Thanks to Scott from Manland, who got me three bottles of Life & Limb.  They were flown in especially for me (now that’s a hook-up).  At any rate, I could barely wait to try one of them, so I had it on Saturday (I got them Thursday) for an early lunch.

As many of you know, DFH is one of my favorite breweries in the U.S.  Their unique approach to brewing and styles is enough to win over almost any beer drinker.  Also, they are a great story of being wildly successful from humble beginnings.  I have only the highest reverence for these guys.  Sierra Nevada is also a well known brewer, albeit less adventurous than Dogfish Head.  One thing they are a particularly well known for is their scrupulously clean and pristine brew-house.  Of course, they make good beer as well, lest we forget.  So, going into it, I thought, “This is going to be awesome.”  Let’s see if I’m correct.

The Pour: When I poured this clean looking beer, it looked a lot like I was pouring Raison d’Etre.  The dark mahogany body shimmered and retained a very small amount of the off-white head.  So far so good, especially when I drank it in my DFH glass.  My personal classification for the beer would be an American strong brown (or something like that).

The Nose: To me Sierra Nevada’s brews have a very particular “house” aroma to them.  It seems like I can always tell when it’s a Sierra Nevada product.  Having been brewed there, it had that house quality that is hard to put into words…but there nonetheless.  I could catch the 10.2% ABV coming through the body of Life and Limb.  Notes of the syrups were certainly noticeable.  It seems to me, and I’m only speculating, that the yeast aromas were Belgian in their quality.  I would also like to note that the beer was bready smelling.  Oddly enough, it took like a sweet sherry (somewhat like Utopias in aroma).  Caramel tones as well as a vinous (wine-like) quality were definitely detectable.

The Taste: Again, the 10.2% ABV did come through but not as readily as one might imagine.  The alcohol that did come through was very much vodka-like in quality.  The hops were not as edgy as a a typical Sierra Nevada beer.  DFH is not typically a high hopper with their beers.  Of course, the most notable exceptions are the 90 min, 120 min IPA, and Indian Brown Ale.  The maple and birch syrups made their way into the sweetness left in the brew, which was pronounced.  I personally enjoy sweetness in a heavy ABV beer, so I thought that it balanced well in that respect.  The breadiness, vinous tones, and Belgian character of the yeast really seemed to come out in Life & Limb.  A nice burnt/roasted caramel tone seemed to dominate the finish, which was exceptionally long.

Overall: I’m not bashing the brew when I say it was not up to what I expected.  Many people may say the same thing about Popskull, which is actually a better collaboration.  I wish it seemed like DFH had a bigger hand in the recipe.  I can only say that it was a bit of a let down for the high hopes I had…but still pretty good.

Mike’s Rating:

Overall Satisfaction: ★★★¾☆ 

Among other DHF Brews: ★★★¼☆ 

Rating: ★★★½☆