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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Ratings: 495 |  Reviews: 182
Photo of hargettf
4.2/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Not your everyday DIPA. Had it just recently in a blind DIPA tasting and everyone agreed it was near the top. It was going up against Pliny and Hopslam among others. With that being said, it tastes nothering like a DIPA. Blind, it could have been a barleywine. All agreed it was very good, but not representative of the style. Pours and looks a good bit like Weyerbacher Blithering Idiot barleywine. Big surprise, thoroughly enjoyable.

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Photo of scottyshades
4.03/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

NOTE: They do bottle this bad boy, picked this up at Tiger Qwik Mart in Clemson for $2.XX for a 12oz. with a bright yellow label

A: Pours a brown color with large garnet highlight when held to light. Very fizzly looking eggshell colored head that retains pretty well and leaves a coating of fluffy foam all over the glass. Gorgeous looking pour and coloration.

S: Surprisingly malty nose. Lots of caramel, molasses (dominant note), wood, chocolate, and cocoa. The hops are very present and quite powerful, but the malts do a very nice of keeping the nose balanced. Very floral and aromatic hops as well as the bitter variety make up a grand-slam of hop character. A whiff of alcohol is apparent, but only when the beer warms up.

T: Very sweet, perhaps brown sugary. Surprisingly viscous! Malty as well, with caramel, molasses, cocoa, chocolate, and a wonderful woody note that really spruces up the flavor profile. A bit spicy and peppery as well. (I feel like I'm reviewing a wine after saying that!). The hops are really not as strong as the typical DIPA, but I think that is amazing!! This is one of the easiest and least bitter DIPA's I've ever had. I think this brew is amazingly interesting because the hops are providing the base for the malts! Role reversal in this style, but it is quite refreshing. Alcohol is very well hidden.

MF/D: Perfect carbonation, loong syrupy molasses finish with a slight wood twang, full in body, highly drinkable and highly recommended, just watch that ABV!

EDIT: So I just looked through a couple reviews to see what other people found in the flavor profile, and I must say I missed coconut, which is pretty easy to identify, but just not necessarily expected! Nice touch!

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Photo of Arbitrator
4.17/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Chilled bottle into a glass. An extra in a trade with funkydelic. Thanks, Cameron!

A: Pours a porter brown in my tulip with ruby highlights near the edges of the glass. The head is an inch of off-white foam that recedes into a scattered film on the brew and the dreaded donut around the glass. Leaves some ivy lacing at the start of the drink, but the second half of the glass is clean. Why is this brew so dark?

S: Ah. It's dark because it's really a barleywine. Full-on malt aromas of caramel, brown sugar, nuts, and an earthy / dark fruit character that I can only conclude is an inseparable blend of hops and plums.

T: Strong element of roasted malt when the beer is cold, which I really don't like as the hops start coming into play. Makes for a weird clash. But as the beer approaches serving temp, the clash is muted and the beer comes into a solid barleywine blend of malt and hops. Caramel, brown sugar, plums, dates, and possibly some toffee or nuts underneath it all: these set the initial taste. But they fade gradually into a hoppy finish, mostly earthy with a progressively stronger pine presence in there. The chocolate is noticeable again at times, but it works very well with the dark fruits.

M: Full-bodied. Moderate carbonation. Some astringency that I really don't enjoy.

D: I am honestly very impressed. I thought this would just be a random local extra that would turn out to be middle-of-the-road. My expectations were far exceeded. Someone hook me up with another...

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Photo of wagenvolks
3.27/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

12 oz. bottle into a Meantime snifter; courtesy of Ryan's Ghetto Fab BIF.

Pours dark, too dark for an IIPA, with a rusty amber hue that looks like cola once the glass is filled. More like an Imperial Amber in color, with a thin, wispy head of small khaki bubbles. [EDIT: bumped appearance rating from 3.0 to 3.5 after reading other reviewers that suggest this beer may be a barleywine] Thankfully, the aroma is on point, although I'm still getting the Imperial Amber/Red vibe. Candied amber malts and sticky-sweet caramel & brown sugar provide the breadth of the malt profile, and the hops are green and resinous. This is what a hoppy candy bar would smell some ways it smells like an aged barleywine (think SN Bigfoot).

Aggressive in all ways, the flavor blasts the front of the tongue with a raw hoppiness that quickly gives way to hot rubbing alcohol. Hop cones and harsh bittering alpha acids nip at the front and sides of the tongue like a high grit sandpaper. Sweet caramel malts in the background, but most maltiness gets overwhelmed by the rawness of the booze. Way too alcoholic and medicinal to be anywhere close to drinkable. Body is syrupy and overly carbonated, exaggerating the rough edges of this monster of a beer. Thomas Creek took a risk with Up The Creek, but sometimes risks do not pay off in the beer world. This is one example. Too big, too boozy, too unrestrained, and nowhere near an IIPA for me. I'd have to pass on this one next time...

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Photo of Reagan1984
4.35/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked this up in Charleston at the Charleston Beer Exchange.

This is a thick looking beer. Not even to the lips yet and you can see how thick it pours. The head was creamy light tan and had great structure. Even got above the glass by a ΒΌ inch. This did settle to a creamy cap that remained. The beer itself is very dark ruby red/amber and a very very deep color. Looks lime some barleywines.

Aroma is of dark fruits, malty sweet and of slight alcohol. Some bright pine as well.

Wait, is this a barley wine.? It's really good, but doesn't exactly remind me of a DPA. Really deep and layered malt flavor. Big pine hop presence. Slight coconut. Really big and wonderfully balanced. Almost a black cherry or chocolate covered cherry note to it.

Almost syrup thick. Very bold yet smooth and inviting.

I really enjoy this beer. There is something about it that just warms the heart.

** I had to read some other reviews after I wrote this and see I am not alone in thinking this is like a barley wine. Strange, but this is a very good beer.

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Photo of srandycarter
4.25/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I am not docking for style. I am rating for experience.

A - Brown, cola like, off white head. Sticky lacing. Liking the look, but an IPA?

S - Big sweet malt. Cooked fruits, booze.

T - Oh, taste follows smell in a big way. Nice hop twang at end to balance it out too.

M - Good on all fronts. Nice balance, creamy but carbed, I like this one.

D - A little muted considering the ABV....

GOOD STUFF though!

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Photo of clemtig76
4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Raverjames hit the nail on the head with this one. It is definitey NOT an IPA but rather a decent malty barleywine. I gave it all 4's based on being a barleywine. Pours a dark reddish brown with a thin head. Aroma is of sweet malt and alcohol. Way too sweet for an IPA but fits a barleywine to a tee. An after dinner brew for sure, but no IPA.

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Photo of HoosBrews
4.62/5  rDev +24.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Very dark. Looks like a strong ale.

Smell: Sweet and hoppy. The malt really dominates between the two.

Taste: BIG! But very well balanced. This is a sweet beer, but is well balanced by ample hops.

Mouthfeel: Big and sweet. Very little alcohol burn. Is this really a 12.5% abv? Finishes like a 7 or 8% abv.

Drinkability: Dangerously good. This is really a good beer and I'm happy to see a Carolina brewery finally bringing a huge IPA to the region!

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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 atsprings
3.92/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a DFH snifter pours a crisp dark brown with a decent tan head that diminishes to a ring and leaves slight lacing on the glass. Aroma is burnt caramel malts in front of citrus and pine hops. The taste is a decent amount of caramel and brown malts balanced nicely with pine hops. The beer somewhat heavy, but a bitter dryness and decent carbonation smooth things out nicely. As I said when I reviewed it on-tap a few weeks ago, this one is borderline DIPA/Barleywine, but this one is closer to DIPA than the draft version.

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Photo of raverjames
4.2/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Disclaimer: I rated this straight 4's because it does not match the style in any way. It is a delicious english barleywine, but a horrible IPA. I am not sure what the hell is going on at Thomas Creek. This is either a horrible mistake or a wonderful joke.

A: Dark brownish red with a small head.
S: Cherry, molasses, and vanilla.
T: Sweet cherries, slight leather, and caramel malts. Some nice fruity malty finish.
M: Mix of sweet and bitter. Higher final gravity for sure. Slightly boozy, which is something I love about barleywines.
D: Just perfect. Warms the body and goes down smooth.

This is a wonderful beer if the brewery would have labeled it correctly. If it was released as a barleywine, I would have given it an A+ rating. If you find this beer, buy it. This is perfect for cellaring. Ignore the label. There is no IPA here.

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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 SaCkErZ9
4.45/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Served on draft at Nicks in Clemson, SC.

This beer is kind of a catch-all beer. It is listed at 12.5% abv, called an "Extreme IPA", yet has the characteristics of a Strong Ale.

The look, smell, and taste are close to a Double Bastard. However, one glaring, obvious, and awesome difference is drinkability: I have never had a touted 12.5% abv beer taste so smooth and non alcoholic. This beer will really knock you on your ass. The server at Nicks said this was extreme, but, being as this is the beer void of the south, I thought she meant "strong IPA". This beer was not that.

Pours a dark amber, almost brown chocolate with a creamy white head. Loads of lacing as well. Aroma was a heavy dose of hops followed by the sweetness of the malts. Some chocolate is present as well.

Awesome flavor. Perfect balance of sweet caramel malt, chocolate malt, citrus hops, and alcohol. Full bodied and dangerously drinkable. The most drinkable <10% beer I have ever had.

I have had several TC beers in the past and was generally unimpressed. However, this was a dangerous beer. TC is coming up in this world I believe.

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Photo of oldhippie247
4.05/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Rich, amber color bordering on red ale hues. Head dissipates quickly. Not much carbonation. From appearance only, maybe would have guessed this was an amber or even a barleywine.

Citrus hops are balanced nicely on the nose by a rich maltiness often lacking in bigger IPA's.

Rich, round mouthfeel. Relatively low carbonation allows the hops to do their thing without scrubbing them off the tongue too quickly. Nice balance between hop bitterness and malty sweetness. ABV not listed on this particular bottle, but if it's above 7-7.5% it's hidden very well.

Touted as an Extreme IPA (listed by me as Double/Imperial IPA), this is definitely the biggest beer I've tasted from Thomas Creek. I'm in the process of rediscovering what is for me essentially a local brewery, and this is by far my favorite so far. I hope it hits the shelves soon. Hopheads won't be disappointed if they can get past the not-true-to-style aspects of this beer.

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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 ATLbeerDog
4.38/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(Edit) This review was for a beer called Celebration and the recipe for the current version is different.

Poured a pint from a keg of this beautifully red, brown golden colored beer in to a Sam Adams glass. With a heavy hops smell of citrus and flowery pine, this so called DIPA sits on that thin line nestled between a DIPA and an American Barley Wine. What a great place to be!

First sip is overpowered by heavy malts followed by the strong hops. The 12.5% ABV is the best hidden of any beer I have tried to date. You think it is about 9 or 10% - certainly not 12.5%. What gives it away is the punch you feel after just 2 glasses. Is this the strongest beer ever legally brewed in South Carolina? It also may be the best.

Sierra Nevada is forcing Thomas Creek to change the name. The new name will be, "Up The Creek".

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Photo of Chronicsurfer69
4.27/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I tried this beer at the Thomas Creek brewery and I was very impressed. I confirmed that it does infact have a ABV of 12.5%, I had a conversation with Thomas A. Davis the head brewer at TCB. This brew will most likely end up in a speical 22oz bottle.

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Photo of bobbyc881
3.91/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Liberty Taproom in Greenville. Deep red, very clear, thin tan head. Moderate carbonation. Smell was sweet & hoppy, slightly alcoholic.

Full bodied beer. Thick malty backbone with a hefty hop bitterness. Not a hop-assault like many of the west-coast DIPAs. This one shows a bit of Southern charm: well-balanced throughout. A bit of lingering bitterness in the end, as the thicker mouthfeel coats the tongue.

I had the first batch of this, which was certainly in the 12.5% neighborhood. I think the following batches aren't quite as strong. I had 2 pints during a reasonsably sized dinner, and walked off just fine. Two pints of 12.5% beer would have kicked me a bit harder. Either way, it was incredibly smooth and drinkable for such a strong ale. Bravo! I think this is a great taste of what we have to look forward to from South Carolina brewers - newly freed from the restraints of 6%.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.28/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Was in Barleys tonight and saw this one on tap. I had been waiting for one of the locals to finally brew up a high gravity, and this is apparently the first. Went into it with very high expectations....

A - Poured a deep russet brown, nearly opaque, but not thick looking. Large off white head slowly faded to leave behind just a touch of side lace. Decent look actually. The head and color were quite nice to be honest.

S - Aroma was a bit off perhaps. Had some notes of sugar with a caramel nuttiness to it. Hops were definatly present, but not overwhleming. Not really an IPA type of smell to me, more of a strong ale type as the malts definatly dominated the nose here. Literally no hint of alcohol in the aroma, which at 12.5% struck me as a bit odd, but never the less I continue on..

T - Definatly not the Double IPA taste here. This was a strong ale, and I am guessing maybe 8% in the high end. There was just no way this was 12+%. If it was, kudos man cause that is just completely not apparent at all. Nice sugary tome up front with a nice dry finish. Somewhat of a touch of alcohol, a little warming but nothing really crazy at all.

M - Nice, not too heavy, and not watered down at all like some of the others seem to be. This one definatly had some work but into it and it was obvious. A little harsh, and apparently a little strong to be a session ale, but I found it to be a little more then a sipper to be honest.

D - Very good here. It was not strong enough to prohibit me from drinking in decent quantity. I could see this one bottled very nicely. It just had a good drinkability for something soo sdtrong.

Overall it was not bad, to be honest I have had much better, however for their first try at something big, I gotta give them props for trying, and for getting it out there. The only downside is there is no way it is 12.5%. I just cant see it. It doesnt taste that strong, no where near it. If it is, damn it could get me in trouble!

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Photo of khiasmus
3.73/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This ale was brewed by Thomas Creek to celebrate South Carolina's popping the cap. Served on draft at CW's Taproom in Columbia, SC.

A- Clear dark amber, with three fingers of tight, cream-colored head that settles to a single layer and leaves a small amount of lacing on the glass.

S- Strong, with equal portions of maltiness and nugget hops. Smells like a DIPA should, with a balanced but strong nose of pine and syrup.

T- Malty-sweet up front bordering on cloying, until the balancing hops come in, followed by a nutty and alcoholic finish. The taste is not the strength I expected, judging by the aroma, but still a good, fairly balanced DIPA.

M- Chewy and smooth, with medium carbonation and a slightly warming alcohol finish. A bit too thick of a mouthfeel for the style, but still good.

D- Very good for the 12.5% ABV. (I actually struggle to believe it...) But, it's not the most drinkable IPA- too full-bodied and too sweet for the style... and too heavy and alcoholic for several, especially when they're served in pint glasses :-)

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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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