1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. 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

672 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 672
Reviews: 327
rAvg: 3.75
pDev: 13.33%
Wants: 9
Gots: 35 | 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:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Bitch Creek ESB (Extra Special Brown) Alström Bros
Ratings: 672 | Reviews: 327 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of popery
3.63/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I rather enjoyed this beer's limited bigger brother, the XX Bitch Creek, and this beer is similar enjoyable. This beer pours a cloudy mahogany, a nice deep color, full of promise, with a good ecru head. The aroma is bright and hoppy, a bit more floral than most ESBs but lots of mineral hoppiness, too. There's a big caramel and biscuit malt backbone. The flavor is rather bitter and a bit surprising. It could use some more malty sweetness to bring out more depth, but it's a mild complaint. If I recall correctly, the XX version had that depth and it was quite successful. The beer has a fairly creamy feel, probably better on tap. Easy to drink, if you like the style and don't mind a bit of American innovation.

popery, May 25, 2010
Photo of ShogoKawada
3.18/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle into Firestone Walker pint glass. 6.5% ABV, 54 IBUs.

A- Brown, maybe a shade lighter than Newcastle. Nice 1cm than head, pretty fair lacing. Good head formation, like a pancake.

S- Caramel malt, piny hop bite, pretty deep nose on this one.

T- Fruity, malty, with a nice hop kick. Cherries at first that get washed away with a pine blast. Not harmonious, but I keep drinking it. Molasses/maple syrup. Lingering bitterness.

M- Surprisingly deep. I wasn't sure what to make of this at first but as I drank the flavors grew and grew. Great hop flavor and a very strong malt profile. Perhaps a tad too sweet but the hops do a good job countering it.

D- Moderate. Interesting and enjoyable. I'd revisit it, would prob. pair well with food, lots of interesting flavors going on.

ShogoKawada, May 14, 2010
Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.4/5  rDev -9.3%
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.

Beerandraiderfan, May 06, 2010
Photo of gatornation
3.43/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

pours a brown slightly hazy color with a tan head..i smell fruit toffee caramel some biscuit notes some brown sugar..the taste is hops and malt a little bitter with some toffee and malt some fig and brown sugar..the mouth feel is robust like a brown ale maybe.its ok drinkable its just not my style or one that ill buy..i will say try it if you like browns esb or wee heavys you might like this one ..worth a try

gatornation, May 06, 2010
Photo of tjd112
4.5/5  rDev +20%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Presentation - Poured into River Horse pint glass

Appearance - Very dark brown, head is off white, not great retention, and it is well laced.

Smell - I detect notes of caramel and tea in this beer

Taste - Some citrus-y hops mixed with some fruitiness, figs, cherries, balanced with a bit of caramel, brown sugar, and biscuits

Mouthfeel - Medium to heavy, creamy

Drinkability - Very good for the style

Overall - A solid effort from Idaho!!

tjd112, May 05, 2010
Photo of Redrover
4/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this one on tap at the Bitter Creek Ale House in Boise. What a great beer bar!

Served in a standard pint, the beer is brown with a tan head & fair lacing.

The aroma is of grains, a bit of citrus and brown sugar.

The beer is sweet with nice trailing bitterness. Brown sugar, bagel, floral and citrus hops. Very balanced with a great smooth mouth.

The 6.5% may make it hard to session, but I'm willing to try.

Redrover, Apr 09, 2010
Photo of PintOHops
3.23/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Glass - Pint

A - Clouded ruby/brown color with yeast floaties, produced a 1-2 finger head, kinda soapy, retention was okay. Lacing was not worth a mention (very poor).

S - Dominant fig/blueberry aroma, very fruity hop aroma that's dry as well. I got a bit of pineapple in there, pine notes, sap almost. Strong hop aroma with little detectable malt, a touch of honey & cracker, and some alcohol.

T - Hops upfront as expected, fruity pineapple, fig, cherry thing going on, bright citrus character follows, that almost cuts the fruity notes. Finishes with very mild toast, biscuit, touch of honey, but what interrupts the mild malt character on the finish is that damn hop citrus note, cutting through pretty sharply. Malts are a little more detectable as it warms, softening up that sharp citrus flavor. Alcohol is more present when warmed as well.

M - A little heavy, smooth and almost oily, lite crispiness and around medium-full bodied.

D - Not to drinkable in my opinion, maybe 1-2 pints with an appetizer, not too much balance for me, I would of liked more malts in both aroma & flavor. There was this sharp citrus that sorta cut through anything in it's path. Gets a little better when warmed but still not great in my opinion. I would recommend looking for something, I know I wouldn't buy this one again.

PintOHops, Mar 14, 2010
Photo of Cresant
3.23/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured this 12 oz. brown bottle into a Samuel Adams glass. Bottled on: 11/19/09. The body was a deep amber body and hazy. There was a dark yeasty sediment. The moderate head settled to a film and collar which left light lacing.

Smell was earthy hops and a faint strange sourness. Rich malts. Bready. A little spicy.

Taste was bready and full. Reminded me a bit of Stone Levitation ale. Sweet cocoa-like bitterness. Coffee notes, tobacco. Dirty, not clean. Lots going on here. Not a beer I would seek out again.

Mouthfeel was medium in body. Adequate carbonation.

Cresant, Mar 08, 2010
Photo of Spineypanda
4.63/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer is a strange color and consistency. I have had ESB's in the past but had not expected the cloudy dark amber... almost brown... color that came with this one.
The beer smells of a lot of citrus and hops but a lot lighter on the nose.
Great taste, light and refreshing but nicely bittered. Not easy to drink more than a couple however.

A good beer with the perfect taste in my opinion for its style.

Spineypanda, Mar 02, 2010
Photo of WYVYRN527
3.78/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark amber with an eggshell-hued head that settles quickly. Carbonation and lacing are decent, but this beer throws way too much sediment for it's style.

S: American hop varietals dominate the nose of this beer. Citrus and pine, with faint caramel and bready malt in the backround.

T: Balanced flavors. Hops give this brew hints of pine, flowers, and some citrus. The malt backbone shows flavors of caramel and toast, rounding out the flavor.

M: Medium bodied, but for the style, it wasn't as creamy as I expected it to be. Finish is clean and somewhat short.

D: Bitch Creek ESB is a good beer, but there were certain things about it I just couldn't get past. It's worth trying, though.

WYVYRN527, Feb 18, 2010
Photo of DoubleJ
3.88/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Here's an appropriate beer towards Valentine's Day. It's been 10 years since I gave someone a Valentine, and to wash away my frustrations of not finding "true love" during this period of time, I've gone with a beer with the b-word. Bottled on 1/13/10, which was also the day my younger brother turned 21. On to the beer:

Pours easy and smooth out of the bottle into a nonic pint glass. Amber brown color. The head forms low, but has good retention and leaves some creamy lacing. Too much sediment floating in the beer for this style, and one that's a month old. The aroma restores my faith. There's evidence of toffee and fudge notes, and a little citrus from the hops.

NW hops distinguish this beer from a traditional ESB, yet there's still a good semblance of malty goodness. The hops aren't a powerful as say, Rogue's Brutal Bitter. Crisp pine comes right out. So does a little grapefruit. Fruity esters mix into a pine, creating a very pleasant flavor. Some minerals, plus toffee, smooth feel, easy to quaff....

It may look scary with all that sediment, but after that you get yourself into a good ESB. Well done.

DoubleJ, Feb 15, 2010
Photo of taxguyjase
3.95/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Lighter head, but a thick looking auburn hue. Darker than the other ESBs I have had. 3.0/5.0
Smell -Malt, caramel, toffee - 3.5/5.0
Taste - Sharp malt, caramel, nuts, bit of sourness at the end. I detect a bit of earthy chocolate flavor, plus some fruitiness that balances well with the malt and hops. 4.0/5.0
Feel - Thick with great mouth coverage. The flavors roll through your mouth as it goes down. 4.0/5.0
Drinkability - I'd have this one again for sure - just be careful as its 6.5% ABV will not make it a session beer. But if you've had a hard day at the office, this one will feel real nice going down. - 4.5/5.0

taxguyjase, Feb 15, 2010
Photo of Kaiser81
3.25/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass

A - Pours a deep amber with ruby highlights and a finger worth of head. It dies down fairly quickly and leaves some lacing on the glass.
After further review, there are lots of white sediments floating around in my beer. Sorry, but this knocked the score from 4, to 3.

S - Dark fruits, like plums and rasins dominate the smell. There's a bit of caramel and slight toffee on the back end.

T - Taste kind of follows the nose with a harsh aftertaste. I'd call it boozy, but it's not the same. It's just a harsh taste...kind of unrefined.

M - Medium body, creamy, with minimal carbonation. Decent for the style, just not what I like in a beer.

D - I don't really need to have another of these, but I could if I wanted. It's not bad, just not great.

Alesmith ESB is a much better ESB. Just saying.

Kaiser81, Feb 04, 2010
Photo of woemad
3.68/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle purchased at Huckleberry's in Spokane - I forget the price, but it was probably around $1.50 or so. Bottled on 10/22/09 according to the stamp on the bottleneck. BTW, this is no more a brown ale than I am.

Pours a dark, cola shade that took on a russet hue when held up to light. Good sized, sudsy beige colored head that left a decent amount of foam on the sides of my glass.

Hoppy in the nose, with a significant malt backbone. Because of the notable hop scent, I'd say this is a PNW style ESB, but I just realized I've never had a US example brewed anywhere east of, well, Victor, Idaho, so what would I know. In any event, it's considerably more hoppy than a Fullers ESB.

First taste sensation is one of piney hops that are fairly strident, but are quickly followed by a well-developed bready maltiness. Dry at the swallow. If the malts were just a little bit stronger, this would be very well-balanced. As it is, it tstes good, but it seems like an abnormally malty IPA more than anything else.

Medium bodied, with a prickly, oily mouthfeel.

Not a bad beer at all. At 6.5%, it's a little too strong to be a session beer. I'm not a huge fan of the style, and I think it's a little too hoppy for an ESB, but it's tasty enough that I would drink this again.

woemad, Feb 01, 2010
Photo of illidurit
3.83/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle poured into a pint glass. Hazy dark amber color with a creamy beige head. Aroma is big, I mean like barleywine big. ESB my ass. Smells like caramel and toffee and citrus hops and earth and fruitcake. Flavor is equally robust. Earthy and sweet malts blend with candied orange and grapefruit hops dusted with cocoa powder and lead into a bready, bitter finish. 54 IBUs seems too low for what I'm tasting. Mouthfeel joins every other aspect of this beer in being 'not-to-style,' as the heaviness on the palate detracts from the expected drinkability of an ESB. So does a dose of astringency. I'm pretty perplexed by this beer. On BA it's a Brown Ale (and has won several awards in GABF under that category), and on RB and the label it's an ESB. But it doesn't taste like either. India Brown Ale? Unimperial Barleywine? Whatever. It's pretty good.

illidurit, Jan 27, 2010
Photo of DousedInStout
3.58/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours deep mahogany with a white head - darker than most ESB's I've had. The head dissipates quickly, and leaves a faint white lacing. The aroma is of earthy, english hops and a bit of roasted caramel. The taste is nicely balanced - rich maltiness up front and then a bitterness kick at the end. The yeast seems to be American and not English - it imparts a more fruity taste than bready. The carbonation is a bit low, which I prefer with this style. Overall, pretty drinkable and nice American interpretation of the ESB.

DousedInStout, Jan 17, 2010
Photo of largadeer
4/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark brown in the glass, quite hazy with a bit of visible sediment floating around. A light tan head rises to two fingers height before settling to a thick crown.

Earthy, leafy hops, toasted malt and a touch of dark fruit and citrus are evident on the nose.

Bold and full-bodied on the palate, opening with flavors of coffee, herbal hops, toffee, pine and orange peel. Well-hopped but balanced by a substantial malt backbone. Nutty, biscuit-like finish with herbal hop bitterness. Drinks easy despite the full body and rich flavor, very good stuff.

largadeer, Jan 16, 2010
Photo of Tone
4.22/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a cloudy, dark brown color. There is a lighter red along the edges and bottom of the glass. Also, there is suspended sediment evident. Good retention and good lacing. Smells of floral hops, sweet malt, and slight caramel. Fits the style of an ESB (not quite sure why it is called a Brown on this site?). Mouth feel is smooth and slight creamy with an average carbonation level. It is also fairly bitter. Tastes of pale hops, strong hops, slight roasted malt, slight citrus, and some sweet malt. Overall, one of the better ESB's I've had in quite some time. There's a great balance of ingredients, good body, good aroma, and easy drinkability.

Tone, Dec 31, 2009
Photo of Ineedabeerhere
3.68/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to my Secret Santa for this one, reviewed from notes.

Pours brown with burnt orange edges when held to light. 1.5 finger head falls to leave excellent lacing with low to moderate retention.

Smells of citric hops, some earth and a surprisingly robust foundation of malt. Just the slightest hint of roast. Taste follows with citusy and earthy hops initially with brown sugar and bitter roast in the background. The roast and hop bitterness play nicely off each other. Light caramel mixes interestingly with sappy pine.

Surprisingly robust flavor profile and mouthfeel on this one. I can say it's definitely not what I was expecting (style?). A nice beer, but not one that I would look to for sessioning.

Ineedabeerhere, Dec 23, 2009
Photo of alexrichman
3.88/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Purchased from The Belmont Station in Portland, OR and poured into a pint glass.

A> Very dark and cloudy, huge pieces of yeast floating around. Poured a small 1-finger head that was a nice tan color. Nice lacing.

S> Not very much going on here. I could faintly smell the dark, sweet malt and a mild citrusy hop.

T> Wow this is a big beer with big flavor which is something I enjoy. By far one of the biggest ESBs I've tried. Big citrus flavor in the hops give way to a pinier more bitter flavor. Carmel/Roasted malt is almost as big and balances the intense hops very well!

M> Very smooth and thick, a bit on the syrupy side but you have to expect that for a beer with this much flavor.

D> I think this one is a little too heavy to be a session beer. Overall it's pretty good though!

Notes: Despite what this beer is rated if you're a fan of big, bold beers don't pass this one up. This is brown ale is fantastic!

alexrichman, Dec 04, 2009
Photo of rhoadsrage
4.38/5  rDev +16.8%
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.

rhoadsrage, Dec 02, 2009
Photo of tempest
3.95/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is a beer to be reckoned with. It's all over the board with hop and malt flavors. The aroma starts with lemon and floral grapefruit with dark bread crust and caramel in the background. The flavor get a whole lot earthier with leather and herbal chocolate with graham crackers upfront. The hops enter with more lemon citrus and grapefruit that soon turns to fruit rind and bitter flowers. This is clearly a complex beer and worthy of consideration.

tempest, Nov 12, 2009
Photo of SpecialK088
4.05/5  rDev +8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-this is a sexy damn beer very deep amber with a big 2 nearly 3 finger head that is very thick and lacys sticky

S-nose is of bitter malt and hops with some earthy undertones.

T-the flavor is very impressive it's carmelly malt comes out with some very earthy flavors of hops and dark fruits.

M-medium bodied and very smooth and complex the flavors blend together well

D-oh so easy to drink very smooth and I could see myself having several on a sitting.

SpecialK088, Nov 07, 2009
Photo of naterock
4.13/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured into a Willi, Deep brown with a thick off white head. Sticky lacing and a lot of floaties in this beer.

Smells of floral and piney hops with a candy-like malt nose. some alcohol burn in the back of the nose.

Taste is flavorful, Whoa, lots of malt flavors and a nice hop presence. nicely balanced!

Mouth is heavy for a ESB and incredibly well carbonated. drinks well but not too fast because of the ABV, whoa good!

naterock, Nov 01, 2009
Photo of MTNboy
3.48/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

It has a dark body and a rocky dark tan head. There is a lot of sediment in the body. The aroma is mainly of hops with a little bit of caramel malt. There was a little bit of a chemical like aroma too. I thinking maybe I have a bad bottle. I am going to rate it anyway but I want to try this one again. The flavor is very toffee and coffee like. It is pretty bitter it reminds me of more of a Porter. I like the flavor. Creamy mouthfeel with good amount carbonation.

MTNboy, Nov 01, 2009
Bitch Creek ESB (Extra Special Brown) from Grand Teton Brewing Co.
85 out of 100 based on 672 ratings.