Busted Knuckle Ale
Big Woods Brewing Co. / Quaff On! Brewing Company

Busted Knuckle AleBusted Knuckle Ale
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Porter - English
Ranked #78
Ranked #22,952
3.85 | pDev: 12.99%
Big Woods Brewing Co. / Quaff On! Brewing Company
Indiana, United States
Very Good
Busted Knuckle AleBusted Knuckle Ale
Notes: This is our signature ale. Busted Knuckle is a hybrid ale, most similar to a “light” porter. We say “light” because, while it does have complexity, it is also a very smooth and approachable beer.
Reviews: 29 | Ratings: 156 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of BucBasil
BucBasil from Rwanda

3.84/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Poured from the 12 oz. bottle into an imperial pint.

A: The beer is a dark brown with cola-like reddish brown tints coming in at the sides. Head was two fingers, fizzy tan with a minute or so of retention, leaving a residue at the top of the beer.

S: Sweetness, vanilla, caramel, toasted malt, brown sugar.

T: Cola, roasted malt, brown sugar/molasses. Finishes with a slightly metallic or watery note that kind of negates part of the taste.

F: Light and carbonated

Overall, this is a good porter. It has a great aroma and checks a lot of boxes. However, it left me wanting a little more when it came to feel and was missing a certain "fullness" that I like in porters. I can see what they mean by "light." A solid brew, and I'll try more from this brewery, but might skip this one in the future.

Nov 29, 2020
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Franziskaner from Missouri

4.05/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black in color with very little light penetration. There’s a fingernail of beige around two-thirds of the rim and covering a third of the top. The aroma is of roasted nuts and caramel. I’m tasting roasted nuts, caramel, toffee, and hint of smoke. The mouth is lightly sticky chewy.

Aug 25, 2019
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cwm51662 from Indiana

4.29/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

I'm starting to get a taste for "coffee" beers and this is a good one. First smell is hard to place- Laurie thought it "vinegar", but I think maybe more like an apple about to turn, then washed away by the roast smell. No head, taste is black coffee with a hint of cider.

Apr 06, 2019
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IvoryFoxhole from Virginia

4.08/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle at Rathskeller in Indianapolis.

Very cool porter/ale mashup. Has a molasses/cinnamon thing going on, but carbonation and pineyness make it very drinkable. Really like.

Aug 12, 2017
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Tsar_Riga from Indiana

3.85/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Nice brown body, mostly opaque, dark, with minimal head and lacing, tan in color. Nose is roast, caramel and earthy hops. Solid malt flavors, bread and molasses, with a brisk and spicy close. Decent.

Jun 23, 2017
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EMV from Pennsylvania

3.77/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Had on-tap at the Yard House in Indianapolis. Poured into a pint glass.

L: Clear dark mahogany brown pour. Nearly black with 2 fingers of foamy tannish head. Solid lacing.

S: Classic roasted malts and chicory. Dark sugars.

T/F: Toasted malts and sugars.... mild coffee and cocoa. Baked raisin and singed bread. Surprisingly light in body. Well carbonated. Finish is roast and mild hop bitterness.

O: A nice light porter. Complex flavor, tasty and enjoyable.

Jun 15, 2017
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WoodBrew from Ohio

3.74/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I tried this beer at BW3s in Fishers, IN. It poured an opaque dark with no head and no lace. The scent had hints of earth and chocolate. The taste was nicely balanced and easy to drink. The mouthfeel medium in body with smooth carbonation. Overall is a decent beer.

May 07, 2017
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secondtooth from Indiana

3.67/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Nearly opaque black in glass. Very little lace at all.

Aroma: Chocolate, roasty coffee. Faithful to style, and appealing for sure.

Taste: Mostly cocoa here, with a trace of coffee around the edges. The body here is fairly light, and this one’s more than drinkable and a great gateway to heavier stouts. Tasty and easy to drink (despite the relatively high ABV).

May 22, 2016
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VirginiaBeerMan from Virginia

3.65/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Not sure why the call this a light porter. Obviously, they explain. But I don't get it. Good appearance with very very thick head that doesn't go anywhere. The flavor isn't very overpowering, which is maybe why they call it light. Thin watery feel. The 7.2 is barely noticeable.

Mar 21, 2016
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Discos2 from Indiana

3.88/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A-dark. Looks like a porter. Really don't see much red. Small khaki head with thin lacing.
S-first whiff is dark fruit followed by a smoky malt. Similar to some sweeter milk stouts.
T- much like the smell. Fruity, smoky, with a roasted malt. It's a brighter taste than you would think, but not much of a hop presence. By the end the sweetness of the fruit kind of consumes.
F- light and smooth. Taste lingers.
O- a unique beer that I could see getting on tap, but probably won't get another 6 anytime soon.

Jan 07, 2016
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Brutaltruth from Ohio

3.93/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed from the 12 oz bottle in a snifter via a friend from work with my same last name----THANKS JUSTIN!
Pours a muddled blackish brown with a nice head of light tan foam that settles to a thin layer, modest ring, and light lacing. Nose of subtle sweet chocolate, dark molasses, dark raisins, and sweet malts. Flavors exceed the expectations with dark chocolate mingling with moderate amounts of raisin and brown sugar notes followed by a rich malt flavor that is touched lightly by a subtle herbal hop. Excellent. Medium mouth feel with a sweet finish and enough carbonation to keep it lively. Excellent


Nov 19, 2015
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bwood06 from Wisconsin

4.12/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle into a pint glass

A - Nice 2 finger head that is tan in color and frothy plus slightly creamy as well. Head dissipates extremely slowly. Beer itself is black and opaque with a slight mahogany ring on the bottom of the glass. Carbonation is not visible. 4.25/5

S - Dark chocolatey malt on the nose along with some cinnamon and pepper. I am also getting some umami and roasted malt. Hops seems to be herbal in character but are not very noticeable. As the beer warms more of an espresso note comes out as well as a bit of molasses. 4/5

T - Comes across almost like a milk stout but with a more complex flavor profile. Light molasses sweetness is the first note to hit my tongue which is immediately followed by a dark chocolatey roast and a bit of milkiness. Along with the milkiness comes a nuttiness reminiscent of almonds. Later on come a bit of spices (cinnamon and pepper?) followed by earthy/herbal hops. Finishes with a light, somewhat dry espresso bitterness that lingers every so slightly but then is gone by the next sip. 4.25/5

M - Very full bodied beer that is heavy, per the style. Very smooth and creamy with very little in the way of carbonation. Almost has a nitro feeling to it. Does not linger but leaves the mouth nice and wet. Does not sit in the stomach heavy like most beers of this style. 4/5

O - This beer may be classified as a porter but it drinks much more like a milk stout with porter flavor complexity. Very interesting combination of styles here that leaves the palate wanting more. ABV is not enough to overpower but is enough to bring out the flavors nicely. 4/5

Nov 01, 2015
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bosshogt from Colorado

4.81/5  rDev +24.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This my favorite beer from Big Woods/ Quaff On. I was not a big fan of beer before I tried this. The finish is great, not to heavy and totally Quaffable.

Aug 19, 2015
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BeerAdvocate from Massachusetts

3.8/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

From BeerAdvocate Magazine #76 (May 2013):

The brewer’s intention was to create a brew somewhere between a Porter and a Brown Ale, and Big Woods found that fine line between the two. A hefty malt bomb of a brew but something we’d easily knock back; very welcoming.

STYLE: English Porter
ABV: 7.2%

LOOK: Nearly black, thin lacing

SMELL: Toffee, carob, burnt raisins, earthy, dark bread, hint of alcohol

TASTE: Creamy, smooth, very malty, chewy, toasted bread, dried grass, caramel, chicory, brown bread, woody hops, warming, baked apples, dates, lightly biscuity; slightly roasty, semidry finish

Mar 08, 2015
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jzeilinger from Pennsylvania

3.75/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A - Dark brown pour with a thin creamy layer of head.

S - Dark roasted chocolate, very light, cocoa.

T - Dark roasted milk chocolate and a touch of dark fruit with mild lingering bittersweet chocolate.

M - Medium body, light on the carbonation.

O - Unobtrusive and balanced.

Nov 30, 2014
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Vonerichs from Colorado

3.25/5  rDev -15.6%

Dark brown with tons of chunky floaters. A creamy coffee colored head is long lasting.

Chocolate and charred malt. Slightly smokey aroma. Coffee.

Chocolate and char. Light artificial cherry. Slightly sour and tinny.

Thin body with high carbonation.

I can't help but think that this may be infected. The sour and tinny flavor doesn't seem to be intentional.

Oct 05, 2014
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leantom from Indiana

4/5  rDev +3.9%

Traded a Victory beer for this one. Let's see how it tastes. Here goes:

A: Very good. Pitch black with a one-inch head. Kind of surprising given that this beer has a decently high specific gravity.. 4.5/5.0

S: Very interesting. Light chocolate, coffee, some dark fruit and an especially interesting burnt barbecue taste. 4/5

T: Chocolate and coffee giving way to dark fruit (plums, raisins, etc.) Lots of baker's yeast. Overall, however, these flavors aren't as robust as in other porters. I also wasn't expecting the dark fruit. Just OK. 3.75/5

M: Mouthfeel is OK. Baker's yeast kind of affects it negatively, however. 3.75/5.00

O: A good beer. Might have it again, but there are other porters out there that are better.

Sep 05, 2014
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Russell_L from Indiana

4.4/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Busted Knuckle is a very unique tasting beer. It is a stronger flavored beer with a somewhat sweet after taste. I highly recommend you try the beer, you will also find this beer tough to describe.

I am lucky enough to live somewhat close to the brewery, the people who work there have alot of passion about the beer they brew.

Aug 10, 2014
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BarryMFBurton from Indiana

3.91/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Another brewery coming out of Indiana, this time from down in Brown County. To America’s craft beer craze – cheers!

A: Deep ruby, looking brown when not in the light. A silky beige head rises to about an inch, creamy enough to look like a nitro pour.

S: Nose is a blend of an English mild and a big American porter: peat, chestnut, maple, and Maris otter vanilla notes are balanced alongside more roasty tones of coffee and toasted malt.

T: Again, the typical characters from a couple different styles converge to make something interesting. In all, this is much more malt-forward than anything, but it doesn’t get very sweet. Indeed, the residual sugars spring from an earthy and drinkable malt bill, providing the subtle sweetness of chocolate taffy (think Tootsie Rolls) and marshmallow as the palate base. Also, as the nose suggested, there’s a nutty character to it, as well, along with notes of wheat toast, cinnamon, and even a hint of mocha. Finishes very mild, with a faint lingering roast taste.

M: A medium-full body and velvety carbonation makes it feel like a pub beer; very drinkable.

O: Drinkable and flavorful; plus, it’s unique enough to keep me interested for a second (or third, or fourth…) drink. Usually, when you get a beer from a local brewery that just started bottling, there are some negatives to the experience, even if they’re not glaring flaws. Here, that’s not the case. Looks like I need to look into these Brown County guys a little more…

Jan 14, 2014
Photo of crzd33

4.52/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Busted Knuckle Ale different kind of 'light' porter; I can't think of a beer that really compares to it, but in some ways it will remind you of NewCastle. Easy to drink, no bitterness, surprising alcohol content. This is a beer you can drink for a long time and not get tired of it. It's rather light bodied, which is a contrast to its deep red color.

Feb 11, 2013
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Shagtastic from Indiana

2.74/5  rDev -28.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured out of a bottle into a pint glass

A: This is a nice looking beer. Dark with a great head retention that lasts for a few minutes after pouring. A great looking beer

S: A bit of a fall off from a great appearance here. Light notes of chocolate and almost no coffee which surprised me a bit.

T: Disappointment here. I was hoping for more with this beer being talked up as a hybrid porter. If you're going to make a hybrid of something I'd at least make sure that one part is tasty. Not much flavor here at all and what is here is so malt driven that it gets a bit boring.

M: I like the carbonation and the fact that it hangs for awhile. The bonus points gained with that however are lost with a very thin beer. I would think that something this thin would be drinkable but it really just gets boring.

O: I think calling this beer average is a bit of a complement but it does seem to get a bit better when it warms. Hopefully these guys get some better beers out in production soon.

Jan 24, 2013
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rlee1390 from Indiana

3.92/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A-Black in the glass, brown when pouring.

S-Roasted malt, vanilla, nuts, spice and caramel.

T-Similar to the nose, roasted malt, coffee, chocolate, not much bitterness. Wish there was vanilla in the taste and a tad more bitterness.

M-Creamy and medium bodied.

O-This small brewery could make some decent brews, I need to get over to the pub sometime soon.

Oct 21, 2012
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JackStraw from Vermont

3.76/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into a pint glass; no indication of brewing date as far as I can see.

A - low 30s SRM, dark brown with a hint of red, one finger khaki head with decent retention; you can see a little light through this one, but not much

S - initially a little malt sweetness and a bit of hops, and maybe a hint of toffee, but nothing overwhelming. i'd like more in the nose.

T - better than the smell; initially get some roasted malts and "red" and then some hops and dark fruitness as it's going down. the aftertaste is sweet as well, almost like a milky toffee

M - Very smooth and rich, goes down easy with a sweet lingering feel

O - I think this a very interesting, solid beer. It defies styles (amber/red/stout) and has a good balance and is very drinkable at this ABV (7.3). I'd like a bit more on nose, but overall a very nice B-town beer.

Oct 12, 2012
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JamesS from Indiana

3.11/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On tap at Tomlinson Tap Room. Poured a nice burnished copper with nice initial head and lacing. A slight earthy aroma, but very little in malt sweetness, which is odd for such a huge ABV red ale. Huge sweet caramel taste, with a fair bit of alcohol heat that covered the flavors and made it rougher going down. Thick and creamy, as well.

Mar 16, 2012
Photo of jmarsh123
jmarsh123 from Indiana

2.81/5  rDev -27%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours deep brown almost black. Not red at all with a 1/2 finger off-white head and some lacing.

Lots of caramal malt here with some brown sugar sweetness and just a bit of hops.

Drinks more like a porter or stout than a red. Big malty brew. Starts out with some subtle roasty malts. The sweet caramel malts also come out quite a bit especially on warming. Finishes with a tangy brown sugar sweetness that's not entirely great. It got a little overwhelming as warmed.

Creamy mouthfeel and good carbonation levels. Got a little cloying as it warmed.

Overall just an ok beer and kind of between styles that don't blur much so a bit hard to rate properly. It's considerably better than I remember it being on tap and had a thicker mouthfeel which was lacking at the brewpub. Maybe batch variation. Either way, this one isn't bad and Tim does some good work at the brewpub so I'd recommend this one as their signature ale if you happen to be in Brown County.

Mar 15, 2012
Busted Knuckle Ale from Big Woods Brewing Co. / Quaff On! Brewing Company
Beer rating: 86 out of 100 with 156 ratings