Thomas Creek Up The Creek | Thomas Creek Brewery

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Thomas Creek Up The CreekThomas Creek Up The Creek

Brewed by:
Thomas Creek Brewery
South Carolina, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 12.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
111 IBU

Added by khiasmus on 06-03-2007

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Reviews: 183 | Ratings: 493
Photo of merlin48
4.07/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle thanks to mntlover. Pours a clear copper body with a large creamy tan head. Good retention and an abundance of sticky lacing.

Aroma has malty toffee, molasses, and toasted caramel, complimented by huge notes of tropical fruits like pineapple and mango.

Mouthfeel has an almost full body due to the chewy maltiness. Moderate carbonation.

Taste has big malt and big hops, but it's more on the malty side. Chewy caramel and toffee join with some syrupy molasses to provide a malt tour de force. Citrusy and earthy hops are equally aggressive but struggle to provide a balancing bitterness. Alcohol is hidden very well, quite a feat for a 12.5 % brew. A little warmth is noted as it reaches room temperature.

Definitely a sipper, but seems more like a barleywine.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.06/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a hazy, dark amber body with a small, beige head.

Smell: All in all, a modest aroma, but you get a sense of the malt and grapefruit awaiting you in the flavor.

Taste: Sweet, candyish toffee maltiness. Juicy ruby red grapefruit with a bright, earthy hop bitterness that grows as it warms a bit. Sure, you can tell the alcohol is in there, but it blends in very well with the other components of the beer. Bittersweet, warming finish.

Mouthfeel: A bit beyond medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: Quite good, Thomas Creek, I gotta tell ya. Drinks very easy, very smooth for being over 12%. Won't you be so good as to bottle this, TC?

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Photo of ExtraStout
4.05/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12oz bottle.

Pours deep, clear copper with a big, thick beige head that shows excellent retention and sits as a small cap throughout with some solid lacing.

Aroma is packed with resinous floral hops, tons of pine with some pithy grapefruit as well. Lots of caramel malts and bread as well. Smells like a hopped-to-hell barleywine...I like it.

The taste is a more complex version of the nose. It certainly starts out with the same biting, abrasive pine hops with a more pronounced sweet caramel malt and toffee backbone. Bitter, crazy hoppy finish.

The mouthfeel is sticky, real sticky, with hops and astringent as hell. Not in a bad way.

Some will understand it, some won't. I would get it again when in the mood for something heavy.

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Photo of Immortale25
4.05/5  rDev +9.5%

Poured into a Dogfish Spiegelau glass. Bottleneck code is smeared and unreadable but I know it must be somewhat fresh because the store I work at just got it in stock.

A- The darkest IPA I've ever seen. It's medium brown in color with a 1/2 inch dark tan head that retains well before becoming a .

S- Smell is barleywine-like with lots of sweet biscuity malt and caramel. Also some moderate hop fume and some not-so-moderate alcohol fume.

T- Taste is a bit more intriguing as the caramel sweetness comes through nicely and isn't overbearing. Another thing that's not overbearing is the alcohol. I wouldn't guess this was 12.5%. More like 10%. The hops aren't prevalent enough for me to consider this an IPA. It certainly fits the barleywine style more than IPA.

M- Somewhat creamy but also prickly from the medium carbonation and alcohol. Fullish body.

O- This is a fine beer but definitely not an IPA in my opinion. It's a slow-sipping American Barleywine with a nice amount of sweetness.

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Photo of Durge
4.05/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pouring the 12 ounces into a room temperature pint glass this stuff fills the vicinity quickly with pungent herbal hop and fruity wine, fairly barleywine-like actually, and very nice with nutty nuances. It's color is ruby brown, dark but clear, with a thin but stubborn light brown head and a luscious coat of lacing. The flavor comes on with thick, near seaweed flavored hops over earthy tobacco juice malt. Not quite sure how much I like this taste at first but it feels luxurious with foamy smoothness and tiny bubbles that coat the tongue. I pick up licorice and intense root beer but the sweetness seems muted by this sort of saltiness that brings some molasses and peanut with it. The feel is beautiful and the aroma works well though not real typical of the style. But I'm not sure if the flavor holds up quite as well. Considering the fairly hefty ABV, it should be more of a sipper I suppose, in which case it might work better. But the feel and aroma are so inviting that it's hard not to tip it back pretty quickly, and there I sort of want a little more sweetness perhaps. But really, it's not bad at all, just a little shy of my expectations here.

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Photo of oldhippie247
4.05/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Rich, amber color bordering on red ale hues. Head dissipates quickly. Not much carbonation. From appearance only, maybe would have guessed this was an amber or even a barleywine.

Citrus hops are balanced nicely on the nose by a rich maltiness often lacking in bigger IPA's.

Rich, round mouthfeel. Relatively low carbonation allows the hops to do their thing without scrubbing them off the tongue too quickly. Nice balance between hop bitterness and malty sweetness. ABV not listed on this particular bottle, but if it's above 7-7.5% it's hidden very well.

Touted as an Extreme IPA (listed by me as Double/Imperial IPA), this is definitely the biggest beer I've tasted from Thomas Creek. I'm in the process of rediscovering what is for me essentially a local brewery, and this is by far my favorite so far. I hope it hits the shelves soon. Hopheads won't be disappointed if they can get past the not-true-to-style aspects of this beer.

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Photo of Beerparrot
4.04/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Like it or hate it, this 12.5% beer is a sipper. Nice dark color, bold hops and malts combine to allow you to enjoy this beer for an hour, any quicker and you'd be tempted to open another until you get to the fridge. Then it occurs to you what you've just drunk. At least that's what happened to me, just saying. More towards the 120 kind of beer me thinks.

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Photo of scottyshades
4.03/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

NOTE: They do bottle this bad boy, picked this up at Tiger Qwik Mart in Clemson for $2.XX for a 12oz. with a bright yellow label

A: Pours a brown color with large garnet highlight when held to light. Very fizzly looking eggshell colored head that retains pretty well and leaves a coating of fluffy foam all over the glass. Gorgeous looking pour and coloration.

S: Surprisingly malty nose. Lots of caramel, molasses (dominant note), wood, chocolate, and cocoa. The hops are very present and quite powerful, but the malts do a very nice of keeping the nose balanced. Very floral and aromatic hops as well as the bitter variety make up a grand-slam of hop character. A whiff of alcohol is apparent, but only when the beer warms up.

T: Very sweet, perhaps brown sugary. Surprisingly viscous! Malty as well, with caramel, molasses, cocoa, chocolate, and a wonderful woody note that really spruces up the flavor profile. A bit spicy and peppery as well. (I feel like I'm reviewing a wine after saying that!). The hops are really not as strong as the typical DIPA, but I think that is amazing!! This is one of the easiest and least bitter DIPA's I've ever had. I think this brew is amazingly interesting because the hops are providing the base for the malts! Role reversal in this style, but it is quite refreshing. Alcohol is very well hidden.

MF/D: Perfect carbonation, loong syrupy molasses finish with a slight wood twang, full in body, highly drinkable and highly recommended, just watch that ABV!

EDIT: So I just looked through a couple reviews to see what other people found in the flavor profile, and I must say I missed coconut, which is pretty easy to identify, but just not necessarily expected! Nice touch!

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Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to FreeThyHops for sending this bottle.

The beer pours a dark red color with a tan head. The aroma is caramel, brown sugar and orange citrus hops. The beer smells more like a barleywine than a DIPA, but it still smells nice.

The flavor confirms that this beer - or at least this bottle - is more like a barleywine. The beer is very sweet and has a lot of brown sugar, orange, pine and caramel notes. The bitterness is low.

Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

The beer is this specific bottle really isn't a DIPA in my book, but it is a pretty nice hoppy barleywine.

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Photo of blackie
4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a: tulip serving, deep mahogany brown in color with a light layering of khaki carbonation

s: thick caramel body with undertones of nearly burnt toffee and something of a dry, dark chocolate edge, steeped-pine hops with a big, bold scent that indicates the bite to come, lots of date and raisin, promising start

m: carbonation on the lighter side, body medium-full

t: big, almost sludgy caramel and toffee body holds a monstrous pine resin hop profile, imagine pulling a chunk of dried tree blood from a long-ago wounded longleaf and treating it as a piece of hard candy, additional flavors of dry chocolate, dates, molasses, and fresh soil precede the bitter, piney finish, heavy-handed on all fronts, not your typical dipa - this one has a rough, mean side and is definitely worth a try

d: limited by strength

single from Bruisin' Ales, Asheville, reviewed awhile back before the internet hookup

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Photo of brentk56
4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a clear russet capped by an ecru head that grows rocky as it leaves a decent amount of lacing behind

Smell: Caramel, tobacco and pine

Taste: Caramel and tobacco tones dominate the front end, with the piney hops building to a crescendo; not to be outdone, the malts add a toffee sweetness to the finish though bitterness also remains in the aftertaste

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with moderate carbonation

Overall: As others have noted, this beer is more in barleywine territory and it is a good one when measured by that standard

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Photo of jera1350
4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A deep and dark amber color with a thinner tan head. Has to be the darkest DIPA I've ever seen.

Very barleywine like smell. Very sweet and very hoppy. The hops smell juicy and fruity with pineapple and citrus notes.

The taste is very barleywine like as well. Huge malty sweetness with an equally huge hop presence that adds some solid bitterness and juicy citrus and pineapple hop notes. A bit boozy and piney as well. Tons of flavor going on here.

Full bodied, soft and smooth. Quite nice feeling.

Really digging this huge DIPA. I guess it's more of a barleywine, but sometimes, who cares. Really quite drinkable and goes down easier than it should. Could be trouble. I recommend giving this one a serious try, I was impressed.

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Photo of clemtig76
4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Raverjames hit the nail on the head with this one. It is definitey NOT an IPA but rather a decent malty barleywine. I gave it all 4's based on being a barleywine. Pours a dark reddish brown with a thin head. Aroma is of sweet malt and alcohol. Way too sweet for an IPA but fits a barleywine to a tee. An after dinner brew for sure, but no IPA.

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Photo of azdback
4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance- Dark caramel color. Cloudy, large three finger head that is tan in color. Retention is long and lace is very sticky and a patchy pattern.

Smell is very sweet malts. Much like a Barleywine. There are some citrus smells and some burnt sugar. Alcohol is also present.

Taste is very sweet, and malty. There is some citrus bitterness of a yellow grapefruit mixed with the sweetness of a pink grapefruit. There is some burnt or caramelized sugar I detect too. The alcohol is very noticeable as this warms.

Mouth is extremely rich and velvety. I once again point to a Barleywine. The maltiness stays rich and full all the way to the end. There is quite a bit of alcohol warmness all the way to the belly.

Overall I really enjoyed this. Like many high ABV Double or Triple IPA’s, as they age they turn into a Barleywine. IMO. Not at all a bad thing and I won’t grade against this for it. A very aggressive beer that must be sipped and enjoyed an entire half of a football game.

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Photo of Bung
3.98/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. A much deeper red pour than expected, just a ring of white bubbles around the glass. Aroma also more malt than expected. Some deep red fruits, malt and limited citrus/pine. Some light booziness. Malty taste, toffee and some vinuous fruits. Some prune and raisin. Solid medium body, good stickiness to it. Very little IPA characteristics, but very nice. Finish is more caramel and malt, not much hop presence. Warming but very drinkable, alcohol not strong at all. I'd put this somewhere between an American and English barleywine. Drink it as a winter warmer rather than an DIPA.
As long as you're not expecting a typical DIPA, this could be considered a nice little southern brewery gem.

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Photo of ForWhatAlesYou
3.98/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle into a pint glass

A: At first glance, this beer appears to be a very dark brown but with a little light exposure it reveals a very sensual deep red. Head is composed loosely and pours 1-1 1/2" tall.

S: Hops. Pure hops. Like a fresh cut pine tree over deep coffee/chocolate malt.

T: Not the hop bomb I was expecting. A ton of syrupy caramel maltiness. Alcohol is big and presents itself noticeably. Hops are very well balanced but their bitterness endures the high ABV. Raisins, dates, and figs. Might be a 5 for taste if I thought it fit the style better.

M: Extremely chewy, oily and viscous. Alcohol has astringent effect causing dryness on the palate.

D: Good enough on most points but the ABV takes this one down a few points on drinkability.

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Photo of theboozecruise
3.98/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served from a 12 oz. bottle into a snifter, it's a very deep red color with a small tan head. The retention on the head is great, though, and very nice pooling and lacing.

The nose is very alcoholic and warm, with hints of toffee and then bold hop flavors. This is almost a barleywine to the nose, but that's a good thing. It's fantastic.

The taste is also very barleywine-esque in nature with a little more hops but still a warm alcohol kick and definite toffee notes. I really like it, but this isn't quite spot on for the style.

Delicious, just a little misleading to me.

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Photo of jbhuxley
3.97/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours unexpectidly dark brown in color, similar to cola. Holding it to light exposes deep ruby tones. Pour yeilds over 2" of dark reddish-tan head, with decent retention.

Smell is very malty, with a strong dose of molasses and a hint of chocolate. Nice presence of sweet fruit, mostly plum. Light floral hop smell, with a moderate presence of alcohol.

If I had not seen the bottle, I would never call this a DIPA. It definitely resembles a barleywine. It has a very complex maltiness, mostly cocoa and some wood, with a hint of pine hops. It finishes sweet and very smooth with little bitterness. Hop presence becomes more noticeable as the beer warms.

Mouthfeel is quite thick, with very little carbonation, yet it is not sticky or chewy. The 12% abv remains well hidden, but definitely impacts the drinkibility.

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Photo of BeerBeatnik
3.97/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into pint glass from a bottle. A deep brown red body with a medium khaki colored head. The nose has lots of caramel and some pine. There is also grapefruit. It smells good. The taste is malty and piney. As I drank more I got the grapefruit. The finish is strongly citrus. There are also tobacco hints. Pretty well done with a big ABV

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Photo of BMMillsy
3.96/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle from Gator Beverage in Gainesville. Pours a deep clear reddish brown, small cream colored head. Aroma comes off with serious caramel malts and a nice backdrop of caramels. Very malt-forward IPA, with some pine bitterness and grapefruit flavor on the finish. To me, this has a very similar flavor profile to Double Crooked Tree, but hides the alcohol better. A pretty solid brew here. Much better than their regular IPA.

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Photo of ksimons
3.96/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A-surprised how dark the beer pours, amber with a thin layer of head that leaves a ring around the top

S-rich malts with hints of bitter hops

T-caramel malt, brown sugar, and a piney finish. Alcohol is very well hidden, did not taste like 12.5% at all.

M-medium sticky body, good carbonation

Overall this beer does not drink like an IPA, still pretty enjoyable though. And alcohol is no where to be seen.

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Photo of rajendra82
3.96/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The burnt umber color, and the smallish head made me let known that this was not your typical DIPA. The aroma was very mild for something billed as an "extreme IPA". I could detect some chocolate, toffee, and a tinge of spruce via the nose. The taste was closer to a mild American Barleywine than a DIPA, with toasted malts, woody hops, and drying finish. There was none of the grapefruit and pine prevalent in most DIPAs. It was a pretty balanced Barleywine, but not at all like any extreme IPA. The alcohol content was jacked up to 12.5%, but there was not much burn. The finish was very dry, and somewhat medicinal. A pretty solid Barleywine.

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Photo of FreshHawk
3.95/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Dark amber color, very dark for the style. About an average sized, foamy, slightly sticky, toasted marshmallow color head. Settles pretty fast leaving a thin, foamy lace.

S - Smells much more like a Barleywine or an American Strong Ale than a DIPA. Strong caramel malt mixes with a grapefruit and citrus hop aroma. Pretty sweet aroma. Alcohol is not really showing up for a 12.5% beer.

T - Similar to the nose, definitely taste like a strong ale. Sweet caramel and toffee malt along with grapefruit and other citrus hops. Big sweet and bitter flavors. Alcohol is present, but just with a slight warming on the finish. Sweetness lingers after the sip.

M - Full body with a bit above average carbonation. Pretty full feeling with a creamy and smooth feel.

D - Gets a little too sweet and cloying to be all that drinkable. Alcohol is pretty well hidden with only a little warming aftertaste. Plenty of sweetness and bitterness, but it just seems a little too much. Probably wouldn't drink more than one.

Notes: Definitely didn't taste like a DIPA, more like a strong ale or maybe a barleywine. Strong flavors with big bitter and sweet flavors coming out. Nice big, thick body is good though. Pretty good beer, but it is definitely a sipper and would just get every now and then if the price was right.

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Photo of Docer
3.93/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz. extra in a trade from PDXDhops who really outdid himself w/ the fantastic extras...

- Pours a very dark brown, copper, rather clear brew.... big light mocha head... down to lacing all over and light scattered foam...

- Molasses.. huge caramel malt... bitter pine and earthy hops.... brown sugar.... really a malt forward brew...

- Wow.. candy sweet malts, molasses, fig, candy... toffee notes... thick caramel.... bitter pine, herbal, grassy hops... but not really a big hop bomb by any means.

- Syrupy sweet sticky... medium bodied... slightly chewy and drying...

- Overall it is a treat... a sweet barleywine of a treat.... smooth, and actually does a rather good job of masking its strength....

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Photo of 57md
3.93/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brownish copper in color. The dominant flavor is that of malty molasses. The hop finish is decently bitter.

I'd say that this closer to an American Strong Ale but the brewer seems committed to the marketing line of "extreme" IPA (whatever that means).

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Thomas Creek Up The Creek from Thomas Creek Brewery
3.7 out of 5 based on 493 ratings.
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