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Knuckle Sandwich - Bootlegger's Brewery

Not Rated.
Knuckle SandwichKnuckle Sandwich

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
95
world-class

985 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 985
Reviews: 244
rAvg: 4.29
pDev: 10.72%
Wants: 437
Gots: 116 | FT: 4
Brewed by:
Bootlegger's Brewery visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial IPA |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: jerz on 12-14-2009

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 985 | Reviews: 244 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Dan3279
4.42/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I was lucky enough to get this bomber through a friend out in California through a trade. I have been on a huge IPA kick lately and this one has been close to the top of my list.

I poured the bomber into the pint glass to find a clear amber body with a small white head that had little lacing.

If the smell is any indication of how this beer tastes then the hype is real. The aroma has a very strong hop / citrus / floral presence.

WOW, the taste is great, the hops dominate the front end, you notice the grapefruit / citrus flavors that mellow out into some caramel like sweetness and ends on the bitterness you would expect. At the same time I'm left wanting more, and couldn't wait for my next sip.

The drinkability was solid, balanced with the carbination and alcohol. I would never guess that this beer had an ABV of 10%.

Overall this is a fantastic beer and I would highly suggest getting a bottle or two if you have the means to.

Photo of facundoCNB
4.42/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

a beautiful clean amber pour with 2 fingers of detergent-like white head, great retention, nice amount of lacing. smells of piney hops, caramel, spicy herbal notes - basically, a very nice smelling hop bomb :)
one sip and i'm sold! i get a taste of what seems like warrior (spicy garlic/herbs), simcoe (tangy/cat pee-like haha), cascade (pine, grapefruit, floral).. the malt profile is there behind all of the hops, and is a nice sweet malty caramel-like flavor.

a medium body, modestly carbonated beer, has a nice heavy chest warmth to it, but is so tasty you overlook the heaviness and plunge right in. in no way is this a "well-balanced" dipa, but i like to look at it two ways, well balanced with hops and malt, and then well balanced hop profile, which this one would fall into in my vision (or taste, rather). the mix of different hops throw your palate in a frenzy, but it evens out in the end and you are left with a delicious mix of grapefruit, piney, spicy flavors in your mouth. it's hard to figure out which hops work well with each other, and sometimes just throwing in your heavy hitters in high quantity works perfectly.

Photo of jbaker67
4.41/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

deep dark orange. Perfect one finger of thick head. Nose is predominantly grapefruit, with a bit of spicy hop notes and pine. It’s the grapefruit that’s dominant though. Medium body. Decent malt character, but this one is all about the hops. First two thirds on the palette is fruity hop flavor, grapefruit rind and maybe peach. Back third is pleasant bittering. A great beer

Photo of amphion1065
4.41/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A huge thanks to DearthVader for sending me two bottles of this, which lasted me as many days. Enjoyed one (the one I’m officially rating) from a tulip and another from the Alpine pint glass Brian was kind enough to send along. Both were just over a week old.

Knuckle Sandwich pours a deep, copper orange, bordering on maroon. Some red highlights in the body, which is pretty clear, but I can’t take my eyes off of the head. Billowing, sticky, and white, the two fingers never quite receded. Cobweb-like lacing on this one: with just the slightest swirl I was able to coat my glass entirely. Gorgeous.

The smell is a rich mélange of citrus fruits and deep malts. Grapefruit, lemon, maybe a little nectarine and orange, too. I expected more of a hop explosion, but to be honest it’s not quite there. It’s obviously fresh, and although it lacks the hop bomb characteristic I’ve been conditioned to expect from a West Coast DIPA, it’s still excellent.

The taste was similarly unexpected. Rich waves of malty flavor, with a slight, crisp hop profile. Not bracingly bitter – actually, not too bitter at all. It’s very fruity and incredibly smooth, just vastly different than other top-ranked beers I’ve had in the style. I should note that the ABV is virtually nonexistent – it masks it perfectly.

Mouthfeel is really, really excellent: well carbonated and crisp, the flavors are really allowed to shine despite the body being on the heavy side.

I shared my first bottle with a budding craft beer drinker, who was surprised when I told her that this was a DIPA. I shared my second with fellow BA myspoonistoobig, who agreed that this didn’t quite fit the West Coast DIPA paradigm. Upon reflection, I think that Knuckle Sandwich combines a lot of the best qualities of DIPAs from both coasts, and that mix is what makes it so special. I sampled this alongside Pure Hoppiness, Kern 5th Anniversary, and Furious, and this was easily best in show.

Photo of comfortablynumb1
4.4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Big thanks to Kim for holding these for me...

A - Pours maple with a one finger off white head. Head retention is decent, but there is not much lacing to be had...

S - Good dose of citrus fruits and hops. Also pick up some sweet malts, and a hint of pine...

T - Lots of sweet caramel up front. Grapefruit, and tangerines follow with a hint of pine, and some floral hops. Ends with a hop bitterness and some lingering grapefruit. Delicious. Caramel becomes more apparent as beer warms up a little. Abv is well hidden...

M - Nice creamy feel. Medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation...

O - Bootlegger's comes through big with a big time brew. Definitely something that is going to be in my rotation when it is around...

Cheers...

Photo of imagese
4.4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

poured into a perfect pint

A- light amber with a orange hue. thick 1 finger head that fades to a nice thin layer that laces nicely

S- intial burst of dark and sugary citrus hops followed by some more sweetness in the malt and a very funky and earthy ending. Almost like Society Garlic in fresh bloom.

T- Awesome tart citrus hops with a faint sweetness, then more hop awesomeness!

M- Thick and nice. Coats the tongue and mouth like there's no tomorrow

D- The high ABV doesn't come thru anywhere. Scary smooth

Photo of pokesbeerdude
4.4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Huge thanks goes out to womencantsail for this bomber. No freshness date but I know this was recently released... Split into two michelob celebrate tulips.

A: Pours a deep copper color with a light tan head about an inch thick that recedes to a good quarter of an inch that has some nice staying power. Nice spots of lacing as it continues to recede.

S: Incredibly fruity and juicy, lots of tropical fruits, pineapple, and a respectable amount of citrus as well. A decent amount of caramel and smooth malt as well. Doesn't have the super resinous "dank" quality that I had expected. One of the more unique aromas from a DIPA that I've ever come across.

T: Very strong bitterness on the back end that is a combination of alcohol and alpha acids, the tropical fruit flavor comes through quite a bit more as it continues to warm. Pineapple and mango are really the ones that come to mind. The bitterness really is clean and potent, my tongue is reeling a bit. This definitely isn't on the sweet side of the spectrum, as it is incredibly dry and bitter. The only thing holding it back from being a 4.5+ on the taste is the hoppy flavor, its there, but from the nose I figured it would be a bit more intense. Not bad but not quite there either.

M: Medium body, perfect carbonation, and an incredibly dry finish for the size of the beer. Alcohol is hidden very well, almost too well until the beer reaches my stomach where I can feel the heat.

D: Dangerous, for all the things that can go wrong with a DIPA being too sweet, or too boozy, this one hits all the notes exactly how I like it. Splitting this bomber will not be hard at all as this is one of the better DIPA's I've had in some time.

Photo of dwagner003
4.4/5  rDev +2.6%

Photo of MbpBugeye
4.4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to Callmecoon for this bad ass extra.

Appearance
Wow, what an amazing color. Its dark for the style, a few shades darker than white zin. Its a blushing bright ruby. A modest haze gives this glass a satin appearance. The darker color doesn't contaminate the head's pure whiteness. It has a dense, sticky pure white cap. Its a wonderful contrast to the darker ruby body.

Smell
Delicious. I could tell this was gonna smell awesome as soon as it hit the glass. Sugary citrus fills the room. Cotton candy and a little bit of cat piss and moth balls come in and out. Some how the cat piss and moth balls don't trigger disgust, nor do those aromas seem out of place. Flashes of banana build a fruit salad with all of the lovely citrus.

Taste
Perhaps a little more malty than I'd like from this beer based on its aroma. Very little bitterness. Its all very candied, sweet and juicy citrus, like an ambiguous juice blend. There is lots of cotton candy (the blue kind) as well. The malts seem a little darker than most of the style, its not caramelly but not crackery either.

Mouthfeel
Resinous as all hell. Sticky hop oils galore. The carbonation is unobtrusive. The finish is very hoppy with a nice moderate dryness.

Overall
Very damn good. Such a pretty beer with an amazing aroma. I'm super happy that callmecoon was able to extra this.

Photo of TequilaVoodoo
4.4/5  rDev +2.6%

Photo of bierbrauer
4.4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bomber from Fullerton Beverages. Was not available at brewery, either in bottles or on tap.

A: A darker DIPA, copper, hazy. Dense, tan foam that drops quickly and leaves sparse lacing.

S: Very pleasant fragrance -- strong fruit with slight floral & pine.

T: Delicious, rich, sweet, mango & grapefruit. No alcohol taste. Very balanced.

M: Full, with very low carbonation. Some heat. Fresh finish.

O: Now I understand why this is so scarce. It's really good.

Photo of johlac66
4.4/5  rDev +2.6%

Photo of WOTO97
4.39/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had a 1/2 pint at Bootleggers. This beer is fantastic. Loads of tropical hop notes on the nose, equally matched on the palate. Lots of pineapple, passion fruit makes for a very refreshing beer. The 10% abv is dangerously hidden beneath the generous hop bouquet. Slightly disappointed with the appearance--nominal head (may have been the pour). The mouthfeel was a little thin, which I think I might like even though it works against the traditional DIPA (TIPA?). Extremely refreshing easy to put back a few of these hop monsters.

Photo of jmarsh123
4.39/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Vanlingleipa for the bottle!

Pours a deep caramel with a huge frothy off-white head leaving sticky lacing all down the glass.

Smells like a tropical paradise. A good hefty caramel malt backbone is overwhelmed by ripe mango, papaya and citrus.

Starts out with a citrus/tropical fruit flavor although it is subdued compared to the nose. Some lush caramel malt peaks in to balance out the hops. This is definitely more in the balanced than hop bomb category. Finishes with a very smooth pine and tropical fruit bitterness. Alcohol is extremely well hidden.

Thick and creamy, but finishes bitter and dry with good carbonation.

Oustanding beer. I wish a bit more of the tropical fruit in the aroma would have come through in the flavor, but still world class and stands up with the best of the DIPA world.

Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.39/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to jodan for sending me the bottle.

A - Pours a dark orange, almost brown in color with a tan head. The head fades a bit, but not completely. Some lacing left on the glass.

S - Strong grass, pine, and some orange peel.

T - Same as the smell, but with an equal malt balance.

D - Good carbonation, and a bit heavier than most DIPAs.

O - Smell is awesome, taste is just a step below. Great DIPA.

Photo of OneBeertoRTA
4.38/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Josh at Whole Foods for hooking me up with a few bottles.

This brewery has been hit and miss for me. The Black Phoenix and mint porter both weren't up to bar imo.

The Knuckle Sandwich however lived up the hype. Nothing like Pliny as the abv is apparent.

Citrus up front with great carbonation and drinkability. Pours a nice orange color with a little more than an inch of head.

Hints of pine, pineapple and other tropical fruits with a strong caramel maltiness. This beer really hits hard.

Photo of sendsilk
4.37/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Received this in a recent trade with Airfoil, thanks Tom!

This one appears about as dark an orange as I can imagine. Imagine a pumpkin starting to rot, not a nice analogy, but the color is appropriate. Wonderful hop aroma, nice and citrusy with some pine malt and spice.
T-wow, now I know why it's called a knuckle sandwich as it pretty much punches you in the face! Exceptional hop presence. I paired this with an Italian sausage and it really worked well together as the spice of the sausage really worked well with the hops. M is good and I am so glad to have gotten to try this!

Photo of jlindros
4.37/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow, an A rating for an IPA that doesn't have a huge reputation... or at least I haven't heard of it yet. Thanks a ton to imperialbeachbrw for this unknown gem.

Into my oversized snifter it pours a rich frothy large 2 finger head that fades semi quickly over a very clear mahogany copper orange color. The head fading leaves a slight lacing.

The nose has lots of juicy fruity hops, plenty of tropical fruit hops, some citrus, plenty of grapefruit, a bit of tangerine, pine, and even fruits such as juicy peach and clementine. I barely get any malt behind all the awesome hop aromas, just a touch of a light malt. The hops are very nice, no big heavy bitter hops, no astringency, no earthy hop aroma, and the piny hit is very light. Just lots of citrus and tropical juicy fruit hops.

Taste brings more of the hops, but not quite as much to start. Lighter fruity hops again, citrus, light tangerine and clementine, light grapefruit, and this time a little light herbal hop. Some other juicy fruits like peach and tangerine again. A slight spicy and piny hop flavor too. All the hops combine for a nice flavor, with some light bitterness but nothing rampant. A very light smooth malt flavor to deliver the hops, nothing much on that end. Just enough for a slight sweetness to balance the hops and carry the hops and bitterness to the mouth without the hops coming crazy on the astringency. A slight reddish malt flavor, with a bit of a toasty flavor, that combines well with the hops actually. The light sweetness continues onto the finish, which doesn't dry as well as I expected, but that could be a good thing as a big dry finish would make the hops get too bitter. The bitterness is balances very well, that intensifies a slight bit on the finish but never over bitter. More lingering fruits, a bit of pine and spicy hop, and a slight sticky feel that comes from the sweet finish. The booze is very smooth, drinks like a 6% not 10%!

Mouth is medium to slightly heavier bodied, with decent carbonation, and a very slight warming booze, very slight. There is also a bit of a gritty mouth feel too.

Drinkability is pretty good, with 10%abv beer drinking like a 6 or 7% beer, light sweetness, and the bitterness of all the nice hops is really kept in check well. The only issue with the finish is the slight gritty feel and it would have been a little bit nicer to dry a little bit more on the finish.

Yes, this was a very nice IPA, worthy of the A rating, and should get more recognition IMO. Thanks a lot James for sending this one for me to get to try. I may have to try more of these beers. Solomon420 got me hooked on Kern River a couple years ago when they were just starting out, and unknown. Now I think you have me set on trying more Bootleggers. Cheers to that!

Photo of BarrytheBear
4.37/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Fresh bomber thanks to Ryan and split with milwaukeeclassic while he dictates from the website Things Republicans Hate. Teaser: yoga and NPR.

Burgundy with a consistent quarter inch head and minimal bubbleage

Once opened and even prior to being poured, this beer can be detected from across the room. As odd as it may sound, predominant scents include fresh sliced pineapple and hot oven baked pie. Really it's quite appealing.

Tastes like it smells. Caramel sweet pie, pineapple, whipped cream, and crust. Drinks like a dessert. Minimal heat on the back end is very welcome considering the 10% tag. Certainly not a hop bomb, but all the elements of a solid DIPA are here.

Smooth and viscous; an enjoyable treat.

Much appreciated Ryan...thanks again for the opportunity.

Photo of Chaz33187
4.37/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Reddish orangey glow
S- very piny and a bit fruity. very powerful exciting smell
T- very original and well balanced choppy malty booze taste. The first taste is a breathe of life. Alcohol isnt well hidden, but its strangely welcoming. Towards the end of the beer, the bitterness did linger a bit.
M- sharp booze bubbles, very fizzy but it doesn't ruin the beer
O- incredibly unique IPA. It has this scotchy choppy balance that really surprises you.

Photo of Sideswipe
4.37/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz Bomber into a tulip.

The beer pours a very dark red, coppery color with a two finger head of white foam. Decent lacing. Aroma is citrus fruit and bready malt. Taste is overwhelming citrus hops. Exellent bitterness gives way to a very nice malt profile, which balances this brew nicely. Feel is thick and viscous, in line with the style. Drinkability is very good. The excellent taste and wonderful bitterness of this beer hide all traces of the ABV, making it too easy to down a bomber. I will bs seeking this out again

Photo of Ultraman9000
4.37/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

22 oz. bomber poured into a Sam Adams "perfect pint" glass.

Bomber purchased in late November/early December, following most recent bottling by Bootlegger's (and increased distribution--yay!).

A: Pours rather dark for a DIPA, an overall light caramel-brown with hints of gold around the edges. 1/2" plus of off-white foam, with bubbles fizzing up at first before beers clears up entirely (no haze evident).

S: Piney, sweet, light caramel notes evident at first; citrus notes are upfront yet hard to pin down... possibly lemon zest, pineapple-like, even peach-ey.

T: Although this is certainly a hop bomb, the hops hit the edges of the palate first, as the strong malty/caramel backbone carries more weight at first. As the beer leaves the palate, hops close in from the edges to take over and finish strong, but with an overall smooth transition of flavors.

M: While the caramel flavors create a mildly syrupy taste, this doesn't linger long as it segues smoothly into a lighter feel mid-taste (aided by the appropriate mid-high carbonation), before leaving a lingering note of biscuit and caramel drizzle.

D: Amazingly drinkable for the ABV; alcohol is hardly evident until the glass is finished and you realize that 10 oz. of this beer can catch up to you real quick. Can be drunk quickly if not careful, but also great for savoring slowly.

Overall, a delightful beer with components that should attract hop-heads and malt lovers alike. It may test the boundaries of what characterizes a DIPA, but really showcases what flavors can be combined in what some perceive as a one-trick pony kind of style. Personally, this beer single-handedly converted me from a timid hop consumer into a full-fledged DIPA fan.

Photo of PhiloPsych
4.36/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Light peach color as it pours from bottle, quite dark copper in the glass with a big long-lasting head. The smell is strong on caramel malt and brown sugar with some fresh-baked bread, also maybe a bit woody and even just a touch earthy. Taste is very sweet and malty for an IPA, with some very sweet, almost candy-like fruit flavors as well as all the characteristics of the aroma. The hops are lightly herbal in the nose and herbal and slightly piney in the taste. The hops and malt go in different directions, but have the overall effect of balancing each other out—from a distance, so to speak. This is a formidable beer and as my second round, it is getting me drunk, despite having no really noticeable alcohol heat (the alcohol is hidden by the bready, sweet malt). This beer sells fast when it is released and it deserves the attention—it is a unique brew. It doesn’t quite resemble a barleywine, it isn’t really an amber/red, it has some brown or Scotch ale characteristics, but certainly goes outside the boundaries of those styles, too. I suppose you can call it a double IPA as it’s billed, but it isn’t normal. Good on Bootleggers for producing an intriguing beer.

Photo of EgadBananas
4.35/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks Jeremy!

Pours a medium clear orange, with an off white finger of head. Nice lace, decent retention

Nice hop punch! Citrus, some pine and touches of resin, orange peel, light bread maltiness.

It's a solid hop bomb on the taste, juicy citrus and some tropical fruits, pineapple, flowery hops, light pale malt sweetness. Pleasantly surprised by the lack of daunting maltiness.

Great body, medium, not too heavy, making it great drinking, good solid carbonation.

Fantastic DIPA. Great balance and drinkability and a hop monster to boot!

Photo of srandycarter
4.35/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is an update upon retrying another vintage. It is much better this go around on 10.12.12. Earlier review follows.

A - Dark caramel, brown sugar and apricot look to it. Light does pass through. Nice near white but small head. Lots of large bubbled cling lace. Cascading bubbles all around the glass like champagne.

S - Big malt. Caramel. Lots of hops trying to duke it out.

T - Taste very much like smell. Not quite a barley wine, but kind of border line between DIPA and American Strong Ale.

M - Fat, thick, creamy. Good carb. Nice balance on two extreme factors colliding.

D - SO glad I tried it again. Great beer.

~~~

Review 4.8.11
a 4.5- Clean, clear, honey amber, lots of head, stays a spell. Cling lace all over the place.

S - 4.5 Spicy, hoppy, malty, all promise big stuff.

T - 3.5 Way under whelmed. Light and soft. No malt drive or hop bite.

M - 3.5 Under carbed and wimpy in most respects.

D - 4 Easy enough to drink!

Knuckle Sandwich from Bootlegger's Brewery
95 out of 100 based on 985 ratings.