Life and Limb
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Life and LimbLife and Limb
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Beer Geek Stats: | Print Shelf Talker
Style:
Strong Ale - American
Ranked #38
ABV:
10.2%
Score:
90
Ranked #5,041
Avg:
4.04 | pDev: 11.39%
Reviews:
781
Ratings:
1,642
From:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
 
California, United States
Avail:
Rotating/Seasonal
Wants
  159
Gots
  493
SCORE
90
Outstanding
Life and LimbLife and Limb
Notes: Brewed in collaboration with Dogfish Head Craft Brewery.

Eight years after it was last seen, a blast from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.’s past is set to return.

That creation is Life and Limb 2019, a 10.2 percent ABV strong ale brewed with birch and maple syrup that is a collaboration between Sierra Nevada’s founder Ken Grossman and brewer Brian Grossman and Dogfish Head Brewery’s founder and president Sam Calagione and vice president Mariah Calagione. This will be the third time that the ale has been released after it debuted in 2009 and it was rereleased in 2011.
Reviews: 781 | Ratings: 1,642 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of TheBricenator
TheBricenator from Oregon

4.18/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Look: Jet black with a tan head that reduces to a thin layer leaving heavy lacing
Aroma: Maple, vegetal notes – almost chicory-like, molasses. No booze, no hops, slightly over-toasted bread
Taste: Oak, maple, brown sugar, almost meloidin notes, figs, dates, caramel and again, zero alcohol heat that I can detect
Mouthfeel: Viscous but not heavy, lighter finish than expected and most welcome as it doesn’t coat the tongue or kill the palate – begs for another sip
Overall: Deep, heavy-hitter here – almost what I would call an “imperial brown ale” - and really good. Complex but not over-the-top and wouldn’t expect anything different or less from these two great breweries

May 30, 2020
Photo of rajendra82
rajendra82 from Georgia

3.98/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer in the tulip glass looked dark ruby in color and formed a one finger thick head that dissipated quickly. The aroma was pretty heavy on chocolate and maple syrup. The taste was quite different than I expected. It was not too sweet at all. Instead there was a mix of sour cherry, roast grain, and black coffee in the taste which I did not detect clearly in the smell. The finish is where I could get a touch of vanilla and some birch syrup astringency. The aftertaste was somewhat spicy. The body of the beer was quite thin, compared to other ales of this strength. Alcohol content was very well hidden under the layers of complexity, and there was no boozy feel here. Very interesting mix of flavors, and very cool looking can.

May 12, 2020
Photo of DannyBoy15347
DannyBoy15347 from Missouri

4.33/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a can dated 5-9-19 into a pint glass. Pours a nice dark black color with a big light tan head. Aroma is great, I get the maple syrup, carmel, as well as an awesome roasted malt character. Taste reflects all of the aromas with the rich malt flavor really shining bright. Mouthfeel is also really fantastic. I know the alcohol is there, but this brew is so smooth you'd never suspect it. Really an awesome collaboration between Sierra Nevada & Dogfish Head!

Apr 30, 2020
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Beersnake1 from California

4.23/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from fridge temp - 2019 vintage. Lots of tan head. Dark brown - almost black in color. Nose is black licorice, spice, burnt wood, dark fruit. Taste is molasses, raisins, dark fruit, licorice, and a lot of bitterness on the back end (maybe the birch syrup?). Mouthfeel is really nice and thick - chewy. Alcohol relatively undetectable. Really interesting and complex.

Apr 14, 2020
Photo of HaoleBoy
HaoleBoy from California

4.44/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Canned one year ago. If I had the discipline I'd put a can back for another 6 months and see how it changes.
Deliciously sweet and spicy (peppery). Thick, rich, almost chewy mouthfeel.
Beer is definitely a "sipper" and fortunately, it holds up well as it warms. As you drink it the complexities are drawn out ... caramel, some cherry fruitiness, as well as subtle the roasted malt flavors.
A really remarkable beer.

Apr 09, 2020
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mactrail from Washington

3.96/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Handsome dark brown brew with an abundant light beige foam in the thistle glass. Rich and sudsy on the tongue. Sweet but also tangy. Plenty sweet but the sap flavors are more interesting than the blandness of lactose or other residual sugar. Roasted malt, nuts, and cocoa. Hot and even peppery with alcohol, but smooth and clean.

Dark caramel aftertaste but not much bitterness. For a massively strong brew this is highly sippable and thoroughly interesting. A great alternative to the endless RIS styles. I think this is what DFH had been needing: a faultless big brewer to make their recipes. From the 16 oz can, a big of of tall order for something this strong. Packaged on 05/08/19, stamped on bottom of can.

Mar 03, 2020
Photo of josanguapo
josanguapo from Spain

4.75/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

De Labirratorium. En copa Teku. Estudiando + Jugando a Order of the Thorn Kings Challenge. No he notado el sirope de arce, pero es todo un señor birrote, con un perfil tipo black ipa pero mas corpulenta

Feb 15, 2020
Photo of BB1313
BB1313 from Ohio

3.92/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

2019 vintage. Canned on 5/9/19. 16oz can poured into a tulip. Pours a dark brown with auburn hues; creamy khaki head that sticks around leaving great thick retention and sticky frothy lacing. The aromas are malt forward. Some floral notes. Hints of maple, caramel and cocoa. The flavors are bolder than the nose indicates. The maple syrup really shines in the flavor department. Lots of caramel along with some chocolate and toffee. Brown sugar is there. It's sticky. It's definitely on the sweeter side, but it's not cloying. Strong malt backbone. Finishes with a subtle warmth, but it's not hot or boozy at all. Mouthfeel is full-bodied with moderate carbonation. It's fluffy, creamy, heavy, velvety and smooth.

This is a nice brew. The maple shines. Nice flavors. The craftsmanship is on point. There's about 8 months on this one and it has aged well. It's enjoyable and fun to drink. I like it.

Jan 15, 2020
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keithmurray from Connecticut

4.24/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance - dark mahogany body with tan head

Smell - caramel, anise, root beer, maple

Taste - root beer, maple, caramel, anise, toasted malts

Mouthfeel - medium bodied, medium carbonation, slight sweetness upfront, nice maple/root beer flavors on the back, nutty

Overall - nice beer here with good flavors, recommended

Price point - $10.99/ 4 pk 16 oz cans

Jan 05, 2020
Photo of Snowcrash000
Snowcrash000 from Germany

4.08/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours a deep, dark mahogany coloration with a large, creamy head. Smells of toasted, bready, caramel malt, brown sugar and sweet and spicy maple/birch syrup. Taste follows the nose, being dominated by toasted, bready, caramel malt and sweet maple/birch syrup, with the birch syrup standing out particularly, lending a slightly spicy quality to this, as well as notes of brown sugar and earthy/herbal accents, with just a hint of pine and dark fruit: fig. Finishes bittersweet, with a light bitterness and some sweet and spicy maple/birch syrup, toasted, caramel malt and brown sugar lingering in the aftertaste. Full mouthfeel with medium/rich body and medium carbonation.

This is quite a well-balanced Strong Ale that's not nearly as sweet as I had feared from the maple and birch syrup additions. In fact, the more dominant birch syrup adds quite a nice spicy quality to this, while the rather herbal/earhy and lightly piney hop notes help balance out the sweeter bready, caramel malt, brown sugar and lighter dark fruit presence, Perhaps a tad boozy, but really not too bad, making for a rather pleasant sipper that manages a good balance between sweet and bitter/herbal/spicy notes.

Dec 29, 2019
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rex_4539 from Greece

4.19/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L: Jet black color, two finger light brown/beige head, messy lacing, no visible carbonation.

S: Coffee, chocolate.

T: Chocolate, roasted coffee, sweet.

F: Medium bodied, balanced, nicely flavored.

O: Good beer that I would gladly drink again.

Nov 07, 2019
Photo of haines710
haines710 from Delaware

4.16/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I found a 5/9/19 can in Wegmans and made it part of my six pack. Glad I did. It was very tasty and perfect for a fall night. Got better as it warmed and had great caramel and toffee notes. Creamy with a little bite. Not too sweet. I enjoyed very much.

Oct 27, 2019
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arizcards from Arizona

3.96/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a single from the Craft Beer Hop Stop 7-24-19 for $3.75. Canned on 5-9-19; consumed on 10-8-19.

Beer poured brown with a nice off white head that has some hang time and is leaving some lacing behind.

Nose is toasted with some light roast along with some sweet maple.

Taste is a toasted and light roasted malt base that is pretty large. A touch of sweet maple ties in nicely. Hopping is well played by the brewers to nicely balance out the finish.

Mouthfeel is medium to large bodied and proves to be a smooth sipper.

Overall this is better than i expected. I envisioned a brew that would be too sweet and funky given the DFH participation in this collaboration but it was actually enjoyable!

Oct 08, 2019
Photo of chinchill
chinchill from South Carolina

3.98/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

16 oz can with a May 2019 packaging date stamp on the bottom - - from the Wall of Beer in Clemson ($3.69).
Served in a St. Bernardus snifter.
Pours with an essentially opaque dark brown body that is topped with a semi-durable tan head.
Mild aroma that suggests a less complex and interesting flavor than tasting reveals. Mildly bitter with faint sweet notes from the syrups.
Smooth medium+ body with medium-light carbonation and a touch of heat.
Overall: well balanced although I wish the maple and birch notes were more obvious.

Sep 20, 2019
Photo of Jimmy_Kneecaps
Jimmy_Kneecaps from Tennessee

3.32/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The pour is clear brown and in the glass the beer is very dark brown with over 3 fingers of very light tan head billowing over the top of the glass. Aroma is very faint but intricate and enjoyable, if you can stick your nose in the glass. Toffee, caramel, maple sweetness. Taste is kind of muted but exactly the same, however that goodness is kind of tainted by a metallic hint. Back from the dead! After the metallic bite, the finish keeps on keeping on for minutes. Sweet maple, caramel, maltiness continues to grace my taste buds and ALMOST saved the beer. Mouthfeel is thicker than medium, but not by much. Slick, slightly prickly, a little coating forms on the roof of my mouth. Overall I’m enjoying this beer and it would be excellent if this stupid metallic taste wasn’t in my mouth.

Sep 01, 2019
Photo of sjrider
sjrider from California

4.12/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a can, very dark brown with khaki head leaving some frosty lacing. Nose is sweet and malty. Taste follows with more delicate layers of sweetness -a malty ,earthy delight.. This is really tasty. Finish is creamy and smooth with a touch of woody dryness. ABV well hidden, this could easily get you in trouble -standing up, having an intelligible conversation,operating heavy machinery. To be enjoyed in a safe environment.

Aug 07, 2019
Photo of Bouleboubier
Bouleboubier from New Jersey

3.84/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

(one pint can, PKGD 050919... poured into a fat tulip)

L: dark garnet-brown liquid; ton of foam on pour (over-carbonated?). exploded, still sponge... 'naturally carbonated' - ohhhh, gotcha, ok - good idea!... bit of lacy leavings, not much

S: wood, sweet leather, sugar wood sap, stained desk... turbinado/hard-candy-like note; bit of urinal... like a bland, too-dry, off-base, American attempt at a Scotch ale?... little apparent booze... rather weak overall potency, but lovely earthiness

T: dark, bready, densely-malty base; woody and toasty on the edges, lightly-sweetish, lightly camp-fire smoky/burnt caramelized core... possibly picking up some delicate maple, but the absence of aggressive infusion and/or concentrated sweetness is rendering whatever subtle nuances exist almost neutral - maybe randall the mofo thru the sap?

F: plush, satiny texture; bit of sweet heat tickling on the finish... lends the feel of something one ought to savor before a long day of at-home bs to hash out; gives a lasting, hearty warmth

O: I like the concept, the beer itself is good, densely-layered, and pretty much to my tastes, but not unique at all, though I do believe I may grab another can or two to age if I happen across it... it's at least a 4/5 overall, but it ain't clickin' (1425)

Aug 05, 2019
Photo of HoppingMadMonk
HoppingMadMonk from New Jersey

4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Has around a medium body with light carbonation
Aroma is birch,earthy,wood/spice, root beer
Taste is similar to aroma with birch being center stage and the maple is more of a backup dancer. Reminded me of adult rootbeer but not very sweet

Aug 04, 2019
Photo of Treyliff
Treyliff from West Virginia

4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16oz can poured into a snifter

A-pours a brown color with a one-finger off-white colored head that has decent retention.

S- Smells of brown malts, toasted nuts, bread crust, maple syrup and some earthy wood

T- sweet and nutty brown malts up front give notes of brown bread, walnuts, caramel and toffee. Mid-palate gives some woody notes, as well as some maple sweetness. The finish continues with the sweet maple, as well as more nutty malt

M- medium body with moderate carbonation leads to a creamy mouthfeel that continues into a slightly warming finish

O- This is listed as an American Strong Ale but drinks just like a brown ale, and a good one at that

Jul 30, 2019
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ovaltine from Indiana

4.5/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a rich mahogany brown with a full tan head. Beautiful beer, and it leads into a beer with big maple aromas and what I’m assuming is birch (though I’m not aware of a “birch aroma”) that is very organic and earthy.

The maple is up front on the taste, but it is actually the rhythm guitar to the fantastic lead guitar lick offered by that organic, earthy note from the nose. It’s a little spicy, it’s a LOT oaky, to the point that you’re wondering where the vanilla notes relinquish control to the maple and vice versa.

I wish I had a campfire, a dozen or so NBSers, and a keg of this beer so we could solve all the world’s problems, because this beer is at that level, IMHO.

Jul 29, 2019
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cjgiant from District of Columbia

4.33/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Can:
A deep brown body that is easily distinguishable from black with a halfway decent inspection. Head has varied in pours, but generally has ended in an average ring that doesn’t supply much lacing.

Nose definitely brings out the earthy root spice vibe, with birch being specifically distinguishable. The base is a cinnamon bread, toasted on medium that was allowed to toast a longer as the coils cooled.

Taste is more earthy, and has a little hint of Palo Santo in it. A bit more rich and heavier than other old ales, but also not as sweet. The birch spice grabs hold by mid taste, seemingly aided by the maple that never grab the palate for itself. Earthy, but not bogged down by it.

I really liked this beer as a pseudo-Altbier. There’s some bite and spice from the birch, craftily added.

Jul 25, 2019
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HattedClassic from Virginia

4.1/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a fairly voluminous light brown head that dissipates quite slowly. The beer itself is a dark brown. It’s good looking but nothing unique to set it apart.

The smell is good. It has a nice maple note among a bitter citrus pine from the birch.

The taste is good. It has a good central caramel and maple syrup note around the edges. There’s a very light birch. There is also quite a bit of cinnamon that works well and comes out nicely in the finish.

The feel is good. It has a heavy body but a fairly fluffy texture. Very little carbonation.

Overall, a very well done beer worth having but could use a little age on it.

Jul 24, 2019
Photo of JediMasterLenin
JediMasterLenin from District of Columbia

4.18/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

16oz can into a pint glass.

Look: Pours a deep, dark but clear brown that lightens only a little around the edges. A finger-width tan head dissipates slowly and leaves plenty of lacing down the glass.
Smell: Roasted malt, caramel/brown sugar, maple syrup, pine, and an earthy/woody bark note.
Taste: Follows the nose exactly, finishing with a boozy warmth.
Feel: On the fuller side of medium bodied, carbonation pretty low considering head retention.
Overall: Very nice, and not as sweet as I was worried it might be. That said, it seems more like an "every now and then" brew.

Jul 23, 2019
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jkblr from Indiana

4.23/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

16oz can stamped PKG 050919 (about 2.5 months ago) poured into a tulip pint glass at just above fridge temp 10.2% ABV. The beer pours bright medium brown in color with ruby highlights and mocha colored head. The head raises quickly on a medium pour and slowly falls to a nice cap. Spotty lacing. The aroma is slightly sweet with some woody & earthy notes. The taste is semisweet birch & maple syrup countered with cocoa, toasted malt and a perfectly offsetting earthy bitterness. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with just less than medium carbonation and a mostly dry finish. No hint of the ABV in the taste or aroma. Overall, very good to excellent. This is exactly what I would expect coming from two breweries of this caliber. Near perfect balance of sweetness, earthy elements and bitterness. Recommended.

Jul 21, 2019
Photo of Roguer
Roguer from Georgia

4.11/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Very, very dark brown clear ale, bordering on porter-colored. Big fluffy dark tan head, with very nice consistency, great retention, and excellent lacing.

Nose is a pleasant blend of caramel grains, bark, grass, flowers, maple syrup, earthy hops, touches of pine and lemon, cola, prunes. Very nice balance over all, and a bit of a throwback to less extreme ale styles (albeit with two types of syrup added).

Quite balanced up front, but with a strong syrupy sweetness that quickly grows. Caramel grains, woody notes, lemon, and pine, giving way to sweet and smooth maple syrup and brown sugar. Still a very nice balance of bitterness, and the syrup is in no way overpowering. In terms of hops, very mellow, presenting some earth, spice, citrus, and pine flavors, and the requisite balancing bitterness for the syrup and malts.

Little indication of any sort that this brew clocks in over 10%. Sticky feel; on the high side of medium bodied.

Jul 18, 2019
Life and Limb from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 90 out of 100 with 1642 ratings