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

BA SCORE
85
very good
813 Ratings
THE BROS
84
good
Read the review
Bitch Creek ESB (Extra Special Brown)Bitch Creek ESB (Extra Special Brown)
BEER INFO

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

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

BEER STATS
Ratings:
813
Reviews:
348
Avg:
3.79
pDev:
12.93%
 
 
Wants:
14
Gots:
79
For Trade:
1
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 813 |  Reviews: 348
Photo of biegaman
4.07/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

For an "extra special brown" ale you'd expect it to be brown. It is. For a bottle-conditioned beer you might expect little traces of yeast sediment to end up in your glass. They did. And for an English-inspired offering you might expect it to be a better drinker than it is a looker. And that is exactly what this turbid, toneless, reasonably flat beer is.

The beer figures to be quite hoppy, I can sense the bitterness just from smelling it. There is a vaguely earthy must, something not unlike pine needles or birch wood, it reminds me of the cottage. There's also what figures to be a considerably rich malt base, again if this aroma is any indication. It has a nutty, sweet note like roasted pecans and a trace of bruised fruit.

That aroma didn't steer me wrong at all - this thing is both impressively malty as well as appreciably hoppy. The taste of browned bread, softened by a dark caramel-like sweetness, is dreamy on the palate, depositing plenty of pecan and hazelnut flavours as it soothingly glides down the throat. The hops, meanwhile, provide a strong pine needle taste.

Considering the serum-y bitterness and all the toasty nuttiness, the mouthfeel can sometimes feel so dry so as to be almost woody, but the beer doesn't have the complexities to indicate barrel-aging. It seems to have been brewed with a fat Englishman in mind, who's palate was as discerning as his belly was needing to be filled. Bottle-conditioning has ensured there's lots of body and life left in it, even after unknown time on the shelf.

I promised myself I wouldn't write this when I bought the bottle, but I'm so impressed by it that I just can't help myself - Bitch Creek is one bitchin' ale! Now that I've gotten that out of my system, a more serious note: there aren't many American brewers anymore who can grasp the English pub-style ale (and most who do can't often pull it off). But this is exactly the kind of offering that tempts men to sneak out of the house for cheeky pint.

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

Enjoyed on-keg(tap) @ Castlewood State Park in Ballwin, MO during the Alpine Shop Dirt Crit MTB Series. Tapped 4 times into Mt New Belgium 12oz cup throughout the whole day.

Aroma- bit of roast and losts of malt and caramel.

Appearance- received with a 2 finger, light brown head that has good retention. Dark amber colored body that is clear. Good lacing.

Flavor- high maltiness with a nice caramel flavor. Medium hops and perfect for an American Brown. Medium bitterness.

Mouthfeel- light-medium bodied, high carbonation, refreshing, and leaves bit of caramel on palate. Feels too light here for the style.

Overall Impression- great brown like always. Wish it wasn't called an Esb... But for those who drink this know what it really is.

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Photo of lonestar4lunch
4.12/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11/10 sticker on the bottle. Pours a cloudy brown with a huge tan head that slowly fades to a constant lacing. The aroma is sweet of brown sugar, malts and multiple little nuggets of fruit... very big nose that is very good. Taste is somewhat toned down compared to the smell but still packs a punch. The malts are the main attraction here with very little hop bite. There is a sugary sweetness that isn't over powering but really adds to the overall feel of the brew.

The finish is where you get just a hint of the hops for me. There is just a touch of citrus on the finish that really completes this one. I keep licking my lips afterwards like I just took a bit of sundae. It may sound like the sweetness is over the top but it is not. This nails the line between bittersweet and over the top. Very drinkable, wish I could get it here in Texas.

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Photo of OhSoHoppy
3.65/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- reddish brown, Lots of sediment, weak head but very lacy larger bubbles in the head.

S- sweet fruity aroma, light malt, toasted bread. nutty rum... very complex.

T- In the beginning it's sweet toasty light fermented fruit. Later taste has more of the fermented fruit and slight tartness comes out

M- light mouth feel (slightly to watered down feel in my opinion) medium low carbonation but fits very well.

O-Enjoyable beer, good taste. would recommend not taking to small of sips to get the most complex flavors.

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Photo of calebroberts811
3.7/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Dark caramel brown with hues of blood orange. Khaki one-finger head with excellent lacing and alcohol legs.

S - Quite complex; prunes, apple peel, raisins, taffy, but there was also a deep meatiness, almost like beef gravy or a pot roast with broiled vegetables. I rate it high for its complexity but honestly, it wasn't the most appetizing aroma I've smelled in a beer, what with that beefy/apple juice/candy aromas all up in your nostrils.

T - Not as complex as the nose; heavy and malt-driven, it reminded me of a hopped up English rendition of a quadrupel. Great choice if you're in to rustic, old-school ales from England, but it's not my favorite style.

M - Again, heavy and full-bodied. Fortunately, the bitterness removed any cloyingness that might have been there.

O - I'm glad I tried it and the nose was impressive, but I probably wouldn't buy it again.

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Photo of allenhoof
4.76/5  rDev +25.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I am not well-enough qualified to make a detailed review of this (or any other) beer, involving specific commentary on taste, mouth feel, etc., but I really like this beer. It's supposedly a brown, and in color, it is, with a nice creamy head. However, I think it's closer to what I've had in "a pint of bitter" in the UK.

I tried Bitch Creek on a trip last year--in South Dakota, I think--liked it, and brought some back to my son in Portland. He liked it as well.

By chance, I also found it on tap in Dunsmuir, CA, on a trip earlier this year.

Later in the same trip, I adjusted my itinerary in order to visit the brewery in Victor, Idaho, just to pick up a couple of six packs to take back to Oregon for my son and me. We fully enjoyed them.

I wish we could get Bitch Creek ESB without first taking a trip of several hundred miles.

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Photo of MrVonzipper
4.44/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a brown with a slight amber tint to it and solid brown in the the glass. Head is a very light tan with no retention or lacing.

Nose is exceptional. Very nice hits of dark malt, dark rum, bourbon, roasted peanut, toffee, caramel, chocolate.

I was really hoping the flavor was as bold and delicious as the nose. That being said the flavor is still good, just not as rich as complex as the nose. Hints of dark malt, toffee, bourbon and a hint of almost a cracker jack flavored aftertaste. Balanced very well with the defining slightly bitterness.

Light to medium bodied with low to medium carbonation. Very smooth.

Overall this a Great beer. Very easy to drink. I could crush a six pack easy. This is an everyday beer that should be at every bar.

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Photo of beer2day
3.95/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Deep, rich caramel brown. Hard to see through. Thick, creamy 1-finger head. Very little retention. Sparse, thin lace on all sides of the glass.

Nutty, earthy nose. Light, spicy hops back up the malt and actually start to overtake mid-glass.

Nutty, sweet caramel flavor with a decent kick of spicy hops in the finish. Light chocolate malt in there, gives this a bit of a brownie taste. Hops in the finish are a really nice surprise and match up with the chocolate/caramel flavors really well.

Feel is slightly sticky and syrupy. Not over the top, but a little on the heavy side.

Overall, a very nice glass of beer though maybe a bit out of place in the heat of NC right now.

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Photo of ChimRichels
4.18/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Deep glowing red/ruby color. A good 2-finger head forms, and it is of very creamy texture. Head retention is exceptional, as is the lacing.

S - Fresh dough, some toasted bread. Toffee. Citrus aromas come through in the hop profile. A very balanced nose.

T - Rich flavors of cocoa and bread. Hops lose their distinctiveness that they had in the aroma and lend bitterness with just a touch of flavor.

M - Extraordinarily smooth. Carbonation is perfect.

O - Very impressed by this beer. Would definitely buy again.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.45/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a cloudy brown color ale with a medium foamy head with good retention and limited lacing. Aroma consists of dry caramelized sugar with nice notes of biscuit. Taste is dominated by a solid malt backbone of dry caramelized sugar with a nice biscuit finish. Body is full with limited filtration and good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Well brewed though it doesn’t really fall close to a particular style.

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Photo of beagle75
3.86/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a tulip pint glass.

A: Hazy, light brown color with one finger of persistent copper-tinted foam head. Moderate lacing remains on the glass.

S: Mild dark fruit, butterscotch, and whole grain bread, with a whiff of carbon dioxide leaving thinning out what is an otherwise full and interesting smell.

T: Begins moderately sweet, with toffee, faint plum and cherry fruit, hard minerality, and very earthy hop flavors. Umami and diacetyl develop in the middle, complementing some restrained charcoal that transitions into a mildly bitter and roasty finish. Chile spice lingers on the palate, along with cooked sweet-apple esters.

M: Thin to medium viscosity; wet in the front, acidic in the middle, sticky in the finish; with low carbonation.

D/O: This is an interesting brown ale that serves as Grand Teton's work-horse dark beer. Its combination of qualities give the impression of a blend between an English-style pale ale and a really good American porter. It is full-flavored and obviously well-crafted, but it may struggle to stand out amongst their strong series of seasonal offerings and one-off bottlings.

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

great to have grand teton on the shelves and taps in south carolina. gave me a great chance to run through some o their offerings.

dark brown, with a touch of a ruby tone filled up the glass rather quickly. A smallish head was lifted up onto the top, but this was quickly replaced by a thin layer of film across the top. Carbonation was visible in the very clear brew. Lots of bubbles working their way up. A bit of lace was left down the glass, but nothing spectacular or particularly noteworthy.

The smell was rich and sweet. Predominant aroma was a caramel with a touch of an earthy malt. A light feeling was released by this, so you really did not think you were going into anything too terribly heavy. As it warmed you could pick up a roasted or burnt smell coming though as well as a touch of a hop note rounding out the back.

Biggest flavor right off the bat was a caramel that you caught right up front along with a burnt or roasted wood flavor. Almost had a touch of oaked flavor in it. Some hoppiness in the finish, but nothing distracting from the primary notes. A good solid brown ale flavor as best as I can describe it. Finish was a little nutty and dry.

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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 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 LeeryLeprechaun
3.93/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured this bad boy into my snifter and was greeted by a wonderful brown color and a nice off white brownish head. The aroma was the typical malty smell of a brown ale. What made the greatest impression was the taste of this beer. There was a tantalizing chocolate taste in the malt profile that left me wanting another sip. The finish was balanced as was the body of this brew.

I really enjoyed this beer and would happily drink it again.

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Photo of bucklemyshoe
3.82/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle at 42 degrees into a pint glass.

A: It pours a cloudy dark brown with a finger and a half of tan head that does not hold up well but laces okay.

S: Loads of maltiness, caramel, nuttiness, toffee, and some backing hoppiness.

T: It begins like a regular brown ale; caramel, toasted nuts, a little cocoa powder and toffee but gradually become hoppier as it rests on the palate.

M: It has a bit of stickiness with average carbonation and medium body thickness.

O: I expected a blend between ESB and brown ale and ended up with a hoppy brown ale - think a slightly sub-par DFH Indian Brown Ale.

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Photo of Rizalini
3.56/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bomber into my Sam Adams Perfect Pint glass...

A - Pours a slightly cloudy redish brown color, with a foamy 2 finger light brown head leaving great lacing.

S - Has a yeasty, almost bready aroma, with some careml and toffee notes.

T - Nutty and toasty, but not a very strong taste. Leaves a rather pleasant aftertaste of hops.

M - Has a pretty light mouthfeel, leaning towards medium with average carbonation.

O - I was kinda dissapointed with this one. The whole "Extra Special" name kinda got my hopes up, but really, it's just a pretty descent brown ale. I do like how the hop tastecreeps up in the aftertaste. That was kinda special.

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Photo of Zorro
3.48/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Clear brown colored ale with a medium sized tan colored head.

Smells bitter with a strong patent malt aroma. Little bit of caramel and a lot of chocolate in this. Some bread and a little carrot smell from the hops interacting with the patent malt. Mostly though I smell chocolate here.

Starts out Neutral and mostly patent malt taste. Coffee and chocolate with a medium strong level of bitterness. Lots of patent malt flavor lots of charred grain flavor.

Mouthfeel is OK.

Drinkability is OK. Not outstanding though, just OK.

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Photo of centbeerfest
4.53/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.
Great looking beer. This pours big and bold with a hearty strong head. Nice deep brown color with a hoppy aroma.

Taste begins in the front of the tounge and finishes with a stong bitter toasted nut on the back. Just a bit heavy on the hops, but an extraordinary pleasant long finish.

On the take home scale a six paxk on hand for all occasions.

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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 smakawhat
3.53/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle into a Nonic pint glass. Thanks for the trade colts0916! Bottled Dec 15th 2010.

Pours a very slow forming but large light cream head. Pretty good retention on the head as well, somewhat off uniform forming bubbles but that's picking hairs. A cloudy dark brown amber with nice red hues, perhaps a little cloudy.

Slight grass, but mostly malt on the nose. Faint caramel sense.. small but at least it's something.

Taste is mostly all hop. Muted and somewhat of barely a touch of malt on the finish. Not too wet luckily for this style, surprisingly bitter finish of hops. Surprised by this kind of hop feel, just a bare hint of grapefruit oil in the back too.

Interesting for this style but not for me. It's certainly a drinkable beer but not one I would crave or desire to have again.

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Photo of luxbwin
3.88/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a St. Arnold's pint glass.

A- Deep Brown, pretty standard issue of a ESB
S - chocolate and malt
T/M - Nutty and chocolate. I like it!
D - This is my third time buying Bitch Creek. I am impressed with the simplicity and taste of this beer. I find this a staple in my fridge. Good work Grand Teton.

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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 sphmiel
4.13/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

on tap @ Dressel's.
A- hazy, chestnut body, slowly fading tan head with great lacing.
A- toasty malts, but citrus hops quickly predominate
T- toasty, nutty malts up front, quickly balanced by citrus and resiny hops
M - medium mouthfeel, nicely carbonated
D - almost a sessionable beer - well balanced

paired well with a rich lamb burger

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Photo of avalon07
4.32/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a deep brown color and a thick, cloudy texture. There was an inch of foamy, long-lasting head. Good lacing.

S: A surprising aroma of malt, that brown ale nuttiness, and lot of hops.

T: Tasted of the aforementioned nuttiness, malt, a big amount of hops, and some citrus. The latter two ingredients throw you off balance, but work surprisingly well. It's like a brown ale and an IPA had a baby.

M: A highly carbonated beer with a smooth, dry finish. Light- to medium-bodied.

D: Definitely an unusual take on a brown ale that won't always appeal to fans of the style. I, for one, thought it was very drinkable.

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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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