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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 KickInTheChalice
3.79/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a pint glass. Thanks to PeprSprYoFace for sending me this.

Appearance: The appearance of this beer is phenomenal. A full cherry copper color with a rich, creamy white head. Sheets of lace have great cling.

Smell: The aroma is very sweet, and this sweetness begins the downfall of Knuckle Sandwich. Lots of full caramel notes balance or even overpower grapefruit and sticky pine aromas.

Taste: The malt presence is full and bready. A soft honey sweetness grows until it is a nearly out of control caramel bomb. Where are the hops? When the grapefruit, apricot, and pine bitterness finally come in, it is too little too late. The sweet malt controls the flavor the whole time. A light alcohol presence is noticeable at the end, but nothing out of the ordinary for a 10% DIPA.

Mouthfeel: The body is fuller than I would really prefer and almost chewy from the strong malt presence. The tight carbonation works well with the full body, providing a light creaminess and still guiding excess flavors off the tongue with each sip. A bit of alcohol burn in the back of the throat.

Overall: When I first started drinking IPA's, I liked beers that had a nice malt sweetness to go along with a strong hop presence. Now, just give me the hops. I can see why this is popular, it is just is not quite what I am looking for.

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Photo of Rhettroactive
3.77/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From 22oz bomberto Hess imperial pint glass on 1/23/12
*From notes

-- Muchos gracias, Samantha --

A: Pretty God damn dark. like an amber or fair brown ale. A standard pour yields a fluffy two finger head that sticks around. Beautiful and dense lacing rims the glass as the head slowly fades.

S: It's most certainly hoppy. The tropical, almost floral vibe on this is outstanding.

T: How the nose leads to this, I don't know. It's like two different beers, as this is much maltier then I expected. Sure it's bitter and piney, but there's minimal fruit to it. The finish is bitingly dry.

M: Above average, but not much more. The carbonation could use a bit more touch, and the overall body feels like a rough draft.

O: Not the beer I was hoping for. In fact I really don't get where the hype is coming from. The name, maybe the killer label? I don't know man. What I do know is that Knuckle Sandwich is a reasonably good beer, but with so many other DIPA options out there, I don't know if I'd track this down again.

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Photo of CliffBrake
3.77/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to breaks808 for the bottle. Appreciate him going out of his way to track this down before it evaporated.

Deep orange color with a light head that leaves pretty lacing. Very dark for a DIPA, which is seems like a hint of things to come.

Pleasant and pronounced floral/fruity aroma. Very different than any IPA I have experienced before. Strawberry is the dominant note that I pick up here. Smells great but very unexpected.

Fruity hops share the spotlight with a big caramel malt base. The hops show a bit of pine toward the finish.

Fuller body than most DIPA's - malty and mouth-coating.

A tasty beer. Well suited to dessert or sipping after-dinner. I think it seems more like a barleywine than a DIPA. An east-coast style DIPA from the west coast???? That is a first for me!

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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 Sammy
3.75/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at The Bruery Provisions store and bar. There was some buzz about this beer, where it will be on tap and the like. I found it to be a bang on DIPA, but not living up to any hype. Golden orange coloured body. Orange taste, the IBU certainly up there. Leaning on the bitterness, but still balanced. Middle bodied. What's not to like.

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Photo of Ciocanelu
3.75/5  rDev -12.4%
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.

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Photo of Slackerville
3.75/5  rDev -12.4%
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.

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Photo of suspect
3.73/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to mrmarmot for the hookup. Poured from a 650ml bottle into a Dogfish Head signature glass.

A: Deep, dark, down and dirty orange-ish amberish in color. Definitely one of the darkest DIPAs I've ever encountered. Aggressive pour led to a 1.5 finger head that dissipated quickly after pour leaving a thickish creamy ring around the top. Very excellent looking brew.

S: Piney hops with resin backbone. Very similar in the nose to Hoptimum. I loved the smell of Hoptimum so I like this as well. Malt is present but not prevalent. Just enough there to let me know.

T: Way maltier than I expected from this beer but that isn't to say it was overly malty. I also don't think it was all that old either. It had the "Knuckle Sandwich" punch in the mouth with the hops right up front followed very quickly by a sticky caramel and honey mixed malt backbone. For a big DIPA, it tried really hard to be balanced, I just was looking for it to be a hop-bomb, and it wasn't so much.

M: Medium body, limited carbonation. Creamy mouth texture, definitely bitter. No hint of the 10% alcohol like that of a Hellhound for instance.

O: A really solid DIPA. Bootlegger should be proud of their effort here, this is a very drinkable, very smooth, very balanced, very BIG DIPA. Nice work, would definitely get more if it were readily available.

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Photo of SomethingClever
3.71/5  rDev -13.3%
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

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Photo of Vonerichs
3.7/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Deep copper color with a huge fluffy white head. Great lacing.

Floral, pine, and earthy hop nose with a strong sweet malt presence.

It's too heavy on the sweet malt for my liking. It's bitter, but astringent.

Mouthfeel is heavy and good carbonation.

This was just ok to me. It's really heavy and not so crisp and clean like I normally like my IPAs.

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Photo of EchoParker
3.68/5  rDev -14%
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.

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Photo of Uncleserg
3.63/5  rDev -15.2%
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.

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Photo of readbaron
3.61/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a beautiful (seriously, gorgeous) dark orange with 2 fingers of white foam. The foam piles on top and lingers, coating the glass in a sticky lacing. However, it did fade - somewhat unusual for a DIPA.

Smell is a bit dissapointing for all the hype - lots of sweetness and honey malt, followed be a dollop of piney hops and a strong note of alcohol.

Taste is a lot like the nose - lots and lots of honey and malty sweetness, before finishing with bitter piney hops. Not much citrus. Reminds me a little bit of hopslam, only sweeter and not as hoppy. (I prefer hopslam)

Feel is good - medium bodied, a touch sticky, and nicely carbonated.

Overall - pretty tasty, but I don't get the hype around this one.

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Photo of Sean9689
3.58/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Chris for this one, who said it was "relatively fresh". Poured into a Cantillon tulip/snifter thingy.

A - Pours a reddish color, thin collar, some spotty whisps on top.

S - Grapefruit, alcohol, pine, dank citrus, and lots of sweetness. I'm surprised by the high level of sweetness here, and I though this would be a huge amount of hoppy bitterness. Oh well.

T - Sweet citrus, pine, large amount of malty sweetness, tropical fruits. The sweetness once again surprised me, but it was a hoppy sweetness as opposed to a huge malty sweetness. That said, I would like a little less of that and more bitter notes. This is an attempt at a HopSlam-type DIPA, but it's not really close.

M - Medium, good carbonation, pine/resin finish.

O - A solid DIPA, but not mind-blowing at all. A little too much sweetness and not enough citrus/floral hops. Too many other awesome DIPA's out there for me to worry about going back to this one any time soon. Slightly above average.

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Photo of dfernandez77
3.54/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

On a scale of 1 to 5, most I rate get 2.5 to 3, very few get a 4, and you have to really knock me out to get above a 4.

Appearance: Warm amber color. Medium fluffy white head, laces gently, Very clear.

Aroma: Pine, desert sage, melon skin, nopales (prickly pear cactus pads). Toasty sweetness like saltines, slightly caramel. Starchy fruit sweetness like dragonfruit.

Flavor: Predominantly resin and citrus segment skin bitterness, desert sage herbal follows, slight grassiness. Clean malt profile and invert sugar residual sweetness – similar but not quite like the residual sweetness in a big Belgian Tripel. Some booziness present, but not offensively fusel or hot – appropriate tripod balance to the hop and malt characters.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, and finishes astringent and bitter – hop oils all over the finish. Gains some slipperiness and opens fruit characters as it warms.

Overall: A very solidly made aggressive DIPA. This release (June 2013) hangs somewhere between an unbalanced west coast hop assault DIPA, and a fat malty east coast DIPA. Well done.

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Photo of mactrail
3.53/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Pours a handsome dark coppery amber color. Nice head in the small Societe nonic. Plenty of lacing and a nice sudsy mouthfeel. Big flowery and resiny aroma.

The initial taste is really hot. Quite fruity followed by a searing bitterness. "Come as the fire, and burn," if there are any Methodist hop enthusiasts. The sharpness is almost painful, but this stuff is so full of fruit. Mango, pineapple, and apple juice concentrate.

This just adds yet another fiendish hop potion to the pharmacy. For those in need of a fix, here's your Daddy. From the 22 bottle bought at Liticker's in Ocean Beach.

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Photo of trxxpaxxs
3.53/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Huge thanks to BrewtifulMind for gifting this bottle to me. I've wanted to try it for quite awhile...

A: Pours a nice copper/amber with about half finger of off-white head. The foam takes a while to dissipate, but leaves great lacing on the glass as it drinks.

S: The nose has components of big citrus, malt, and flowers. It smells nice, but it's a little too sweet for my liking.

T: It starts out sweet with a nice balance between malt, hops, and booze. The bitters mellow out the malt in the middle, and the alcohol comes on strong in the finish.

M: Full bodied beer. Sweet and syrupy to start, finishes coating and boozy.

O: Good beer, but not my favorite. I'm happy to have tried it, but I don't know if I'd ever seek this out again.

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Photo of harrymel
3.5/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Andrew for this brew, Cheer's andrew!
Bottled: unk

A: Pours a blood orange ale with single finger light tan head. This dissipates relatively quickly leaving a medium sheet of the same. Little to no lacing. Excellent clarity.

S: Lots of pine and resin on this one. Not as much citrus as anticipated. Some hints of cotton candy. ABV obvious here. Plenty sweet from the ABV and malt profile. Above average, but not great.

T: Sweet, boozy, hot on the ABV again. Plenty of pineapple, pine, resin flavors. Medium to low bitterness on this one.

M: Medium to high body with low carbonation. Long slick finish.

O: Well done brew, but would take any of Alpine's offerings over this any day of the week. ABV isn't justified in the relative simplicity of the flavor profile.

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Photo of zhanson88
3.48/5  rDev -18.7%
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.

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Photo of drabmuh
3.4/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Received in a trade with womencantsail, shared at a recent tasting. I wanted to like this beer, I was rooting for it but it just didn't live up to what I expect from a DIPA. I would try it again on draft but I think I would skip it in the bottle if offered again.

Beer is ruby red, it's darker than I expected, almost looks like nugget nectar, I guess that's fine, mostly clear, thin off white head of small bubbles. Like I said, it was dark but looks OK.

Aroma is earthy and malty, I was warned that this is a maltier IPA, the aroma reveals that.

I think this beer walks the line between a DIPA and a barleywine but in my opinion falls on the barleywine side of the line. It is sweet, the middle of the beer is a little earthy and piny and finishes with some nice bitterness but it's not a great DIPA by any measure. At least I don't think so.

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Photo of Centennial
3.4/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

First time having this and I know it has some age on the bottle so this review will be based upon that. Serving- 22oz bottle poured into pint glass

Appearance- A lighter amber with golden color shining through when held up to light and overall pretty clear.

Smell- Citrus, Honey and hop spiciness

Taste- crisp and hoppy when cold but after it warms to room temperature some weird barleywine and bready qualities

Mouthfeel- Clean, a little syrupy.

Overall- Not bad, but not what the hype makes it to be. I need to try this fresh when the next batch comes out to give my final review.

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Photo of ArrogantB
3.38/5  rDev -21%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A friend shared this bottle and I had mixed feelings about this beer. It looked like it was a dark orange color with a small wispy head. The smell was quite hoppy, pine and citrus. The flavor was also nce and hoppy with more pine but it was also sweet, syrupy, and astringent. I was happy to only have to finish eleven ounces because a full bomber would be too much.

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Photo of DovaliHops
3.36/5  rDev -21.5%
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.

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Photo of beertunes
3.34/5  rDev -22%
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.

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Photo of mothman
3.25/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours 1 finger of creamy beige head. Color is a lot darker for a dipa. It is a dark amber gold.

Aroma: A lot maltier than I was expecting for a Cali DIPA. Very bready with some caramel malt flavors. It is still hoppy. Floral and a bit citrusy.

Taste: Again, this DIPA is malty. It is kind of off putting. It is hoppy, but all the bready malts bog it down. Some citrus fruits. Floral notes. Biscuit flavors.

Mouthfeel: Bitter and creamy. Medium bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. Ends with a sticky hoppy aftertaste.

Overall, I was surprised to see this on the top 100 list. It just isn't a very exciting DIPA. Not something I would really want a lot of.

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