Back by popular demand
A Review of Life & Limb 2011 by Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Posted on 10/3/2011 by Brew's Your Daddy
In the craft beer world, sometimes a strange but awesome thing happens. Occasionally a couple of breweries will get together to make a collaboration beer. It may not seem like a big deal on the surface, but take a moment and think about it. Have you ever heard of Coke and Pepsi coming together to make an off the wall soda? Has Ford and Chevrolet ever sat down in the same room to create a unique and special vehicle? What about McDonalds and Burger King? Has there ever been a time where The King and Ronald came together to make a great meat concoction? The answer to all of those questions is no. Industry competitors almost never come together for a common creation goal. And that is just one more thing that makes the better beer world so awesome. From time to time, they put the dollar signs to the side, and decide to see what kind of magic in a bottle they can make with the ''two heads are better than one'' theory in mind. Recently I was able to share one of these creations with my good friend, and fellow BrewChief contributor, ScottBee.

While doing some homebrewing, we decided to crack into a Life & Limb 2011. Life & Limb is a collaboration between Dogfish Head Craft Brewing and Sierra Nevada Brewing Company. The currently available Life & Limb is the second coming of this beer so to speak. The original version of this beer was offered in 2009 and sold out in about 2 weeks. Luckily for all of us beer lovers out there, they decided to bring it back again using the same recipe, but different packaging.

When poured into a glass, if you didn't know any better, you might think you were looking at a stout. Away from a back lit light source, it looks black. Only when held up to the light does it show as more of an extremely dark brown with ruby red around the edges. A good two fingers worth of thick, tan head sits atop it and provides some decent lacing through most of the session. There is an instantly sweet aura to this beer. It was brewed using both maple and birch syrup, and you can't miss them. Each are easily distinguishable and provide their own individual layers of sweetness to the nose. After that you can pick up on some dark fruit characteristics that lean more towards figs, but there are also occasional hints of dark cherries as well. After it warmed just a bit, the sweetness mellows out and some of the malt characteristics start to rise from the glass. Chocolate, brown sugar, and even some burnt oak came through in random notes.

When you go in for the first taste, the mouthfeel grabs you before anything else. While a lot of the nose and appearance might have suggested stout, you need to remember that this one is a strong ale. While it carries a thickness to it, there is a lot of sticky in there as well. There isn't enough carbonation to completely clean things up, and that's a good thing here. You want a few of these flavors to hang around for a while once you get in there. The sugars are right up front in the taste, just like in the nose. Then their sweetness gives way to the chocolate and dark fruit combination that is more bold than the smell might have suggested. Almost to the point of qualifying as rich. At the end, it takes on more of an earthy tone. Smoky and roasted are the only ways I can describe it. The alcohol only makes itself present after the rest of the beers flavors have been noted. And it really comes through more in the mouthfeel as a slight sting, rather than an alcohol flavor burn.

I really am glad I had the chance to try this collaboration beer from Dogfish Head Craft Brewing and Sierra Nevada Brewing Company. Life & Limb is listed as an American Strong Ale, and that classification shares a lot of the same characteristics as Belgian Quads. That being said, if you like quads and strong ales, this beer is for you. It has enough character to keep it original and distinct, but at the same time it has enough familiar qualities to keep it recognizable. Those more experienced in their drinking journey should really give this one a try. It is a great study beer, and is quite enjoyable in the process. Those of you who are still new to the game should probably steer clear of it until you get a few more practice rounds under your belt. There is a lot going on in this one, and it might confuse you to the point of brain meltdown. My advise for you would be to grab one if you see it, and then place it in your cabinet and let it get some age on it. That way it will be there when you are ready for it. After all, while it is back by popular demand, it may not be back again by popular demand...again.

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Life & Limb 2011 by Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
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