Knuckle Sandwich - Bootlegger's Brewery

Not Rated.
Knuckle SandwichKnuckle Sandwich

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BA SCORE
95
world-class

246 Reviews
THE BROS
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Reviews: 246
Hads: 1,033
rAvg: 4.3
pDev: 9.53%
Wants: 443
Gots: 137 | FT: 5
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
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Reviews: 246 | Hads: 1,033
Photo of EchoParker
3.68/5  rDev -14.4%
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 Uncleserg
3.63/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Color is orangey copper with generous head.

S: While I prefer more citrus forward IPA's, this one hits you with alcohol followed by a heavy malt back bone. As beer warms up a bit one gets a great bouquet of grapefruit and hoppy pine which is nice.

T: More alcohol...imbalanced for me.

M: Great carbonation and even though the ABV is high it does finish smooth with a sweet aftertaste.

O: I've had this many times and every time I revisit this DIPA I'm left thinking whats the hype. I'll blame it on my pallet but I feel there are far better styles of this beer out there. (578 characters)

Photo of readbaron
3.61/5  rDev -16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a beautiful (seriously, gorgeous) dark orange with 2 fingers of white foam. The foam piles on top and lingers, coating the glass in a sticky lacing. However, it did fade - somewhat unusual for a DIPA.

Smell is a bit dissapointing for all the hype - lots of sweetness and honey malt, followed be a dollop of piney hops and a strong note of alcohol.

Taste is a lot like the nose - lots and lots of honey and malty sweetness, before finishing with bitter piney hops. Not much citrus. Reminds me a little bit of hopslam, only sweeter and not as hoppy. (I prefer hopslam)

Feel is good - medium bodied, a touch sticky, and nicely carbonated.

Overall - pretty tasty, but I don't get the hype around this one. (711 characters)

Photo of Sean9689
3.58/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Chris for this one, who said it was "relatively fresh". Poured into a Cantillon tulip/snifter thingy.

A - Pours a reddish color, thin collar, some spotty whisps on top.

S - Grapefruit, alcohol, pine, dank citrus, and lots of sweetness. I'm surprised by the high level of sweetness here, and I though this would be a huge amount of hoppy bitterness. Oh well.

T - Sweet citrus, pine, large amount of malty sweetness, tropical fruits. The sweetness once again surprised me, but it was a hoppy sweetness as opposed to a huge malty sweetness. That said, I would like a little less of that and more bitter notes. This is an attempt at a HopSlam-type DIPA, but it's not really close.

M - Medium, good carbonation, pine/resin finish.

O - A solid DIPA, but not mind-blowing at all. A little too much sweetness and not enough citrus/floral hops. Too many other awesome DIPA's out there for me to worry about going back to this one any time soon. Slightly above average. (974 characters)

Photo of dfernandez77
3.54/5  rDev -17.7%
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 mactrail
3.53/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Pours a handsome dark coppery amber color. Nice head in the small Societe nonic. Plenty of lacing and a nice sudsy mouthfeel. Big flowery and resiny aroma.

The initial taste is really hot. Quite fruity followed by a searing bitterness. "Come as the fire, and burn," if there are any Methodist hop enthusiasts. The sharpness is almost painful, but this stuff is so full of fruit. Mango, pineapple, and apple juice concentrate.

This just adds yet another fiendish hop potion to the pharmacy. For those in need of a fix, here's your Daddy. From the 22 bottle bought at Liticker's in Ocean Beach. (594 characters)

Photo of trxxpaxxs
3.53/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Huge thanks to BrewtifulMind for gifting this bottle to me. I've wanted to try it for quite awhile...

A: Pours a nice copper/amber with about half finger of off-white head. The foam takes a while to dissipate, but leaves great lacing on the glass as it drinks.

S: The nose has components of big citrus, malt, and flowers. It smells nice, but it's a little too sweet for my liking.

T: It starts out sweet with a nice balance between malt, hops, and booze. The bitters mellow out the malt in the middle, and the alcohol comes on strong in the finish.

M: Full bodied beer. Sweet and syrupy to start, finishes coating and boozy.

O: Good beer, but not my favorite. I'm happy to have tried it, but I don't know if I'd ever seek this out again. (742 characters)

Photo of harrymel
3.5/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Andrew for this brew, Cheer's andrew!
Bottled: unk

A: Pours a blood orange ale with single finger light tan head. This dissipates relatively quickly leaving a medium sheet of the same. Little to no lacing. Excellent clarity.

S: Lots of pine and resin on this one. Not as much citrus as anticipated. Some hints of cotton candy. ABV obvious here. Plenty sweet from the ABV and malt profile. Above average, but not great.

T: Sweet, boozy, hot on the ABV again. Plenty of pineapple, pine, resin flavors. Medium to low bitterness on this one.

M: Medium to high body with low carbonation. Long slick finish.

O: Well done brew, but would take any of Alpine's offerings over this any day of the week. ABV isn't justified in the relative simplicity of the flavor profile. (778 characters)

Photo of zhanson88
3.48/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

On tap at the source.

Appearance: Pours a slightly hazy caramel color. About 1/2" of off white head forms on the pour, which has good retention decent lacing. Pretty good looking IPA all in all.

Smell: A definitive caramel malt backbone is apparent, which is a good thing because of the heavy dose of citrus that follows. Not getting a whole lot else aside from that, but there is more than enough flavor packed in with just those two scents to make up for lack of complexity.

Taste: Mirrors the smell. Very prevalent caramel malts that makes the beer a bit sweet for me. The hops are a blast of 100% citrus. A bit overdone, and just adds right on to the sweetness that is already there. Still a good IPA with tons of flavor, but I could do with a bit more subtlety.

Mouthfeel/Overall: Medium body with moderate carbonation. Pretty solid feel, but not the most drinkable IPA due to the ABV and flavor spectrum. Overall, I found this beer to be pretty good all in all, but it falls into the "just okay" category for me. Many other Cali IPAs that I prefer over this. (1,069 characters)

Photo of drabmuh
3.4/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Received in a trade with womencantsail, shared at a recent tasting. I wanted to like this beer, I was rooting for it but it just didn't live up to what I expect from a DIPA. I would try it again on draft but I think I would skip it in the bottle if offered again.

Beer is ruby red, it's darker than I expected, almost looks like nugget nectar, I guess that's fine, mostly clear, thin off white head of small bubbles. Like I said, it was dark but looks OK.

Aroma is earthy and malty, I was warned that this is a maltier IPA, the aroma reveals that.

I think this beer walks the line between a DIPA and a barleywine but in my opinion falls on the barleywine side of the line. It is sweet, the middle of the beer is a little earthy and piny and finishes with some nice bitterness but it's not a great DIPA by any measure. At least I don't think so. (848 characters)

Photo of Centennial
3.4/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

First time having this and I know it has some age on the bottle so this review will be based upon that. Serving- 22oz bottle poured into pint glass

Appearance- A lighter amber with golden color shining through when held up to light and overall pretty clear.

Smell- Citrus, Honey and hop spiciness

Taste- crisp and hoppy when cold but after it warms to room temperature some weird barleywine and bready qualities

Mouthfeel- Clean, a little syrupy.

Overall- Not bad, but not what the hype makes it to be. I need to try this fresh when the next batch comes out to give my final review. (589 characters)

Photo of ArrogantB
3.38/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A friend shared this bottle and I had mixed feelings about this beer. It looked like it was a dark orange color with a small wispy head. The smell was quite hoppy, pine and citrus. The flavor was also nce and hoppy with more pine but it was also sweet, syrupy, and astringent. I was happy to only have to finish eleven ounces because a full bomber would be too much. (366 characters)

Photo of DovaliHops
3.36/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Awesome extra in a recent trade. Pours a hazy, mahogany color with a small, off-white head that disappears quickly. Scent is packed with tropical fruit, citrus hops, and more tropical aromas. Has a very sweet aroma with a pretty heavy malt backbone. The aroma is very nice on this one. Taste is interesting. It starts off with some lovely tropical fruit flavors...it kinda gets messy here. Flavor is VERY boozy and sweet. And it's very hard to get over this stage... The hops seem to have been very mute in this beer, and the booze and sweetness take over. I'm really hoping this is just an old or bad bottle, because I've heard great things and been wanting to try this for a very long time. Mouthfeel is nicely carbonated and slightly sticky. Drinkability is not very high. Overall, pretty disappointed in this one. Way too sweet and boozy. I can handle sweet and boozy IPAs if the hops are there to back it up, but they just weren't there. Wish they put dates on their bottles so I could see if this was just a really old bottle. (1,032 characters)

Photo of mothman
3.25/5  rDev -24.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours 1 finger of creamy beige head. Color is a lot darker for a dipa. It is a dark amber gold.

Aroma: A lot maltier than I was expecting for a Cali DIPA. Very bready with some caramel malt flavors. It is still hoppy. Floral and a bit citrusy.

Taste: Again, this DIPA is malty. It is kind of off putting. It is hoppy, but all the bready malts bog it down. Some citrus fruits. Floral notes. Biscuit flavors.

Mouthfeel: Bitter and creamy. Medium bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. Ends with a sticky hoppy aftertaste.

Overall, I was surprised to see this on the top 100 list. It just isn't a very exciting DIPA. Not something I would really want a lot of. (667 characters)

Photo of phingdong
3.24/5  rDev -24.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Tried 2 bottles that I was told were within a month of bottling. Thanks to my trading partner for chance to try this.

A - Much darker than I expected. A nice looking brown/amber with a two finger creamy head.

S - First smell is of faint juicy, dank hops which quickly fades to a sweet, malty (apple juice) aroma. Smells like an old IPA.

T - I was told this would be a bit maltier than most west coast DIPAs, but wow was it malty. The malts overpower any hops that are trying to get through here. Much too sweet with a bit too much alcohol coming through.

M - Great mouthfeel. Very creamy and thick bodied. Coats nicely.

Overall this beer was a letdown for me. Not what I have come to expect or enjoy from a west coat DIPA. Too sweet and malty, with no hop explosion to speak of. I'm glad I was able to try it. I'd like to try it again on tap to see if it is any better. (875 characters)

Photo of kojevergas
3.24/5  rDev -24.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

650ml brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a .5L New Belgium goblet (thanks Long!) in me gaff in low altitude Los Feliz, California. Acquired at a beer store near my work. Expectations are above average; I don't recall having anything impressive from this brewery and American-brewed IPAs often disappoint with their penchant for dicksizing IBUs and hop content. Still, I remain hopeful. 10.00% ABV confirmed.

Served straight from the refrigerator and allowed to warm a bit before serving. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a two finger beige=light khaki colour head of nice full cream, good thickness, and great retention for the high ABV. Body colour is a nontransparent somewhat dull copper-amber. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show. Rather dark compared to most good beers in the style that I've had. It's not looking great, but the head does impress me.

Sm: Soapy hops. Floor cleaning liquid. Floral hop character. Some buried citrus when I really dig. Dries the nostrils. Not at all appealing. It just seems like a beer that will drain the palate for no particular reason. I'm not at all excited for this. A moderately strong aroma.

T/Mf: Soapy, but with a lightly creamy pine surge towards the climax. Floral hops are rampant throughout. Some grapefruit, but also some berry towards the finish; the bright berry is unexpected but adds a dimension. Hop bitterness is well disguised, but it still dries the hell out of the mouthfeel and lends the flavour a musty character that I'm not fond of. Sort of an unwarranted scratchy coarseness. It's otherwise pleasantly wet and thick enough. Carbonation is good; no problems there. Pale and amber malts just sort of sit there, helping build a backbone and lending body but not adding anything of interest. Seems a lot more attention was paid to the hops than the malts, and they don't work all that well together as a result. Decently balanced, but then the key to this style is balance. What it does do well is hide its high ABV - which is quite an achievement at 10.00%. That said, I could guess its ABV just by its heavy presence on the palate. She does get better as she warms, with light caramelized malt and more of the berry seeping in to offer a struggle against the overbearing hops. I acclimate to the soapiness as I drink, but I doubt I'll fully get past it. The finish is a definite highlight, almost evoking a bit of nectar. It's growing on me over time, but its flaws only minimize - they do not diminish completely. No yeast comes through.

Dr: Very drinkable for the high ABV, but not a contender in this style. When you brew this style, you have to bring more to the table if you want to stay afloat. I get what they're trying to do, and it's different from most beers in the style out there. Different, yes, but not better - though I applaud the experimentation. This is one every true fan of the style should try, but don't expect a beer of impeccable balance. This is its key flaw. I look forward to trying more beers from the brewery; this really shows promise. Would I get it again? Nope.

B- (3,155 characters)

Photo of Samuel906
3.17/5  rDev -26.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Honestly, I don't know what all the hubbub about this beer is. I was pretty disappointed. Best thing about this is the way it looks, a deep dark amber with the fluffiest head I have ever seen. Smell was lots of grapefruit but muddied and sweet. Taste wasn't too far behind. Sweet molasses, orange, caramel, mango and very yeasty. Very heavy and syrupy. This was thick, sticky, sweet, and hard to drink, and the hops seemed distant. The only thing I can think is that I got a bum bottle that wasn't fresh. I am willing to try this again if I could guarantee the freshness but as it stands, a pass for me. (603 characters)

Photo of Huhzubendah
3.06/5  rDev -28.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle shared by Darrell. Thanks!

A: Dark orange hue with a half inch of head and good lacing upon the glass.

S: Aroma is a bit odd and hard to describe. Hop scents are also present.

T: Bold and hop forward, but again, slightly off-putting and astringent.

M: Medium bodied and palate coating, with a slight metallic aftertaste.

D: This beer was mediocre. I found both the aroma and flavor to be a bit off throughout. (421 characters)

Photo of AleWatcher
2.95/5  rDev -31.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Shared this bottle at a tasting... Served in pints.
Thanks to Sideswipe for the chance!

Pours a dark amber color... 2 finger off-white head. Respectable retention and lace. Not impressed, but not bad.

Smells malty. Real malty. Caramel and biscuit with some toasted bread notes too. Very biscuity. The hops are mostly floral and citrus-- they come in weak compared to the malts...

The taste starts off caramel sweet but dries a little to reveal biscuity and toasty flavors. The hops are grapefruit, orange and floral... Decent balance, but no real bitterness to cut through the sweetness up front. I prefer a bit more punch. The body is generically middle of the road. Medium full feel with some syrupy tendencies and some lingering oiliness. I prefer prickly and clean. The bitterness has an odd and unpleasant coffee-like quality that really doesn't belong.

Overall, this beer just isn't my preferred take on the style. (926 characters)

Photo of unitmonster
2.86/5  rDev -33.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served out of a 22oz bomber from the last release in July.

A - Standard yellow IPA/DIPA color. Generous head.

S - Alcohol, followed by hoppy pine and citrus smells.

T - More alcohol. This DIPA feels so imbalanced. Tons of malt flavor and really warm alcohol.

M - Great carbonation, finishes well.

O - Am I drinking the same beer as everyone else? I've had this and thought it was pretty bad. I had a small tasting and other people thought the same thing (note: different bottles that I did not buy). I feel like there are far better DIPAs out there then this. (565 characters)

Photo of yeahnatenelson
2.68/5  rDev -37.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottled 7/7/11 - consumed 2 1/2 weeks from bottling.

Appearance -- pours a ruddy golden amber with a thick sudsy parchment head. Lots of lace. Photogenic, albeit a bit dark.

Smell -- Brimming with caramel malt, juicy citrus, and pineapple. There is also some hop-derived spiciness that seems to hang in the background. To describe the smell in one word: sticky.

Taste -- Tangerine and pineapple, plum and assorted drupes - very fruit-forward, with a modicum of spiciness and mild leafy bitterness. Caramel malt sweetness is quite apparent without the necessary hop bittering to lend balance. decent complexity, but as time progress the malt sweetness begins to taste cloying. Lingering flavors of caramel malt, sticky ripe fruit, and faint leafy vegetation.

Mouthfeel -- Medium-bodied with moderate carbonation and a hint of booze bite. Sticky/oily finish.

Overall -- Is there huge batch variation or what? I just don't see how this beer has earned it's accolades. It's sticky sweet and terribly lacking in crisp hop bitterness that typifies the style. If somebody told me this was their 90 Minute IPA homebrew clone, I would tell them they did a fairly convincing job.

Your mileage may vary. (1,198 characters)

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Knuckle Sandwich from Bootlegger's Brewery
95 out of 100 based on 246 ratings.