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

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Reviews: 257 | Ratings: 1,080
Photo of ThickNStout
4.57/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle from j47paco (thanks!). No dicernable bottling info. Served in a Terrapin snifter.

Pours a deep but transparent russet amber with a finger and a half of manilla head. A thin film of tiny bubbles remains as well as a halo that leaves some nice lacing.

Smells of sweet juicy fruits. Mandarin, mango and slight pineapple with some noticeable caramel malt hues. Good stuff for sure.

Taste delivers on the nose. Quite fruity and bittersweet. Mandarin/ tangerine, orange zest, mango/ papaya, subtle pineapple, grapefruit, mild pine, sweet caramel malts, biscuit and a nice little booze kick. Great malt sweetness that reinforces the bitter, juicy hops. Absolutely delicious.

Oily, slick and coating, this has a medium full feel with moderate carbonation. Juicy, bitter hops and sweet malts linger in the finish.

A DIPA that's right up my alley. I'm quite fond of the juicy, tropical, citrusy West coast style hops with a bold malt sweetness that can't be ignored. With no bottling date I can't be sure but the hop aromas/ flavors are bright enough that my guess is this is pretty fresh and I can see how freshness would have a huge impact on someone's perception of this. Either way, I truly enjoyed the bottle I was given and would happliy drink it again anytime.

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Photo of Uncle_Jimmy
4.57/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance- pours a sparkling orangish red with one finger of grainy white foam on top. it sticks to the glass and has some lacing. This one is pretty

Aroma- grapefruit, watermelon cantaloupe, flowers and strawberries even a bit of grandma's good soaps!

Taste- The Floral Hoppy nose leads to a sweet citrus forward punch in the tongue. It drops off almost immediately to a butter scotch candy finish with a slightly earthy after taste. I think this is very well balanced for a DIPA. Maybe a lot of late addition hops...

Mouthfeel- The booze is completely hidden. It was a little sticky/syrupy but all those hops have to be bittering something. Carbonation is well done

Overall- I think it is exemplary of the style. a big hop punch in the face, its beautiful in the glass. It is a beer I would sit in LA traffic for. It is a beer I would get a growler of and share with friends. But because it is such a pallet shredder i don't know if I would order multiples. Wow * days into the new year and I have a stellar beer in my glass Life is good !

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Photo of DoubleJ
4.57/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Can I handle a growler of this stuff for the next few days? On to the beer:

It's darker than other beers of the style. Shimmering, electric amber with hues of orange, yellow, and red. It shines at you like a jewel! It leaves some good creamy lacing as the head settles down. Lots of goodness in the aroma. A little crackery malt for the base, and lots of hoppiness. Grapefruit, pineapple, lychee, passionfruit, and resin all emerge.

Some DIPA's are bitter, some are balanced, and some are juicy. This is an example of a juicy DIPA. It's never goes bitter, and it doesn't fatigue your palate. At first, there a big burst of sweet orange. Afterwards, mango, grapefruit, passionfruit, pine, and a crackery maltiness creates the overall flavor that makes this beer great. The aftertaste is on the dry side, with little leftovers of dry malt and grapefruit. There's enough texture in the mouth, carbonation is low (but not anywhere near being too little), and there is hardly a trace of the 10% ABV being felt. Come to think of it, it's been awhile sicne I've had a beer this drinkable with this kind of strength.

The DIPA field is crowded, but Knuckle Sandwich can stick its head over most of the field with its different approach to your palate. Needless to say, put this on your wish list hopheads.

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Photo of SpdKilz
4.59/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Matt at the Green Jug for the heads up. After looking at the reviews of this I was very excited to go and pick it up tonight.

Appearance - Pours a clear, caramel looking color into my JP Pint Glass. About two fingers of tan colored head is achieved with a moderate pour, which dissipates relatively fast, leaving trace lacing.

Smell - Damn! Citrus aromas are just flowing from the glass. Ripe grapefruit, passion fruit, orange, pine, slight hops, no "noticeable" caramel sweet backbone besides the ripeness from the citrus.

Taste - Damn again! An immense citrus burst is the first flavor to hit my tongue. The ripe citrus (mainly grapefruit in the taste) gives way to a moderate bitterness would appear grapefruit yet again but unripened. Slight pine and hops in the middle which gives way to an unexpected malty backbone, though I am not complaining because of the way the citrus just takes over. I'm a huge citrus IPA/DIPA fan and this beer is right up the alley of what I remember The Oracle being like last year. The finish is of slight bitterness.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied, creamy almost, lower carbonation, finishes just a hint dry.

Drinkability - Pretty freaking drinkable. I'm going to test this with a PtE that I have chilling in my refrigerator after I finish this review. Slight alcohol taste and warming, though overall it is pretty well hidden. Pretty balanced overall - not too malty, bitter, or citrusy. Glad after reading reviews the beer lived up to what I was hoping it would be. Hope this is available more often because I will be picking this up regularly to get my citrusy DIPA fix. Very quaffable.

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Photo of Rjhami
4.59/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I was fortunate to find this at my local market after never seeing it from the usual bottle shops. It was the last one. Poured 650ml into snifter.

Pours orange-amber, butterscotch meets root beer type color...darker than most of this style. Good retention on a low volume head, the lacing slowly drips down the glass, not that sticky.

The nose starts out with fresh pine and gradually gives way to a well balanced malt character. It has an excellent clean, sweet, butterscotch-like finish. Floral and citrus tastes immediately give way to the big malt finish, sweet again with caramel and a bit of alcohol.

Oh yes this is a DIPA that you can sink your teeth into. It lets you know right away with the warmth of the mouth, but that does not take away from a surprisingly medium bodied feel.

The malt backbone on this one is big time and yet so well balanced. Packs a big punch as the name implies and not to be taken lightly. It would be difficult to take down multiple bombers of this beer but definitely will be buying this next time it's on the shelf.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.6/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

part of the epicness that was the halloween weekend of beer. the last few nights have kicked my ass in every way, but i got to try a bunch of goodies that have long haunted me. served chilled and poured into a 8 ounce taster, this one was consumed on 10/30/2010.

huge thanks to andrew for sending this one my way. i really did not know what to expect, but i was blow away with how good this one really turned out to be. pours out a very solid dark amber with a light cloudiness that yields a head that reaches about two inches in height before settling back down to earth. lots of lacing on the sides of the glass.

aroma is just dirty citrus hops. pineapple, oranges, all kinds of hints of tangerine and just sticky, resin filled fun. this one totally had me from the first smell. each sip was like heaven in a glass as the 10 percent abv was no where to be found and it was as smooth as could be. thick, full profile made your lips stick to your teeth with an amazingly fresh hop profile that was only subtly balanaced with sweet malts that gave it that little bit extra to put it over the top.

overall one of the best dipa i have had in a very long time. i would simply love to be able to try this one again, amazing.

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Photo of antioch
4.6/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at the Bootleggers Tasting Room

A - Pours a light amber/straw color with a nice white head and great lacing.

S - DIPA, need I say more? Grapefruit, pine, resin, citrus and maybe a bit of sweetness peeking through.

T - DIPA, need I say more? Bitter up front, in the middle and at the end. Grapefruit, pine, citrus, resin flavors show through the whole time. Definitely one of the better DIPA's out there.

M - Nicely carbonated on a fairly heavy beer. The carbonation seems to allow the flavors to really penetrate the tongue.

D - Decently drinkable for a high alcohol brew. After Strong Ale Fest, a lot of people I had talked to said this was one of their favorites at the festival. Great beer!

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Photo of UnknownKoger
4.6/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had a half pint at the brewery and then got my growler filled. I was interested to see how the almighty Knuckle Sandwich would hold up in growler form. Suffice to say, I'm not disappointed.

Poured from my growler into a Sierra Nevada pint glass. Opening the growler one day after getting it, there is still a ton of carbonation! There was a very audible pop and hiss followed by the lovely citrusy, piney aroma hitting my nose.

Color is great. Reddish copper. Very thin head which dies away quickly. Maintains its carbonation.

Taste is outstanding. This is one of my favorite DIPAs. It's not too overwhelming. The citrus and piney character of the hops works perfectly with the sweet caramel-y malts. At 10%, there is some booze present in the taste, but not enough to make me feel like I'm getting punched in the face.

This is an absolutely fantastic beer and very deserving of's beer of the year award. Cheers!

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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 nkersten
4.62/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured gently from bottle into LA tumbler. A bright amber orange with a small off white head that fades to a collar with good lacing. Smell is malty and grassy, lots of pineapple and tropical fruits. Taste is an amazing balance of sweet fruity hops and equally sweet malt flavors. Strawberries, slightly bitter, a bit of alcohol, tropical fruit and pineapple. Medium bodied and a medium light carbonation. This is an amazing beer, one of the best balanced double IPAs i have ever had. The hop and malt flavors meld perfectly together, this is what a balanced IPA should taste like. The 10% is pretty well hidden too... Overall a very solid beer.

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Photo of vacax
4.62/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Knuckle Sandwich pours out into my chalice with a light amber color, so it would appear to be fairly malt balanced. Cream colored head caps the top, just under two fingers in height, plus decent retention and lacing.

The nose knows none of this malt balance nonsense, and with appropriate West Coast Double IPA gusto it screams of pine needles, grapefruit, and a touch of pineapple. Tastes of high octane hop bomb, loaded up with pine, flora, unripe oranges. Moderate to intense bittering on the midpalate along with "triple" IPA flavors of alcohol and hops combining into one seamless beast. Finish is floral with a bit of lingering cookielike sweetness, which is the only malt in the experience beyond the color.

I feel I can safely say this is an exceptional example of the style. Medium to heavy in body, but a crisp prickly carbonation balances it out properly. Outstanding beer worthy of being talked about.

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Photo of HopHead84
4.62/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5


Bottle picked up at Olive Tree and poured into a snifter. When I had this on tap I wasn't able to spend as much time with it as I would have liked, so I'm eager to revisit it. This bottle is as fresh as the night is young.

A: Deep orangish amber, much darker than a typical Southern California Double IPA. Big frothy beige head had good retention and scattered lacing.

S: This smells a lot like Hopslam. It has a similar marriage of caramel, grapefruit, and perfumy pine. There's a light candied sweetness that gives the impression of candied caramel citrus. Hell of a nose.

T: The flavor is also awesome, but not quite as good as the nose. Lots of caramel, grapefruit, orange, and pine, with a smooth moderate bitterness and a decided sugary character. Again, the sugary malt is not at all characteristic of the Southern California interpretation of the style, but the beer is undeniably great. This is essentially a Midwestern style Double IPA. Alcohol is deftly hidden for the high ABV.

M: Medium in body with nice carbonation. Mouthfeel is smooth and sticky.

Overall: An exceptional beer. If you're expecting a San Diego Pale Ale, you won't find it here, but you will find a high quality Midwest style Double IPA. This is the closest thing to Hopslam that I've ever tasted, and I can't decide which I prefer. Highly recommended.

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Photo of dragonWhale
4.62/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

had on tap at the tasting room. Only enough time and sobriety for a halfpint of one beer, so I had to go with this. It only seemed logical. Amber and sexily foamed up above the cloudiness. Aromas popping high into the air. I wave my whiskers from above, peering into the beer's soul. Grapefruit and sticky pine. The resins dominate, with some sweet malt and a little alcohol. It's exceptionally drinkable, truly it is. The balance is excellent between the sweet malts and the titanic hop presence. Big bitterness up front cut into by the malt sweetness, followed up with waves of hopgasms. Resinous, sensual, yes, delicious. Perhaps one day I shall return, Bootlegger's.

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Photo of ottovon
4.64/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

shared a bomber with whiterascal

A: pours out a coppery red, with a fluffy, off-white head.

S: the smell is pretty amazing. a lot of hop in the nose. it is citrusy and very fruity. it has a lot of pineapple.

T: it has a lot of citrus and pineapple from the hops. i get some caramel from the malt as well. a little bready-ness.

M: it is pretty smooth. a medium-thin body with low carbonation.

D: i could drink this all night long. You can not tell the abv at all.

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Photo of TheCrowsNest
4.65/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I love Bootlegger's tasting room. No frills. Just beer. In mason jars.

Pours a rich copper. They fill their mason jars to the brim, so there wasn't much room for head. No complaints there.

Lemons, oranges, pine needles. Very fresh and inviting.

Goes right along with the taste. At 10% I didn't get much warmth, but the malt backbone supports the heavy hops.

Medium-full bodied. Dry.

An IPA that will stand with the best. I wish they still put this into growlers.

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Photo of CuriousMonk
4.66/5  rDev +8.9%
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!

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Photo of whatthehull
4.66/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured (last night 3-8-11) into a New Belgium snifter

A - a cloudy blood orange, 1 finger off white head and nice lacing

S - grapefruit, huge citrus hop, pine, sap, sweet malt, bong resin, Oaked bourbon, fresh mango, pineapple, some orange, beautiful hops and sweetness. A really friendly bitterness. Man this is awesome

T - the alcohol is up front, but it's so nice. Hops galore. Sweet malt, beautiful citrus fruits, especially grapefruit, very nice floral. Such a balanced beer

M - light, fluffy, carbonated, sweetness sticks around, coats the mouth in beautiful ipa glory

D - for the hop head and hop scared alike. Very nice, easy to drink and even easier to enjoy!

Final thought - The price is high @ $6.49, but it is so excellent. Can't say a bad thing about this beer!

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Photo of scottyshades
4.67/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Big thanks to mrmiles for this extra bomber

A: Pours a deep garnet color with a small fluffy white cap. The head and the retention is decent given the ABV

S: If I could give this a 6 I would...exactly what I love in IPAs. Lots of sweet pineapple juice, mango, blood orange, apricot, pear, and other orchard fruits. So damn awesome. Malts do a lot in terms of balancing, also adding some caramel sweetness.

T: Sweet tropical fruit...whoever mentioned candied pineapple hit the nail on the head. Also candied mango. Lots of residual sugar on top of sweet tropical/citrus fruit, on top of sweet caramel from the malts. Alcohol is very warming, but not really a problem. Well balanced- sweetness with hops.

MF/D: Viscous, sweet, and smooth. Easy to drink despite the ABV. Do not recommend taking a bomber down by yourself...which is what I am attempting, hence my 4 rating for drink

Notes: Really solid offering from a brewery I've never tried or even heard of...But definitely will be ISO their beers in the future.

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Photo of JeffBob
4.68/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

poured from tap at Bootleggers brewery into a beer glass.
A Great 1/2 inch of foam
S aroma of fantastic hoppy piney sweetness.
T At first bitter hops then sweetness hits you fading away to a nice bitter hop aftertaste.
M bitter dry and smooth
O just fantastic this beer ruined most IPA's for me.

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Photo of macrosmatic
4.68/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A: Poured from a bomber into pint glass. Deep deep copper appearance (this is a "pale" ale?). Not a whole lot of head.

S: Caramel with background of citrus.

T: Very malt-forward for an IPA with caramel-sweet malts & orange/floral hops. Good carbonation, and hop bitterness lasts but the sweetness does also.

M: Medium mouthfeel, not too heavy.

O: I really like this, but not sure how old the bottle is - there's no bottle date or "Best by" at all. I'm wondering if it has some age on it & the hop flavor has been diminished somewhat? I would be very interested in trying a bottle I knew to be very fresh Overall still excellent either way, thoroughly enjoyed it.

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

In the long list of big hops on the West Coast this one got it really right for me. It's bested only by very very few others for me.. ( maybe 2 or 3)

It has the required huge aroma, great hop profile, a good bitterness. But what makes me fall in love with it is the balance of hop to malt. The spectrum runs the gamut from dry to really malty and as with all things subjective we all have our sweet spot and this one is right there. Just enough malt to provide a great backbone, just enough juicy sweetness without going overboard.

Mouthfeel and carbonation is also right in the range I love.

What a fantastic DIPA, glad to have finally tried it, and look forward to more and more. A growler would do me really well.

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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 MikeytotheB
4.7/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Across the bored a great DIPA! Pretty color, nice head. Great pine, and pineapple notes on the nose. Taste follows suit with the pine and pineaple and many floral notes. If this were easily accesible for me it would be on the top of my list for must haves all the time!

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

Thank you Green Jug for always having Bootleggers, and this recomendation, as well as the closest place besides WF-Santa Clarita that serves my Bottleggers fix from Oakland. On with the beer. Deep amber pour, big and sweet citrus on the smell and taste. The taste is smooth, get's a little more boozy as it warms but way to drinkable at 10%. great beer, need more.

update 1-7-11; one of the most consistant DIPA's out there.

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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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Knuckle Sandwich from Bootlegger's Brewery
4.28 out of 5 based on 1,080 ratings.
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