Knuckle Sandwich
Bootlegger's Brewery

Knuckle SandwichKnuckle Sandwich
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IPA - Imperial
Ranked #101
Ranked #853
4.31 | pDev: 10.44%
Bootlegger's Brewery
California, United States
Knuckle SandwichKnuckle Sandwich
Reviews: 268 | Ratings: 1,116 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
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BillAfromSoCal from California

4.58/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

16 oz can dated 9/02/20 bought off a room temp shelf at trader Joes on about 10/5/20 then refrigerated until poured into a large tulip glass on 10/13. Deep amber color with just a little bit of haze and a little less than 1 finger thick creamy off-white to light tan head. Lots of thick lacing. Fairly aggressive malt and hop fragrance but in line with expectations for a good DIPA. Malt-forward flavor but with really good hop balance. Nice chewy, viscous mouthfeel but zero alcohol burn, despite the 10% ABV. I probably would rank this higher than 4.5 overall but the 10% ABV in a 16 oz can is like drinking 3.2 OZ of your favorite 100 proof whiskey. I would strongly prefer this in a 12 oz offering if I have to do anything constructive afterward.

Oct 14, 2020
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ovaltine from Indiana

4.29/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Crystal clear copper color with a light tan head, this old school DIPA features citrus and piney hop aromas, and a significant caramalt aroma. Wow.

The citrus and pine are balanced perfectly on the taste, but it’s the slightly sweet caramalt that is the linchpin in this beer, masking the significant ABV (10%), making this dangerously drinkable.

The mouthfeel is a bit oily, but not cloying, an impressive feat in a big DIPA. I’d drink this until it came out my ears - and then take a nap. Love it.

Dec 01, 2019
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Lingenbrau from Oregon

4.25/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Big thanks to Derek for the can. It's been at least 5 years since I've had the pleasure.

Much more red than I remember. A deep amber hue with wonderful clarity. A thin light khaki head lies above leaving behind minimal spots of lacing.

My daughter initial impression and much to my memory, this thing is bursting with sweet smelling pine sap. And oxymoron of sorts, I guess. Anyhoo, digging in a bit more, a bit if burnt rubber, which is something I've always gotten with certain hop varieties. Especially Chinook. A pinch of dried grapefruit rind creeps in as well.

Flavor bursts with damp evergreen and citrus, much to what the aroma would indicate. Touches of caramel. Got a little spicy thing going on too. Very nice.

A little slick, but still smooth and dry enough of a finish to allow for bigger sips. Dangerous, considering the elevated abv. Obviously bitter, but sweet enough to perceive well balanced.

Not exactly what I remember from the Fullerton classic. A fine brew either way, and it hits you right in the kisser, as any proper knuckle sammich should. Cheers.

Nov 22, 2019
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Bruno74200 from France

4.14/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Clear amber with a not really long lasting head.
Muted nose, mostly on the grapefruit, resinous, some toffee notes.
The taste follows plus a certain candiness, which is improved by the sweet mouthfeel
Some bitterness but quite nicely put.
Dangerously drinkable for the abv. Which is a good thing for now. We'll talk about it in 1 or 2 hours

Aug 25, 2019
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vikinggary28 from California

4.16/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a nice amber / orange colour with a thin tan head and some nice lacing. Smells of piney hops blended with some citrus and slight fruits. Taste very good, the sweet malts counter the bitter hops nicely and with what tastes like grapefruit and pineapple creeping through this is a nice summer beer. The 10% abv is well hidden and could pack quite a punch if you weren't aware of it. Prost!

Feb 17, 2018
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superspak from Ohio

4.28/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Got as a gift from RaulMondesi. 22 ounce bottle into tulip glass, bottled on 10/19/2017. Pours crystal clear deep orange/amber/light copper color with a 1-2 finger dense and rocky cream colored head with fantastic retention that reduces to a nice cap that lasts. Thick soapy lacing clings on the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation. Fantastic appearance. Aromas of big tangerine, grapefruit, peach, pineapple, apricot, passion fruit, mango, melon, berry, lemon zest, orange peel, light pepper/pine, caramel, toasted bread, biscuit, herbal, and floral/grassy earthiness. Very slight booze in the aromas as it warmed. Damn nice aromas with great balance and complexity of citrus/fruity/tropical hops and dark/bready malt notes; with great strength. Taste of huge tangerine, grapefruit, peach, pineapple, apricot, passion fruit, mango, melon, berry, lemon zest, orange peel, light pepper/pine, caramel, toasted bread, biscuit, herbal, and floral/grassy earthiness. Light-moderate pine, citrus peel, grassy, spicy bitterness on the finish. Lingering notes of tangerine, grapefruit, peach, pineapple, apricot, passion fruit, mango, melon, berry, lemon zest, orange peel, light pepper/pine, caramel, toasted bread, biscuit, and herbal/floral/grassy earthiness on the finish for a while. Incredible complexity, robustness, and balance of citrus/fruity/tropical hops and dark/bready malt flavors; with an awesome malt/bitterness balance, and zero cloying/astringent flavors after the finish. Light-moderate increasing dryness from bitterness. Medium carbonation and medium-full body; with a very smooth, creamy/bready, fairly sticky, and slightly resinous balanced mouthfeel that is fantastic. Alcohol is very well hidden, a mildly increasing warmth of 10% lingering after the finish. Overall this is a fantastic DIPA! All around outstanding complexity, robustness, and balance of citrus/fruity/tropical hops and dark/bready malt flavors; very smooth and dangerously easy to drink for the big ABV; with the mellowly bitter/drying finish. Extremely juicy hop complexity; sizable malt backbone, but never overly sweet/heavy feeling for the ABV with nice adequate lingering hop dryness. A highly enjoyable offering. Loved the hop profile, very classic tasting.

Jan 06, 2018
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thebeers from Pennsylvania

3.97/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Pours a really dark orange-amber color with three fingers of sandy, tan head. Long-lasting with decent lacing.

Orange, caramel and pine in the nose.

Piney bitterness with orange, caramel sweetness, a little peppery note, and nice smack of alcohol.

Medium bodied, slightly syrupy, with modest carbonation.

Classic, old school DIPA that matches the name. My type of beer. 9/5/17 canned on date.

Oct 08, 2017
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Ri0 from Wisconsin

4/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured 16oz can into snifter. Color is a bright amber, clear, with a 2 finger white head. Very nice retention and lacing. Juicy aroma, sweet malts and bitter citrus/pine hops and some fruity notes. Citrus hops, pine hops, fruity hops...hops...hops... Some sweet caramel malt flavors round out all the palate destroying hops. Light bodied with excellent carbonation. It is refreshing and bitter all at once. Terrific red IIPA that is similar to some others I love.

Oct 06, 2017
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Nhazu10 from California

4.45/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From what I'm told, this varies depends on batch. I got that from the bartender and the reviews verified his comment. First of all, if you can handle hops, this is a must try.

Look: red tint, not too heavy
Body: on the heavier side, it's an imperial
Taste: medium bitterness on the front of your tongue. Subtle on the way down.

Highly recommend

Jun 09, 2017
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R_i_P from California

4.33/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I wish Bootlegger's would brew this DIPA in consistent batches. Last June/July 2016, the batches of Knuckle Sandwich ("K-S") were nirvana. The Nov. 2016 batches sucked big time -- almost no carbonation and inadequate hops. The batch bottled on 12/02/2016 was better, but not stellar. The 12/03/2016 batch was incredible -- wonderful carbonation! In Jan. 2017, my local Albertson's stopped carrying this DIPA altogether. Even Hi Times in Newport Beach, CA didn't have it. WTF?

Albertson's finally restocked in Feb. 2017. I yanked a few bombers off its refrigerated shelves on 02/10/2017. Some of the bombers were bottled on 12/03/2016. The rest on 12/27/2016. 10% ABV. Bad-ass looking label.

K-S pours a clear, dark copper. The 12/03/2016 batch has superb carbonation with 2 fingers of ecru foam and very nice lacing. The 12/27/2016 batch has low carbonation with ¼" of tawny foam that dissipates quickly -- no lacing whatsoever. Both batches smell of orange zest and malt. The taste of both batches start with a huge note of orange zest, pine, dank and malt. Huge malt backbone. This isn't your standard 2 rows of Optic malts. Alcohol warms this mixture and gives a nice boozy taste. This DIPA will get you hammered! The 12/03/2016 batch was insanely superb; however, the 12/27/2016 batch was very good, but nothing more.

If only Bootlegger's would get their sh*t together! When brewed right, this DIPA is world-class. Although I wish last winter's crappy batches were just a fluke, I sincerely doubt it. Whatever Bootlegger must do to improve the batch-to-batch consistency of this DIPA, they'd better do it bloody soon. Otherwise, they'll never dredge this awesome, yet vexatiously inconsistent, world-class DIPA out of obscurity. Respect must be earned!

Feb 17, 2017
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michaelsmayhem from California

4.19/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A - Murky appearance. Deep brown color, very slight red tint. Pours a very small head, 2-3 centimeters.

S - The smell is very subtle (although this is my weakest sense), perhaps smells a bit sweet. Can't quite make it out, but it is pleasant. Nothing overtly bad.

T - Very smooth taste for 10% ABV. Not boozy in the slightest, even a bit of a sweet aftertaste. Although it pours a small head, the carbonation is steady and bubbles form throughout the drinking experience.

M - Provides a smooth thick warmth every sip.

O - Extremely easy beer to drink. If you are going strictly off taste alone, you will find yourself drinking more of it a lot quicker than you might expect.

Jan 11, 2017
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silverblaze540 from Virginia

4.38/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A - A cloudy amber with minimal head.

S - Hints of pine and grapefruit, but not particularly strong.

T - Citrus then a bitter pine, with a sweet aftertaste.

M - Moderately thick with some burn from the alcohol.

O - The aftertaste is sweet and overall not too bitter. Also seemed a bit on the thick side for a DIPA. Enjoyable.

Dec 16, 2016
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Franziskaner from Missouri

4.04/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Mahogany brown in color with a half inch of creamy brown head on top. Moderate lacing. I'm smelling grapefruit like citrus hops. The taste is very much in line with the nose. Mandarin orange to grapefruit like citrus hops with marzipan light malt. The mouth is sticky, moderately thick and warm with alcohol, and lightly chalky.

Oct 08, 2016
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Preinme from California

4.85/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

pours a deep amber orange with lite tan head. head is short lasting with good lacing. on the nose notes of malt and ripe apricot. body and overall mouth feel are full to heavy. flavor of caramel malt is the first thing you taste followed by ripe stone fruits, piney hops and lite floridness from the yeast. well balanced beer if not a bit malt forward but at 10% you should expect that. moderate bitterness in the finish but gone pretty quick. for 10% i was expecting it to be a longer finsh or a bit cloying but it was extremely well balanced! really, really great DIPA!

Sep 05, 2016
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brian44556 from Kentucky

4.14/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured a 12oz bottle into a tulip. Bottled 1/14/2016.

Pours a deep bronze, with a small, off-white head that bubbles away rather quickly. A bit of lace lines the glass. A lot of sweet, heavy malt on the nose with a distant dank, tropical fruit smell to compliment. Taste is very malty, faded tropical hops, and pretty grassy. I would like to try this fresher. Carbonation is a bit low, extremely creamy mouthful, and easy drinking for 10%. This is a tasty DIPA, it has lost some of the heavy floral hop profile I enjoy at 4 months old, but it has some very unique characteristics and a wonderful malt profile.

May 01, 2016
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Marius from Netherlands

4/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled at a tasting. Very dark brown pour with a tan head. Smells of citrus hops, grapefruit. Tastes like malt sugars, honey, citrus and caramel. Bitter-sweet aftertaste.

Mar 26, 2016
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Ciocanelu from Romania

3.75/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Mahogany color with white head. Aroma has a heavy malt backbone with earthy and piney hops. Taste starts hoppy with intense bitterness and a solid malt backbone. Heavy body with medium carbonation. Not bad but it's very old school and generic.

Mar 20, 2016
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LiquidAmber from Washington

4.32/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a Seattle Beer Week pint glass. Pours a medium to dark bronze amber with a half finger off-white head that dissipates to patches with light lacing. Big aroma of citrus and piney hops, caramel malt, tropical fruit, particularly pineapple, nice. Flavor is piney hops with notes of orange and grapefruit, caramel and lightly bready malt, tropical fruit; finishes with big resinous piney and orange citrus bitterness. Medium bodied with good creaminess, almost lightly syrupy. A big, robust double IPA, with nice powerful hops with great resin and herbal flavors. Hefty, slightly sweet malt body gives good support to the hops. Warming, but the big ABV is well covered. Great double IPA with big flavors and balance. Glad to have had a chance to snag one of these.

Mar 08, 2016
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rodbeermunch from Nevada

4.31/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A darker dipa color, this one clocks in at dark amber, auburn, burnt copper kind of vibe. 1/3" head. Aroma dropped heavy notes of hops, fruity, Americana proprietary and even some caramel notes that weren't heavy.

Taste was wonderful, low, soft bitterness, amazing malt body that hides immense alcohol. Plenty of woody pine notes accompanied by peach hop tones. This one is solid and one of the easiest drinking bottled 10%+ beers around.

Feb 25, 2016
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dpgoblejr from New Hampshire

4.91/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Golden amber appearance capped off by a beautiful off-white head. Lines of lacing string along the sides of the glass. Very enticing aroma of floral hops and citrus like grapefruit and tangerine. Flavorful taste of citrus, a piney bite, and others mixed about. Pretty full bodied with a creamy feel and moderate carbonation. Overall, Knuckle Sandwich does pack a punch right in the mouth; but this swing I saw coming and still beat all expectations! Awesome!

Jan 16, 2016
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Reema from California

4.79/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Serving type: 12 oz into a pint glass

Pours a dark mahogany amber color. Smells of intense peach, subtle cantaloupe, pine, grapefruit rind, with a strong malty sweetness. Taste reflects the smell. Initial malty sweetness that leads into piney floral dank hops flavors and bitterness, followed by intense peach and melon flavors that finishes with a small caramel like aftertaste. Very tasty. Feel is thick, slightly oily, with sufficient carbonation so that it isn't flat. Ideal for a DIPA. Overall this is great beer with great characteristics that make this tasty and a treat to drink.

Dec 21, 2015
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BBThunderbolt from Kiribati

3.34/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to 2beerdogs for this one. Poured from hated 22oz bottle into 10oz goblet. Poured a lightly hazy orange-amber color with just a thin cap of light tan head, which then settles quickly into a thin ring. No real retention or lacing.

The aroma was all hops, no malt showing through at all, mostly grapefruity citrus and a bit of pine. On the tongue, a sharp alcohol flavor was the first thing to be noticed. Then, those big citrusy hops came through, and there was just a wee bit of light malt across the middle of the palate.

The body was somewhat fuller than typical for the style, which I like when a beer has a strong alcohol flavor, which helps smooth out the flow across the palate. But, that is what probably what gives the beer it's somewhat sweet & sticky finish. Drinkability was OK, the alcohol left the finish with a bit of lingering hotness. Overall, a good, solid take on the style. Worth a shot if you see it.

Aug 20, 2015
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SomethingClever from Ohio

3.71/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottled poured into Spiegelau glass bottled on 5/7

A: deep caramel in color nice tight head that dissipates to nothing

S: deep resiny rich maltiness ver bitter smelling and piny on the nose with a big dose of bready malts

T: lots of resin and a large dose of sweet malts and booze lots of like artificial sweetness on the end

M: a little syrupy and the layered thickness makes the booze feel cloying

O: It might be because it is so old but this beer is flat out average the malts are huge and you have a resin taste and smell and the alcohol is distracting and to the front. I'm surprised this is so highly rated as average in taste as it is

Jul 25, 2015
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MacPhergus from Pennsylvania

3.97/5  rDev -7.9%
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.

Jul 14, 2015
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Rutager from Canada (BC)

4.1/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours pretty clear, rich amber-orange, nice finger of cream coloured, sticky looking head. Sweet malts, with citrus and ripe tropical fruits and a bit of sharp alcohol on the nose. Big sweet malts, citrus rinds, some over-ripe tropical fruits. Medium-full body, medium-low carbonation. Big IPA here, good stuff.

May 19, 2015
Knuckle Sandwich from Bootlegger's Brewery
Beer rating: 96 out of 100 with 1116 ratings