Life & Limb - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Life & LimbLife & Limb

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BA SCORE
90
outstanding

1,496 Ratings
THE BROS
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(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,496
Reviews: 743
rAvg: 4.02
pDev: 11.69%
Wants: 144
Gots: 489 | FT: 12
Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Strong Ale |  10.20% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
Sierra Nevada & Dogfish Head collaboration brew.

(Beer added by: mjl21 on 11-14-2009)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,496 | Reviews: 743 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of KeefD
3.18/5  rDev -20.9%
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
3.33/5  rDev -17.2%
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
4.13/5  rDev +2.7%
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
3.98/5  rDev -1%
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
3.88/5  rDev -3.5%
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
4.2/5  rDev +4.5%
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
Sierra/DFH
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
4.22/5  rDev +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
4.3/5  rDev +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
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%
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
4.2/5  rDev +4.5%
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
3.93/5  rDev -2.2%
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
1.4/5  rDev -65.2%
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
3.6/5  rDev -10.4%
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
3.65/5  rDev -9.2%
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.

Photo of popery
2.95/5  rDev -26.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Tap @ SF L&L Release dinner and @ City Beer Store. A rather disappointing mess of a strong ale. Life & Limb certainly isn't awful, but it doesn't live up to the hype surrounding this collaboration of two high profile craft brewers. It pours a dark brown, opaque, with little head. Light aroma of birch, citric hops and nutty malt, which sounds pretty good but it's already obvious that the beer is too sweet for my taste. The flavor is sweet with syrup and malt with a bit of a hop bite. Unfortunately, nothing seems to mesh. The flavors aren't terribly pleasant on their own and don't really work together well. Feel is thick. Had to try it twice to confirm.

Photo of GeezLynn
4.13/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Brickstore 11/23

A: Appearance was dark brown poured with a slight brown head (under lower light conditions).

S: The smell on this beer was pretty underwhelming. I got a little of the malt and wood, but nothing else despite my best efforts.

T: Big dark malt flavors - molasses, caramel, a little chocolate and vanilla. It was also fairly sweet, but the maple wasn't coming through all that strongly for me. Flavors all worked together quite well for an especially tasty result.

M: Nice full mouthfeel without much carbonation. A little sticky as one might expect. Would have guessed the ABV was much lower if I hadn't known better.

Overall, I thought this was a very good combined effort from two excellent (if strikingly different) breweries. I liked the concept of this beer and the result was pretty good other than the lack of smell. Looking forward to revisiting with the bottles I tucked away and am guessing the score should go up.

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

24 oz. bottle from Green's on Ponce, Atlanta, GA. Poured in to a 14 oz. Dogfish glass - you know the one, it's sort of chalice-esque, wide-mouthed, has the laser-etched dogfish ... yeah.

Appearance: Pours a dark brown - a burned mahogany if you hold it up to the light, barely transparent, otherwise opaque - capped with one finger of tan, uniform head. Holding it up to the light does reveal a bucketload of fast, average-sized carbonation spewing forward from the laser-etched dogfish logo on the glass's bottom, though it slows down considerably as it rises. Carbonation that's visible around the edges of the glass is slower still, fine-bubbled and creeping. The lacing is impressive for a beer of this abv% - sheet-like initially, and bubbly and pockmark-esque once sips begin. It never fades beyond a thick, dense, marshmallow-like foamy collar and a thick dusting of surface lace, either.

Aroma: A pleasant if not overwhelming aroma. Sweet maple syrup is definitely present here, but this one really improves as it warms. A definite smoky note accompanies a slew of other wholesome, slightly sweet but mostly toasty notes - toast, earth, dark toffee, heavily roasted caramelized sugars - and a slight amount of heat. Not bad.

Taste: Not too sweet, surprisingly, though perhaps that was just my expectations from seeing that it was brewed with two different types of syrup. The malt backbone is solid enough - a wholesome toasty base, complete with earthy and smoky flourishes, hints of cocoa, and shades of sweeter malts, caramel, dark toffee. Perhaps it's the earthy astringencies, or perhaps it's the syrup, but something also lends this one a slightly tart, sour note. Maple syrup again is definitely present, though I personally have no way of discerning which aspects of the earthy, woody, caramelized sweetness are due to the maple and which are due to the birch addition. Hop bitterness is present, though obviously not showing itself off here. The downside? It's a little too subtle, a little too plain, and the sourness is slightly detracting. It's borderline 3.5-4.0, really.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and even, creamy and fluffy. A relatively thick body that's accompanied by just enough well-integrated, fine-bubbled carbonation to lift it to just the perfect height ... in essence, really good. But I'd expect nothing less on this front from either brewery.

Drinkability: This beer leaves me with mixed feelings, but in a good intellectual way, not a "did I enjoy this?" sort of way. I did enjoy this beer - it's a solid beer, complex in places, aesthetically pleasing in others, and well-made all around. There was enough about it that left me wanting in certain places, though other aspects blew me away. In essence, it's a mixed bag at the high-end of the spectrum, a beer that I examine under the most high-powered of microscopes, likely because of the caliber of the collaborators here. So, yeah, it's a good beer, worth the (rather steep) price tag to try, though part of me is also glad it's a once-off, as I don't know if I'd see myself going back for this one.

Photo of jgasparine
4.35/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Poured into a small snifter with no substantial head- just a little haze layer, collar, and some tiny bits of lacing. The body was a completely opaque dark brown. No carbonation was visible from the side of the glass.

S- This beer was served at the DFH brewpub very cold, which is probably keeping the nose from volatilizing. At this point, I'm getting some moderate hops along with some roasty and caramel malt aromas off the nose.

T- Roasty and caramel malt are dominant, with a touch of toffee. The hop bitterness is a little less than anticipated; the hops come-in midway and last through the finish. The finish itself is a bit resinous [perceived as dry] and boozy. A great balance between the hop and malt profiles.

M- A nice big chewy mouthfeel. This is a bit of a paradox; the finish was perceived as dry, but I am feeling some texture from unattenuated sugar. Interesting. The carbonation is abundant and reasonably soft. Fastastic body.

D- Very quaffable. While the booze is present to a limited degree on the palate, there is nothing from a sensory perspective that indicates this is a 10% ABV beer. Dangerously drinkable.

Photo of Baron
3.8/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

served on tap @ Sunset Grill, Boston in a tulip glass

A - Deep amber to brown, allowing some light along the edges. single finger white head which dissipated into lace in time.

S- clean aroma, malts, yet rather low roasted notes and only a hint of the syrupy sweetness to come

T- Strong malt with subtle clove + spice. Maple syrup sticky sweetness is strongly evident. Definitely develops more as it warms up to vanilla and slight oak. Cleaner finish than one would imagine with some warming from the alcohol and retains a lingering syrup aftertaste

M - Good body on this one, moderate carbonation and again, slight syrup texture on the tongue.

D - a good session beer without heaviness, although residual sweetness may hinder one from reaching for a second.

overall a good beer, yet not quite the marvel it was billed out to be. the "life" of blended yeast strains could be more pronounced in a richer aroma and perhaps a stronger oak aftertaste may help its "limbness"

Photo of Arbitrator
1.9/5  rDev -52.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

On tap at the Rose & Crown.

This is one of those beers where I wonder, "What the hell is everyone else drinking?"

A: Pours a clear, deep amber color with a finger of off-white head in the snifter. Retention is quite amazing, especially for 10%. The final result is a collar on the brew, with no lacing down the sides.

S: Molasses, roast, nuts, raisins. As it warms, it quickly starts giving off a rubbery ethanol aroma, and when it really opens up it smells like a dead ringer for solvent.

T: When cold (and I mean COLD), it's really not that bad. A nice melange of toasted nuts, raisins, burnt caramel, molasses, and the lightest hint of roast. But again, as it warms up and hits its stride, it becomes _incredibly_ solventy, to the point where I'm wondering what the point of making this was. Didn't they taste this before releasing it?

M: Light-bodied, with high carbonation. LOTS of booze. Not even a little shy about 10%. Jeez, try to hide it better.

D: No. This is so harsh and solventy. It might age well -- the flavor underneath the booze was pretty solid -- but I have no desire to find out. I don't have any patience or respect for a booze-bomb.

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

Bought a few 24 oz bottles from Whole Foods. Looking forward to this interesting collaboration.

Poured so dark it initially looked like a IRS, but held up to the light, proved to actually be an incredibly deep amber, and this duality describes many of its features. Its flavor is rich, but texture is light. Its texture is light, but leaves a syrupy trail on the tongue.

Its maple and birch are both distinctly present but not overwhelming. The alcohol stays nicely embedded with these other soothing flavors, and never becomes too independent.

Perfect for a cool overcast night, not cold enough for an IRS, but perfect for enjoying the scent of falling leaves that is the signature of the autumn.

Photo of blackdiamond
4.63/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer is a very good but different beer. Not your typical strong ale. Pours very good and has a good belguin lining and keeps a pretty good head. I didnt know what to think when i heard about this collabaration. I think the beer leans more toward something you would get from dogfish head. As the beer warms up you start to get more of a better taste of what this beer is all about. You taste a lot of caramel and syrup and even a little vanilla probably would go good with ice cream. It is very easy to drink this beer. I am gonna hold on to a couple bottles and open them up in a year or so. Cant wait to see more companies do collabarations. Whats next stone and russian river?

Photo of tempest
3.4/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at the Bookstore Speakeasy in Bethlehem. While the beer was quite drinkable, but a little lifeless. There was a pale syrup flavor with a little sweet cocoa, but this beer didn't taste like much. As it warmed up, I hoped to et more flavor, but the alcohol just became more evident. It was easy to drink and pleasant, but I wouldn't bother with this one again.

Photo of paco1029384756
4.2/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark ruby color with two fingers of creamy off white head and some great retention time.

Scent of strong sugars, maple syrup, molasses, smoke, roasted malts, oatmeal, tobacco, earth, and a hint of cinnamon. Great stuff, deep and rich with great complexity.

Taste of sugars, dark fruit, molasses, honey, chocolate, roasted malts, alcohol, and soda. Sweet and sugary, it almost seems as if it has a cola extract in it. I think it need a little time for the alcohol heat to die down, but this is one damn good beer as it is.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with strong carbonation. Very nice, but not entirely befitting of the style.

Life & Limb from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 1,496 ratings.