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: 495
Photo of sicilian
3.53/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

My wife picked a bottle of this up for me when she was at the store and I told her to get some IPA's.
I opened it without seeing the ratings here and was shocked when I poured it after reading the label.
Much darker than expected, to the point where I wondered if something had gone wrong with this bottle.
Reminds me of many other Barley Wines in both color, smell and flavors with all of them maxed out.
I was disappointed mostly in the fact that I was in the mood for an IPA and this wasn't.

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Photo of elgiacomo
3.53/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle, served at around 45F.

Pours dark red/copper with a good sized brown head, leaves good spotty lacing and recedes to a light cap.

Aroma starts with citrus and pine hops then a bunch of dark fruit, caramel, some bread and earth. Good strength.

Flavor is citrus hops up front, then moves to strong caramel and dark fruit with moderate sweetness, finishes with good pine bitterness. Some alcohol but really not bad at all considering it is 12.5%!

Mouthfeel is full bodied, creamy, sticky, good carbonation.

Overall pretty good stuff, but ultimately comes across more as an Imperial Red or Barleywine than a Double IPA.

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Photo of peabody
3.55/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours out a darker see-through brown with reddish tints. Two fingers of tan suds adorn this smelly brew.
Aroma is wonderful here. Very strong caramel malt with a resiny hop then the alcohol comes in there. Hops or the yeast is burning the nose a bit.
Taste is strong malt, mabey charred a bit, with sugar and alcohol finising this one off. Not a lot of hop flavors are coming through though.
Mouthfeel is a bit dirty and quite sticky. I like it.
Drinkability can't be great because of the 12.5% but this drink does hide some of the excess alcohol!.

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Photo of buschbeer
3.55/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle
Served in a tulip glass

A - It is mahogany in color with bronze highlights. Two inches of mocha colored froth capped it.

S - I get lots of sweet, caramel malt and alcohol. No hops to speak of.

T - There's a battle going on in my mouth between caramel malt, alcohol, and bitter pine hops. It starts out sweet and finishes bitter from the hops. I get a growing warming sensation from the alcohol.

M - It has a pretty full mouthfeel.

O - It has a lot of sweetness for an IPA. If it didn't say "India Pale Ale" on the bottle I would have thought I was drinking a barleywine. If I were rating this as a barleywine I would say it's pretty good. As a DIPA, not as good.

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Photo of csparace
3.56/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

I am thoroughly confused by this beer. It does not match any expectation I had of an IPA.

Appearance (4.00) - 12oz bottle to a Matilda glass. This is the darkest IPA I've seen thus far. Dark red brown - like a cherry finish on maple. Pours with a half finger head that moves quick. Really a gorgeous color. It is not cloudy at all. Lacing is thin but nice and limited to where the head was. Wish I had a camera.

Smell (3.50) - Roasted hops on the front straight away. Woody. Chocolates also present. Also hints of orange.

Taste (3.75) - The most prevalent element is malt. Roasted malts with a pretty big alcohol bite. Not very complex. You have to look for the hops and it only really comes in at the end of the body. Aside from the bite, smooth. Hints of spice on the finish which lingers around with the bite.

Mouthfeel (3.25) - Theres a warming feel at the back of my throat, like I'm drinking a scotch. Its definitely on the thick side for an IPA. Lips are left very sticky. Not the thirst quenching crunch you'd expect in an IPA.

Overall (3.25) - This really reminds me of a good scotch ale to be honest. (a strong Robert the Bruce comes to mind) I don't know what to think because the bottle says "Sink the Status Quo" and well, they've done that - It's unlike any IPA I've ever had. If it was a scotch ale, I'd think it was pretty good, but I have absolutely no idea where this fits in on the IPA scale. Looking at their website, it doesn't really match the description to me - not hop heavy, not really what I think as drinkable, and the alcohol is not that well hidden.

Its really not a bad beer, just not what I think it should be if they're going to call it an extreme IPA. As other reviewers said, I would rank it higher if it were a different style.

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Photo of Evil_Pidde
3.56/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours dark brown with red hues. The brown thick head sinks slowly into great lacings.

S: Sweet, sweet malt, roasted and syrupy. Dark dried fruits. This is the first DIPA (or perhaps TIPA) I've ever had, where the malt overpowers the hops.

T: Tastes just like the smell. Molasses and dark dried fruits. The hops are, if possible, even more anonymous.

M: Body is full and creamy while carbonation is held back. Aftertaste is long and sweet. Lots of alcohol-precense.

O: Wow, how I loved this beer. But to review it as a DIPA is so wrong. If it was classified as a Barleywine - top grade, but as a DIPA, way too much sweet malt, and way too little hops.

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Photo of kylehayworth
3.56/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I think this will be the first beer from South Carolina for me, let's see how it is.

A: Very deep amber with dark ruby red higlights, the head is a very generous canvas color.

S: Mild piney hops but more malty in the nose, lots of caramel, toffee, faint vanilla.

T: It has a caramel/toffee malt profile with a mild taste of the piney/resiny hops.

M/D: It was pretty well balanced considering the high ABV, mouthfeel was syrupy and fairly thick. I've never been so sure a beer was miss labeled. This has to be a barelywine. Overall, a decent beer, but not really what I expected.

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Photo of gopens44
3.58/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Beautiful dark ruby and nearly opaque, except for the edges. Head not really a factor as it receded down pretty quick.

S - Sweet, raisiny and laden with maltiness.

T - Cherries, hops, malty. Finishes very bitterly. I like that.

M - Starts out a touch thin, but that sensation gives way to a slight creaminess. Lots of aftertaste, manifesting itself as a hoppy reminder.

Not bad, and the high ABV is masked rather well.

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Photo of avalon07
3.58/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured from a bottle to a tulip glass. Had a brownish color, with hints of ruby and a mainly clear consistency. There was a half inch of foamy, long-lasting head and good lacing.

S: Aroma consisted of hops, malt, pine and alcohol.

T: Surprisingly, the hops weren't at the forefront of this beer. Had a decent amount of malt, caramel and a piney quality. Alcohol is a little too noticable, and you definitely feel it after a while.

M: A good amount of carbonation with a slightly syrupy finish.

D: A decent American IPA, drinkable, but not my favorite of all time.

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Photo of JayAre46
3.58/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - 12oz, black and yellow label with childish print "up the creek" pours a deep reddish brown, close to black, khaki colored head that falls leaving flamed lacing down the glass.

A - big brown sugar aromas, burnt caramel malt are abundant and dominating subtle hops if any. not the first time i've had this one and the aroma frightens me bringing back memories of the last time, this time im alone....FML

T - HOLY SHIT!!!big sweet caramel and chocolate malt, hops sprinkiled in that provide a subtle bitterness that just cannot compete with the big malt flavors, alcohol laughs in your face.

M - full creamy, moderate carbonation, coats the palate and doesn't leave, leaves the lips sticky icky.

O - just overdone, huge beer, that is as refreshing as utopias. now i have to decide how im actually going to slay this cloying beast

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Photo of chinchill
3.59/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

An abundance of off-white head out of the tap, with a yellow gold liquid underneath. The head leaves plenty of sticky lacing. The generous carbonation also influenced the mouthfeel making feel, I think, lighter than it would otherwise.

This is one boozy beer, and the high ABV is evident but not objectionable in the nose, but too overpowering in the taste. It also lends some burn and harshness to the mouthfeel, in addition to some warming. The beer also may be mis-classified as a DIPA ... it is more like a barleywine and a bit like a Belgian tripel. There is a definite hop contribution, but also a substantial balance from sweet caramel malts. Neither the high IBU (111) nor the high ABV (12.5%) seem quite so high.

O - you want a super high ABV beer? ... usually sacrifices need to be made in mouthfeel and taste. Such is the case here although the negative effects are not as pronounced as a 12.5% reading would often produce.

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Photo of JIsaacMcKelvey
3.6/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Bought from Uncorked Marietta, GA. Living in Georgia, it's a big deal to get your hands on a 12.5% so I picked up this Up The Creek with little knowledge of Thomas Creek. The bottle says it's an IPA or "Extreme IPA." BA labels it an Imperial and I'd have to agree more with that, but even's almost more of a barrel-aged imperial or even a barleywine.

It pours (into a Stone VE glass) a dark, malty color with barely a one finger off white head.

The aroma comes off the top with a big malt kick and tobacco; not to be overdone by the strong ABV which is prevalent as well.

The taste caramel, tobacco, malts, and a pine note from the hops. Tastes almost barrel-aged to me though. I almost question whether I bought an outdated bottle, being originally expecting just a strong IPA. I don't get any fruit notes or bitterness but a very malty, woodys taste with the slightly overpowering alcohol content.

The mouth feel if full-bodied but creamy. Only slightly carbonated, it's really not over the top for one of the strongest beers we can get down here.

Overall: It's a great beer but I think it is misrepresented which brings a confusing mindset to the initial enjoyment of the beer. I'd definitely recommend this beer but don't be expecting a big hoppy "Imperial IPA" with high ABV.

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Photo of oberon
3.61/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a four pack today at Bestway here in Greensboro.Poured into an oversized wine glass a darker color than expected,deep amber with a tight fomed 1/2 slight off white head.Somewhat muted aromas,I picked up some resiny and leather-like notes.Wow this is more American barley wine in nature on the palate,deep fruit esters with some brown sugar, the hops come in late with a big pine resin finish.There is a lingering licorice-like flavor that lingers wich is different for the style as well.A bit hot but its nice,maybe I should have waited till after the Wings beat the Pens to drink this because it could bring on some spleepiness.

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Photo of rootbeerman
3.62/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: id have to agree with another comment on color, it pours dark reddish amber, with finger of light brown head. which fell to a thin layer.
S: very sweet roasted/caramel malt. more piny than citrus hops.
T/M: oddly smooth and very little alcohol bite for 12.5%. this is very malty, obvious east-coaster, hops are piny and bitter. the carbo is low to medium and is lightly syrupy and smooth.
D: high ABV aside this is very drinkable, and price wise its affordable as well.

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Photo of GregSVT
3.62/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a snifter

A: Pours a very dark brown with a huge tan head that slowly fades to a ring leaving a ton of sticky lacing. The color is not consistent with a DIPA but the head and lacing are nice.

S: The nose is mainly caramel, toffee, and roasty malts with hints of earthy hops. This is shaping up to be more like a barleywine than a DIPA.

T: Yeah this is definitely an American Barleywine. Huge notes of caramel, toffee, piney/earthy hops, and bready malt. It tastes great but not exactly what I was expecting.

M: The feel is sticky and a bit chewy with a big amount of carbonation. Alcohol is definitely present on the finish.

O: If this was labeled differently I would have scores it higher. It's got huge flavors and would rival Bigfoot as one of the biggest barleywines I've had.

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Photo of shand
3.63/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a snifter!

Alas, I have been hoodwinked! My typical "pick up anything new that says IPA on it" strategy has fooled me! Actually, there's nothing pale at all about the muddy brown color that this pours, with little head to speak of. The aroma is sweet and alcoholic, denying any of the hops I might have expected. The taste does do a bit better on this front, delivering a hop presence akin to a hoppier American barleywine along with some sweet fruits and malts. The finish is sweet, but a drying sensation stops it from being too cloying. A sipper. The mouthfeel is full and lightly carbonated, and the drinkability is about what you'd expect from such a 12.5% alcohol brew. It's a pretty good beer, but don't be fooled by the "Extreme IPA" moniker plastered on the bottle. This one's a barleywine through and through.

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Photo of MCain04
3.63/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Sent over by @JISurfer, thanks! 12 oz bottle poured into a Speigelau glass.

Darker than expected, murky reddish brown opque body with a tan creamy head of good retention, lacing.

Smell is immediately boozy. But also, but caramel and toffee flavors.

Taste is booze, caramel, stale hops, and more alcohol.

Mouthfeel is heavy and thick with medium carbonation, good for a barleywine style.

Definitely a BW and not an IPA at all. For a BW, decent offering. For an IPA, definitely misses the mark. I'll rate it as a BW for now as if I didn't know what it was going into it.

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Photo of AgentZero
3.63/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Dark brownish-red beer with a small, late-rising head that faded to a tight ring that lasted a really long time.

S - Lots of sweet caramel and dark fruits. Hops are present, but this is quite malt and sugar forward. Hops are mosty citrus and grapefruit, with a little bit of pineapple.

T - Dark fruits, caramel, brown sugar, some hops. It is a little hot, but at 12.5% the alcohol is very well hidden. Not particularly bitter or hoppy, but this is pretty flavorful.

M - Almost full bodied with soft carbonation. Creamy and smooth.

O - Not what I was expecting from a 'big' IPA, but this one hides the alcohol very well. Not a great beer, but not a bad one.

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Photo of salvo
3.64/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Pours dark mahogany; head is a half inch if that (other report a huge head). Microbubbles float up in streamers from the bottom keeping the foamy head afloat. Laced glass more than etching.

Nose is caramel and honey with some darker burned sugar and blackstrap molasses; earthy. The hop pine is in the background and more like walking on fallen dry pine needles than fresh evergreen: resin.

Taste is sweeter and bigger that I expected, even at 12.5%. More barley wine character than DIPA, there's a deep fruit presence: raisins? dried fig? Boozy overtones with bread underneath; big, chewy, thick mouthfeel and a warming finish. The astringent warmth at the end is a nice ending to such a big, sweet beer. Hops assert themselves late as bitterness.

Not a really quaffable beer: it's extreme, and yet a really tasty occasional treat. A change of pace.

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Photo of SLeffler27
3.65/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Builds a half-inch, dark beige head that is almost creamy over a dark ruby beer. The head is short-lived, leaving thin rings on a tulip glass. The viscosity of the beer is evident with each sip.

The aroma is a sharp mix of orange peel and pine tips.

As expected, this is a highly bitter beer with sweet grapefruit, caramel malt and a long, bitter, peppery finish.

Has a sticky texture and medium body with strong astringency.

The bitterness overwhelms the flavors, though this is still a good match for spicy Italian foods.

I nice gift.

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Photo of dcloeren
3.68/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a dark, yet transparent, mahogany brown with two fingers of frothy tan head

I could smell this beer as soon as I poured it but it mellowed slightly shortly after. Toffee notes dominate with possibly some molasses and brown sugar. Some pine hops make their presence known, but are over shadowed by the malt characteristics and the booze.

taste follows the nose. Not alot of hops presence at all... Great brown sugar, roasted malt and molasses notes. Definitely gives off some heat. Probably one of the least hoppy IPA's i've ever had....

Medium to full body. Thick and slightly syrupy. Drying aftertaste with some boozy heat.

Over all, this was not a bad beer by any means but I just dont think that this needs to be classified as an IPA based on what I tasted... more like a strong ale. Would have liked to have seen more hops. Pretty disappointed and having a hard time letting the hops problem go...

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Photo of Zach136
3.68/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle Dec. 10 2013

Pours surprisingly dark, thin, tan dissipating head. Nose is light orchard fruit and caramel. Both characteristics get bumped up on the palate. Straight caramel apple you dropped in pile of pine needles. Hides the alcohol OK. Still boozy, but not quite 12.5% boozy.

Overall, from my recent sampler, it's Thomas Creeks MO to make India Pale Ales that aren't pale at all. The malt bills seem to really be detracting from the hops they're trying to showcase.

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Photo of cpetrone84
3.68/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to MikeinCharleston for this one!

A-pours a dark brownish ruby red, transparent, with a dark tan colored head that is thick and bubbly.

S-lots of caramel, toasty malts, notes of raisins, hints of brandi, citrus hops add some balance in the back but lightly.

T-even more caramel than in the nose, some toasty chocolate malts as well. there are notes of brandi soaked raisins come in behind shifting into a light citrusy hop finish with faint bitterness.

M-full chewy body, very thick, sticky and syrupy, assertive carbonation in the back with a good crisp finish.

D-this beer is rather big, loads of malts and lightly balanced hop presence and tasty.

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Photo of Urbancaver
3.7/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

General notes...
A beautiful beer... This one is definitely one of the prettiest beers I've had. Small bit of head with great lacing sticking around
Smells strongly of hops and a great malt profile. Hints of booze on the smell as well which is not surprising at 12.5%
the taste is actually more strongly of malt then hops but fairly well balanced. Strong with alcohol but really quite tasty! Too strong to be easily drinkable but overall a pretty solid beer

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Photo of DesMoinesMike
3.7/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Wow, this is a complex brew, lots of flavors and smells. The dark ruby color denotes some depth, The aroma almost knocks your socks off. The hops are present but are overshadowed by plum and what seems like aging in wine barrels. A bit woody with notes of grape and cherry. The body is hella thick, a bit hard to swallow, this beer lets you know who's in charge. After about 1/4 of the bottle I was feeling the alcohol.

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Thomas Creek Up The Creek from Thomas Creek Brewery
3.7 out of 5 based on 495 ratings.
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