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 FriedSlug
3.76/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Very deep ruby colored beer. Clear with a light tan head that left a few globs of lacing. The smell is sweet like candy with pineapple and caramel notes. There is a nice pine aroma as well. The taste is the same as the nose. Very bitter up front. Very sweet in the middle and a bitter finish. Pretty solid beer but barely an IPA.

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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.

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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 russphillips
2.41/5  rDev -34.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.75

Given that this is marketed as a double IPA I have to give it such a low score, based simply on style. This is not a double IPA. Perhaps a fine example of an American strong ale or even a barley wine as many have suggested. Pours rich and dark reddish brown, with a short lived head. Aroma is heavily sweet and caramel with a modest piney hop character. This is complimented by a plum fruitiness. Mouthfeel is full bodied with a dark candy sugar caramelized richness. The alcohol presence on the tongue is less than I would expect given the ABV, but my sample is over a year in my conditioning refrigerator. Flavored are rich and complex. Sweet dark caramel dominates over the malt. Hop character takes a backseat to the complex sugars. As an American strong I would say 4 to 4.5 at least, perhaps higher. Much better with age, younger bottles were not as enjoyable. Not a double IPA, but a fine beer to enjoy slowly. As it warms it just gets more complex and better. One to age for a few months.

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Photo of NolaHopHead
3.22/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle. Deep brownish red color, thin head disappears. Sweet sugary fruit aroma. Big sweet malty caramel taste. Big and boozy with an odd bitterness at the end. This would be ok maybe as a barleywine but not good as an ipa.

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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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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 alcohline_trip
3.48/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Definitely not a DIPA/IIPA. More like a strong ale or barley wine. Not sure if I can score this accurately. I'm unaware of the freshness on this 12oz. bottle.

Pours a very clear ruby red when held up to light. Minimal lacing with a few sticky spots towards the top of the glass rim.

The nose is very sweet and fruity. Almost perfume like.

Taste is a huge fruity sweetness backed with malt and booze.

Medium bodied, somewhat smooth for the massive abv.

Overall, not as advertised. This beer is nowhere even close to a typical DIPA/IIPA. Rated as a strong ale/barleywine.

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Photo of DoctorZombies
4.39/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Ruby pour with thin beige head. Sweet malt/sugar beet notes. Tastes like caramel candy,alcohol on the exhale. Smooth, medium plus mouthfeel with alcohol burn on the tongue tip. Overall, rich with a candy/alcohol finish. Nice.

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Photo of Barkmatic
1.25/5  rDev -66.2%
look: 1 | smell: 1 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.25

I gave this a poor rating based upon the the fact that it is being advertised as an extreme IPA, what I got was a decent strong ale. If you are into strong ales, I recommend this one, but if you are looking to enjoy a nice IPA, do not waste your time. The beer store I went to discounted them at a $1 a bottle, so I am happy about the purchase. How often can you get a beer at 12.5% for a buck?

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Photo of JohnnyI
3.27/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 2.75

Sampled this one in a 5 oz. pour at Homegrown Brewhouse in Summerville, SC. Surprising, right from the rip. Pours with an unexpected ruby-amber color and crimson highlights when well illuminated. A single finger of khaki foam hung around forever, leaving a ribbon of thin lacing. As IPA's go, this is one of the least aromatic I have ever had. The weak hop presence is dominated by malts and molasses. Again, completely unexpected. The taste brings intense brown sugar malt sweetness with a tart dry finish of orange citrus pith. Some dark, fruity esters as well. Medium-bodied, slick with tame carbonation. A tad thinner than expected for such a big beer, probably due to the lack of creaminess. This was a strange one for me. I wouldn't readily suggest that this as an IPA, let alone a double. Initially, it did not seem at all to fit the profile, but I must admit that the hop flavor at least builds on your palate (along with a cumulative booziness). This would be more aptly described as a train wreck between a barley wine and an English IPA. Maybe Thomas Creek could coin a new phrase for this style. The EIBW? Nah, the name works about as well as this experiment. It's certainly not offensive, but it misses the mark in a lot of ways for me. An example of a beer that is less than the sum of its parts. I'd readily take any number of run-of-the-mill IPA's over this one. It's not even in the same league as most doubles.

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Photo of Nevbo
4.47/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured dark red with a tan head. Smelled slightly hoppy but mostly malt and dark fruits. Very sweet taste, not much hops: malty and sugary with a hint of plum. The high ABV is all but hidden.

This is my second time trying this and I really dig it. True IPA or not, I like it.

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Photo of TylerKitchens
4.55/5  rDev +23%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I think I may be a little biased as this is one of the first "Craft" beers I tried in college and started me on a journey to discover there was more than Forties and High Life out there.

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Photo of Omnium
2.5/5  rDev -32.4%

In no way shape or form is this an Ipa. Maybe brewers are forgetting the fact that the P in IPA is supposed to mean Pale. This thing pours as dark as some porters do.
Aroma is black cherry, sweet sugary candy, alcohol.
Flavor is sugary sweet malt, booze, abrasive soapy pine and canned fruit mix of hops. Total mess.
Mouth feel is thick, tons of burn, cloying sweetness.
O. This is an American barleywine, nothing else. Shame on Thomas creek for trying to pass this as an ipa

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Photo of ZorroZ
4.75/5  rDev +28.4%

There are big beers, and then there are BIG BEERS. This is one of the latter- 12.5% ABV, and not classified as a barleywine. Wow.

Smell: sweet, mildly piney
Taste: WOW- deceptively sweet, the almost chewy sweetness largely masking the powerful ABV. Hops, as suggested by the odor, are present, but not overwhelming.
Mouthfeel: another WOW. Nice fully body- almost creamy.

Not a beer you'd want to session... unless part of your session routine involves blackouts.

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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 ThisWangsChung
3.05/5  rDev -17.6%

12 oz bottle into a wine glass.

Appearance: Pours a clear dark ruby color. The head is around a finger high, and light khaki in shade. Considering its gravity (12.5%), the retention is excellent. A consistent ring of lacing is left on the glass. (3.75)

Smell: Holy fuck, this is sweet. Then again, what else can be expected from a monstrously huge IPA? The caramel notes are utterly massive, backed by a subtle dankness. Almost no citrus here, this is all pine, earth, and weed. Even better, it's not palpably boozy in the least. Very likable in that brutish, unrefined sledgehammer of a way. (4)

Taste: This is totally a barleywine. It starts off as a total caramel bomb, but there are additional notes of candy, brown sugar, and even chocolate. Some hoppiness appears past the midtaste: again, it's exclusively piny and dank. A lot of these shameless hop-and-malt bombs hide the alcohol superbly, but this has some leathery booze popping up on the finish and aftertaste. Even for the style, it's pretty imbalanced and hard to drink. (2.75)

Mouthfeel: Big, heavy, creamy...this feels massive in every way. There's a definite boozy bite that I feel going down. Carbonation is really low, as well. Honestly, this one is hard to drink...and hard to finish. (2.75)

Overall: Man, this smelled so much better than how it tasted. Normally I enjoy big and shamelessly beastly mega-IPAs, but this one is rubbing me the wrong way. It's too sweet (EVEN FOR THE STYLE!) and boozy, plain and simple. (2.75)

3.05/5: On the wrong side of the massive/moronic mega-IPA spectrum

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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.

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Photo of DanielMB
4.75/5  rDev +28.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: A copper brown, with a small tan head. It has a sort of brick-like color, quite dark for an IPA. However, it looks like it tastes: delicious.

S: Not very strong, but a somewhat sweet smell with pine in the background.

T: Huge sweetness and caramel flavor up front, with lots of hops. There is some pine in the background. The heavy 12.5% ABV is pretty well masked, so be careful when drinking this brew!

M: Medium-bodied with decent carbonation. Pretty smooth overall. Again, be careful to remember that it is 12.5% ABV!

O: An incredibly tasty brew, and much sweeter than your standard IPA, which is surprising, considering the high alcohol content. Overall, I think this is a tremendous beer, and is highly underrated. Thomas Creek scored big with this one.

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Photo of SampsonOfRaleigh
4.14/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Not nearly as hoppy as most IPA's which I personally enjoyed. Kinda thick but kinda awesome. Weighing in at 12.5 ABV you won't need much to feel like a total champion. However as a complete amateur myself I was not aware that it tastes of barley wine, which other reviews noted. Definitely glad I purchased it

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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 MikeB1984
4.67/5  rDev +26.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Smell: Caramel and pine

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with moderate carbonation and hoppy.

Overall: As others have noted, this beer is more in barleywine territory than the IPA territory and it is a good one when measured by that standard. Strong hence the 12.5% alcohol.

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Photo of lochef81
4.17/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

First off, I am disregarding the ipa label and judging this for what it is. An American strong ale. This carries none of the characteristics of an ipa. The color is deer reddish brown amber with a thick tan head that gives way to a spiderweb of cream lacing. The nose is deep and malty. With notes of dried fruit even some caramel. There is also an underlying scent of booze (no surprise given the abv). The mouthfeel is thick and almost syrupy. Again nothing like an ipa but amazing none the less. The flavors are all malt with a little hop bitterness on the tail. I get lots of raisins, prunes, dried apricots, and even a little coffee. Maybe this is just a very old bottle but it definitely does not represent an American ipa. What it is is a damn good strong ale or barleywine. With the right label this would be an incredible beer.

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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 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.

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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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