Short's Bourbon Barrel Sustenance Black Beer - Short's Brewing Company
Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
Ratings: 190 | Reviews: 80 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by dlello2:
More User Reviews:
3.95/5 rDev -2.2%
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".
05-01-2013 11:51:17 | More by tectactoe
3.7/5 rDev -8.4%
22oz bomber with awesome label art. The cap comes off with quite a pop as the brew flows out of the bottle...a quick catch into my glass leaves me a dark brown body with a two finger light tan head on top. Initial aromas of lightly roasted dark malts and hints of caramel. There's a wild yeast character here that brings some sour bretty funk to the table as well with fruity accents. Woody oak tones and a mellow bourbon character that just barely shines through.
First sip brings a nice roasty dark malt upfront with hints of caramel and fruitiness. There's a hint of chocolate that moves into a woody oak flavor. Sour tinge is still there with the wild yeast accent. Only a touch of bourbon flavor hints through on the way down. My bottle at least comes off as a funky, oaky schwarzbier and even if this was not the intention I enjoyed it.
Mouthfeel is on the lighter side with swift moving carbonation and plenty of it. This goes down rather easily, but the bubbles are a little much. Overall, the wild yeast twist to this beer made it taste a lot different that I was expecting...this reminds me of a Jolly Pumpkin brew expect aged in bourbon. I did end up enjoying the bomber and thanks to hoppymeal for the opportunity.
10-16-2008 02:47:18 | More by orbitalr0x
4.45/5 rDev +10.1%
Notes from summer 2010
Pours pitch black with minimal head that dissipates pretty quickly. Does leave some nice lacing behind.
Smell is wonderful sweet bourbon and malt, with notes of chocolate and vanilla and some ripe dark fruits.
Taste is similar to smell, with wonderful subtle bourbon notes and a nice smoky malt.
Mouthfeel is medium with decent carbonation.
Drinkability is very high. This is one of the best examples of bourbon barrel aging really improving a beer, as the regular Black Sustenance is pretty underwhelming. A very nice beer that I would love to see Short's do again.
02-19-2011 01:45:50 | More by warnerry
4/5 rDev -1%
A lovely schwartzbier. Pours black, white head, with mollasses and pleasant bourbon aroma. Above average mouthfeel, a little grain substance, caramel,chocolate malt,vanilla, coffee, some roast. Very drinkable, and brett in there gives it an edge.I will explore more of this brewer's brews. Good fun.
03-01-2009 01:19:49 | More by Sammy
3.98/5 rDev -1.5%
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.
11-26-2011 04:38:28 | More by prototypic
3.85/5 rDev -4.7%
750ml bottle thanks to Nick3. Always good to tick a retired beer. Retired usually means it was too good for the brewery to brew again.
Pours very dark brown with a small off-white head that leaves swirls on the beer.
The aroma is pretty big - bourbon, roast, caramel, spices, and oak.
Big flavor with big-time caramel and toffee, spices, anise, roast, hazelnut, bourbon, and oak. Solid stuff.
Medium-bodied with medium-low mouthfeel and only slight booziness.
Pretty good -bal aged beer, but not a standout.
10-09-2010 00:15:23 | More by nickd717
3.25/5 rDev -19.6%
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!
12-04-2011 01:29:47 | More by mdvatab
3.88/5 rDev -4%
Poured into pint glass from bottle I picked up on summer trip through Michigan.
A: Black coffee appearance with fair head that dissipates into a lacy film
S: Roasty wood tones, very warming.
T: Robust earth tones, full of flavor that starts with sour wood notes and mellows into a pleasent sweetness. Quite complex and very enjoyable.
M: Crisp, bold and clean.
D: Very high on the drinkability scale, bold but not over the top.
11-28-2008 02:16:26 | More by sailbretthd
4/5 rDev -1%
12oz 2011 bottle courtesy of Erik (erikkoppin). Thanks so much for this generous extra. Cheers!
Appearance – Pours into my Bell’s tulip with an almost opaque dark chocolate color. When held up to bright light just the faintest red hues of light shine through. About a finger of quickly dissipating tan head that leaves decent lacing.
Smells – Smells chewy if that is possible. Lots of sweet bourbon barrel notes up front which fade to some dark fruits, brown sugar, oak, and a slight presence of vanilla. As the beer warms a butterscotch/toffee aroma becomes more noticeable.
Taste – Wow, lots of butterscotch and vanilla here right at the start! The bourbon actually becomes more prevalent as the beer warms and with each sip I take (intermixing with the first two flavors). There is bittersweet cocoa/chocolate, earthiness, and again more sweetness that goes from butterscotch to toffee to brown sugar. A “candied” beer if you will.
Mouthfeel – Medium bodied, not as creamy as I was expecting though enough, carbonation on par for what I would expect.
Overall – An interesting barrel aged beer from Short’s. As I always say, I am glad I was able to try it. Would I seek it out again? Probably not, but I am rather enjoying the flavors (though they are a bit one dimensional, smacking you in the face with each one, but then again isn’t that what Short’s is known for?). Not as cloying as I would expect, but would never have more than one at a time.
06-08-2011 01:14:07 | More by SpdKilz
3.95/5 rDev -2.2%
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.
10-19-2012 22:18:27 | More by TheSevenDuffs
Short's Bourbon Barrel Sustenance Black Beer from Short's Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 190 ratings.