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Life & Limb - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Life & LimbLife & Limb

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,494 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,494
Reviews: 743
rAvg: 4.02
pDev: 11.69%
Wants: 144
Gots: 488 | FT: 12
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:
Sierra Nevada & Dogfish Head collaboration brew.

(Beer added by: mjl21 on 11-14-2009)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,494 | Reviews: 743 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of orbitalr0x
4.15/5  rDev +3.2%
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 stephens101
3.83/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown, bordering on black with a one-finger tan head that dissipates quickly leaving little to no lacing behind. Smells sweet and a bit vinous like someone spilled a cask of wine in a candy store. A little maltiness and hoppiness is noticed as well as some dark fruits and distant phenols. Taste isn't as sweet as the smell, but the vinous qualities are still present. You can really tell that SN is involved with this brew, as the hops are more prevalent than in most Belgian Strongs. That being said, they're well integrated, and enhance the experience. On the other hand DFH puts it's mark on things with the sweet, brandy-like sweetness that lingers throughout. Some ripened grapes and some grain are also noticed on the palate. Goes down fairly dry with a slightly creamy middle. Alcohol is hidden, but becomes more noticeable as the brew warms. Great collaboration leads to a distinct and tasty brew.

Photo of Metalmonk
4.28/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The brains behind Bigfoot AND 120 Minute collaborate? I'm in.

Pours a deep dark brown color, glossy and entrancing, with a beige head that doesn't last too long. Just by looks, it appears to be a pretty viscous beast. Let's see...

Aroma is anise, milk chocolate, spiciness from the alcohol, and a dark berry/fruit vibe.

Flavor is indistinct at first...it really takes some time to open up; glad I had several bottles to judge it by before reviewing (not in one sitting, mind you). It's a subtle beer, but a luscious, delicious one. Cocoa nibs, dark berry/fruit (raisin, date, fig), nice prickle of alcohol/spice. Good slick mouth, and an ample chewiness that remains buoyant enough to not overwhelm with thickness.

Reminds me of Schmaltz's Monumental Jewbelation 10th anniversary beer of a few years ago... just this big, dark, warming, dessert-like beer, one that takes some time and patience to decipher.

Photo of MinorThreat
4.22/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served from a bomber purchased from Libations on Parker and Arapahoe.

Let me start off by saying the packaging is great, it reminds me of the Bright Eyes "I'm Wide Awake, Its Morning" album cover

A-Rich deep mahogany/ruby color, the edge of the glass shows nice clarity. Gorgeous tan head that reduces to a decent skim, pretty good lacing.

S-Not too much going on here; subtle hints of chocolate, maple, caramel and cereal grains.

T-The first thing that comes to mind is how well integrated this brew is. It has a great malty body with hints of raisins, toffee, chocolate and caramel. The booze is hidden very well, only a slight twinge on the tongue and a nice warming down the throat. Really nice.

M- Pillowy and soft, enough gas to wash the palate well. For a big sticky beer it maintains a light, clean mouthfeel.

D- So well integrated and light on the palate with little to no alcohol burn makes this bre.w highly drinkable. Highly recommended

Photo of bboven
3.98/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

medium-dark brown body, clear with a huge lasting head and lots of lacing.

Aroma is mostly maple syrup and alcohol.

Taste is a bit more complex. Definite maple syrup and alcohol, but there's also a chocolate/roasty note. Slight oxidation at the end, but that's acceptable for the style.

Very light for what it is. Great carbonation. Doesn't coat your tongue the way you think it would.

Pretty good, especially if you like maple. Drink it a bit colder than normal, however. As it warmed it became a bit overwhelming.

Photo of StarlightSeraph
3.43/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 24 oz bottle into my Chimay goblet. I have had this on tap before, but didn't get a chance to review it.

Appearance: Pours fairly light, but looks dark, dark brown in the glass. Hints of red around the edges show some light coming through. One finger of off-white head that lasts a decent bit of time. Lots of lacing.

Smell: Mild, nutty cocoa/chocolate flavors, and citrusy hops. The overall smell is fairly mild.

Taste: Strong and smooth cocoa/chocolate flavors, backed by a nuttiness. There is a strong alcohol bite that gets stronger near the end of the sip. The cocoa flavors remain prominent throughout, and the aftertaste is nice and bitter. Some vanilla throughout the whole thing provides a nice balance. The flavor feels somewhat...disjointed. Each flavor can be tasted separately, but don't seem to blend together in the beer.

Mouthfeel: A little bit thin. Good carbonation, but the thinness of the feel makes it seem more prickly.

Drinkability: A definite sipper - no hiding the booze in this one. The overall flavor seems somewhat mild, almost to the point of being bland. As it is right now, it's probably not one I would seek out again, but I might pick up a bottle to sit on and age for awhile.

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

From notes 12-28-09

Eye: Mahagony in color with deep red/garnet hightlights. Looks very nice. From what I can tell the beer is very clear...I can see through it when the light is behind it, but only the bulb and that brings out the deep red hues. Head formation and retention are great. A creamy/frothy light tan head sits atop this brew with a nice head about 3/4 of a finger. Sheets of lace mark where this beer has been in the glass.

Nose: Overall dark aroma. Not too much coming through on that. Maple Syrup is noticeable, it lends a certain sweetness too this brew. Candied aromas come from the addition of both maple and birtch syrup. Mostly sweet candied tones, some malt is there to back it up, but I'm really getting a strong almost candy coating from candied apples. Also chocolate, now some malts are coming through. Chocolate tones are in the back but its not like a chocolate malt deal, more like the chocolate aroma from Southern Tier's Choklat. Overall the aroma is nice, but I think some more complexity couldn't hurt. Good but not mind blowing.

Tongue: Definitely bitterness from heavily roasted or black malts, they balance out the sweetness of this beer. Alcohol is evident and also helps to the balance out the sweetness. Dry almost woody character to this beer...maybe its just another side of the alcohol. though. All in all its pretty hard to describe, kinda like BSDA meets a dry American Double Stout, yet there's not nearly enough dark fruit to call it a BSDA and not enough roasted character (just enough to aid in balance) to call it a stout....well I guess it could place well in the American Double Stout category...but its really just out there...a specialty beer. Definitely nothing really belgian about it besides the high abv. Maybe a touch of dark fruit...dates? Again good but nothing real special. Glad I got to try this one time specialty brew, but were it seasonal I doubt I'd be excited or actively seek it out again. Sure its worth it, but not something I'd see myself readily going after again were it available each year.

Feel and Drinkability: Pretty heavy on the palate. Cabonation is low and the body is overall thick and smooth. Warms a bit as it goes down. Definitely one that I'm enjoying, though more than one 24oz bottle would be hard to drink. This is one to sip on over the course of a night/day etc... Glad I got to try it, but like I said before there's nothing all that great about it to make me want to buy another bottle.

Photo of jt31914
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: 1 inch foam with a dark black color.

S: Faint sweet coffee notes, not too bitter.

T: Licorice and alcohol with soothing warm finish.

D/M: Decently drinkable and very smooth/creamy.

Pretty good beer, glad I had it on-tap at Hopcat; thanks Steve.

Photo of mcallister
3.8/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Deep mahoganny with a small tan head that fades quickly leaving spotty lace.

Hints of pitted fruits, dark breads, rye, toffee, burnt caramel, hints of coffee and chocolate.

Nice beer. Seet matls in the middle dry out at the finish than to be over taken again by a raisiny sweetness. Plum and toffee, with spent coffee grounds and dark chocolates. Very dark fruits that give a round middle are big and complex. Bitter hops on the end. Complex and good and ageable.

Photo of mithrascruor
4.22/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Callahan's, San Diego.

This beer pours a dull black color with very light off-white lacing. The aroma is mild, but with rich roasted malts. More roasted malts (lots!) in the taste with hints of coffee. There's a bit of bitterness in the aftertatse, but it is nicely balanced with a cream-like flavor. Medium-bodied and really smooth; virtually no carbonation. A rather enjoyable strong ale that doesn't taste of the strong alcohol. Definitely worth a try.

Photo of ClassicBrad
4.4/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Trying not to let how hard to find and hyped this beer; it's still damn good.

Though, it's listed as an American Strong Ale, it's almost like a combination of that and a stout. Original and delicious use of birch and maple in the mouthfeel and taste. The nose could be a little more telling but all in all, this beer deserves every desperate beer nerd that is seeking it out.

Photo of Brez07
4.1/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Was lucky enough to have this beer on tap not once, but twice, at local bars. Reviewed the second tasting. Notes from about two weeks ago. Poured into a 12oz tulip

A: Dark pour with hints of red along the outside. Gives a 1+ finger tan head. Leaves a lot of lacing throughout

S: Roasted malts up front followed by chocolate and a nutty presence. The chocolate and nut are more prevalent as time goes by

T: Again with the roasted malts. However, it mixes well with bittersweet chocolate and even a little dark cherry. I think the nutty smell I detected is translating to pecan on the palate

M: This is a full bodied beer. Very smooth and creamy. Has a little sticky finish

D: Great collaborative effort by two fantastic breweries. The alcohol is disguised very well - would not have guess this was 10%. It was very easy to drink but caught up to me at the end, limiting me to just one glass. If you see this in your area, try it!

Photo of Mebuzzard
4.05/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer is smooth. Very easy drinking and with the abv well hidden it can put you to sleep.
A dark leather-brown pour topped with a very nice looking light brown head. Foam reached 3 fingers and settled to a nice layering with good lacing.
Aroma is light. Some woody aromas and slight hotness. Faint fig and prune.

Mellow taste. Semi-sweet caramel, maple, brown sugar, hints of spice. A combination of hop and alcohol sharpness on the end, but soften well.
This is a very nice strong ale.

Photo of Chambic
4.18/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

01.11.10 at Monk's Kettle in San Francisco.

A: opaque, dark brown, with burgundy tint

S: coffee, cocoa

T: chocolate-y

M: malty, with a foamy finish

D: highly drinkable, this thing just gets smoother and smoother

No offense, but I was really surprised by this. I actually liked it a lot more than I thought, though it didn't have the quirky, esoteric qualities I was expecting.

Photo of NorthsideFred
4.4/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a great beer! I had it on-tap at Firkin in Libertyville about a month ago, and then last night at Binny's South Loop. I also have four bottles that I'm saving because I think aging will only make it better!

A: Very dark with a nice head.

S: Sweet, roasty, malty

T: Delicious! There is a rich, sweet, malty taste. I don't taste the maple. The alcohol is not overwhelming which is impressive for a high alcohol beer like this.

M: Full-bodied, silky smooth.

D: Very drinkable. Many high-alcohol beers are sipping beers. Not this, it goes down way too easy!

This is an excellent beer, and I wish I had more!

Photo of drseamus
3.2/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a dark red Ruby with the thick tan head. Fairly tight nose with some sweetness and some light banana notes. Very strong flavor right off the bat. The sweetness is almost overwhelming for a second, then a good bit of wood and a background of banana, probably from the maple syrup. Super creamy, which goes well with the sweetness. Somewhere between medium and light bodied. I think the initial blast of flavor is a touch too much especially when combined with the level of sweetness.

Photo of pourMEanother
3.63/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Though this was a highly anticipated release I think I ended up being more impressed by the artwork on the label than the beer... In my opinion one might have thought you were pouring liquid gold rather than beer when hit with the cost of a 24oz. bottle. Initially upon tasting I was a little upset that I had been sold by a great marketing of this product...

A: A shade darker than a nut brown ale, deep and dark, with a mysterious/ what am I in for look.

S: Sweet, Nice Roast, Little Hop Aroma.

T: Again, sweet, not amazingly complex at first but eventually opens all it's hidden wonders to your palette... Could pick up all the syrups and added flavors. Won me over after a while and a little warming.

M: Not much carbonation or head, would have thought it was flat had I not just opened it.

D: No sign of the 10.2%ABV... No hops. Could have drank as easily as a good soda. Never seemed overpowering or undrinkable.

Overall: A nice offering, but a little bit to much hype and not as much show... I want more out of my collaboration brews.

Photo of travduke
3.33/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I was very excited when I got a bottle of this. It wasn't sold in CT but my distributor tossed me a bottle, I was excited.

I poured this into my La Fin Du Monde tulip, its beautiful.

I can barely see through this when I hold it up to the light. I was expecting dark, but not THIS dark, I'm impressed. Thick head, incredible lacing, this is a nice looking beer.

Sadly, it falls apart with the taste. Its not a bad tasting beer, don't get me wrong. When breweries like DFH & SN put out a beer like this I was expecting hops, and lots of them. Maybe I was wrong to assume that, I don't know. Dark fruits and syrup make up the taste. I really didn't notice much of a hop presence, wish I did.

I notice a lot of people talking about how boozy this beer is, I don't see it. If it weren't for the 10% ABV I could easily put a couple of these back if I desired too.

I was going into this beer like everyone else, high expectations. It just didn't do it for me, I really wish it did. I still love Dogfish and I still love Sierra, just not together I guess. I have another bottle I traded for, maybe in a year I will crack it open and see what happens.

Photo of benclimbs
4.15/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours black brown red with athick tan head and plenty of lacing

smell is cloves, prunes cocoa, syrupy sweetness and booze, just slightly too much for 10% but acceptable

taste is pretty unique and amazing quick and not geared but so much there, a little sweet spice, some maple syrup is noticable, some dark sweet toast, along with some mocha flavours and a rtouch of dry bitter hop. Damn nice!

Mouthfeel is heavy but not overly syrupy sticky sweet

drinkability isn't as high as 10% Belgians but still decent

overall an very strong example of the style - compilations between very good breweries is awesome!

Photo of scruffwhor
4.1/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a cola brown with dark ruby and amber highlights when held to the light. The hed is about one and a half fingers thick, and reminiscent of latte foam. This head lasts for about a half an hour of sipping before it dissipates. The aroma is dark roasted malt faintly recognizable amidst sweet maple syrups, toasted malts molasses offset some by just enough hopping to make the aroma not overly sweet. Great mix of deep roasted malt, maple syrupy sweetness , and earthy hop bitterness for balance this is a great beer. Although I sometimes wnder if the earthy flavors are from the birch syrup or the hops? PLus the alcohol warms things up at the very end of this syrupy sweet yet roasted palate beer. Great sipper and a great bottle to save as a conversation piece.

Photo of CampusCrew
4.47/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

OK, my expectations were low because I thoughtthis beer was goign to be all hype but still as I took my first sip I still expected Sam and SN to put out a good beer.

appearance: Deep dark brown. wasn't expecting that. With some red dapple tones. not much lacing though.

smell: heavy brown sugar and bready sweetness

taste: maple, brown sugar but not overpowering as I may of thought. Lots of alcohol bite with some bitter hops on the backend. good roasted malt. good winter warming beer.

mouthfeel: medium bodied, very carbonated

drinkability: Did not disapoint. It's a wrold class colaboration

Photo of stakem
4.05/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Stubby 24oz brown bottle reads that this living ale was created with both birch and maple syrup.

Pours a very dark brown color with some deep ruby hues when held up to the light. Forms about a finger of tanned head and laces nicely on the glassware. Aroma has a solid amount of pleasant sweetness similar to maple (but I think it is more like molasses) and dark fruit with some notes that are chocolatey. The aroma fades with a bit of an alcohol bite and as it warms a little bit of hops break through. Taste is minorly sweet up front with the alcohol playing quite a bit in the profile. Included in the taste is the maple (I still think it is more like a darker molasses) and slightly bitter hop infused chocolate. The lingering aftertaste includes some spice that I would suspect is the birch finally coming into play. The feel of this beer is medium and somewhat dry in the finish with a moderate carb level.

I think this is one of the more complex beers I have had in awhile, or maybe it was just that I really sat down and tried to give this one the attention it deserved since it was a collaboration between two breweries who I like. Regardless, overall it was a quality beer.

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

Poured from a fat large bottle into my Corsedonk snifter. Pours a very dark coca-cola like color with a very large frothy head. Leaves very sticky frothy lacing on the glass that lasts the entirety of the drink.

Aroma is very close to most American Strong Ales. Some bitter back tones, some fruity notes...possibly grapefruit. Good smell, inviting...but nothing outstanding.

Wow...this is an American Stong Ale?!?! More like a Belgian Strong Dark Ale. Dark Belgian candi, dark fruits, sugars...mmm. Wow, I definitely didn't expect this one to taste so good based off of ratings. Some smokey malts...a big sweet front taste, with only slight bitters in the rear. Creamy thick sweet mouthfeel...very good!

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

A: burnt umber in color with a grainy, mocha colored head.

S: chocolate, prunes, and spicy hops combine well in this bold bouquet.

T: off-dry, with heavy doses of chocolate and hops. Dried berries also plays a supporting role.

M: full body with a moderate amount of carbonation and a creamy texture.

D: a great brew from a couple of America's finest brewers. Worth seeking out.

Photo of BS68280
3.55/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a DFH signature series glass.

A: Pours very dark brown, with about a 1/4 inch creamy white head. Head stays around for a little but not long.

S: Not much of a smell at all. Very subdued, twirling it a lot brought out a little sweet boozey scent and some hints of roasted malt. I don't think i have had a beer with such a faint smell. As it warms the smells of dark fruits do become a bit more pronounced, however they are still not very complex.

T: A lot of sweet dark fruit malts dominate the taste. Prunes and raisons. Sugary sweetness that sticks around long after the sip is finished. Just a sugary sweet taste and lots of dark fruits. The alcohol pokes its head but is quickly subdued by the sugary sweets. Not very complex.... mostly just sweet.

M: Medium body, a little sugary and sticky.

D: Hides the alcohol but i don't think i have an urge for more than this bottle. This beer is very average. Pretty disappointed from a beer made by two of my favorites.

Life & Limb from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 1,494 ratings.