The Taste of Life & Limb

Apparently, I was so fascinated by the pretty pictures on the label when I purchased the beer that I TOTALLY missed the fact that this beer is a collaboration between Sierra Nevada and Dogfish Head breweries.  When I saw “bottled and brewed by Sierra Nevada, I stopped there.

Now, actually reading the label to see if they describe the taste, I see the partnership.  In fact, I see much more than a partnership, I see a shared set of values and awesome ones at that.  I would love to talk more about that now, but I’ll hold the thoughts for the backstory post tomorrow.  Knowing what I do now, I also think it might be fun to pull elements of the two parent brands into some of the designs.

Thoughts from the Brand

From the Life & Limb website, I found this description of the brew:

The beer is alive with yeast – a blend of both breweries house strains – brewed with pure maple syrup from the Calagione family farm in Massachusetts, bottle conditioned and naturally carbonated with birch syrup from Alaska for added complexity and shelf life.  If stored under good conditions, this rich, full-bodied beer should age well for years.  Life & Limb will be available in 750 mL bottles and limited draught.

I did notice  that on the website they switched from using “Life & Limb” to using “Limb & Life”.  I’m not sure if they meant to do that or not.  Interesting…..another detail I’ll explore a bit more in the back story post.

My Thoughts

After pouring the beer, I was a little nervous.  Drinks this dark go down a love or hate path for me.  Depending on the flavors used to blend with the hops makes all the difference.  This time, the blend was sweet, which I love.  I could taste the maple syrup flavor and had hits of chocolate as well.

The beer went down smooth and didn’t leave an uncomfortable aftertaste.  I was also surprised that it didn’t feel “heavy” to me.  While I did not drink the entire bottle myself, I’m pretty sure I could have.  The taste was sweet, but wasn’t too sweet….very drinkable.

Thoughts from the Web

Overall, the rating from Beer Advocate is an 88, or “Good”.  Here are thoughts from a couple of the reviewers:

complex yet balanced, significant abv but not strong in the taste, syrup notes are also well incorporated; a collaborative effort well-done. – Weller1js

This beer is so unique and so entirely enjoyable. The appearance is that of a heavy RIS, but it fades a bit quicker. The smell is fantastic. If you’ve been wanting to try something with birch syrup, make this the one. The syrup character is like no other. More earthy than sweet – very pleasant. Taste mirrors the smell, not as pungent as I was expecting though unfortunately. Mouthfeel is just too big on the carbonation. It doesn’t take away from the beer but you do notice it on the first few sips. Overall this beer is excellent. I cracked it open fresh off the shelf but they suggest cellaring it for a bit which I would like to try. Very good. – Yamar68

I found this review from Tales of Ales and really liked the perspective on both the beer, website and packaging art:

This beer is a symphony of taste.  To compliment that it has an amazing website and splendid art dedicated to it as well.  Life and Limb pours a dark brown porter or cola colour with a mocha head which stood about an inch until dissipating to a covering.  When you put your nose to the glass you first can pick up the roasted barley and a light caramel smell with a high alcohol sweetness along with light notes of chocolate and syrup.  On the sip it has a smooth mouthfeel with a slight bubble.  The flavour has notes of chocolate and a hint of syrup, but well-balanced throughout. Overall a very drinkable and gorgeous dark strong beer.  A rarity, and a gift not to be passed upon.

And, finally, one more review from Passion for the Pint:

The aroma was pleasant, but nothing to write home about it. It had a sweet scent to it that was loaded with fruit. The fruit reminded me of apples.  However, the taste was something that got my attention. It tasted like a combination of some of my favorite Dogfish Head and Sierra Nevada beers, all in one beer. It looked (heavy, dark) and tasted more like a Dogfish Head beer at first. It was heavy and strong, but then the hoppiness of Sierra Nevada came out in the after taste. It had a malty (reminded me of maple syrup) flavor with strong hints of citrus.

Summary

Life & Limb is a very dark beer that is extremely easy to drink.  The syrups add great character to the taste.  I was impressed with the reviews across the web.  If you see this beer the next time you are out and about, it would be a good one to pick up.  The packaging is beautiful and the larger bottle could be a cool choice to take along with you to a St. Patrick’s Day party this weekend.  Definitely a conversation starter.

Cheers!

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