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.

1,506 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,506
Reviews: 745
rAvg: 4.02
pDev: 11.69%
Wants: 149
Gots: 488 | 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
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 1,506 | Reviews: 745 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Halcyondays
3.96/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Beachwood BBQ,

A: Pours a ruddy red with a firm 1.5 finger cap of off-white foam, good lacing.

S: Caramel and biscuit malt, herbal hop notes.

T: Quite a deal more hoppy than I expected, strong notes of pine and woody herbs, cedar would be a good description. Malt is there, gives almost a molasses syrupy sweetness as opposed to a direct flavour as in so many DIPA type beers, though this isn't really a DIPA. The maple syrup flavour outright is a bit hard to find.

M: Nice, thick and creamy, very smooth, full-bodied. I like it.

D: A solid collaboration beer, this one is pretty darn good after I've been underwhelmed by a lot of them. Worth a try for sure.

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

Deep, dark, chestnut brown body with a thick, light tan head that sticks around for a while. Nice lace.

Aromas of caramel malt and some mildly phenolic scent from hops or alcohol, i'm not sure.

Flavors are rich and sweet, with a strong nuttiness and an evident maple syrup flavor. Finish is warming and sweet.

Medium body with a sticky, satisfying texture and fairly low carbonation.

High ABV, delicious, and a satisfying texture make for an excellent brew.

Photo of beertooth
3.82/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a small goblet.

This beer is a cleard amber/brown liquid with a thin collar of white head.

The nose is a little faint. I'm picking out sweet maple, hay, some earthiness, caramel malts, and alcohol with a slight hop note.

The taste follows the nose. It reminds me of a big boozy and sweet brown ale. Big caramel notes, maple, earth, subtle alcohol. It finishes a little dry and is very warming.

Mouthfeel is medium to thin bodied and well carbonated.

I'm glad I was able to try this, but it's not something I'd reach for again. Also, the alcohol is catching up to me fast which hinders the drinkability. I respect both breweries, but it's hard to tell what they were going for with this one.

Photo of soupyman10
4.35/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Church Key in DC. Pours a deep brown. Nose is lightly alcoholic, with definite caramel and fruitiness. Flavor is really well balanced, a nice malt and hops mix. Definite warming alcohol in the flavor. Body is good, fine for the style. Really enjoyed this one - a big, interesting beer along the lines of one of Stone's strong ales or maybe one of DFH's big brone ales (Palo Santo?), but a little maltier. Would definitely get again.

Photo of peabody
3.78/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours out a really clear dark brown with a reddish tint when held up to the light. The creamy cap rises three fingers high and laces the glass as it slowly dissapates.
The smell is raisin and booze with a strong yeast burn to the nose.
The taste is smoothe as whiskey and coke. The initial flavor is sweet sugar and caramel with hops and yeast in the background. The alcohol soon follows and almost seems too strong but it passes away making you want another drink after 30 seconds or so.
This is a great drink for cold dreary days(today).
Mabey just a tad too strong but still nice in a ( let's get hammered) sort of way.

Photo of ArrogantJaron
3.89/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is strong, boozey ale. There is nothing delicate about this drink. It is a fantastic winter flavor; perfect to help you get into the holiday spirit! That is, if by holiday spirit you mean hammered, passed out in the snow with just stockings on. The main flavor is hard to identify but is reminiscent of cola.

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

(Served in a snifter)
A- This jet black beer has a matrix of microbubbles popping up to support a light tan creamy head for most of the beer.
S- There is a dark roasted malt and dark chocolate aroma that comes through with some faint white sugar notes.
T- The soft candy sugar taste competes with the boozy flavor but everything else is covered to start. As the beer opens up notes of dark cola and roasted hints come through with some white wood notes. There is a black roasted note and bitterness at the finish that is not hops.
M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel with a soft alcohol heat that grows quickly to an alcohol spike in the flavor.
D- This beer is big on booze and sweetness with not much more going on. It might really help to have it age but that is an investment I don't want to make. It is a nice soft porter without the booze.

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

Life & Limb pours a deep dark maroon in my glass, very porteresque and nearly as dark as a stout. Ruby tints glow around the edges and a nice big creamy ecru head builds and slowly falls over several minutes leaving thick ragged swaths of lacing.

Alcohol is present in the aroma along with chocolate malt, vanilla and a dark plumlike fruit.

The flavor is a big, dense and complex array of both sweet milk chocolate and bitter dark chocolate, strong vanilla, spices(clove and perhaps cinnamon). Deeply brandied fruits, raisins, plums and apricots. The malt body is like dark toasted pumpernickel bread slathered with molasses. Maple syrup makes it's appearance strongly in the finish in the roof of the mouth. Alcohol is present and noticeable but is not hot, it blends through the various flavor components as an intensifier.

The mouthfeel is perhaps the silkiest I've encountered, medium/heavy in body but more toward the heavy end, very smooth and lightly creamy with very fine and tight carbonation.

A big bold and imaginative collaboration beer, nicely done I think, combining the best from both Sierra Nevada and Dogfish Head breweries. If my wife hadn't shared the 24 ounces with me I could easily sit and sip away the whole bottle. Very drinkable despite the strong nicely syrupy flavors. I can easily see saving a bottle or two of this, as it seems like a beer that might age very nicely. Highly recomended!

Photo of bmanning
3.63/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours Coca Cola dark brown with a thin tan head.
Smell is medicinal with maple syrup, raisins, caramel, licorice, and dark fruit.
Taste is on the sweet side as the maple and birch syrup comes through strong. There is also significant oak, leather, and molasses.
Has a nice mouthfeel - big and chewy and coats very well.
Drinkability is low as this beer comes close to being cloyingly sweet.
Not a bad beer, but I was expecting more out of a Dogfish Head and Sierra Nevada collaboration - doesn't live up to the hype for me. I've got another bottle that I will age for 1-2 years and see if it improves any, but I'm doubtful it will get up to A range with some age on it.

Photo of John_M
4.32/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a dark brown color with good head retention and lacing. The nose on this beer is impressive, with milk duds, brown sugar, more milk chocolate and celery salt. Interestingly, ths beer has something of a salty, underlying flavor to it. Flavors generally replicate the palate, except there's some nice light bitterness and licorice on the finish, which helps to counter the sweetness a bit. This beer is very rich tasting and has a very full and soft mouthfeel. Finish is pretty long, and alcohol is fairly well disguised for the abv. The sweetness hurts the beers drinkability just a bit, but this is still a very nice, very solid beer.

Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.45/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a very syrupy deep red-brown colour, with some languid yellow-tan bubbles effervescing on the surface to produce a fine but filmy head. Some lacing. Better is the static bubbling released through the body when the beer is swirled. It looks damn tasty.

Some dark sweet fruits on the nose, with big malt characters to back it up. Notes of dates, prunes with woody notes present as well. Not particularly syrupy, but with nice dark, slightly resinous characters that pull it through.

Immediately sparkling with tiny bubbles on the palate, which would be unpleasant except for the fact that the body is very thick to cushion the blow. Flavour is compressed somewhere between bitter dark malts, heavy alcohol and phenolic hop characters - there's certainly a harshness on the palate that could be any or all of these things. Minimal sweetness besides the character on the nose, and the illusion of body from the thick feel. The alcohol is very present with big whiffs of banana scented booze notes dominant on the back.

I found this a tough beer to drink, especially with the strong boozy character. Even without that the notes are strikingly challenging. It's certainly got flavour, and if you sip it and share the bottle, you can get through it, but it didn't impress me terribly.

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

Pours a dark brown with smallish tan head that recedes relatively quickly. Smells good, although a little hot--notes of molasses and syrup, nuttiness, and a bit of roastiness comes through too. Starts too hot when it's cold, I definitely recommend letting this one warm up and open up. Smell evolves nicely into some dark nutty and earthy tones, and the alcohol recedes in the taste and is replaced by a nice sweetness from the syrup. Some leafy hops in there too balance some of the sweetness with some bitter kick. Woody notes in there too. Definitely a unique beer. Very creamy and full bodied, perfect carbonation to keep it moving. A great sipper, and one worth trying (although maybe not worth the hype). Would love to see what some age would do to this, although I was too excited and wanted to try it fresh.

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

I had this on tap at Tj's in Paoli, PA.

A - A deep bronze shade w/ crimson highlights. The beer has a quick dropping beige cap which revives when swirled. The lace clings well and the ale has a tiny bead

S- A creamy scent of birch and toasted sugar w/ a light biscuit and mild cocoa note. The scent is chewy w/ woody aromas, mildll fruity and raisiny nose

M - Thick, viscous, chewy as the nose indicated w/ sweet edge - moderate carbonation and hints of spice in the texture w/ slight heat as it finished but dry texture overall which nice considering the strength

T - The taste is rich but only moderately sweet w/ syrup influence in the taste, dry but malty w/ a light nuttiness and slight toffee-like smooothness. The flavor has hints of cacao and leads to mild pepper and toasted notes w/ subtle sweetness. The birch syrup seems to give an earthy element to the taste, but perhaps a dry aspect too which reminds of cocoa w/ mild astringency and the nutty notes which could also be simply toasted malt flavors. The sweetness is in balance with the alcohol but stilll noticeable in the finish

D - An interesting brew, not the best of the style, but a very drinkable strong brown ale. A success to my taste buds - I could probably drink snifter after snifter of this since it is very drinkable for the strength - a satisfying beer

Photo of sisuspeed
4.13/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured this into a large tulip glass. The color is a dark brown with a slightly reddish hue. A thin tan head sits on top and leaves sudsy lacing on the glass.

Aroma consists of somewhat bready, toasted malts, sweet syrupy sugar, which is most likely the maple syrup, and a little bit of alcohol funk. Some wood is noticeable as well.

The flavor is really interesting on this one. Sweet, syrupy goodness flows over the tongue at first, followed by some toasted malts and a woody presence. I can really taste the maple syrup in this one. However, I don't find it to be too sweet. Maybe the birch syrup helps to cut down on that. The 10.2% ABV is somewhat noticeable in the background and adds some nice warming to the body.

The mouthfeel is very smooth and somewhat slick. This beer has a very big presence with the flavor and ABV, yet feels much lighter in the mouth than I would expect it to.

Drinkability is good. The high ABV and flavor makes this more of a sipper for me, but an enjoyable one.

Overall, I think this is a great beer. The DFH/SN collaboration is very well done, from the artwork on the bottle to the flavor of the beer. This beer deserves two thumbs up and I hope to see future collaborations between these two breweries.

Photo of abuliarose
4.32/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter, revealing rich dark brown body with a little bit of dense tan head. Smells not too strong but like sweet beer bread with notes of candied fig, date, and a little birch syrup.

Tastes like dessert! Nice and bready with a lot of malt character and sweetness with hints of the maple and birch along with candied fruit, though not predominantly either. Flavor has a nice bitter bite to it that plays well with the sweetness. Carbonation is small but creamy and a little pointed, making the smooth mouthfeel on the low heavy end of things. Tastes are well-balanced and would be interested in seeing how it ages; already it is quite drinkable. I was expecting more root beer-ness, but I like this much more.

A sizeable American Strong. If it were cheaper, I would stock up. Even as it is, I am still considering...

Photo of betterbgood
4.43/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

let me start for the websites sake, I believe i have tried over 200 beers or more maybe less I don't know, but i've tried a lot. i'm going to make an attempt to review beers because when i.m next to a beer i'm not next to my computer. but right now i'm next to my computer and next to dogfishhead/sierra nevada compilation life and limb.

The appearance is black and beautiful. I drunk this out of a duvel tulip big ouncer. a nice two inch head with a normal pour.

the smell was crisp and pure, it's pretense is creamy.

They label it as an strong ale, it reminds me of New Hollands Dragon Milk, but the alcohol is a little and i mean just a little undertoned. The infusion is blended well, I can't pinpoint what i taste, maybe vanilla, sweetness from the syrup, but a deep nice bodied beer, probably thick as the others. but not as nosferotu, arrogant bastard they're a little more red.

The mouthfeel is not as high as the alcohol label suggest because of all the ingredients it covers it's balance.

The drinkabality is a one or two 22oz minimum to respect the beer and enjoy it's taste.

Photo of bret27
3.92/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

courtesy of guy411

A: Dark red w/black espresso head that fades quick.

S: Choc, malt, wood/oak, vanilla

T; Small etoh bite. Malty + thick but a little empty in the middle. sweet choc. syrup, woody- spruce or birch.

M: Thinner than expected.

D: Thin body and soft flavors improve drinkability a bit.

Overall: Smell decieving. It's pretty good, but not as good as smell and sight would lead you to believe.

Photo of jjayjaye
4.42/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark cola color with a HUGE stiff tan head that's got good retention and leaves spotty patterns of Belgian lacing behind. The smell is quite sweet and malty maple honey caramel vanilla woody complexity. Adequately carbonated, the mouth feel is a full bodied creamy smooth. The mouth compliments the flavors nicely; the sweet malt maple caramel taste lingers nicely. The alcohol and a light anise characteristic lends more to consider while warming slightly. A really fine drinker, the 10.2 ABV is well integrated. Split this one with my son...went down way too easily. Well worth the pursuit.

Photo of jampics2
3.33/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

On tap at the Winking Lizard. Not on the menu, wonder if this was a secret? At any rate, a gentleman was nice enough to inform us that it was pouring - funny enough, he ended up being recognized as my finacee's 5th grade teacher. Fun to see someone from your past drinking good beer! Served waay too cold in a tulip.

Appearance is really nice. Black, plum, small red ring and white head. Looks great!

Smell is average at best, and I waited for it to warm up - none of the syrup is coming through at all, no deep woody scents, mostly just malt and minimal hops.

Taste is complex. First sip comes off as way too hot. After it opens, smooth dark malts are accompanied with dark fruits soaked in syrup. Sweet birch, alcohol warmth. Doesn't finish as clean as I'd like - enthanol at the end.

Mouth is good. Nice amount of carb from the natural primer. appropriate heaviness.

Drinkability suffers - too hot right now! Got a couple bottles in the basement, we'll wait this one out of at least a year. It's going to be much better when the alcohol becomes more toned down, and the beer ages to be more cohesive.

Overall, a little too safe and boring for these two amazing breweries. I would have like to see a bit more innovation and unique tastes.

Photo of dirtbag43
4.18/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Had a pour on black Friday at the Toronado in SF. L&L exceeded my expectations (once again confirming that I should always have high expectations regarding anything Sierra Nevada does) with it's flavor. I was expecting a very sweet, unbalanced, crudity but what I found was an amazingly balanced (sweet of course I mean look at the ingredients), beautiful, bold, ale. While a bit of aging could help this beer, it did not taste underdeveloped in the least to me.

I picked up a bottle at Ledger's in Berkeley and plan on having it in front of a toasty fire.

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

Poured from bottle into a Unibroue Ale Glass. The sweetness of the maple is there, but fairly subtle. I really can't think of anything to make a comparison with.

It's a nice mild brownish-red with an off-white foamy head.

I know I enjoyed drinking it immensely, probably more for the rarity and bragging rights than the beer itself.

I'm excited to see how this ages over 12-14 months.

Photo of bunnyhustle
4.43/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Lucky enough to get one courtesy of "beerbobwfm" here at my local Whole Foods. Poured into snifter, dark as can be with a mahogany edge. Massive creamy head with good retention and amazing lacing. Very nice looking. Smell is the "worst" part of this beer for me. Strong alcohol presence, some molasses and caramel and some dark fruit. Taste is terrific I think. A very complex body with some dark fruit, syrup, oak, caramel and some vanilla as well. I've read some other reviews and haven't had vanilla come up but I swear there is a little vanilla in here. Mouthfeel is absolutely perfect I think. A very full, creamy, velvety quality to it. Very smooth and silky going down with a chewy aftertaste. Overall this is an amazing beer I think. I was hesitant to drop the 11 bucks on it but it was worth every penny. Best beer I've had all year probably.

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 BretSikkink
3.88/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Mahogany brown color with some highlighting. head is decently tight, mostly white, with a fair amount of clinginess on the glass. Nose is primarily of malt sweetness: well shy of roasted, but far beyond the pale. Munich-type stuff. Other notes include some indeterminate spicing and a hint of pine or tobacco-like hop notes.

Again, pretty sweet and malt-driven flavor. More molasses than I anticipated, along with dark fruit and some woodiness. Coats the mouth heavily; there's not much in the way of carbonation to whisk off the sugars. There's an earthy, herbal edge to the hops, and quite a bit going on, but I wasn't hugely enamored. Too sweet for my tongue, but the alcohol was nicely tucked away.

Photo of BatsforBeer
3.82/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured in Pint glass
A: Dark, resembles cola, cherry color, a lot like birch beer actually. Moderate stream of bubbles forms a 1 finger light tan airy head that reduces slowly to a thin film; very little lacing.

S: Subtle smell of birch, sweet roasted malt, cherries tad of caramel

T: Woody molasses, maple syrup, hints of caramel, coco and subtle birch/root beer flavor. Nothing really stands out for me except the maple syrup, and a little birch. It's a bit strong/octane for my liking but it is 10.2%.

M:Full body, finishes dry, tad octane

D: This is a good beer, but honestly I was expecting a bit more because of the hype and the 20.00 I paid for the bottle. All in all it was a good experience trying a beer created by two of the best minds in brewing. I am going to age my other bottle for a bit and see what happens!

Life & Limb from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 1,506 ratings.