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

710 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 710
Reviews: 330
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: 710 | Reviews: 330 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

Photo of JamnesCameron
4.4/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle, poured into a New Holland pint glass. This one was bottled 9/9/10.

Pours a deep mahogany with a big fluffy tan head. The head is here to stay and the beer leaves nice lacing down the glass.

Aromas of citrusy hops, on the grapefruit side from the centennial hops. Some malt in the backbone, but the hops dominate.

First sip is of grapefruit, nice balancing of the bitterness with the malt.

Mouthfeel is on the thin side, but not watery. The centennial hops coat the entire inside of your mouth.

Highly drinkable beer, but a little heavy for a session beer. A little over the edge for what I would consider sessionable.

Photo of headbucket
2.78/5  rDev -25.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

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

S: kind of subdued, caramel/malt sweetness.

T: dark malts, a bit of chocolate, and a little bit of dark fruits and sweetness. A bit of hop presence mixed in.

M: Good, not too thin or thick.

D: Goes down pretty easy though it doesn't taste like i was expecting it to, and not too much like other browns that I have had and liked.

Bought a single in Missouri and it was on the bottom rack with all the other lone single, that they didn't have multiples of. It has a section for when it was bottled on, but no information there, suspecting that it is a bit old.

Photo of DanThomas
3.88/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A- Cloudy, caramelized brown sugar color. Beautiful little off-white head, substantial lacing down the glass.

S- Initially there was a strong, piney/citrus hop scent that dominated the nose, but that has moved back a little bit to allow some of the more traditional brown ale scents to make themselves known--caramel and brown sugar, toasted bread. Hops still the winner though, so much so that if given this blindly I might mistake it for an IPA.

T- The hops hit initially, just like the scent. It starts very dry and piney, but as it moves back the citrus character, which is very reminiscent of grapefruit and grapefruit rinds, asserts itself. No malt in the first tastes, but the malt backbone expands at the back of the mouth, and those subtle, caramel toasted and brown sugar flavors mix nicely with the grapefruit-y hops. Nice flavor, but too easy to mistake for an IPA.

M- Very high points from me. Hardly any carbonation, full body, dry character of the hops is offset nicely by the malt sweetness.

D- You wouldn't guess this was 6.5%. It drinks like a classic English session ale.

Overall, this is a very good beer, one I'd love to always have around. They came close to hitting a home run; by bringing out some of the brown ale characteristics a little more, they would've done it. As it is, I would classify it as a delicious, extremely unorthodox IPA.

Photo of boss302
3.83/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Grand Teton Brewing, Bitch Creek extra special brown. 15P OG, 6%abv, bottle conditioned, 54IBUs, 18Lov. 

A Brown, not clear, good head, lasted the whole glass. 3.5

S Hops and malt in the nose, but mostly hops. Not particularly floral. 3.5 

T Lots of hop in the first taste followed by malt. Sufficient malt to almost balance the hops, but hops still dominate. 4 

M Med to high, good carbonation. 3.5 

D An excellent beer which I'll be having more of. 4

Photo of HalfFull
3.43/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a pint glass. Pours a moderate brown with lots of murky ruby highlights. Offers a half inch of mocha foam which keeps moderately and throws off light lacing.

Nose needs some air as it has a metallic nature to it initially. Eventually some roasted malts and cocoa come out to play. Still, there is an inherent ill will here from the Crystal that the darker malts can't keep at bay. Earthy hops do appear with a good agitation but are otherwise a bit subdued. Of course this dissipates the carbonation and lightens the finish, so a balance needs to be found.

Flavor is pleasant enough though rather neutral. Nothing to build nor dismantle for that matter. Bit of roast and a bit of cocoa. Feel is supported by a nice carbonation but the liquid is otherwise a bit thin. Touch of caramel sweetness lingers briefly and the beer finishes with a touch of brown sugar. Not bad but the nose deters initially.

Note: 6.0% and 54 IBU's per bottle...

Photo of Phelps
3.95/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Looks: cranberry-amber, cloudy, with a lingering, puffy head the color of ginger that leaves heavy sheets and lines of lace on the sides.

Smells: sweet. Cranberry, strawberry, overripe oranges, caramel, very light mild coffee.

Tastes: tangy. The fruits in here are verging on sour, which is odd. Plums, cherries. The fruitiness falls away quickly as the palate opens to reveal flavors of light brown sugar, milk chocolate and a lingering coffee bitterness. Nice.

Feels: medium, fuzzy carbonation. It holds together well. Medium-light in body, but nice and smooth.

Drinks: appropriately. The odd title "extra special brown" is fitting here -- it's a bit odd, but nicely complex, for a brown.

Photo of clarkm04
3.35/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottled on 8/31/10

Appearance- A nice dark brown color/slightly reddish color. Thin head with slight carbonation.

Smell- A hop aroma springs forth which is unusual for a brown. Slight malt undertone but I'm surprised by the slight hop aroma in this beer.

Taste- A hop front taste that slides into a malty flavor profile at the end. Very surprising. A little more hopped up then what you would expect from a ESB/brown ale. the finishing profile is a nice nutty brown note.

Mouthfeel- The beer sits very well on the palate. Very smooth.

Drinkability- Pretty high being a brown.

Overall- I liked the beer but not as much as I figured I would. The bittering hops seems a little over the top for the style. A little less bittering hops for me would make this beer taste better in my opinion. It is a unique beer and I'm glad I bought it but I probably will not buy another six pack of it.

Photo of Nerudamann
3.43/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Look - Dark, murky brown. One fingers worth of head, that dissipated fairly slowly. Decent carbonation.

Smell - smells fairly strongly of hops. Some caramel, maybe some type of nut.

Taste - Very bitter and hoppy. Reminds me of some of Rogue's ales. Strong after taste that lingers mostly in the upper palate and sinus..not too much in the remainder of the mouth.

Mouthfeel - other than the strong aftertaste, fairly good balance leaning slightly toward creaminess.

Drinkability - a little too bitter for my taste, but decently complex and good-tasting.

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

Review from BeerAdvocate magazine Vol. II Issue XI:

An ESB brewed with American malt and hops is another way of saying this is a hoppy American Brown Ale. Deep reddish-brown color, darker than anticipated. Thick latte tan head with good retention and lacing that sticks on the glass. There's rich toasted biscuit and caramel flavors from the malt along with a mildly pungent herbal and citric rind hop in the aroma. Smooth, slick and semi-creamy medium body. Toasted bread, dried hay, hint of unsweetened chocolate and burnt caramel coming from the malt. Sturdy hop character with a slightly heavy hand of bitterness to begin with, then the flavor moves more toward a light citric rind and herbal tone. Fruity, with suggestions of ripe plum and raisins. Finishes bittersweet as the malt stays around and the hops just don't want to let go.

Bitch Creek ends up being a quite tasty, old-school microbrew style, which we really dig. If you are looking for a full-flavored, bigger-bodied session beer, here it is.

Photo of dan4th
4.03/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Got on tap in a sampler at the Burger Bar in Vegas, and was impressed enough to come back for a pint. Advertised as a brown ale, but definitely has the feel of a bitter in several respects. Beautiful garnet brown color, surprisingly thick head sticks well to the glass. Maybe not the best pairing with their complex burgers (maybe an IPA?) but a strong showing

Photo of augustgarage
3.68/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled on July 14th, 2010 - Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Dogfish Head shaped pint glass.

Clear dark auburn body with light rust highlights and a half finger of buff foam. Messy lacing and decent retention.

Smells of fresh mild pine, spice, and citrus - classic C-hop goodness. Faint light roast coffee and cream notes are there as well.

Tart citrusy palate entry with cocoa, river stones, a mild lactic note, and light roast (chocolate?) malt. Hops contribute moderate flavor and a nice bitter note to the malty body. Smooth dry, slightly bready finish. Free of diacetyl and DMS.

Medium-light bodied, creamy, lightly astringent with moderate carbonation.

Could use a little more roast but this is still a decent session-able brown ale. Faintly bland for the style, but still worth a try.

Photo of NWer
3.98/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle into a brandy snifter.

Appearance is dark brown with no light at all - even around the edges. Some stuff (yeast?) floating around.

Taste and smell are pretty good. I'm not terribly familiar with this style but it makes me want to learn more about it. I wish I had brought more home with me from my road trip.

Mouthfeel is pleasant and I definitely would have had another if I had one.

Photo of Offa
3.43/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Hazy dark reddish amber, big orange-tan head steadily shrinking to thin foamy top. It has some nice frothy lace and a ring.

Aroma is jammy orange, caramelised grapefruit, and dusty, flowery pine sap. It has a definite west-coast style and smells a bit like Napa Smith Amber, which I don't like at all, but this is a little better and closer to some Lagunitas stronger red beers.

Taste is bittersweet spicey orange and chocolate with pine and grapefruit hints, and overall a spicey citrus character in general . Sweetness and bitterness are balanced until the aftertaste which is ever so slightly to the bitter side. It has strong caramelly-toasty sweetness and jammy-citrusy spicey bitterness, slight slick oiliness is a bit heavy bot not viscous or too heavy. Alcohol is somewhat evident, not strongly, but also not in a good way, esp. in the finish, which is more bland and two-dimensional.

It's reasonably good, but not great by any means and certainly not my kind of beer.

Photo of smcolw
4.25/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Large, beige head which leaves a web-like lace. The color of the beer is a ruby brown where light will pass and there may be a hint of haze.

Great blend of floral hop and darker crystal malts. There's some cocoa and some cream. Overall, it's a very appealing smell.

Largely bitter, there's still enough darker malt to balance this beer. Think semi-sweet chocolate and you'll get a sense of the malt base. The hop is a little in your face in terms of bitterness, but it provides good balance for a complex brew. The body is above average and the carbonation is perfect for the style.

This is a more bitter style of brown ale, perhaps it could be described as a brown IPA. A great combination for a superior beer.

Photo of carpezytha
3.28/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

OG 15 Plato
6% ABV
54 IBU
18 Lovibond

Poured into tulip at 46 F

A: Molasses colored with just a little light a the edges. Decent foam with large bubbles.
S: Dry leaves, peaches, anise and licorice, earth and cherries.
T: Forest floor, dried cherries and figs, molasses and pepper and a little wood and pine on the finish.
M: Medium bodied with some carbonation.
D: Not my favorite style of beer, but I think they did a worthy job. I would try again.

Photo of busternuggz
3.93/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I reviewed this as an ESB, I don't know why it's classified as a brown ale.
Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.
Hazy rich amber color with a frothy 1/4" tan head, which recedes to a thin layer but sticks around for the duration. Leaves thick lacing.
On the nose I get mostly caramel malt with a little spicy note, some grass, and a hint of citrus.
On the palate more caramel malt but very well balanced with dry grass and lemon zest. Has a nice spicy and pleasantly bitter finish, with a similar aftertaste that sticks around for a few seconds before fading cleanly.
Medium bodied and unobtrusive texture, ends pretty light but a little sticky.
Very approachable and drinkable. Just a little complexity, enough to keep you interested, and very well balanced.
Love the balance, the pleasant bitterness, and the finish of this beer. One of my go-to B+ six packs.

Photo of FernMaster
3.65/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into a pint glass.

Brown ales are never very pretty looking beers. Maybe it's because life was already against them from the start because of their name; brown ale does not hold the promise that you're getting a pretty looking beer. They should be called something more promising, like "sunset ale," because everyone likes sunsets and instead of saying, "hey, there's a lot of nasty bits of yeast floating around," they'd be like, "oh it's kind of complex, there's lots of layers and overall I feel happy." [unless they're driving west]

With that tirade aside, it's not the most attractive beer. Bitch Creek (awesome name) has only a fingers worth of head that resides quickly and there's a lot of "floaters" in this beer. There's a lot of carbonation to so it looks like D'Angelo neglected Wee-Bey's fish tanks.

The smell is really good though. Wow, I hate that sentence so much I decided to keep it. Its kind of faint so you have to work at it but there's some nice roasted quality to it, the malts and a little bit of hops have a sort of toffee, chocolate scent that's quite becoming. If only the smell was more prominent I would have been happier.

I really like the taste, it's a weird concoction of all that was present in the smell with oranges. If I saw an orange in this beer like a blue moon, however, I would have to fight whoever severed me despite their intentions. There's this earthy and sweet flavor, actually there's no presence of the toffee. There's this hoppy citrus aspect and some sort of chocolate taste too. The flavor is like the scent, nice but you have to fight for it.

Despite the disgusting floaters the beer has a very good mouthfeel, it's a little weak though kind of watery. I'm just glad I'm not choking down bits of yeast. The wateriness does leave a little to be desired.

This beer is easily drinkable, it's affordable and comes in six packs, which is nice. I always thought it only came in bombers until I saw this single at my not-so-local liquor store. I paid $1.60 for the beer so that's not that bad at all.

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

Pours a decent 1 finger head with lots of big bubbles and fades at a medium pace, the head is a little darker than normal, and the beer is slightly hazy dark molasses and brown sugar color.

The nose brings lots of earthy bitter hops at first, some earthy chewy U.K style bitter hops with a light floral part and some herbal tones. Under that is a sweet malty presence, with some dark malts, crystal, and I think a hint of brown sugar.

The flavor doesn't come as strong as I thought, but starts with a bitter aspect. Again more earthy bitter hops that don't hit too heavy and bring a little herbal and slight chewy aspect to them. Some sweetness, a malty and sugary sweetness, with some light brown sugar I think, and some dark malts, crystal malt, touch of a very dark malt but I can't figure out which. With all that it is still juicy and drinkable, but not really sessionable.

The mouth is medium bodied with good carbonation.

It finishes with a little spicy hop flavor, some more earthy and herbal hops but they get a little spicy here and are somewhat bitter but not heavy bitterness. It dries a bit, quite a bit, but leaves a slight sticky sweetness feel. Some lingering malts, and even a touch of minerality. It has a slight creamy feel to it at this point as well. Drinks well, tasty, I could drink a lot of this.

Photo of klikger
4.05/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a tulip glass

A - Dark brown, with a large white head, and decent artifacting.

S - Roasted grains, floral hops, and some brown sugar.

T - Coffee, roasted malts, and molasses are detected quickly. Later, caramel and a touch of bitterness.

M - Medium-heavy in body, this beer has a superb amount of carbonation - it's even frothy at points.

D - For a brown ale, this is pretty drinkable.

I came in with no expectations & no history with Grant Teton, and I thoroughly enjoyed this beer. I will drink Bitch Creek again, without a doubt.

Photo of mothman
2.75/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Not a bitter... alright.

Poured into pint glass.

Pours a light brown head. At least 1 finger. Decent retention with some nice lace left. Color is a copper brown.

Aroma: Earth hops. Very sharp. Some roasted malts. Nothing to distinguishable. Some chocolate and caramel, I guess.

Taste: Grassy hops more than anything. Roasted malts play a big part in this beer. Chocolate malts with some caramel notes. Nothing really representing a brown ale.

Mouthfeel: Roasted and dry. Medium bodied with a higher amount of carbonation. Ends dry and grassy, in an unpleasant way.

Overall, I thought this was going to be a bitter, but it was a brown. So I rated it as a brown and it still wasn't that good. I just wasn't very happy with this offering. Not to drinkable.

Photo of JoEBoBpr
4.03/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass.

A - Pours a nice dark and muddy light brown with some nice amber hints. A nice thin off-white head develops and recedes to a thin film quickly.

S - Starts off grassy and earthy with a slight citrus character that is very delicious and inviting. Slight caramel and sweet malts on the back end as well as some slight pineapple.

T - Starts off with some earthy and grassy hop tones. They are quickly blended with some nice tasty sweet malts that give a nice dry burnt flavor. Then the grassy and slightly citrusy hop character and flavor comes up again. Very delicious and an interesting take on a Brown Ale. It reminds me of the Schlafly version of the style with tons more hop profile.

M - Light bodied with some nice carbonation and refreshing feel. Delicious beer.

D - Awesome with some good ABV and great flavors.

Photo of bagpiper2005
3.98/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pour: Dark, fizzy ruby red color with a small tan head that dissipated quickly and left minimal lacing on the glass.

Smell: Light aroma with citrus and piney hops up front with underlying notes of caramel malt and a hint of tangy fruitiness.

Taste: Starts off with a slight citrus hoppiness which gives way into a sweet caramel taste. The middle is rather yeasty and finishes up with a moderate piney hop bitterness that lingers for a bit.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with pretty high carbonation. Dry finish.

Drinkability: I could kill a few of these easily. A very sessionable beer.

Final Notes: Now I know why they call it an "Extra Special Brown" - think of this as a cross between an actual ESB and a Brown Ale. Rather interesting flavor to say the least. Very sessionable and easy drinking.

Photo of dogfishandi
4.4/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle at firdge temp into a pint glass. bottled on 10-27-2009.

pours a dark dark opaque brown with quite a bit of yeast floating around. a thick light tan colored head with pretty good retention. tons of sticky lace caovering every possible spot.

aroma is that of chocolate and caramel malts. citrusy sprucey woody hops as well as a little pungent pine in the background. some what perfumey. smells nice.

the taste is very nice. tastes like it was brewed to be a really good brown ale with an english style esb in mind. chocolate, toffee, and caramel malts. perfumey, sprucy ,piney hops. decent amount of bitterness. a touch of bready yeastiness in there.

medium bodied, maybe feels a touch heavy at times. the hops are felt a little on the palate after drinking.

drinks pretty good, i might be done after 4 or so of these. a decent session beer, but it might lay a little heavy in the stomach after awhile. a great tasteing beer non the less and if it wasnt so hard to get a hold of for me, i might drink it more. not really distributed in my region(well not that i know of).

Bitch Creek ESB (Extra Special Brown) from Grand Teton Brewing Co.
85 out of 100 based on 710 ratings.