Life and Limb
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Life and LimbLife and Limb
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American Strong Ale
Ranked #38
Ranked #4,962
4.04 | pDev: 11.39%
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
California, United States
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: 775 | Ratings: 1,633 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by Orbfan:
Photo of Orbfan
4.5/5  rDev +11.4%

More User Reviews:
Photo of Stevedore
3.02/5  rDev -25.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

750ml bottle, Batch 2 (from 2011), poured into a Cantillon taster 7/7/2014.

A- Dark mahogany body with a half finger white head with limited retention. No lacing.

S- Smells interesting. A bit of cardboard, a bit of dark fruit, and a predominant sweet sugary maple syrup-like scent. This has clearly oxidized over the last 3 years, and while it still smells interesting, I am sure that it did not improve much, if at all.

F- Maple syrup, candi sugar, caramel, toffee. This has the elements of a generic strong ale with a distinct syrup character. There is some oxidation that detracts from it, though.

M- Medium body but with a sticky syrupy consistency on the finish; lower in carbonation, a bit difficult to drink given the strong oxidation that has taken place over the last 3 years despite being cellared properly in a wine fridge.

O- If you are still sitting on bottles of this, I would crack them open and see if it's come to a place where you like it. I don't think this has done very well with age on it.

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Photo of buschbeer
4.08/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

1PT. 9.4 FL. OZ. bottle
Served in a teku glass
Batch 2 (2011)

A - This is a dark beer bordering on black. When held to a light source some ruby highlights are visible. A couple inches of mocha head top it off.

S - The smell consists of molasses, figs, and dates. There is plenty of sweetness. It kind of reminds me of a molasses cookie.

T - Alcohol is noticeable in the taste but not overwhelmingly so. I get some dark fruit and molasses. I can also taste the maple syrup in the finish.

M - Thick, smooth, and creamy.

O - This beer has aged wonderfully. I love the thick mouthfeel. Although I can taste the alcohol, it still drinks remarkably well. I am definitely glad I aged a bottle.

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Photo of jwc215
3.49/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into tulip glass:

Pours opaque black - slight ruby highlights. Beautiful, creamy off-white head lasts, leaving rings of lacing.

The smell is of roasted notes, some coffee, molasses and hint of maple.

The taste is of roasted coffee, chocolate and molasses. Some maple and a birch that grows as it progresses come through. Sweet, but not too. I caught more DFH than SN character to it, though brewed at and distributed at latter. Alcohol certainly comes through. Finishes with a roasted sweetness and dark breadiness.

It has a creamy medium-to-full body. A bit more carbonated than expected. Almost reaches the notch higher in score, but has a certain just too much carbonation, though it does keep it from sitting too heavy on the palate. Alcohol does come across too raw though. "Interesting", but that's about it.

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Photo of homebrew311
3.5/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a dark hazy brown, small tan head forms and dissipates quickly. Heavy lacing.

S: heavy notes of maple syrup, molasses, some woody notes, very sweet malt profile and a heavy booziness on the end

T: the front of the flavor is very sweet like the nose, lots of maple and molasses followed by some bitter hops and a heavy dose of heat from the booze. That 10% abv makes itself known

MF: somewhat thick with a syrupy and slightly sticky texture

D: the harshness of the booze detracts from the complex malt profile. I am curious to see what this would taste like in a year from now. I was expecting something a little more rich

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

For my 1000th review i thought i review something special as i dont see this brew very often and probably would not of if it wasnt for MrKennedy so big thanks for that and it pours a very dark kola hue which leaves a frothy creamy three finger head and heaps of nice lacing,the smell is burnt toffee,maple syrup,coffee and the aroma of old trees in a forest interesting,the mouthfeel is thick sticky and sweet and has tastes of maple syrup,sweet fruity nectar,burnt toffee,caramel candy,molasses,treacle,candied peaches and finished with a smooth herbal dryness and overall a very lovely drop that would age very well and would revisit if i evrr saw again cheers.

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Photo of roodie
3.7/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Batch 2, poured from the caged and corked 22 oz bottle into my Bruery tulip, opened with a loud pop and some "steam" arising from the bottle

A: pours a dark, dark brown, almost black, with a thick 3 finger mocha head, which faded gradually. Lacing, though present, is minimal

S: smoky, dark chocolate bitterness, hints of sweetness are very subtle.

T: Follows the nose, smoky chocolate is followed by the subtle maple sweetness. Very enjoyable

M: very smooth, velvety even. dark chocolate bitterness lingers, sorta chalky

O: Nice, but does not live up to the hype, though a very good brew. I had the 1st batch, albeit with more age on it, and I think that was much much better (aged)

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Photo of tvv375ia
4/5  rDev -1%

Photo of CN1234
4.5/5  rDev +11.4%

Photo of brureview
4.02/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice looking beer: dark chocolate brown with a 4F head in a Stone snifter.
Maple syrup, possibly birch syrup- I am not familiar with the taste, roasted malt.
The taste transitions well from the aroma, more maple syrup, roasted malt, accompanied by a good bitterness.
MF, lightly creamy.
Enjoyable beer- I would like to cellar a can.

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Photo of ygtbsm94
3/5  rDev -25.7%

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

A: Deep, dark mahogany color. Poured a 4 finger coarse light brown head with excellent retention to a 2 finger cap. Laced in big patches.

S: Wet wood, caramel, molasses and brown sugar. Lots of sweet, wholesome aromas. Once a little warmed, a floral hop character comes through.

T: Very consistent with the nose. Resiny floral and pine hops more prominent; especially in the middle. Sweetness and hop bitter linger in the finish. Warming and dry.

M: Medium-to-full body. Moderate carbonation. Thick and rich. Feel modified by resiny middle and then dried in finish. Definitely warming alcohol, but less than expected with 10.2 ABV.

O: Lots of flavors; relatively complex. An odd balance. Definitely a sipper.

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Photo of jhoban19
3.41/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

24oz. bottle poured into a 12oz. chalice (obviously not all at once). Also sampled Life and Limb on draft at a release party at Sheffield's in Chicago a couple nights later.

A: dark brown with solid finger of tan colored foam, settles into a thick ring with strong lacing that forms a full ring around the glass and holds its ground throughout. A good looking brew, off to a good start.

S: initial aromas of maple syrup (though probably the birch, smelled like maple to me) and warm alcohol (lots of alcohol). As it warms, hints of roasted coffee, a bit of clove and some other spices I can't quite decipher. Raisins and honey also find their way into the nasal passages. A lot of different aromas going on, but all were subtle except for the alcohol- almost as if someone poured some alcohol into a nearly empty maple syrup bottle.

T: taste of alcohol is overpowering at the outset. A bit of sweet milk chocolate comes into play as it warms. Coffee, raisins, and maple syrup also swirl around the tongue, alternating with each sip.

M: Medium bodied, syrupy and creamy, though a bit overcarbonated and astringent in he back of the throat. Leaves a sticky film on the lips.

D: I enjoyed this beer, but it didn't "wow" me as I was expecting. A second sample a few nights later, after my expectations were adjust downward, still didn't wow me. I think this beer would greatly benefit from some extended aging, but sadly it isn't available enough for me to buy a bottle or three for that purpose. The flavors and aromas appear to be there, but the alcohol and less than stellar mouthfeel overwhelm what should otherwise be a well-crafted beer.

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Photo of BrewCrew2010
4/5  rDev -1%

Photo of jivex5k
4.5/5  rDev +11.4%

Photo of ThomasG19
4/5  rDev -1%

Photo of marct
4/5  rDev -1%

Photo of womencantsail
3.8/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to azagthoth for sharing this bottle yesterday.

A: The pour is a clear copper color with very little in terms of a head.

S: The smell is quite interesting. There's a bunch of dark fruits: figs and raisins, for the most part. There's also an aroma of maple syrup and a fair amount of alcohol.

T: The figs and raisins are present on the palate as well. The maple syrup is an underlying flavor that adds nice dimension to the beer, but also a bit too much sweetness. The alcohol is present, but the beer is not as hot as some might lead you to believe.

M: The body is full and the beer is smooth and creamy on the tongue.

D: This was an interesting beer. It's good, but I think my taste of it might be enough. I will hold on to my bottle of it and see how it does with some age on it.

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

750ml bottle into a snifter - Batch 2

A: Pours a dark cola brown with a huge tan head that slowly recedes to a layering and leaves some nice lacing on the glass. Excellent look beer.

S: The nose is full of cocoa, molasses, vanilla, dark fruits, and chocolate milk.

T: Big flavors of molasses, maple, roasted malt, and vanilla roll across the tounge. Extremely tasty brew.

M: The feel is super creamy which makes it near full bodied. This is the biggest difference between this bottled version and the on-tap version I had last year.

O: The on-tap version last year was tasty but this was a real treat. The mouthfeel was a huge step up.

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Photo of spinrsx
3.88/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz Bottle

Appearance - Dark brown colour with a large size frothy beige coloured head. There is a low amount of carbonation and there is some faint lacing. The head lasted for only a few minutes.

Smell - Malts, raisins, caramel, light maple

Taste & Mouth - There is a below average amount of carbonation and the taste is made up of toasted malts, raisins, and some caramel. There is also a bit of smokiness and I can only slightly pick up on the maple. It ends with a smooth caramel/malt sweet aftertaste without much bitterness.

Overall - Very drinkable considering the ABV, but not very exciting. The tastes are almost too well balanced leaving the beer fairly boring. I was hoping for the maple to stand out a little bit more with this one.

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Photo of MEsoJD
4.38/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

(second iteration)

A: Very dark brown, bordering lining black. Thick body and creamy head that dissipates fast.

S: Smells of coffee/toffee notes. Roasted malt and dark fruits.

T: It's noticeably sweet with dark fruits, roasted malt, and slight bitterness. Slightly warming alcohol. There's a lot going on. Maple syrup also comes to mind.

M: smooth and malty(creamy). Medium bodied and slightly dry.

O: Very good beer, but not excellent(subject to change after I age my second bottle). This is the second iteration and it's pretty good. Would defiantly recommend and as many suggest age.

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Photo of JohnnieQuest
4.25/5  rDev +5.2%

Photo of twiggamortis420
4.47/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Life & Limb 2...Im thinking this is 2011 vintage pours a dark brown color with an ample small-bubbled tan head. Modest lace and great retention.

Nose is smooth Tootsie Roll chocolaty-ness with some well integrated light fruit.

Taste is fantastic, everything flows so well and the alcohol is harmonized. Aged very well...though I only had Life & Limb 1 semi-fresh - never #2. Nutty and fruity but oh so smooth and the syrups play nicely with everything. Im loving this, I wish I would have bought more.

Here is my original review of Life and Limb 1. Batch 2 aged was soooo much better (orig score of 3.45):

24 oz bottle of the 2010 vintage pours a near-black color with a lively cap of tan head. Retention just ok, as is the lacing.

Nose is rich and fruity. Caramel malt with only mild suggestions of chocolate and roast. Plenty of alcohol and the nose is quite pleasant.

Huge licorice notes with lighter berry-like fruits...strawberries and maybe even cranberries. A lot going on here and is still a bit hot, could probably benefit from another year or two. Still a decent hop bite. Medium sweetness (molasses perhaps?) and the mouthfeel is pretty rich. Interesting brew, although I am getting a bit too much on the licorice-alcohol combo, they seem to accentuate each other.

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Photo of Onenote81
3.71/5  rDev -8.2%
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.

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Photo of RedBrewer83
4.7/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into tulip...

A: Deep dark amber bordering on chocolate colored body...literally looks like grade b maple syrup in a glass. Creamy two finger head rose quickly and slowly faded to a thin foam across the top leaving quite excellent lacing behind.

S: Huge aroma of caramel malt and syrup along with faint vanilla and a sweeter woody aroma than oak...more like cedar or maple! bready yeast profile comes through as well and the sweetness overall is undeniably present.

T: This is an incredibly complex flavor my first reaction is simply wow! These guys need to get together more often. The obvious flavors are present...caramel malts, maple syrup sweetness, and the wood presence as well. Along with those come tobacco, leather, molasses, nice citrusy hop profile raises its head mid-palate and balances this beer perfectly...lingering bitter hops crisp up your palate leaving you with a nice flavor and thirsty for more....not cloying at all. Very impressive overall!

M: Wonderful mouthfeel, medium to heavy body, very creamy and smooth yet really nice carbonation is present to help avoid a cloying feel as well. Really well done...a little booziness is noticed in the back of the throat, but its not really a bad thing. Very nice.

D: You would have no idea this is 10.2%...scary! Yet extremely delicious, smooth and almost sessionable. Couldn't ask for more from these guys and hope they team up more in the future.

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Life and Limb from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 90 out of 100 with 1633 ratings