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Short's Bourbon Barrel Sustenance Black Beer - Short's Brewing Company

Short's Bourbon Barrel Sustenance Black BeerShort's Bourbon Barrel Sustenance Black Beer

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BA SCORE
90
outstanding

175 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 175
Reviews: 79
rAvg: 4.03
pDev: 10.67%


Brewed by:
Short's Brewing Company visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
Schwarzbier |  6.50% ABV

Availability: Spring

Notes/Commercial Description:
Sustenance Black Beer aged it in bourbon barrels for 11 months.

(Beer added by: Baileyuk on 04-28-2008)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 175 | Reviews: 79 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Stevedore
Stevedore

Wisconsin

3.96/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle from the most recent 2013 release (no bottle date), generously given to me by fellow BA Benish. Poured into an unlabeled snifter today, 9/1/2013.

Pours a dark black, opaque body with a 1cm brown head that dissipates into a fairly thick brown collar. Not much lacing to speak of. Very dark looking brew.

Smells like sweet bourbon. Not much smoke or roastiness at all here. A bit of earthiness in the background.. must be the hops. But pretty much a sweet nose here. Not much oak or vanilla- just that sweet bourbon, a bit of chocolate and just a wee bit of roast malts.

Tastes like sweet bourbon mixed in with some caramel and toffee. Tasty brew that kind of reminds me of Jack and Coke, to be honest. Not much vanilla or oak here which I would have expected from a bourbon barrel beer, even if they call it "soaked" on the label. Interesting, pleasant, not super complex but tasty.

Mouthfeel on this is medium bodied, good carbonation. Its a bit slick and resinous, covers my tongue in sweet bourbon flavour. It's surprisingly low ABV which I don't get, with all that sweet bourbon! I guess this is part of the charm here. At the same time its a bit of a sipper just because of that flavour... you sip bourbon, right?

Interesting beer. Not meant to be compared to say, Bourbon County Stout or anything like that, but on its own this is an interesting, flavourful beer. I enjoyed it, and I recommend it to anyone who likes a lighter beer with some bourbon flavour in it. It holds up well surprisingly despite the relatively thin body and malt presence.

Serving type: bottle

09-02-2013 02:37:57 | More by Stevedore
Photo of joe1510
joe1510

Illinois

4.28/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

22oz Bomber

Recieved this in an ongoing trade with hoppymeal, thanks again Derek! Sustenance pours black with deep chestnut highlights when backlit. A creamy two fingers worth of mocha head rose on the pour and as it slowly fell left thick sheet lacing down the glass. Each drink leaves great, thick drink lines behind. The head eventually settles to a half finger cap atop the black body.

The first thing that hits my nose is the effects of the barrel "soaking" as the bottle implies. Damp oak, bourbon, and vanilla come forward in that order of intensity and although the barrel aging is most prominent it's soft and allows the schwarz to come through nicely. Each swirl of the glass brings along a solid roastiness and espresso. A mouthwatering beer the second I bury my nose in the glass.

Flavor keeps in stride with the aroma. Roastiness and coffee grounds upfront lay the foundation for the barrel aging. The maltiness is present throughout the drink allowing the bourbon to be a complimenting, as opposed to dominating, characteristic. The damp oak falls back compared to the aroma. The bourbon is brought to the front, followed closely by vanilla, and last but certainly not least is the damp oakiness. The bourbon finishes things off with a nice heat and hit of booziness. This is a super high quality schwarz from Short's.

One of the reasons I love schwarz biers is the body. This follows stride with some of the best but adds a bit of creaminess from the barrel aging. Medium body that leaves a slickness on the tongue.

For a barrel aged beer this is highly drinkable. The lighter body and a manageable abv keep this flowing without a problem. As a matter of fact I'm drinking this glass way too fast. I can't slow down.

I thought this would be a good beer, just as all Short's beers are, but I didn't expect to be drinking something so good. This is a phenomenal beer. So many barrel aged beers are over the top in whatever liquid the barrel previously held but Short's hit it on the head here. Another great beer from a brewery that's becoming one of my favorites with every passing beer I drink.

Reviewed: 6/7/08

Serving type: bottle

08-18-2013 23:03:22 | More by joe1510
Photo of maximum12
maximum12

Minnesota

3.98/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Been wanting to try this forever & when tectactoe tosses a bottle my way I inexplicably...leave it in the fridge for six weeks, or something. The mysterious ways of the mind. 12 oz. bottle sipped with a good brat, & afterwards.

Poured, the beer lives up to it Deutsch billing; black, though red around the edges & as the volume in the glass falls. Carbonation is fair to middlin'. Nose is heavy on the bourbon, with soft backups of roast & malts. Bourbon rules the roost here.

Bourbon Barrel Sustenance would be welcome in my water skin if I was wandering the depths of Mirkwood. Or Chicago. The brew is driven by the barrel, to the point that this could be a barrel-aged Dicktbier & it might not be much different. Fair dip of chocolate in the middle bracketed by oak, coconut (maybe?), vanilla. Bourbon takes control on the end, though it's been lined with chocolate. Plenty OK. Creamy; akin to a milk stout, almost. I'm sipping this like it comes with an expiration minute.

I'm not going to knife anyone for another bottle, but I'm seriously enjoying it. If the world were fair, it would get bonus points for being a relatively low ABV barrel-aged beer. Very good.

Serving type: bottle

08-03-2013 00:29:13 | More by maximum12
Photo of tectactoe
tectactoe

Michigan

3.95/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Thanks to Jeff for picking me up a sixer of this at the brewery. Not sure exactly what is meant by Bourbon Barrel "Soaked", rather than "Aged", but I'll never turn down a Shorts brew. This one pours a dark brown color, kind of thin and a bit lighter looking compared to what I had imagined in my mind. Almost no head at first, but it gracefully forms seconds after I finish pouring - tan in color, big-bubbled, and lightly creamy. No lace on the glass, but the beer leaves some wet legging when swirled.

One thing's for sure - the aroma on BB Sustenance is much more robust than its appearance might have you believe. It comes out swinging with a huge barrel presence - bourbon is perhaps the strongest peripheral, following closely by a large amount of smooth and sweet vanilla. Some mild oaky, woody, and nutty aromas lay beneath those, creating a beer that smells not too far off of sticking your head inside of an old bourbon barrel. Upon warming, more roasted malts and sweet chocolate notes jump out, too - this beer smells great.

One sip and you're immediately assulted by a great deal of booze; the bourbon hits hard, almost coming off as more of a raw, whiskey flavor. Once the initial shock of the bourbon subsides, other flavors that come out include a soft-spoken mix of cola, oak, roast, and some vanilla - sadly in much lower capacity than was found in the aroma. Lots of chocolate and cocoa powder comes crashing in about halfway through and hangs around for the aftertaste. Especially when this puppy warms up, the semi-sweet cocoa becomes a big proponent in the finish.

The mouth feel on BB Sustenance is slick and wet, but it has a slight creaminess to it that keeps it feeling smooth and refreshing on the palate. Carbonation is pretty low, but it really isn't much of a bother. I guess when I hear "Bourbon Barrel" in front of a beer, I'm expecting some thick, viscous, chewy-ass liquid, but that's simply not the case. Schwarzbiers typically are not thick, and so it shouldn't be too much of a concern that BB Sustenance isn't, either, save for the barrel-induced creaminess.

It's hard to believe this beer is only 6.5% ABV - the bourbon character is very strong and very forward. It starts strong and finishs strong, leaving a warmth that engulfs your throat and even the upper-half of your chest after each swallow. Not so much robust as it is unabashedly powerful; while I still enjoyed the beer, some time in the cellar might provide a smoother flavor profile with a slightly toned down alcohol assault. Fresh, this one's a slow sipper. Shorts wasn't too far off with their slogan for this one - "for when you're hungry and thirsty".

Serving type: bottle

05-01-2013 11:51:17 | More by tectactoe
Photo of TheSevenDuffs
TheSevenDuffs

Ontario (Canada)

3.95/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

No freshness info apparent.
Poured in to tulip.

A - Poured black with one finger of tan coloured head that reduced to a thin layer.

S - Huge bourbon and oak aromas up front followed by some sweet vanilla notes. The barrel characteristics dominate the nose with only light roast aroma coming through from the base beer.

T - Bourbon and oak up front with roast, chocolate and pitted fruit notes present as well. A touch of barrel funk going on here but not enough to be distracting. More of the base beer comes through than the nose indicated.

M - Light to medium body with a slight chew. Moderate carbonation. A touch thin.

Serving type: bottle

10-19-2012 22:18:27 | More by TheSevenDuffs
Photo of hopswap1
hopswap1

Illinois

4.03/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle from Nachos4two, Thanks!

Pours dark brown almost black with finger of head that shrinks rather quickly. Smell is a big punch of sweet bourbon with a little bit of chocolate. Wow is that bourbony. Taste follows the nose with a big bourbon presence with a slightly boozy taste. The beer is rather thin but surprising amounts of carbonation. Overall, a beer unlike any I've had. Not an incredible beer but definitely one of a kind and worth a try. Wouldn't mind drinking this frequently.

Serving type: bottle

09-21-2012 03:08:04 | More by hopswap1
Photo of eclipse54
eclipse54

Minnesota

3.98/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 12 ounce bottle from fvernon; thank you!

A dark brown (to the point of black) with subtle mahogany hues near the very edges. A tiny bit of cream-colored head forms, and leaves a good amount of lacing behind. Aroma is of bourbon, toffee, toasted marshmallow, caramel, a bit of milk chocolate, and some vanilla. Tastes pretty similar, but with an emphasis on the bourbon and a tiny bit of raw ethanol tacked on the end. Caramel, toffee, toasted sugars, and vanilla all come through quite well. Mouthfeel is thinner than anticipated, and this one finishes relatively clean. Warming alcohol on the end. Overall, this one took to the bourbon very well. I'd be happy to have another anytime.

Serving type: bottle

08-22-2012 02:17:13 | More by eclipse54
Photo of shand
shand

Florida

4.45/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a snifter.

This one gave me some headaches just wondering what to pour a bourbon-barrel aged lager into! It pours out pretty black, with a small head that quickly shrinks to the edge of the glass. The aroma? Goddamn, that's bourbon-y. The taste is also great and interesting. It is very strong on the bourbon at first, but goes interestingly tart pretty quick. The finish cancels out the tartness for some roasted malts and some more of the bourbon flavors (and a touch of wood). The body is extremely light, especially for a beer with such a bourbon taste. It works with that tartness in the middle though. The drinkability is good. What an interesting brew from Shorts, I was a little skeptical, but it works out better than I expected.

Serving type: bottle

08-06-2012 03:29:22 | More by shand
Photo of sukwonee
sukwonee

Washington

3.98/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Dark Brown to black body with 1 finger head, good amount of lacing

S: Bourbon, chocolate, Breadiness, some cheese? I smell something like a chocolate cheesecake.

T: I cannot say I have ever had anything like this before. Starts off with bourbon, chocolate, slight booziness, sweet malt, then some sourness kicking in. Sour apple maybe? Finishes off with more booziness. Sweetness is also there.

M: It's thin but syrupy. Carbonation is pretty sharp for a bourbon aged beer. Finishes dry.

O: I would say, this beer is very solid. I am not sure though what the hell I just drank though haha (not familar with the style and such style beer aged in bourbon barrel).

Serving type: bottle

07-16-2012 03:19:59 | More by sukwonee
Photo of hopsolutely
hopsolutely

Ontario (Canada)

3.93/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, almost opaque black with red highlights at the edge of the glass. Very little head, and low carbonation yielding a silky but otherwise unremarkable mouthfeel.

Stellar aroma of roasted dark malts and aged barrel tannin smokiness. The flavour is equally well delivered, a sweet caramelized & toasted malt portfolio with a well balanced vanilla & oak background and a decent hop bitterness at the end. The finish is pleasantly dry with a slight & surprising black licorice note and lingers for an impressive length of time.

Serving type: bottle

07-15-2012 22:19:51 | More by hopsolutely
Photo of FosterJM
FosterJM

California

3.73/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

1336th Review on BA
Bottle to Mug
12 oz

Thanks to ErikKoppin for this one

App- A nice darker brown pour with some decent density and a bit of red around the edges. A small 1/4-1/2 in head was there and then left. No lace or cling.

Smell- A good amount of bourbon is there on the nose with a little bit of a peat/smokey malt. Wasnt a nose basher by anymeans, just a bit light and one dimensional.

Taste- I like the fact that the bourbon is more prevalant on the taste and that the smoke takes a back seat. A little bit of plum and fig came in on the back of the flavors.

Mouth- A lighter medium with a light carbonation. A bit prickly with some residual bourbon/smoke being felt.

Drink- It was okay. Wasnt a wow but wasnt bad. I not being a fan of schwarzbiers came into this with an open mind. I wouldnt mind another bottle to age though.

Serving type: bottle

06-08-2012 15:18:27 | More by FosterJM
Photo of Rhettroactive
Rhettroactive

District of Columbia

3.33/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

From 12oz bottle to Bruges hybrid glass on 4/7/12
*From notes

A: A dark shade of brown. A good pour yields a loose 1.25 finger head. Thin collar, no lacing.

S: A shit ton of bourbon and not a whole lot else. Which is awesome. If you like bourbon.

T: Pretty much the same as the nose. The beer is nothing more then a delivery device for the barreled spirit that was housed prior to the beer. Though I kind of dig it, the thing I want to know is why? Why would someone looking for bourbon drink a beer smothered by bourbon when they can simply drink....bourbon? I guess I should note that the back of this is a bit tangy - some mouth watering red fruit, which leaves an unwanted finish lingering on my palate.

M: It's ok, I guess. Thinner then I'd like for a bourbon barreled beer. But for a standard Schwarzbier, it's not half bad.

O: Just another weirdy from Short's. What the fuck are they smoking up there in Bellaire? Who comes up with these off-the-wall offerings? Some are pretty cool and tasty. Some, like this, are merely passable. And others (as many of you know) are absolutely terrible. I give 'em credit for not backing down from their outside-the-box way of thinking, but there comes a point where you just want a God damn beer.

Add this to the list of "middle of the road" Short's offerings. Hey, I consider it a win when my drain doesn't share a Short's with me.

Serving type: bottle

04-12-2012 21:01:41 | More by Rhettroactive
Photo of nataku00
nataku00

California

3.13/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bottle poured into a tulip glass. Beer pours a dark opaque brown with barely a half a finger of light brown khaki color foamy head. Head dissipates immediately to a film and some tiny bubbles along the collar with no lacing or alcohol feet. Some fine carbonation visible at the edge of the glass.

There's some sweet milk and dark chocolate, slightly tangy dark fruit, stale coffee or cardboard like aromas, molasses, and a bit of old oak. I'm not quite sure if this is supposed to smell like this and I don't get much bourbon heat.

Taste follows the nose exactly, though maybe a little more stale bread, coffee, coming through and a touch of herbal hop bittering in the front of the tongue. I get a bit of bourbon flavor in the back end near the finish, with sweeter red fruit and caramel. Finishes pretty dry, with more stale cardboard and chocolate lingering lightly.

Light body with a nice soft carbonation, enough to contribute to a drinkable beer. Flavors are a bit weird for me though.

Serving type: bottle

01-09-2012 03:25:23 | More by nataku00
Photo of mikesgroove
mikesgroove

South Carolina

4.18/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

dark black in color with no light shining thorough at ALL. Had the look of a monster stout with a big head of tan that capped it nicely, settling down after a few moments into a nice pillow that left tons of lacing down the sides of the glass. Aroma is hoppy at first but then comes through with a deep, roasted, and smoked note that really gives it a good bit of depth. Nice touches here of caramel, hints of cocoa, and loads of piney hops. Really nicely done and quite different then what I was expecting. Warming really brought this out and each sip was a nice progression from biting hops, mellow smoked malts, and a rich, semi sweet and dry finish.

Serving type: bottle

12-04-2011 02:57:47 | More by mikesgroove
Photo of mdvatab
mdvatab

Indiana

3.25/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Received this one as extra in a trade this past Fall. Split w/ barfwin.
Poured from 12oz bottle into snifter.

Aroma: Dark chocolate syrup, raisin, malted milk, and bourbon.

Appearance: 1/2 finger lt. tan head disappears quickly. The stream of beer resembles a cola as it's poured from the bottle. Once in the glass, it's, similarly, brown around the edges, and black in the middle.

Flavor: A noticeable bourbon flavor up front, an interesting cherry tartness, and then smokey dark chocolate. Not bad, but I wasn't necessarily wowed either.

Mouthfeel: Medium mouthfeel, medium carbonation, and an unexpected, almost mouth-watering tartness.

Overall: Definitely a unique brew, which I'd like to try again on-tap at some point. I'm admittedly not a huge fan of a tart component in richer, maltier, roastier beers, though. Also, would have liked a bit more foam from a schwarzbier, but the bourbon component might have adversely affected this? Try for yourself!

Serving type: bottle

12-04-2011 01:29:47 | More by mdvatab
Photo of Scrumtralecent
Scrumtralecent

Illinois

4.1/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011, poured from a bottle into a snifter.

A - Pours black with a very bubbly light tan head. Head remarkably sticks around for quite a bit.

S - Appropriately named, this beer smells quite full. Barrel and a hint of bourbon hit first, along with a maltiness and almost breadiness that makes this beer smell quite intriguing. Some vanilla notes and slight cherry come through more as it warms. Wide range of aromas from dark to sweet.

T - An intriguing barrel aging. The bourbon is not as forward in this as most bourbon barrel agings go. If anything, the malt hits first and the bourbon comes later as an afterthought, leaving some alcohol burn and punch. A nice roast to the taste to add to the flavors. If this were considered a stout, I'd say it was thin. But for a schwarzbier, this has quite a bit of flavor.

M - Very smooth with some heaviness from the barrel at the end. Carbonation was good. Enjoyable.

O - A nice beer and something different which is always good. Not many barrel aged schwarzbiers out there that I know of. Great fall beer as it was dark, roasty, yet very drinkable. And the smell, while not overpowering, was quite eclectic. Would have again.

Serving type: bottle

12-01-2011 06:10:12 | More by Scrumtralecent
Photo of prototypic
prototypic

Ohio

3.98/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bourbon Barrel Sustenance pours a dark, chocolate fudge color. It’s not opaque. Backlighting reveals some burgundy highlights throughout. A tan head covers the top. It rises above a surface covering, but not by much. The surface bubbles hold steady for a while. Lacing was definitely light and spotty. Not bad at all.

The nose is good. It kicks off with a nice bourbon scent. It’s not overly strong. I like that. It complements the dark malt notes of cocoa and chocolate well. Light roasted malt scents are present, but they’re very subtle. Secondary notes include vanilla and oak. Alcohol is definitely in the mix. What’d you expect with something barrel-aged? Doesn’t smell overly strong though. Smells good.

The flavor is likewise good. It’s a touch better than the nose, but not enough to trigger a score bump. It kicks off with a mix of chocolate, cocoa, and light roasted malts. Bittersweet dark chocolate leads the charge. Bourbon follows quickly and complements the malt base extremely well. Its presence is moderately strong. I love that. Secondary flavors include oak, vanilla, coconut, and roasted coffee. Good stuff. Alcohol is there, but isn’t too strong. Seems a little stronger than 6.5% to me, but perhaps not double digit territory. Just sayin’. Finishes malty with a touch of bourbon. Very good stuff.

Bourbon Barrel Sustenance has a medium body that’s nice and smooth. Carbonation is dialed back nicely. I like the feel quite a bit. Perhaps a tad bit more body would improve it, but that’s just a guess. Pretty well done as it is.

Short’s Brewing Company continues to impress. Bourbon Barrel Sustenance is very solid all-around. Bourbon Barrel-aging a Schwarzbier – who would’ve thought? It works extremely well though. The moderate bourbon presence was a great call. It complements rather than overpowers. Very good stuff. Easy recommendation.

Serving type: bottle

11-26-2011 04:38:28 | More by prototypic
Photo of camil1mj
camil1mj

Michigan

3.33/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle served chilled. Poured into my Founders snifter.

A: Medium brown. Slight white and bubbly thin head.

S: Bourbon, caramel and malt. Some weak bourbon and oak note on the backend.

T: Messy sweetness up front that gives way to an astringent finish.

M: Thin and lighter body. Mild carbonation.

O: An improvement over the standard Sustenance. Glad I got to try it, but would not buy it again.

Serving type: bottle

11-12-2011 02:14:31 | More by camil1mj
Photo of brew3crew
brew3crew

Ohio

3.65/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

In line at founders for CBS

A-black body with a tan head that quickly disapates

S-delicious! Sweet bourbony smell that mixes in well with the rest if the beer

T-disappointment from the smell. Weird after taste that can't be fingered

M-medium body and smooth

O-decent beer that smells great

Serving type: bottle

10-01-2011 10:32:16 | More by brew3crew
Photo of robwestcott
robwestcott

Indiana

4.13/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

big thanks to erikkoppin for another bottle of short's brew.

poured cold from the bottle pitch black to a founders brewing goblet with just a hint of a quickly fading mocha head, leaving a thin rim of bubbles around the surface

aroma of dark chocolate and bourbon in the back, and maybe a wee bit of smoke.

very nice. wow. bourbon way up front, but no heat, not overwhelming and actually, as it warms, its balanced quite nicely with the chocolate malts.

medium bodied, bigger carbonation than the pour gave away, smooth, sweet and a bit of heat as it heads down.

overall, a very enjoyable brew and at 6.5abv, i'd have a couple more if i had them.

Serving type: bottle

09-15-2011 21:59:59 | More by robwestcott
Photo of stakem
stakem

Pennsylvania

3.65/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle care of Dunt, this has been on my wants list for quite a long time. Thanks for the generosity man!

Poured into a pub glass, this brew appears a dark brown to black color. A finger of tan head sits atop the brew and quickly fades to a thin layering across the top with spots of lace sticking to the glass. When held to the light, some brown and reddish clarity is seen through the edges. A light swirl brings back nearly a finger of tan head.

The smell of this brew is very heavy on the barrel aged presence. It is absolutely pungent with nearly perfume-like vanilla quality. More smells reveal a tangy alcohol inclusion, a bit of licorice and some roasted grain elements minorly like coffee. Throughout the entire duration, the vanilla is so pungent, it is almost artificial smelling and a little off-putting. When swirled, a bit of a sulfur note comes out of the brew.

The taste is robust with whiskey infused alcoholic tangy character. A bit of roasted grain bitterness and an equally bold display of vanilla flavoring. There is some oaked flavoring present throughout which balanced the bitterness and seeming sweet vanilla inclusion. As the brew warms up, the alcohol inclusion gets increasingly more tangy which is interesting. The aftertaste is the only feature minorly reminiscent of a schwarzbier with some roasted quality mixed with a touch of citrus.

This is a medium to light bodied brew with a moderate to light level of carbonation. The alcohol hits with a strenght that seems more than the listed 6.5%. Overall this opened up very impressive but sort of fell apart as it warmed up. The barrel aged presence while enjoyable is very overpowering. If that is the sort of thing you look for in barrel aged beers you might really dig this brew (which normally is the case for me.) For some reason this one just didnt drive it all the way home like I was hoping. Regardless it is worth a try if you get the chance. Thanks again Dunt.

Serving type: bottle

09-13-2011 01:20:08 | More by stakem
Photo of afdempse
afdempse

Maryland

3.58/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks to FlanderNed for the trade, and Huhzubendah for sharing!

Pours thick & black, with a creamy tan head.

Lots of vanilla in the nose, along with oak & slight alcohol.

Flavor begins with vanilla up front, followed by sweet bourbon, malt, toasted oak and vanilla extract. Warming alcohol in the throat and sandalwood in the breath. There is a slight bitterness and sour notes throughout that distract attention away from the beer's better characteristics.

Mouthfeel is not quite as full as I'd expect from a beer like this, and I'd prefer a smoother finish, but then again, who's ever tried to barrel-age a Schwarzbier before? Kudos to Short's for pushing the envelope.

Serving type: bottle

09-03-2011 03:40:40 | More by afdempse
Photo of Huhzubendah
Huhzubendah

District of Columbia

4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A big thank you to FlandersNed for sending this beer my way in our last trade. Split with Adam.

The beer is dark brown, nearing black. The beige head stands in at a finger's width, and leaves some decent lacing on the glass.

The aroma is quite sweet. Booze, vanilla, malt, light roast, chocolate.

The flavor is definitely bourbon forward. Grandiose vanilla presence. The sweetness is formidable, and I can see that my six ounces will be sufficient. The bourbon, while overpowering to some degree, is bold and tasty. Chocolate and roast play a secondary role, and blend nicely with the the bourbon character. Mildly roasty, perhaps the other aspects of the beer overshadow the roast somewhat.

Medium bodied with appropriate carbonation. Sweet and boozy.

An interesting beer. Not my favorite bourbon barrel aged brew by any stretch, but worth a try. I enjoyed this.

Serving type: bottle

09-01-2011 04:00:14 | More by Huhzubendah
Photo of OakedCanuck
OakedCanuck

Washington

3.05/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle into cervoise. From notes

A - Pours a dark brown with tight edging (little light on the edging). Very small 1/2" tan head dissipated quickly and the lacing was slick and oily

S - Bourbon is very strong. Also get caramel, toffee, cherries and raisins.

T - Lots of bourbon with a rum or port undercarriage. Lots of bittersweet chocolate with a slight smokiness to it. VERY sweet caramel, toffee and brown sugar. Very little hoppiness if any at all. Struggling to get through this.

M - Crazy sticky from the sweetness, medium to light heavy body.

O - This was a tough one for me to finish. As much as I like bourbon barreled beers, this one seemed like it was a bit too much. Hard to finish but if you want bourbon, here it is.

Serving type: bottle

08-09-2011 23:46:19 | More by OakedCanuck
Photo of Wadsey
Wadsey

Indiana

3/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bourbon Barrel Soaked Sustenance Black Beer

Served in New Belgium globe glass

A: Pours clear deep brown with 2-inch head that recedes fairly quickly but leaves haphazard lacing. 

S:  Distinct and delicious aroma of butter rum leads off. Next, spiced rum, wood and brandy. The base beer is smothered. Honestly, this smells like Angel's Share should have smelled. 

T: Well, there is a slightly tart note that initiates tasting. Two other interesting notes follow: toasted coconut and vanilla. The barrel does add a splash of bourbon, but butter rum and spiced rum still come through. Again, the base beer is struggling under load and makes its presence known solely in the finish: powdered and bitter chocolate. Alcohol is easily detectable. 

M: Medium body and carbonation. A little oilier and rougher than regular Sustenance Black Beer. This beer also is somewhat warming. How much booze was added to this?

O: I like Bourbon Barrel Soaked Sustenance Black Beer less than its little brother. Too much barrel, not enough base beer. This beer also cannot compete with Short's preeminent barrel-aged beer, which is Barrel-Aged Wizard. 

Serving type: bottle

08-04-2011 03:25:43 | More by Wadsey
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Short's Bourbon Barrel Sustenance Black Beer from Short's Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 175 ratings.