Knuckle Sandwich - Bootlegger's Brewery

Not Rated.
Knuckle SandwichKnuckle Sandwich

Educational use only; do not reuse.

247 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 247
Hads: 1,040
Avg: 4.28
pDev: 10.75%
Wants: 443
Gots: 138 | FT: 3
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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 247 | Hads: 1,040
Photo of biglobo8971
4.7/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

cant say enough good things. If you like a sweet DIPA with a hop bite, this is the beer for you. Thank you Beerdsy. Everything melds beautifully. You taste the sweetness of orange and have very little bite or after bite from the hops presence. Would mos def recommend this beer to any one looking for a hop forward beer, who is looking for more than malt sweetness.

 365 characters

Photo of BevMoAndrew
4.55/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured into a mug from tap at Hollingshead

The Bootlegger's Knuckle Sandwich pours a golden honey-like color in the mug with a thick white froth, good head retention, & nice lacing. The nose is absolutely amazing with pronounced aromas of grapefruit, apricot, mango, pine, fresh floral hops, spiced herbs, caramel, & fresh baked biscuits that follows through on the palate. The beer is full bodied, has a definite hop presence - however balanced with the malt - good acidity, smooth mouthfeel, & long finish. Although I have never had too many Bootlegger's beers, I heard about this one through the grapevine & couldn't pass up the opportunity to try it. In all honesty, I'm not one for DIPAs because I find them to be unbalanced, however, this DIPA is absolutely amazing! Highly Recommended!

 793 characters

Photo of Sixofsigmas
4.2/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an orange color with a white head. The aroma is heavy on the grapefruit, citrus in general, and some small amounts of malt. This beer is all about the hops. The flavor is very balanced and hoppy. It is way too sessionable. I get a lot of grapefruit and orange notes with some biscuit and caramel malt mixed in. The ale is very sessionable with a medium carb....and huge drinkability.

 389 characters

Photo of JonathanC
4.8/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Knuckle sandwich provides a great amount of hops that brings a smooth taste which lingers for a great 10 second ordeal. HIGHLY UNDERATED.Finding this beer is a true treasure as every liquor store in CA seems to sell it within days of stock. If you get the chance to try this brew, you are lucky. This is Bootleggers masterpiece, it is considerably comparable to Pliny the elder. I would never pass a knuckle sandwich up. "All 78 bottles sold within 3 days of restock" says liquor store owners.

 493 characters

Photo of johnnieoz
4.27/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz brown bomber poured into the trusty Jämtlands tulip.

A: A beautiful darker shade of amber crowned by a lasting off-white head, which leaves some nice lacing.

S: This is a serious hop bomb and the favorite petroleum-fumed hop variety (?) is leading the way. There are also some distinct citrus aromas on the nose.

T: Initially this seemed too sweet on the tongue. But after the third or fourth sip, it became apparent that this was simply the malty backbone of the Knuckle Sandwich. This is a superbly balanced DIPA with all manner of hops flavors, from mango to pine, mingling with the malts.

M: Carbonation, check. Hop oils, check. Full-bodied, check. Dry, check.

D: A brown bomber of this beauty is ultimately a little hard for this reviewer to finish on his own. Perhaps it's the 10% abv in tandem with the aforementioned sweetness. Toning that down a bit (not necessarily the abv) would benefit the Sandwich.

Bootlegger's has a winner here, and a small disclaimer here. I had a bad experience with their Hefeweizen - it seemed to have citrus added to it though this was not the brewers intent. Anywho, I need to revisit that one. I was thrilled to see this at the Beverage Warehouse in MdR, and at $5.99 this will become a staple.

 1,247 characters

Photo of bierbrauer
4.4/5  rDev +2.8%
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.

 468 characters

Photo of Uncle_Jimmy
4.57/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance- pours a sparkling orangish red with one finger of grainy white foam on top. it sticks to the glass and has some lacing. This one is pretty

Aroma- grapefruit, watermelon cantaloupe, flowers and strawberries even a bit of grandma's good soaps!

Taste- The Floral Hoppy nose leads to a sweet citrus forward punch in the tongue. It drops off almost immediately to a butter scotch candy finish with a slightly earthy after taste. I think this is very well balanced for a DIPA. Maybe a lot of late addition hops...

Mouthfeel- The booze is completely hidden. It was a little sticky/syrupy but all those hops have to be bittering something. Carbonation is well done

Overall- I think it is exemplary of the style. a big hop punch in the face, its beautiful in the glass. It is a beer I would sit in LA traffic for. It is a beer I would get a growler of and share with friends. But because it is such a pallet shredder i don't know if I would order multiples. Wow * days into the new year and I have a stellar beer in my glass Life is good !

 1,049 characters

Photo of davidbowers13
4.45/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Jodan for the hookup on this. Served from a 22oz bottle into a pint glass.

A - Copper/Orange in color with a off white head. 2 finger head with a gentle/normal pour. Lacing moderately sticks to the glass.

S - Sweet floral citrus notes. Not over-powering like some DIPA's can be. Very well balanced hop and malt characteristics.

T - Very well balanced and sweet up front with a nice citrus hop finish. Hides the 10% ABV very well. So good I keep going in for another sip as soon as I finish the last.

M - A little heavier as it warms, but still a very easy drinking beer for a 10% DIPA.

O - Definately a front runner for one of the best DIPA's I've had. A great balance of sweet malt and hops. Not over powering on the hops, so if you're looking for a DIPA that won't wreck your pallet with a huge hop bomb, this is it.

 834 characters

Photo of fourplayed
4.12/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear red-orange hues with 2 finger rocky off white head..nice lacing.

Smells are Sweet citrus, oranges and grapefruit, nice. some fruit punch sweetness and pineapple detected...fairly sweet overall.

Taste of earthy hops with malt sweetness, some sweet fruits and citrus all mixed nicely...the 10%abv is very well hidden.

Medium body and carbonation with mild to medium alcohol warmth. Nice hop bite and dry finish.

A very good brew, nice balance of sweetness, fruits, citrus, hops and carbonation along with nice alcohol warmth. watch the10% abv it's very well hidden.

 573 characters

Photo of imagese
4.4/5  rDev +2.8%
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

 513 characters

Photo of TheCrowsNest
4.65/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I love Bootlegger's tasting room. No frills. Just beer. In mason jars.

Pours a rich copper. They fill their mason jars to the brim, so there wasn't much room for head. No complaints there.

Lemons, oranges, pine needles. Very fresh and inviting.

Goes right along with the taste. At 10% I didn't get much warmth, but the malt backbone supports the heavy hops.

Medium-full bodied. Dry.

An IPA that will stand with the best. I wish they still put this into growlers.

 467 characters

Photo of WOTO97
4.39/5  rDev +2.6%
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.

 529 characters

Photo of Rjhami
4.59/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I was fortunate to find this at my local market after never seeing it from the usual bottle shops. It was the last one. Poured 650ml into snifter.

Pours orange-amber, butterscotch meets root beer type color...darker than most of this style. Good retention on a low volume head, the lacing slowly drips down the glass, not that sticky.

The nose starts out with fresh pine and gradually gives way to a well balanced malt character. It has an excellent clean, sweet, butterscotch-like finish. Floral and citrus tastes immediately give way to the big malt finish, sweet again with caramel and a bit of alcohol.

Oh yes this is a DIPA that you can sink your teeth into. It lets you know right away with the warmth of the mouth, but that does not take away from a surprisingly medium bodied feel.

The malt backbone on this one is big time and yet so well balanced. Packs a big punch as the name implies and not to be taken lightly. It would be difficult to take down multiple bombers of this beer but definitely will be buying this next time it's on the shelf.

 1,060 characters

Photo of JWD
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was cool, i had never heard of this and it was an extra in a recent trade. VERY COOL.

Alright, i love my DIPA and this did not disappoint and it continues to drive the point that there are a ton of GREAT beers out there outside of the hyped alternatives.

I pour this into a pint and it was a deep golden redish color with a bright white frothy head like most big DIPAs would and should look like. The body of this beer looked pretty big, thick and rich.

I really enjoyed the dank, skunky, pine forest of a DIPA that this was, this is an exceptional beer and worth seeking out if you are in the area of it. GREAT BEER..

 628 characters

Photo of OneBeertoRTA
4.38/5  rDev +2.3%
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.

 504 characters

Photo of jmadrigal2
3.96/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Got this bomber thanks to unitmosnter.
Cracked this open and didn't smell much hops. Smells like some of the IPAs my buddie has brewed. The smell is sweet like candy, piny and alcohol. Appearance is dark amber with little head, good lacing though. Since this bottle is only 2 weeks old the taste was better than I was expecting. I wouldn't let this one sit over 2 weeks though. This beer is very balanced. I get big sweetness with a bit of hops and the alcohol is apparent on the finish. I like drier IPAs myself so I wasn't really expecting to be all about this one but it was good. It was a great beer and I loved having it fresh but I don't think I would seek this out again unless it was on tap.

 699 characters

Photo of BrewtifulMind
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Bootlegger's tasting room

Wow. Didn't expect this from Bootlegger's. This one pours a dark amber, almost copper in color. I could smell this thing on the bar as soon as the lovely barmaid set it down. It smelled of sweet, and citrus fruits, and upon closer inspection, the pungent hops and sweet malts filled my nostrils. This brew tastes just like a world class DIPA should. Potent of hops and citrus, but also a sweet backend from the malts. There's a slight burn of alcohol, but not very noticeable. Very well hidden, just enough to warm the chest. For being such a manly beer, the mouthfeel is very light and refreshing, with just the perfect amount of carbonation. Overall, I would say this is definitely one of the best DIPA's I've had. Up there with the juggernauts of IPA's. Definitely worth hyping this one up. Go get yourself some. Cheers.

 860 characters

4/5  rDev -6.5%

Haven't been a fan of too many of the IPAs Bootlegger's has been coming out with. This one how ever was a great Double IPA. 10% !! That's what I'm talking about!

 161 characters

Photo of johndoe8
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

hope it's not a cop out going 4.5 down the line. this beer is pretty damn good. the hops fade pretty quickly, so if it's more than a couple weeks old, it's definitely a different experience than having it fresh.

i've had it from tap and bottle, but bottle most recently, and the grassy notes have subsided slightly (the bottle being 2 weeks old).

otherwise, this is a great DIPA. it hides the abv EXTRemELy well. It has a nice balanced malt backbone, which you only find from some really good DIPAs (think expo hoppiness or pliny the younger).

it loses slightly to my other all time favorite dipas (expo and pty), b/c the hops are not as strong as those, but it's definitely some good company to be in.

 707 characters

Photo of Dspohn
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. Bomber for $7.99, into a tulip. I was told this bottle was very fresh but I dont believe there's any bottle dating info. It was delicious regardless.

It's really a great looking beer, bright red/orange with a good sized peach-tinged white head. Left lots of nice lacing, especially on the second pour. The aroma is intense, I could easily smell it from a few feet away right after it was poured. I'd say the smell is a touch better than the taste, but both are full of tropical fruits, pineapple, papaya and peach are are all pretty prominent. Not super heavy on bitterness or pine aspects, definitely what I'd consider to be more of a juicy, sweet IPA. Carbonation is right where it should be and the drinkability is off the chart with little evidence of alcohol. Pretty impressive for a 10% beer, I would've guessed it was around 7.5%. Comparable in flavor profile to Sculpin, Just Outstanding, or Summer Yulesmith, so check this beer out if you like those IPAs. One of the better IPAs I've tried recently, I really wish it was available locally but at least the brewery is only a few hours away.

 1,106 characters

Photo of Nuggethops
4.13/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bomber (thanks to StevenT562) into an imperial pint glass

Pours a dark amber with a reddish hue. An aggressive pour yeilds a one finger head which dissipates to a frothy white cap, decent lacing with a solid ring after each sip Aroma is of piney hop oils up front with citrus/grapefruit and caramel in the back.

Strong bitter hop taste up front with a slight bitter citrus taste, this beer has a strong malt backbone that tastes of caramel and banana with a slight alcohol taste at the end. This is a dangerously drinkable DIPA, I could easily throw back a few of these and would never guess a 10% ABV if the bottle didn't say so.

Overall this is a delicious well balanced DIPA with a nice malt character to offset the strong hop aroma and taste, I would definitely seek out this beer again.

 815 characters

Photo of Vanlingleipa
4.55/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Ah, the ultimate balance of sweet malt and hops.

This beer pours as a non-remarkable brownish-amber that is topped with a 1/4" head and sticky, thick lacing clinging to the side of the glass.

The warmth and spiciness of the malt is almost like biting into a sweet bread, the taste sensation is felt in the sweet spots of the tongue and in the back of the mouth. Then the simcoe hops come in with a delicious bitterness. Wonderfully balanced with the malt.

Truly one of the top DIPAs currently brewed in the country.

 518 characters

Photo of EchoParker
3.68/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

It's hard for me to give this beer a true ranking and review as it's been so inconsistent. It used to be something I really sought out but it seems to be less and less delicious every time I try it. I thought it was just me but the other night I ordered one and commented that it was better than last time but still not what it once was. The bartender shrugged and said, "tell me about it. I hear that every time we get a keg."
Its a good beer even a very good beer but it was once a great beer.

I have very strong recollections of the searing hop aromas and flavors that dominate my nose and mouth from the time I lift the glass until a minute after I gulp. The resinous pine and tropical notes are still there but just not a pronounced as I vividly recall.

Carbonation and mouthfeel are still really good.

I'll keep drinking it and hope that this latest upswing is a sign of things to come from my boys at Bootleggers.

 924 characters

Photo of dfernandez77
3.54/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

On a scale of 1 to 5, most I rate get 2.5 to 3, very few get a 4, and you have to really knock me out to get above a 4.

Appearance: Warm amber color. Medium fluffy white head, laces gently, Very clear.

Aroma: Pine, desert sage, melon skin, nopales (prickly pear cactus pads). Toasty sweetness like saltines, slightly caramel. Starchy fruit sweetness like dragonfruit.

Flavor: Predominantly resin and citrus segment skin bitterness, desert sage herbal follows, slight grassiness. Clean malt profile and invert sugar residual sweetness – similar but not quite like the residual sweetness in a big Belgian Tripel. Some booziness present, but not offensively fusel or hot – appropriate tripod balance to the hop and malt characters.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, and finishes astringent and bitter – hop oils all over the finish. Gains some slipperiness and opens fruit characters as it warms.

Overall: A very solidly made aggressive DIPA. This release (June 2013) hangs somewhere between an unbalanced west coast hop assault DIPA, and a fat malty east coast DIPA. Well done.

 1,081 characters

Photo of aknight
4.72/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a malty dark copper, or light brown if you will. The head grows to a finger or so and never really disappears. The smell is of faint citrus and MASSIVE pineapple. Seriously, I think someone spilled a can of Dole in here. There is definite pineapple on the pallet. There are a truckload of hops in here, there's a truckload of malt too. This is just a MASSIVE DIPA any way you look at it. A nice malty DIPA. Not as malty as some but maltier than us West Coasters typically like them.

This is another great DIPA from California. Maltier than most out here but if a malty DIPA was done this well who am I to disagree?

 621 characters

Knuckle Sandwich from Bootlegger's Brewery
95 out of 100 based on 247 ratings.