DOGFISH HEAD / SIERRA NEVADA LIFE & LIMB 2 - VINTAGE 2011
The original release of this beer was fun and a great collaboration. The beer was sweet but boozy and I definitely thought it would have been interesting to see if time could tame that heat. The main concern was that the maple syrup would drop out completely and if the alcohol was tamed, then you would only be left with a regular, strong ale. Since the first release was so limited, there was no room for experimentation. Once Batch 2 was released...well then, giddyup.
The smell of the beer has a lot going on. Once the cork was popped, you could smell molasses and maple syrup right from the bottle. There is a bit of cardboard and dark candy sugar along with a small amount of brown sugar. I kind of feel like this might be ripe for pancakes.
The flavor is not as much of a mess and I expected. There is an abundance of sweetness but it's not as much of a flavor punch as one would think from the nose. Burnt caramel and molasses are on the front line. Some roasted malts and a hint of raisin slide in next while the maple syrup ties it all together. The maple isn't really strong, but it's more present than not. Glad to see it hasn't completely dissipated. There is a bit of hop bitterness that has remained. It brings up the rear like the flighty kid that HAS to stop and smell every flower along the way and ends up at the back of the line. This is as good as I could have hoped for it to be.
This beer is very well balanced and blended at this point. I actually enjoy it far better with the 3 years on it. I almost want to give a nod to the cork and cage for giving it a fighting chance. I have a suspicion that a regular crowned cap wouldn't have provided as much protection. To be fair, there is the slightest evidence of oxidation but not nearly as much as I've seen in other beers.
Worth the wait.
WHAT IS CELLARED?
Our CELLARED series aims to explore the world of aging beer and sharing the effects of time in the bottle. Bottles have been kept away from light and at temperatures between 44-60 degrees. Individual experiences may vary depending on storage environments.