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 domtronzero
3.07/5  rDev -17%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Dark reddish copper colored with a big frothy long lasting whitish head. Lots of lacing. Too dark for a double IPA, IMO.

S - Caramelly sweet malts, estery and a big piny/citrusy hop aroma. Little alcohol as it warms.

F/M - Big sweet caramelly malty flavor up front. Toffee and sweet bready malts. Big piny/citrusy/earthy hops with a moderately high, very firm bitterness. Medium full bodied, thick and a little oily. Moderate carbonation. Lingering piny hops with a big sweet caramel flavor.

D - Pretty good for what is basically a young barleywine. Big, full flavored and easy drinking.

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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 SuperNova777
3.48/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Notes from 10/15/10

A:Poured a deep red color with ruby highlights when held up to the light. A fingers worth of head that falls fairly quick, nice lacing is left down the glass

S:A lot of sweet malts are coming thru in the nose with a small hint of hops in there
as well

T:Up front there is a lot of sweetness going on with the malts followed up by a small
hit of hops in the middle. Backend is quite boozy that fades into more sweetness.

M:More of a thicker body for the style than you would expect with mild carbonation.
Palate is left a little dry

D:It is very weird that this is classified as a IPA because it comes off more than less
as a barleywine. Super malty and very hot, a small amount of hops in the mix but fairly
easy to drink. As a barleywine I would say it pretty good but as a DIPA I don't think so.

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Photo of djmichaelk
2.59/5  rDev -30%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 1

12oz bottle courtesy of soulforpeanuts (thanks, Rick!) into a perfect pint.

A - Far and away the darkest DIPA I've ever seen -- looks more like an imperial amber/red than anything else. Big, fluffy two fingers of head with great retention. Rings of lace on the glass.

S - Very sweet-smelling. Lots of caramelly malt, some vanilla, brown sugar. Not much in the way of a hoppy bite, but it's there in the background. Alcohol is evident in the nose, which is not a surprise considering the abv.

T - Looks like an amber, tastes like an american barleywine. Toffee, burnt sugar, and caramel flavors, coupled with just a little bit of a hop bitterness. But the alcohol has more presence than I'd like, and makes the finish long and dry. This one definitely needs a year or two, and that would take it out of DIPA territory.

M - Thick and creamy, which is kind of strange for a DIPA. But it's not a bad thing. Full bodied and pleasant.

D - At 12.5%, with the alcohol not very well hidden, it's not really drinkable at all. You'd never buy a 4 or 6-pack of this for the afternoon (don't know if it even comes like that). Flavors are nice enough, but definitely one-and-done.

O - Strong, with a sweet malt background and hoppy overtones. Sounds like an american barleywine, right? I think the brewer has miscategorized this one. It's not bad, but not something I'd go out of my way to seek out.

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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 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 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 biggred1
4.15/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Deep cherry brown, really dark for a DIPA with a thick, creamy dollop of mocha colored foam with nice retention. Spicy, piney hops and caramely malt notes in the aroma. This beer is big and malty with flavors of raisin, caramel slathered toast and pine sap. Up the creek certainly skews the line between a barleywine and a DIPA, probably closer to the former. A slight alcoholic warmth in the finish is detectable but not what I'd consider "hot" for such a big beer. Full bodied, slightly sticky and silky smooth with medium carbonation. This is a dangerously drinkable beer, I look forward to trying the other offerings from Thomas Creek.

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Photo of liamt07
3.71/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bottle courtesy of 67couple, poured into a tulip. Bottled on date printed in Julian on the neck, day 111 (April 21st).

Pours a deep red/mahoghany with a few fingers of beige head. Filtered, but I've never seen a DIPA this dark before. Interesting. Thick walls of lace too. Nose is still huge on the hops, lots of pine, grapefruit and citrus attack the nostrils but I sense a bit of alcohol in there too. Lots of toffee coming off from the malt. Taste is heavily weighted on the malt and alcohol, both which strike simultaneously, with the hops taking a backseat only to leave a bitter finish of medium length when its all said and done. A ton of toffee and sweetness here, this has developed into more of an American Barleywine here over the time its been left in my fridge, and its not bad. Alcohol is not at all disguised and it hits you in the face after only a few sips. A mandatory sipper, but wouldn't have expected otherwise given the ABV. Full bodied, moderate carbonation. Really improves as it warms

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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 mkitlbog
4.5/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Unusual color (to me) for an Imperial IPA - Amber color. Very Hoppy but balanced nicely with good malts. Sweet-ish if you can say that about an IPA. Labeled "extreme" i'm sure because of the 12.5% ABV, but I find the beer itself very drinkable. Maybe too drinkable for that ABV!

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

An extra from Brandon. Thanks a bunch!

A: The pour is a dark, dark amber color with a finger's worth of khaki colored foam.

S: There are some slight pine hop notes to the nose along with a dominant toffee, caramel, and molasses malt base.

T: A slightly burnt sugar flavor along with lots of toffee, caramel, and brown sugar. The hop character is present here too and is somewhat bitter with a resinous pine flavor.

M: The body is on the full side with a lively and moderate level of carbonation.

D: More like a barleywine than anything, but pretty good. The alcohol was not really all that noticeable on the flavor or aroma, but this one could be a chore to drink too much of.

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Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
3.9/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I got this brew from kirkpjr. Thanks John!

12oz bottle served in a standard pint glass.

L - clear mahogony color with a creamy beige head that left some lacing.
S - quite a bit of citrus and floral hops with a malty backbone.
T - taste of hops sort of blast their way through, which is not so bad, the malts are there but subtley so.
F - full bodied, creamy smooth.
D - at 12.5% one is good.

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Photo of thagr81us
3.28/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Served from bottle into a Duvel tulip. Pours a dark red amber with a two finger off-white head that settles to one slowly. Maintain excellent lacing throughout. The aroma was comprised of big malt and hops. The flavor was of big malt, hops, and a spicy note. It had a medium feel on the palate with high carbonation. Overall this was very nice. There was no sign of the alcohol flavor anywhere in this one (minus just the spicy hint) as it was masked quite well with the big malt. It was not overly drinkable however. This one could sneak up on your easily if you aren't careful weighing in as a heavy hitter.

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Photo of Wilson27
4.52/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle into snifter

1.5 in head (snifter)

Smell - Could smell it as I was pouring - very nice. Taste - Chocolate, smokey, a bit of caramel sweetness, nutty. Flavor and body carry the alcohol well.
Very full mouthfull.

Overall - Great beer. I really like beers like this. Very earthy flavor, body and flavor carry the alcohol content well. I probably wouldn't have more than one due to the intense flavor and high alcohol content. I have not been "wowed" in awhile, this is a great beer.

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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'.

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Photo of haddon
3.9/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

pours a cloudy copper color with nice off-white head. lacing hangs around the glass all the way down.

Aromas of pine, resin hops teetering with toasted malts, molasses and fruits.

taste is heavy on the malts: caramel, molasses & toffee... with a twinge of hoppy fruitiness. finishes with alcohol notes on the end which is expected at 12.5% abv

medium to full body with average amount of carbonation

this beer doesn't seem like a DIPA to me. more along the lines of a strong ale or barleywine. good beer but found myself ready to move on to something else by the time I hit the end of the pint.

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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 AlCzerik
4.51/5  rDev +21.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

One of the best beers I have tried in a very long time. Extremely smooth for an IPA and is definitely worth a try for any IPA fan. Its expensive at least for my budget especially for a 4-pack but proved to be deserving of every penny. Just an all around extremely enjoyable beer

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Photo of mntlover
4.12/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice rich clear deep copper color with a thumb sized tan head that falls to scum and leaves some sparse lace.

Aroma is nice rich caramel malts, molasses, ripe fruits mingled together. Hops seems mellow in comparison citrus and pine resin. Aroma is nice sweet smelling brew not an I2PA per say but very good.

Taste is big on malt caramel, molasses toffee even mingled with grapefruit rind not in your face but under neath it all. Rich full bodied malty treat with enough hops to balance the sweetness. While this brew is bitter its more malty not sure where the extreme ipa labeling comes from but its good beer none the less. Alcohol is 12.5 and very well hidden could be dangerous beer as its tasty and easy to drink.

Mouthfeel is almost full nice chewy malty treat with good carbonation level.

Drinkability is good enjoyable goes down easy and is tasty wouldn't have more then two at 12.5%

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Photo of CampusCrew
3.87/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

We had a rare beer night and we all brought some stuff over I'll be reviewing on memory for this one as we had alot of smaples that night. Nearly 10 I beleive.
Poured really dark for an IPA categorized beer. Lots of sweetness, molasses, dark fruits. Lots of hops kick and oine aromas and falvors. Overal, a confusing beer, but since it was powerful and drinkable at the same time. I enjoyed it.

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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.

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Photo of koopa
2.76/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Bottle received as an extra in a trade a month or two ago.

Appearance: This is the first IPA I've seen that pours crimson to burgundy red. The body is fairly clear and the crown is a light khaki. At 2 fingers deep, it shows some retention and lace.

Smell: Much more malt presence than hops. Light caramel malt, hints of stone fruit, some floral hops.

Taste: Caramel covered garbage. Seriously it's not terrible, just not an IPA. Deep caramel notes, stone fruits, and a slightly bitter hop finish that is fairly enjoyable. This is more like a strong ale to me. I'm marking it low because it's a poor representation of the style.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with a touch of heft, moderate carbonation, and a touch creamy.

Drinkability: Tastes bad and has a really strong abv

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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 Sayson
2.6/5  rDev -29.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Dark amber/brown pour into my pint glass. White head some lacing. Very clear. Certainly filtered.
S: Lots of malt very little hops. Really kicking myself for spending $12 on a four pack by now. If this said barlieywine and not DIPA, I'd be pleased.
T: Malt, malt and more malt. No hop flavor, some residual bitterness
M: Average
D: Too much alcohol for too little flavor. I'm going to steer clear of this beer and brewery until I hear something positive. If they're willing to slap a DIPA label on a beer without making it hoppy, they won't get my money again.

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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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