1. The BeerAdvocate Store is back! Pre-order your stuff now. Items begin shipping Dec 15. Christmas deadline = Dec 18 @ 5pm EST.
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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

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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

708 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 708
Reviews: 329
rAvg: 3.75
pDev: 13.6%
Wants: 10
Gots: 45 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Grand Teton Brewing Co. visit their website
Idaho, United States

Style | ABV
Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB) |  6.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
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 added by: BeerAdvocate on 10-04-2003)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Bitch Creek ESB (Extra Special Brown) Alström Bros
Ratings: 708 | Reviews: 329 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of garymuchow
4.2/5  rDev +12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

One of my buddy's favorites. I trust his judgment overall, so this should do good. Bottled on date 11/9/10, so a little more than 3 months old. That should be fine.
Not a classic brown ale in that it has a prominent sweet nuttiness and minimal on the chocolate or anything approaching a roast character. I like it, quite a bit actually, but it took me a bit to adapt to my expectations. Nice subtle hop aroma intermixed.
This bottle has a lot of sediment floating around. The website notes on a Sweetgrass bottling a few days earlier they had the same thing due to "hop particles coagulating with the priming yeast we use for bottle conditioning". Other than that, a good appearance. Dense creamy head and more reddish than brown color.
Nice little hop tang with the malty sweetness, that maintains a nutty character. The sweetness and nuttiness blend really nicely. Hop flavors are interesting and complex and also blend well with the bitterness. Hop flavors overall are done well.
Body is moderately light, but as noted by my drinking partner tonight (#1) it's holds a favorable smoothness. Prickly carbonation. Seems like the smallest bubbles possible.
Just a tad of richness and a slight sharpness to the hops decrease the final category, but having another is not a problem.

Photo of crossovert
3.25/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle.

It pours a dark brown with a creamy off-white head that sticks for a while and leaves some nice lacing.

The smell is a mix of brown sugar, roasted malt, a slight hint of fruitiness, and pine.

The flavor is pretty standard for a brown. It has a roasty bitterness, a medium sweetness, a subtle hint of tanginess, and some earthiness.

It is decent.

Photo of StoneTSR
3.9/5  rDev +4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

APPEARANCE: Poured from a bomber into a standard pint glass a hazy, dark brown with a very fluffy, off-white half inch head resting on top.

SMELL: Nutty and malty

TASTE: Wow.  A lot hoppier than I expected it to be. The hop flavor was supported by some nutty and toasty malt flavors you would expect from a brown ale along with a hint of sour flavor to it. The aftertaste was a little more bitter and smoky.

MOUTHFEEL: Very sparkly throughout the sip with a high amount of carbonation.

OVERALL: Good stuff for a brown ale.  I would drink this again in a heartbeat even though it isn't normally my style. I'm looking forward to the Pursuit of Hoppiness. 

Photo of morebeergood
3.55/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A gift from joshman for Xmas 2010. Poured into stemmed glasses from the bottle. The color was dark brown with a medium sized head. Smell had a nice aroma of dark biscuits. Taste had some nice flavors of fig, coffee, chocolate, and dark malt. The problem was that all of the flavors were so subtle. I was expecting a much more hearty presentation of flavor from this bottled format. Was there a bit of oak aging here? I got just a slight taste of it. Mouthfeel was smooth and drinkability was just fine for a brown ale. A nice take on the style, but nothing earth shattering to report here.

Photo of ppoitras
3.8/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle purchased as a single somewhere localish.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1 1/4" brown head over the cloudy reddish brown brew. Pillowy head dwindles bubble by bubble, with lots of lasting lace. Aroma is citrusy and sweet.

Taste starts sweet, strong citrus in the middle, and closes with grain husk malt and a light lemony bitterness. Mouthfeel is smooth, although the lemon does get a bit dominant, and drinkability is pretty good. Interesting brew that has me enjoying at one sip, cursing the lemon at the next, and back again.

Photo of HOPPYKC
3.9/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass. Bottled on Nov. 23 2010.

A- Pours a beautiful dark brown with a thick appearance. Gave rise to about 2" of tan bubbly head that dissipated quickly. Simi-opaque with very little visibility to see through. Shows mild carbonation.

S- The smell is amazing. Nice chocolate light flavors and roasted malt. It is well balanced with nice amount of hops.

T- Mostly roasted malts and hops. The hops are very bright and citrusy. They have a resinous type of flavor that sticks to the tongue. A bit of carbonation makes the bread-like characteristics fill the entire mouth.

M- A very full brown ale. A great drinkability that makes this ale one of my favorite brown ales.

Photo of bum732
3.53/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

S: Minerally hoppy bitterness, citrus rind mostly, orange.

L: Light tan/orangish head, good retention. Great lacing, hazy reddish brown.

T: Leafy hoppiness with a semi-sweet caramel and woody malt. Strong mineralness with the bitterness. Finishes with mineral and an almost oaky finish. Very dry finish.

M: Medium bodied with medium carbonation.

Fairly harsh, the mineralness was quite strong, i'm assuming its from the amount of hops in this beer. Not a fan, needs to be simpler.

Photo of climax
4.35/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bitch Creek (nice) starts out well. The color is a brilliant mahogany, burnt orange to the light. The head is massive and fades ever so slowly with a crater in the center. It laces all the way down my pint glass. Lovely.

The aroma is appetizing to put it modestly. Sweet chocolate and cocoa are balanced by a juicy citrus kick from the hops. The intensity is more on the subtle side, but it's balanced wonderfully and a pleasure to sniff.

The flavor is more of the same, smooth and appetizing. Cocoa powder, roasted nuts, and an equally intense hop profile make up a well-balanced bouquet. The hop bill is mainly bitter citrus, mostly grapefruit, with a dash of grass.

The body is medium to light with a lightly carbonated chalky feel. It's smooth as smooth gets, the light hearted body makes for carefree drinking. Awesome effort here.

Photo of MrDriscoll
3.63/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Slight amber tint to this brown ale. Nice foam head with distinguishable lacing all the way down the glass.

A - No one scent stood out more than another...slight hints of citrus, caramel and a touch of coffee.

T - Complex tasting action...starts off with some sweet fruity / citrus notes and fades into a sweet caramel / brown sugar note with a kiss of coffee.

M - Medium bodied with a good amount of carbination. Smooth and a little tangy finish.

D - easily drinkable, not sessionalble for me though. Didn't find it a typical brown but was quite nice.

Serving type: bottle

Photo of pisomojado8
3.8/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a medium to dark brown with a consistent fingertip or so of head throughout.

A faint smell of walnuts maybe freshly baked bread. There's something somewhat sweet there, but I can't pinpoint it.

Taste is huge up front -- somewhat sweet, exploding quickly to an aggressive dosage of hops, which remain in the finish.

Mouthfeel: chewy, well-carbonated.

The hops caught me a little off-guard, as this was my first American Brown. It grew on me. Not too shabby.

Photo of JLeege
3.33/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance- on tap, poured into a pint glass. Pours a lighter brown color with a soapy looking small head. A bit of lace is left behind.

Smell- malty, some earthy and pine hops. A tad metallic even.

Taste- A bit of toasted malts, some light pine hopping. Sweet and bready overall though. A slight nuttyness.

Mouthfeel- Low carbonation and a bit thin.

Overall- Maybe this was towards the bottom of the barrel, but it was a rather underwhelming brown ale, I have been pretty impressed by Grand Teton, but this did not do much for me. There are much better browns out there.

Photo of jj311
3.63/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: A dark, maple brown colored brew with a thick, light, tan-colored, two-finger foam head. Shows decent retention and lacing.

Smell: Very malty. Molasses and brown sugar and a little biscuity, with undertones of herbal and citric hop.

Taste: Starts with a tart, citrusy flavor complimented by biscuit, sweet caramel and roasty malts. Some bitterness at the end. An overall clean finish.

Mouthfeel: Slick, medium bodied. A sharp carbonation tingle.

Drinkability: Good drinkability, but not great.

Overall: This was my first time trying this beer. It was a step above what I expected. It wouldn't be my first choice, but definitely an option worth consideration.

Photo of bbb099
3.78/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a pint glass.

A - Nice light, tan-colored head. Amber colored with bubbles and floating debris.

S - Not much in terms of smell, mostly malt with possibly a small hint of hops.

T - Nice, moderate citrusy and piny hops flavors. Aftertaste was somewhat nutty, which I liked.

M - Full-bodied and perfect amount of carbonation.

D - Not incredibly complex, but taste was good and I can definitely drink lots of it.

Photo of harrymel
3.85/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From notes 7.2.10
Poured from bottle to Sam Adams glass.

A: Beautiful maple brown. Brown sugar depth. Medium clarity. Minimal head - only thin layer compensated by low ribbons.

S: Extremely malty for a brown. Nice molasses, brown sugar aroma.

T: Nice, balanced brown ale. Not exceptional, but a great beer for sessioning.

M: Medium body with moderate carbonation that tickles the palate throughout life of beer.

D: I find this a decent beer now, and plan to review again in the future. I know have enjoyed on subsequent occassions since this review, and feel as thought an update may be in order.

Photo of dwilson01
4.08/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

poured from a 12oz into an indian wells brewing co pint glass, splotchy light tan head tops a bodyn of dark brick red to brown color.

The smell is very mellow, I get a small amount of hoppiness combined with a biscuity bread type malt scent.

The flavor is quite good, the initial hoppiness hits you with some bitter qualities followed by a distinct sweeter brown sugar cinnamon type flavor and finishes with a sour yeasty flavor. Veryn interesting and stage based, I like it a lot.

The mouthfeel is a bit thin for my liking by it stands up well in its own category of brew for sure.

Photo of bbkd3b
3.48/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Okay, into a pint glass the beer goes.

A - Pretty looking brew. Pours with a frothy, caramel-colored head about 2-fingers thick... Good retention to. The body looks like shiny, burnt sienna, and really reflects the light well.

S - Light malts with a strong blast of citrusy hops. Not at all what I was expecting. Also, there's a bit of a hint at bitterness, but not much more.

T - Whoa... This is a very citrusy beer. Sour or tart might be a better description. There's a layer of sweetness underneath and a bitter kick at the end. Certainly interesting, but I'm not sure that I like it all that much.

M - Light and sharp. The carbonation practically feels like a tap dance on my tongue. Clean on finish... I like it.

D - Combination of flavors doesn't really work for me. One's good enough, but the more I drank it, the more noticeable it's sour character became. On the flip side, it's light and easy to find.

Overall/notes - So, I must plead ignorance here: I did some quick shopping and bought this thinking it was an extra special bitter. Needless to say, I was caught completely off-guard when I drank it. It isn't a bad brew at all, but I don't think it's quite up my alley.

Photo of volklshred
3.9/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

poured from bottle into wine glass

a-decent head with a lot of lacing

s-roasted fig, I.B.A. hop, brown sugar and light metallic nose.

t-Lots of bitter hops, Borderline tartness, and roasted malts of coarse.

m- heavy carbonation dances with tart bitterness.

d-Not the most drinkable brown but I didn't have any problems with the bottle

Photo of Wiessmonkey
3.73/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A: brown/red color with a fast dissipating head. little bit of lacing left around the glass as the drink goes down.

S: caramel/malt sweetness light bitterness

T: simple malty-ness, light roasted flavor with a hint of almost dried fig and sweetness light bite of hop at the end

M: Consistent and clean

D: Not a big brown fan, but this was better than most. I felt it was easily drank and could see drinking a few without getting the over sweetness of some browns.

Bought a single at Battle Born Wine, Gardnerville NV.
Drank in a pint glass at 62 degrees
Serving type: bottle

Photo of twoheadedboy
3.53/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a syrupy amber with a moderate foamy head.

Citrusy hops are abundant, both in aroma and taste, with a faint smoky malt quality coming in later. Some sharp grassy, earthy hops are are also quite noticable. Very hoppy for a brown, maybe more akin to an ipa.

Not too much to say about this one. Enjoyable and drinkable enough, very light for a brown, but nothing especially noteworthy for me. Good but not too memorable.

Photo of OWSLEY069
4/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy deep amber to a copper color with a light tan head. In the aroma, grapefruity hops, almost IPA like. In the taste, a nice citrus to pine hop and a nice dry malt all the way through. A bitter to smooth and medium to light bodied mouthfeel, with a semi drysmall citrus hop in the aftertaste. Almost an IPA, but I can dig it.

Photo of BeerEndevour14
2.9/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

For a brown ale this was too bitter, while the malt profile was good, the dryness/bitterness took over as the main flavor. It poured nice at first, extremely heady and looked great. Its smell was weak and did not match the first tastes. For an ESB this was not soothing although if your a fan of extra hoppy browns this may be for you.

Photo of drpimento
3.75/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Served with a nice, large, foamy, frothy, light tan head that lasts a while and lots of lace. Color is a clear amber brown. Aroma is malt n hops. Flavor is like american brown pushing the limits - in fact, maybe too far. Too me the hop is at least equal to the malt and dominates it in some ways. That crosses it over into some other beer style. Body is good and good carbonation, but the jacked up bitterness is more astringent and pucker in the mouth. Finish is a little on the sharp side, but still overall a great drinking beer. Just a little outside aba. Oh, and the ESB moniker needs to go, not witty or clever at all. Seems to me a cheesy attempt at humor or marketing guy's got to get canned.

Photo of allforbetterbeer
3.35/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into a stange glass.

A gentile pour yields three fingers of toasted-white-bread colored head which begins falling quickly, but leaves some nice crusty lacing on the glass. Body is a russet bordering on flamed blood orange and cloudy.

The nose has prominent American hops as the dominant aroma; pine, slight pineapple, and some rind of citrus. Under these is a little caramelized sugar glaze and crystal malt.

This is a flavor profile aimed directly at American hop-lovers. A good helping of hops floods the palate with gusto, and doesn't let up until nearly the end when the brown ale characteristic nutty caramel and roasted malts poke up through the patch of hops and show this beer's original style is still there. Some slight medicinal flavors are noted in the middle, and they are not pleasant. No other complaints.

The mouthfeel isn't as good as it could be. Somehow it feels slippery and thin, and the carbonation is foamy but not smooth or full. Something about the hop bitterness messes with the flavor or feel, because this doesn't drink like a pale ale or IPA with that nectar feeling that makes you want to bathe in it, but also it doesn't feel full and toasty like many good brown ales do.

Conclusion: I feel that this take on the style missed the mark. I don't have any problem with hopping up a style that usually doesn't display major hops, but doing so at the expense of the original heart and soul of the beer ends up being a trade off without benefits. If the hops balanced a more with the malts this could be beneficial.

Photo of Thorpe429
4.1/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes.

Pours a nice moderate brown color with some copper streaks. White head with a bit of lacing. The nose is quite strong and nice. Good notes of pine, grapefruit, and some other citrus hops. Light caramel and toffee in the nose. The flavor has a nice hop bouquet along with a bit of light caramel and bread. Pretty good body with a nice level of bitterness and a good finish. Drinks quite well and was a solid nice first beer from Idaho.

Photo of Naugros
4.03/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thick sudsy head with mondo lacing, dark amber with a dark orange glow, this is one pretty beer in the glass.

The scent is punctuated by grapefruit and pine hops backed up and balanced by caramel malts. That balance is lost somewhat in the taste with the hops bitterness taking over, but that's what an ESB is all about. It's supposed to be overbalanced in favor of the bitterness, hence the name. I'd pan any other style for that excess, but this seems just about right for the style and will satisfy just about any hophead or bitter bitch.

Bitch Creek ESB (Extra Special Brown) from Grand Teton Brewing Co.
85 out of 100 based on 708 ratings.