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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 coldmeat23
4.92/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

GLASS: St. Bernardus Oversized Wine Glass
TEMP: Cellared @ approx 45 degrees
Thanks to RodBurg for this one!

This pours up a dark shade of amber with some light ruby tinting. It is slightly darker than anticipated, for a DIPA. (Still looks great, though!) A head of creamy looking, white-colored, foam sits on top. It forms a head that is about a finger thick, then recedes to a very nice surface covering. The lacing is thick and very sticky.

Hops are absolutely front and center with this one....as they should be. Lots of resinous, 'green', dank notes are here, mingling with some nicely sharp citrus notes and even some passing tropical hints. Pine, grapefruit, orange, lemon zest, pineapple, mango, nectarine....it just keeps on going. A light hint of earthiness. A definite touch of caramel malt sweetness is on the backside of this one.

This is a beer with a great sense of balance to it. The hops are definitely the star and make themselves known, right away. They come out bitter and fruity, which is a touch of balance, on it's own. Then the maltiness comes in, just a little bit, to bring a touch of sweetness to the mix. The hops come back up with a good deal of pine notes. They bring a wonderful earthiness with them which gives a good touch of dryness to the finish.

This is medium-to-full-bodied and has a light-to-almost-medium level of carbonation. This works very well for this particular beer. It allows it to remain crisp, yet have a good dose of creaminess which makes it very smooth and enjoyable.

This is one exceptional beer. It is full of big, rich, bold flavors. They are balanced out to the almost perfect level. They don't 'battle' with each other, they let each other have their own chance to shine. It is delicious and beautiful.
On top of that, the 10.00%abv is absolutely nowhere to be found! You probably couldn't drink this one all night, but you could seriously drink it until you fell over! The best part is that you'd have no idea why you were no longer able to stand...of your on accord.
Seek this one out, people.

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Photo of dragonWhale
4.62/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

had on tap at the tasting room. Only enough time and sobriety for a halfpint of one beer, so I had to go with this. It only seemed logical. Amber and sexily foamed up above the cloudiness. Aromas popping high into the air. I wave my whiskers from above, peering into the beer's soul. Grapefruit and sticky pine. The resins dominate, with some sweet malt and a little alcohol. It's exceptionally drinkable, truly it is. The balance is excellent between the sweet malts and the titanic hop presence. Big bitterness up front cut into by the malt sweetness, followed up with waves of hopgasms. Resinous, sensual, yes, delicious. Perhaps one day I shall return, Bootlegger's.

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

Poured from a bomber into a pint glass. Purchased at Wades Wines, my local bottle shop; Lucky me.

A-Dark amber color, slightly opaque with a solid head

S- Strong alcohol presence, just the way I like it.

T- Bitter, Hoppy, Malty, All around great tasting beer.

M- Strong taste, a little overbearing but still great.

O- A great beer a bit difficult to come by but will try to get my hands on it whenever I can.

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Photo of whatthehull
4.66/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured (last night 3-8-11) into a New Belgium snifter

A - a cloudy blood orange, 1 finger off white head and nice lacing

S - grapefruit, huge citrus hop, pine, sap, sweet malt, bong resin, Oaked bourbon, fresh mango, pineapple, some orange, beautiful hops and sweetness. A really friendly bitterness. Man this is awesome

T - the alcohol is up front, but it's so nice. Hops galore. Sweet malt, beautiful citrus fruits, especially grapefruit, very nice floral. Such a balanced beer

M - light, fluffy, carbonated, sweetness sticks around, coats the mouth in beautiful ipa glory

D - for the hop head and hop scared alike. Very nice, easy to drink and even easier to enjoy!

Final thought - The price is high @ $6.49, but it is so excellent. Can't say a bad thing about this beer!

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Photo of AleWatcher
2.95/5  rDev -31.1%
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.

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Photo of LBBeer
4.84/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On Tap at The Factory Gastrobar in Long Beach, CA.

A--Deep Copper color, ivory head. Not much lacing.

S-Deep sweet malt note, combined with bright citrus, and a balanced floral note.

T-This is my favorite beer currently being brewed because there is a giant dose of sweet malt to go along with and absurdly good citrusy hop profile. I have gone head-to-head against Port's Mongo and Drake's Denogginizer, and found them to be poor substitutes.

M-When I take a drink of this beer, for a second it feels like a really well-built European ale, and then the hops catch up and its true awesomeness is asserted.

D--Honestly, I could use even a bit more malt, and a skosh of roastiness.

There is no better double IPA.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.83/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a clear dark amber color with a HUGE 3 inch bone colored head. Thick foamy ring lacing on the drink down. A very beautiful beer. Smells of fresh pine hops, sweet malts, peach/nectarine. Taste is beyond delicious. Herbal piney hops, sweet malt base, and a very tropical peach-like fruitiness. Hardly any lingering bitterness on the tongue. 10% ABV is extremely well hidden in this beer. Good carbonation with a medium body. Slightly creamy and sticky. Drinkability is absolutely perfect. Very hoppy but without extreme bitterness, tasty malt backbone, and a wonderful fruity taste. I only bought one bottle and I wish I bought more. I will be on the lookout for this one from now on. A must try if you see it.

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Photo of PeprSprYoFace
4.88/5  rDev +14%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

One of the best IPA's I've ever had. Better than hopslam. Maybe not as good as Younger, Elder or Heady Topper but I might have to give it 4th place.

On Tap at Bootlegger's in OC. Super fresh.

Pours an amber honey color. Very clear with a very nice sticky white head and lacing. Very good lookin beer.

Aroma isn't as good as the IPA's I listed that were better but still pretty good. Very citrucy hops. Little bit of peach and tangerene.

Taste is awesome. Sweet like a hopslam but the hop profile is better IMO. Tons of citrus and peaches and a bit of honey. Sooo tasty.

Mouthfeel is perfect. Sweet and malty but not chewy. The hop bitterness and the malt profile makes it feel amost dry and malty at the same time. If it's possible.

Overall an awesome beer that I hope they expand their brewery for so they can make it all the time and it won't be in such short supply.

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Photo of UnknownKoger
4.6/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had a half pint at the brewery and then got my growler filled. I was interested to see how the almighty Knuckle Sandwich would hold up in growler form. Suffice to say, I'm not disappointed.

Poured from my growler into a Sierra Nevada pint glass. Opening the growler one day after getting it, there is still a ton of carbonation! There was a very audible pop and hiss followed by the lovely citrusy, piney aroma hitting my nose.

Color is great. Reddish copper. Very thin head which dies away quickly. Maintains its carbonation.

Taste is outstanding. This is one of my favorite DIPAs. It's not too overwhelming. The citrus and piney character of the hops works perfectly with the sweet caramel-y malts. At 10%, there is some booze present in the taste, but not enough to make me feel like I'm getting punched in the face.

This is an absolutely fantastic beer and very deserving of thefullpint.com's beer of the year award. Cheers!

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Photo of MiloHoP
5/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours out a orange/red, nice 2 finger head and lacing on tulip glass.

Smells like fresh fruits, pine smell, HUGE aroma on this. Nice sweet caramel smell malt on it as well.

Tastes how it smells fresh hop taste, with fruits on front with a nice balance of hops and malt backbone finish leaves you wanting more. 10% not detectable on this treat of a drink.

This is a dangerous beer for the non suspecting. Lives up to its name, drink too many its like Mike Tyson punching you in the face in his prime.

This beer belongs in the top tier of DIPA's in my opinion. Has all you want in that category and more. This is on my TOP 3 in the style, great brew Bootlegger's! Perfect score in my books.

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Photo of Sideswipe
4.37/5  rDev +2.1%
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

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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.

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Photo of cdkrenz
4.1/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Deep reddish brown body with transparency allowing images through clearly. Head is superb at two plus inches with a thick, frothy, firm texture and top of the line stamina. This is an amazing looking DIPA.

S - Citrus hops are clear and evident as they fill the room upon pour. I cannot wait to sample this hoppy brew.

T - Citrus and leafy hops accompanied by a slightly sweet malty backdrop.

M - Ever so slight coarse feel along the top of my tongue. Thick and chewy feel throughout with a sticky remnant on my lips.

~ This is a solid brew. One that I would love to sample from a fresh tap. I bet this bad boy really packs a punch when only a week in the keg.

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

22oz bottle.

Pours clear amber with a quarter inch head of beige. A thin whisp of fine bubbles remained on the surface for the duration as well as a few errant dots of lacing.

Aromatics lead off with a nice combination of pine and tropical fruit. Very much smelling like a So. Cal IPA. Spruce sap, tangerines, apricots, mangos, peaches, and melons. No dankness found to speak of, just plenty of citrus and a hint of pine.

Medium bodied with a light chew and a mild tackiness. Residuals and resins lend some gumminess to the mouthfeel.

Plump, juicy malt and fruit-laden hops start the palate. Grapefruit, apricots, peaches, and pine resin with sweet malt. A nice malt backbone but surprisingly malt-forward for a So. Cal IPA.
Medium bitterness for the style with some lingering sweetness.

Finishes with juicy malt, tropical fruit, and crushed pine boughs.

Tasty beer and somewhat fresh. A bit more malt than I like in my IIPA's though and on the sweet side. The nose is less than pungent also.

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

Tasting notes from 2/4/11.
Thanks to Ultraman9000 for this one.
Poured in to Duvel tulip.

A - Medium amber colour with one finger of thick & bubbly off-white head that stuck around for a while. Translucent. Appears filtered.

S - Citrus hops hit the nose at first - grapefruit and tangerine - followed by a sweet caramel malt backbone.

T - Citrus and piney hops and a sweet caramel malt backbone. Very bitter, especially in the finish but overall a well balanced DIPA.

M - Medium body, chewy. Lightly carbonated.

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Photo of AgentZero
4.48/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Bright orange color with a small head and good lacing. No where else to really go with this one.

S - Tropical fruit, grassy hops, little bittering, nice citrus. Caramel malt backbone is surrounded nicely by the hops. Good stuff.

T - This is a great tasting and shockingly awesome beer. Citrus hops and tropical fruits and a nice sweetness and the caramel in the malts is not overpowering. Alcohol is indetectible in this one.

M - Medium bodied with medium carbionation.

D - Dangerously drinkable at 10%, and a grea beer I'd love to have again.

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Photo of roodie
4.3/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

poured from a bottle into a maudite tulip

A: dark amber, with latte colored ~1 finger foam head. low retention of head. no obvious lasting carbonation, moderate lacing.

S: hops and caramel. bitter and resin-y.

T: what you smell is what you get. truly a great mix of hops and caramel, not hop or malt forward. bitter on the end.

M: very smooth, once again the hops and malts balance each other out. would benefit from more carbonation.

D: drinking this beer is a great experience. loving the smell and the taste. easy to drink, but it hides it's ABV, so don't drink too many!

O: if you can get this beer, DO IT! i am open to picking this up for people and doing trades for beers i can't get here in CA.

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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.

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Photo of beagle75
4.24/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into a tulip glass.

A: Clear, medium amber color with two fingers of off-white foam head that diminishes to a large lofty pad. Heavy lacing remains.

S: Abundant pine and citrus is featured alongside a sweet toffee malt backbone, making for a full and encompassing smell. No alcohol is detected.

T: Begins off-dry, with juicy grapefruit flesh and expanding acidity. The heavy caramel grain emerges in the middle as hop aromatics begin to fade, while bracing bitterness joins peaking acidity. The finish is fairly dry, with quickly fading bitterness, grapefruit peel, and an herbaceous note. No alcohol is detected.

M: Medium viscosity, slightly acidic and syrupy on the palate, with moderate carbonation.

D: Knuckle Sandwich has it all--sweet malt, West Coast hops, and a robust dose of well-hidden alcohol. With intense smell and flavor, this beer only suffers from a lack of smoothness that becomes apparent once it touches the palate. It is similar to other, less alcoholic DIPAs such as Hair of the Dog Blue Dot and Deschutes Hop Henge (some of my favorites of the style). It destroys DIPAs of similar strength--Port Hop 15 and Avery's The Maharaja come to mind.

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Photo of Deuane
4.42/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

HUGE thanks to mrmiles for sending this very desired west coast DIPA in a thank you box! I missed this beer by a day at THREE different places on tap (including the brewery) during a recent trip to SoCal.

A-Deep, dark copper with a medium, fluffy, light tan head that reduced to a thin cap and left attractive decorative lace.

S-From the opening in the bottle I received a blast of fresh citrus hops. After my pour that same aroma remains but it is now blended with bitter grapefruit rind, a touch of pine, a little pineapple and spicy notes in the back. Malt sweetness is barely noticeable.

T-I was a bit concerned with how dark this beer was that the malt bill might get in the way of the hop beauty but no, I was wrong! A massive and wonderfully balanced (read hop forward with malt support) west coast DIPA. The bitter citrus rind and pine resin hops are front and center with a subtle, ever so light touch, but you know it is there caramel malt sweetness in the finish.

M-Medium body with a nice sharp bite, good lingering hop bitterness and a drying finish.

D-Really--this is 10%--HA! I am certainly impressed with this one and am a little miffed I couldn't track it down on tap. Oh well, at least I get to enjoy this one in a what seems to be about as fresh as a bottle can get fresh! Certainly a brew that is worthy of all the praise it has been getting lately! Thanks again Miles for the chance to lay into this one!

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Photo of kzoobrew
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Once again, a huge thanks to SpdKilz. Cheers Carleton!

Poured into Stone IPA glass.

Poured aggressive and down the middle. A billowing four and a half finger oatmeal colored head towers over the glowing burnt orange body. The body, slightly hazed, is a bit on the darker side but still gorgeous. Excellent head retention, a solid two and a half finger head refuses to recede. Blankets of moth eaten lacing remains holding tight to the glass.

The aroma is packed with hops. Dank resinous and juicy citrus hops collide. The citrus comes out on top but there is a nice green sticky there to balance things out a bit. Very subdued malt profile in the nose. A subtle pale malt scent coupled with a touch of crystal is all you get.

My hop tooth has been seriously satisfied. I cannot argue the breweries claim that "copious amounts of North American hops" were used, this comes across quite clearly. Strong citrus and tropical fruit flavors saturate the tongue. I am not a fan of caramel flavored malt in my IPA/DIPA's but Bootlegger's uses this flavor well. The caramel is subtle and melds with the fruitiness leaving a smooth and pleasant sweetness.

Medium bodied DIPA. The texture is very smooth and nearly creamy, carbonation is moderate. The finish is not quite as dry as I would like though it is very fitting for this particular beer.

I can see why people are talking, this is a very good beer. Knuckle Sandwich is bordering on the top tier of the DIPA category. Very smooth and even flavor. The alcohol is well hidden and does not become an issue. Drinks nearly as easy as any DIPA I have had. Excellent beer, big things are ahead for Bootlegger's.

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Photo of bs870621345
4.94/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Heard about the comparisons of this to PtE.

Pours amber with an inch and a half of white head. Tiny bubbles that last all day with nice lacing down the glass.

Smells of a huge hop presence. Grapefruit, orange, and pine hops. Strong caramel backbone there to hold the hops up.

Taste follows smell. This, is a perfect DIPA. Explodes with orange/grapefruit and carries into a mellow pine taste with caramel on the end. Finishes clean.

Mouthfeel is nicely carbonated and moderate mouthfeel.

Drinkability is amazing for 10%. Didn't even realize it was that high.

Gives PtE a run for its money, I say that it wins.

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Photo of billshmeinke
4.53/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a nonic.

Two fingers of fluffy off white head atop a clear amber body. Amazing retention and lacing.

Smells of orange, pine, grapefruit and hints of lemon. A total citrus bomb.

Tastes follows smell. Just tons of hoppy citrus goodness. I don't know what else to say, it's quite awesome. Pretty big maltiness to balance out the hoppiness.

Heavy end of full bodied. Well carbonated with a huge bitter and spicy bite at the end.

I need more of this beer in my life.

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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

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