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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: 1,042
Avg: 4.28
pDev: 22.2%
Wants: 442
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: 1,042
Photo of Sammy
3.75/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at The Bruery Provisions store and bar. There was some buzz about this beer, where it will be on tap and the like. I found it to be a bang on DIPA, but not living up to any hype. Golden orange coloured body. Orange taste, the IBU certainly up there. Leaning on the bitterness, but still balanced. Middle bodied. What's not to like.

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Photo of Slackerville
3.75/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Not a beer for the timid.

At double digits for ABV I was skeptical considering the prevalence of double IPAs at breweries recently that have overpowering sweetness from unfermented sugars. That was not the case with this beer, great hop character initially on the nose and mouth, then finished clean, crisp, and strong. Overall lots of hops, body, and of course alcohol. Knuckle Sandwich is probably about as balanced as this can get since any aging would negatively affect the rich, fresh hop nose and make the beer more bitter than desired.

It's great to see how often Bootlegger's rotates through different beer styles at their brewery and a wide range of 22 oz bottle offerings can be found throughout Orange County.

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Photo of SFLpunk
3.76/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to DarthKostrizer for this one! 22oz brown glass pry-top bottle. No date.

Pours a reddish amber with thin, off-white head. Crystal clear. Luscious citrus and piney hops on the nose with a caramel aroma too. Palate is spritely with hops, bitterness and slick, sweet medium amber malt in the center. Well, rounded bitter IIPA with some sweetness. Solid.

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Photo of Rhettroactive
3.77/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From 22oz bomberto Hess imperial pint glass on 1/23/12
*From notes

-- Muchos gracias, Samantha --

A: Pretty God damn dark. like an amber or fair brown ale. A standard pour yields a fluffy two finger head that sticks around. Beautiful and dense lacing rims the glass as the head slowly fades.

S: It's most certainly hoppy. The tropical, almost floral vibe on this is outstanding.

T: How the nose leads to this, I don't know. It's like two different beers, as this is much maltier then I expected. Sure it's bitter and piney, but there's minimal fruit to it. The finish is bitingly dry.

M: Above average, but not much more. The carbonation could use a bit more touch, and the overall body feels like a rough draft.

O: Not the beer I was hoping for. In fact I really don't get where the hype is coming from. The name, maybe the killer label? I don't know man. What I do know is that Knuckle Sandwich is a reasonably good beer, but with so many other DIPA options out there, I don't know if I'd track this down again.

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Photo of CliffBrake
3.77/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to breaks808 for the bottle. Appreciate him going out of his way to track this down before it evaporated.

Deep orange color with a light head that leaves pretty lacing. Very dark for a DIPA, which is seems like a hint of things to come.

Pleasant and pronounced floral/fruity aroma. Very different than any IPA I have experienced before. Strawberry is the dominant note that I pick up here. Smells great but very unexpected.

Fruity hops share the spotlight with a big caramel malt base. The hops show a bit of pine toward the finish.

Fuller body than most DIPA's - malty and mouth-coating.

A tasty beer. Well suited to dessert or sipping after-dinner. I think it seems more like a barleywine than a DIPA. An east-coast style DIPA from the west coast???? That is a first for me!

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Photo of jsanford
3.79/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz bomber from clarkenstein (cheers!). Poured into a Pint Glass.

Pours a hazy dark copper with a fluffy off-white head that hangs around for a bit, eventually leaving streaky lacing as it settles to a squat cap. Big aromas of pine resin, tropical fruit, grapefruit, and some slightly sweet caramel malt. Taste is a bit of a let-down from the nose, not as tropical as I was hoping. Lots of pine resin and grapefruit in there, though, with more sweet caramel malt and a bit of noticeable alcohol "burn". Mouthfeel is smooth, slightly sticky, with a touch-over-medium body and good, sharp carbonation. Overall a solid DIPA, I just wish the taste lived up to the amazing nose!

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Photo of KickInTheChalice
3.79/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a pint glass. Thanks to PeprSprYoFace for sending me this.

Appearance: The appearance of this beer is phenomenal. A full cherry copper color with a rich, creamy white head. Sheets of lace have great cling.

Smell: The aroma is very sweet, and this sweetness begins the downfall of Knuckle Sandwich. Lots of full caramel notes balance or even overpower grapefruit and sticky pine aromas.

Taste: The malt presence is full and bready. A soft honey sweetness grows until it is a nearly out of control caramel bomb. Where are the hops? When the grapefruit, apricot, and pine bitterness finally come in, it is too little too late. The sweet malt controls the flavor the whole time. A light alcohol presence is noticeable at the end, but nothing out of the ordinary for a 10% DIPA.

Mouthfeel: The body is fuller than I would really prefer and almost chewy from the strong malt presence. The tight carbonation works well with the full body, providing a light creaminess and still guiding excess flavors off the tongue with each sip. A bit of alcohol burn in the back of the throat.

Overall: When I first started drinking IPA's, I liked beers that had a nice malt sweetness to go along with a strong hop presence. Now, just give me the hops. I can see why this is popular, it is just is not quite what I am looking for.

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Photo of Satchboogie
3.87/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into a tulip

A: Pours copper, slightly hard to see through, 2-finger off-white head. Tight head with foamy top, great retention, and good lacing.

S: Huge orange, grapefruit, pineapple, pine, and mango. Very tropical. There seems to be a good bit of sweetness. Slight hint of vegetal in the background.

T: Big let-down from the nose. Not as much tropical and bright fruit as I was expecting. More herbal and pine with a lot of astringency, lots of grapefruit. Extremely sharp flavors and bitterness. Big sweet malt base akin to a fresh American Barleywine. Sharp bitterness in the finish (semi-dry), slight vegetal quality too. Alcohol is warm and noticeable in the taste.

M: Close to full carbonation, moderate carbonation. Sweet and malty and a semi-dry finish, not all that crisp/clean and refreshing (a tad bit boozy).

O: This is more like a fresh American Barleywine than a DIPA in my opinion. It doesn't have that bright, clean character with a light malt base that I come to expect from a DIPA. To sweet and almost briny at times. The alcohol presence isn't bad for a 10% beer, but I also don't like any alcohol character in my IPAs/DIPAs. A good DIPA, but overhyped I believe.

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Photo of FosterJM
3.92/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

3rd review on BA.

bottle poured to pint glass

App- Dark hued copper slightly lighter than the bottle poured from. Two finger head looks a bit like a ligher colored pancake mix with good carbonation. Tightly wound lacing as it falls

Smell- Huge smell with grand hops with a touch of lemon and orange IMO. Citrus is on first smell as it develops a touch of raspberries.

Taste- Nuttiness with maltiness on the back end of the tongue. Tasted a bit of roasted walnuts and more of a deep malt.

Mouth- Left a small resiny feel on the inside on the cheeks, tongue was pleasently suprised after seeing dark color yet tasting the big hop flavor

Drink- To me this was another one of those 1 beer per session beers. It's a big 10% that left me full.

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Photo of maximum12
3.92/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Redundant thanks again to Kyle2k10 for a trade that is reaching epidemic proportions, & knocking this long-time want off my list. 22 oz. bottle split with my wife.

First, nice bottle art...then the pour, which is lively, orange, & looks like is has hops, malt, & water. Orange, filtered, middling clear. Nose is promising, pine, grapefruit, with a backing band of light, sweet fruits.

Knuckle Sandwich is...balanced. Stingers of caramel come out of the firehose with bruising force. The pine & grapefruit in the nose comes through, but it's held down by the malts. Waves of sweet follow; a slow, moderate, lingering bitterness rounds the beer off. I'll give its due for being easy drinking, this is a beer of mass destruction.

A very good beer; a little less balance & heavier hand on the hops would have pushed this skyward easily. So close to great in this mouth. But, heck, I'd never turn one down.

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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.

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Photo of MacPhergus
3.97/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours a little cloudy, dark (about SRM 12), head hardly formed at all. Aroma sharp with pine. Very bitter flavor with a strong malt presence, kind of sweet. Good body, no alcohol burn at all.

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Photo of axeman9182
3.99/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bomber, thanks to DearthVader for the killer extra. This one was poured into my Duvel tulip.

Knuckle Sandwich pours pretty dark, it's straight up amber, moving towards a dark red. There are some very nice, clear light red highlights. There's a solid three fingers of light tan foam topping the beer, and it just sits there, taking its sweet time inching down the sides of the glass. Intricate webs of lacing are left behind, absolutely gorgeous looking beer. The nose is a little lacking in pungency, but there's a pretty nice orange aroma, with some caramel sweetness in the background. Caramel is present again at the front of the flavor profile, with a surprisingly mild hop bite following it. Back end hoppy flavors largely consist of the orange note from the nose, but with a bit of a citric tangerine element to it as well. The body is surprisingly light for a 10% beer, and it's paired with a nice bubbly carbonation. Knuckle Sandwich is a pretty tasty beer, and one with a less common hop profile. That said, with a name like that I was expecting much more of an all out hop assault.

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Photo of DefenCorps
4/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks, Shane! An awesome extra right off my wants list! I gather this is from the early January release.

Pouring surprisingly dark for the style, this is a clear, coppery red with a dense, off-white head that recedes to a disk, leaving a little lace. The nose is rather pungently hoppy with pine and spruce being most noticeable. Definitely spicy, the aroma definitely brings lijjat papad. Some malt sweetness is present too, but this is mostly driven by the hops . Reminiscent of Brass Knuckle, this is great stuff, a solid 4.25

The palate opens with a blend of sweetness that's a blend of both malt and hops. Mango, pine and spruce are all present, along with a mild toffee/ caramel character. I have a feeling my palate is permanently destroyed, 'cos this doesn't taste all *that* bitter, and it is tempered by the mild sweetness. Quite fruity, I do get some stone fruit as well, with some peach and maybe apricot. Drying on the finish, this has a little caramel, dark brown sugar and a moderate hoppy bitterness. Carbonation is mild, working quite well with the beer. Alcohol does appear, especially towards the finish, but it manages not to take too much away from the experience. Ultimately, the juicy, fruity hop character is an absolute pleasure to partake in, but having just finished my last pint of ABLE, this doesn't quite match up. Still, an excellent effort from this new to me brewery. Thanks again, Shane!

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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!

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Photo of Treebs
4/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Shared at the UFC tasting, small pour into my Deschutes snifter. I don't remember who brought this, but thanks!

A: Pours a hazy amber with a thin white head that recedes to a film ring.

S: Nice pine and some resin with a lingering fruity ester over a nice solid light caramel malt.

T: Slight sweet fruit with a nice resin-like quality with a very subtle pine in the background. Again the malty backbone is integrated nicely.

M: Medium bodied with a nice malty flavor that lingers with some bitterness. Nicely carbonated as well.

O: Not my favorite DIPA, but it was definitely a want for me and I'm glad I got to try it.

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Photo of silentjay
4/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

hazy dark copper/brown color with a very big light tan head that sticks around a while, lacing well.

lots of grapefruit and citrus hops with some tropical fruits and some candy sweetness.

flavor starts with tropical fruit, candied fruits, grapefruit, citrus. a bit of pine. flavors are in your face, but alcohol is not harsh in the least for a 10% ABV.

medium bodied with decent carbonation and a good amount of lingering resin.

Very strong entry into the DIPA field. Nothing I haven't had before in some other beers, but a very solid in-your-face DIPA.

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Photo of RaulMondesi
4.03/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Um, I'm not really sure what Bootleggers is trying to go with here. Very copper and East Coast in color like a R Kelly remix; still, the aroma is lush with West Coast tropical fruits like R Kelly walked out of the closet and made a smoothie. It's slightly sticky (which Raul likes) buts it's a bit sugary like a factory made dessert at your local elementary school.

I don't know... it's perplexing. I like it, but like a David Lynch film, jump in and get ready for a varied result.

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Photo of iadler
4.03/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber poured into a Surly glass. Thanks Brian for this!

A- Reddish hue that has a less than 1 finger head that dissipates quickly

S- Pine, grapefruit, caramel, and a hint of banana. The smell makes it seem like it's going to be a hop bomb

T- Grapefruit and other citrus notes hit immediately, followed by sweet carmel malt and a slight boozy finish

M- Medium carbonation, fairly smooth yet a little chewy. Finishes dry and hard to detect the high ABV

O- A very good DIPA. Beautiful color and pretty balanced for the style. Glad I got to try to this and would be happy to have again.

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Photo of joepais
4.03/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Deuane for sharing this treat with me. We poured the brew into strait glasses and were greeted with a nice two finger white head that laced it way all the way down the glass. The body of the brew was a nice shade of amber. This is a west coast IPA no bones about it. The nose is hoppy and citric good grassiness and floral notes. The flavor is hop bitter forward with almost no malt sweetness coming through. I can see why the Hopheads dig it. The flavor is bitter hops upfront with an ever slight malt sweetness making this brew a very drinkable DIPA. The body is medium with great carbonation adding to the ease of consumption. Yes this is definitely one of the better west coast DIPA I have had this year.

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Photo of OlieIPA
4.03/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A growler that was purchased and given to me by my very lovely girlfriend. Thanks babe!

A: A dark and deep amber color that supports a 1 ½ inch cream colored head. The lacing is pretty intense as well, leaving streaks along the side of my Alpine glass.

S: A very pronounced pine-like aroma that is back up with strong malt backbone. To better describe it, the smell reminds me of a bunch pine needles packed into a very bland muffin.

T: Robust hop and alcohol presence upfront that is then followed by perhaps the most complex malt bill for any D IPA I've ever had. The malt body first hits with a variety of spicy notes, including black pepper, but then transforms into a very musky brown sugar finish. The alcohol seems to add to finish as well, bringing out a slight woody note.

M: Has a full-body feel to it, a little heavy for the style, but never the less...still alright with me. On the other hand, the finish is slightly dry...most appropriate for the style.

D: The more and more I think about it, there's a lot similarities between this DIPA and the ones Avery puts out...extremely malty with a powerful hop punch. A lot of times, I find their beers hard to finish...but this one has something to it that makes it slightly easier to gulp down. Not sure what it is, perhaps it's the complex malt bill...or how well the alcohol is hidden. Overall, this is something I would definitely order two pints of.

Overall: A definite Knuckle Sandwich to say the least...I think I may even have black eye from it. A must try. Cheers!

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Photo of McStagger
4.03/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Not been impressed with this brewery thus far. Still, this one approaches whale status, so I figured I'd see what the hype was about.

A: Rich ruby/amber. Half finger of off white head. Carbonation is moderate, with tiny bubbles rising to the surface. Retention is moderate, lacing is stellar.

S: Big caramel malts. Bruising, even. Hops are evergreen, grapefruit. Some alcohol in the nose. Underlying sweet stone fruit, hint tropical. Seems muted, given the name.

T: Much, much better than the nose. This one hits and hits hard. Hops are hugely sweet. Tons of stone fruit, tropical fruit. Spruce and pine and lemon peel on the end. Huge maltiness helps to accentuate the tropical hit. Sweetness is borderline cloying, but the bitterness pops in at the last second to balance it out. Fruitiness of the hops comes back into play in the finish. Very, very fruity finish. Not terribly dry.

M: Very light bodied for the crazy high abv. No alcohol detected whatsoever.

O: Not your dry west coast IPA. Way too malty for my taste, but the quality is there.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
4.04/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

650 mL bottle poured into an Allagash chalice.

Appearance - Burnt orange, clear body. Big white head. Laces nicely and sustains a collar with a layer of surface foam.

Smell - Really nice pine hop aroma. Strong hops with an equally strong malt aroma. Some booze in there too.

Taste - Pine and grapefruit hops immediately backed up by a toasty malt. Sweet, but not overly so. Biscuity malt. Some booze here too.

Mouthfeel - Medium heavy, sharp alcohol bite. Reminds me of Hopslam.

Overall - I get that it's good, maybe better than good, but not quite what I've read about this. Plenty of other IPAs, especially where this one is from, that go toe to toe with this.

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Photo of RBassSFHOPit2ME
4.05/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Everything about this DIPA is good. Not felling the great or wow factor in the recent hype it's received for about 6-8 months now.

Has this beer I want to say 3-4 months ago, picking up a bottle from Beer Revolution in Oakland and they would only sell one bottle per person, hiding it in the back. Said that it's been in the store for 4 days so pretty fresh I assumed.

Where citrus is to WC Dipa's I got a creme brulee and fresh vibrant hop caramel with some pine in the finish. Both nose and taste. Reminds me of a well-done midwest, teetering on East Coast DIPA. Nice change of pace.

Mouthfeel was light and pillowy. Creamy almost. Light carbonation gave a great creamy mouthfeel to a 10% DIPA...what booze?

Just missed by expectations due to hype but did not dissapoint in the least.

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Photo of corby112
4.05/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On draft at the brewery and at Bruery Provisions.

Pours a clear golden orange color with a one finger white foam head that quickly settles into a lasting ring.  Streaks of lace left behind.

Floral, dank hop aroma with balance of earthy pine, citrus fruit notes and pale malt.  Strong pine needle presence along with pineapple and lemon peel followed by biscuity malts and subtle alcohol.

Chewy body thats fuller than expected with a really nice balance of earthy, grassy hops, tropical/citrus fruit and pale malts.  Dry and bitter up front with piny hops lingering over the sweeter notes.  Hints of pineapple, grapefruit and lemon peel countered by a  nice malt presence that provides balance without interfering with the hop flavors.  Subtle hints of biscuit and graham cracker before finishing with some boozy heat. The alcohol flavor towards the end of the palate takes away from the hops a bit but overall this beer is pretty good.

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