Up The Creek | Thomas Creek Brewery

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Up The CreekUp The Creek
BA SCORE
3.7/5
Good
507 Ratings
Up The CreekUp The Creek
BEER INFO

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

Style: American 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
Ranking:
#28,676
Reviews:
186
Ratings:
507
pDev:
16.49%
 
 
Wants:
21
Gots:
65
Trade:
1
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 507 |  Reviews: 186
Photo of acurtis
3.25/5  rDev -12.2%

Photo of Knapp85
3.35/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This poured out as a much darker brew than I expected... This is a deep amber color, nearly black looking. There is a decent head on top with a moderate lacing. The smell of the beer is spicy, there is a decent hop aroma with lots of caramel malts on nose. The taste is very malty, it's also very hoppy too. In all honesty though it tastes like a barley wine. There is a slight herbal flavor in there as well. The mouthfeel is thick, good carbonation and oily. Overall not sure why they call this one an IPA. It's decent but not that great.

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Photo of metter98
3.78/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer is clear but very dark garnet red in color (black when viewed from afar) and has a light amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a finger high dense tan head that gradually died down, leaving a thin head covering the surface, a narrow collar around the edge and some lacing down the sides of the glass.
S: Moderately strong aromas of caramel and toffee malts are present in the nose along with some slight hints of boozy alcohol.
T: Like the smell, the malty flavors stand out much more prominently compared to the underlying pine resin hops, the latter of which contribute a light to moderate amount of bitterness.
M: It feels medium- to full-bodied and slightly crisp on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation. Faint hints of stickiness are noticeable.
O: This beer is packed with so much malts that one might think it actually is a barleywine instead of an IPA. It definitely tastes strong, but more like a 9% abv beer instead of a 12.5% one because the alcohol is rather well masked from the taste.

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Photo of Taphouse_Traveler
3.75/5  rDev +1.4%

Photo of t0rin0
2.75/5  rDev -25.7%

Photo of BEERchitect
3.78/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Billed as an Extreme IPA, at 12.5% abv. I would agree. However because of how the beer tastes, I would group it in with the American Strong Ale catagory.

The beer starts out with a strong amber/copper hue with good clarity. A dense white head forms on the beer and slowly fades to a sheet across the beer, while lacing very well.

Aromas are strong with piney, resiny hops but are equalled by strong toasted malts, molassas, maple syrup and stone fruits.

Flavors of malts hit first and reluctantly allow the hops to rival them. The syrups, molassas, and nuttiness is woven into an estery mix of grapes, dates, figs, raisons, and grapes. Hop flavor of pine, grasses, and grapefruit has a strong impact in bitterness but lesser so in flavor. Alcohols give an ethynol flavor of paint thinner in the finish.

The alcohol warmth is evident, but the beer doesn't feel like a 12.5%-er, partly because of the heavy residual malt sweetness and weight that makes the beer seem more like an American Barleywine.

I want to make comparisons to Arrogant Bastard, only with less toast, more sweetness, more alcohol roughness, and more malt-focused. Thanks Ding, this was a wild ride!

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Photo of emerge077
2.71/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 2.5

"2021" julian date code on the bottom, june-july 2011 apparently.

Dark tawny copper, sticky cap of fluffy, creamy foam that leaves copious lacing inside the glass. Transparent, high clarity. Head retention is strong, as it's long lasting, maintaining a stiff meringue froth for the duration of the glass.

Sticky toffee and caramel aroma, more appropriate to an old ale or aged barleywine. Very sweet with a bit of pine resin and spun sugar notes.

Ugh. Sticky sweet, syrupy and very astringent. Cheesy smoked gouda notes? Wtf is going on in here >_> I like me some cheese, and toffee too, but not together getting friendly in my beer. Fusel alcohol, sickly sweet, reminds me of cheap schnapps or liqueur. Earthy herbal hop resin in the aftertaste that seems to build incrementally after each sip. Oh...there's the hops. Unfortunately they can't save this beer, especially this late in the game. A flash of an afterthought of hops and a ton of residual sugar does not equal a DIPA. This crosses the threshold into old ale/barleywine for sure. The sweetness and high level astringency are the dealbreakers here.

"Up the creek" generally means "you're screwed" and sadly, so is this beer. Glad it was only a single, i'd never buy this again.

 1,250 characters

Photo of Kurmaraja
3.25/5  rDev -12.2%

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 paulish
4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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 zestar
3.75/5  rDev +1.4%

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 smcolw
3.8/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours as if raspberry syrup were added. Borderline dark ruby and brown. Little head. Leaves plenty of ring lace. In between rings is plenty of spots.

First thought on the smell is that this is a perfumed laden brew. Sweet and floral but without the hop notes I would expect.

Strong brandy-like presence. Sweet, syrupy and port flavored. Low bitterness--the finish is quite malty. The hop which shows up is only there as a counterbalance. If I were to guess the style blindly, I'd think Doppelbock or Barley Wine. Alcohol is is strong but not dominating. Thick body and lowly carbonated.

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Photo of olradetbalder
3/5  rDev -18.9%

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 Thorpe429
3.23/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottle courtesy of bmanning. Served in a Hill Farmstead wine glass.

Pours quite dark with some nice ruby highlights in the body. Single-finger head falls down a bit quickly and brings some larger carbonation bubbles. There is some pretty good lacing as it starts to fall down.The initial whiff has some light notes of cherry cough syrup. It's quite faint. Some mildly-sweet caramelized malt.

The taste has a really nice malt character as well as some sweetness and caramel. This reminds me more of an English barleywine. It could be an old bottle, but it's fairly enjoyable how it is. However, I will say that the mouthfeel is a bit of a drawback as there is a slight astringency that comes out a lot more in the finish as a sort of metallic dryness.

I like where the taste was going, but the finish was a bit too much and really affected the drinkability of this one. A nice offering, though. Thanks again, Ben.

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Photo of Hopheadjeffery
3.75/5  rDev +1.4%

Photo of BEER88
3.62/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of russpowell
3.3/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked this up at Briusin Ales today...

Pours copper with 2+ fingers of tan head. Average head retention & good lacing

Very bready & piney

T: Floows the nose, some leafy hops as well up front. Much bready sweetness with burnt brown sugar, toffee & booze notes as this warms along herbal & leafy bitterness. Finishes dry & boozey, with tanin & herbal bitterness

MF: Super chewy with slight carbonation, skews a tad malty to me, very warming

Drinks fairly easy for the heft, but this one is too malt forward for me, maybe it's aged, but since there's no dating on the bottle it's un solved mystery. Not really what I'm looking for in a DIPA, I would believed this was an English Barley Wine before I'd thought DIPA & would've scored it higher...

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Photo of ygtbsm94
3.75/5  rDev +1.4%

Photo of dvmin98
4/5  rDev +8.1%

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 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.

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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.

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Up The Creek from Thomas Creek Brewery
Beer rating: 3.7 out of 5 with 507 ratings