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:
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Ratings: 1,544 |  Reviews: 746
Photo of jjanega08
3.91/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A= pours a deep brown blackish color but not totally black. When I hold it up to the light there is a really deep amber color to it. The head on this beer is three fingers high and an off white color. Really thick and creamy. Great lacing on this beer. Looks awesome.
S= Interesting toffee notes come through first. Beautiful Maple syrup as well. Damn you Sam for your delicious syrup. I think I pick up on a small amount of alcohol in it which is a little bit of a let down but it's not a whole lot at all. Nice sweet caramelly malts come through as well.
T= Interesting indeed. There's for sure some of Sam's awesome syrup in it. The toffee is still there but taken away by other sweet malty goodness. There's some coffee like roasted malts in it that I can taste and the slightest alcohol touch in it. There's also a very nice woody character to it that I am pretty sure comes from the birch syrup. I didn't even know people harvested birch syrup but I'm guessing that's what the woodyness is. The finish is a little boozy when I blow out my nose right after the sip I get a pretty good amount of alcohol. The finish is tons of syrupy goodness.
M= Great. A little coating and smooth. Just right.
D= Good beer. A little age on this and it would mellow out a little more I think taking some of the hotness away. Great syrup taste to it and an awesome woodyness that I suspect comes from the birch. Great collab guys! It's awesome to see brewerys do things like this.

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Photo of californiakulak
4.57/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Just went into a local pizza joint to have a pint and almost fainted when I saw this on tap. If any of you have ever been to Fresno than you understand how horrible our draft beer selection is.

A. It is a dark brown with a creamy half inch head.

S. Smells of sweet malt. Like others have said it had a maple syrup smell. I also smell oak and dried fruits.

T. Very tasty. I taste the alcohol but it isn't over powering. Plums and figs and brown sugar. Kind of spicy.

M. Very carbonated with a medium body. A warming alcohol feel.

D. Pretty drinkable for being over 10% abv. Another of the dangerous high alcohol beers that are actually quite sessionable.

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Photo of bakeller
4.13/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Was fortunate enough to try this at Uncle Mikes Highway Pub in Wisconsin who had the only 1/6 barrel in the state

A: Pours dark brown with a hint of ruby when held up to the light. It is topped off by a 1 finger dark beige head. This beer coats the side of the glass nicely when swirled and the lacing is prominent.

S: There is a heavy malt presence with hints of raisin, fig, and a nice sweet nose from the maple syrup used in brewing.

T: There is quite a bit going on here. What hits me up front is the dark fruits and the malt in particular roasted and chocolate malts. There is a hint of caramel and a very nice sweet but not overpowering molasses/maple finish.

M: I thought this would be really heavy just based on how it stuck to the glass, however it was medium bodied. Did not really notice much carbonation. The lack of carbonation gave it a very smooth mouthfeel.

D: This is a 10% beer but I would not have guessed it. I thought the alcohol was very nicely incorporated. I did not really think it was "hot" by any means yet it did have a nice warming quality. This is certainly a sipper just based off of the complexity of taste and how it changes as it warms however if you wanted to drink a couple of these in a night, it could be done. Glad I tasted it and would get it again if I had the opportunity.

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Photo of illidurit
3.7/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle courtesy tripelthreat (I think). Pours dark brown with ruby-mahogany highlights and a fading frothy wet beige head. Aroma is big brown sugar and some alcohol with lesser accents of red and dark fruits. Flavor is boozy maple syrup, cocoa powder, and dark bread crusts. For a beer with a prominent sugar/syrup note, this finishes pretty dry and clean. DFH could certainly learn something from this collaboration. Something called 'attenuation.' Mouthfeel is slick and oily, carbonation is on the low side. Pretty drinkable although the alcohol is a little bit too prominent.

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Photo of Kaiser81
3.61/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bought a bottle from Bevmo yesterday and poured into a pint glass

A - Pours a dark brown with just a hint of red when held up to the light. 2 finger width of head initially, but settles to one finger width fairly quickly. The lacing on the glass is very nice.

S - There is a nuttiness up front balances by a faint hint of raisins, sweet malts and molasses on the back end; very balanced, very nice, but very soft.

T - Very complex. I'm getting a lot of nuttiness on the front end mixed with some dark fruits. The aftertaste is very boozey and leaves some bitterness on the palate. This beer needs time to cellar and let the alcohol wear off. In time, it could be fantastic with a lot more flavors coming out..

M - It's a medium body beer; much different than I thought for something 10% + ABV. Carbonation is slightly high.

D - It's a little rough around the edges right now, bit in time, it can develop into something very good.

I may have to go buy a couple more of these to see what long term aging does to it.

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Photo of flexabull
4.33/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep dark brown color with a big off white head that fades quickly, but with nice lacing. Looks good.

Aromas are of roasted nuts, raisins, and booze. Aromas are on the subtle side.

Taste is quite interesting. Lots of malts going on in this one, some dark cola, roasted malts, nuts, toffee, caramel and dark lightly burnt sugary flavors meld together nicely in the forefront. A nice, subtle, boozy, alcohol warmth blends well with all the sweetness. Finish has a nice mineral hop note, and all the flavors linger long on the finish.

Mouthfeel is good, soft and smooth, but I expected it to be thicker. Still not bad at all though.

Drinkability is really good. Man, what an interesting big malty brew! Lots of complex and interesting flavors that aren't overwhelming. The beer goes down quite easy for being 10+% ABV. My only nit pick? I'd like a little more body. But still, this is an excellent beer and it should age nicely. Well... I expected nothing less than excellence from Sierra and Dogfish. And needless to say, they didn't disappoint even with the steeper price tag. I'll grab 1 or 2 more for the cellar.

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Photo of zplug123
3.95/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 24 oz bomber into a brandy sniffer:

A: Brown-amber color with light carbonation. Little head retention but lacing is prominent

S: Has a hint of maple, with dominating malt aroma. A little oak/earthy smell at the end.

T: Deep and complex, caramel along with slight sweetness, a bit of tobacco-like hint. No alcohol taste is noticeable, though it warms the mouth with each sip.

M: Medium/Heavy body that's smooth and lightly carbonated. Creamy and not cloying at all

D: Extremely deceptive, could have a few more of these if I knew nothing of the ABV. Enjoyable and positively unique

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Photo of Jmoore50
3.85/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Was really excited to try this brew, and when tasted the first thing to come out of my mouth was, "What the hell kind of beer is this?" A very complex brew that is a mix between a brown ale, a stout and maybe a bit of a pale ale? I feel that is filled with depth that will develop after a year or so.

The appearance is dark plumb. The color is actually really beautiful when held up to the light, a very deep amber-plumb color is in the depths of this one with darker edges. It gushed out of the bottle when I opened it, reminded me a bit of the Bruerys offerings. This is what happens when you bottle condition and either the brew is not yet ready to be opened or a bit too much priming syrup. Super crisp tan head that disappears and leaves nothing behind. No bubbles, no lacing, or residue other than a thin alcoholic one.

The smell is many different things. There is a hop characteristic paired with malts and woody smells that are so new and interesting. Perle, old Sierra Nevada's Perle hop is a smell that I can pin point out pretty fast. It is most present in a vigorous pour. There is a bit of chocolate alcohol in the smell as oak or a wood, maybe I am crazy.

The taste is deep. Chocolate malts and roasted or burnt malts are present, I am not crazy. This tastes a bit like a brown ale, which I am not a huge fan of that style. Crazy wooden flavors that I cannot pinpoint. A bit hot from the ABV is present, but I think that might be one of my favorite parts of the taste. I can just think 'raw'. So interesting, a bit of bitterness from hops as well.

The mouthfeel is dry, chalky, hot, and leaves your palate with a perfect carbonation. Really dry though, this brew is throwing me for a tailspin on its characteristics and depths.

The drinkability will get higher once it is aged, but right now it is lower than usual. This needs to sit for a year.

I do feel very privileged to have tasted this collaboration because it is indeed a brew I was looking forward to. I am going to age two or three and see where they go from there, I have a feeling that they will get much better. Thanks goes out to both breweries, two great beer makers that I love.


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

Obviously much anticipated,I am glad to grab a few bottles before they are gobbled up here in my area.Poured into an oversized wine glass a deep dark brown with some deep reddish colored hue when held to the light,a large clingy off white head atop.A mix of a whole lot of good stuff going on in the nose,winter spice,molasses,roast,and resiny hop comes through.Flavors are quite sweet at the onset with mollases and spice,some leather and dark fruit also show up,then a deep resiny hop flavor comes and really finishes this beer out as good as you can.Big chewey and mouth coating,you cant ask for a much better mouthfeel.Man I really like this beer,many times a anticipated beer doesnt live up to the hype,this does.

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

Spilled some on my hand when I was pouring the beer. It was really sticky and I thought, oh great, this is going to be sickly sweet. Smelled wonderfull; fruity yeast, slightly roasted malt, some maple. Again, Im thinking this stuff is going to be thick and cloying. I was wrong, boy is this a well balanced beer. Biscuit and faint roast from the malt, clean bitterness from the hops and some maple, but not much. Slight alcohol heat, which I dont care for, but its not enough to ruin the experience. There is some sweetness, but the hops do a nice job of countering it. The body is a lot lighter than I expected, it is slightly oily but overall Id say its medium. It has a fair level of carbonation, which aides in elevating this beer out of the heavy catagory. Overall, this was a great beer. Id imagine that in a few years it will be nothing short of amazing.

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Photo of chaz410
4.82/5  rDev +19.9%
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 rayjay
4.28/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Fresh from Chico, poured into oversize DFH goblet.

This beer is super fresh and crisp, with a spicy carbonation and a sticky lace. Deep brown, without much haze.

Loads of complex malts drive this truck. Lots of carmel and a tiny bit of chocolate, and some cara-this and cara-that; the grain bill is complex, amazing, and delicious. There is an underlying hop bitterness, but little aroma to speak of. A big old brown ale. Alcohol isn't really coming on too strong, but the strength does show in the sticky body.

For me the birch gets lost in the mix, but my friends completely disagree. There is a generic woody-ness, but probably not from the syrups.

All DogFish Head, it doesn't taste anything at all like Sierra Nevada. Reminds me of a Palo Santo Marron or India Brown Ale type beer. The only difference I can see distinguishing it from a DFH brew is lace.

Outstanding beer!

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Photo of drunkmonk
4.33/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Just into Sam's Quick Stop in the Bull City today. Glad to see they got a tiny bit of this.

Dark brown with glowing ruby highlights. Firm sheet of lace lasts throughout. Sweet malt, dark fruits and a hint oak aromas. Dates, maple syrup, and subtle wood flavors lay down a nice foundation. Very complex. Nice subtle chocolate and light roast coffee flavors on the finish. A light spicy note is there as well, maybe from the hefty 10+% alcohol. The abv is extremely well integrated even so.The body is full on with a light and lush carbonation. Comfortably numbing stuff. This one gives you plenty to ponder while your sipping away. Excellent.

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Photo of atsprings
4.5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On-tap at Flying Saucer served in a tulip glass a dark ruby with a thin diminishing head. Aroma is slight maple and dark malts. Taste is an absolutely wonderful blend of maple, sweet malts and wood, very complex and very tasty. The beer is medium body with fairly well hidden alcohol. This one is truly special, definitely worth the hype.

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Photo of AcesandAles
4.95/5  rDev +23.1%
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 RedBrewer83
4.7/5  rDev +16.9%
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 cptierney
4.18/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured on tap at TAPS Petaluma for their Sierra Nevada backed tasting event of both Limb and Life and Life and Limb. Poured into a Dogfish Head Chalice.

This was a beautiful pour and I will hold that it is the most attractive beer I've gotten at TAPS. A solid two fingers of creamy white head stood atop a deep, deep brown bear. Interestingly the lacing on my glass wasn't nearly as potent as that of my drinking buddies. Probably attributed to the recent washing of one as opposed to the other.

I really enjoyed the smell on this brew. I immediately was impressed by the sweetness that met my nose. The maple syrup was entirely noticeable and it made for a unique nose. I got a sense of some hops with a deeper smell and the combination of the bitter and sweet really impressed.

I agreed with a drinking buddy about this beers mouthfeel. There was a creaminess that he said reminded him of a nitro tap. For me, it felt more like a cask brew with a delicious balance of thick brew and solid carbonation.

This guy started SWEET. The sugars attributed to the maple syrup were immediately present along with hints of brown sugar and a vanilla finish. There is a nice sappy character on this guy which contributes to the lovely mouthfeel as well. Along with this sweetness, there as a leathery undertone to the beer which the brewery card adequately described as leaf tobacco. The bitter on the beer, along with some dark fruit characteristics, became more apparent as it warmed. Ultimately, this beer had a tenuous balance of flavors that was dangerously close to too sweet.

Amazing drinkability for its high ABV. The creaminess and solid body on this brew demanded another and made for a seriously sessionable beer.

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Photo of DwnTwnBwn
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Was surprised with a case display at the local grocery store, go nugget. So I grabbed a bottle for dinner.

A- Pours a thick reddish brown with a 1 finger khaki head. Decent amount of lacing as the head falls to a thin ring.

S- Lots of sweet malt comes across at first. Deeper inhales take in an oak and vanilla aroma, with lots of birch wood and maple syrup coming through.

T- Interesting. This is a very sweet beer. The Maple Syrup and Birch Syrup comes through against the caramel malts and complement each other quite well. There is a touch of roasted bread that follows. Hints of yeast and vanilla/oak soften the taste. Its sweetness from start to finish.

M- This is a thick sticky beer. The carbonation keeps the finish to reasonably uncloying body. Filling. Its a warmer but with no harsh trace of alcohol.

O- I like this beer, it reminds me of the syrup my grandmother would pour from a tin can on to our waffles. Its different and the maple and birch come through to dominate the flavor profile. This would be a great breakfast beer. Very good collaboration guys.

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Photo of mjl21
4.2/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

24 ounce bottle poured into a snifter. Bottled on the 286 day of 2009. Comes in at 10.2%.

A-Pours a dark brown with some visible reddish hue when held up to the light. It has a one finger tan head that dissipates quickly to a small bubbly ring that surrounds a thin layer of film. Nice streaks of lace are left in between each sip.

S-It smells sweet from the start. It begins with molasses and light vanilla notes. There is also some noticeable oak/wood aromas. Fruity esters come out as it warms, the strongest being banana and rum soaked stone fruit.

T-Lots of molasses and chocolate are evident when it first hits the mouth. There is a tad bit of booze and rum soaked stone fruit that is evident in the middle. Vanilla comes through at the end of each sip.

M-It is full bodied and is well carbonated. It is creamy and smooth.

D-This is a great sipper that goes down way too easily.

I really enjoyed this beer. It reminded me in a lot of ways of DFH Palo Santo Marron without all of the wood flavor. A great collaborative beer and one that I look forward to revisiting with some age on it.

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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