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Wood-Aged Life & Limb | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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12 Ratings

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

Style: American Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.80%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by ekardz on 12-01-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 12 |  Reviews: 8
Reviews by alexhahn82:
Photo of alexhahn82
4.45/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Had on tap at the 15th Annual Legendary Booneville Beer Festival:

A. Looks very good, dark and rich in color.

S. BOOM! Smells of vanilla and rich dark malts. Nice subtle hint of bourbon.

Taste. Sensory overload! The smell is in no way "tame" but it just doesn't convey what your about to taste! This is one of the best bourbon barrels I have had. You can definitely taste the difference between a couple weeks in a bourbon barrel and the better part of a year that this spent in a barrel. Rich flavor that will make you not want to stop drinking!

Mouthfeel: Did you not read the taste break down? This is a phenomenal beer that makes the entire world melt away!.

Overall: Seek out and destroy this beer! If you need to, push down little old ladys and punch kids in the face to get a hold of this beer, I was considering a hostage standoff to acquire more of this beer but the keg kicked after my 8th sample!!

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More User Reviews:
Photo of ehammond1
4.1/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On Tap

Stone 15th Anniversary Celebration
CSU, San Marcos
San Marcos, CA

Dark brown bordering on black--was much darker than I expected. Thick, persistent, and creamy khaki foam with spots of lacing down the glass.

The nose is far more powerful and aromatic than the standard Life and Limb. The wood stands out and seems to add a distinct pine forest aroma that mixes quite well with the roasted malt, maple syrup, and raisin smells. The alcohol though seems to be even more present in this version.

Pine-forward flavors, mixed with roasted malt, and candy and cola sweetness. Medium bitterness and a bit of alcohol heat.

Medium bodied.

This version is a bit more complex than the standard Life and Limb, as the wood aging adds a nice pine and earthy element to the beer without being overpowering.

 806 characters

Photo of Sixofsigmas
5/5  rDev +11.4%

Photo of oline73
4.22/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had this on-tap at Lord Hobo during the pre EBF throwdown.

Appearance: Pours a dark mahogany color with a layer of tan head and alright retention.

Smell: Sweet malt with some maple, dark fruit, vanilla, and coconut joining the party. Very nice.

Taste: Less sweet than the smell, but just as complex. Dark fruit with vanilla and coconut. The finish is slightly bitter, but not hot like the original. The wood aging has really smoothed this one out.

Mouthfeel: Medium to thick body with strong carbonation and a dry finish.

Overall: This beer is more like what I expected from the original. Much smoother and slightly more complex. I would definitely have another pour given the chance.

 691 characters

Photo of jnoelani
5/5  rDev +11.4%

Photo of Jimbeezee
5/5  rDev +11.4%

Photo of brentk56
4.42/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Arrives with a black color and a small cap; just a few strands of lace are left

Smell: Chocolate, maple syrup, oak and caramel

Taste: The maple syrup announces its presence right away, blending with the chocolate and dark fruit flavors; by mid-palate, there is a bit of hop bitterness to balance out the sweet flavors; the bourbon blossoms after the swallow but complements rather than dominates

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied with low to moderate carbonation

Overall: Nicely balanced use of maple syrup and bourbon; well worth seeking out if you can find it

 566 characters

Photo of russwbeck
4.35/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

10 months on American Oak Bourbon Barrels

$4.50 for a taster

The pour is black as the night only a thin ring of bubbly light brown head. Hardly any retention. 4

The aroma is really dominated by bourbon, oak, and vanilla. Only very faint malt undertones remain from Life and Limb. It does have a rich chocolate tone which I was not expecting 4

The taste is exquisite. Rich chocolate, big bourbon and vanilla notes, light caramel maltiness and some booze. The malt is on the backend, just to remind you it's there. I will say that the barrel has taken over a bit, but I'm still tasting some life and limb in there. 4.5

The body is medium with a very low carbonation point. The smooth an rich qualities of this beer lens to its drinkability. I finished my glass quickly. 4.5

Great beer, what a perfect way to start the evening. Absolutely better than Life and Limb in basically every fashion. Although the life and limb base is only slightly noticeable, I have no complaints. 4.5

 982 characters

Photo of ekardz
3.88/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had at Rattle 'N' Hum's Sierra 30th Anniversary night

Dark almost pitch black. No carbonation and no head. I am excited to taste this as I love the regular life and limb. Smell the wood, oak aged. Dark fruits boozy. Very strong bourbon smell. Strong boozy taste. Malty. medium bodied. Not sure on the drinkability. More flavor as the beer warms up. Regular life and limb holds a much higher esteem IMO and I love anything barrel aged. Give this beer another year or two and then I'd like to come back to it, I think the 8-10 months aging then straight to tap was too soon, would love to see how this mellows out.

 615 characters

Photo of biegaman
4.33/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at City Beer Store, in San Francisco.

This version of Life and Limb was aged with wood in it, rather than left to slumber in the inside of a barrel, but the beer still looks like it's been deprived of light for some time now. It is balsamic black and, not only does it not let light through, but it doesn't seem to even acknowledge it. Its with wood-stained head decorates the glass in a Christo-like wrapping.

You might expect a double-digit strength beer brewed with maple syrup, carbonated with birch syrup and aged on wood to have a distinct smell and boy does it ever! Smoky, 'outdoors-y' notes of dank forest and charred wood fuse with alcohol esters and roasted chocolaty malts. There's a kind of piny, coconut-like tinge as well as roasted pecan character.

The flavour is no less complex (nor any less intense) for being aged with wood chips as opposed to being aged in a bourbon barrel. Lots of dry, raw wood taste is noted and can be appreciated without any additional alcohol warmth (there's enough of that already). The flavour has plenty of char and smoky notes about it but they don't compromise the cocoa-coated grain flavour, roasted pecan nuttiness or strong maple syrup taste.

Dogfish Head brewer Sam Calagione said that he hopes he's able to enjoy Life & Limb with his children some 15 years or so from now. I don't have a crystal ball, but I imagine something like this (especially this, the wood aged version) should hold up after many moons. That said, it's drinking quite elegantly now and I'm not sure I'd want to risk rolling the dice.

Beer is like any investment, it trades off stability against growth; the highest yields are from a risky bet, while security means a lower rate of interest (in beer's case "interest" being literal as well as figurative). I think calling a double-digit, maple and birch syrup brewed, wood aged strong ale a "risky bet" is understating it. Sure enough, however, it's made for some high returns - this is surely one of the most complex, unique and intense beers out there.

 2,046 characters

Photo of axeman9182
4.17/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Lord Hobo for the EBF pre-party. It was served in a tall thin goblet.

Wood Aged Life & Limb pours a solid black, with a finger or so of caramel colored foam. Both head retention and lacing are just average. The nose doesn't jump out of the glass, but when I lean in, I'm treated to a menagerie of aromas. Maple, vanilla, marshmallows, and sweet milk chocolate all make appearances, and have me fairly excited to get to the business of drinking this beer. The taste manages to not only juggle all of those smells, but blends in a subtle bourbon flavor that adds another layer of complexity to what's going on. The body is full and creamy, with enough pep from the carbonation to keep it from becoming overbearingly rich for a beer its size. Regular Life & Limb is an alright beer that was a bit of a letdown for me, coming from two great brewers. This wood aged version though is much more on par with the excellence that I've come to expect from Sierra Nevada and Dogfish Head.

 989 characters

Photo of GrindFatherBob
5/5  rDev +11.4%

Wood-Aged Life & Limb from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.49 out of 5 with 12 ratings
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