Bitch Creek ESB (Extra Special Brown) | Grand Teton Brewing Co.

very good
348 Reviews
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Bitch Creek ESB (Extra Special Brown)Bitch Creek ESB (Extra Special Brown)

Brewed by:
Grand Teton Brewing Co.
Idaho, United States

Style: English Brown Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Bitch Creek perfectly balances big malt sweetness and robust hop flavor for a full bodied, satisfying mahogany ale. Like the stream for which it is named, our Bitch Creek ESB is full of character... not for the timid.

54 IBU

Added by BeerAdvocate on 10-04-2003

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Reviews: 348 | Ratings: 812
Photo of Lawl3ss
1.74/5  rDev -54.1%
look: 1 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.5

Lightly chilled 12 oz bottle into a 33cl snifter. Bottling date 12.11.12.

Look- Pours ruby brown with a pretty ridiculous four-finger head that falls slowly - takes six pours and ten minutes waiting to empty the bottle. Minimal lacing. Significant particulate, and a cake of sludge in the bottom of the bottle. Very unappealing.

Smell- Floral, citrusy, sharp, astringent. Very American- unexpected. Mild burnt toffee in the background, but overall very hop-forward.

Taste- Maltier than anticipated after the aroma, but that's not saying this is a malty beer. Fruity/skunky/sweet flavor that makes me think Galena and Warrior hops, doesn't really mesh well with the mellow toasted shortbread malt, diacetyl definitely present but low. Finishes with a lingering lemon black tea bitterness. Mild sweetness throughout.

Mouthfeel- Medium body, light-medium carbonation. Grainy, sandy feel. Well, after typing that I took a second look and go figure there's about a half inch of hop and yeast residue in the bottom of the glass. Good one on me, Grand Teton. I'm done with this beer.

Overall- Well, this beer's just a hot mess- reminds me of bad generic hoppy American amber homebrew. Sharp, poor balance, and well... gross. Bottle conditioning gone wrong, I hope. The amount of sediment in the beer is actually pretty shocking, and it's definitely trub and hop particulate. Very bad- I feel no regrets about pouring this out other than the $1.75 I spent on the bottle. All that and it wasn't even the dark English-style ESB it was advertised as- two shades more caramel and this would definitely be classified as an American IPA. Off for the style and completely undrinkable.

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Photo of GooberMcNutly
2.47/5  rDev -34.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

ESB means Extra Special Bitter. And Bitter is what Bitch Creek is all about. Nice coppery color and a subtle aroma waft up from the glass. Low head and moderate carbonation are to style. The bitterness is a little pronounced, even a little astringent. The brewers may want to spend a week in London putting back a few real pints of the Bitter to see what the taste is all about.

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Photo of JLaw55
2.5/5  rDev -34%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

There is an odd funkiness to this one. Definitely not something I would outright buy again. Doesn't seem to really fit the style either, oddly hoppy for a brown ale. Watery mouthfeel as well.

Would Drink Again: No
Would Purchase Again: No

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Photo of kbnooshay
2.59/5  rDev -31.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured a weird orange-brown red with a non existent head. Aroma is of strong of hay and rabbit pellets. Im glad this doesn't taste how it smells. Flavor is of earthy bitter hops and weirdness. feel is tingly from the carbonation. The oddness of this beer will prevent me from ever buying another. There are much better ESBs out there.

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Photo of BrownAleMale
2.63/5  rDev -30.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Pint bottle poured into a Paulaner stein.

Appearance- Dark brown with 1 finger of cloudy white head that quickly dissipates.

Smell- Pine, floral, and ripe fruit

Taste- Hits you hard with unsweetened chocolate and finishes with piney hop flavor. Actually a quite interesting.

Mouthfeel- Nice medium body, but the earthy hops in the nose is causing palate confusion.

Interesting beer, but not for me. Seems, like a black ipa to me, rather then a brown ale.

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Photo of mothman
2.74/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Not a bitter... alright.

Poured into pint glass.

Pours a light brown head. At least 1 finger. Decent retention with some nice lace left. Color is a copper brown.

Aroma: Earth hops. Very sharp. Some roasted malts. Nothing to distinguishable. Some chocolate and caramel, I guess.

Taste: Grassy hops more than anything. Roasted malts play a big part in this beer. Chocolate malts with some caramel notes. Nothing really representing a brown ale.

Mouthfeel: Roasted and dry. Medium bodied with a higher amount of carbonation. Ends dry and grassy, in an unpleasant way.

Overall, I thought this was going to be a bitter, but it was a brown. So I rated it as a brown and it still wasn't that good. I just wasn't very happy with this offering. Not to drinkable.

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Photo of headbucket
2.78/5  rDev -26.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: brown/red color with a fast dissipating head. little bit of lacing left around the glass as the drink goes down.

S: kind of subdued, caramel/malt sweetness.

T: dark malts, a bit of chocolate, and a little bit of dark fruits and sweetness. A bit of hop presence mixed in.

M: Good, not too thin or thick.

D: Goes down pretty easy though it doesn't taste like i was expecting it to, and not too much like other browns that I have had and liked.

Bought a single in Missouri and it was on the bottom rack with all the other lone single, that they didn't have multiples of. It has a section for when it was bottled on, but no information there, suspecting that it is a bit old.

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Photo of BeerEndevour14
2.89/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

For a brown ale this was too bitter, while the malt profile was good, the dryness/bitterness took over as the main flavor. It poured nice at first, extremely heady and looked great. Its smell was weak and did not match the first tastes. For an ESB this was not soothing although if your a fan of extra hoppy browns this may be for you.

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Photo of beertunes
2.91/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Served in straight pint glass. Poured a very dark brown with a 1/2 inch of deep tan head that had very good retention and left just slight lacing.

A very malty aroma has just a slight hop spicieness in the nose. The flavor was mostly biscuity type malts with a slightly bitter finish. The finish was also on the dry side and had a sharpness that made me wonder if they used Rye in this brew.

The body was good, typical for the style. The drinkability was good as well. Overall, a solidly decent beer that if it were more regularly available to me, I'd mix into my regular rotation.

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Photo of kojevergas
2.95/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

355ml brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a stemtulip in me gaff in low altitude Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Acquired at Tipsy's Liquor in Colorado as part of a Grand Teton variety box. Expectations are above average.

Served straight from the refrigerator and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a 1.5 finger beige-slight khaki colour of nice cream, good thickness, and solid retention for the above average ABV. Colour is a very dark grapefruit-auburn (if you'll forgive the pretention inherent in that phrasing...). Nontransparent. Opaque. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show. Decent lacing as the head recedes.

Sm: Cream, heavy caramelization, toasted malt, fruity malts, and a rounded light fruit hop character - nothing too bitter or piney or anything of the like. Quite sugary. A pretty strong aroma, though not an arresting one.

T: Cream, heavy malts (toasted, fruity, caramelized), and a simple barley foundation lending more body but little flavour. A substandard ESB. Built very simply. The balance is alright, but the beer lacks sufficient body. Overly malty, without any clever layering.

Mf: Smooth, wet, and creamy. Too wet. Adequately carbonated. Suits the flavours and style in a general sense.

Dr: Drinkable but unremarkable. A mundane ESB, but one that will satisfy any yearning on the part of ye ESB fans. I wouldn't get it again, but it's decent. Hides its above average ABV well.


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Photo of jyuhas
2.99/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

a - very healthy cream-colored lasting head, deep amber brown, just a tiny bit hazy, nice layered lacing

s - caramelly, nutty, bready, light floral hop aroma, nice malty aromas dying off quickly leaving behind some harsh hop aromas, but that dissipated towards the end

t - toasty, suprising bitterness and spicy hop flavor, a bit caramelly

m - medium to medium low body with sharp slightly high carbonation

o - decent beer, pretty attractive, aroma a bit lacking, but an easy drinking beer

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Photo of Alkey
3.01/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz. bottle poured a very dark amber with a large off white head that stuck to the glass. Big caramel malt aroma. Lots of malt in the taste some caramel and burnt/roasted flavors also with a bit of a watery taste and old stale hop presence in the back ground. Mouth feel like the taste seems thin and watery. This one is so thin it goes down easy but the stale hop taste is not pleasing and kills the drink ability.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.03/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Served in a flared pokal at Bliss.

Loved the XX version of this, high hopes for the everyday version. It pours a deep russet-brown topped by a finger of sandy tan foam. The nose comprises toffee, light maple syrup, very light toasted bread, pine, greens, and plenty of cilantro. The taste brings in more of the same, but then finishes with a strong bitter/charry/leather character that malingers for a while and ruins any good that precedes it. The body is a light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a sorta-kinda dry finish. Overall, a decent brew that turns all Hyde on ya. Shame, really.

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Photo of cdizinno
3.04/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Presentation: Poured into a pint glass from a 12 oz. bottle as pictured.

A: Cloudy, cola brown color. Thick, fluffy light tan head. Moderate lacing.

S: Mostly malty and grainy. Some chocolate.

T&M: Texture is a bit rough. Fairly good flavor. Some nuttiness, mild roasted malts, and some hops. A highly carbonated beer. Light- to medium-bodied.

High quality brown but not as outstanding as other browns I've had in the past.

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Photo of ElCommodoro
3.1/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Grand Teton Brewing calls this ESB an "extra special brown," because they want to be cool and different, I guess. It's not because it has a lot of brown ale character. Tastes like a pretty normal, middle of the road ESB, using a floral and citrusy hop flavour, definitely not something that's going to bring out any brown ale character. So, maybe it's under there somewhere, but I can't find it under the floral hops. I can taste some biscuit, but that's the only malt character I can pick up.
Body is good. It's the only thing about this beer that I would consider above average. Sorry, Bitch Creek, I didn't really enjoy you. I didn't dislike you either, but damn if you weren't boring.

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Photo of Tballz420
3.11/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown colored body, very big khaki colored head leaves some stickiness on the glass. Dark malt scent. Almost seems more like a brown than a esb. Dark malt front, some bittering hops balancing it out. Lighter side of medium bodied, very wet drink. Its not really a bad beer, but like i said, it reminds me a lot of a brown ale, which is probably my least favorite style out of the commonly found styles of beer.

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Photo of archyquaffer
3.12/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 ounce stubby longneck into a sampler. A moderate pour easily overflows the glass with foam. I get about 1/2-3/4 inch of very pale brown head, which could easily transpose into about 1 1/2 inches in a shaker. The beer is a hazy, deep ruddy brown with probably about average carbonation. The head is fluffy and quite sticky, contributing to a nice mouthfeel that reminds me I need to trim my beard...

I get definite citrus and pine hop aroma in the nose, with accentuated hops in the flavor. This is quite hoppy for a brown. Really really tough to get malt flavors here. You can see and feel them in the overall feel, but they are tough to detect on the tongue amidst all those hops. Probably some caramel and perhaps some dark fruit but very indistinct.

I really feel lately like american brewers are on a hop suicide run. Too much of a good thing is simply too much. The hops are overdone and the probably delicious malt flavors are hidden. Too bad. A common complaint with my fellow quaffers. A weird score for me, with high marks for everything but overall TASTE, and also not very true to the style.

Dammit, a lot of potential wasted for love of a dank green bud. There are worse faults I guess...Save it for the pale ale boys!

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Photo of aquatonex
3.14/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

More BOTM... And, actually my first ESB.

Pours dark translucent mahogany, reminds me of Coke. No head, not lacing, lightly carbonated, almost looks flat. Smell consists of slightly sweet caramel malts but is overpowered by stinky hops and alcohols. Taste isn't as gross as I would have expected from the smell, surprisingly balanced compared to the nose. Again, light caramels, not very malty with a fair amount of hops and some alcohol peeking through. Reminds me of a cross between an IPA and a watered down stout. Overall, not as bad as I would have thought.

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Photo of DrunkMcDermott
3.15/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

One of the guys at Brewers of South Suburbia brought over this bottle to our meeting. Interesting yellow-brown color and a fizzy head. Pretty tasty, actually overhopped for a bitter, but at least it's not aggresive not aggresive like an American IPA.

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Photo of Bung
3.15/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

12 oz. Kind of murky amber/brown pour. Full finger of off white head.

Light malt, nut and brown sugar. More herbal hops, fig, leather. Plum, maybe a little more fruity aroma than some, but good.

Taste, fairly balanced, but more tea and plum, date, rainsin than I would prefer for a brown. Malt, choc, and other sweeter tones are not there or very muted. Some hay and grassiness. Finishes with some nice hopping, herbal and pine.
Almost like a brown Kolsch or something.

A bit on the thin side. Alcohol is not present, but it really doesn't present itself in much form at all mouthfeel wise. Carbonation is lively but can't overcome the almost wateryness.

The mouthfeel brings down what started very well. Still worth trying, but I would rather see something this light more towards 5 percent.

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Photo of udubdawg
3.17/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

pours a murky brown color, topped with an impressive creamy tan head, which lasts nearly to the bottom of the glass and leaves excellent lacing.

The aroma is quite good, floral and herbal hops mixed with a heavy caramel, with more citrusy hops behind. Suggestion of fruitiness.

OK, so this is listed as an ESB. It says ESB on the label. On their website it is called an Extra Special Brown, and almost all their awards are for the american brown ale category. So...I'm not really sure what it is. It has some of the biscuity nature and plenty of caramel like I might expect in an english version, but has very high bitterness, which is quite sharp and I wonder what their water treatment involves. And I'm not getting anything really toasty or chocolate or otherwise dark and it's quite sticky sweet under that substantial bitterness. I find myself wanting to call this beer an English barleywine. *shrug*
It's not clear despite the careful pour, and relatively strong and quite sticky. anyway, it's tasty, but a little rough around the edges. The bitterness doesn't fit that well with my perception of ESB, the flavor doesn't fit that well with brown ale. Finally, it is too highly carbonated. These add up to a beer that isn't particularly drinkable, though I'd be happy to sip one again as it definitely deserves further contemplation. My current preference would be for less caramel malt flavor, little lower gravity, less stickiness, lower carb, and if any was used, perhaps less sulfate or whatever is accentuating the hop bitterness - perhaps it is just the hop variety. the current version reminds me of a homebrew we made called "WTF" where we combined many many different things and made a unique, flavorful, but not particularly drinkable, beer.

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Photo of shadow1961
3.18/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Grand Teton Bitch Creek ESB pours a big stiff head over an almost opaque
amber/ruby brew. There doesn't seem to be a whole lot of carbonation, but
the head seems to stand up for a pretty long time. The nose is bready and
fruity with a tang of grapefruit rind from West coast hops. The flavor is a bit
of sweetish malt quickly overtaken by an assertive herbal/grapefruit rind hop
presence. Mouthfeel is crisp with a long dry finish. This brew is an American
take on an English style that is characterised by it's sessionability and a delicate,
flavorful complexity. I have the sense (though the alcohol by volume isn't on the
label) that this brew is sessionable, it's a step or two overhopped for the style.
Since we are in a hop shortage, why not dial it back, or dry hop it for aroma?
Still and all, not a bad brew (I had one for breakfast)- it's just a bit unbalanced.
If you love the hop though, you'll be well satisfied. And you gotta love the name...

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Photo of bpgpitt10
3.18/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a light copper color and has a very floral aroma. This doesn't remind me AT ALL of a brown ale. I guess that's cool and all, but not sure this should even be considered one. This beer is an adventurous take on brown ales that combines the malt/roasty flavors of a brown ale with the light hoppiness of a pale ale. Has some notes of caramel but most of the traditional brown ales flavors get wiped out by the hops that kick in at the end.

Definitely worth a try but more for curiosity than to fulfill your brown ale fix. Low score mainly because this isn't even close to what a brown is. It tastes decent, but it's just an odd combination in my book.

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Photo of tjkurz
3.18/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Dark brown with nice creamy head bottle poured into imperial pint glass - excellent lacing. Smells malty, earthy. Taste reminds me of a brown but with somewhat of a bitter finish - really not what I expected from an ESB. Mouthfeel was heavy - again not what I was expecting from an ESB. Drinkability diminished because it is very heavy. Can't see finishing two.

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Photo of RussBecker1
3.18/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A-Pours a cloudy brown with hints of ruby and very slight hints of sunny orange. Hardly any head or lacing to be found however, other than that it is a pretty looking brew.

S-Possess the nose of a distinct brown ale. Bits of smoked caramel and toffee, there are small hints of coffee although not much, and it finishes with a decent bit of sweetness.

M-The mouth did not sit particularly well with me. Despite the thick body, it is not nearly as thick on the feel. Too carbonated and not quite creamy enough to make much of a lasting enhancement on the flavors.

T-A rather dull brown ale in my opinion. Not that bitch creek is bad it is just run of the mill with nothing exciting to be found. The patented caramel malts are there, but not to the extent that they are overtly pleasurable. The finish leaves a sharp smokey finish that blows out the other undertones that were apparent in the nose.

O-A decent brown that is neither great nor horrible. Much preferred to a newcastle, but there are better options.

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Bitch Creek ESB (Extra Special Brown) from Grand Teton Brewing Co.
3.79 out of 5 based on 812 ratings.
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