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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: 487 | 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:
Beer added by: mjl21 on 11-14-2009

Sierra Nevada & Dogfish Head collaboration brew.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,506 | Reviews: 745 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of vince4953529
3.64/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Decided to drink some beer while listening to Lillian Axe. Poured into my tulip, color appeared to be black in my dingy room, but when I turned on my room light it appeared to be a very dark brown.

Not much smell to speak off, despite the high abv.

Strong malty taste, also maple, finished with an alcoholic whiff. Mouth fill was satisfying with a right amount of carbonation. I found this more boozy compared to some higher octane brews. Nothing wrong with that as sometimes a little booze can have some good effects on you.

Photo of LibraryTom
4.02/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Almost has a purple hue hiding in there with all the murky browns. Inviting at first, but a bid muddled I feel.

Good nose of fruity esters, mild yeastiness.

Starts to open up immediately, and lets you think its gonna be a long ride. Prunes and a bit of maple, though it fades more away to a sticky candy taste. Promising in the forepalette, but finishes a bit medicinal.

Fatigues the palette a bit due to a lack of acidity, and too much sweetness.

Overall good but in the end I think this one got a lot of press but just a decent brew, certainly not epic.

Photo of flannelman808
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2011 release Life and Limb part deux;

A: In quantity almost no light penetrates through this dark brown quick moving liquid (small quantity shows hints of yellow and orange around the edge). For as opaque as it is, it surprisingly does not look very viscus. An off-white/Light tan head tops the beer and remains thin... key word might be remains however. Lacing is decent, carbonation seems quite high.

S: Wood and molasses, fresh maple syrup and raw brown sugar.

T: Brown sugar cooked with pie spices and baked with Red Delicious apples... Oh and all of this done in hardwood tray. Birch perhaps? All in all I would like to get more of the raw maple and birch out this. I'm unsure now of how this will age for that reason though I can tell you it will certainly be carbonated. This is also sweeter than I remember the original version being.

M: Mouth filling and long lasting. A bit oily.

O: Good stuff, I cant complain. Though I think perhaps the original recipe was a bit more dialed in. Still only something like 13 bucks this guy is a steal. A unique brew from two of the better producers in the league. And for those of you who care to cellar beer this is worth saving for a while and seeing how it changes. ESPECIALLY if they keep making subsequent batches!

OG Release;

A: This is a very opaque beer it looks black from the side but if you hold it up to light there is a definite red color too it. But it is extremely deep. Off white head tops the beer off which dissipates fairly quickly, but leaves an excellent lacing along its way down.

S: I smell caramel and spice (winter spices i.e. nutmeg/ allspice). I do get a faint bit of maple quality as well too. I feel like I'm smelling cinnamon and graham cracker as well.

T: Wow lots of complex things are happening in this beer. I taste lots of things that I did not initially smell... this is a very unexpected beer. I taste notes of roasted coffee beans and bittersweet chocolate. Oddly I also seem to taste milk chocolate perhaps its the creamy quality of the beer that tricks my palate. There is also a woody/ maple flavor but it does not evoke memories of pancakes. It's a bitter maple flavor, almost like essence of pure maple syrup and bark or something... unique. More fruity esters they I would have expected as well most notably for me is a bing cherry quality.

M: This beer has a sticky dense mouthfeel. It clings to the lips and cheeks and makes for a very long finishing beer (which seems to evolve in ones mouth). very nice carbonation, enough but not too much. This is a very unique beer and a successful one I might add.

D: The alcohol is very well hidden in this 10.2 percent beer making it pretty drinkable. Also it is rich but finishes rather dry leaving ones mouth aching for another taste.

This is a very unique beer I hope that dogfish and sierra do more together they can learn quite a bit from one another. This beer typifies Sierras perfect bottle conditioning and well balanced beer as well as Dogfish's off axis experimental approach to beer making. Well done! cheers!

Photo of JalfPsu
4.51/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter from a 24 ounce bottle.

Poured dark brown, almost black, with a quarter inch of pale brown head, which dissipated quickly, leaving thick, long-lasting lacing along the inside of the glass.

The smell was more mild than I anticipated, but pleasing notes of maple syrup, roasted malt, and a bit of an alcohol bite.

Surprisingly, the taste did not immediate match the smell. In the initial sip, I was hit by notes of caramel, roasted malt, and a fruitiness that wasn't present in the smell; maybe apple. The maltiness persists after swallowing, accompanied by a strong maple flavor that coats the tongue and throat, becoming the predominant flavor. The alcohol is certainly present, but it is masked by all of the sweet flavors, and so it doesn't immediately assault the palate. The aftertaste is dominated by this maple, but it is backed up by a mild hop character and some dark malt. This is a very complex beer, with a lot going on, and the complexity became more apparent as it warmed slightly.

The mouthfeel was also somewhat deceptive. It feels thinner than would be expected by the rich color and apparent heaviness of the brew, but it still seems to coat the tongue, and the flavors persist for a very long time. This probably has one of the longest lasting flavor profiles of any beer I've tried. It's a good thing, then, that the flavors are so good!

For a 10.2% beer, this goes down very easily, without an overwhelming alcohol bite. It's well balanced, and the flavors are unlikely to get old. I could definitely see having a couple glasses of this.

Overall, an excellent, unique beer. If you can track it down, it's definitely worth it!

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

Pizza Peel Charlotte NC. Very dark brown pour with mohoghanny accents, an adequate amount of cream colored head. Malt, caramel, oak, leather, peat, light cocoa and some hop aroma. Taste is a smooth blend of toasted malt, caramel, vanilla, cocoa, oak barrel and earthy tones of peat and especially tea. Barrel and tea flavors stay a little longer than the rest. Solid medium mouthfeel. Very little alcohol presence at all. This was just a bit different. Hop profile from the SN is noticeable. The tea stands out from some DFH brews. Extreamly pleasant and I'm betting better on draft.

Photo of Onenote81
3.71/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Glad to see a few cases of this made it to W-S. Chilled and poured into my pint glass. Pours a very dark tawny-tinted deep charcoal brown. A huge billowy tan head rests comfortably on top. This retains wonderfully, leaving behind plenty of sticky webbing and lace globs. Scents of molasses, alcohol, currants, and whiffs of cocoa waft out.

The body on this is a bit thin. Lacks depth in carbonation and bite. Disappointing. This beer starts out quite hot. Nice alcohol burn at the onset. Deep chocolate bready finish. Bitterness is moderate with a minor hops presence. Alcohol and sweet molasses malts take the show here. Wow. This is interesting. This isn't your 'everyday' strong ale, but it is a good one nonetheless. Give it a shot.

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

This bottle was obtained from Earth Fare in Raleigh (Brier Creek area) for $9.49. I bought three bottles, and the beer manager there informed me that he was only able to garner one case of this beer. Apparently, only 100 cases were allotted for the entire state of North Carolina. So I feel a bit privileged. (I actually bought three bottles to see how it ages.) I cooled this bottle down to about 55 degrees Fahrenheit, and popped the top.

It pours a very dark brown, with a lean, but long-lasting off-white head. The nose is full of sweet accents, with molasses, coffee, bittersweet chocolate, and roasted malts in the forefront. It isn't a strong smell, but it's certainly intense. The first thing I notice with the initial sip is the sheer smoothness of the brew; it's so darn smooth, with low carbonation and a not-over-the-top flavor combination. It drinks dangerously easy, although the boozyness is certainly noticeable. Flavors of tree syrups and dark, ripe fruits abound, and cause me to want to swirl it about to see what else is lurking about. The sweet fruitiness relaxes a bit and is replace at the finish by a dark and bitter character. I interpret it as a mixing of dark roasted malts, dark chocolate, and bitter hops. The lingering aftertaste focuses mainly on that dark, roasty element.

This is the sort of beer I really enjoy sipping on for an hour or so. I'm so glad I got a hold of three bottles!

Photo of glid02
3.58/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at the Brick Store.

Pours a dark brown color with a one-finger tan head. The head recedes into a thin layer on top leaving decent lacing.

Smells of nondescript dark malts with good amounts of sweetness and earthiness - likely from the maple syrup and hops, respectively.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Mildy sweet and somewhat bitter malt flavors up front are quickly joined by leafy and somewhat herbal hop flavors. Midway through the sip the flavor sweetens a bit but I never get a large hit of mapel syrup. The ending is solidly bitter.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a solid thickness with active carbonation.

Drinkability is alright. I didn't have a problem finishing my glass and I'm not sure about another.

Overall this beer was a bit disappointing. I feel as though there was a little too much going on here and the flavors became a bit too muddled - somewhere between and Old Ale and American Strong. Not worth seeking out but worth a shot to see for yourself.

Photo of JohnGalt1
3.85/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Big 24 oz picked up at the COOP over the weekend.. I opened one before Thanksgiving dinner, but wanted to give this one a proper review... poured into my Delirium goblet.

Nice very long lasting tan head... good lace and retention atop a very dark brown brew... still very clear with deep ruby highlites when held to a light.

Nose has a bunch of stuff going on.. fairly thick toasty malts mixes with some maple essence.. never smells sweet, just malty with other complexities adding some strength.

Flavor lets you know this is not an ordinary beer right out of the gates... the initial note is a fairly big push of maltiness that has some weird and expected earthy notes that last pretty much from front to back... sorta something that I can only describe as "cheap cola"... a bit of caramel with a bunch of toasty maltiness.. maybe some cocoa.. but the maple is pretty present toward the finish..

This is pretty damn boozy.. but I sorta expected it.. with the adjuncts, it is gonna happen... I can't say it distracts too much, the overall brew is very nice.


Edit: I don't have any idea how this brew is going to age.. I honestly expect is will be too sweet with a year or so, but I'm just guessing.

Photo of abecall98
4.03/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 2 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On tap at Jupiters in Berkeley.

A - dark black with a beutiful tan Lacey head. Looks damn good.

S - very weak. Light sweetness in the nose, but that is it. Upset how with such a nice head, there is no scent.

T - delicous. Starts of with the sweetness of maple syrup. Hits with some nice roasted maltiness, and finishes with slight bitter sweet.

M - very creamy. Practically coats your mouth and throat on the way down. The after mouthfeel is a pleasant stickiness.

D - at 10.5 abv, this beer has perfect drinkability. To know how sweet and syrupy this beer is, it is in no way offputing and makes you want it all night!

Well the hell done Sierra and dogfish. I will be grabbing a few bottles I have been passing up on now!

Photo of KeefD
3.16/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Had this on tap at Stub n Herb's. Dark brown, no head or lacing after a few seconds. Smells like like chocolate, maple, and booze... lots of booze. Body is thin and dry. What sweetness that comes out in this beer is all from the maple syrup and almost none from the malts. Light chocolate, earthiness, wood, and warming alcohol, dry finish. Very dry finish. This beer just had a little too much dry alcohol flavors and too little sweetness that could have been provided by a little more body. Not impressed.

Photo of pmccallum86
3.31/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured a very deep dark color, black with some different tints to it, a little maroon haze is in the body.

Alcohol comes through immediately with some maple syrupy scents present as well. Tons of different malty aromas, too many to distinguish.

Taste it very smooth and malty taste, some weird sugar flavors, kind of like maple syrup. No hops are detectable.

Thick mouthfeel, like cold motor oil. Kind of strange, kind of delightful.

Not very drinkable, one goblet was all I could handle. It is worth trying but I will not seek it out again.

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

Got this one at Bevmo, Thanks for holding em for me Mike!!!

A-pours very nice and smooth with a dark brown burnt tint to it very dark leaving no head very little laceing

S-"nice on the sniffer" I get a little maple coming through with a sweet burnt wood scent and a little coffee in there

T-Very well balanced at first I get a blast of bliss, all kinds of flavor coming through, the malts a nice bit of hops and a maple finish. This one gets way more complex as it warms in your glass.

M-Again well balanced, Just the right amount of carbonation very smooth leaving a nice sweet/bitter after taste "mummm"

D-Glad I was able to taste this one great beer. I really could taste the SN profile and the DFH profile they both really pop great brew! For me though this is a night cap beer or after dinner brew it worked well after turkey dinner. This is a great beer to sit and sip with a good buddy. Drinks nice!

Photo of JoePat
3.96/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

24oz bottle poured in to a snifter.
The beer poured a dark brown almost completeley black with a thick tan head.
The smell that first caught my attention was a bready, yeasty smell(this could have been due to miss handling due to my excitment to try this beer). Next I smelt some malty, chocolately aroma mixed with a little burn from the alcohol.
The mouth feel was light and creamy with a dryness afterwords from the 10% ABV.
Taste was earthy, chocolate, sweet and boozy. Again I tasted a lot of yeas up front but that seemed subside after a while when I let the yeast fall out to the bottom of the glass.
Over all it was a good beer with more and more flavor coming out as it warmed. I definately think this is a beer that should get better with age and enjoyed later more than earlier.

Photo of drabmuh
3.9/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I bought a bottle of this and then realized it was on tap at my local beer bar. I'm planning on reviewing this beer twice btw. I just noticed it was classified as an American Strong Ale, interesting choice but I suppose that style is a catch all.

Served on draft at a local beer bar, served in a snifter. Beer is brown and has a white head, breaks up leaving lacing behind.

Smell is sweet and there is some detectable alcohol in the nose. Hard to hide almost 11%. Lots of fruity esters in this beer as well.

Beer is smooth and sweet. No bitterness to speak of, but that's OK. There is a slightly sour note to the flavor as well, some alcohol comes through in the end, which is unfortunate.

Mouthfeel is great, medium bodied despite the high alcohol and it hits all the centers on the palate completely. There is not a strong forward flavor. Overall an interesting beer.

Photo of Viggo
4.17/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Coles in Buffalo.

Pours a dark reddish brown, slightly opaque, very thin tan head forms, quickly settles to a thin ring around the glass, a few lace spots stick.

Smell is nice, big caramel, raisin, toast, nuts, maple syrup, some alcohol, lots of dark fruit and very malty, basic aroma but pretty nice.

Taste is similar, caramel and brown sugar sweetness, dark fruit, raisin, nuts, big maple middle, alcohol, earthy, a touch of wood and vanilla, a bit sweet in the finish.

Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with low to medium carbonation, some warmth going down. Not too bad at all, ABV is well hidden, and the maple character is quite nice.

Photo of Grabbin2nd
4.55/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

From Notes: 11/25/09
Life & Limb
American Strong Ale.
10.2% Abv.
On-Tap @ Spike's into a small snifter

Appearance= Dark black opaque beer w/a nice tan head. Head dissipates into a thin ring around the edge.

Smell=Fresh hops and maple syrup come together in a deadly clash of will and strength!

Taste= residual sugars all over the place. I get a good fresh hop element that in the end is dominated by the sugar and malt.

Mouthfeel= Thin cold, thicker as it warms. Good for the style.

Drinkability= Can I have a designated driver take me home after I quaff mad amounts of this delicious elixir??

Photo of Sjburns17
4.2/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Great color, nice clear dark brown, creamy like head but fades away quick.

Smell - sweet little hops and maple in the background.

Taste - malty good balance of hops and after taste of some maply syrup. Nice strong malty ale.

Mouthfeel - semi heavy and thick but not to overpowering.

Drinkability - Hard to drink more than one. Taste like it will age very well good thing i got two. Taste like it is described as.

Photo of TurdFurgison
4.29/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

24 oz bottle purchased in Columbus for $9.99. The label doesn't give much indication of what to expect, except maple syrup: "This living ale is naturally carbonated to enhance complexity, refinement, and to encourage aging. ...blah blah... birch and maple trees, whose syrup gives this ale its unique flavor ...blah blah..." - no further descriptive text. Poetic but unhelpful in determining what's inside.

The beer is dark brown with rusty colored edges, clear with very few tan bubbles on top. The aroma is very nice, the maple syrup comes through big time, also some sweet dark malt notes like toffee and roasted malts. This is a delicious smelling beer, and the actual flavor follows through just like it should. Kind of dopplebockish, this is a sweet malt-bomb with a noticeable ethanol flavor in the after-taste. The maple notes are there too, again this is reminiscent of some good dopplebocks I've had, maybe Samuel Adams Double Bock + Celebrator + maple syrup. Don't know what birch syrup tastes like but it must be there too... The body is thicker than average, a good match for the strong flavors. A good wintertime sipper that I'd be happy to have again.

Photo of ugaterrapin
4.29/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass. It has a deep dark brown color that barely lets any light through. When held up to the light a slight red color is noted as well. There was about a finger and a half of tan head. It has a strong malty aroma with notes of maple and spices. There is a strong roasted malt presence in the tasted. The maple is noted slightly along with the hop presence. The alcohol is noted slightly on the finish, but is hidden pretty well. Overall this is a very drinkable good beer. It seems like a thin imperial stout. It isn't a let down in the slightest, but at the same time it didn't wow me. Glad I picked it up but the $10 price tag is a little steep. I will probably pick up another one and let it age for a while.

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

A: Dark, Deep Brown

S: Slightly Burnt Sugar, Maple Syrup

T: Very Malty, with a nice Brown Sugar or Maple Syrup hint.

M: Very Full Bodied, low carbonation with a slight Molasses after taste

D: Amazing Beer, very filling and ston +10%, One and I am good

Photo of juhl31
3.91/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

-black! no light going through it. tall khaki colored head. good looking pour

-some chocolate and some dark fruity malts. again, would like a bit more from it

-tobacco was punching me hard the 1st 3rd of the beer. 2nd 3rd the dark fruits are most apparent and lastly it is just staying raisin tasting

-smooth and creamy. almost feels like a nitro pour

-i feel/hope this will age pretty well. i like it okay now, but it should be better later

Photo of Sandstone
1.46/5  rDev -63.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

This beer is bad.

A: Pours a thick reddish brown with a head that quickly dissipates into a thin splotchy froth

S: Smell of alcohol and molasses. As the beer warms up it takes on an incredibly solventy aroma.

T: When cold, the beer has a weird astringency in the finish. As it warms up, the beer gets sweeter and sweeter until it becomes capable of putting you into a diabetic coma, and the finish transforms into something a bit more solventy.

M: Syrup. You could ooze this out over pancakes.

D: I wasn't able to finish my bottle. By the time I got to the last 6oz it was like chugging on a bottle of Ms. Butterworth's that had been spiked with cleaning solvent. Drain pour.

Overall, I think this is a bad beer coasting by on the hype of being associated with two popular (but usually mediocre) breweries.

Photo of Jayli
3.56/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Thanks to my local liquor store, a bottle was tucked away for me!

A: This beer pours an opaque chocolate brown, edges are slightly lighter when held to the light. One finger of bubbly, creamy head caps this beer. Nice head retention and leaves thick, sticky, creamy lacing on the glass.

S: Nose is of caramel, molasses, spices, dark fruit, and alcohol. As the beer warms, alcohol becomes the overwhelming scent, literally drowning everything else out.

T: Taste is very sweet. Big dose of caramel and molasses up front. Dark fruits and spices (clove is definitely present) fill out the middle. Finish is more of a roasted malt taste mixed with sweetness. Very sweet finish to this beer with a good deal of booziness.

M: Light side of medium body, medium carbonation, slick with a somewhat sticky, chewy finish.

D: This was a great beer to try. The alcohol in the nose and taste are a bit overwhelming and make this hard to be sessionable. Pretty complex tastes that are overshadowed by the booziness.

Photo of Mistofminn
3.7/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Saw this lonely bottle sitting on the shelf at a local liquor store. First day it was available in Minnesota, and there was only one bottle left. Even for $10.99 I had to buy it.

Pours a dark brown mahogany color into the glass. Honestly, in the glass it looks black, but when backlit it has brown and ruby highlights galore. You can't see through it, if that counts for something, or at least you can't make out any images through it. Incredible tan head is produced on the pourm and the retention is amazing. Tons of lacing line the glass all the way down.

The nose is slightly hoppy and slightly malty. Earthy and slightly floral hops come at you first, then the huge malt backbone shines through. This brew isn't messing around.

The taste is everything I had hoped it would be...but it's muted! This thing is incredibly thick and viscous for the style, it's slimey and sticky, but the flavors have been lost in translation somewhere. I still get light floral and earthy hop characters, and a strong malt backbone, but it's all so muted! Ah...I'm so very disappointed. Don't get me wrong, it's still damn tasty, just doesn't live up to the lofty expectations I made for it. On a side note, the 10%+ ABV is absolutely nowhere to be found...literally. Very sweet.

Mouthfeel is thick and rich. Honestly, if this tasted like a RIS I would say it is a viscous RIS, it's that thick. Thick, rich and creamy, smooth and sticky. Drinkability is excellent, as the alcohol is nowhere to be found. If it wasn't so thick, this could be a college kids beer bong dream....

Overall, I'm kinda disappointed with it. It's a great beer, but I was somehow expecting more. For $10.99 I don't see myself buying this again. And for the record, I highly doubt this will age well, I just don't see this improving much with age.

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