Sierra Nevada / Dogfish Head - Life & Limb | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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Sierra Nevada / Dogfish Head - Life & LimbSierra Nevada / Dogfish Head - Life & Limb
1,544 Ratings
Sierra Nevada / Dogfish Head - Life & LimbSierra Nevada / Dogfish Head - Life & Limb

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

Style: Old Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.20%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
(2009 Vintage) Vintage Ale brewed with Molasses, Maple, Birch

Added by mjl21 on 11-14-2009

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,544 |  Reviews: 746
Photo of tuckevalastin
4.53/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a bottle.

A: A beautiful dark mahogany, almost black with a nice head.

S: Very light smell. Sweet with a hint of spice and not much in the way of hops.

T: Suprisingly, there is no strong taste but it all works. There is a clear woody note with a caramel and fruit mix behind it. The alcohol is completely hidden.

M: SMOOTH. This beer is definetly a smooth one. There is a ever so slight burn but this beer is incredibly drinkable.

I can't comment on the value of this beer because I had to pay considerably more than shelf price for mine. I will say it's a nice beer and one worth trying... just ashame it's not available like your average 6 pack.

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Photo of psujmatt
2.99/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had on draught at Flying Saucer poured in an 8oz glass.

A: Very dark, almost black. Almost completely opaque. Foamy, creamy head.

S: A hint of wood in the aroma, a little toffee. Not very much aroma at all.

T: Not nearly as complex as the color suggests. A very weak hop bite or coffee bitter. Hints of sugar. Balanced, but just very simplistic for this type of beer.

M: Caronation becomes apparent as it sits on the palate. Very smooth, almost silky.

D: This was only 8oz serving, and despite the alcohol content it was easy to finish in a hurry and move on to something better.

I had this beer in a bottle previously and this was nothing like it. Different aromas, flavors, and appearance. Seeing the other reviews here, I was hoping I just got a bad bottle before. I think my bottle was off, but the keg version was still nothing to write home about.

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Photo of Dijeriduster
3.79/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip glass at Pizza Port Solana Beach as part of their SN pint night....

A - Very dark brown color with some maple syrup notes coming thru in the thickest parts of the pour. Good solid head with ample lacing, stuck around for a good amount of time.

S - Quite dark (ie lots of roasted flavours) with a pronounced sweetness coming thru

T - Actually a somewhat limited palate, though a great one at that. Lots of creamy roasted flavours coming thru - almost like a porter in some ways not so much a brown. The maple gives it a nice sweeting finish to cut thru the roasted flavour. Overall roasted flavour dominates in the mid section.

M - Pretty good. Browns are usually a little creamy and this was too. The syrup seems to cut some of the feel down, making it slightly thin - but in a good way.

D - Pretty good beer. Not something I'd want to down a sixer of, but would be great with a dessert and is certainly ripe for beer tasting events. Great collaboration.

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Photo of duchessedubourg
3.47/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured at Three Penny Taproom, supposedly first VT draught release. On tap, in a tulip glass. Totally opaque, a murky dark brown (not black) body with a half-inch of dense ivory head that doesn't last long - not surprising given the ABV. Nose is alcohol first, maple second, burnt sugar third. First impression on tasting is sweet & boozy - fairly fusel with alcohol. Mouthfeel is downright viscous. Increased as it warmed up. Notes of roasted marshmallow, dark candi sugar, maple, and a bit of hops - fortunately just enough to offset the extremely heavy malt backbone. Finish is sweet, papery, with a touch of maple. Have had a beer made with birch syrup from Alaska, but could detect no trace of that flavor. Perhaps it would fare well aged in the bottle version to dry off a bit of the sweetness.

A sipping beer, an after-dinner beer. Too much residual sugar for my tastes, but intriguing all the same. Imbibe with caution - a serious ass-kicker!

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Photo of boogyman
4.6/5  rDev +14.4%
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 tobyandgina
3.87/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Nice halo of white head around the edges.
Very dark brown, almost black in color with slight ruby hilights.

Something floral on the nose. Maybe even some molasses and some plumb(?). A little bit of hops in there too.

A thick, astringent mouthfeel. Apples, plumb, some bitter hops with a lingering alcoholic aftertaste.

A decent sipping beer.

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Photo of NJpadreFan
3.53/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sierra Nevada- Life and Limb

A- Dark brownish/ black with a good thick frothy head. Solid lacing and retention.
S- Sweet and fruity. Hints of chocolate, plum, cherry, figs, and brown sugar.
T- Very syrupy sweet. Caramel, brown sugar, maple, and a light dusting of chocolate blend in nicely with a fruity; plum, fig, raisin body. Finishes off sugary sweet and a touch boozy.
M- Very sweet and syrupy with a dry fruity body and a warm boozy finish.

Overall- Alc. is well hidden yet warming in the end. A good sipper.

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Photo of BevMoAndrew
4.47/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served into a Bruery tulip glass at about 45 degrees.

Pours an extremely dark mahogany with a tan froth, above average lacing, & above average retention. The beer offers a very inviting nose that is rich and complex. Somewhat pronounced aromas of cinnamon, brown sugar, maple syrup, lightly roasted caramel malts, dried red fruits, plum, a banana like ester quality, chocolate mousse, sweet-sweet alcohol, light citrus/orange hops, vanilla sponge cake, a delicate smokiness, & cherry candy follow through on the palate with an addition of a subtle oak profile. There is an unbalanced alcohol flavor on the midpalate that is accompanied by a wonderful hop presence on the back end that dries the mouth rather than offering only bitterness. The beer is rich and full with a silky/creamy texture and a long finish. Overall a fantastic beer that I highly recommend.

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Photo of hoptrip619
3.53/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I went to pickup one of the last bottles at K&B Cellars and was pleased to see they had this beer on draught. Adam, suggested I try a sample and then save the bottle for a later date. THANKS ADAM!

A- Pour a dark root beer-like brown with rusty highlights and a thick head.

S- Sweet dark fruit aromas of prunes and figs with a prominent maple syrup character. The aroma isn't as complex as I had anticipated.

T- Lots of maple flavor combined with esters of dark fruits. Some caramel malt and roasted malt flavors as well.

M/D- There is a very slick and heavy viscosity to this beer; so much so that you could share a 24oz bottle with several friends. Interesting collaboration and very cool idea but definitely wouldn't shell out $12-13 for more than one.

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Photo of HeyItsChili
3.9/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I was happy to be able to find this upon my return home.

A - Pours Coca-Cola brown with ruby/garnet highlights and a thin dark khaki head.

S - Dark fruits and spices blending with a maple syrupy sweet tinge and a pronounced alcohol odor.

T - Syrupy, with some warm spices, dark fruits, and with a strong boozy finish.

M - Very substantial. Thick, viscous, velvety smooth brew.

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Photo of LiveOakMarket
4.83/5  rDev +20.1%
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 steveja57
4.03/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice beer. Definitely a sipping winter warmer sort of brew. Pours nearly black, light tan head that dissipated quickly. On the nose it was nice and roasty, caramel, baking spices. The body was somewhat light like a stout, it hid it's 10% alcohol well. I noticed the spruce much more than the maple. The flavor profile reminded me much more of a Sierra beer than a Dogfish. Makes me wonder what sort of beer one might brew from the yeast in the bottom of the bottle

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Photo of aubuc1
3.66/5  rDev -9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

24 oz bottle dated the 286th day of 2009 poured in to a snifter.

Pours a dark ruby brown with a thick tan head.

Smell is a yeasty, boozy lightly roasted finish. A little thin.

Taste is a rich, somewhat strong tasting. Some nice malty body with a light hop balance. A dry finish.

Mouthfeel is very rich and creamy. Drinkability is somewhat off due to booziness, but the dry finish leaves me wanting more.

I wasn't sure what to expect, but unfortunately this beer did not make these two great breweries better.

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Photo of Lunch
3.93/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served on-tap at Frisco Grille in Columbia, MD (12/14/09) into a goblet at the appropriate temperature.

A: Pours a very appealing dark brown with chestnut and ruby hues capped off with a slight off-white foam which dissolves after several minutes. Slight thinning in color at the rim of the glass leaving a very rich appearance.

S: Powerful aroma of dark fruits including raisin, plum, fig, and a slight candy apple scent. All of this is engulfed in a maple syrup alcohol blanket which is a little overrun by the alcohol. If the alcohol was masked slightly better, the aroma would have been pretty fantastic (I'm also a fan of alcohol in the nose when it is done well).

T: Intense flavor that is almost exactly what was expected considering the aroma. Dark fruits are engulfed in a river of maple syrup and alcohol leaving traces of raisin, plum, fig, and candy apple. Layers of caramel, roasted coffee, and oak round out this robust American Strong Ale.

M: Full-bodied and quite chewy with mild carbonation and a slight warming alcohol burn.

D: Certainly not the most drinkable beer, but better than average. The sweet and cloying combo of maple syrup and alcohol drag this down considerably for me.

Overall this was an adventure in a goblet as this beer was fairly intense. I certainly see more Dogfish Head in its crafting than Sierra Nevada, but this is a worthy collaboration. I am glad I got a chance to try this and would certainly give it another go, but I will no longer seek this beer out as I did prior to trying it. Worth a try at least once.

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Photo of ToasterChef
3.73/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from my tasting notes. Served in my 20oz Uprising Chalice at Novare Res. It pours an incredibly dark ruby color with a thick, tan, foam head. It smells slightly sweet, with an earthiness to the aroma. There are hints of spices and maple. There is a definite sweetness up front in the taste, and it has a dry, alcoholic finish, but the sweetness remains throughout. There are spruce and maple flavors. There is also a hint of coffee bitterness. It's a very robust flavor. It has a very full body and low carbonation. As for drinkability, it's a pretty sweet beer--a bit too much for my tastes. Still, I consider this a good beer. I would order it again and would certainly pick up a bottle if I happened across one.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.8/5  rDev -5.5%
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 bort11
3.7/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had on tap at Blanc Burger in Westport. This was from one of the only two kegs sent to KC. The first keg went to Flying Saucer, and I missed out on that by 10 minutes.

Served in a tulip glass. Thick dark tan head trapped in the smell. Once the head settled, a mild aroma of charred oak, figs, and raw sugar. Smell came out more as it warmed, but I had a hard time getting a good reading. Taste really comes through with the charred oak. There is a almond extract kind of nuttiness. I get some dark pitted fruit.

Mouthfeel is full bodied and has a mild syrupy thickness. Very filling. There is an alcohol warmth, but not so strong as to burn. This is not an earth shattering collaboration, but one trying if it's available.

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Photo of jhoban19
3.41/5  rDev -15.2%
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 brewerdrew
2.91/5  rDev -27.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The beer poured a nice Dark Brown with Ruby Red notes. Very little head that dissipated fast.

Surprisingly, very non-discript flavor with out too much body or flavor.

As a whole, underwhelmed.

This beer will probably be better with Age.

If this wasn't a collaboration between SN/DFH, my guess is the ratings would be alot lower. Just goes to show what hype and the Sam Caligione marketing machine can do.

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Photo of Seanibus
3.65/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very dark brown, almost black, with a viscous consistency and a lively off white head that falls quickly to large, luxurious bubbles. The aroma screamed Bread with the first whiff, like the smell of a rich dough as it was proofing on a warm afternoon. It backs off a bit after that initial blast, though remains bready, or more properly doughy and yeasty, with wood and a little caramel in there somewhere. The flavor carries through that yeast, rising-dough character, with some sweet molasses, and flat, woody bitterness. There is toffee, coffee, perhaps even dark chocolate and cherry in the flavor, with a deep, round bitterness rising on the back of the tongue. The mouthfeel is thick and clingy.

The finish has a bit of piney resin. The alcohol punch is a little too apparent, and there is a slight unpleasant sourness on the deep finish, but overall this is a good beer, certainly better than the description might suggest.

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

Pours a dark brown, light penetrates but not too well. head is great, lasts long probably because it is a living ale. I did not let it age much because I was too excited and could not last more than three days.
Smells of roasted malts and some honey.
The taste actually has a honey taste to it along with the roasted malts; it says syrup and I guess the honey flavor comes from that.
Low carbonation gives it a great mouthfeel.
Definitely get a stout feel to this beer.

If I could even come by another bottle I most definitely would indulge again.

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

color: Deep dark brown, near black. Short khaki head. falls to a ring. Some lacing.

Aroma: Alcohol upfront. Dried figs and raisins follow. Chocolaty roast quality shows up behind the dried fruit. Some light maple syrup notes round things out.

Taste: Dried fruit up front - figs and raisons. More pronounced chocolate and roastiness come through. A cloying sweetness flows throughout. Sweet maple syrup aspect show up as well. Some spice and warming alcohol notes hit the tongue as well, w/ a very light numbing quality. Finish is slightly dry with some lingering dried fig and chocolate notes.

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied and velvety smooth on the tongue

Overall this is a nice winter time brew. It definetly has a bit a of DFH extreme brew qualities. The alcohol is quite well hidden. It shows up a little in the nose and in the taste. Just enough there to let you know its a strong brew. A nice cold weather sipper.

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Photo of donkeyrunner
3.31/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I've come to accept that many Dogfish Head beers are more good ideas than good beers. This one wasn't bad; I wonder if Sierra added some grounding to the mix.

Opaque, dark brown with ruby highlights. Thin tan head leaves sub par retention. Smells like raisin and boozey dark fruit, carmelized brown sugar (perhaps thats the maple/birch syrup?), and kola nut.

Creamy mouthfeel is the first thing I noticed. Like cream of mushroom soup creamy. Toffee, maple syrup sugar with a large, sweet cloying hump in back. Dry, chalky aftertaste.

At times it was like a super brown ale, at others like an odd dubbel. Not too shabby, but it sounds better on the bottle than it tasted in the glass.

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Photo of Stigs
2.68/5  rDev -33.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

24oz bottle, served into a snifter

A - poured a nice looked deep brown, with a very thin and spotty, soapy and odd looking head

S - sweet malt, licorice, caramel and butterscotch. maple and hops are there if you seek it out.

T - sugary sweet with a metallic twang, tastes like the hops are already turning south. overwhelming sweetness and barely anything to compliment it.

M - thinnish body, very chalky. all the sugar puts sweaters on your teeth. needed to order a water to help cleanse my pallate every few sips.

D - drank the whole bottle, mostly because of the $25 price tag. not much good about it.

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Photo of deltatauhobbit
3.58/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Another rare delight at Novare, this was the third on my wants list for the night. I'm very glad they were only pouring 8oz per glass because honestly I don't think I could have handled more than that.

Pours a clear brown amber color with a great sized head, fades slowly and leaves a good amount of lacing along the glass.

The smell is stronger with hops than I imagined but the maple presence really overshadows everything else.

The taste is rather sweet from the maple but had a bit of bitterness contributed from the hops, unfortunately I feel this beer is way too sweet and cloying, after about 6oz it becomes a bit of a chore to drink, a slight burn seals the deal but is surprisingly less than I imagined considering the strength.

Not something I'd drink again, something I'm glad I got to try, the beer is definitely more Dogfish Head than Sierra Nevada in style.

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Sierra Nevada / Dogfish Head - Life & Limb from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.02 out of 5 with 1,544 ratings