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

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Bitch Creek ESB (Extra Special Brown)Bitch Creek ESB (Extra Special Brown)
822 Ratings
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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 822 |  Reviews: 349
Photo of jj311
3.63/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: A dark, maple brown colored brew with a thick, light, tan-colored, two-finger foam head. Shows decent retention and lacing.

Smell: Very malty. Molasses and brown sugar and a little biscuity, with undertones of herbal and citric hop.

Taste: Starts with a tart, citrusy flavor complimented by biscuit, sweet caramel and roasty malts. Some bitterness at the end. An overall clean finish.

Mouthfeel: Slick, medium bodied. A sharp carbonation tingle.

Drinkability: Good drinkability, but not great.

Overall: This was my first time trying this beer. It was a step above what I expected. It wouldn't be my first choice, but definitely an option worth consideration.

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Photo of bbb099
3.73/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a pint glass.

A - Nice light, tan-colored head. Amber colored with bubbles and floating debris.

S - Not much in terms of smell, mostly malt with possibly a small hint of hops.

T - Nice, moderate citrusy and piny hops flavors. Aftertaste was somewhat nutty, which I liked.

M - Full-bodied and perfect amount of carbonation.

D - Not incredibly complex, but taste was good and I can definitely drink lots of it.

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Photo of harrymel
3.83/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From notes 7.2.10
Poured from bottle to Sam Adams glass.

A: Beautiful maple brown. Brown sugar depth. Medium clarity. Minimal head - only thin layer compensated by low ribbons.

S: Extremely malty for a brown. Nice molasses, brown sugar aroma.

T: Nice, balanced brown ale. Not exceptional, but a great beer for sessioning.

M: Medium body with moderate carbonation that tickles the palate throughout life of beer.

D: I find this a decent beer now, and plan to review again in the future. I know have enjoyed on subsequent occassions since this review, and feel as thought an update may be in order.

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Photo of dwilson01
4.08/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

poured from a 12oz into an indian wells brewing co pint glass, splotchy light tan head tops a bodyn of dark brick red to brown color.

The smell is very mellow, I get a small amount of hoppiness combined with a biscuity bread type malt scent.

The flavor is quite good, the initial hoppiness hits you with some bitter qualities followed by a distinct sweeter brown sugar cinnamon type flavor and finishes with a sour yeasty flavor. Veryn interesting and stage based, I like it a lot.

The mouthfeel is a bit thin for my liking by it stands up well in its own category of brew for sure.

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Photo of bbkd3b
3.48/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Okay, into a pint glass the beer goes.

A - Pretty looking brew. Pours with a frothy, caramel-colored head about 2-fingers thick... Good retention to. The body looks like shiny, burnt sienna, and really reflects the light well.

S - Light malts with a strong blast of citrusy hops. Not at all what I was expecting. Also, there's a bit of a hint at bitterness, but not much more.

T - Whoa... This is a very citrusy beer. Sour or tart might be a better description. There's a layer of sweetness underneath and a bitter kick at the end. Certainly interesting, but I'm not sure that I like it all that much.

M - Light and sharp. The carbonation practically feels like a tap dance on my tongue. Clean on finish... I like it.

D - Combination of flavors doesn't really work for me. One's good enough, but the more I drank it, the more noticeable it's sour character became. On the flip side, it's light and easy to find.

Overall/notes - So, I must plead ignorance here: I did some quick shopping and bought this thinking it was an extra special bitter. Needless to say, I was caught completely off-guard when I drank it. It isn't a bad brew at all, but I don't think it's quite up my alley.

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Photo of volklshred
3.9/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

poured from bottle into wine glass

a-decent head with a lot of lacing

s-roasted fig, I.B.A. hop, brown sugar and light metallic nose.

t-Lots of bitter hops, Borderline tartness, and roasted malts of coarse.

m- heavy carbonation dances with tart bitterness.

d-Not the most drinkable brown but I didn't have any problems with the bottle

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Photo of Wiessmonkey
3.75/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

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

S: caramel/malt sweetness light bitterness

T: simple malty-ness, light roasted flavor with a hint of almost dried fig and sweetness light bite of hop at the end

M: Consistent and clean

D: Not a big brown fan, but this was better than most. I felt it was easily drank and could see drinking a few without getting the over sweetness of some browns.

Bought a single at Battle Born Wine, Gardnerville NV.
Drank in a pint glass at 62 degrees
Serving type: bottle

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Photo of twoheadedboy
3.53/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a syrupy amber with a moderate foamy head.

Citrusy hops are abundant, both in aroma and taste, with a faint smoky malt quality coming in later. Some sharp grassy, earthy hops are are also quite noticable. Very hoppy for a brown, maybe more akin to an ipa.

Not too much to say about this one. Enjoyable and drinkable enough, very light for a brown, but nothing especially noteworthy for me. Good but not too memorable.

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Photo of OWSLEY069
4/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy deep amber to a copper color with a light tan head. In the aroma, grapefruity hops, almost IPA like. In the taste, a nice citrus to pine hop and a nice dry malt all the way through. A bitter to smooth and medium to light bodied mouthfeel, with a semi drysmall citrus hop in the aftertaste. Almost an IPA, but I can dig it.

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Photo of BeerEndevour14
2.89/5  rDev -22.5%
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 drpimento
3.76/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Served with a nice, large, foamy, frothy, light tan head that lasts a while and lots of lace. Color is a clear amber brown. Aroma is malt n hops. Flavor is like american brown pushing the limits - in fact, maybe too far. Too me the hop is at least equal to the malt and dominates it in some ways. That crosses it over into some other beer style. Body is good and good carbonation, but the jacked up bitterness is more astringent and pucker in the mouth. Finish is a little on the sharp side, but still overall a great drinking beer. Just a little outside aba. Oh, and the ESB moniker needs to go, not witty or clever at all. Seems to me a cheesy attempt at humor or marketing guy's got to get canned.

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Photo of allforbetterbeer
3.35/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into a stange glass.

A gentile pour yields three fingers of toasted-white-bread colored head which begins falling quickly, but leaves some nice crusty lacing on the glass. Body is a russet bordering on flamed blood orange and cloudy.

The nose has prominent American hops as the dominant aroma; pine, slight pineapple, and some rind of citrus. Under these is a little caramelized sugar glaze and crystal malt.

This is a flavor profile aimed directly at American hop-lovers. A good helping of hops floods the palate with gusto, and doesn't let up until nearly the end when the brown ale characteristic nutty caramel and roasted malts poke up through the patch of hops and show this beer's original style is still there. Some slight medicinal flavors are noted in the middle, and they are not pleasant. No other complaints.

The mouthfeel isn't as good as it could be. Somehow it feels slippery and thin, and the carbonation is foamy but not smooth or full. Something about the hop bitterness messes with the flavor or feel, because this doesn't drink like a pale ale or IPA with that nectar feeling that makes you want to bathe in it, but also it doesn't feel full and toasty like many good brown ales do.

Conclusion: I feel that this take on the style missed the mark. I don't have any problem with hopping up a style that usually doesn't display major hops, but doing so at the expense of the original heart and soul of the beer ends up being a trade off without benefits. If the hops balanced a more with the malts this could be beneficial.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.12/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes.

Pours a nice moderate brown color with some copper streaks. White head with a bit of lacing. The nose is quite strong and nice. Good notes of pine, grapefruit, and some other citrus hops. Light caramel and toffee in the nose. The flavor has a nice hop bouquet along with a bit of light caramel and bread. Pretty good body with a nice level of bitterness and a good finish. Drinks quite well and was a solid nice first beer from Idaho.

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Photo of Naugros
4.03/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thick sudsy head with mondo lacing, dark amber with a dark orange glow, this is one pretty beer in the glass.

The scent is punctuated by grapefruit and pine hops backed up and balanced by caramel malts. That balance is lost somewhat in the taste with the hops bitterness taking over, but that's what an ESB is all about. It's supposed to be overbalanced in favor of the bitterness, hence the name. I'd pan any other style for that excess, but this seems just about right for the style and will satisfy just about any hophead or bitter bitch.

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Photo of JamnesCameron
4.4/5  rDev +18%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle, poured into a New Holland pint glass. This one was bottled 9/9/10.

Pours a deep mahogany with a big fluffy tan head. The head is here to stay and the beer leaves nice lacing down the glass.

Aromas of citrusy hops, on the grapefruit side from the centennial hops. Some malt in the backbone, but the hops dominate.

First sip is of grapefruit, nice balancing of the bitterness with the malt.

Mouthfeel is on the thin side, but not watery. The centennial hops coat the entire inside of your mouth.

Highly drinkable beer, but a little heavy for a session beer. A little over the edge for what I would consider sessionable.

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Photo of headbucket
2.78/5  rDev -25.5%
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 DanThomas
3.88/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A- Cloudy, caramelized brown sugar color. Beautiful little off-white head, substantial lacing down the glass.

S- Initially there was a strong, piney/citrus hop scent that dominated the nose, but that has moved back a little bit to allow some of the more traditional brown ale scents to make themselves known--caramel and brown sugar, toasted bread. Hops still the winner though, so much so that if given this blindly I might mistake it for an IPA.

T- The hops hit initially, just like the scent. It starts very dry and piney, but as it moves back the citrus character, which is very reminiscent of grapefruit and grapefruit rinds, asserts itself. No malt in the first tastes, but the malt backbone expands at the back of the mouth, and those subtle, caramel toasted and brown sugar flavors mix nicely with the grapefruit-y hops. Nice flavor, but too easy to mistake for an IPA.

M- Very high points from me. Hardly any carbonation, full body, dry character of the hops is offset nicely by the malt sweetness.

D- You wouldn't guess this was 6.5%. It drinks like a classic English session ale.

Overall, this is a very good beer, one I'd love to always have around. They came close to hitting a home run; by bringing out some of the brown ale characteristics a little more, they would've done it. As it is, I would classify it as a delicious, extremely unorthodox IPA.

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Photo of boss302
3.8/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Grand Teton Brewing, Bitch Creek extra special brown. 15P OG, 6%abv, bottle conditioned, 54IBUs, 18Lov. 

A Brown, not clear, good head, lasted the whole glass. 3.5

S Hops and malt in the nose, but mostly hops. Not particularly floral. 3.5 

T Lots of hop in the first taste followed by malt. Sufficient malt to almost balance the hops, but hops still dominate. 4 

M Med to high, good carbonation. 3.5 

D An excellent beer which I'll be having more of. 4

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Photo of HalfFull
3.41/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a pint glass. Pours a moderate brown with lots of murky ruby highlights. Offers a half inch of mocha foam which keeps moderately and throws off light lacing.

Nose needs some air as it has a metallic nature to it initially. Eventually some roasted malts and cocoa come out to play. Still, there is an inherent ill will here from the Crystal that the darker malts can't keep at bay. Earthy hops do appear with a good agitation but are otherwise a bit subdued. Of course this dissipates the carbonation and lightens the finish, so a balance needs to be found.

Flavor is pleasant enough though rather neutral. Nothing to build nor dismantle for that matter. Bit of roast and a bit of cocoa. Feel is supported by a nice carbonation but the liquid is otherwise a bit thin. Touch of caramel sweetness lingers briefly and the beer finishes with a touch of brown sugar. Not bad but the nose deters initially.

Note: 6.0% and 54 IBU's per bottle...

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Photo of Phelps
3.95/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Looks: cranberry-amber, cloudy, with a lingering, puffy head the color of ginger that leaves heavy sheets and lines of lace on the sides.

Smells: sweet. Cranberry, strawberry, overripe oranges, caramel, very light mild coffee.

Tastes: tangy. The fruits in here are verging on sour, which is odd. Plums, cherries. The fruitiness falls away quickly as the palate opens to reveal flavors of light brown sugar, milk chocolate and a lingering coffee bitterness. Nice.

Feels: medium, fuzzy carbonation. It holds together well. Medium-light in body, but nice and smooth.

Drinks: appropriately. The odd title "extra special brown" is fitting here -- it's a bit odd, but nicely complex, for a brown.

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Photo of clarkm04
3.37/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottled on 8/31/10

Appearance- A nice dark brown color/slightly reddish color. Thin head with slight carbonation.

Smell- A hop aroma springs forth which is unusual for a brown. Slight malt undertone but I'm surprised by the slight hop aroma in this beer.

Taste- A hop front taste that slides into a malty flavor profile at the end. Very surprising. A little more hopped up then what you would expect from a ESB/brown ale. the finishing profile is a nice nutty brown note.

Mouthfeel- The beer sits very well on the palate. Very smooth.

Drinkability- Pretty high being a brown.

Overall- I liked the beer but not as much as I figured I would. The bittering hops seems a little over the top for the style. A little less bittering hops for me would make this beer taste better in my opinion. It is a unique beer and I'm glad I bought it but I probably will not buy another six pack of it.

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Photo of Nerudamann
3.43/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Look - Dark, murky brown. One fingers worth of head, that dissipated fairly slowly. Decent carbonation.

Smell - smells fairly strongly of hops. Some caramel, maybe some type of nut.

Taste - Very bitter and hoppy. Reminds me of some of Rogue's ales. Strong after taste that lingers mostly in the upper palate and sinus..not too much in the remainder of the mouth.

Mouthfeel - other than the strong aftertaste, fairly good balance leaning slightly toward creaminess.

Drinkability - a little too bitter for my taste, but decently complex and good-tasting.

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Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.7/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Review from BeerAdvocate magazine Vol. II Issue XI:

An ESB brewed with American malt and hops is another way of saying this is a hoppy American Brown Ale. Deep reddish-brown color, darker than anticipated. Thick latte tan head with good retention and lacing that sticks on the glass. There's rich toasted biscuit and caramel flavors from the malt along with a mildly pungent herbal and citric rind hop in the aroma. Smooth, slick and semi-creamy medium body. Toasted bread, dried hay, hint of unsweetened chocolate and burnt caramel coming from the malt. Sturdy hop character with a slightly heavy hand of bitterness to begin with, then the flavor moves more toward a light citric rind and herbal tone. Fruity, with suggestions of ripe plum and raisins. Finishes bittersweet as the malt stays around and the hops just don't want to let go.

Bitch Creek ends up being a quite tasty, old-school microbrew style, which we really dig. If you are looking for a full-flavored, bigger-bodied session beer, here it is.

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Photo of dan4th
4.02/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Got on tap in a sampler at the Burger Bar in Vegas, and was impressed enough to come back for a pint. Advertised as a brown ale, but definitely has the feel of a bitter in several respects. Beautiful garnet brown color, surprisingly thick head sticks well to the glass. Maybe not the best pairing with their complex burgers (maybe an IPA?) but a strong showing

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Photo of augustgarage
3.68/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled on July 14th, 2010 - Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Dogfish Head shaped pint glass.

Clear dark auburn body with light rust highlights and a half finger of buff foam. Messy lacing and decent retention.

Smells of fresh mild pine, spice, and citrus - classic C-hop goodness. Faint light roast coffee and cream notes are there as well.

Tart citrusy palate entry with cocoa, river stones, a mild lactic note, and light roast (chocolate?) malt. Hops contribute moderate flavor and a nice bitter note to the malty body. Smooth dry, slightly bready finish. Free of diacetyl and DMS.

Medium-light bodied, creamy, lightly astringent with moderate carbonation.

Could use a little more roast but this is still a decent session-able brown ale. Faintly bland for the style, but still worth a try.

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Bitch Creek ESB (Extra Special Brown) from Grand Teton Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 3.73 out of 5 with 822 ratings