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

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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

For Trade:
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Reviews: 348 | Ratings: 810
Photo of JohnnyM2002
4.07/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Sampled from a 12 oz bottle, poured into a white wine glass at 50 degrees. Picked up in a trade from JohnGalt1 - thanks!!

A - Pours a brownish red with a creamy tan head that left sticky remnants on the glass. The more I look at it, appears to be a dark cherry-wood color. Good amount of carbonation.

S - Wonderful - but difficult to pinpoint - aroma hit me at first. Pine and nuts come through the strongest. Mild hops were a nice addition, rather than being a frontrunner-scent. Grassy notes rose as it got warmer.

T - Nutty flavors up front...tasted most like pecans and walnuts; all on a piney backbone. Honey and tea leaves came through, which added to the underlying complexities of this beer. Finishes with a smooth caramel and bitterness. I was expecting more bitter flavors throughout the tasting, but it didn't come through right away. Still, very pleasing tastes.

M - This was a tough call...a very creamy mouthfeel, but misleading; actually thinner than it appeared at first. Just finishes on the thin side...doesn't start out that way. Other than that, a smooth bubbly finish with a slightly sweet aftertaste.

D - Not what I expected from an ESB, but the bitterness showed after I drank more. Most enjoyable one I've had from Grand Teton, and it would make for an excellent session beer.

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

Pours a nice clear dark amber color, nice carbonation, nice little creamy tan head that lasts awhile, nice islands and sticky lacing throughout the brew. The scent is malty, hoppy, and lots of caramel. The taste is sweet/malty, with a very nice bitter/caramel finish. Medium body. Very drinkable, a very nice ESB, one of the best I've had. Highly recommended.

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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 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 arizcards
4.27/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Received as part of my MicroBeerClub November shipment received in late November. I had the pleasure of enjoying this in August while visiting my brother in Idaho Falls!

Beer poured a nice looking deep ruby red but had no head. Nose is nice, of citrus and floral hops. Taste is a wonderful balance between the malts and the citrusy hops. Mouthfeel is lively on the palate with a medium to full body. Overall drinkability is very good. This is a fine example of the American ESB style!

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Photo of Mdog
3.32/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Dark reddish brown, with a fast fading head.

Smell: A little citrus note from the hops.

Taste: Not bad, smooth caramel then some tea-like bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Smooth stuff.

Drinkability: I could have a few of these in a sitting.

A friend gave me this, I was wary since he said it tasted metallic and I dislike metallic tasting beers. I was pleasantly surprised by this one though, the bitterness came through more like tea than metal so it was pretty good.

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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 RBorsato
4.89/5  rDev +29%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Deep mahogany hues with a decent light brown head at first. Poured a bit flat but had slow light carbonation. Big piney hop aroma hits right up front ! Some nutty malt aromas underneath. Same piney hop flavor smacks you in the mouth. Robust resinous hops and malts are balanced nicely with a touch of chocolate. Medium-full bodied with a big dry nice bitter resiny hop finih.

Very nice robust ESB ... possibly more of an AAA or IPA.

Per GTBC website: OG = 15.5P (1.062); 51 IBU
Malts: Idaho 2-Row Pale, German Melanoidin, CaraAmber, CaraAroma, British Crystal 60
Hops: Galena, Chinook, Centennial (Dry Hopped with Centennial)

2005 GABF - Gold - American Brown Ale
2004 GABF - Gold - American Brown Ale

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Photo of tgbljb
4.38/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Selection of the Beer-of-the-Month Club.
Poured an attractive ruby-red color with minute head.
Smell is a combination of roaasted malt with as light background of grassy hops.
Taste is excellent with a strong malt taste, some toffee and caramel, and the light hop note at the end.
Nice and full in the mouth with perfect taste retention.
Great drinkability. Excellent example of the style.

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Photo of BlackAngus
4.24/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - SMall white head that dissipates quickly. Color is a nice dark red-brown, or as one reviewer noted, like flat soda.

S - Aggressive hop aroma, some slight caramel malt notes in there. But the hops are the centerpiece. I've had IPA's that weren't this hoppy!

T - Nice maltiness up front, with the substantial hops kicking in later. I really like this.

M - Smooth, clean, light carbonation, medium body.

D - Yeah, I could drink a lot of this. ESB is one of my favorite styles, and this is one of the best I've had.

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Photo of Dukeofearl
4.47/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Alright, first things first. I bought this beer beacuse of the name. I'm big enough to admit that. It's a great name. It's not De Dulle Teve, but it got a rise out of my wife ("It's a geographic place name, honey!!!"). I love it.

I don't know this brewer, although I've seen several offerings at BevMo. But, you know what? This is one of the better ESB's I've ever had. A nice cloudy red-clay brown with a small but decent head, with aromas of slightly sweet roasty caramel malts, and a hint of bitter. But the flavor retains these nice aromas with a solid but not overwhelming hop bite that really brings it all together. I really like this one. Glad I got a sixer- I may need to get some more!

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Photo of Lnedrive14
4.16/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Looks like flat coke with a hint of red when it pours. not very appetizing. taste, on the other hand, is quite good. perfect amount of hop bitterness and some nice fruity sweetness to balance it out. mouthfeel is a bit too thin, but that only detracts the slightest bit. a very quaffable esb, that i would enjoy having the pleasure to sip throughout the day.

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Photo of allengarvin
4.22/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a light mahogany color with a good two-finger's depth of foam atop. Smell is a nice mix of very aromatic, citrusy hops and a lightly toasted, caramel malt. More like an IPA in flavor than an ESB! There's malt in here, but the dominant flavor is hops, citrusy and grassy. Bitterness is high but not outrageous. Finish is very dry. Typical body, neutral texture.

Doesn't fit the style guidelines strictly, but it is very good.

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Photo of dfried
3.86/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Deep brown in color, but with some attactive ruby highlights. Large frothy cream colored head forms, drops a bit, but sits on top pretty well. Caramel malty aroma with resinous,earthy hops. In the taste the hops are quite resinous as well, piney and flora, with just a little lingering citrus. There is a crisp sweetness from the malt, crystal and/or red malt flavors, some apple like sweetness as well. Pretty darn good ESB.

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

Acquired via trade from IntriqKen, so a big "thank you" goes out to him.
Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a dark copper color, with a thin off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: There’s a good hops aroma, better than some IPA’s that I’ve had, in fact. There’s also a good caramelized malt background along with hints of tea and nuts.

T: The caramelized malt flavor comes out first in the taste. Although the hops don’t taste as strong as they smell, they’re definitely there to transition into a pale bitterness that is characteristic of the style and lingers in a mild after-taste. As the beer warms a bit, the balance is more apparent.

M: Smooth and crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is clean and dry.

D: Tasty, easy-to-drink, not very filling, I could drink a few of these in a row. This style isn’t one of my favorites, but this particular beer is one of the better ESB’s that I’ve had.

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Photo of IntriqKen
4.62/5  rDev +21.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is an amazingly complex ESB.
Pours a dark reddish amber to brown with a smallish cream colored head that dissipates to a very sticky lacing covering the top of the brew and sticking all the way down the drink.
Aroma is hoppy, but a sweet hops, followed by a grapefruit citrus aroma and a touch of caramel.
Not much carbonation, so mouthfeel becomes a little weak for me.
Taste is hops, grapefruit, finishing with hop bitterness and then a toasted malt sweetness .... sensing caramel and maybe a touch of chocolate...with a gentle alcohol warming as it goes down. A slightly 'burnt' taste to the malt .
May be my favorite of ESBs...very bright and clean tasting with great drinkability and some incredible complexity for this style. Revisiting this one after several months just makes it better.

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Photo of jwc215
3.45/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark reddish/amber with an off-white head that quickly descends to a wisp, but leaves some lacing.

The smell was of citrusy, floral hops. As the drink progresses, a touch of caramel is hinted at.

The taste is of crisp hops upfront. As the drink progresses, some caramel tries to emerge, but is held back, for the most part, by the hops. A sugary sweetness peeks out towards the finish. Slight alcohol notes emerge. The taste is on the hoppy side for the style.

It thins out just a tad in the mouth. The lingering bitterness gives it quite a dry finish.

Overall, not bad, especially if you are looking for a hoppier interpretation of the style. IMO - it could be a bit more balanced throughout and a touch smoother, but worth trying.

Thanks to bitterbill for this one!

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Photo of dherling
3.71/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Mom & dad for bringing this back from a trip last June.

Dark reddish brown with a really nice thick creamy tan head. the nose has lots of floral, bitter hops, but a good amount of malt too. I pick up a litle caramel as well on a last sniff. There is plenty of those hops when I take my first taste. There's some balance provided by some nicely roasted maly, again, a little caramel. The beer itslef is a little mouth heavy, along with the bitterness of the hops and the alcohol, makes this too big for an all night type of beer, but it is otherwise really enjoyable.

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Photo of FightingEntropy
4.37/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours with a tannish, yellow head that is fluffy, thick, like the top of clouds, and fell with a solid lace. This a clear American interpretation of the British style, seemingly doubling up on the malt and hops. Very solid hop smell, but balance by an equally strong malt presence full of fruity esters-raison and caramel along with the citrusy hop character. Thick mouthfeel makes is very fun to drink, though clearly overhopped for an ESB--don't try to turn a macro drinker on this one (give him a Redhook).

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Photo of SethB2
3.93/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

A - Brilliant amberish red. Clean and transparent. Head is a big rocky creation that sticks to glass like glue.

S - Lighter than I was expecting, but still nice. Toasted malts and bittering hops are the stars. Not much sweetness to be found.

T - Beer starts bitter, but not overbearing. After that, it lightens up a bit and mellows out. Finishes with the same bitterness, but not as stong as the initial hit. Burned grain provides an excellent vessel to carry it down.

M - Creamy and full. Smooth as hell.

D - Good stuff.

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Photo of rgrace99
3.98/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass from bottle. Color was a deep copper with a one-finger head. Fine streams of small bubbles and some lacing. Aroma was mild caramel and toffee and a barely noticible hop aroma. Taste was primarily caramel malt with some hop flavor. It was very drinkable and a nice representation of the style.

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Photo of GeoffFromSJ
4.08/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This could have been an excellent ESB, but it falls tragically short. Not due to lack of skill, mind you. But due to choice. More on that later.

My first impression of a beer is based on the color. A darker copper color usually tells you whether you have an ESB or a glorified amber. This one had a beautiful dark copper color.

The aroma is one of hops. The hops character seems to be dominated by Cascade, which given the West Coast origin of this beer seems right.

Now, the disappointment. I could detect the biscuity malt complexity that the excellent color pointed too. But they buried this under too much hops. ESB's are about balance. Let them be balanced. Too much hops.

Is it a very good beer? Yes. Is it a very good ESB? Almost. Could have been. Very much a missed opportunity.

Thanks to blitheringidiot for picking this up for me while on his travels.

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

Pours a deep dark brown to reddish hue with a good yellowish tan head. The head is short-lived as a thin but nice lacing covers the beer.
The aroma is of caramel malt balanced with piney hops and some fruit overtones.
Initially the caramel malt stood out with a sweet follow-through. The hops are present in quantity for the style, unleashing a subtle but pleasant balance of bitterness.
It feels good and coats the palate well.
I found it to be a pleasurable experience and will refer to it the next time I pick up an ESB.

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Photo of RedHaze
4.25/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy coppery brown with a very creamy one finger head that settles slowly to a thick cap, leaving behind a solid sheet of lace.

Smell; there's a very nice piney hop aroma, with some light touches of citrus, and other fruits. A solid caramel malt is definitely there in the aroma.

Taste; this is definitely on the bitter side, but I don't find it to be overwhelming. The hops lean towards the piney side wih only some hints of citrus. There's a very nice biscuit and caramel malt backbone that off sets the bitterness very well. Mouthfeel is very rich and smooth, and very drinkable.

Thanks to bditty187 for this one, it's just as good as you said it was.

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Photo of patrick16o
4.05/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice copper red hue with medium crown. It is a little bit hazy with a few rising streams of bubbles. Head retention is average. A nice hoppy aroma. The taste is good, with a bit of malt at the front and a nice hoppy finish to balance it out quite nicely. This also gives the beer a nice layering effect. It's easy to drink and refreshing, I would definately drink more but unfortunately I only have one.

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Bitch Creek ESB (Extra Special Brown) from Grand Teton Brewing Co.
3.79 out of 5 based on 810 ratings.
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