taste and smell are pretty good. I'm not terribly familiar with this style but it makes me want to learn more about it. I wish I had brought more home with me from my road trip.

Mouthfeel is pleasant and I definitely would have had another if I had one.

Photo of Beaver13
3.93/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle. Pours a dark tea brown with a creamy light tan head that retains well and leaves some lacing.

The aroma is toasty caramel and grapefruity citrus hops. It kind of reminds me of some of the hoppy American barleywines.

The flavor is sweet toasty caramel/toffee with some resiny grapefruity hops leading to a decent bitter aftertaste. It mellows some as it warms. The mouthfeel is medium and slightly watery with some sharp carbonation.

Overall, this was a very nice surprise! I usually don't like ESBs, but this is a lot fruitier with the west coast hops. It's more like a weak barleywine or Arrogant Bastard.

Photo of tigg924
3.51/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Appearance: dark reddish-brown in color, 1/3 inch head, cloudy, high carbonation, lots of sediment

Smell: citrus hops, caramel, and wood

Taste: burnt caramel, citrus hops, and bark

Mouthfeel: medium bodied, high carbonation, sweet start with a big bitter middle and a less bitter end

Overall:This one drinks like an imperial red. Not a bad brew, especially if you like burnt caramel, but I have had better from the brewery.

Photo of mattster
3.8/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Opened 12 Fl Oz bottle(bottled 10/16/08), poured into Nonic glass.

Pours a light tan head that dies quickly leaving scattered but sexy lace atop a clear, cola brown brew.

Smell is strong of roasted malts and very strong hops. Taste is very hoppy, not as intense on flavor as aroma, but very nice taste. Some earthiness and pine forest.

Flows well with mild bubbles and nice finish. I could probably drink another 2 or 5 of these because it has a nice refreshing quality to it. All in all, a decent brew.

Photo of bsp77
3.78/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Nonic Imperial Pint.

Appearance: Very cloudy dark brownish orange with thick tan head.

Smell: Complex at first with chocolate, caramel, citrus and spicy English hops, but then fades to a simple dry malt aroma.

Taste: Mostly dried-out chocolate and caramel malt balanced by a fairly aggressive dose of sharp floral English hops and maybe a touch of citrus and pine.

Feel: Moderate carbonation, medium body, very dry finish.

Drinkability: Not a true ESB as it is called an Extra Special Brown. It really is a cross between an English Brown Ale and some kind of bitter American beer - I would call it an American Brown Ale. Quite good, but the mixture is just slightly off-putting.

Photo of Franziskaner
3.72/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Dark brown color and yet still somewhat penetrable to light. A quarter inch of tightly knit beige head sits on top. Brussels lacing. I smell dark malt and just a faint whiff of caramel. The flavor is dark malt, toffee,and caramel. The mouth is slightly creamy and smooth.

Photo of dogfishandi
4.4/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle at firdge temp into a pint glass. bottled on 10-27-2009.

pours a dark dark opaque brown with quite a bit of yeast floating around. a thick light tan colored head with pretty good retention. tons of sticky lace caovering every possible spot.

aroma is that of chocolate and caramel malts. citrusy sprucey woody hops as well as a little pungent pine in the background. some what perfumey. smells nice.

the taste is very nice. tastes like it was brewed to be a really good brown ale with an english style esb in mind. chocolate, toffee, and caramel malts. perfumey, sprucy ,piney hops. decent amount of bitterness. a touch of bready yeastiness in there.

medium bodied, maybe feels a touch heavy at times. the hops are felt a little on the palate after drinking.

drinks pretty good, i might be done after 4 or so of these. a decent session beer, but it might lay a little heavy in the stomach after awhile. a great tasteing beer non the less and if it wasnt so hard to get a hold of for me, i might drink it more. not really distributed in my region(well not that i know of).

Photo of moundbz
4.59/5  rDev +22.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

smooth and tasty, good balanced malt taste

Photo of centbeerfest
4.53/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.
Great looking beer. This pours big and bold with a hearty strong head. Nice deep brown color with a hoppy aroma.

Taste begins in the front of the tounge and finishes with a stong bitter toasted nut on the back. Just a bit heavy on the hops, but an extraordinary pleasant long finish.

On the take home scale a six paxk on hand for all occasions.

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.38/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Copper pour, average head, minimal lacing, lacking enough ooomph on the sweet aroma.

It makes a greater appearance on the taste buds, a little bit of alcohol too, which seems odd for the style, and not as dry and bitter as I would like to see. This is one of the least like esb's I've had, is like an amber, brown, pale & bitter combined. Which is at least unique.

Mouthfeel, I liked the beer more as I got used to it, settled down, picked up more bitter feel, but still a little heavier than I like my esb. Decent price, just kind of one of those middle of the road beers.

Photo of OStrungT
4.1/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a brownish red with a tan head. The head fades slowly, leaving thick laces. This beer smells piney. The hop aroma is strong, but not overwhelming. Behind the piney, slightly floral aroma, I detect some caramel malty aromas. This beer does not taste as hoppy as the aroma leads you to believe. It is actually rather malty. The hop flavor is there, but just not the strongest. The blend of hops and malts balance quite nicely. It has slight caramel and toasted malt flavors also. This beer is carbonated quite nicely. It goes down smooth, leaving a sweet, but also hoppy aftertaste. I think this beer would make a great session beer. It is not too high in alcohol, and the flavor is smooth and mild. I am glad that this beer has recently been made available to my area. I will more than likely buy this one again. Try it if you can find it.

Photo of rhoadsrage
4.35/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

(Served in an American pint glass)
A- The beer has a warm glowing brown body with a thin wispy head of tan and is a bit too dense to see any carbonation.
S- The light toasted fresh malt aroma has some light dry caramel notes to support it.
T- This beer has a big rich malt flavor with a light sweet and toasted note with some darker roasted hints in the background. This beer has a green hop finish that is zippy with a bitterness that lingers for a bit. As the beer warms there are some biscuit notes that add to the malt qualities.
M- This beer has a light mouthfeel with a tight fizz that boost the hop flavor.
D- This beer has a great rich malt flavor with a nice fizzy and hop finish that cleans up the beer. There is good depth and I would love to have this on cask.

Photo of Brenden
3.93/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks, Benny (styleisking), for another nice brew from your trip west.

It's darker than most browns, and with a deep orange-red hue to it. The tan head is almost a full finger's height, with some pretty good retention and stick to it.
It smells like it's on the hoppier end for a brown, citrus and leaf with a dry, tea-like character against caramel and toasty breads.
The flavor really develops the hops, and this stands out in a style that's often too timid. It also has the balance, though, as plenty of bread and caramel balance the orange peel and herbal leaf. It adds some depth with roast and dark chocolate notes lingering, as well as developing flavors of dark fruits without too much tang.
The body is a solid medium with the balance of crisp and smooth that works for this brown ale, right in the median between sweet and dry.

Photo of rgrace99
3.98/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass from bottle. Color was a deep copper with a one-finger head. Fine streams of small bubbles and some lacing. Aroma was mild caramel and toffee and a barely noticible hop aroma. Taste was primarily caramel malt with some hop flavor. It was very drinkable and a nice representation of the style.

Photo of IntriqKen
4.62/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is an amazingly complex ESB.
Pours a dark reddish amber to brown with a smallish cream colored head that dissipates to a very sticky lacing covering the top of the brew and sticking all the way down the drink.
Aroma is hoppy, but a sweet hops, followed by a grapefruit citrus aroma and a touch of caramel.
Not much carbonation, so mouthfeel becomes a little weak for me.
Taste is hops, grapefruit, finishing with hop bitterness and then a toasted malt sweetness .... sensing caramel and maybe a touch of chocolate...with a gentle alcohol warming as it goes down. A slightly 'burnt' taste to the malt .
May be my favorite of ESBs...very bright and clean tasting with great drinkability and some incredible complexity for this style. Revisiting this one after several months just makes it better.

Photo of MrVonzipper
4.44/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a brown with a slight amber tint to it and solid brown in the the glass. Head is a very light tan with no retention or lacing.

Nose is exceptional. Very nice hits of dark malt, dark rum, bourbon, roasted peanut, toffee, caramel, chocolate.

I was really hoping the flavor was as bold and delicious as the nose. That being said the flavor is still good, just not as rich as complex as the nose. Hints of dark malt, toffee, bourbon and a hint of almost a cracker jack flavored aftertaste. Balanced very well with the defining slightly bitterness.

Light to medium bodied with low to medium carbonation. Very smooth.

Overall this a Great beer. Very easy to drink. I could crush a six pack easy. This is an everyday beer that should be at every bar.

Photo of TheSixthRing
3.76/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearance - Pours a cloudy, almost muddy brown with a slight orange tinge. Lots of yeasty sediment float around and throughout the glass. The head is a yellowish tan, about a finger thick and shows fair retention. Lacing is spotty.

Smell - Sweet, slightly nutty aroma. Lesser notes of citrus hop rounds out the smell.

Taste - Starts with a lot of nutty character and a subtle caramel sweetness. This is quickly swept aside by a bullish, bitter hop attack that hits on orange rind, and rides this out into the finish.

Mouthfeel - Medium-bodied with soft, somewhat tingly carbonation. A touch creamy. Very smooth, finishing a bit on the dry side.

Overall - A good, fairly interesting brew. A lot more hop character than I expected. Definitely a beer I'd consider trying again, though it's not high on my priority list.

Photo of ChopperSmith
3.7/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a chilled pint glass.

Appearance: Hazy dark red/amber in color. Low carbonation and minimal tan head with no retention or lacing. Great color, though...especially in the sunlight.

Smell: Floral hops and dark roasted maltiness, a very pleasing mix. The best of both worlds.

Taste: Very complex and nice. A little sweetness mixed in with grapefruit hops and bready malts. I get a little spice and apples and raisins in the mix as well. Delicious example of the style. Well done Grand Teton brewmasters!

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, lower carbonation (which works with a flavorful beer like this). A slight bitter bite on the finish, but it doesn't linger.

Drinkability: Very drinkable. Could easily do a session with this one, especially in fall or winter. Love the complex flavors in this one. A beautiful example of the ESB style. Easily my favorite of the Grand Teton beers I've tried (but the Sweetgrass IPA is nice, too).

Photo of augustgarage
3.68/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled on July 14th, 2010 - Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Dogfish Head shaped pint glass.

Clear dark auburn body with light rust highlights and a half finger of buff foam. Messy lacing and decent retention.

Smells of fresh mild pine, spice, and citrus - classic C-hop goodness. Faint light roast coffee and cream notes are there as well.

Tart citrusy palate entry with cocoa, river stones, a mild lactic note, and light roast (chocolate?) malt. Hops contribute moderate flavor and a nice bitter note to the malty body. Smooth dry, slightly bready finish. Free of diacetyl and DMS.

Medium-light bodied, creamy, lightly astringent with moderate carbonation.

Could use a little more roast but this is still a decent session-able brown ale. Faintly bland for the style, but still worth a try.

Photo of FernMaster
3.64/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into a pint glass.

Brown ales are never very pretty looking beers. Maybe it's because life was already against them from the start because of their name; brown ale does not hold the promise that you're getting a pretty looking beer. They should be called something more promising, like "sunset ale," because everyone likes sunsets and instead of saying, "hey, there's a lot of nasty bits of yeast floating around," they'd be like, "oh it's kind of complex, there's lots of layers and overall I feel happy." [unless they're driving west]

With that tirade aside, it's not the most attractive beer. Bitch Creek (awesome name) has only a fingers worth of head that resides quickly and there's a lot of "floaters" in this beer. There's a lot of carbonation to so it looks like D'Angelo neglected Wee-Bey's fish tanks.

The smell is really good though. Wow, I hate that sentence so much I decided to keep it. Its kind of faint so you have to work at it but there's some nice roasted quality to it, the malts and a little bit of hops have a sort of toffee, chocolate scent that's quite becoming. If only the smell was more prominent I would have been happier.

I really like the taste, it's a weird concoction of all that was present in the smell with oranges. If I saw an orange in this beer like a blue moon, however, I would have to fight whoever severed me despite their intentions. There's this earthy and sweet flavor, actually there's no presence of the toffee. There's this hoppy citrus aspect and some sort of chocolate taste too. The flavor is like the scent, nice but you have to fight for it.

Despite the disgusting floaters the beer has a very good mouthfeel, it's a little weak though kind of watery. I'm just glad I'm not choking down bits of yeast. The wateriness does leave a little to be desired.

This beer is easily drinkable, it's affordable and comes in six packs, which is nice. I always thought it only came in bombers until I saw this single at my not-so-local liquor store. I paid $1.60 for the beer so that's not that bad at all.

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Bitch Creek ESB (Extra Special Brown) from Grand Teton Brewing Co.
84 out of 100 based on 740 ratings.