Life & Limb. 10.2%. British beer geeks with such limited access to American offerings may not want anything more than a collaboration brew between Sierra Nevada and Dogfish Head. That wish was granted a few years ago when this Life & Limb beer was reissued; a beer brewed with yeast strains from both breweries and using pure maple and birch syrup. I didn’t realise at the time – in April 2012 – when placing my first ever online beer order, through Beers of Europe, that I would savour this more than any.
Yet, Life & Limb held steady within my stock more than any other, knowing its rarity. On its purchase, I hadn’t realised that Dogfish Head were no longer exporting to the UK. I hadn’t realised that such a collaborative beer wouldn’t likely been seen on these shores again.
Then I read more into its style – an American Strong Ale. A type of beer that I am happy to age, save for a special occasion and thoroughly enjoy. But also one that is not appreciated or explored enough in this country. Finally, 27 months after purchase, I am drinking this beer.
Dark mahogany to look at with a frothy white head; Life & Limb smells like the fruits from the tree it was born from. There’s plenty of alcohol soaked cherries, heated currants and sherry. In the underlying areas is a scent of toffee and banoffee pie sweetness. To taste Life & Limb is near the definition of American Strong Ale; the defining difference between that and an English Barley Wine. It’s heavy on the tongue with lashings of dark, sugared fruits; strawberries, redcurrants and raspberries. There’s a thick maltiness to this that is so sugar sweet it masks any dropping of alcohol that has made this incredibly drinkable. But that sweetness is well balanced against a grain of malt biscuit and a slight bitterness that this soothes down the throat like a lozenge, rather than being too intense. If I hadn’t already read the label, I may have already described this as drinking the sap from a maple tree, but I can think of no more perfect a description. The body isn’t as big as you would think, but the thick treacle toffee finish is sticky and lingers long on the tongue, making such a huge, dark beer more drinkable than your favourite golden session ale.
So that is it for me and beer reviews. I never intended this blog to be so anyway. This was an excellent beer to end that thought on.