1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

Life & Limb - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Life & LimbLife & Limb

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
90
outstanding

1,511 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,511
Reviews: 745
rAvg: 4.02
pDev: 11.69%
Wants: 150
Gots: 490 | 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
to view all ratings, reviews and sorting options.
Ratings: 1,511 | Reviews: 745
Photo of hoptrip619
3.53/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I went to pickup one of the last bottles at K&B Cellars and was pleased to see they had this beer on draught. Adam, suggested I try a sample and then save the bottle for a later date. THANKS ADAM!

A- Pour a dark root beer-like brown with rusty highlights and a thick head.

S- Sweet dark fruit aromas of prunes and figs with a prominent maple syrup character. The aroma isn't as complex as I had anticipated.

T- Lots of maple flavor combined with esters of dark fruits. Some caramel malt and roasted malt flavors as well.

M/D- There is a very slick and heavy viscosity to this beer; so much so that you could share a 24oz bottle with several friends. Interesting collaboration and very cool idea but definitely wouldn't shell out $12-13 for more than one.

Photo of HeyItsChili
3.9/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I was happy to be able to find this upon my return home.

A - Pours Coca-Cola brown with ruby/garnet highlights and a thin dark khaki head.

S - Dark fruits and spices blending with a maple syrupy sweet tinge and a pronounced alcohol odor.

T - Syrupy, with some warm spices, dark fruits, and with a strong boozy finish.

M - Very substantial. Thick, viscous, velvety smooth brew.

Photo of LiveOakMarket
4.83/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Live Oak Market. One of the best from the two best brewers! Waited a long time for it to finally come to Texas and when it did it went quick. Limited amount so it was pick and chose as far as who got it. You could really taste the two breweries subtle taste. The hops from both stood out and you get that hint of sweetness that Dog Fish Head put out.

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 aubuc1
3.66/5  rDev -9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

24 oz bottle dated the 286th day of 2009 poured in to a snifter.

Pours a dark ruby brown with a thick tan head.

Smell is a yeasty, boozy lightly roasted finish. A little thin.

Taste is a rich, somewhat strong tasting. Some nice malty body with a light hop balance. A dry finish.

Mouthfeel is very rich and creamy. Drinkability is somewhat off due to booziness, but the dry finish leaves me wanting more.

I wasn't sure what to expect, but unfortunately this beer did not make these two great breweries better.

Photo of Lunch
3.93/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served on-tap at Frisco Grille in Columbia, MD (12/14/09) into a goblet at the appropriate temperature.

A: Pours a very appealing dark brown with chestnut and ruby hues capped off with a slight off-white foam which dissolves after several minutes. Slight thinning in color at the rim of the glass leaving a very rich appearance.

S: Powerful aroma of dark fruits including raisin, plum, fig, and a slight candy apple scent. All of this is engulfed in a maple syrup alcohol blanket which is a little overrun by the alcohol. If the alcohol was masked slightly better, the aroma would have been pretty fantastic (I'm also a fan of alcohol in the nose when it is done well).

T: Intense flavor that is almost exactly what was expected considering the aroma. Dark fruits are engulfed in a river of maple syrup and alcohol leaving traces of raisin, plum, fig, and candy apple. Layers of caramel, roasted coffee, and oak round out this robust American Strong Ale.

M: Full-bodied and quite chewy with mild carbonation and a slight warming alcohol burn.

D: Certainly not the most drinkable beer, but better than average. The sweet and cloying combo of maple syrup and alcohol drag this down considerably for me.

Overall this was an adventure in a goblet as this beer was fairly intense. I certainly see more Dogfish Head in its crafting than Sierra Nevada, but this is a worthy collaboration. I am glad I got a chance to try this and would certainly give it another go, but I will no longer seek this beer out as I did prior to trying it. Worth a try at least once.

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

Reviewed from my tasting notes. Served in my 20oz Uprising Chalice at Novare Res. It pours an incredibly dark ruby color with a thick, tan, foam head. It smells slightly sweet, with an earthiness to the aroma. There are hints of spices and maple. There is a definite sweetness up front in the taste, and it has a dry, alcoholic finish, but the sweetness remains throughout. There are spruce and maple flavors. There is also a hint of coffee bitterness. It's a very robust flavor. It has a very full body and low carbonation. As for drinkability, it's a pretty sweet beer--a bit too much for my tastes. Still, I consider this a good beer. I would order it again and would certainly pick up a bottle if I happened across one.

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

Thanks to azagthoth for sharing this bottle yesterday.

A: The pour is a clear copper color with very little in terms of a head.

S: The smell is quite interesting. There's a bunch of dark fruits: figs and raisins, for the most part. There's also an aroma of maple syrup and a fair amount of alcohol.

T: The figs and raisins are present on the palate as well. The maple syrup is an underlying flavor that adds nice dimension to the beer, but also a bit too much sweetness. The alcohol is present, but the beer is not as hot as some might lead you to believe.

M: The body is full and the beer is smooth and creamy on the tongue.

D: This was an interesting beer. It's good, but I think my taste of it might be enough. I will hold on to my bottle of it and see how it does with some age on it.

Photo of bort11
3.7/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had on tap at Blanc Burger in Westport. This was from one of the only two kegs sent to KC. The first keg went to Flying Saucer, and I missed out on that by 10 minutes.

Served in a tulip glass. Thick dark tan head trapped in the smell. Once the head settled, a mild aroma of charred oak, figs, and raw sugar. Smell came out more as it warmed, but I had a hard time getting a good reading. Taste really comes through with the charred oak. There is a almond extract kind of nuttiness. I get some dark pitted fruit.

Mouthfeel is full bodied and has a mild syrupy thickness. Very filling. There is an alcohol warmth, but not so strong as to burn. This is not an earth shattering collaboration, but one trying if it's available.

Photo of jhoban19
3.41/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

24oz. bottle poured into a 12oz. chalice (obviously not all at once). Also sampled Life and Limb on draft at a release party at Sheffield's in Chicago a couple nights later.

A: dark brown with solid finger of tan colored foam, settles into a thick ring with strong lacing that forms a full ring around the glass and holds its ground throughout. A good looking brew, off to a good start.

S: initial aromas of maple syrup (though probably the birch, smelled like maple to me) and warm alcohol (lots of alcohol). As it warms, hints of roasted coffee, a bit of clove and some other spices I can't quite decipher. Raisins and honey also find their way into the nasal passages. A lot of different aromas going on, but all were subtle except for the alcohol- almost as if someone poured some alcohol into a nearly empty maple syrup bottle.

T: taste of alcohol is overpowering at the outset. A bit of sweet milk chocolate comes into play as it warms. Coffee, raisins, and maple syrup also swirl around the tongue, alternating with each sip.

M: Medium bodied, syrupy and creamy, though a bit overcarbonated and astringent in he back of the throat. Leaves a sticky film on the lips.

D: I enjoyed this beer, but it didn't "wow" me as I was expecting. A second sample a few nights later, after my expectations were adjust downward, still didn't wow me. I think this beer would greatly benefit from some extended aging, but sadly it isn't available enough for me to buy a bottle or three for that purpose. The flavors and aromas appear to be there, but the alcohol and less than stellar mouthfeel overwhelm what should otherwise be a well-crafted 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 Seanibus
3.65/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very dark brown, almost black, with a viscous consistency and a lively off white head that falls quickly to large, luxurious bubbles. The aroma screamed Bread with the first whiff, like the smell of a rich dough as it was proofing on a warm afternoon. It backs off a bit after that initial blast, though remains bready, or more properly doughy and yeasty, with wood and a little caramel in there somewhere. The flavor carries through that yeast, rising-dough character, with some sweet molasses, and flat, woody bitterness. There is toffee, coffee, perhaps even dark chocolate and cherry in the flavor, with a deep, round bitterness rising on the back of the tongue. The mouthfeel is thick and clingy.

The finish has a bit of piney resin. The alcohol punch is a little too apparent, and there is a slight unpleasant sourness on the deep finish, but overall this is a good beer, certainly better than the description might suggest.

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

Pours a dark brown, light penetrates but not too well. head is great, lasts long probably because it is a living ale. I did not let it age much because I was too excited and could not last more than three days.
Smells of roasted malts and some honey.
The taste actually has a honey taste to it along with the roasted malts; it says syrup and I guess the honey flavor comes from that.
Low carbonation gives it a great mouthfeel.
Definitely get a stout feel to this beer.

If I could even come by another bottle I most definitely would indulge again.

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

color: Deep dark brown, near black. Short khaki head. falls to a ring. Some lacing.

Aroma: Alcohol upfront. Dried figs and raisins follow. Chocolaty roast quality shows up behind the dried fruit. Some light maple syrup notes round things out.

Taste: Dried fruit up front - figs and raisons. More pronounced chocolate and roastiness come through. A cloying sweetness flows throughout. Sweet maple syrup aspect show up as well. Some spice and warming alcohol notes hit the tongue as well, w/ a very light numbing quality. Finish is slightly dry with some lingering dried fig and chocolate notes.

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied and velvety smooth on the tongue

Overall this is a nice winter time brew. It definetly has a bit a of DFH extreme brew qualities. The alcohol is quite well hidden. It shows up a little in the nose and in the taste. Just enough there to let you know its a strong brew. A nice cold weather sipper.

Photo of donkeyrunner
3.31/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I've come to accept that many Dogfish Head beers are more good ideas than good beers. This one wasn't bad; I wonder if Sierra added some grounding to the mix.

Opaque, dark brown with ruby highlights. Thin tan head leaves sub par retention. Smells like raisin and boozey dark fruit, carmelized brown sugar (perhaps thats the maple/birch syrup?), and kola nut.

Creamy mouthfeel is the first thing I noticed. Like cream of mushroom soup creamy. Toffee, maple syrup sugar with a large, sweet cloying hump in back. Dry, chalky aftertaste.

At times it was like a super brown ale, at others like an odd dubbel. Not too shabby, but it sounds better on the bottle than it tasted in the glass.

Photo of Stigs
2.68/5  rDev -33.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

24oz bottle, served into a snifter

A - poured a nice looked deep brown, with a very thin and spotty, soapy and odd looking head

S - sweet malt, licorice, caramel and butterscotch. maple and hops are there if you seek it out.

T - sugary sweet with a metallic twang, tastes like the hops are already turning south. overwhelming sweetness and barely anything to compliment it.

M - thinnish body, very chalky. all the sugar puts sweaters on your teeth. needed to order a water to help cleanse my pallate every few sips.

D - drank the whole bottle, mostly because of the $25 price tag. not much good about it.

Photo of deltatauhobbit
3.58/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Another rare delight at Novare, this was the third on my wants list for the night. I'm very glad they were only pouring 8oz per glass because honestly I don't think I could have handled more than that.

Pours a clear brown amber color with a great sized head, fades slowly and leaves a good amount of lacing along the glass.

The smell is stronger with hops than I imagined but the maple presence really overshadows everything else.

The taste is rather sweet from the maple but had a bit of bitterness contributed from the hops, unfortunately I feel this beer is way too sweet and cloying, after about 6oz it becomes a bit of a chore to drink, a slight burn seals the deal but is surprisingly less than I imagined considering the strength.

Not something I'd drink again, something I'm glad I got to try, the beer is definitely more Dogfish Head than Sierra Nevada in style.

Photo of lonestar4lunch
4.35/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Cracked open the 24oz bottle and poured into a snifter. Damn, half is a huge tan head that is in no hurry to settle down. Nose is mostly malts and some bitterness. Mentions on the bottle maple trees and really not getting much sweet notes with the aroma. The smell is almost a weak stout, not expecting that.
The taste is sweet but not near as much as others noted. It just starts that way but quickly moves to a dry, bark like taste with some malt flavor. The finish is drying and just a bit of sweetness hangs around reminding you of the initial flavor. I really like where this one goes. To me it starts and finishes almost the same with a wonderful break in between.
Overall I really enjoyed this one. Heard a lot about it but even better than expected. Can't wait to try again in a year or so. Very good collaboration between Sierra Nevada and Dogfish Head.

Photo of wagenvolks
3.87/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle Batch 1 into a Dogfish Head off-centered pint glass.

Viscous pour slowly builds a sizable cap of tan head that settles to a crown-like veil of foam as it clings to the edge of the pint. The body of Life & Limb is dark russet brown and lets in some rusty hues at the edges. Cola syrup and chocolate dominate the aroma with subtle boozy spices and maple syrup. Hints of floral vegetation from the hops, and while the alcohol is noticeable, it isn't at all overwhelming this early in the game.

Very complex beer, this. Tons of rum-soaked dark chocolate and raisin notes pair with a vinous port character. The booziness is present on all parts of the palate, but never becomes overly hot. Earthy hops and maple syrup on the finish with a bit of holiday spices...rough around the edges, but granted this is a young 10% Strong Ale. Chewy, thick mouthfeel, but not sticky. I'm not quite sure how well L&L will end up aging, but I'm going to give it a shot...after all, it has all the markings of a cellarable beer: high ABV, thick body, complex flavor profile that still tastes a bit green. A fun collabo, and I hope DFH and Sierra Nevada do it again.

Photo of OldSchoolGamer
3.87/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A collaboration between Dogfish Head and Sierra Nevada sounds like a can't miss. For the most part, it is a pretty solid brew, but it is not nearly as unique as it is advertised to be. Here is my review:

A: Pours a deep brown, almost black. Head and lacing are non-existant.

S/T: The aroma is very similar to a Brown Ale. Sweet, toasted malts, along with a pretty prominant alcohol presence. Honestly, I do not get much maple in the nose. There may be a touch, but I never would have guessed it was there unless it wasn't stated on the label. Taste is, again, much like a Brown Ale. First off, this is a very sweet brew. Not cloying, but the sweetness is a pretty dominant character througout. There is a strong toasted, caramel malt flavor which is complimented my a unique woody, vanilla character. In the distant finish, there is some maple. It is similar to those flat Italian cookies. It is a good beer, but is not as original or unique as it should have been.

M/D: Mouthfeel is medium bodied. Very sweet palate. Finish is slightly dry. The alcohol is hidden very well, however this one is still a sipper.

A good beer, but nothing earth shattering either. Its pretty much a jacked up Brown Ale with slight flavors of maple and vanilla. I would definetly drink this again. Recommended.

Photo of cleeze
4.1/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Now they were pouring this at Novare Res for their "it's like christmas" event. Now that was an epic line up!

It poured a delicious looking dark brown with a nice frothy tannish head that left some nice lacing.

Biscuity bread smell with a touch of birch. Most of all I got the maple syrup out of the smell. It smells very tasty.

The taste is intense, lots of maple syrup up front. Loads of dark malts with maybe a touch of caramel and molasses. I couldn't believe it had 10.2 abv, it's very well masked

I thought it had a sweet silky mouthfeel. Almost chewy.

I had no problem putting back two of them in no time=)

Photo of MisterSH
2.88/5  rDev -28.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

24 oz into a Duvel tulip.
A:Pours a deep brown, almost black, with a nice creamy brown finger head. Seems to be lacing pretty good as the head settles.
S: Maple (go figure), sweet malts, deep fruit, alcohol, some hop on the nose, also a candy/sugary note. Smells great, although not outrageously aromatic. I'm dipping my nose pretty deep into this glass to get a nice whiff.
T. Very sweet, a unusually sweet sugary note is the first taste, followed by roasty, bready dark malts. Some diacetyl flavors in here. Finishes sweet and quite hot with some strong,nearly solvent-like fusels, ends with a delicious candy-like caramel flavor on the tongue that tastes more and more like maple sugar as you let it sit. Certainly has a host of stout-like characteristics, but the dark malts are always secondary in intensity to the strong sweetness throughout. Every now and again, there's a strong taste which is DISTINCTLY maple syrup-induced. Slight hop bitterness throughout lingers on the tongue and is probably the only thing keeping the lasting sweetness from becoming cloying.
MF: THICK. I've described beers as syrupy before, but damn, this thing takes the cake. Low carbonation makes this a heavy beer on the tongue, gooey, sticky... pour it on pancakes thick.
Drinkability: Comparatively low for a whole host of reasons that I just mentioned. Plus, it's quite strong indeed.

As a novelty... it's pretty interesting. This is not something I'd want to drink on a daily basis, however. The heat on the finish is increasingly coming across off-puttingly harsh as I drink it. The beer is exceptionally sweet, almost intolerably so. I wish there was a hoppier finish. This beer is delicious as it sits in your mouth, but around the time you swallow, rather than getting a balancing blast of hops to mellow out the sugary taste of this brew, you instead get an intense blast of even stronger sweetness which is frankly a little overwhelming. Most upsetting to me is the mouthfeel of the beer, which is expectedly thick due to the maple-syrup, but is quite hard to handle, no matter how hard I try to appreciate it for being exactly what I anticipated. Wouldn't it be possible to make a beer with maple syrup that feels like BEER in your mouth? This feels more like syrup. In the end, this is one hell of a sipper at 10.2% and I'm feeling every bit of the alcohol in my brain, and feeling every bit of this thick syrup marinating in my stomach. A cool idea, but definitely a one-timer for me.

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

24oz bottle poured into chilled Westvleteren goblet.

A: Deep dark milk-choloatey amber. Nice light tan head, DENSE foam, traces of the pour were visible in the head, remisicent of a nitrogen head.

S: Great big maple notes, malt and maple. Very nice.

T: Again lots of maple, little alochol burn. Fresh wood flavors, fat malt backbone to the whole thing though. A really great sweetness, not cloying at all, a balanced sweetness.

M: Almost, I dunno, ropey? Coats the tongue, again with the maple references but it's almost a thin syrup?

D: Wonderful beer, but god help you if you if go for more than 1 bomber in a session.

Photo of homebrew311
3.5/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a dark hazy brown, small tan head forms and dissipates quickly. Heavy lacing.

S: heavy notes of maple syrup, molasses, some woody notes, very sweet malt profile and a heavy booziness on the end

T: the front of the flavor is very sweet like the nose, lots of maple and molasses followed by some bitter hops and a heavy dose of heat from the booze. That 10% abv makes itself known

MF: somewhat thick with a syrupy and slightly sticky texture

D: the harshness of the booze detracts from the complex malt profile. I am curious to see what this would taste like in a year from now. I was expecting something a little more rich

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.

to view all ratings, reviews and sorting options.
Life & Limb from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 1,511 ratings.