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Knuckle Sandwich | Bootlegger's Brewery

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Knuckle SandwichKnuckle Sandwich

Brewed by:
Bootlegger's Brewery
California, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by jerz on 12-14-2009

For Trade:
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Reviews: 257 | Ratings: 1,081
Photo of Vanlingleipa
4.55/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Ah, the ultimate balance of sweet malt and hops.

This beer pours as a non-remarkable brownish-amber that is topped with a 1/4" head and sticky, thick lacing clinging to the side of the glass.

The warmth and spiciness of the malt is almost like biting into a sweet bread, the taste sensation is felt in the sweet spots of the tongue and in the back of the mouth. Then the simcoe hops come in with a delicious bitterness. Wonderfully balanced with the malt.

Truly one of the top DIPAs currently brewed in the country.

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Photo of unitmonster
2.86/5  rDev -33.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served out of a 22oz bomber from the last release in July.

A - Standard yellow IPA/DIPA color. Generous head.

S - Alcohol, followed by hoppy pine and citrus smells.

T - More alcohol. This DIPA feels so imbalanced. Tons of malt flavor and really warm alcohol.

M - Great carbonation, finishes well.

O - Am I drinking the same beer as everyone else? I've had this and thought it was pretty bad. I had a small tasting and other people thought the same thing (note: different bottles that I did not buy). I feel like there are far better DIPAs out there then this.

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Photo of IKR
4.33/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Amber color with a generous off-white head that slowly faded.

Smell: Pine and citrus fruit aromas.

Taste:The pine and citrus fruit aromas carry over to the taste. The malts make themselves known as a slight caramel taste. The alcohol is not a factor in the taste. It's extremely well hidden. I find the hops well integrated and not upfront in this beer. Very clean after-taste.

Mouth-feel: Medium body with a good level of carbonation.

Overall: Good beer. I put this one alongside such DIPAs such as DFH 90 and Pliny, well-balanced DIPAs that go for a balanced taste profile, which works for me due to the fact I'm no one's hop head. I'm a Imperial Stout/English Barleywine/Belgian fan but I liked this beer and definitely thought it was the best Bootleggers offering I tasted.

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Photo of inlimbo77
4.2/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber bottle poured into a Victory snifter. No bottling date present, but assume this is from the spring/early summer due to trade time line.

A: Pours almost a clear amber color. Finger and a half off white head. Good lacing on the glass. Stickiness on the glass.

S: Really resiny floral smells. Lots of grapefruit, which is surprising from the appearance. There is some carmel malts.

T: A crisp hop bite on tip of tongue. A nice malt balance on the middle of the tongue. The finish is long. Really solid brew.

M: Medium bodied DIPA. Stays with you a while, but doesn't completely destroy.

O: First offering from this brewery, and I really liked it. Lived up to the hype. I want to try this again when a little fresher, but even with some time....great beer.

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Photo of sholland119
4.42/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Vanlingleipa for the chance to try this one.

A-Pours a murky amber with a frothy off white head and good lacing.

S-Delicious. Big blast of citrus hops with a lot of caramel malt behind it. Not very typical of the West Coast style, but very well balanced.

T-Very nicely balanced malt and hops. Sweet malt and citrus hops are on a very equal footing.

M-Medium bodied, a bit sticky woit good lingering bitterness.

O-Really delicious DIPA. Very well done.


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Photo of davidbowers13
4.45/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Jodan for the hookup on this. Served from a 22oz bottle into a pint glass.

A - Copper/Orange in color with a off white head. 2 finger head with a gentle/normal pour. Lacing moderately sticks to the glass.

S - Sweet floral citrus notes. Not over-powering like some DIPA's can be. Very well balanced hop and malt characteristics.

T - Very well balanced and sweet up front with a nice citrus hop finish. Hides the 10% ABV very well. So good I keep going in for another sip as soon as I finish the last.

M - A little heavier as it warms, but still a very easy drinking beer for a 10% DIPA.

O - Definately a front runner for one of the best DIPA's I've had. A great balance of sweet malt and hops. Not over powering on the hops, so if you're looking for a DIPA that won't wreck your pallet with a huge hop bomb, this is it.

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Photo of Jules11788
4.89/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Pours a two finger-width head, slight lacing, good retention; nice clear golden-honey color.

S: Wow! HUGE floral notes with LOTS of tropical fruits and a deliciously fragrant resinous, piney hop smell. This beer smells like what I would imagine heaven would: fantastic.

T: Shit... this is incredible! Lots of tropical fruits with a citrus-y, piney, floral hop sweetness that settles into a nice smooth malty bitterness on the end. One of the best tasting DIPAs I've ever had (if not the best).

M: Medium thickness; lightly carbonated; buttery and smooth with no boozy sharpness whatsoever. Where is the 10% abv hiding?

O: This is a stunningly incredible DIPA. One of the best (if not the best) examples of the style that I've ever had the pleasure of tasting. It reminds me a lot of a fresh Drake's Denogginizer, but slightly better. If you EVER see one of these on the shelves, pick it up immediately. Outstanding in every way.

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Photo of biglobo8971
4.7/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

cant say enough good things. If you like a sweet DIPA with a hop bite, this is the beer for you. Thank you Beerdsy. Everything melds beautifully. You taste the sweetness of orange and have very little bite or after bite from the hops presence. Would mos def recommend this beer to any one looking for a hop forward beer, who is looking for more than malt sweetness.

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Photo of mikul93
4.12/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A A dark amber with a nice 2 finger head. Nice lacing

S Big combination of grapefruit and sweet malt. Almost bready. Very nice smelling beer.

T Sweet malt, grapefruit and hops hit you all at once. The flavors don't really come one after the other. It just hits you all up front leaving a mild bitterness on your tongue.

M Medium body with a creamy texture to it. Nice carbonation

O It's definately a unique DIPA. The smell is just fantastic! The taste was good, but not great. It lacked that crispness. I enjoyed it though.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.61/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Rather dark for a dipa, usually the best ones tend to be in the orange, vein, but this one here was best described as brown. Looked good though. Amazing aroma, plinyesque to say the least. Swirling hop varieties in a massive dry hop, even some good malt aroma of caramel comes through.

Great taste, low bitterness, hides the alcohol quite well, you really start to feel it though (not taste) as you get towards the end of a bomber of these. Lots of pine without the bitterness, same for the pineapple. Such a smooth mouthfeel to the beer.

Extremely highly recommended. A must for any self proclaimed hop head. Especially the one dimensional ones. This one is unique enough to expand some palates who don't like anything but big hops.

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Photo of PhiloPsych
4.36/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Light peach color as it pours from bottle, quite dark copper in the glass with a big long-lasting head. The smell is strong on caramel malt and brown sugar with some fresh-baked bread, also maybe a bit woody and even just a touch earthy. Taste is very sweet and malty for an IPA, with some very sweet, almost candy-like fruit flavors as well as all the characteristics of the aroma. The hops are lightly herbal in the nose and herbal and slightly piney in the taste. The hops and malt go in different directions, but have the overall effect of balancing each other out—from a distance, so to speak. This is a formidable beer and as my second round, it is getting me drunk, despite having no really noticeable alcohol heat (the alcohol is hidden by the bready, sweet malt). This beer sells fast when it is released and it deserves the attention—it is a unique brew. It doesn’t quite resemble a barleywine, it isn’t really an amber/red, it has some brown or Scotch ale characteristics, but certainly goes outside the boundaries of those styles, too. I suppose you can call it a double IPA as it’s billed, but it isn’t normal. Good on Bootleggers for producing an intriguing beer.

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Photo of regspeir
4.23/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz. bottle (Thank you Hamilton23!) poured into a Duvel tulip. Aggressive pour yielded a reddish amber with a smallish off-white head which never seemed to go away. Lacing was apparent throughout, as well. Nose was caramel, orange, pineapple, pine, and some grassiness. Taste was maple sugar, caramel, pineapple, and some spice. Mouthfeel was heavy for a DIPA with healthy carbonation, a little sticky and some booziness, although not unpleasant. This is NOT your typical west coast style DIPA (which I love) but VERY nice. It is well-balanced (NOT bitter), with a hefty malt backbone and just an all around interesting ride. I recommend you try it and only wish I could (again).

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Photo of aknight
4.72/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a malty dark copper, or light brown if you will. The head grows to a finger or so and never really disappears. The smell is of faint citrus and MASSIVE pineapple. Seriously, I think someone spilled a can of Dole in here. There is definite pineapple on the pallet. There are a truckload of hops in here, there's a truckload of malt too. This is just a MASSIVE DIPA any way you look at it. A nice malty DIPA. Not as malty as some but maltier than us West Coasters typically like them.

This is another great DIPA from California. Maltier than most out here but if a malty DIPA was done this well who am I to disagree?

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Photo of comfortablynumb1
4.4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Big thanks to Kim for holding these for me...

A - Pours maple with a one finger off white head. Head retention is decent, but there is not much lacing to be had...

S - Good dose of citrus fruits and hops. Also pick up some sweet malts, and a hint of pine...

T - Lots of sweet caramel up front. Grapefruit, and tangerines follow with a hint of pine, and some floral hops. Ends with a hop bitterness and some lingering grapefruit. Delicious. Caramel becomes more apparent as beer warms up a little. Abv is well hidden...

M - Nice creamy feel. Medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation...

O - Bootlegger's comes through big with a big time brew. Definitely something that is going to be in my rotation when it is around...


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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 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 HuskyinPDX
4.39/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to jodan for sending me the bottle.

A - Pours a dark orange, almost brown in color with a tan head. The head fades a bit, but not completely. Some lacing left on the glass.

S - Strong grass, pine, and some orange peel.

T - Same as the smell, but with an equal malt balance.

D - Good carbonation, and a bit heavier than most DIPAs.

O - Smell is awesome, taste is just a step below. Great DIPA.

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Photo of yeahnatenelson
2.68/5  rDev -37.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottled 7/7/11 - consumed 2 1/2 weeks from bottling.

Appearance -- pours a ruddy golden amber with a thick sudsy parchment head. Lots of lace. Photogenic, albeit a bit dark.

Smell -- Brimming with caramel malt, juicy citrus, and pineapple. There is also some hop-derived spiciness that seems to hang in the background. To describe the smell in one word: sticky.

Taste -- Tangerine and pineapple, plum and assorted drupes - very fruit-forward, with a modicum of spiciness and mild leafy bitterness. Caramel malt sweetness is quite apparent without the necessary hop bittering to lend balance. decent complexity, but as time progress the malt sweetness begins to taste cloying. Lingering flavors of caramel malt, sticky ripe fruit, and faint leafy vegetation.

Mouthfeel -- Medium-bodied with moderate carbonation and a hint of booze bite. Sticky/oily finish.

Overall -- Is there huge batch variation or what? I just don't see how this beer has earned it's accolades. It's sticky sweet and terribly lacking in crisp hop bitterness that typifies the style. If somebody told me this was their 90 Minute IPA homebrew clone, I would tell them they did a fairly convincing job.

Your mileage may vary.

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Photo of cavedave
4.52/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to jobcrackerbah for this Ca. masterpiece. Enjoyed 7-23-11

A long lasting, light tan head provides staggering sheets of cotton candy lace to the glass, and sits atop a cloudy dark amber beautiful IIPA.

Wooaaahh, what a great aroma, a bit of caramel is all that holds together pine and citrus hoppitude, full of lesser mango, pineapple, even some nectarine in this complex and strong perfume. Think Abrasive, but a touch more complex.

The flavor of this defies proper description. I could break it down, but let's do it this way. It has the full malt bill of Maharaja, but it is easier to drink, more complex, and has more fresh hop flavor. It has the alcohol spice of Dreadnaught, but more complexity to hop profile. It has the hop profile to equal PTE, Abrasive, Hop Henge, Tricerahops, and Kryptonite, but more body in the malt bill, and more pleasant bittering. Just a mindblowing and wonderful treat.

This is where this beer really shines. How could it be this viscous, this full of flavor, have this stupendous of a finish, and be so easy drinking and light in mouth? Hopefully one day I will find out and put the knowledge into beers of my own making.

One of the top 4 IIPA I have enjoyed (PTE, HT, Abrasive the others). A must try, just superb.

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

Poured a bottle of this into a tulip glass.

A: Really interesting color, very dark amber with lots of deep red colors involved, a bit off the beaten path which I quite like. The head on this baby is really impressive, nice frothy texture, ivory color with hints of caramel undertones where the head and the beer collide. Lovely lacing on the glass.

S: This smell amazing. Lots of fruit up front with the nice hoppy aromas on the back end balanced with the subtle scent of grain. Really really intriguing and inviting nose.

T: Nothing short of spectacular here, really lovely fruit, notable citrus but also some tart fruits like apples or berries come through with a really powerful hop flavor. This is balanced with some sweet malts at the end for a really complex taste, but one that is balanced and has me asking for more more more.

M: Nice and crisp with good bubbles, but also smooth and inviting.

O: This is really top notch, I heard that they don't brew too much of this anymore which is a real shame because it is truly a world class beer. I tend to drink a lot on the hoppy side and this is without a doubt, one of the best IPAs or DIPAs I've had in a long time.

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Photo of amphion1065
4.41/5  rDev +3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A huge thanks to DearthVader for sending me two bottles of this, which lasted me as many days. Enjoyed one (the one I’m officially rating) from a tulip and another from the Alpine pint glass Brian was kind enough to send along. Both were just over a week old.

Knuckle Sandwich pours a deep, copper orange, bordering on maroon. Some red highlights in the body, which is pretty clear, but I can’t take my eyes off of the head. Billowing, sticky, and white, the two fingers never quite receded. Cobweb-like lacing on this one: with just the slightest swirl I was able to coat my glass entirely. Gorgeous.

The smell is a rich mélange of citrus fruits and deep malts. Grapefruit, lemon, maybe a little nectarine and orange, too. I expected more of a hop explosion, but to be honest it’s not quite there. It’s obviously fresh, and although it lacks the hop bomb characteristic I’ve been conditioned to expect from a West Coast DIPA, it’s still excellent.

The taste was similarly unexpected. Rich waves of malty flavor, with a slight, crisp hop profile. Not bracingly bitter – actually, not too bitter at all. It’s very fruity and incredibly smooth, just vastly different than other top-ranked beers I’ve had in the style. I should note that the ABV is virtually nonexistent – it masks it perfectly.

Mouthfeel is really, really excellent: well carbonated and crisp, the flavors are really allowed to shine despite the body being on the heavy side.

I shared my first bottle with a budding craft beer drinker, who was surprised when I told her that this was a DIPA. I shared my second with fellow BA myspoonistoobig, who agreed that this didn’t quite fit the West Coast DIPA paradigm. Upon reflection, I think that Knuckle Sandwich combines a lot of the best qualities of DIPAs from both coasts, and that mix is what makes it so special. I sampled this alongside Pure Hoppiness, Kern 5th Anniversary, and Furious, and this was easily best in show.

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Photo of ehammond1
4.48/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottle (2011)

Bootlegger's Brewery
Fullerton, CA

Thanks for sharing Sam!

Deep, dark, yet barely clear amber. Thick, off-white, persistent head that lasts, and lasts, and lasts. Sticky sheets of lacing down the glass.

This is one pungent and incredibly aromatic DIPA. Only a few have matched it in intensity...though when I really stick my nose in it, it's just a touch too sweet for my liking (though it's still good!). A lot of citrus hop aromatics, some sweet honey and lemon, and a bit of spicy black pepper.

Bitter yet balanced flavor. A ton of hops, a ton of citrus, and a good amount of caramel malt to balance. This DIPA does everything in sort of a West Coast meets East Coast type of way, then the hops take over and you remember who's boss! Really an incredible beer. Perhaps the first time I've actually been (literally) sad I don't have any more of this beer to fill my glass with...there's about 4oz. left sitting in my glass and I don't want to finish it...because then it'll be gone (until next year! (fingers crossed!)).

A rich, thick, and hearty mouthfeel, though incredibly drinkable.

An absolutely fantastic, hoppy, yet balanced, BIG DIPA.

This one ranks.

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Photo of MrVonzipper
4.77/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured a nice bright clear amber color with a slight ruby tone. Nice frothy tan head with decent retention and lacing.

Amazing nose. Very nice sweet citrussy notes including orange peel and sweet ruby red grapefruit.

Amazing balanced flavor. Excellent sugary malt character on the back end supporting the great citrus and floral hop notes. Very nice aftertaste like a grapefruit-sugar brulee.

Nice full bodied mouthfeel that is creamy yet a tad tacky coating the entire palate. Good carbonation.

Overall this is one of the beat DIPAs out there. The nose is Perfect. The flavor is amazing and So Well Balanced. We need more hop production so we can get more of this stuff made!

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Photo of DarthKostrizer
4.45/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Look: Blood orange color with a nice 1/2 inch head a decent amount of retention and some very nice lacing

Smell: Very wonderful mild floral and citrus hops. A hint of sweet caramel. I am glad this does not smell like a hop bomb like I was worried about. Smell is damn near perfect.

Taste: Follows suit of the nose except the hoppy notes are just a bit more pronounced. Lovely citrus piney and floral hop flavor balanced out perfectly by the malt. Well done

Mouthfeel: Medium body with a medium amount of carbonation. It is creamy and leaves a nice malty coat all over your mouth

Overall: This is probably my favorite DIPA and I believe this completely destroy's PtE. Such great balance of malt to hop profile that as of right now I think seperates it from other DIPA's

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Photo of snpub540
4.82/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Duvel tulip. It pours a copper hue with red highlights. It is topped off by a cream colored head that has some nice stickiness to the side of the glass. Slightly hazy with a nice stream of bubbles.

The aroma is perfect. There is floral, citrus, tropical fruit, and resiny pine notes all coming through. Malty sweetness and a hint of the alcohol are also there. My nose was stuck in the glass for awhile. Yeah, its that good!

Taste is also perfect. Its a hop heads dream, but it is also sweet. It is also strong and refreshing. How can it be so many things all at once. Resiny bitter hops, with a nice fruitiness. Alcohol warmtyh slightly in the finish but very smooth in general. This is by far the most complex IPA I've ever tasted.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and it is very pleasant. Drinkability is great for a double IPA. I just wish this was a regular offering because I could possibly drink this beer every single day. It's that good.

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Knuckle Sandwich from Bootlegger's Brewery
4.28 out of 5 based on 1,081 ratings.
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