Life & Limb | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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Life & LimbLife & Limb

Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
California, United States

Style: American Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.20%

Availability: Rotating

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

Added by mjl21 on 11-14-2009

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 745 | Ratings: 1,539
Photo of pourmeup
4.97/5  rDev +25.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A- Pours a deep opaque mahogany almost black color, with an off white head the quickly resides to a thin ring around the edge of the glass
S- Smells very sweet, has toasted malt aromas and strong smells of maple syrup
T- Bold maple taste on the front and after tastes, has a great malty sweetness that is similar to brown sugar
M- The mouthfeel is great, very thick and heavily carbonated which delivers the taste so well
D- I could easily devour this whole bottle on my own.


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Photo of tribial
4.97/5  rDev +25.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a dark brown with hints of dark red, creamy tan head about two cms, settles down to .5. Beautiful color.

Smells sweet and alcoholic with a splash of hops, but really malty. Almost molasses.

Starts a little tangy and alcoholic and mellows to a sweet dried fruit flavor, raisiny with a slight hop bitterness and a molasses sweetness at the finish.

Creamy smooth mouthfeel, not to thick... feels great.

This beer is delicious, wish I could get my hands on the barrel aged version. I wish there was a bit more maple tones, but molasses is close.

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Photo of AcesandAles
4.95/5  rDev +24.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Compared to limb and life to totally different beers.
The big brother is a world class beer!
It is Dark and choclate colored it has a really good head and belguin lining. Also a nice aroma of vanilla syrup and caramel. A lot of different flavors especially once the beer warms up. Very easy to drink and you cant even notice the beer is 10.2%. Sam and Ken did a great job together on this look forward to what they will com up with in the future!!

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Photo of thebrood1987
4.88/5  rDev +22.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I get a very rich and sweet malty small mixing with that maple syrup. I also get dark fruits like plums and such with some herbal qualities lingering. On the taste I get a bite up front with the huge, huge sweet malt reminiscent of Dogfish Head's Raison D'etre but with a maple syrup taste in there. It then ends with the herbal earthy and almost citric hop that reminds me that this is also a Sierra Nevada beer...especially because I can tell they put whole cone hops in this one.

What a perfect blend of two breweries. This beer is so rich and so good that its impossible to say otherwise. It has a bit of a hot feel to it from the alcohol but the tastes cover up the alcohol or blend in with the fruitiness that it has. The mouthfeel is out of this world that reminds me of a top notch Dogfish Head beer. It actually kind of looked like Bitches Brew but less black but with that same thick mouthfeel.

Its a sweet beer because of the delicious very real tasting maple syrup but balanced so nicely with that signature Sierra Nevada hopping. This is really almost a perfect beer in my mind. Its so good on every level.

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Photo of LiveOakMarket
4.83/5  rDev +21.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Live Oak Market. One of the best from the two best brewers! Waited a long time for it to finally come to Texas and when it did it went quick. Limited amount so it was pick and chose as far as who got it. You could really taste the two breweries subtle taste. The hops from both stood out and you get that hint of sweetness that Dog Fish Head put out.

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Photo of ChristianBlack
4.82/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Love this brew. Love it. Love it! Very dark brown black color. Decent head.

Aroma of malty goodness.

Love the maple flavor. That's what made this beer memorable.

Overall, an excellent brew and one that won't forget. I would write more but that's really all that needs to be said. Excellent brew. Loved drinking it.

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Photo of chaz410
4.82/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Got this FANTASTIC beer at the Flying Saucer in Charlotte NC.
This is truely an amazing brew. It is a chimera of every great beer combined into one amazing drinking experience.
Appearance is deep dark black with a slight red hue. There was a nice half inch white thick head that dispearsed slowly as the beer faded.
Smell is of sweet caramel and munich/belgian malts. Smell is surrounded by hints of vanilla, chocolate and spices and cherries.
Taste is literally an evolution. This starts out as a stong belgian dark ale. It has rounded malty sweetness, hints of cherries, spices and slight vanilla. Then as it falls to the back of your mouth you start to get a more robust roasted malt flavoring with hints of coffee, chocolate and firm grassy bitterness from hops.
This is smooth and crisp in mouthfeel.
I think this beer is amazing good as is but would be even better if laid to rest for a few years, I can only hope I can grab a bottle or two to do so.
One the most "complete" beers I have ever had! Keep it up Saucer, Dogfish and Sierra Nevada, I love this beer, keep 'em coming!

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Photo of Vierenner
4.75/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Surprisingly good! Been sitting in my fridge for quite awhile, frankly because I thought I wouldn't like it. Boy was I wrong! Not much aroma, but flavor and mouthfeel are both magnificent. It carries a fairly persistent head, a nice delicate sweetness, a very pleasant mouthfeel, and only a mild hop bitterness. I believe this is the second beer I've had containing birch syrup ... and I liked the other one just as much. Time to find more birch syrup beer!

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Photo of tlazaroff
4.75/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: This is a deep deep red, so dark that it looks brown, but when held to light becomes ruby. The head is a mocha frothy type with all kinds of bubbles of different sizes. It looks like it is heavy, and it sticks around a long time and acts like it glues itself to the walls of the glass. As I drank the beer, and my glass becomes empty, I can see that the head is actually more white than I thought, maybe the darkness of the beer made the head look darker than it is.

S: Within seconds of popping the cork I was hit with scents of brown sugar and molasses. On the nose I get stronger sensations of brown sugar and molasses, as well as a slight hint of orange and maraschino cherries.

T: Immediately you are hit with this burnt brown sugar and fig taste, it lasts throughout the experience and enhances as you take more time between sips. I didn't pick up on this at first, but I was detecting a familiar flavor but couldn't identify it until I read the back of the bottle: maple syrup and birch syrup. I love birch beer and maple syrup, and it works so well in this beer. Bravo SN & DFH!

M: This is where the beer confuses me, it has quite a moderate body, defiantly not a heavy one which is what you would think based on looks. Carbonation is on the low side. I do like the mouthfeel quite a bit, it's a tad sticky and maybe even cloying a bit. I think it could improve with a fuller body.

D: Obviously the drinkability is very low on this. This beer should be had for dessert. Not with desert.. FOR desert.

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Photo of unseenbyyou
4.73/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Drank in a tulip glass...shared with brother in law down San Diego. Life and Limb reminds me of the collaboration beer that Stone did.

Appearance: Dark, like dark vader...

Smell: no distinct smell, not strong, not weak...just pleasant

Taste: earthy undertones, with a slightly sweet aftertaste....perhaps a good cigar would compliment this beer, not as complex as alpine's great or angel's share, but a subtle complexity that is not usually found in most dark beers that are not imperial stouts

Mouthfeel. mouth loved it

drinkability: though I only drank about 8-10 ounces, I could have easily drank the whole bottle and another bottle had I another. very drinkable...again, unusual for a dark beer that is not an imperial stout

life and limb...if you can find it, drink it...damn good beer for the holidays!

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Photo of MrPhield
4.72/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Moble review, I hate my phone so I will keep it short.

AWESOME! A Must try! One of a kind taste. No head retention, to big of a beer for that. Good smell. do I explane...oh, I know, mmm! Not much of a burn for 10%. Finishes smooth, and...hum, oh, yeah, kinda like mmm.

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4.7/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sierra Nevada/Dogfish Head Life and Limb

Appearance: This highly sought after collaboration pours a dark brown, akin to maple syrup (what a coincidence, huh?). It has a very creamy looking, light tan head three-fingers thick that takes what seems an eternity to work its way down the glass to the point of drinkability. The bubbles are of all different sizes, but the top is so satin smooth that it looks like a root beer float. There is all kinds of lacing as well. This is a very appetizing looking beer that really just screams “dessert” right from the get-go.

Aroma: Lots of chocolatey sweetness mingles with maple syrup throughout the nose. There are almost no hops at all. This seems like it is going to be a malt-bomb, but a delicious one at that. Lots of alcohol is smattered throughout the nose as well. Honestly this smells Hopefully the maple syrup comes through, as this reviewer has never really experienced a good maple syrup beer.

Taste: Syrup is the only word to describe this. Maple slaps the tongue repeatedly, accompanied by vanilla, dark and roasty malts and general malty sweetness. Alcohol is also present in the taste, but it is not unpleasant. This tastes like a liquored up version of Founders Old Curmudgeon, but with that signature Dogfish malt taste that we all know and love. That strange cola aroma comes through in the taste as well, but it is actually surprisingly complementary to the rest of the beer. This is delicious.

Mouthfeel: Thick, viscous, sticky, everything you would expect from a beer made with syrup as a primary ingredient. Perhaps it is transference, but the minor carbonation (which is natural and expected to be minimal) gives a certain credence to the cola characteristics. There is also a warming from the alcohol, which is always welcome in a beer this style. Overall, the mouthfeel does a great job of benefitting the taste.

Overall: This old ale tastes more like a huge barleywine. Even with it’s enormous taste profile, it is strangely drinkable. I do not really feel Sierra Nevada’s presence in this beer, but Dogfish’s propensity to brew with maple syrup (thanks to the Calagione family) and their willingness to branch out (ha, pun not intended) is felt throughout the beer. This is a very impressive offering, and I would love to have this available all the time. It is truly a shame that this is a one-time thing. 18.5/20

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Photo of RedBrewer83
4.7/5  rDev +18.4%
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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Photo of Duhast500
4.7/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz. bottle into a stemmed glass.

The color is a beep black with a maroon hue to the color. The head is a finger or two of foamy brownish head and some nice lacing.

The smell is pretty good maple syrup flavor that makes me want some pancakes or french toast. Some dark fruit flavor with some slight funk flavor like a dark Belgian ale.

The taste is sweet with a great maple presence. Some hints of vanilla, and some nice dark fruit flavor. Wow, my mouth is feeling the effects of a really impressive beer.

The feel of this beer is pretty even and mellow, goes down pretty well and is an easy drinking beer. I enjoyed each sip.

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Photo of angelogarcia3
4.7/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This wonderful beer is poured into a small brandy snifter glass. It arrives a very dark brown with a dark tan head. The head dissipates quickly with very little lacing. Aromas of chocolate, cocoa, and hints of vanilla hit the nose as I take the first sip. The first sip explodes in my mouth with flavors spicy chocolate, cocoa, with hints of vanilla and coconut. It is a creamy beer with very little bitterness but the spicy chocolate lingers for a long time. Had it at Livingoods in Plattsburgh, NY with a coffee & peppercorn encrusted sirloin. The combo is fantastic.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
4.67/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured a deep brown color with good carbonation and a small white head.
S:Nose is hops, booze, maple and a bunch of other stuff all muddied together.
T: Taste was all over the place. Maple, hops, grape? orange? caramel, wood..who knows?
M:Mouthfeel is warm, sticky, booze and a disaster.
O:Besides being a stronlg ale my wife and I were unsire what or where this beer was going. Not a fan.
Re review of a 2009 bottle
Wow. This beer brought the thunder. Ages extremely well. Maple, caramel, citrus and wbooze are more evident and distinguished now than fresh.

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Photo of gtermi
4.65/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: When I poured it out, the head built up pretty fast, but slowly faded away. Has a dark redish brown color

Smell: I am picking up some roastedness, alcohol smell and maybe a slight fruit smell

Taste: A lot of maple syrup, roastedness and get a slight apple taste that lingers.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth, leaves a dry feel in the mouth after drinking.

Overall: A very good collabortation from DFH and Sierra. I love both of those breweries and they made one hell of a beer.

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Photo of blackdiamond
4.65/5  rDev +17.1%
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?

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Photo of HOPPYKC
4.65/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this bottle saved for me from some really good guy at Missies out here in kansas. Give them a shout if you ever need something.

At first look this is gonna be an amazing brew. Lots of aroma; chocolate and syrup, nice fruit and malt. Little head and this thing packs an amazing punch of flavor. In general this reminds me a lot of CBS; i guess just in the fact that they both have a bit of this syrup thing going on. I nice sipper. I would love to be able to drink this stuff on the regular but availability has me beat. Overall this and celebration are my favs from Sierra nevada.

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Photo of bramsdell
4.65/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a corked bomber into a pint glass. Wish we would have had a chalice.

A: Thick and dark. This beer does not pour the motor oil of a stout, but instead a rich mahogany that clearly indicates the fullness to come.

S: Sweet and malty. The maltiness is the first sensation, then the maple joins to create a beautiful aroma.

T: Heaven. This is everything I could ask for in a beer. This is nearly all malt, sweet without being sugary. The maple is certainly present, but is in no way gimmicky or overpowering. In fact, the maple is really the residual flavor, so it lasts only until the next sip (which can never come soon enough). A very pleasant warmness comes with the flavor, but no booze to ruin the others.

M: Great. Thick and full, yet wholly drinkable. I split a bomber between three people, but I could drink two pints of this without any issue. This beer could be slowly scrutinized or enjoyed as a bar beer.

O: I wish this came in 6-ers. I would buy this as my regular beer. This is one of the most subtly flavorful beers I have ever tried. Highly recommend.

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Photo of abriggs1
4.63/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I was overjoyed to see this on the shelf the other day. I was lucky enough to get my hands (and more importantly, my tongue) on a bottle of the first edition, but it was almost more painful than pleasurable to drink knowing I didn't have another one to age. This beer is made to go the distance. I'm reviewing this beer based on the possible future experience it will provide 2-5 years from now when I plan to uncork the next one. If it sucks, I'll change my rating.

But I'm pretty sure it won't suck. This beer has a lot of sweetness, but it's got some very nice smokiness as well. When aged, the sweetness should subside and the smokiness will probably come forward to a huge degree. How I wish I was Marty McFly so I could blast myself 5 years into the future to experience this one.

As for now, it's a bit unbalanced with the sweetness, but that's obviously on purpose for aging potential. I have some smoked pork loin thanks to my best friend Bill. I'm eating it cold with a bit of maple syrup drizzled. There has never been a more perfect union (The USA included)

It was a shame how few beer snobs were able to try the first batch, so I'm so happy they decided to make a second. I'm going to age the smoked pork I'm eating besides this beer for 5 years too. On second thought, maybe I'll just age the beer.

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Photo of ngeunit1
4.62/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a dark brown with a finger of frothy khaki-chocolate colored head. The head fades down at a normal pace leaving behind some nice lacing.

S - Aroma is a mix of sweet caramel malts, maple syrup, birch, some brown sugar, dark fruits, and a bit of booze.

T - Starts off with a mix of sweet caramel malts, dark fruits, and brown sugar. Through the middle, maple syrup comes through with some birch and molasses. The finish is a mix of sweet caramel malts, maple, dark fruits, birch, molasses, and a bit of booze.

M - Medium-full bodied with moderate carbonation. Feels smooth with sweet and warming finish.

D - Very drinkable. Great complexity with a great balance. The maple syrup is a really nice touch.

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Photo of aerozeppl
4.62/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Super deep brown color. Some red highlights when held up to the light. A quarter finger of brownish head. Good head retention for the ABV and some lacing as well.

S: The nose is amazing. Rich malts. The honey and maple syrup come through nicely without ever being sweet. Tobacco. Earthy. A touch of smoke. The alcohol is there as well but it never dominated.

T: Smooth as part of the taste. Nice sweetness. Some chocolate. Tobacco. Earthy. The maple syrup is there but not as sweet as it was fresh. Just a ton of malt complexity. The finish has a nice mix of tobacco and a touch of dark fruits.

M: Super smooth and creamy. A real treat.

D: I had this fresh and thought it was a little too sweet. It is drinking super nice right now. I think it still has some legs though. Just showing a touch of oxidization. Really well done.

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Photo of boogyman
4.6/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours an extremely dark, almost black as a imperial stout. One finger of head that leaves lots of little bubbles on top. You can see bubbles coming up the sides of the glass ever so slightly refueling the head.

S- Strong malty goodness comes right into the nose. Some caramel scents also join in. Not too much in the way of hops on the nose. There is some ever so slight coffee. So far this reminds me more of a stout then a strong ale with the darkness and smell. After the beer warmed the alcohol and dark fruit started to seep out. Plums and grapes. Still a good smell.

T- Wow... this is quite a powerful and complex brew I can already tell. The tastes flow across the tongue so smoothly. When it firsts hits your lips its right to the dark malts but it quickly shifts gears and goes to a more caramel or maple taste and then some hops are thrown at you and then has a ever so slight bitter aftertaste. No alcohol at all... Except after it warmed up it got a lot more boozy, but in a good way. Simply a fantastic brew.

M- So. Amazingly. Smooth. There is almost no bite with this brew. It just goes down super smooth. It actually seems thicker when going down then a imperial stout which is weird. Leaves a nice warming feeling after its down.

D- Man. Such a good, yet dangerous brew. I can already feel the buzz from this one after half the bottle. I couldn't have more then one in a night and I don't know if I ever will have more then just one of this wonderful brew ever again unless I can find it again before its gone. Definitely happy I got to try this and will have no issues trying the next DFH/Sierra Nevada collaboration.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4.6/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Comparison between a 2011 fresh bottle and a properly cellared 2009 bottle.
Poured into a Nostradamus flute glass. Pours a very dark red brown amber. Two finger light tan, fine head with good retention and lacing. Spicy, sweet aroma of dark fruit, caramel malt, maple, citrus. Very different from the aged bottle. Wonderful creamy body, with a complex, but extremely integrated flavor; dark fruits, sweet syrups, wood, coffee, chocolate, vanilla. Finishes with a mellow, slightly estery and woody flavor. Very tasty and extremely pleasant mouth feel. This is an excellent ale.

Poured into a Gulden Draak tulip. Pours a very dark red brown amber. 1/2 finger light tan, fine head with good retention and lacing. Aroma of sweet caramel and light roasted malts, syrup, chocolate. Taste is mellow and rich, caramel malt, maple syrup, cocoa, finishing sweet and dry with a woody, sweet finish reminiscent of a scotch ale. Hops are present, but subdued. Nice creamy body. Oxidation on the finish, but cocoa nibs make themselves more noticeable than the fresh bottle. Delicious. bottle. Very different than the fresh bottle, but has aged well and in an interesting way.

Ratings are for the 2011 bottle, the 2009 scored:
The appearance and aroma were somewhat better on the fresh bottle, but the 2009 had developed a very nice body with great mouth feel.

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Life & Limb from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
3.97 out of 5 based on 1,539 ratings.
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