Life & Limb - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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Life & LimbLife & Limb

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1,516 Ratings
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Ratings: 1,516
Reviews: 745
rAvg: 4.02
pDev: 11.69%
Wants: 154
Gots: 489 | FT: 13
Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Strong Ale |  10.20% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: mjl21 on 11-14-2009

Sierra Nevada & Dogfish Head collaboration brew.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,516 | Reviews: 745
Reviews by Gueuzedude:
Photo of Gueuzedude
3.52/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch one from the national release (I believe), Bottle number 9 28622013; Sampled April 2012
A soft pour into my lost Abbey Teku glass produces a three-finger thick, pale brown tinged, dark tan / amber colored head. The beer is a concentrated, darkened amber color that shows a brilliantly clear, concentrated ruby hue when held up to the light. The aroma smells of nutty toasted malt, pomegranate syrup, thick caramelized malt, touches of cola or perhaps root / bark soda, hints of woodiness towards the finish and even some evident oxidation towards the end. There really is an interesting spicy character here that I would guess is contributed by the birch / maple syrups that were used in this beer; these are almost minty, sort of woody, a bit like Christmas spices and enhancing a fruitiness.

The beer is sweet tasting, with lots of caramelized malt flavors, a significant toasted character that doesn’t quite get to roasted. Fairly thick bodied, definitely a chewy beer, but retains a fair amount of drinkability for a beer of this strength; the perceived bitterness is fairly low which seems to make this drink a bit smoother as well. There is a bit of warmth, not quite heat, from the alcohol here that boosts the spiciness of the flavor. A touch of woody like, almost astringency is also found towards the finish. There is almost a touch of a cocoa note in the flavor, though it is quite fleeting and subtle and flirts with coffee like notes at times. There are lots of brown sugar roasted brown bread like flavors here that combine well with the soft maple and birch like notes; the maple and birch are not so noticeable that I would have been able to identify them blind, but definitely contribute to the flavor profile of this beer.

The beer has definitely gotten a bit on the overcarbonated beer (at least from what was intended), but it is not excessively so and this has likely dried out the beer a bit more than it otherwise would have been. I am a bit surprised that I have had this beer since 2009, it is certainly holding up well, even if a touch of oxidation is becoming noticeable.

More User Reviews:
Photo of Stevedore
3.02/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

750ml bottle, Batch 2 (from 2011), poured into a Cantillon taster 7/7/2014.

A- Dark mahogany body with a half finger white head with limited retention. No lacing.

S- Smells interesting. A bit of cardboard, a bit of dark fruit, and a predominant sweet sugary maple syrup-like scent. This has clearly oxidized over the last 3 years, and while it still smells interesting, I am sure that it did not improve much, if at all.

F- Maple syrup, candi sugar, caramel, toffee. This has the elements of a generic strong ale with a distinct syrup character. There is some oxidation that detracts from it, though.

M- Medium body but with a sticky syrupy consistency on the finish; lower in carbonation, a bit difficult to drink given the strong oxidation that has taken place over the last 3 years despite being cellared properly in a wine fridge.

O- If you are still sitting on bottles of this, I would crack them open and see if it's come to a place where you like it. I don't think this has done very well with age on it.

Photo of oberon
4.05/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Obviously much anticipated,I am glad to grab a few bottles before they are gobbled up here in my area.Poured into an oversized wine glass a deep dark brown with some deep reddish colored hue when held to the light,a large clingy off white head atop.A mix of a whole lot of good stuff going on in the nose,winter spice,molasses,roast,and resiny hop comes through.Flavors are quite sweet at the onset with mollases and spice,some leather and dark fruit also show up,then a deep resiny hop flavor comes and really finishes this beer out as good as you can.Big chewey and mouth coating,you cant ask for a much better mouthfeel.Man I really like this beer,many times a anticipated beer doesnt live up to the hype,this does.

Photo of brownbeer
3.11/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice, dark brown color with a light brown head.

From a distance it smells a little like cheap beer with corn adjuncts. Other than that there are some more pleasant notes; light maple, brown sugar, all spice, tree bark, and no hops to speak of.

Taste mimicks the nose for the most part. It tastes like an imperial brown ale to me. The body is too thin and a little watery, alcohol is well hidden.

Overall, I expected a lot more richness and complexity from these two great breweries. I think this could improve drastically in a few years but right now it's a pass.

Photo of tuckevalastin
4.53/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a bottle.

A: A beautiful dark mahogany, almost black with a nice head.

S: Very light smell. Sweet with a hint of spice and not much in the way of hops.

T: Suprisingly, there is no strong taste but it all works. There is a clear woody note with a caramel and fruit mix behind it. The alcohol is completely hidden.

M: SMOOTH. This beer is definetly a smooth one. There is a ever so slight burn but this beer is incredibly drinkable.

I can't comment on the value of this beer because I had to pay considerably more than shelf price for mine. I will say it's a nice beer and one worth trying... just ashame it's not available like your average 6 pack.

Photo of orbitalr0x
4.17/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Extremely dark brown with garnet highlights. Light tan head and spotty lacing on the glass. Aromas of sweet dark malts upfront. Crisp with dark fruit accents. Lots of syrup tones that bring herbal and earthy accents.

First sip brings crisp dark malts moving into herbal and earthy tones. Syrup is bold and weaves in well with maple tones and a bit of fruitiness throughout. Not overly sweet and it goes down well. A tasty strong ale.

Medium body overall with a creamy and smooth texture. Goes down pretty darn easy for the ABV. Overall this was a good collaboration and a tasty brew.

Photo of lordofthewiens
4.2/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle poured into a pint glass. Very dark brown color with red highlights. Thick tan head that retained well.

Chocolate malt aroma, sweet maple syrup. Also kind of a root beer aroma.

Chocolate taste. Maple syrup. Birch beer. Wow! Little bit of late hops.

Very smooth and tasty. Alcohol not detectable. Complex and interesting.

Photo of bishopdc0
3.67/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had this at a tap take over event at Novare Res for dogfish.
Shared with my wife.

The beer is served in a nice tulip, dark brow with a thin whisp of head a good color not expected especially for a Belgian dark which tend to just look like a brown.

The aroma is toasted slight with malt mid roast range hints of earth hops almost a woody aroma as if it was barrel age nice.

The taste as my wife would say is like candy sweet malt start and carbonation fills the mouth. The taste of the malts dry and leave a belgian yeast at the end.

Photo of steveja57
4.03/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice beer. Definitely a sipping winter warmer sort of brew. Pours nearly black, light tan head that dissipated quickly. On the nose it was nice and roasty, caramel, baking spices. The body was somewhat light like a stout, it hid it's 10% alcohol well. I noticed the spruce much more than the maple. The flavor profile reminded me much more of a Sierra beer than a Dogfish. Makes me wonder what sort of beer one might brew from the yeast in the bottom of the bottle

Photo of Billolick
4.3/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

$11.99 for the 24 ounce bomber @ DeCiccio's in Ardsley, NY. Nice label artwork, but sadly no freshness/vintage info, even on a brew that's label speaks about "encouraging aging" oh well, another opportunity lost. This beauty pours darkest of browns, under a stocky dark khaki/mocha head, that stays and stays. Leaving gobs of sheeting and modern art lacing. The sniff reveals bountiful aromas of raisins, maple and dark malts. Full flavor sipper, notes of more raisins, ample maple (w/o being too sweet somehow) and again more lucious dark malts. Yummy creation, 10% well hidden...can you say Christmas dinner dessert beer/night capper. I hope to be able to get at least a few more bottles of this one ASAP

Photo of Mora2000
3.88/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beer pours dark brown with a white head. The aroma is malty, with lots of caramel malt. The flavor is malt along with dark fruits including cherries. You also get a maple flavor that is very nice. The beer has a big alcohol warming affect but the alcohol is not that present in the flavor. Medium mouthfeel and very drinkable.

I have a couple of these put away and will be anxious to see how they age.

Photo of 1Adam12
3.58/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours very dark, but not quite black. Nose is chocolatey, with a bit of wood, vanilla, maybe a bit of cherry, and I definitely pick up alcohol. Really wasn't impressed by the nose. Just more boozy than anything else. Taste is very chocolate forward. I also catch a bit of fruit, vanilla, some roasts, lots of wood, and also quite a bit of alcohol. Mouthfeel is very nice. Creamy with mild carbonation. Lots of wood on my tongue that lingers on and on. Overall this was good, but not to where my expectations had it. I have one more bottle, and I'm hoping to find at least one more now that I'm looking for it (I just stumbled on 2 bottles today without looking for it.) Really hoping that I will enjoy this more with a bit of age on it. Lots of potential here.

Edit: MUCH better with age. Just opened my 2nd and last bottle about 2 weeks ago and it was fantastic. Age this beer!

Photo of brewerdrew
2.91/5  rDev -27.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The beer poured a nice Dark Brown with Ruby Red notes. Very little head that dissipated fast.

Surprisingly, very non-discript flavor with out too much body or flavor.

As a whole, underwhelmed.

This beer will probably be better with Age.

If this wasn't a collaboration between SN/DFH, my guess is the ratings would be alot lower. Just goes to show what hype and the Sam Caligione marketing machine can do.

Photo of bsp77
3.73/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Snifter. 2011 Vintage.

Appearance: Dark reddish-brown with long sustained head and spotty lacing.

Smell: Fruity (plum, cherry), caramelly, spicy and (above all) boozy.

Taste: Sweet malt base of caramel, plum, cherry and syrup. Finish has some light spiciness from the hops and a mild pine-like character. This is not as strong tasting as expected.

Feel: Moderate carbonation, syrupy yet thin body. Very warming.

Overall: Boozy but mild - not the greatest combination. However, it tastes quite good and is a nice sipper. Glad I tried, but probably not worth it.

Photo of magictrokini
3.15/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Hmm, intrigued by the label listing some ingredients. Was hoping for a hoppy, SN offering, but this is not looking so good. Poured murky brown with a fluffy off-white head. Okay lacing. Strange nose. Can really smell the maple syrup and roasted malt. There is a smell in there I just can't describe. Like a molasses/tree bark/wet leaves/cocoa powder mess. Its not pleasant, but interesting. Taste was okay. Coffee, cocoa, maple syrup and the birch as advertised. Reminiscent of the Sam Adams Root Beer from that 1700's/Presidential series. Except the Root Beer is blended with a nice porter. It could have used more hops, because this just felt flat in mouthfeel and taste.

Photo of NilocRellim
4.08/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured very cold from the bottle. Very dark, porter-esque appearance to the beer. Creamy, slightly brown-hued head. The nose was very complex and slightly sweet. The beer itself was not as sweet tasting as the nose led to believe, but was definitely more sweet than bitter. The beer was made with maple and birch syrup, but neither were very dominant in the taste. Overall a very complex-tasting, balanced, interesting beer.

Would I buy it again? Yes.

Photo of kingcrowing
3.53/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

24oz Sierra Nevada bomber poured into a tulip.

Pours A very dark black but smooth and non-viscous with a huge off white fluffy head. The nose is very strong, slightly belgian from the yeast I think, sweet and a bit fruity.

Taste is a bit odd, it has some light bitterness and some woody/maple backbone to it. Tastes like there's some Belgian candi sugars. I'm really not totally sure what I think it's very interesting.

Photo of jondeelee
4.35/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Life and Limb opens with a bang, both literally and aromatically, the bottle being one of the few corked examples on the market, and the beer smelling rich, yeasty, and malty, much like rising wheat bread dough. Added to the bread is a touch of molasses and brown sugar, a smidgen of piney hops, and what smells like a hint of Christmas spices such as clove, nutmeg, and allspice, which I'm assuming comes from the maple and birch syrups (though never having had birch syrup before, I'm obviously guessing).

On the tongue, the beer is rich and sugary, with deep molasses, turbinado brown sugar, and maple syrup notes streaming across the tongue in a high-viscosity gloopiness that saturates the tastebuds. Biscuit and wheat bread flavors swirl in the background, as well as vanilla, berries, and darker fruit esters such as raisin and fig. In this way, the beer somewhat resembles raisin bread French toast drizzled in maple syrup. The maple and birch syrups bring a woodiness to the beer, which is most welcome, adding depth and complexity to the flavor. Hops bring a bitter fuzz to the throat, and add a balancing citrus and pine tone. The aftertaste is a light continuation of the syrupy flavors, with hints of wildflowers and dandelion stems breaking through occasionally, and lingers for quite a while. Mouthfeel is a syrupy medium-high, and carbonation is medium.

Overall, this is great beer, and it says much of the quality of manufacturing that the 10.2% ABV is almost entirely undetectable, making this quite a dangerous beverage. Even better, the flavors don't diminish during subsequent mouthfuls, meaning the beer tastes just as good halfway through the bottle. Well worth a try.

Photo of dogfishandi
3.31/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

life and limb 2

750ml cork and caged bottle, out of the fridge allowed to warm up a bit, split with friends.

pours out almost black, actually a dark brown with a bit of ruby in the light. decent clarity. a big light tan colored head off the pour that settled to some thick creamy retention. bits of nice lace.

sharp dark fruits and some alcohol mostly. winey, almost belgian like fruity esters. no maple syrup detected.

lots of dark fruits, brown sugar, again almost a belgian like fruity ester going on. some maple syrup, but not really like i expected and not super noticable. more maple as it warms. also some toasted malts mixed in there. not very complex at all.

finishes a bit dryer than expected, but also very sweet, almost astringent sweet. medium to heavy in body.

i was looking forward to this beer and i was sadly let down. i did not enjoy this, almost a drain pour, very hard to get down. the maple syrup really took a back seat, too astringent, and seem to have almost a belgian like ester thing going on. i wont come back to this.

Photo of ehammond1
3.95/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle (2011)

La Bodega Wines & Spirits
Riverside, CA

Dark brown bordering on black--was much darker than I expected. Thick, persistent, and creamy khaki foam with spots of lacing down the glass.

The aromas consist of roasted malt, some maple and caramel sweetness, chocolate-covered raisins, and a bit of alcohol warmth.

The flavor follows suit.

Medium mouthfeel, though a bit disappointing, namely because Sierra Nevada products are usually near-perfect in this department.

A delicious and interesting release. I'm glad I still have one remaining, though it seems to lack complexity and remains somewhat simple throughout.

Photo of far333
3.88/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark brown and nearly opaque with ruddy highlights at the edges.
Low light brown head that settles out fairly quickly. Aroma of toasty malt. Rich flavor of dark malts and a bit of sweetness upfront. Velvety maltiness with notes of brown sugar and root beer, some cocoa and dark fruit. Offsetting bitterness is just firm enough to be present without taking over. Notes of marshmallow and leather. Moderate and creamy mouthfeel.

Photo of TKEbeerman
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Life and Limb batch 2. I've been waiting a while for this, so here it goes.

A: Poured into my sniftner, this brew pours a dark brown with a reddish tint. The head is thick with a distinct off white copper shade.

S: The aroma smells like a high octane ASA. Alcohol almost stings the nose. Sweet, rich caramel. Small amounts of honey, dark fruit and bruised apples.

T: I'm really enjoying this beer as it warms up. This brew is filled with plenty of caramel with a nice burnt accent to it. Hops are almost nonexistent. There is a little bitterness on the back of the pallet to even out the sweetness.

MF: Mouthfeel is boarder line excellent. Full, smooth, and creamy. Finish is really clean.

Overall, its been a while since I've had a good ASA. I'm glad I grabbed two bottles of this brew. I sense this will age out well in my cellar.

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.69/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Deep dark brown approaching black, looks good so far, smell, different, unique, I can't put my finger on it, probably the unique birch, maple & honey confluence.

Taste, uh, well how about peculiar? You get the hints of some of those ingredients, but you never really taste the alcohol, you just get a warm feeling indicative of alcohol. Very well hidden. On top of that, it is relatively easy drinking, all things considered. Decent amount of unexpected hoppiness (nowhere near a normal SN/DFH amount, but for what it is).

Many suggest aging it. I'd say drink one now, save one for 1-2 years. I suspect the tiny amount of zip you get with it will fade and become sweet and more alcoholic with age.

Photo of whoneeds8
4.08/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch #2

Poured from a corked and caged bottle jet black into a tulip glass with a two finger tan head. The scent is much like a Black IPA, carmel and chocolate with some hints of hops. The taste follows that Black IPA theme. Infact if I were to put a style to this I would call it an Imperial Black IPA rather than an ASA. The taste has strong malted carmel flavors that are well balanced with a hop flavor that almost if not does get lost in the alcohol. It's not strong enough to be a ASA, but it's too strong to be a BIPA. Hence the IBIPA.

I had batch 1 on tap last year (no review) and was not impressed. I'm much more impressed with this batch from the bottle.

Photo of rudylaw
3.35/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

24oz stubby, poured into a tulip.

Dark brown pour with red hues. A gigantic 3 finger head that receded into a thin rim.

Lots of grapes, brown sugar, maltiness in the nose. A corn syrup/pecan pie aroma.

Chocolate, maple syrup, sugars and coffee in the taste. All elements I love in stouts, but for some reason, it's not coming together for me here. There is a good deal of alcohol burn on the finish that is ruining this for me.

Medium body with a sticky mouthfeel.

This is a pretty big disappointment for a collaboration between two of craft beer's legends. Perhaps my other bottle will come oigether in a few months?

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Life & Limb from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 1,516 ratings.