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Knuckle Dragger - Walking Man Brewing Co.

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Knuckle Dragger
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BA SCORE
88
very good

32 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 32
Reviews: 28
rAvg: 4.01
pDev: 7.98%
Wants: 1
Gots: 0 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Walking Man Brewing Co.
Washington, United States

Style | ABV
American Pale Ale (APA) |  6.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: HiroProtagonist on 01-05-2004)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 32 | Reviews: 28 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of josiahschlender
4.58/5  rDev +14.2%

I've had this beer on numerous occasions on tap around Portland, and most recently, at the Walking Man brewpub in Stevenson. It's such a good beer that I couldn't resist it fresh at the pub, though there were others I was tempted by.

Don't be misled by the "pale ale" name. Poured into the imperial pint glass, this beer is a pretty amber color, not quite clear. It came out a small head that left some lace.

Aromas are dominated by the wonderful grapefruity citric hops, with some pine resin. As the beer warmed up, some of the caramel malt aromas snuck through as the aromatic hops mellowed out. Huge aromas for an APA, definitely one of the most aromatic I've had.

It also probably has the most flavor I've had from a "pale." Those delicious fruity citric hops are balanced by a hefty portion of caramel malts. A great combo of great taste and big intensity. For the style I kind of like moderation and balance, but it's impossible not to love a brew of this caliber. Body is medium to almost full, well matched for the big flavors, long finish and big hop kick a the end.

Walking Man calls Knuckle Dragger a "Strong Pale Ale" on their menu. I'm be curious to know their brewing philosophy for this versus a regular IPA, but only to gratify my curiosity. Get your hands on it if you can. Walking Man has made an exceptional beer. There is a reason it seems to be one of the house beers at Concordia Ale House and The Horse Brass, probably the two beer bars in Portland I love and respect the most for their thoughtful selection of beer.

josiahschlender, Jun 11, 2011
Photo of slaintemhor
4.47/5  rDev +11.5%

Had this on tap last summer at Walking Man Brewery in Stevenson, Washington. The colour was dark orange with a thin ecru head. The aroma was both grapefruit-like and pine-like, all at once. On the palate,there were piney hops to start with a very resinous character, then citric acid, malic acid, ponderosa pitch, crushed fir needles, a somewhat cloying feel and a long bitter finish.

slaintemhor, Dec 29, 2009
Photo of djbreezy
4.38/5  rDev +9.2%

Had on-tap at Belmont Inn in Portland, OR. Poured into a pint glass.

appearance - pours a nice transparent amber with a 2 finger foam head, not much lacing

smell - citrus and floral hops on the nose

taste - very hop forward, you could fool someone into thinking this is an IPA, slightly bitter finish

mouthfeel - medium bodied with good carbonation

drinkability - tasty hops, fresh and resinous

djbreezy, May 10, 2010
Photo of John_M
4.35/5  rDev +8.5%

Pretty much everything Walking Man makes is excellent. The knuckle dragger is no exception. A lot places in Portland carry this fine beer, and I believe it's still (more or less) the house IPA at Concordia House. It's on tap there pretty much all the time and is where I had it the other night.

The beer pours a beautiful light peachy gold color, with very good head retention and lacing. The beer is all citrus in the nose and you can tell there are some serious hops in this bad boy. On the palate the beer is just delicious. Lots of citrus, lemon and orange, from what has to be a huge hop bill. Despite all that, the beer is not the least bit heavy and comes across as fairly dry. This beer is not hugely sweet or malty and is quite drinkable.

Walking Man makes both a double IPA and a regular IPA, with this beer described as a strong pale ale. It is much hoppier then most IPA's you'll find on the market, and is considerably hoppier then a number of DIPA's I've run into here on the East Coast. Just an excellent beer from the folks at Walking Man.

John_M, Sep 17, 2007
Photo of Spikester
4.33/5  rDev +8%

My second growler from Walking Man Brewery I decided to step up from the Pale Strider APA to the Knuckle Dragger APA. The K.D. boasts about three times the IBU's of the PS version. I decided to taste a bit before getting the growler fill and I was surprised at how drinkable this brew was in spite of the very large amount of hops used. The taste stayed with me for the final two hours of my drive home. After settling in at home I poured a full pint to sample. It had warmed to a good drinking temperature of about 45 to 55 deg. F. A handsome amber beer with a huge off-white head, copious lacings. The aroma was resinous floral hops.

Taste is very strong bitter hops but more interesting than the usual grapefruit rind that is typical of Northwest craft beers. The bitterness does pound the tastebuds initially but is much smoother about halfway through the pint. The malts are there but well in the background. Full bodied for the style and very drinkable for a couple of pints.

Spikester, Oct 12, 2008
Photo of Thrasher
4.25/5  rDev +6%

This was described at the brewpub as a strong pale ale (it's 6.4%), but that's basically what an ESB is anyway. They also described it as their hoppiest beer, but the hops are entirely integrated into the beer and the bitterness is relatively mild. Hopheads who are used to over-the-top beers like Stone or Bear Republic will need to take a step back and appreciate the subtleties here. This is what hops SHOULD do in a beer, not overstep their bounds nor overstay their welcome. A tawny orange amber, with a tremendous hop nose: elements of citrus and skunky weed (if ya know what I mean and I think you do). Of course, hops are present in the beer from the get-go, but the beer remains mellow and decidedly un-bitter. A remarkable achievement brought about by copious and thorough dry-hopping, I presume. The beer has a couple shortcomings: the malts are just a fraction too weak to keep up with the hops, which overall are excellent but contain some elements that are slightly green, grassy, and unrefined. Mouthfeel is thinnish. The crisp hop finish is dry and delightful.

Thrasher, Apr 27, 2004
Photo of Georgiabeer
4.25/5  rDev +6%

I've loved everything I've tried from this brewery over the last couple of years. Imo, one of the best breweries in the PNW. I had this one on draught at Concordia Ale House. Poured amber with a big head and great lacing. Aromas of sweet malt, some herbal hops, and a slight graininess. The taste dry malt up front followed by a huge hit of bitter earthy hops. Nice interplay between the malt and hops, and the fact that the swweetness is relatively low is a plus. Mouthfeel is crisp, earthy, and somewhat tannic. Delicious.

Georgiabeer, Nov 30, 2007
Photo of piclee
4.25/5  rDev +6%

piclee, Mar 17, 2012
Photo of unklesyd
4.22/5  rDev +5.2%

On tap at the 2006 OBF.

Nice, deep garnet color with a creamy head.

Great hoppy aroma and slight MO sweetness.

The fun part of this beer is that it has a really unique flavor balance. There is a good bit of bitterness, but not nearly as much as would be indicated by the citrus and slight herbal hop flavor, which is quite pronounced and enjoyable. Bitterness provides a little cut and is mostly noticable after a few sips. Slightly toasty Maris Otter and light caramel malt backbone.

I could have a few of these, but probably would have scored it a little higher in drinkability in a little cooler weather. This was really popular at the Fest, and I can certainly see why. Very well done.

unklesyd, Jul 28, 2006
Photo of SickBrew
4.2/5  rDev +4.7%

Had this one at brewery is Stevenson, WA.

This beer pours a nice orange/amber with a good bright white head that leaves a bit of lacing. Aroma is through-the-roof hoppy. It definitely smells like garden fresh hops with a bit of grapefruit in the background. Taste is great and is somewhat like the nose. A nice initial maltiness is finished with hoppy bitterness, each complementing the other. Mouthfeel is smooth, almost sexy with a medium body and light carbonation. All the beers I've had from Walking Man Brewing have been excellent and they're now on my favorite list!!

Prost!

SickBrew, Oct 05, 2008
Photo of RedDiamond
4.2/5  rDev +4.7%

An ingenious aroma combines the immediacy of potent, garden-fresh hops with a scintillating spearmint fringe. The smell is so strong and so vital, it nearly singes my olfactory nerves. But I’ve gotta have more!

Of course, the house smell of pizza at the Walking Man Brewpub competes with Knuckle Dragger for attention, but that’s okay. The smell of this ale is sexy and otherwise unrelenting – at least initially. As the head fades, a wall of lace takes shape on the glass and the odor diminishes somewhat. I settle in to admire the clear oaken body with low carbonation, the velvety smooth mouthfeel, and the muscular bitter finish.

Knuckle Dragger’s forward leaning hoppy charisma earned it the 2nd place People’s Choice Award at the 2005 Spring Beer and Wine Fest in Portland. (Walking Man’s Somnambulator took 1st place.) This is a proud Cascadian ale. All accolades are deserved.

RedDiamond, Apr 11, 2005
Photo of msubulldog25
4.18/5  rDev +4.2%

Pint, poured at JAX in Portland, OR; this one I've had on several occasions. Listed on WM's website as a Strong Pale Ale (packing a 100 IBU wallop!).

A: Hazy rose/amber with very soft carbonation slowly wiggling toward a thin (1/2-finger) head of white cream. Velvety, soap-like curtain of lace glued to the sides of the glass is nice!

S: Pleasantly juicy (sweet citrus & grassy) hop nose, blanketed with a caramel/malty sweetness. Served a little cold, so smell may have never fully developed.

T: Fruity citrus and lots of caramel, pretty much what is expected out of that aroma. Sweetness fades to a bracing jolt of Simcoe & Columbus hops and lingering fully-hopped bitterness. Stays pretty well-balanced but leans hard toward the hops in the finish...

M: Creamy and mellow, mild alcohol warmth on the cheeks and towards the back of the tongue. That clinging bitterness lasts just long enough...then lasts, and lasts some more...

D: Walking Man makes very good beers and this is no exception. Has a bold, lively flavor and huge hoppy mouthfeel. Slightly strong ABV for a session beer, but tasty enough you'll want more than one. Definitely recommended when you can find it on tap...

msubulldog25, Apr 04, 2007
Photo of DaPeculierDane
4.15/5  rDev +3.5%

Listed as an American Strong Pale Ale. 6.5% ABV. 100 IBUs. Consumed in Panther Creek Camp Ground in the National Forest.

Appearance: Pretty light tangerine amber with little bubbles and a thick, creamy, and persistent white head.

Aroma: Simcoe city. Loads of grapefruit. Some grass. Caramel malt base.

Taste: Grapefruit Juice with a little carbonated caramel syrup. Hints of woodiness from time to time (although maybe it was just the atmosphere where I was drinking it).

Mouthfeel: Uber bitter. Really, really bitter. Unbalanced and very bitter. Hop heads delight. Otherwise…soft, and pleasant with mild warming. It’s surprisingly inviting for such bitterness and quite difficult to explain. Somewhat oily.

Drinkability: Great.

DaPeculierDane, Aug 08, 2007
Photo of Gavage
4.15/5  rDev +3.5%

Appearance: clear amber / orange in color with a 2 finger off-white head. Super thick lace paints the glass until the pint glass was empty.

Smell: malt sweetness and green apples.

Taste: nice bready / malty beer with a hearty pine bitterness, some grapefruits, and tart green apples. Dry finish.

Mouthfeel: medium-heavy in body. Smooth throughout. Aftertaste is long on the malt goodness and bitterness.

Drinkability: very easy drinking and worth having if you find it on tap.

Gavage, Jul 12, 2006
Photo of HiroProtagonist
4/5  rDev -0.2%

On tap at the Rose and Raindrop in Portland. The beer was an attractive hazy red-orange or copper color and had a thick fine white head. The beer emitted a robust, somewhat earthy hop bouquet with both floral and resiny components...nice complexity here. On the palate, this enjoyable brew presented a pleasing bitter hop profile and a complementing (barely) malt backbone. The brew possesed a medium full body, feeling appropriate for the style and character of the beer. Knuckle Dragger is a tasty and well-crafted ESB from a terrific brewery.

HiroProtagonist, Jan 05, 2004
Photo of CoryR
4/5  rDev -0.2%

CoryR, Jul 30, 2012
Photo of shelby415
4/5  rDev -0.2%

shelby415, Mar 01, 2012
Photo of cbarrett4
3.98/5  rDev -0.7%

Poured on tap at Henry's 12th Street Tavern in Portland:

Poured with a thin head rapidly fading to a non-existent lace. Shows a beautiful copper/red hue though. Smells of citrus and apple, some fresh, green hops and a hint of spice. On the palate there is bountiful fresh, piney hops with a hint of fresh nuts. Medium bodied with lots of hops noticeable on the finish. Fresh, smooth and very drinkable. Overall a very nice, good quality IPA.

cbarrett4, Dec 19, 2009
Photo of sinistersteve
3.98/5  rDev -0.7%

Take home version from the brewery (growler)

Nice dark red color. Not much head produced from my pour. Seemed to look better at the bar. Lace is non-existant.

Slight carmel aroma attacks the nose.

Flavor has a nice balance. Not too over the top but enough to be called a strong pale ale.

Great beer. I'll definatley look for this one again.

sinistersteve, Jun 21, 2004
Photo of jdense
3.98/5  rDev -0.7%

On tap at the Horse Brass 11/13.

1 finger creamy white head, amber body, nice carbonation, exquisite lacing.Bready malts and piney hops in the nose. Simcoe and Columbus hops provide nice balance between the nose and citrusy taste. The finish is dry, a spicey hop bomb. Given the big IBUs, this leans heavily towards IPA territory. In any case, nice balance, very drinkable. Looking forward to exploring more from this cutting edge brewery in bucolic Stevenson, Washington.

jdense, Nov 15, 2009
Photo of Rifugium
3.95/5  rDev -1.5%

First had: on tap at their brewpub

A clear amber liquid with a nice white head that left copious amounts of lacing on the glass. Big aroma of citrusy hops, acidic, almost reminiscent of a DIPA, which I did not expect. More citrusy hops on the tongue, lemon and orange zest, backed by a sweet maltiness that never quite comes to the foreground, but still makes its presence known. Medium-bodied, and quite nice overall. It just seems to be more on the "IPA" side than on the "APA" side, so prepare yourself for a bigger hoppage than your typical Sierra Nevada-ish pale ale.

Rifugium, Jan 11, 2012
Photo of freed
3.95/5  rDev -1.5%

Tried this on tap at OBF 2004. It was excellent, despite weather that suggests lighter beers.

The color was a somewhat dull and ruddy brown - sediment in the ale took away the luster, but that's what you'd expect of a strong. The beer was initially listed as a Strong Pale, which it isn't. There wasn't any head either.

The aroma was terrific. A very earthy, terrene smell that was both sweet and musty in the best possible way.

The taste is dominated by its malt constituents - sweet, but with a robust enough body that it didn't come across as too sweet. The yeast provided additional fruit sweetness that melded well with the beer's intention. Neither hops nor bitterness factor too strongly into the beer flavor wise, and only seem to add a slight spicy tang.

The beer also seemed a bit young - like maybe a bit of time in the dark might improve its flavors. Otherwise, it was quite tasty.

freed, Jul 28, 2004
Photo of BeardedBoffin
3.93/5  rDev -2%

The beer arrived an orange, amber color with wispy head. The aroma is full of big time grapefruit with hints of flower. Somewhat heavy on the palate with hop residue.The flavor is raw hops with a combination of citrus, flower, and pine.

The beer doesn't have much balance, but is quite drinkable nonetheless.

BeardedBoffin, Mar 19, 2010
Photo of barleywinefiend
3.9/5  rDev -2.7%

A: Poured a light amberish orange color with good carbonation and a nice white cap

S: Citrus and grass ont he nose with some light breadiness to it

T: Fruity citrus and lots of caramel, lingering fully-hopped bitterness. Stays pretty well-balanced but leans hard toward the hops in the finish...

M: Medium bodied, well carbonated and loads of taste

O: A good Pale overal.. Walking Man scores again..

barleywinefiend, Mar 31, 2012
Photo of bluckbeyes
3.75/5  rDev -6.5%

bluckbeyes, Aug 07, 2012
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Knuckle Dragger from Walking Man Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 32 ratings.