Sep 15, 2011

LIfe & Limb

LIfe and Limb photoLife & Limb

First brewed in 2009, Life and Limb is a 10.2% ABV American Strong Ale that is the result of a joint effort between Sierra Nevada Brewing out of California and Delaware’s Dogfish Head. I, unfortunately, missed out the the limited run of the first batch — it never even got close to the homestead. Now that the collaborative beer has been released in a second batch with wider distribution, I jumped at the opportunity to snag a couple of bottles.

Just as with initial run, this brew is made with a blend of of both breweries house yeasts along with the addition of maple syrup from the family farm of Dogfish Head’s Sam Calagione. To further aid in the cellar-ability of the beer, birch syrup from Alaska was added, as well. The end result is a richly layered beer that, despite it’s higher alcohol content, is deceptively easy drinking.


Life and Limb pours a dark, dark brown with a tan head that was fairly dense at the start and dropped slowly to a light lace.


For the most part, the nose on the beer leans toward the sweet end of the spectrum, but it’s tempered with piny hops and a decent presence of roasted, dark malt. There are hints of dark fruits, maple syrup and chocolate that come and go.


At first I was underwhelmed by the beer. Perhaps it was a touch to cold, but it took a while for the flavors to fully come into their own. Once they did, however, the palate is greeted with a roasted, malt forward backbone that transitions smoothly through sweet molasses to a moderate amount of piny hops. For the most part the beer is well balanced between sweet malts and bittering hops that culminate in a lingering finish. The relatively full mouthfeel has a touch of residual sugar that’s more than appropriate for the style. The higher alcohol content is hidden quite well, only arriving after the beer has had some time to warm in the glass.


I was worried that this hyped beer wasn’t going to perform as well as I had expected, but it more than lived up to my expectations. Even as a fairly young beer, it’s chock full of tasty layers and complexity that are sure to develop nicely after a little time in the basement — I eagerly await how the other bottles I have turn out.

Rating: 4/5

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