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

very good
342 Reviews
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Bitch Creek ESB (Extra Special Brown)Bitch Creek ESB (Extra Special Brown)

Brewed by:
Grand Teton Brewing Co.
Idaho, United States | website

Style: English Brown Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.00%

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

Added by BeerAdvocate on 10-04-2003

User Reviews
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Reviews: 342 | Ratings: 794
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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Photo of soju6
3.41/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a slightly hazy dark reddish brown color with a fluffy head that slowly fades to nice lacing.

S: Aroma of roasted malt, bit of caramel with bit of mild fruit and bit of citrus.

T: First taste is of roasted malt and some nuts. Then there is a citrus bite with a mild bitterness than lingers just a bit.

F: Fairly medium body, crisp with a decent balance.

Nice offering but nothing special. Seems to be more of a brown ale than an ESB as stated on the label.

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Photo of tony223366
3.7/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Darker brown with plenty of red highlights, this is an attractive beer. Nice, super fluffy 2+ fingers of off-white head. Nice mix of small and big bubbles makes for an attractive presentation. Lacing is immediately apparent and appreciated. The head dissipates into a thin layer. It does seem slightly foggy, so the clarity is just a touch low.

S: Some very rich caramel malts are the first to stand up. Then it turns into more of a dark fruity juicy malt. I might be crazy but there is some chocolate too. Finally there is a nice hop present so you know it's an American brown ale. Smells citric and delicious.

T: I still get some caramel malts but they seem to land in the more toasted quality. Still some dark fruits are present and perhaps even some of that chocolate arrives late in the game. The last thing I get is a very sharply citric bitterness from the hops. They really make themselves present and finish off the beer. The finish is primarily bitterness with a touch of that toasted bread taste.

M: Carbonation is fantastic, very prickly and delicious. Body is on the lighter side of medium.

O: This beer is very good in a classic way. Not overly impressive in the sense that it wows me but definitely a solid output. I don't see myself buying this too often, however if it was offered to me I would very gladly take it.

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Photo of hopfacebrew
3.83/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from brown 12 oz bottle to pint glass.

A - The beer pours a deep amber color - almost brown. Nice 2 finger light tan head with good retention and lacing.

S - A variety of aromas: roasted malt and floral hops. A hint of fruits.

T - The roasted malt starts the beer off. The hops come through immediately after, citrus and earthy tones. Mildly bitter that lasts throughout. The beer finishes bitter and roasty.

M - Good carbonation and silky smooth.

O - Very solid beer.

Note: This review was a re-post from my former account, jmkratt, which was hacked and I lost all my reviews...sorry for the redundancy.

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of ncsutton
3.38/5  rDev -10.8%
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

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Photo of TCMike
4.28/5  rDev +12.9%
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.

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Photo of Mississipping
3.53/5  rDev -6.9%
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. 

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Photo of rsdaugherty
3.8/5  rDev +0.3%
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

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Photo of minterro
3.8/5  rDev +0.3%
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.

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Photo of kjritt
3.63/5  rDev -4.2%
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.

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Photo of BrownAleMale
2.63/5  rDev -30.6%
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.

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Photo of tvv375ia
3.73/5  rDev -1.6%
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

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Photo of syrupjoe
3.56/5  rDev -6.1%
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.

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Photo of NuclearDolphin
4.3/5  rDev +13.5%
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!

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.03/5  rDev -20.1%
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.

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Photo of TheDinger
3.88/5  rDev +2.4%
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-

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Photo of GossageBrewery
4.12/5  rDev +8.7%
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.

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Photo of jsprain1
3.61/5  rDev -4.7%
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.

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Photo of jmvecchio1
3.92/5  rDev +3.4%
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.

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Photo of Apellonious
4.02/5  rDev +6.1%
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.

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Photo of dcloeren
3.43/5  rDev -9.5%
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.

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Photo of FanofHefe
4.03/5  rDev +6.3%
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.

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Bitch Creek ESB (Extra Special Brown) from Grand Teton Brewing Co.
85 out of 100 based on 342 ratings.