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Life & Limb - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Life & LimbLife & Limb

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1,511 Ratings
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
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Ratings: 1,511 | Reviews: 745
Photo of adamette
4.32/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Live review. Poured from the 24 oz. bottle that I purchased at Ballantines in Willoughby about an hour ago for $23.00. I saw it at the Bspot (Michael Symon's restaurant) for $17.00 but the menu listed it as a 750 ML bottle. I am not sure that it is the same product. The bartender at Ballantines was kind enough to sell me the unopened bottle "to go" when he did not necessarily have to. 9 28622001 stamped on the right side of the label just above the UPC. I absolutely LOVE the label which is a tree with various objects planted throughout. Poured into my gold rimmed Gulden Draak tulip glass.

A Don't miss the dance of carbonation that rises up from the depth on the inside of your glass as you pour this one. Pours a very dark but not completely black body. There is some dark mahogany light that comes through with direct light. Head is a light brown, generous 4 inches that sticks around for several minutes. Fair lacing on the inside of the glass as well. 4.0

S Dark fruit, sweet malt and a shade of alcohol to the smell. There is also a nice, peppery bite to it that I like. Reminds me of a nice Belgian Strong Dark Ale. Repeated whiffs reveal a hop presence which is balanced and appropriate. 4.5

T My nose is apparently getting better at picking up smells. Medium to dark roast malt, dark fruits, some peppery notes and background hops in a nicely balanced but reasonably "dark" tasting beer. After reading the label and discovering that syrup from birch and maple trees was used the brewing process I cannot say that it tastes anything like syrup (in the sense that it is sweet) but there is a woodsy, earthy taste and feel that is very welcomed. There is also a very distant (like 10 minutes after last sip) taste of syrup which is welcomed and interesting. 4.5

M Active carbonation makes the beer dance across the tongue. There is a nice moderate feel too from the dark fruits, malt presence that is nice. Head retention being excellent, the beer has a bit of creaminess to it that is great too. 4.0

D Very good for this level of ABV, but its ABV keeps it from being the highest drinkability. It is very well hidden with all of the other tastes going on here. This will be the only beer that I drink tonight but I found it very easy to go back for more sips (for the review of course!). 4.0

Notes: Everyone should try this. Why can't a beer like this be available all of the time?

Photo of cnally
3.99/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

This one, I have been looking forward to. My close friend who loves beer (but not as much as I do) says this is a gimmick beer designed to get us beer geeks to cream our pants and delude our tastebuds when we drink it. We shall see.

The beer pours mostly black, with just hints of red translucency around the edges. Tannish head sits majestically, lacing well to the glass.

The aroma is very deep--anise, fennel, mocha, coffee and a burning alcohol nose--awesome. Really a marvel.

The flavor catches me off guard, because I feel it isn't nearly as layered as the aroma. Initially, I can say that the maple/birch syrup is very prevalent. The resounding sweetness in the first taste wanes a bit into a smoky, burnt malt aftertaste, with the finish bitter and nutty.

A very unique, yet challenging mouthfeel. This actually feels like I am drinking whipped egg yolks, so thick and frothy. A big downside, to me, is the prevailing sticky nature of it. My lips literally stick together after a sip. Strange.

Maybe a gimmick, maybe two excellent breweries pushing boundaries and giving us beers that we don't expect. I go with the latter, because even though I don't feel like I would want this again...I truly am glad I experienced it. Now to buy up some more and drink one every year following...this baby should age well.

Photo of CharlatanSin
4.21/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Finally had to by one. Dogfish and Sierra are two of my favorite breweries, but I've heard mixed things at best about this brew.

Poured from the gorgeous 24 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a coca-cola color. An extremely deep brown with traces of maroon. It's got a tan half finger bubbly head that sticks around. Even if it's not kosher, I'm going to have to give a half bonus point for the absolutely gorgeous bottle art work. I love it.

Smell: Can definitely smell the booze. It's got a little hop kick. There's a big whiff of dark chocolate, and a bit of toasty malt. Not too shabby.

Taste: Well first of all, I can definitely taste the booze. I consider that a good thing for this style of beer. It goes well with the dark honey taste. There's some spice, and a lot of dark chocolate. There's some pine, but not from hops. Must be the maple syrup. It all blends together masterfully in a terrific dry finish. This beer is hot and delicious.

Mouthfeel: Thick and chewy, with pretty high carbonation, which benefits the style.

Drinkability/Overall: I was skeptical when I bought it. Various friends told me it was decent at best. The Whole Foods hipsters told me "it needs a couple of years." Now that I finally took the plunge, I'm glad I did. It's pricey, but I certainly see at least a few more of these in my future.

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

Poured 24 oz bottle into Bruery Tulip glass.

a- thin tan head, short retention. rich dark brown, with highlights of mahogany, opaque body.

s- light to medium aroma intensity. notes of molasses, maple, roast, light alcohol

t- medium to high flavor intensity. notes of sweet malt, molasses, maple, sticky hops, alcohol.

m- medium body. warming consistency. long flavor duration. light to medium alcohol, which is not bad due to the high ABV.

d- I will be buying this again. Better get it before it gets sold out.

Photo of Bighuge
3.76/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear, dark burgandy body. Thin light brown head recedes rather quickly to a skimming. Spotty lace is left behind as I drink. Aroma is very nondescript. A little (emphasis on little) caramel, roast, alcohol and fruit. Flavor is more full than aroma. Tropical fruit tones mix with molasses and fig and maple. Sweetness is king, but this beer isn't cloying. It's a nice sipper. Alcohol is nicely integrated and really not that noticeable for a 10+ % beer. Light to light-medium in body. Lightly carbonated. Enjoyable.

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.

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Life & Limb from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 1,511 ratings.