Friday, September 16, 2011

Dogfish Head and Sierra Nevada Life and Limb 2

Beer Review #152
Here is what the Label Said: (Front) LIFE – this living ale is naturally carbonated to enhance complexity, refinement, and to encourage aging.  LIMB – for the birch and maple trees, whose syrup gives this ale its unique flavor and symbolizes the collaboration between Sierra Nevada and Dogfish Head. We are proud to share our Life and Limb with the thousands of other branches who collectively comprise the craft brewing family tree. Sip slowly with friends and loved ones; savor – because one could do better than be a swigger of birches. 
(Back) Our decision to make this ale together comes from a shared passion for bringing natural beauty into the brewing process. Both of our families own and operate independent breweries and our co-workers, who share this passion, are an integral part of our extended family. LIFE – For the living brewer’s yeast in every bottle working in vibrant unison to enhance complexity, refinement, and to encourage aging. LIMB – For the two syrups used in making this ale (maple and birch) which contribute to its unique flavor profile and symbolize this collaboration between Sierra Nevada and Dogfish Head. This ale is dedicated to the family of craft-brew drinkers worldwide who continue to support the little guys, iconoclasts, entrepreneurs, and pioneers who risk life and limb to shape the craft-brewing community. We are proud to share our two branches with the thousands of other vibrant branches – those of fellow brewers – who collectively comprise the craft-brewing family tree. Sincerely, Sam Calagione and Ken Grossman
When I missed out on the original Life and Limb I knew I couldn't miss out on this 2nd version, so when came out I ran to the store and picked up two bottles.  One bottle was to drink fresh and review, the other will age for...well...I don't know how long exactly!  This beer is 10.2% ABV and considered a Dark Strong Ale.
My Thoughts:
Appearance: This beer poured black, but had hinds of a very dark brown depending on how it was held up to light.  The head was rich, foamy and tan in color, but reduced to around 1/8th inch after a few minutes.  The lacing throughout was moderate and by half a glass in the head was nearly gone. 
Smell: The smell was of dark fruit, maple syrup and even a hint of a dark bittersweet chocolate.  I thought the smell was pleasing, and not over-powerful as the appearance and ABV might have suggested.
Taste:  The taste of this beer starts out with what the label suggests and that is maple syrup.  The sweetness of the maple syrup is consistent throughout and doesn't fade or strengthen as the beer warms.  The dark sugary sweetness tries to be balanced by some bitterness and a hint of chocolate, but the balance is never quite reached.  That being said, it is neither a bad or good thing, just something to point out.  The sweetness this beer has helps to somewhat mask the 10.2% ABV, but the alcohol is still mildly present mid-drink through the aftertaste.  The after taste on this brew doesn't hang around very long, but it does hang around just long enough to let you know again this beer was made with birch and maple syrup! The overall flavor of this beer is pleasing, but drinker beware this is a sipper for sure.  I'm very curious to see how this beer ages, so there is one in the cellar that shall sit for a while!
Mouthfeel:  This beer is smoothly carbonated, low/mild, and has a rich sticky body that provides a very pleasing drinking experience.
Drinkability:  I'd be crazy to tell you this beer is super drinkable.  At 10.2% with a pretty medium/full body  this beer is a tasty sipper for sure.  If you plan to have a bottle, plan to share it with friends you really like, or plan to have at least an hour to sip and savor this brew!
Serving Type: 750ML bottle
My Rating: Overall 89/100
Look:4.8 | Smell:4.5 | Taste:4.3 | MouthFeel:4.6 | Drinkability:4.4

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