Thomas Creek Up The Creek | Thomas Creek Brewery

BA SCORE
84
good
496 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score
Send samples
Thomas Creek Up The CreekThomas Creek Up The Creek
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Thomas Creek Brewery
South Carolina, United States
thomascreekbeer.com

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

BEER STATS
Ratings:
496
Reviews:
183
Avg:
3.7
pDev:
16.76%
 
 
Wants:
20
Gots:
60
For Trade:
1
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 496 |  Reviews: 183
Photo of tdm168
4.38/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a brandy snifter.

Appearance is a light amber with a 1/4" of head. Smell is amazing; hops, alcohol, and caramel. The nose and the palate agree. Perfect balance here. Hops are evident but do not dominate this DIPA giving the caramel malt a chance to come through. Alcohol brings a great warmth to the finish. The mouthfeel is warm and boozy, but pleasant. Overall a great DIPA. This will keep the Barleywine vs. DIPA debate alive. I look forward to coming back to this one in the winter.

 518 characters

Photo of ATLbeerDog
4.38/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(Edit) This review was for a beer called Celebration and the recipe for the current version is different.

---
Poured a pint from a keg of this beautifully red, brown golden colored beer in to a Sam Adams glass. With a heavy hops smell of citrus and flowery pine, this so called DIPA sits on that thin line nestled between a DIPA and an American Barley Wine. What a great place to be!

First sip is overpowered by heavy malts followed by the strong hops. The 12.5% ABV is the best hidden of any beer I have tried to date. You think it is about 9 or 10% - certainly not 12.5%. What gives it away is the punch you feel after just 2 glasses. Is this the strongest beer ever legally brewed in South Carolina? It also may be the best.

Sierra Nevada is forcing Thomas Creek to change the name. The new name will be, "Up The Creek".

 826 characters

Photo of RichVlah
4.36/5  rDev +17.8%

Photo of Reagan1984
4.35/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked this up in Charleston at the Charleston Beer Exchange.

This is a thick looking beer. Not even to the lips yet and you can see how thick it pours. The head was creamy light tan and had great structure. Even got above the glass by a ¼ inch. This did settle to a creamy cap that remained. The beer itself is very dark ruby red/amber and a very very deep color. Looks lime some barleywines.

Aroma is of dark fruits, malty sweet and of slight alcohol. Some bright pine as well.

Wait, is this a barley wine.? It's really good, but doesn't exactly remind me of a DPA. Really deep and layered malt flavor. Big pine hop presence. Slight coconut. Really big and wonderfully balanced. Almost a black cherry or chocolate covered cherry note to it.

Almost syrup thick. Very bold yet smooth and inviting.

I really enjoy this beer. There is something about it that just warms the heart.

** I had to read some other reviews after I wrote this and see I am not alone in thinking this is like a barley wine. Strange, but this is a very good beer.

 1,042 characters

Photo of woodychandler
4.33/5  rDev +17%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I think that this was another of local, in-person trader, tone77's haul from a recent trip to North Carolina. If so, well done, my friend! I was astounded when I noticed its 12.5% ABV, but I am the man for the job.

From the bottle: "Sink the Status Quo."; "Extreme IPA".

This was stunning from the pour onwards. I was a little heavy handed at first and I got a cascading action that resulted in two fingers of dense, deep-tan head with excellent retention. The color was somewhere between ruby and mahogany with NE-quality clarity and I wish that I had an SRM chart as I have never seen a DIPA of this shade. Nose was bringing the heat and I felt some nose hairs spontaneously combust. Recovering (in the form of a body wracking sneeze or two), I got caramel and mint and now I was slavering like a dog. In the interim, the head began to fall and the sticky lacing was going to require a jackhammer to remove. A monkey appeared out of my past, jumped on my back and began chattering loudly. Mouthfeel was soft, but hot and I mean vapors wafting from my tongue hot. Phew! Once I got my bearings and could properly function again, I realized that it reminded me of an American Barleywine - very hoppy and very malty at the same time. I know that aging of IPAs is frowned upon, but I wonder what this might be like given some time to mellow the heat. Finish was dry, between the alcohol heat and the peppermint hops. Schnapps also came to mind. This is a no playing around beer and should be treated as such.

 1,507 characters

Photo of Jambarino
4.32/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A:Pours a deep dark amber,very little head retention and almost no lacing.Very little carbonation.

S:Caramel,faint citrus hops,faint apple juice.

T:All malt up front,faint hop kick at the end with a lingering bitterness.Alcohol is hidden pretty well.

M:Medium mouth feel with some carbonation.Sticky at the end with a slight alcohol burn.

O:I don't understand the negative reviews,I guess because its not quite what the label says,however it is a great beer regardless.If you take yourself too seriously,or if you are expecting a hop bomb look elsewhere because this is not it.However if you want a good barleywine/ipa style beer then this is it.I would compare this to Dogfish Head Squall,maybe just slightly sweeter and not as hoppy.A top 20 beer for me.I'm really enjoying this.

 785 characters

Photo of vacax
4.32/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Mike for hooking me up with this bottle of Extreme IPA... or is it an American Barleywine? Hell, I could ask the same question about many East Coast IPAs though. Either way it is pretty tasty. Pours a brownish red with a jolly good length of tan head that was thick and made lovely lacing. Aromas of toffee, caramel, pineapple, pine, and honey. Tastes of brown sugar, toffee, cocoa, pineapple, has a nice full bitterness and spicy cookie finish. Full body and somewhat high carbonation seems more like a barleywine than an IPA. Overall this is really nice. Think of it is a Triple East Coast IPA.

 606 characters

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.3/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Fiery crimson (when backlit with the rising sun) beneath a creamy dollop of pale caramel colored mousse. This has to be the single darkest DIPA in the history of beer. The foam looks good as it melts, and leaves an acceptable amount of sea foam lace on the sloping sides of the glass. In a word... unique.

As expected, there's considerable caramel malt in the nose. Thankfully, abundant hop resins are present as well. Warrior and Nugget were used for bittering, Amarillo and Willamette for flavor and aroma, and Amarillo for dry-hopping. Good choices all.

Up The Creek is deliciously hoppy big beer that hides its alcohol very well. Comparisons to an American barleywine would not be out of line. Actually, when all is said and done, that style is probably more accurate than the chosen style. No matter, because damn good beer is damn good beer, no matter what it's called.

Specifics include English toffee pudding with caramel-date sauce and loads of grapefruit and orange zest. It's easy to believe the claimed 111 IBUs, though abundant malt sugars take the rough edges off in fine fashion. UTC is not overly sweet, which is to the brewer's credit.

Warming allows the already powerful flavors to bloom to an even greater extent. It also buries the alcohol deeper and deeper with each successive sip. The mouthfeel is a well-calibrated combination of silky smooth and alpha acid raspy, with near perfect bubbles.

This Thomas Creek 'Extreme IPA' is wonderful beer that deserves a wider audience. The fact that singles are available locally makes me a very happy BA. Forget the paddle, get Up The Creek as soon as possible. You can thank me later.

 1,654 characters

Photo of bucklemyshoe
4.29/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Notes from 11/02/2010:

12 oz. bottle at 42* into a Stone IRS tulip.

A: This pours a dark reddish-brown color with a half-finger of light tan head.

S: It has aromas of pine, chocolate, some nuttiness, and a strange sour bit at the end.

T: It tastes like sweet berries, a strong hoppy flavor, caramel, dark fruits, and a just a touch of booze.

M: It has a very thick body that is sticky and chewy.

D: This is potent and dangerously drinkable. I have a hard time classifying this as a DIPA though.

 500 characters

Photo of mikesgroove
4.28/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Was in Barleys tonight and saw this one on tap. I had been waiting for one of the locals to finally brew up a high gravity, and this is apparently the first. Went into it with very high expectations....

A - Poured a deep russet brown, nearly opaque, but not thick looking. Large off white head slowly faded to leave behind just a touch of side lace. Decent look actually. The head and color were quite nice to be honest.

S - Aroma was a bit off perhaps. Had some notes of sugar with a caramel nuttiness to it. Hops were definatly present, but not overwhleming. Not really an IPA type of smell to me, more of a strong ale type as the malts definatly dominated the nose here. Literally no hint of alcohol in the aroma, which at 12.5% struck me as a bit odd, but never the less I continue on..

T - Definatly not the Double IPA taste here. This was a strong ale, and I am guessing maybe 8% in the high end. There was just no way this was 12+%. If it was, kudos man cause that is just completely not apparent at all. Nice sugary tome up front with a nice dry finish. Somewhat of a touch of alcohol, a little warming but nothing really crazy at all.

M - Nice, not too heavy, and not watered down at all like some of the others seem to be. This one definatly had some work but into it and it was obvious. A little harsh, and apparently a little strong to be a session ale, but I found it to be a little more then a sipper to be honest.

D - Very good here. It was not strong enough to prohibit me from drinking in decent quantity. I could see this one bottled very nicely. It just had a good drinkability for something soo sdtrong.

Overall it was not bad, to be honest I have had much better, however for their first try at something big, I gotta give them props for trying, and for getting it out there. The only downside is there is no way it is 12.5%. I just cant see it. It doesnt taste that strong, no where near it. If it is, damn it could get me in trouble!

 1,962 characters

Photo of Homers_Beer_Odyssey
4.28/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

APPEARANCE - Dark brown with a long-lasting medium-brown 4-finger head. Tons of lacing.

SMELL/AROMA/SCENT - Piney, sweet, herbaceous.

TASTE - Caramel-candy sweet, piney, nearly Stout flavor. Sweetness serves to mask high ABV.

MOUTHFEEL/PALATE/TEXTURE - You have to sink your upper lip into the super-creamy head. A real smooth feel. A bit syrupy. Some carbonation.

OVERALL/DRINKABILITY - This is so dark, it's almost a Stout. But it's a very enjoyable drink.

 462 characters

Photo of RonaldTheriot
4.27/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Thomas Creek Up the Creek has a thick, creamy, cream-colored head, a somewhat hazy, rust-red appearance, with a few bubble streams, and heavy lacing left behind. The aroma is of sharp, very sweet, bread crust and generalized bread. Think bread. The taste is of the same, with a profoundly bitter hop oil treatment, but even this is subdued, in a way. Think bitter, yet subtle. Mouthfeel is medium to heavy and syrupy, and Thomas Creek Up the Creek finishes semi-dry, surprisingly refreshing, and more drinkable than one would suspect. For those who adore extreme bitterness and richness, this should do the trick.

RJT

 619 characters

Photo of zac16125
4.27/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle into a Teku
no bottling dates

A: Pours a very dark brown, nearly opaque, that has ruby hues when held to light. 2.5 fingers width of dark khaki colored head has very good retention and leaves a sheet of lacing down the glass.

S: Tons of sweetness, sweet malts, candied sugar, and caramel/toffee. Only subtle citrus rind/piney hop notes. American Barleywine, yes; DIPA, no. Very nice aroma though.

T: Like the nose there is tons of sweetness, starting with dark fruits, and a bit of cocoa. I then get caramel/toffee, and a fair amount of hoppy bitterness to balance out the sweetness.

M/D: Smooth, carbonation on the lower end, full body, ABV is well restrained, and for how bit the big is, drinkability is good.

O: This is a pretty bad DIPA, but its an excellent barleywine! Seriously though, this has american barleywine written all over it, starting with the color then continuing all the way through the aroma and taste. I docked this one some points for being completely off style, but even with the deductions I still rated it highly, thats how much I like this one. Really a great beer if you throw that IPA description out. I plan to buy a few of these for some aging.

 1,207 characters

Photo of Deuane
4.27/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Multiple samples on tap at BrewGrass 2009.

A-Hazy, dark copper with a small light tan head that held on tight and left decent lace.

S-Bright floral and grapefruit hop punch up front with a healthy backing of sweet caramel and toffee.

T-BAM! Big fat blast of ruby red grapefruit, floralness and touch of spicy hop bitterness in the finish. Backing caramel malt comes through after the HUGE wave of hops passes over your palate. Hard to believe that this one is 12+%

M-Medium bordering on medium-light...amazing considering it's ABV strength! Nice, long lingering bitterness.

D-Ok, broken record here...this is 12%? What? Certainly doesn't drink like it. A veritable hop bomb with full on aggressiveness. An excellent brew made to capture the glory of hops. I went back time and time again to grab a sample of this one.

 823 characters

Photo of Chronicsurfer69
4.27/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I tried this beer at the Thomas Creek brewery and I was very impressed. I confirmed that it does infact have a ABV of 12.5%, I had a conversation with Thomas A. Davis the head brewer at TCB. This brew will most likely end up in a speical 22oz bottle.

 250 characters

Photo of pat61
4.25/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L: This is a very beautiful beer. It pours brilliant coffee brown with ruby highlights under a 1” cream to tan colored moderately persistent foam collar. S: Pitted fruit, light roast malt, vegetal hop, spice, hint of anise, biscuit. T: Rich, malty, pitted fruit, a suggestion of maple to brown sugar, a touch of grape with a big hop bitterness and plenty of alcohol. Medium high to high malt. Medium high hop bitterness and medium yeast flavors. F: Medium full body, medium carbonation and mild warming. A little sugary stickiness on the lips. O: This is a big, assertive malty bitter alcoholic IPA that works.

 612 characters

Photo of RDW
4.25/5  rDev +14.9%

Photo of Metalmonk
4.25/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Toasty tan head, which is big and fluffy and firm, sitting on top of a burnt red liquid. Looks more barleywine or American strong ale than double IPA (the brewery labels this an "extreme IPA"). Beautiful beer.

Nose is burnt sugar, heavily roasted grain, cherry taffy, and solvent alchohol. It appeals to the barleywine/strong ale fan in me, but again, I'm not thinking "IPA" here at all.

You know that candy Boston Baked Beans? This tastes just like that, in liquid form. Nicely burnt, sweet and a little nutty. There's a laid back spice character, like cinnamon or allspice, and an earthy/grassy bitterness. Caramel/toffee in abundance, edging the hops out as the dominant force--Up The Creek is a malty monster. Alcohol is nicely incorporated, underlining everything and making it glow yet not jabbing out too strongly on its own. Grassy astringency spreads out in the finish, but so does robust malt, sweetness and the spice. However, it's broken record time: this is nothing like an IPA of any sort!

Chewy and creamy, firm and round, just a smidgen of carbonation for some vibrancy. Very, very nice.

The only two Thomas Creek brews I had previous to this were not impressive. That was four years ago. Apparently this brewery has changed its tune, and are brewing behemoth 12+ percenters to boot. And this is a good one, achieving the careful balance any beer this big demands. But it's definitely something they should be selling as what this site calls an "American strong ale," because that's what it is. Not docking them points for this, just sayin'.

 1,561 characters

Photo of Damian74
4.25/5  rDev +14.9%

Photo of bkonk10
4.25/5  rDev +14.9%

Photo of UnderPressure
4.25/5  rDev +14.9%

Photo of KevinGordon
4.25/5  rDev +14.9%

Photo of JohnBender
4.25/5  rDev +14.9%

Photo of markasparov
4.25/5  rDev +14.9%

Photo of zbodnar1
4.25/5  rDev +14.9%

Thomas Creek Up The Creek from Thomas Creek Brewery
3.7 out of 5 based on 496 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.

    Subscribe