Life & Limb | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

very good
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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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Ratings: 1,539 |  Reviews: 745
Photo of camil1mj
3.58/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Batch 2. Served at cellar temperature into my new Bruery snifter.

A: Deep chocolate brown with 1 finger slightly off white head. Some lacing present.

S: Hints of caramel, malts and a very faint smell of maple.

T: A bit disappointing. I was expecting a larger flavor and less of an astringent alcohol flavor. The alcohol really detracts fro the other flavors. I see some hints of maple, caramel and chocolate but they are really losing the fight to make it to the front. Maybe with time the alcohol will fade from the forefront.

M: Heavily carbonated. Medium body.

O: I really expected more from this one. It is a good beer, however it just did not blow me away as I had expected it to.

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Photo of rdilauro
4.1/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A total amazing pour, dark, dark like a stout with a creamy ling lasting white head.
The aroma was perfect like a deep rich stout, the smell was stout like, and the initial taste I thought I was in stout heaven.

But, overall it was lighting than a stout, but it had the coffee and chocolate I love.
The finish to this beer was even better than the start.
I loved this one

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Photo of THECPJ
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes had on draft at DFH Brewpub.

appearance: black with a 1 finger mocha head

smell: maple, birch syrups, malts, roast, sweet

taste: sweet, syrupy, roast, malts

mouthfeel: mild carbonation, full body,

overall: interesting and sweet beer. glad I got to try it, wish they would of came up with something new for their second collaboration.


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Photo of Siggy125
3.73/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bottle to taster glasses with fellow local BAs. Dark brown with two fingers of khaki head.

Faint aroma but nice blend of sweet molasses, dark fruit, and light yeasty spices.

Some carbonation and thick mouthfeel. Flavors of maple, toffee, molasses, baking spices. ABV shows well on the finish, maybe a tad hot.

I enjoyed this more as it warmed. Many flavors going on here with smooth mouthfeel. Very nice

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Photo of surprenant1138
3.83/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep brown with an inch of creamy dark tan head. Aroma is lightly nutty, with a sweet hint o syrup and hops. Mouthfeel is heavy, creamy, witha finish that is much like a milkshake. Taste is of wood, syrup, hops, vanilla, honey, and earth. Creamy, rich, and filling. Overall, great on texture and feel, but lacking something in flavor.

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Photo of begforme4484
3.73/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown with a ruby tinge, almost a burnt red. There was a lot of tan fluffy head, which receded rather quickly. Spotty lacing on the sides.

It's smokey, nutty, with a sugary maple tinge. It reminds me of a good sweet stout.

Taste is very sweet and nutty at first. It's like a porter with a slight tangy bite at the end reminiscent of a barley wine. A bit of earthy hops in the background.

Very light carbonation, full bodied, with a slight oiliness.

Overall I am enjoying this beer, but I would not jump head over heels to drink it again. I would have one or two a year. It's a very well crafted beer, but it tastes very similar to many beers in different styles. Which could be a good thing.

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Photo of nrbw23
1.96/5  rDev -50.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

A- Pours a dark brownish color with just a few bubbles for a head. Bubbles hangg around the edge for a few and leave no lacing.

S- Smell on this one is pretty sweet. I'm picking up molasses, nuts, and dark fruits mainly plums.

T- Taste is also way too sweet. Follows the nose pretty well with the addition of charcoal, booze and raisins. Not really digging this one at all. Maybe a touch of wood in here too.

M- Lighter side of medium in body and pretty much no carbonation.

D- Struggled hard with this one and then was bailed out by Steve. No, thanks on this one again.

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Photo of Viciousknishs
3.78/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A- pours a very dark almost black brown. A good two fingers of tight bubbles crowns this dark liquid. Nice retention.

S- sweet in the nose with nice roasted malt aromas. A hint of subtle minty hop aromas in the middle with a juniper piney note. Finishes with a touch of alcohol and some woody maple tones as well.

T- starts of with a roasted malt flavor with some notes of dark fruit and cocoa. Some woody flavors in the middle with a touch of alcohol warmth. Finishes with some maple flavors with some herbal tones.

MF- slick oily mouthfeel with a full body and average soft carbonation.

D- decent drinkability. Overall a unique brew that brings out some interesting flavors. A tad astringent on the finish, bit for the most part extremely solid.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
3.92/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Life & Limb

Pours a dark brown with a large off white khaki colored head and little lacing. Aroma has a little bit of everything, floral hops, caramel, roasted malt, citrus. In the flavor, quite roasty upfront. This gives way to the hops with earthy wood notes, citrus and some pine. Caramel malt sweetness is there to balance, along with the maple. There are big flavors of pine, roast and caramel all throughout this beer. Warming alcohol is certainly there for the ride but somewhat restrained. Full bodied feel, decent balance for a beer so big. Not getting a whole lot of maple though it was used in the brewing process. Overall, a nice beer, kind of defies most styles, so the catch all American Strong Ale is appropriate here.

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Photo of OBeerMeGreatOne
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a goblet. Pours a dark brown/black. Tan head, minimal lace.

Smells like a lager son. Slight burnt malts, lager yeast, slight maple note.

This has to be a strong dark lager. Great malts, caramel, chocolate, lager yeast, slight citrus and grassy hops. Maple sweetness and a dryer birch (possibly) finish. Very interesting. Alcohol comes about at the finish as well.

I liked it quite a bit. Hope I can find another.

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Photo of grittybrews
4.45/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a dark mahogany into a tulip with two fingers of dark khaki head. The aroma isn't huge but it's a nice blend of sweet nutty maple, dark fruit, and light yeasty spice.

Moderate carbonation and a thick, syrupy mouthfeel. Lots of flavors going on--toffee, molasses, dark fruit, and maple. Long finish with slightly smoky chocolate, coffee, and clove.

A little sweet but great aroma and flavors with only a pleasant warmth from the higher ABV. Would definitely like to pick up a couple more bottles.

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Photo of webmanspidey
3.43/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a snifter. This a black color with a solid an inch of head. Smell is sweet with some hints of dark chocolate and maple. Taste is an interesting mix of smoky wood, dark chocolate, maple syrup, and molasses. Extremely sweet. The alcohol doesn't bite too badly at first, but it catches up with you after a while.

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Photo of DrinkingDrake
4.12/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Split a bottle with a buddy who is just getting into craft beer.
Bottled popped with a lot of force and the carbonation showed itself when I poured. It came out a brown body with a large amount of fluffy off-white head. The creamy head lasted throughout my pint and stuck to my upper lip. Nose is heavy malt. Toasted grain and caramel sweetness. Also some piney hops and plums. Flavor is a thick malty blast of caramel and burnt molasses. The same dart fruit flavors from the nose and then some hops kick in giving a resinous pine feel that leans towards having a bitter dry finish but it is smoothed out by the large malt body. Creamy with a semi-dry finish and little trace of the alcohol. Satisfied with splitting the 220z.

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Photo of SDtastentune
3.8/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - nice caramel brown slight head and small lace.

S - alcohol hits first with a hint of roasty malts

T - roasty malts, and alcohol'ish

M - medium carbonation, good aftertaste, slightly hot/dry..

O - good brew, not my first pick but wanted to try it.

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Photo of perrymarcus
4.35/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle served in a snifter.
batch 2.

pours a deep mahogany tone while yielding a big frothy two-finger head. very good retention and a good amount of lacing.

nose is pretty bold and has a decent amount going on. coffee, maple, chocolate, and molasses. very intriguing.

flavor is really good. a bit more booze showing than i'd prefer (albeit it is a 10+ ABV)... the coffee, maple, chocolate, and molasses are all there, along with some roasted malts. secondary notes of yeast, vanilla, and maybe a touch of yeast.

this is my first experience with this beer and i'm pleasantly surprised. flawed, sure, but overall a really tasty brew with a good amount going on. sort of unique, too.

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Photo of hosehead83
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a big "bomber" bottle into a wine goblet.
Dark brown/black in color, with a thick head of tan foam.
Aroma-Faint wet earth, coffee notes
Taste-Spruce, wet tree bark, damp earth, cocoa powder,raw syrup. Very complex and full of character. Faintly sweet and woody. High ABV not evident. Sip slowly and savor the subtle flavors. A nice fireside brew, maybe with a big twig of 'smores.

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Photo of DovaliHops
4.25/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Batch 2. Pours a very dark brown color with a medium off-white head that disappears rather quickly. Scent is cocoa powder with some hints of maple syrup, booze, and a lot of malt. Scent is familiar of a strong scotch ale or wee heavy. As the beer warms, the syrup and molasses really come out, along with a bit of honey and more chocolate. Taste is very similar to the smell. I read a lot of reviews saying that they don't really pick up the maple syrup in this beer, but I really get a lot of it. I get the maple syrup with dark fruits and dark chocolate. Tons or roasted and caramel malt as well. Hints of booze as the beer warms. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with nice carbonation. This beer had the potential of being overly syrupy, but it is not at all. Drinkability is high. Overall, this is a tasty beer. I had this the first time it was released, and was not very into craft I guess I didn't appreciate it for what it was. This beer is good, but I think a year or two will make this beer great.

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Photo of Phelps
4.15/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch two, corked 750 poured into a snifter.

Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. and Dogfish Head Craft Brewery are from opposite ends of the country and are two of the craft brewing tree's most successful (if dissimilar) branches. By their powers combined, we get Life & Limb, a strong ale that defies traditional style categorization. The "Limb" in the beer's name refers to the two kinds of tree syrup added to the brew. Maple syrup, straight from the family farm of Dogfish Head owner Sam Calagione in Massachusetts, was added to the boil; birch syrup was shipped from Alaska and added to bottles before they were corked. "Life" alludes to the living yeast in each corked bottle -- a blend of the house strains from each brewery -- which will munch on the sugary birch syrup, naturally adding carbonation to the beer and allowing it to develop new flavors over time.

Pop the cork and pour Life & Limb -- you'll notice how the maple syrup-colored amalgamates in the glass into opaque sable. Capped with half an inch of creamy cappuccino foam that deposits sticky panes of lace on the glass, this is pretty stuff.

The nose is deep, and complex -- a playground of flavor. Bitter coffee and sweet maple syrup teeter totter back and forth, as do cocoa and wood. Occasional notes of caramel, walnuts and some tangy plums slide in as well. Move past the nose (if you can) to taste and you'll notice the mouthfeel is like liquid velvet -- a soft, creamy body that's a delight to roll about. 

You'll notice more dark chocolate and sweet toffee as you sip, along with a plethora of other flavors: plums, raisins, maple syrup, sweet cola, pecans, ethanol. Permeating the background is the vinous wood of maple and birch, reminding of a walk through a forest. The finish -- long and boozy -- leaves sweet fruity notes and signs of wood-aging, reminding of oaky red wine.

Dogfish Head and Sierra Nevada have wildly different creative approaches to their respective lines of beer, yet Life & Limb manages to interweave them nicely. It's a tasty display of teamwork now, but I’m going to buy a bottle to stash away for a year to let the malt flavors and carbonation develop.

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Photo of bobhits
3.79/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

I had a small sample of this beer when it was rarity and not readily available, and I was rather impressed. I felt it was a Belgian style strong ale the likes of Rochefort 10. I’m not changing from that early assessment.

Pours a black body with just a hint if perhaps a lighter color, the chalice doesn’t bring out subtle colors well in darker beers. The creamy tan head is amazing looking in the wide mouth glass. Lacing could be better but a minor complaint.

The glass I chose doesn’t help this one on the nose at all. I get some aromas reminding me more of a dark hefe with bananas, cloves, vanilla, syrup, and brown sugar. I’m not sure this is the going opinion but that’s what I’m getting.

I recall this beer having more of a bite in the past. I’m not getting much of one at all here. Very sweet beer, a lot of brown sugar, spices, citrus notes, and some kind of fruity flavor I can’t place. Hops are at first taste ignored as they never reach that crescendo on the tongue, but instead they add a floral flavor before the spices and malt finish take back control. This definitely comes off Belgian in the flavor profile and nothing like I expect of an American strong.

This beer is just a creamy well carbonated work of art on the tongue. The abv isn’t nearly as hot as it could be and while age may do this one wonders, it is exceptional fresh.

I really like this beer. It isn’t anything life changing or mind blowing, but it is very solid and extremely different from the usual. Now if only it were priced like sierra and not a dogfish beer!

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Photo of Thickfreakness
3.83/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Batch #2 poured from a DFH 750ml into my DFH signature glass...

A- Three fingers of deep tan foam float upon this nearly opaque ale. Touches of Cola on the edges as you hold it to the light, otherwise... deep dark burgandy brown. A shit ton of spiderweb lacing surround my glass as the head fades.

S- French roasted coffee, tangy citrus, a hint of vanilla, cocoa and maple. I was hoping for more Maple syrup... but the roasted coffee and nut notes make up for alot here!!! Just the right amount of hops, otherwise it would be a Black IPA. Really rich, fruity, dark and delicious!

T- Bitter chocolate roasted malts, really nice coffee finish with just the right punch of citrus and bitterness. A little alcohol hot, a bit less maple then described. I thought this would have a touch more sweetness and dark fruit than it does, but it is however a Sierra Nevada/DFH twist on a very undescribed style. Very well done, and really looking forward to putting some age on one or two of these.

M- The dark fruits open up a bit as it warms up. Bitter cocoa roasted coffee and nuts lead the way here. Again, not as syrupy as advertised (or I would like). I really don't taste much, if any Maple syrup here at all. Medium-light thickness, but full of robust coffee flavor none-the-less. A very nice sweetness to the alcohol burn... maybe thats the syrup (finally).

O- I'm certainly glad I had this fresh so that I'll understand what it does in a year or two when I open the next one. More coffee than expected, way less Maple syrup than I was hoping for! Not sure I should be rating this as well as I have. I like the Aroma, Smell, Taste, Feel and Drinkability... it just didn't seem to drink as advertised. It doesn't make it bad, just not what I expected.

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Photo of JChristopher
3.75/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

The serving was a 750ml bottle... the glass: oversize wine glass...I think it's pretty good. To me, it's ridiculously complex. It's like a bizarre dark barleywine; it has an ABV of 10.2 percent, smells malty as hell, hints of raisin and orange on the nose... when it hits the tongue it's like chocolate and orange immediately. You get the malty alcohol kick and then there is a surprisingly long lingering aftertaste of banana in the background, but I mean really ripe banana. Overall, I'd give it a B+/A-... not my favorite for a Sierra Nevada, but pretty damn good for a Dogfish Head.

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Photo of DaveHS
3.95/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Batch 2

A-Pours deep, clear dark maple brown with an inch of foamy head the color of milky coffee. Leaves rings of messy, chunky lacing.

S-Maple syrup sweetness, sap smeared tree bark, powdered hot chocolate mix, molasses.

T/M-My first impression of this is that it's hot. But in a good way. Tastes like something that will mellow out nicely in a few months and be really great. The syrup adds a nice woody characteristic and contributes to the thick smoothness of the body, but doesn't do much in the way of sweetness. This is actually pretty dry. The mouthfeel is thick and smooth, with a touch of phenolic sharpness on the finish. Moderate/low carbonation.

O-This is young. I expect it will be better in a few months, and excellent in a few years.

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Photo of Jules11788
4.23/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a very dark brownish/black color that lets only a small reddish hue shine through when held to the light. Initial pour yields a fat 3 to 4 finger-width head; very sticky lacing; retains a solid pinky-width head that lasts through the whole glass.

S: Oak, vanilla, raisins, a little hint of maple, and a lot of sweet-smelling earthiness.

T: A lot like the nose - Oak, raisin, earthy notes, a little vanilla, and Belgian yeast. This tastes a little like a Belgian strong dark ale, but maybe that's just me.

M: Medium viscosity, medium carbonation. I wish this was a little thicker and smoother, with less sharpness on the tongue.

O: This is a very delicious beer, one that will age beautifully. It's a little sharp and thin right now, but with some time I think that will mellow out a lot.

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Photo of PeprSprYoFace
3.86/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter. Pours a super dark brown with a nice thin light tan head. Nice lacing.

Aroma isn't strong. Bit of roast and almost German bock a bit. Kinda hot. Bit of chocolate.

Taste is good. Bit of roast. Bit of chocolate. Kinda bitter in the finish. Slight bit of dark fruits.

Mouthfeel could be a bit smoother and maltier. Higher side of carb.

Overall a decent beer. I remember wondering what all the hype was over the first batch. It's ok.

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Photo of ineva
4.55/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured within its own shadow, very dark with a fluffy 2 finger head, leaving amazing lacing.

S: Sweet syrup roasted banana's, boozy goodness, dark chocolate raspberries.

T: Smooth cocoa, maple with a alcoholy presence, touch of molasses, mild dark fruit, hazel nut.

M: Wow this brew just gets better and better. Its automatic once you know it.

O: Earth's juice tapped straight from Mother nature itself.

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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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