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: 813
Photo of Darkmagus82
4.02/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into a pint glass

Appearance – The beer pours a deep brownish red color with a one finger head of billowy cream colored foam. The head has a fantastic level of retention, slowly fading over time to leave a fantastic level of foamy lace on the sides of the glass and on the surface of the brew.

Smell – The aroma of the beer is heaviest of a lightly toasted malt smell along with some sweeter caramel and molasses smells. Along with these aromas comes some lighter hop smells, with the hop being mainly of an earthy smell, but also containing some lighter herbal smells as well.

Taste – The taste begins with some sweeter caramel and molasses as well as some light toasted malty bready taste. Along with these flavors there is a little bit of a dark fruit flavor and a hint of a more earthy hop taste. As the taste advances the earthiness grows more intense with it being joined by some other flavors of a light grassy hop. With the earth gaining a decent intensity throughout and mixing rather nicely with the sweet and roast, one is left with a lightly dank bittered but sweeter taste to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the beer is on the slightly thicker and creamier side with a carbonation level that is on the lower side. For the sweet and dankly bittered taste of the brew, the feel is really quite nice as it accentuates them nicely. Not only that, but it gives a more cask like feel to the brew, which, at least in my opinion, is the best way to enjoy an ESB.

Overall – A nice and quite enjoyable ESB with a good blend of dank earthy hop, sweet, and toasted tastes. A nice drinker overall.

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Photo of cbutova
3.72/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Taking advantage of some good WIFI in Flagstaff, AZ to do some beer reviews and relax between camping stops. Using a real keyboard is quite nice for once. As far as I can tell, this is the only Extra Special Brown so I will treat it like an ESB and English Brown.(?) Bottled in June 2014.

A- This ESB pours from a 12oz bottle to a chalice with a deep brown body. The head forms to just higher than one finger with a fairly thick, creamy texture. Pretty good retention as the head falls to a small ring and some nice pillows in the middle. Lacing starts spotty and continues that way down the glass.

S- Deeply toasted and caramelized grains provide a hefty dose of aromas that jump out of the glass with good strength. Malty notes of heavily toasted nuts, deep caramelized sugars, caramel, toffee and a decent amount of light cocoa roast hints. Slight dark fruits.

T- One big thing I notice here is a fairly large amount of American hop notes. They seem to be muddled in the heavy malt aromas but a definite citrus, pine and earthy hop profile jumps out here with the malts. Malts are the emphasis with caramel, light cocoa powder, toast and toffee flavors and only a light-medium sweetness. Slight bread and raisin dark fruits.

MF- Medium to almost thick bodied overall. The texture is creamy but not chewy at all, a bit foamy I suppose. Carbonation level is medium. Finishes with a fairly high hop bitterness for a Brown.

Hmm, I am not sure I like the fact that ESB is on the label. To me this is a well-made American Brown Ale with hefty malts and a good deal of hops working off of those grains. A good beer but the label threw me off initially.

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Photo of Franziskaner
3.72/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Dark brown color and yet still somewhat penetrable to light. A quarter inch of tightly knit beige head sits on top. Brussels lacing. I smell dark malt and just a faint whiff of caramel. The flavor is dark malt, toffee,and caramel. The mouth is slightly creamy and smooth.

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Photo of Mojo
3.81/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12 ounce bottle poured into a snifter

A - mahogany colored pour with an initial two finger off white head. Lacing is good and retention is good.

S - dark fruit, chocolate, coffee, bread

T - taste is initially sweet in a caramel, toffee sort of way, with a bitter finish sort of the same taste as the corky stuff inside of a pecan

M - sort of thin, decent carbonation, not much aftertaste

O - good example of the style. It's at least as good as Honker's Ale.

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Photo of Brenden
3.93/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks, Benny (styleisking), for another nice brew from your trip west.

It's darker than most browns, and with a deep orange-red hue to it. The tan head is almost a full finger's height, with some pretty good retention and stick to it.
It smells like it's on the hoppier end for a brown, citrus and leaf with a dry, tea-like character against caramel and toasty breads.
The flavor really develops the hops, and this stands out in a style that's often too timid. It also has the balance, though, as plenty of bread and caramel balance the orange peel and herbal leaf. It adds some depth with roast and dark chocolate notes lingering, as well as developing flavors of dark fruits without too much tang.
The body is a solid medium with the balance of crisp and smooth that works for this brown ale, right in the median between sweet and dry.

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Photo of WoodBrew
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Oh Yes...I like hoppy alternative beers such as black IPAs or India Browns....this is in that category or "nice"! The beer pours a hazy brown with thin off-white head that is leaving a lace. The scent has fresh hops that lean towards pine with hints of bitter citrus. The taste is even through the entire drink....there is presence of sweet malt with bitter hops with touches of pine. The mouthfeel is medium in body with smooth carbonation. Overall I would try this again and it would be a great fall session beer.

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Photo of Brisket
3.47/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A- Deep red/brown with 2-3 fingers of light brown head. Leaves heavy lacing on the glass.

S- Mostly piney hop aroma, not much else.

T- Flavor is overwhelmingly hops, well balanced, not too bitter, but you don't get much malt backbone for a brown. Some caramel and bread from the malt is all I get. That being said it is tasty.

M- Smooth over all, it's fairly heavy-bodied for the taste.

O- Overall a good beer, not really a brown, but I imagine they were aiming for their own style. I buy it from time to time and will drink it again.

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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 UCLABrewN84
3.58/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled 11/7/13.

Pours a murky orange-brown with a foamy khaki head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Foamy swaths of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, tea, and citrus zest aromas. Taste is much the same with malt and citrus zest flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer with a slightly better citrus hop presence in the aroma.

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Photo of mfnmbvp
3.56/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle, with bottled on date 02/13/2013, so this beer is approaching it's birthday. No fear, for this is a 6.00% abv, bottle conditioned beer. A new beer to me from Grand Teton.

Poured into a clear balloon snifter.

A - Pours a dark muddy mahogany / caramel brown colored body with some faint red highlights when held to the light. Three big thick fluffy fingers of tan head. Nice thick ribbons of lacing. Wonderful head retention. Looks very nice!

S - Funky musty yeast really seems to have taken over the aroma. Some brown bread / caramel malt, and some green apple buried in the background. Faded floral & earthy hops. Raisins & some soapiness as it sits.

T - Taste is nice, but it's not exactly where I was hoping it would be at. Brown bread, caramel malt, some dark fruity raisin, hints of chocolate & roast. Sweet, sugary tea leaf earthiness and some green apple skin on the finish. Just a hint of piney hop presence remains.

M - Finishes sticky, and slightly resinous. Sticky green apple skins & some bready caramel malt. Medium bodied with slightly high carbonation.

Overall, a nice beer, but I wouldn't go out of my way to try it again. Interested to see what the Grand Teton XX Bitch Creek is like, and definitely interested in trying more from Grand Teton, though.

Grand Teton Bitch Creek ---3.5/5

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Photo of Machelle
4.44/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed the beer and the company. Staff was knowledgable and helpful, look forward to another visit. I loved the dark rich flavor, the apperance was beautiful, felt great on the mouth, the smell made me want more. Wish I could get to the point of brewing a beer like this.

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Photo of Danomeister
3.88/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dranken on top of a mountain

Bitch Creek is a damn fine beer. Really well balanced, with both strong American hop and dark malt character, it fills the mouth in a really satisfying way. They opted for 'spicier' 'muskier' hops: chinook, galena, centennial, giving the beer a rustic, earthy hoppiness. Similarly, the malt character is just a little bit different than most beers, roasty without being sweet or coffee-like.

Some people are comparing this to a good homebrew, and I would agree. It's a well-balanced, interesting beer that could be sessioned or enjoyed alongside dinner.

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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 tigg924
3.51/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Appearance: dark reddish-brown in color, 1/3 inch head, cloudy, high carbonation, lots of sediment

Smell: citrus hops, caramel, and wood

Taste: burnt caramel, citrus hops, and bark

Mouthfeel: medium bodied, high carbonation, sweet start with a big bitter middle and a less bitter end

Overall:This one drinks like an imperial red. Not a bad brew, especially if you like burnt caramel, but I have had better from the brewery.

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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 jploving
4.23/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

I was very fortunate yesterday....An old friend and I had a few beers together on his front porch in rocking chairs and he supplied the beer.
What makes it even better is that he let me have 2 VERY GOOD beers....Founders Dirty Bastard and Bitch Creek ESB.
I will focus on the ESB in Extra Special Brown...I did not realize that when I took the first sip...I was excpecting a slightly bitter bouquet of fruit...not a malty, caramel toffee...I reread the bottle and BOOM...."Extra Special BROWN"-THIS IS AWESOME!
This reminds me of a first class homebrew (which I pride myself as a 2nd class homebrewer).
It is bottled conditioned so when I poured it up it was cloudy and thick and beautiful. Almost chewy...wonderful mouthfill and great head retention.
The heavy caramel, hint of chocolate and toffee flavors are balanced extremely well by the up front bitterness which only lingers enough until the next sip....
This was a wonderful surprise. I suggest that any Brown Ale lover sniff this beer out and give it a try...great experience.
I rate it 4.25...

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
4.2/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle purchased from Berkeley Bowl West in Berkeley, CA.

Pours a very pleasant ruby-tinged amber-brown colour, with a rather bright yellow crest of foam. This settles down to a loose ring. Body has a pleasant heft to it, and holds its fine carbonation very well. Overall, it's a really good-looking beer. I like it.

Nose is a pleasant melange of toasty, sweet rich malts and bright, fresh hop characters. There's orange citrus and some blossom tones, with a richness like treacle and cinnamon. They work in concert almost perfectly, providing a balanced and complex combination. It's really quite lovely.

Taste takes a step back from this, but still maintains a very pleasant balance: the malt is less prominent here, and it's less rich and full than I thought it might be. Instead, the hops are thrust forward, giving a rounded, supple fruitiness and a pronounced, but not sharp bitterness. Still, it is rounded and balanced with some toasty malt characters and a suggestion of vegemite. It is, in fact, very pleasant.

Feel is smooth and supple, providing another layer of balance against the hop character.

Overall, this is a damn fine beer. It's very delicately balanced, while maintaining a very full and forthright flavour profile. What's more, it's remarkably easy to drink, and oddly moreish. I'm a big fan.

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Photo of vette2006c5r
3.47/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bitch Creek pours a dark reddish color, with a nice long lasting head. Their is a malty aroma, with hints of a harsh sweetness. The taste has a malty flavor, and a bit harsh, with a slightly hoppiness that comes through at the end. Full flavor, but a strange harsh sweetness to it. Overall not a bad beer, worth another go.

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Photo of Sark
3.47/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance- hazy red brown, no head, even with vigorous pour

Smell- carmel and light chocolate notes, minimal hop characteristics

Taste- light toffee and chocolate, malts impart a little sweetness, bitterness comes on the mid tongue from the hops

Mouthfeel- medium bodied, crisp bitterness finish

Overall- Interesting take on an ESB with a nod to a brown

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Photo of handlerb
3.79/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a beautiful deep ruby color; blood red when held up to the light. Dark for an ESB, light for a brown.

S - notes of caramel/toffee highlighted with some biscuity tones. Minimal noble hop presence.

T - the smell didn't lie: a strong malt presence with highlights of dark caramel and crystal malts, maybe even a hint of dried fruit. Finishes with a bittering that lingers just long enough for me to want the next sip.

M - Solid, a bit on the dry side, but as expected with this nod the the ESB style

O - Good beer, interesting take on the style. I'll have no problem finishing the 6-pack.

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Photo of spoony
3.73/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

From a 12 oz bottle (brewed on January 16, 2013) into a globe glass.

A-A normal pour produces less than one finger of light, mocha-colored foam. A thick cap of foam persists and leaves some lacing on the glass. The brew is quite dark, nearly opaque, with a reddish tint.

S-The smell is relatively rich and malty with some caramel notes and hint of brown sugar. A couple of deep whiffs unveils a light, peppery bitterness from the hops. A pleasing and powerful smell.

T-The taste is not as concentrated as the smell and trends more to the hoppy end of the flavor spectrum. There is still the caramel and light roastiness in the malt flavor, but the sharp, slightly herbal hop notes move towards the front.

M-The feel is mild creaminess with low carbonation and medium weight. The brew gets slightly slick feeling after the foam cap has disappeared.

O-This was a drinkable and slightly different take on the brown style with decent flavor and a concentrated smell. I would have preferred more malt in the flavor profile, but nothing here was completely out of place. It paired nicely with the chili I was eating.

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Photo of TheSixthRing
3.76/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearance - Pours a cloudy, almost muddy brown with a slight orange tinge. Lots of yeasty sediment float around and throughout the glass. The head is a yellowish tan, about a finger thick and shows fair retention. Lacing is spotty.

Smell - Sweet, slightly nutty aroma. Lesser notes of citrus hop rounds out the smell.

Taste - Starts with a lot of nutty character and a subtle caramel sweetness. This is quickly swept aside by a bullish, bitter hop attack that hits on orange rind, and rides this out into the finish.

Mouthfeel - Medium-bodied with soft, somewhat tingly carbonation. A touch creamy. Very smooth, finishing a bit on the dry side.

Overall - A good, fairly interesting brew. A lot more hop character than I expected. Definitely a beer I'd consider trying again, though it's not high on my priority list.

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Photo of BlackBelt5112203
3.64/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into a nonic pint glass at fridge-cellar temperature.

L – Brown color with a 1.5-finger frothy, somewhat rocky, cream-colored head. Really great retention and some nice lacing. Clear with a decent amount of appreciable bubbles. This is a bit dark for a true ESB, but I guess that’s why they call it “Extra Special Brown.”

S – Caramel, toffee, and nutty malt aromas with an equal dose of grapefruit and maybe floral hops. There also may be a hint of raisins in the aroma, as well. There’s a good, balanced mix of brown ale-style malt and hops here.

T – It starts off with sweet caramel and brown sugar. Right afterward, dry toasted and nutty malts come in. At mid-taste toward the finish, bitter hops appear with much more earthy and piney flavors than the aroma suggested, along with the grapefruit that was apparent.

F – Medium-bodied with pretty good carbonation, a creamy and smooth mouthfeel, and a bittersweet, earthy, and dry finish. Some of the bitter and dry earthy and woody flavors linger at the back of the tongue for a bit.

O – This is a decent beer. I think it may fit better in the brown ale category, albeit with a few more hops than the usual example (picture a brown IPA). Because of this, its characteristics are kind of out of the ranges of good ESB characteristics. I’d like to see more sweet caramel and less toasted and nutty malts. This would also lighten the color into a more ESB-appropriate range. I’d also like to see more earthy and floral hops rather than citrus and pine. Some earthiness was definitely present in the taste but not so much in the aroma. Regardless of all of this, it’s not a bad tasting beer and it’s certainly drinkable. I just think that this beer would be better suited in a different category. I think Grand Teton could make a better beer that would be much better suited for the ESB style.

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Photo of Fatehunter
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A nice finger of head on a dark brown body.
The aroma has a smooth nuttiness coupled with a lemon. It works nicely.
The taste starts with a malty mild sweetness, then quickly turns to a grapefruit/lemon bitterness. It's a bit abrupt.
The texture is crisp and still smooth with moderate carbonation.
I like it. It's a nice mix of an ESB and a brown ale.

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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 813 ratings.
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