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 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.


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Photo of ksimons
3.96/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A-surprised how dark the beer pours, amber with a thin layer of head that leaves a ring around the top

S-rich malts with hints of bitter hops

T-caramel malt, brown sugar, and a piney finish. Alcohol is very well hidden, did not taste like 12.5% at all.

M-medium sticky body, good carbonation

Overall this beer does not drink like an IPA, still pretty enjoyable though. And alcohol is no where to be seen.

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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 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 Flounder57
3.8/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle was poured into a tulip glass.

Appearance: This beer poured a one finger head that reduced to a thin layer. It is a deep crimson color with some clarity when held up to a light with tiny bubbles seen coming up through the glass. Looks like a barleywine. More lacing all the way down the glass.

Smell: Caramel, toffee, tangerine, grapefruit, and warm alcohol.

Taste: Really malt forward, tangerine, grapefruit, and boozy alcohol.

Mouthfeel: full bodied, smooth, malty, medium carbonation, and a bit boozy.

Overall: What looks like a barleywine, is a huge malt bomb. Too much malt for me and not enough hop presence.

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Photo of VincentFrey
2.47/5  rDev -33.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

A giant beer at 12.5% for a 12oz bottle. Poured into a Heavy Seas snifter. Pours a see through amber to brown. The smell is particularly unpleasant; it smells like every other DIPA I've had off a random store shelf: booze drowning out earthy hops. It's pretty though, on those aspect.

Taste is...generic? The alcohol is present but there are many beers that hide it much worse. It's interesting to pick apart the flavors, but that just goes to show an uninteresting whole. It's pretty much a mess.

Uninteresting and unappealing. Was hoping for more for the first time seeing these guys in my area.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.08/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had no clue this was 12.5% abv. What's going on all I wanted was a standard IPA...okay I will drink it. Pours a deep ruby mahogany brown hue with big flowing tan head, clings to the sides of glass actually leaves some really nice intricate lacing. Aroma has deep pine, earthiness with a big malt backbone think caramel and dark chocolate toffee notes. Robust and chewy on the palate, big resinous hops coated with a balanced level of malt. Badass beer that states: "Sink the status quo." That's exactly what this beer is doing, I would label it an old ale or barleywine if handed to me blindly but the brewer chose, extreme IPA...EXTREME IPA it is!!! Layers of alcohol intertwined with viscous caramelized malt sugars nearly burnt at times, roasted malts, earthy resinous dank hop components this thing is firing on all cylinders. Mouthfeel is...see above description of chewy, with moderate slow bubbling carbonation never cloying but a bit abrasive in a good way. Overall, I'm glad I accidentally bough some extreme IPA, most IPAs I wouldn't recommend aging but this one will lay down and turn into something beautiful, think Bigfoot aging potential. Good fresh but I can almost bet this only gets better and better. By the way I'm pairing with a petit corona from Illusione 68 aka is small but mighty chalk full of raging Honduran, and Nicaraguan long fillers brings the spice and strength with all of the ligero leaf they managed to package in this small cigar. Dion Giolito is blending genius!

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Photo of dwren89
3.74/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: deep burgundy with nice creamy tan thick head, great clarity

Aroma: deep bready and caramel notes, piney and citrusy hop aroma with noticeable bitterness,

Taste: very malty with a deep bready and caramel flavor that finishes pretty darn bitter, though much more balanced than most double IPAs. Very developed malt character with more bitterness than hop flavor. Definite alcohol note, though not a hot or fusel one

Mouthfeel: very full bodied, thick and chewy mouthfeel, medium carbonation

Overall: A beer defined by its deep and very developed malt flavor and very bitter finish, but not much hop flavor. The hop flavor is likely very masks by the overwhelming malt because the aroma is there. At 12.5% ABV, it's no mystery why it's is so malty.

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Photo of ExtraStout
4.05/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12oz bottle.

Pours deep, clear copper with a big, thick beige head that shows excellent retention and sits as a small cap throughout with some solid lacing.

Aroma is packed with resinous floral hops, tons of pine with some pithy grapefruit as well. Lots of caramel malts and bread as well. Smells like a hopped-to-hell barleywine...I like it.

The taste is a more complex version of the nose. It certainly starts out with the same biting, abrasive pine hops with a more pronounced sweet caramel malt and toffee backbone. Bitter, crazy hoppy finish.

The mouthfeel is sticky, real sticky, with hops and astringent as hell. Not in a bad way.

Some will understand it, some won't. I would get it again when in the mood for something heavy.

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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 Samp01
3.87/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a reddish ruby brown with a small slowly dissipating to a thin lasting tan he’d with good lacing. Aroma is of sweet caramel malt, yeasty fruity notes with some earthy floral hops. Taste is sweet caramel malt, yeast, brown sugar and molasses, with earthy floral hops bitterness. Palate is a full body, smooth mouth feel, good carbonation, with good sweet bitter balance. Finish is sweet caramel malt, yeast, some dark fruity notes, brown sugar, molasses with earthy floral hops for balance, ending is sweet lingering caramel malt, brown sugar and some sweet alcohol. Alcohol seems well hidden. Overall a very good, flavorful and balanced brew, nice.

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Photo of acidicbassist
4.85/5  rDev +31.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

A - Dark, mahogany colour (blood red if held up to a light) with a thick, light head that leaves a nice lacing.

S - Malty, boozy. Reminiscent of a good barley wine.

T - Initial crisp hoppy flavour, but finishes following the smell with a malty taste of delicious dried fruit.

M - Thick. Coating the inside of the mouth with a syrupy drip.

O - Very full-bodied and complex beer. The high ABV definitely leaves it's mark in the boozy smell and malty flavour, but the as a DIPA, it presents a great amount of hops with lots of other flavours to compliment. Love it.

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Photo of VelvetExtract
3.48/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

A-Pours a dark ruby/brown color. Body is slightly hazy. Great head. Decent size and great retention. Strong lacing consistency.

S-Rich, deep candied citrus hops. Resinous oily hoppiness. Loads of sweet caramel. Booze is surprisingly not too evident here. The nose has strength but its a bit too subdued for a beer of its epic gravity.

T-Supremely sweet. Hops are sweet and candied in flavor. Loads of caramel. Doesn't taste like a DIPA to me. Sweeter than anything else. Reminds me of a Double Crooked Tree with a less pronounced hoppiness.

M-Full, full, full. Chewy and resiny. Softer carbonation. A real sipper.

O/D-As expected, the girth of this beer makes it a slow-sipping Barleywine or Strong Ale in my opinion. Its worth a try but I am incredibly thankful that most DIPAs don't taste like this.

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Photo of Arithmeticus
3.86/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured chilled in hotel glass in Greenville, SC

A: very dark; good thick head; great carbonation; good lacing
S: overwhelmingly like an imperial stout in its aroma; lingers nicely
T: has a strong imperial stout quality in its booziness and dark roast profile; but the stronger hop profile is unmistakable, with an emphasis on brighter, finishing hops; this might be considered too much an attempt at a cross-over, which isn't, imo, a great idea
M: smooth, viscuous

This is a good closing beer, mainly for the high gravity. Cheers!

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Photo of BlurryVisi0n
4.23/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Served in a snifter.

Appearance: A pure transparent copper, lightly dark (if that makes sense). Head is off white, with an orange tint to it rising to maybe 1/2"

Smell: Heavy caramel and malts, your nostrils will love you.

Taste: Without a doubt this brew will satisfy most palates. An easy hoppiness with heavy caramel and sweet hops. Malts in full effect. ABV is a little overwhelming but no complaints it is just enough to offset it's bitterness.

Mouth: Easily the weakest property but it somewhat light carbonation shouldn't scare you, it's how sticky it is, is what you would fall in lust for.

Overall: Before even looking this beer up to do a review I already had a ballpark figure in my head of where the rating should be and am quite surprised is this "low". An incredible after dinner beer that definitely gave me a lot for a little. Salud!

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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.

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Photo of RonfromJersey
3.75/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

$3.25 single from Abe's.

Ruby colored body, good clarity when backlit. This is definitely more Imperial red/amber than IIPA. Two fingers of off white foam decays quickly but laces well.

Aroma is huge malty sweet, with some candy sugar, and very sweet cherry. A bit boozy.

Big sweet slathering malt incapacitates the tongue. Big hops manage to balance it by the swallow. Some warming alcohol.

Full mouthfeel.

It's a good beer. It's exactly like an IIPA except for the color, aroma, and taste. Call it a barleywine, or a strong ale, but it is not what is advertised.

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Photo of YouSkeete
3.8/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Very dark brown/red appearance. Short yellow head with beautiful lacing. Thick roasted malts and rebellious hop aroma with espresso, nuts and wood notes. Bitter/sour blast of roasted nuts, wet wood and rich hops on the first taste. Complex overall flavor with apple, bittersweet chocolate, craisins and coffee bean notes following the initial sip. For 12.5%, the alcohol seems rather well masked. Sour, nutty, bitter, complex mouthfeel.

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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 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 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 JerzDevl2000
3.44/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked this up in Jersey City recently, along with the Class Five IPA. While that beer was weaker than I anticipated, this turned out to be the other way around. Not only in the alcohol department, but in the sweetness. Like so many others have alluded to, this felt like a Barleywine from start to finish. It wasn't that I didn't enjoy this but this felt like it was categorized wrong and not hoppy enough to be a true Double/Imperial IPA.

The pour to this was a fairly deep brown with a mild tan head, and hardly any lacing to be seen. Not a lot of carbonation to be seen here and the aroma was a bit weak as well. Lots of Barleywine sweetness and caramel in the nose to balance out a strong and somewhat balanced mouthfeel. there was a hint of citrus and earthy hops underneath the booze but this felt quite strong from the first sip and the warming aspect of the booze never let up. There was just a hint of papaya in the back to help ease the molasses and alcohol that dominate the taste of this beer.

Yes, this was strong but it never detracted from how I felt about this beer or the mouthfeel of it. Hopheads will be disappointed at this since there wasn't any strong bitterness or dry-hopped notes to this but on its own, this was fine. If this was re-categorized as a Barleywine, I'd edit my ratings and moved it up a notch, since I certainly wouldn't mind having this again!

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Photo of zuperman
4.65/5  rDev +25.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

For a beer that is 12.5% this beer is great and not overbearing. The sweetness is not your typical alcohol cover up but rather a nice honey note that compliments the hops nicely

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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 Stinkypuss
3.05/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thomas Creek
Up the Creek

LOOK: Pours a clear amber with ruby hints.

SMELL: Fruity ale yeast, some citrus from the hops. Strong alcoholic aroma which was not unexpected, given the abv.

TASTE: Sugary sweet caramelized malts, with just s bit of grapefruit, pine and drying bitterness. Not much like an IpA, this is essentially a barleywine with just a bit more hops than the norm. The alcohol is noticeable but is felt more than tasted.

FEEL: Full bodied, well carbonated, smooth feel, a bit syrupy and weighing on the palate.

OVERALL: A ho-hum middle of the road triple ipa/barleywine that boasts of its hops that are quite subdued. This was ok and as others have stated it will get you drunk.

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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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