Knuckle Sandwich - Bootlegger's Brewery

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Knuckle SandwichKnuckle Sandwich

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BA SCORE
95
world-class

1,020 Ratings
THE BROS
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(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,020
Reviews: 250
rAvg: 4.29
pDev: 10.72%
Wants: 436
Gots: 132 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,020 | Reviews: 250
Photo of PicoPapa
4.27/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Big thanks to Orthodoxkardia for this one.

22oz bottle. Pours a reddish brown color with a half inch of head. Quite the interesting color for an IPA. Lots of lacing. The aroma is lots of tropical fruits. Mango, guava, pineapple and sweet grapefruit. The taste is much like the aroma. Juicy tropical fruits with some piney hops. Some caramel malts as well. Pineapple and warming alcohol at the finish. Creamy, heavy mouthfeel. Pretty bitter Imperial with lots of tropical fruit flavor. The 10% ABV is very present but it still drinks easily. Overall, oustanding Imperial IPA I hope to have again.

Photo of scottfrie
4.55/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle into tulip.

A: Pours a deep golden amber with a thick and greasy tan head that faded into an oily collar that left strings of thick lace down the glass.
S: Super fresh a potent scent of citrus medley coupled with tropical fruit nectars, flower gardens and perfume. Tropical fruits are sweet and mix well with an onslaught of grapefruit, orange zest, sweet ripe tangerines and clementines. Flowery perfume pokes through the mix as well.
T: Bitter yet smooth notes of grapefruit pith, tangerine juice, orange rind, and sweet passion fruit, mango and papaya. Notes of flowers and sweet fruit nectars bring up the finish, and the aftertaste is tingly and sweet with a slight note or two of the base malt. Sweet tropical fruits linger long after the swallow.
M: Thick and heavy mouthfeel, syrupy but not overly oily, greasy, or sweet. Carbonation is tingly and smooth, with a chewy body and extremely well hidden alcohol.
O: Impressive nose, impressive tastes, very impressive mouthfeel. Drinks like a beer half the ABV. More than just a citrus bomb in taste, there is plenty of other hop profiles layered in the flavors. Nose is phenomenal, I definitely enjoyed this one.

Photo of EchoParker
3.68/5  rDev -14.2%
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.

Photo of RaulMondesi
4.03/5  rDev -6.1%
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.

Photo of zhanson88
3.48/5  rDev -18.9%
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.

Photo of JohnG190
4.77/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Thanks to StonedRaider for another outstanding trade! Pours a beautiful golden amber with a thick white head. Decent retention with nice lacing. Aroma of peaches, tropical fruit notes, whiff of citrus, with a hint of cat pee. Bitter throughout the palate with lots of peach, pine resin and caramel notes from the solid malt backbone. Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Overall, a very underrated DIPA, outstanding fruity bitterness. Great job Bootleggers!

Photo of pjkelley82
4.73/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Had this (along with other dipa's) at a East VS. West Dipa Head to Head Showdown I hosted on 8/27/13

Got this one via trade... a great beer...

Round 2 East DFH 90 West Knuckle Sandwich

Overall I picked 90 over this one but this was no easy battle. Quite honestly this was the hardest choice of all the rounds... it was a split decision with 90 winning appearance and mouthfeel but not by much.. color for me went to ks along with taste and smell. Ks was a hell of a lot smoother and easy going with a nice juicy feel to it. I'm glad I have a little left over to enjoy abooouuuut... now! Ks placed 8th of 10

Photo of sleuthdog
4.28/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into 7venth Sun tulip

Pour: Pours a dark hazy orange with a bright white head. Lacing is sticky and soapy.

Smell: Sweet piney with big citrus and tropical aromas. Caramel, malty and some floral.

Taste: Definitely much more citrus than pine in the taste. Tropical, fruity, and sweet. I do get a lot of the malt backbone in this one. I'm digging this one! Bitterness is subdued by the overall sweetness I believe.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and creamy feel. Mild bitterness and has that sticky sweetness to it.

Overall: This is good!

Thanks beachstrength49...really enjoyed this Chris!

Photo of Samuel906
3.17/5  rDev -26.1%
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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo of pkalix
4.25/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

burnt orange candy color. very minimal head.
grapefruit and pine in the nose.
grapefruit and pine in the taste. smooth and bitter at the same time.
Pliny on tap all day yesterday. Knuckle sandwich today. life is good. hear lots of people comparing this Knuckle Sandwich to Pliny; they're trying to compliment the Bootlegger brew and the similarities are in the smoothness. Pliny is a little more balanced, but this one is far off. this one has a little more sticky syrup-y kind of to it. overall, very decent and nice abv....

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

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

Photo of JonathanC
4.8/5  rDev +11.9%
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.

Photo of Slackerville
3.75/5  rDev -12.6%
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.

Photo of DovaliHops
3.36/5  rDev -21.7%
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.

Photo of maximum12
3.92/5  rDev -8.6%
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.

Photo of kemoarps
4.3/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours more red than I had expected, but still within that amber range. call it amber rose (what up Wiz Khalifa!). Minimal almond meat head that dissipates for the most part but leaves a little ring around the rosie edge. A rich, deep hue (a couple of years ago I would have made a Raiders joke out of that).

Nose is a little underwhelming. Earthy with some floral sweetness to it. Not unappetizing, just doesn't give a full preview of the deliciousness lying in wait. Some caramel.

Flavour is where this beer really shines. Hops are certainly front and center, kind of a blend/cycle between floral/grapefruit citrus/piney. A touch of caramel sweet on the back end.

Reallly drinkable. Medium bodied. If this were available in my area (and for a reasonable price), I'd drink it very often. If you like well crafted west coast IPAs, it's certainly worth getting your hands on.

Photo of lsummers
4.19/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a brilliant amber orange with a two finger eggshell colored head. Looks sticky, sweet and tasty.

Smells of sweet piney hops, woody grassy grapefruit and pineapple notes abound. Some caramel candy and brown bread. The smell blends so well into the taste that you almost need both to complete it. Pine and peppery grassy bitter grapefruit merges with the caramel creamy malts. There's a sweet stickiness that helps round it all out.

Mouthfeel is definitely round, chewy, and sticky.

Overall, this is a fantastic example of a west coast double ipa. Nothing by itself about this beer is perfect but put together the smells, tastes and mouth feel and all of a sudden it becomes complete.

Photo of M_C_Hampton
4.87/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A: poured from a 22 oz bottle into a snifter, a deep orange amber with a big off white head that dissipates slowly leaving some lacing, clear

S: tropical fruit, pineapple, mango, papaya, orange, grapefruit

T: heavy bitter hops up front, grapefruit, lime, fades into mango, pineapple, papaya, sweet finish that is heavy on floral hops with some pine resin, great malt profile

M: fairly viscous with higher carbonation, alcohol only slightly noticeable

O: This is a really top notch DIPA, that hasn't been hyped much at all. I had never heard of it until a friend from work sent it to me; thanks E.J.! It is on par with some of the best West Coast DIPAs I've had. It is well worth seeking out.

Photo of Alieniloquium
4.04/5  rDev -5.8%
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.

Photo of Uncleserg
3.63/5  rDev -15.4%
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.

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

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

Photo of BrantleyJ
4.77/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Wow! I was pleasantly surprised by this DIPA. I picked up a few bottles from my local grocer after hearing good things about it. The hop aroma is intoxicating. If I could create an air freshener for my truck that smelled as good as Knuckle Sandwich I would. It tasted a good as it smelled, and surprisingly drinkable for a 10% beer.

Photo of rawfish
4.1/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a dark rusty hue, clear with a large fluffy off white head. Moderate clumps of lacing and good retention.

Huge floral aroma, spicy, grapefruit and pine resin. Very punchy with slight caramel sweetness and butterscotch syrup.

Solid malt undertones of caramel and and bread integrates well with a spicy and herbal hop flavor. Pine, sweet onion and spicy tobacco, no citrus at all in the hops. Alcohol is very prevalent and lingers along with a steady earthy bitterness.

Medium bodied, hefty alcohol on the palate, really punchy. Dries decently.

Probably one of few IPAs I've had with no citrus flavor in the hop profile , the malt is really interesting building a varied spice note, more like a really hop forward double red ale. Great nose, heavy hitter on the alcohol. Grungy and rugged DIPA.

Photo of CuriousMonk
4.66/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bomber (2012) into dimple mug glass. This beer pours dark amber orange with a nice off-white pillow-y head. The nose was very nice where I picked up tons of cirtrusy notes – grape fruit, sweet malts. The taste was extremely smooth, massive grapefruit and a two punch malt-hop character. There was a nice hoppy and piney flavor to it as well. The high ABV was dangerously masked. Sweet malt backbone to balance the grapefruit and hop bitterness.This is a beer I would love to have any time!

Knuckle Sandwich from Bootlegger's Brewery
95 out of 100 based on 1,020 ratings.