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

335 Reviews

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Reviews: 335
Hads: 749
rAvg: 3.82
pDev: 10.73%
Wants: 13
Gots: 60 | 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
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Reviews: 335 | Hads: 749
Photo of ncsutton
3.38/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Serving - Bottle

A - Got a decent 1 finger head after an aggressive pour, not much for lacing, the brew is a dark brown/caramel color

S - Biscuity with some earthy tones to it

T - Bitter chocolate, as well as some roasted malts to it, it also has a hop aftertaste that is not to aggressive, but adds to the bitterness that the brewer seems to be going for

M - Medium bodied with a good balance of carbonation, leaves a bittersweet aftertaste

O - Great taste to it, nothing really jumps out at you but its a real nice blended taste, different than other brown ales I've had, but still a good choice, especially since it was on sale when I got it (649 characters)

Photo of TCMike
4.28/5  rDev +12%
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. (273 characters)

Photo of Mississipping
3.53/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a dark brown with some ruby highlights when held to light. A large khaki colored head rests on top and takes forever to settle. Large amounts of lacing left behind. Nice appearance.

S: A good bit of hops up front with some caramel and a little bit of a nuttiness. A bit of earth is in the background as well. Not real dynamic but quite appealing for what is there. 

T: A nice nuttiness up front and less hops than the aroma would lead you to believe. A little bit of vanilla, chocolate, and a touch of coffee in the background. Again, not a ton going on, but what is there is pretty well balanced and pretty tasty. 

M: Medium bodied with a good bit of carbonation. Smooth on the palate with a nice drying effect on the back end. 

D: Nice little brown ale with a good hop profile. Goes down pretty smoothly with a nice transition from slightly sweet and nutty to hoppy and slightly bitter. Overall, not bad.  (924 characters)

Photo of rsdaugherty
3.8/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle into pint glass
A – Clear deep brown brew with some crimson hues, dense 2 finger head had good retention with lots of nice lacing all around the glass 4
S – Very nice nose. Nutty, caramel, brown sugar, some similarities to Capt. Morgan spiced rum, a strong 4
T – Nutty, caramel, darker malts to a mildly spicy mildly bitter hop/herbal finish, notes of cocoa & toffee 3.5
M – Smooth drinking, light moderate body with a light syrup mouth feel, a light moderate carbonation 4
O – A good beer with nice balance, one on which I enjoyed the smell more than the taste, good drinkability 4 (599 characters)

Photo of minterro
3.8/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Gift from my girlfriends uncle.

Caramel, bready malts, floral hops, and a bit boozy

Thick foamy tan head that pours a little over a finger and hangs around well leaving good lacing. Dark brown lively looking beer.

Taste not as good as the smell. Not as bitter as I would think from the name. not as hoppy as the nose its more bready and nutty. Finish is bitter but not as much as many bitters.
Medium bodied and on the low side of carbonation. (447 characters)

Photo of kjritt
3.63/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

serving type: out of a bottle into a glass jar

appearance: thick head, eventually subsided to a thin white line, good lacing

smell: smokey, nutty, sweet

taste: rich woody, good lingering taste of hops

mouthfeel: smooth, but too light. does not stick as well as i'd like it.

overall: perfect dark nutty beer for a wintery day, such as today is. (348 characters)

Photo of BrownAleMale
2.63/5  rDev -31.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Pint bottle poured into a Paulaner stein.

Appearance- Dark brown with 1 finger of cloudy white head that quickly dissipates.

Smell- Pine, floral, and ripe fruit

Taste- Hits you hard with unsweetened chocolate and finishes with piney hop flavor. Actually a quite interesting.

Mouthfeel- Nice medium body, but the earthy hops in the nose is causing palate confusion.

Interesting beer, but not for me. Seems, like a black ipa to me, rather then a brown ale. (459 characters)

Photo of tvv375ia
3.73/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle into pint glass

A-poured a hazy mahogany with about a finger of head that left some nice lacing as it faded

S-mostly some chocolate malt smells to start with but the I get a slight musty metallic smell that comes on the very end

T-nice chocolatey carmel without any of the metal hint from the smell with a slight hop taste on the finish

M-good carbonation on the light side of medium body

O-pretty well balanced brown ale that could be and excellent everyday beer (492 characters)

Photo of syrupjoe
3.56/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into pint glass

Pours a dark amber-brown color with lots of floaties. 1.5 finger eggnog colored head with good lacing.

Nose gives off roasty grain notes typical of a mild or brown ale. Slightly metallic with a bit of cocoa.

Flavor is also roasty, with dark chocolate bitterness and some acidity that is different but works well with the beer.

Medium body, moderate to low carbonation. Tight finish, with a slight lingering sourness.

Overall a good beer. Not a typical brown, but enjoyable. (506 characters)

Photo of NuclearDolphin
4.3/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a 12oz Tumbler

Appearance - Dark Brown/Amber Color with ALOT of haze, showing off a very unflitered look. Pours a brown color 1 finger head that leaves behind some good lacing.

Smell - Rich Dark Chocolate/Cocoa aroma mixed in with caramel, toffee, and barley; Along with some piney hop notes

Taste - Chocolate and Toffee along with roasted malts and piney hops. The chocolate itself is surprisingly sweet and doesn't come off as bitter. The after taste itself is also very sweet with some piney and caramel notes.

Mouthfeel - For a beer this unfiltered and dark, the body is quite moderate but it feels thick at the same time. Carbonation is also pretty balanced as well. It's got a slight creamy feel to it as well, which helps

Overall - This is a beer with some very rich flavors that don't come off as bitter or artificial, which alone makes this an excellent Brown Ale. If you're into brown ales and are looking for some flavor to your beer, this is the beer for you! (988 characters)

Photo of TMoney2591
3.03/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Served in a flared pokal at Bliss.

Loved the XX version of this, high hopes for the everyday version. It pours a deep russet-brown topped by a finger of sandy tan foam. The nose comprises toffee, light maple syrup, very light toasted bread, pine, greens, and plenty of cilantro. The taste brings in more of the same, but then finishes with a strong bitter/charry/leather character that malingers for a while and ruins any good that precedes it. The body is a light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a sorta-kinda dry finish. Overall, a decent brew that turns all Hyde on ya. Shame, really. (602 characters)

Photo of TheDinger
3.88/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into a pint glass. Cloudy brown/mahogony pour with a nice 2 finger tan head. Adequate lacing that remains throughout, very good looking brown. Not an overpowering smell, but notes of carmel, citrus and a mix of malts and hops. Taste is similar to the nose, but a strong fruity initial surge followed off by subtle hops. A good combination of malts and hops with a full body taste. Maybe a bit too strong on the fruity/citrus end. Feels great on the tongue with a decent amount of carbonation. Silky and smooth with a little bite. Overall- A solid ABA with an interesting taste. Good mix of carmel/fruit malts and a little hop bite at the end. Would not turn one down, tasty- (693 characters)

Photo of GossageBrewery
4.12/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured this American Brown Ale from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. The Brown ale poured a dark reddish brown color. It produced a nice tan head, below average retention. It does leave some rings of lacing behind on the glass. The aroma of the ale features caramel, fresh baked bread, orange peel and spicy hoppy goodness. Medium body, grainy, chocolate, caramel, toasted malt flavor. Sweet, semi dry finish.Awesome session beer....nice way to get away from the run of the mill brown ales that are out there. (510 characters)

Photo of jsprain1
3.61/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Brown with reddish highlights. There's a tan head that lasts fairly well.
S- The aroma is fairly sweet with a dark caramel and a bit of a bready note. There is also is some citric hops.
T- Far more hoppy than the nose indicated. It comes across as more adding bitterness than any particular flavor but there is some pine in there as well. Malt profile comes through with caramel and a fairly prominant brown sugar note.
M- Light medium-body. Medium body. Bitterness tingles the tongue.
O- A tasty beer but it needs more on the nose, and I might change the hops up a bit to add more flavor and less just general bitterness. (626 characters)

Photo of jmvecchio1
3.92/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer pours out mahogany in color with a light brown head on top. The aroma of this beer is largely hoppy (54 IBUs of Pacific Northwestern hops), but it has some underlying sweet malty tones. The taste of the beer is of roasty biscuity malts, with a splash of hop bitterness towards the end of the drink. Bitch Creek finishes surprisingly dry, but has a lingering amount of hop oil left on the tongue. Overall, this is a sturdy American brown ale. (450 characters)

Photo of Apellonious
4.02/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- dark cloudy brown, two finger head.Goes to down to thin lace over time. Lace hangs on the side.

S- chocolate, some hop overtones

T- chocolate, vanilla, malt. There is a nice hop balance, possibly some English hops in the mix.

M- mouthfeel is great, definitely serve this on the warmer side, when its too cold it masks the taste and makes it slightly watery. As it warms it gets slightly sticky and more full.

O - Definitely an above average brown, which are hard to find these days. Stressing the serving temperature, as it makes a big difference. (555 characters)

Photo of dcloeren
3.43/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a hazy mahogany red/brown with two fingers of creamy light tan head. Pretty solid retention and some spotty lacing.

The aroma produced was roasted/burnt carmel malt with some citrus and pine hops with some pungent herbal notes on the back end.

Taste follows the nose but the herbal notes in the back of the aroma are alot more forward in the taste. I find it to be kind of off putting and a little much... doesn't ruin the beer, but it definitely doesnt help it.

Medium body and creamy as all hell. Highlight of this beer for sure. Abundant amount of carbonation. Very drying and bitter drying aftertaste from the hops but its the herbal bitterness that sticks to the back corners of the tongue with each sip.

Overall, I'm glad I got to try a bee I really otherwise wouldn't have had but I have no intention of drinking the other two out of my sampler. Bitch Creek definitely will bitch slap the taste out of your mouth with the herbal bitterness. They could definitely tone that down and this would be a great beer. (1,027 characters)

Photo of FanofHefe
4.03/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a tulip; bottled on 7/7/11 - thanks for great dating! Darker than I expected, clear brown body with red tint around the edges. I increased my score for appearance because this three-finger tan head hangs around forever as a foamy cap and leaves plenty of lacing.

The aroma is also different than I expected with a good helping or hops standing by to help the malt. The malt comes in with caramel and bready notes, and I swear, I'm getting some chocolate in the background.

OK, is this an ESB or a Porter? Tastes surprisingly like a Porter, as I'm getting much more of a roasted malt flavor with bittersweet chocolate in the flavor. Still, a slight note of hops blends in and makes for a tasty brew.

Medium to light consistency in the mouthfeel that works well. Just a rock solid brew overall and I'll be looking for more beers from this brewery. (874 characters)

Photo of Philousa
3.72/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark brown wit a creamy one finger head. Sweet dark, nutty, caramel flavors start the nose followed by bitter, earthy hops. I get some brown sugar in the sweetness up front followed by some nutty flavors and then comes the hoppy after taste. This is on the heavy side and feels a bit syrupy, but the carbonation lightens it up a bit.

I have a hard time liking some browns, but this is a good example of an American Brown Ale. I go for the nutty English browns usually, because the hops that brewers choose for American browns just don't go together; but Grand Teton Brewing pulled it off. For some reason this reminds me of a DFH ale. Very hoppy and experimental without being an IPA. I'm going to have to remember to get a sixer of this when I want to mix it up in the winter when the malts are king. (808 characters)

Photo of welldigger888
4.05/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a deep garnett hue with a sticky off white not quite tan head that leaves thick lacing down the glass.

Biscuity caramel malty goodness that is substancial. An earthy type of possibly noble hop aroma that gives way to a nice touch of american hops.

Toasty biscuit with some caramel and hop bitterness that leads into a nice malty citrusy finish.

Not to dry but highly quaffable for sure,medium full body that pleases all the senses for sure.

Wow, good beer here, I like it and I got a ballcap from the rep to boot. (524 characters)

Photo of nrbw23
4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a really dark reddish brown color with a nice foamy egg shell colored head. Head has pretty solid retention and leaves some nice lacing.

S- Smell is some really nice toasted and chocolate malts with a very solid citrus hop prescense as well. A touch of pine here too.

T- Not quite a Brown Ale or an ESB. Almost a perfect hybrid of the two. Taste is chocolate, toffee, and caramel malts. Piney hops, a touch of bitterness and yeast.

M- Medium in body and carbonation.

O- Quite surprised by this one. I really enjoyed this one. (540 characters)

Photo of TheRealBigC
4.15/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at 775 Gastropub

Nice deep mahogany color, pretty good head retention and lacing.

Smell has some notes of coffee and other brown things.

Taste is very robust. Coffee, a little chocolate and nuttiness and a rush of malts and hops come at you hard. It's quite a mouthful, but it's all very smooth. The serving came in a 20oz. glass and I sat at the bar for a good hour with it, taking periodic sips and appreciating the depth. It's definitely not an anytime beer, though, especially not in the summer.

I thoroughly enjoyed this one so I made it a point to grab a pack at the store when I got the chance. It's definitely better on tap, but I am enjoying the pack at a leisurely pace, especially since it came off the rotating tap at Gastropub. (752 characters)

Photo of biegaman
4.07/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

For an "extra special brown" ale you'd expect it to be brown. It is. For a bottle-conditioned beer you might expect little traces of yeast sediment to end up in your glass. They did. And for an English-inspired offering you might expect it to be a better drinker than it is a looker. And that is exactly what this turbid, toneless, reasonably flat beer is.

The beer figures to be quite hoppy, I can sense the bitterness just from smelling it. There is a vaguely earthy must, something not unlike pine needles or birch wood, it reminds me of the cottage. There's also what figures to be a considerably rich malt base, again if this aroma is any indication. It has a nutty, sweet note like roasted pecans and a trace of bruised fruit.

That aroma didn't steer me wrong at all - this thing is both impressively malty as well as appreciably hoppy. The taste of browned bread, softened by a dark caramel-like sweetness, is dreamy on the palate, depositing plenty of pecan and hazelnut flavours as it soothingly glides down the throat. The hops, meanwhile, provide a strong pine needle taste.

Considering the serum-y bitterness and all the toasty nuttiness, the mouthfeel can sometimes feel so dry so as to be almost woody, but the beer doesn't have the complexities to indicate barrel-aging. It seems to have been brewed with a fat Englishman in mind, who's palate was as discerning as his belly was needing to be filled. Bottle-conditioning has ensured there's lots of body and life left in it, even after unknown time on the shelf.

I promised myself I wouldn't write this when I bought the bottle, but I'm so impressed by it that I just can't help myself - Bitch Creek is one bitchin' ale! Now that I've gotten that out of my system, a more serious note: there aren't many American brewers anymore who can grasp the English pub-style ale (and most who do can't often pull it off). But this is exactly the kind of offering that tempts men to sneak out of the house for cheeky pint. (1,983 characters)

Photo of DCon
3.98/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Enjoyed on-keg(tap) @ Castlewood State Park in Ballwin, MO during the Alpine Shop Dirt Crit MTB Series. Tapped 4 times into Mt New Belgium 12oz cup throughout the whole day.

Aroma- bit of roast and losts of malt and caramel.

Appearance- received with a 2 finger, light brown head that has good retention. Dark amber colored body that is clear. Good lacing.

Flavor- high maltiness with a nice caramel flavor. Medium hops and perfect for an American Brown. Medium bitterness.

Mouthfeel- light-medium bodied, high carbonation, refreshing, and leaves bit of caramel on palate. Feels too light here for the style.

Overall Impression- great brown like always. Wish it wasn't called an Esb... But for those who drink this know what it really is. (744 characters)

Photo of lonestar4lunch
4.12/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11/10 sticker on the bottle. Pours a cloudy brown with a huge tan head that slowly fades to a constant lacing. The aroma is sweet of brown sugar, malts and multiple little nuggets of fruit... very big nose that is very good. Taste is somewhat toned down compared to the smell but still packs a punch. The malts are the main attraction here with very little hop bite. There is a sugary sweetness that isn't over powering but really adds to the overall feel of the brew.

The finish is where you get just a hint of the hops for me. There is just a touch of citrus on the finish that really completes this one. I keep licking my lips afterwards like I just took a bit of sundae. It may sound like the sweetness is over the top but it is not. This nails the line between bittersweet and over the top. Very drinkable, wish I could get it here in Texas. (848 characters)

Bitch Creek ESB (Extra Special Brown) from Grand Teton Brewing Co.
86 out of 100 based on 335 ratings.