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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.
very good

338 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 338
Hads: 766
Avg: 3.79
pDev: 19.79%
Wants: 12
Gots: 66 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Bitch Creek ESB (Extra Special Brown) Alström Bros
Reviews: 338 | Hads: 766
Photo of jploving
4.23/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

I was very fortunate yesterday....An old friend and I had a few beers together on his front porch in rocking chairs and he supplied the beer....nice....free beer.
What makes it even better is that he let me have 2 VERY GOOD beers....Founders Dirty Bastard and Bitch Creek ESB.
I will focus on the ESB today....as in Extra Special Brown...I did not realize that when I took the first sip...I was excpecting a slightly bitter bouquet of fruit...not a malty, caramel toffee...I reread the bottle and BOOM...."Extra Special BROWN"-THIS IS AWESOME!
This reminds me of a first class homebrew (which I pride myself as a 2nd class homebrewer).
It is bottled conditioned so when I poured it up it was cloudy and thick and beautiful. Almost chewy...wonderful mouthfill and great head retention.
The heavy caramel, hint of chocolate and toffee flavors are balanced extremely well by the up front bitterness which only lingers enough until the next sip....
This was a wonderful surprise. I suggest that any Brown Ale lover sniff this beer out and give it a try...great experience.
I rate it 4.25...

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
4.2/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle purchased from Berkeley Bowl West in Berkeley, CA.

Pours a very pleasant ruby-tinged amber-brown colour, with a rather bright yellow crest of foam. This settles down to a loose ring. Body has a pleasant heft to it, and holds its fine carbonation very well. Overall, it's a really good-looking beer. I like it.

Nose is a pleasant melange of toasty, sweet rich malts and bright, fresh hop characters. There's orange citrus and some blossom tones, with a richness like treacle and cinnamon. They work in concert almost perfectly, providing a balanced and complex combination. It's really quite lovely.

Taste takes a step back from this, but still maintains a very pleasant balance: the malt is less prominent here, and it's less rich and full than I thought it might be. Instead, the hops are thrust forward, giving a rounded, supple fruitiness and a pronounced, but not sharp bitterness. Still, it is rounded and balanced with some toasty malt characters and a suggestion of vegemite. It is, in fact, very pleasant.

Feel is smooth and supple, providing another layer of balance against the hop character.

Overall, this is a damn fine beer. It's very delicately balanced, while maintaining a very full and forthright flavour profile. What's more, it's remarkably easy to drink, and oddly moreish. I'm a big fan.

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Photo of vette2006c5r
3.47/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bitch Creek pours a dark reddish color, with a nice long lasting head. Their is a malty aroma, with hints of a harsh sweetness. The taste has a malty flavor, and a bit harsh, with a slightly hoppiness that comes through at the end. Full flavor, but a strange harsh sweetness to it. Overall not a bad beer, worth another go.

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Photo of Sark
3.47/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance- hazy red brown, no head, even with vigorous pour

Smell- carmel and light chocolate notes, minimal hop characteristics

Taste- light toffee and chocolate, malts impart a little sweetness, bitterness comes on the mid tongue from the hops

Mouthfeel- medium bodied, crisp bitterness finish

Overall- Interesting take on an ESB with a nod to a brown

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Photo of handlerb
3.79/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a beautiful deep ruby color; blood red when held up to the light. Dark for an ESB, light for a brown.

S - notes of caramel/toffee highlighted with some biscuity tones. Minimal noble hop presence.

T - the smell didn't lie: a strong malt presence with highlights of dark caramel and crystal malts, maybe even a hint of dried fruit. Finishes with a bittering that lingers just long enough for me to want the next sip.

M - Solid, a bit on the dry side, but as expected with this nod the the ESB style

O - Good beer, interesting take on the style. I'll have no problem finishing the 6-pack.

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Photo of spoony
3.73/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

From a 12 oz bottle (brewed on January 16, 2013) into a globe glass.

A-A normal pour produces less than one finger of light, mocha-colored foam. A thick cap of foam persists and leaves some lacing on the glass. The brew is quite dark, nearly opaque, with a reddish tint.

S-The smell is relatively rich and malty with some caramel notes and hint of brown sugar. A couple of deep whiffs unveils a light, peppery bitterness from the hops. A pleasing and powerful smell.

T-The taste is not as concentrated as the smell and trends more to the hoppy end of the flavor spectrum. There is still the caramel and light roastiness in the malt flavor, but the sharp, slightly herbal hop notes move towards the front.

M-The feel is mild creaminess with low carbonation and medium weight. The brew gets slightly slick feeling after the foam cap has disappeared.

O-This was a drinkable and slightly different take on the brown style with decent flavor and a concentrated smell. I would have preferred more malt in the flavor profile, but nothing here was completely out of place. It paired nicely with the chili I was eating.

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Photo of TheSixthRing
3.76/5  rDev -0.8%
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.

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Photo of BlackBelt5112203
3.64/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into a nonic pint glass at fridge-cellar temperature.

L – Brown color with a 1.5-finger frothy, somewhat rocky, cream-colored head. Really great retention and some nice lacing. Clear with a decent amount of appreciable bubbles. This is a bit dark for a true ESB, but I guess that’s why they call it “Extra Special Brown.”

S – Caramel, toffee, and nutty malt aromas with an equal dose of grapefruit and maybe floral hops. There also may be a hint of raisins in the aroma, as well. There’s a good, balanced mix of brown ale-style malt and hops here.

T – It starts off with sweet caramel and brown sugar. Right afterward, dry toasted and nutty malts come in. At mid-taste toward the finish, bitter hops appear with much more earthy and piney flavors than the aroma suggested, along with the grapefruit that was apparent.

F – Medium-bodied with pretty good carbonation, a creamy and smooth mouthfeel, and a bittersweet, earthy, and dry finish. Some of the bitter and dry earthy and woody flavors linger at the back of the tongue for a bit.

O – This is a decent beer. I think it may fit better in the brown ale category, albeit with a few more hops than the usual example (picture a brown IPA). Because of this, its characteristics are kind of out of the ranges of good ESB characteristics. I’d like to see more sweet caramel and less toasted and nutty malts. This would also lighten the color into a more ESB-appropriate range. I’d also like to see more earthy and floral hops rather than citrus and pine. Some earthiness was definitely present in the taste but not so much in the aroma. Regardless of all of this, it’s not a bad tasting beer and it’s certainly drinkable. I just think that this beer would be better suited in a different category. I think Grand Teton could make a better beer that would be much better suited for the ESB style.

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Photo of Fatehunter
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A nice finger of head on a dark brown body.
The aroma has a smooth nuttiness coupled with a lemon. It works nicely.
The taste starts with a malty mild sweetness, then quickly turns to a grapefruit/lemon bitterness. It's a bit abrupt.
The texture is crisp and still smooth with moderate carbonation.
I like it. It's a nice mix of an ESB and a brown ale.

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Photo of RussBecker1
3.18/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A-Pours a cloudy brown with hints of ruby and very slight hints of sunny orange. Hardly any head or lacing to be found however, other than that it is a pretty looking brew.

S-Possess the nose of a distinct brown ale. Bits of smoked caramel and toffee, there are small hints of coffee although not much, and it finishes with a decent bit of sweetness.

M-The mouth did not sit particularly well with me. Despite the thick body, it is not nearly as thick on the feel. Too carbonated and not quite creamy enough to make much of a lasting enhancement on the flavors.

T-A rather dull brown ale in my opinion. Not that bitch creek is bad it is just run of the mill with nothing exciting to be found. The patented caramel malts are there, but not to the extent that they are overtly pleasurable. The finish leaves a sharp smokey finish that blows out the other undertones that were apparent in the nose.

O-A decent brown that is neither great nor horrible. Much preferred to a newcastle, but there are better options.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.88/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

i liked this one a lot, unconventional hoppy brown ale. the pour is a decadent looking hazy reddish brown color with a lively off white head as tall as you want it to be. aroma is hop heavy on top of well roasted chocolate malt and an ale yeast that lends some seasonal vibe to it. flavor is great i think, the heavy hops on top of a sturdy brown ale is just what the early fall is calling for, its perfect really. i love the sweetness of the malts grappling with the bitterness of the hops. its got a great bite in the finish as well. feel is fuller bodied for sure, but the carbonation is rather bright, and the combination is great. its a little filling, but its perfect for this time of year. get some.

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Photo of Oakenator
4.06/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Medium brown color and is somewhat hazy. Pours with an enormous head. Smell is different than a typical brown ale - chocolate malts present but a hint of sour. Taste incorporates the chocolate malt and the sour smell may be derived from a citrus hop. Mouthfeel is great with fine bubbles that probably contribute to the large head.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
3.92/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours kind of cloudy. Well, not kind of cloudy. I'd say a bit too much so, really. This one is pretty earthy with bark tones to it when you let it warm up. Much more pleasant than I was anticipating. Only draw back is a mild bitter and citric thing that strikes me as slightly not right. But not really so much that it even matters. This is a nice beer.

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Photo of DavoleBomb
4.39/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass. Bottled 3/21/12.

4.0 A: Well hazed deep amber mahogany color. Two fingers of thick, creamy beige head. Retention is very good and lots of lacing is left. Small, grain-like yeasties throughout.

5.0 S: Nose on this is awesome. Caramel with even more toffee. Grainy toastiness. Strong plum and an almost vinous grape.

4.5 T: Graininess and toastiness assume the lead role. Caramel and toffee next. Plum and grape after that. A bit drier than the nose suggests, but still quite nice. Light to moderate yeastiness to round things out.

3.5 M: Medium body. Good moderate carbonation. Not very creamy, but otherwise fine here.

4.0 D: Really tasty beer. This mixes the flavors I listed in a near perfect harmony.

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Photo of kojevergas
2.95/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

355ml brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a stemtulip in me gaff in low altitude Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Acquired at Tipsy's Liquor in Colorado as part of a Grand Teton variety box. Expectations are above average.

Served straight from the refrigerator and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a 1.5 finger beige-slight khaki colour of nice cream, good thickness, and solid retention for the above average ABV. Colour is a very dark grapefruit-auburn (if you'll forgive the pretention inherent in that phrasing...). Nontransparent. Opaque. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show. Decent lacing as the head recedes.

Sm: Cream, heavy caramelization, toasted malt, fruity malts, and a rounded light fruit hop character - nothing too bitter or piney or anything of the like. Quite sugary. A pretty strong aroma, though not an arresting one.

T: Cream, heavy malts (toasted, fruity, caramelized), and a simple barley foundation lending more body but little flavour. A substandard ESB. Built very simply. The balance is alright, but the beer lacks sufficient body. Overly malty, without any clever layering.

Mf: Smooth, wet, and creamy. Too wet. Adequately carbonated. Suits the flavours and style in a general sense.

Dr: Drinkable but unremarkable. A mundane ESB, but one that will satisfy any yearning on the part of ye ESB fans. I wouldn't get it again, but it's decent. Hides its above average ABV well.


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Photo of jar2574
3.68/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very dark brown with a tan head and excellent, beautiful lacing. Smells is excellent - malty, caramel, cinnamon, and butter. Taste is quite bitter up front. Loaded with both malts and hops imparting powerful flavors. The sweet caramel smell doesn't come through in the flavor, it is much more bitter, toasted, earthy, grassy. A very interesting beer, haven't had many like it.

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Photo of searsclone
3.53/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass. Dark brown, purple-ish color with a nice tan head.

Smells like plums or raisins and dark chocolate

Taste is coffee, then burnt caramel sweetness then hops. A touch of raisins at the end.

Mouthfeel is nicely carbonated, a little chewey.

Overall this one is good. It's not my favorite style, but I found it to be very drinkable.

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Photo of IPAsteveCO
3.85/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this beer in Worland Wyoming as I was traveling through picked up a 22oz bomber at liquor store. I had heard some really good things about this beer so I was excited to try it.

A=A little sediment in bottom of bottle but was careful to pour lightly and avoid stirring up. Nice color and pretty good clarity

S=nose had a light malty biscuity, sweet hint to it pleasant

T=this is were this beer shines a really nice balanced flavor that is complex but yet very easy to drink

Overall a really nice ESB, not quite as blown away as I thought I might've been (could be the bottle age) but really enjoyed the beer

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Photo of iammatt
4.03/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an awesome translucent deep garnet. A nice finger high tan head slowly shrinks to leave a small cap on the beer that leaves behind lacing all down the glass. Brown sugar, a bit of bread and tons of caramel hit the nose. Taste is rich malt, a lot of toffee flavors coming through. A good hit of coffee comes in towards the end, while being balanced out by some citrusy hops. This is a malt forward beer, balanced wonderfully by the fairly high IBU for the style. This stands out as an American Brown/Amber instead of an ESB.

This is a great beer that is extremely drinkable with it's 6.0% ABV and 54 IBU. A great place for someone looking to start with craft beer, or a very pleasant American Brown.

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Photo of thagr81us
3.88/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from tap into a sampler shaker. Poured ruby red with a minimal brownish off-white head. Maintained phenomenal lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of roasted malt, sweet malt, and nutty. The flavor was of sweet malt, roasted malt, nutty, dark chocolate, subtle coffee, and citrus. It had a medium feel on the palate with medium carbonation. Overall this was a fairly good brew. I was really quite surprised by this one based on the flavor. There was really a lot going on in this one that I usually don’t find in this style that was a very welcomed change. The aroma on the other hand could have used a little work as it was quite simple. Nicely done brew that I wouldn’t mind having again in the future.

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Photo of deepseacatfish
3.61/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Got a bottle of this from a friend. Cloudier dark amber color, a slightly hoppy/metallic aroma. Initial wet mouthfeel with a nutty/malty profile that then moves into a dry hoppier finish. The 6% alcohol is present but not overpowering, overall a nice beer.

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Photo of JuicesFlowing
3.85/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a standard pint glass. The beer is a murky, hazy copper brown. A dark cream colored head sits on top fr a while until settling into a thick film. Light sticky lacing holds to the glass. The beer smells malty and boozy. The tastes metallic and boozy up front, the 6% really comes through fast. A buttery, biscuit malt flavor follows through, with a dry finish. The mouthfeel is medium bodied.

Overall, this brown ale is just a bit too heavy for me. I definitely don't regret trying it, but one is enough.

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Photo of KDawg
3.62/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

poured from bottle into a pint glass. Pours a nice nut brown color that is a little see-through

very savory aromas of roast nuts, toffee, malts and a touch of orange peels as well. Very good depth and the savory quality really adds to it

Nice medium body with a real smooth feel. Well balanced flavors of roasted nuts, toffee and a bit of caramel. Not all too complex for the flavors and it's lacking a bit on the mid and finish

A very drinkable and enjoyable brown ale. The finish is better than the mid, but it's not as good as the immediate attack. Well balanced with a good malty and savory quality as well

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Photo of whatthehull
3.82/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5


A - deep dark brown almost translucent, one finger almost tan head and some sticky lacing

S - Bready yeast, sugar, huge sweet malts, some roasted malts, heavy island fruits, flower, citrus, wood, earth and hops

T - lots of floral bitterness, slight fruit notes, heavy sweet and toasted malts, lots of island flavors, very nice hop, a slight yeast funk, earth, greens and citrus

M - medium plus body, nice complexity, well balanced, medium minus acidity and long finish

D/O - very easy to drink, refreshing, crisp and fresh. Malt bomb for sure with balancing hops. Lovers of craft beer will like this one and if you haven't really gotten into craft, nice place to start

Final thoughts - nice 6% abv, low price of a little over a dollar a bottle. Well done beer for sure!

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Photo of kaseydad
3.92/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Wife picked this up for me...mentioned it was especially from her. Uh-oh. Pours a dirty cola/brown color with a nice fluffy beige head. Good lacing. The smell has some nice brown sugar, apple, light citrus and malt. A very big malt presence on the taste with some splashes of citrus. A light dose of leather in the aftertaste. Nice hop presence in this one. Pretty full mouthfeel. Overall I liked this. I am not a huge brown fan but this one has enough to keep my interest and consume multiples. I can definitely see why the awards keep coming to this ale. Definitely worth a shot.

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Bitch Creek ESB (Extra Special Brown) from Grand Teton Brewing Co.
85 out of 100 based on 338 ratings.