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

Not Rated.
Short's Bourbon Barrel Sustenance Black BeerShort's Bourbon Barrel Sustenance Black Beer

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
90
outstanding

191 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 191
Reviews: 80
rAvg: 4.03
pDev: 10.67%
Wants: 53
Gots: 26 | FT: 2
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: 191 | Reviews: 80 | Display Reviews Only:
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4.5/5  rDev +11.7%

BeRanger, Dec 13, 2011
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4.5/5  rDev +11.7%

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4.5/5  rDev +11.7%

Slay40, Jun 20, 2013
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4.5/5  rDev +11.7%

HopHeadHerman, Mar 31, 2014
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4.5/5  rDev +11.7%

MarkGleason, Aug 11, 2013
Photo of dejones
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%

dejones, May 23, 2014
Photo of DLucky
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%

DLucky, Sep 04, 2013
Photo of joshuaseresse
4.47/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle brought back from my trip to Michigan. Drank after the golden delicious...at around 12:30pm on a Sunday...

A - A thick head with a pour, retains about a inch or so of head after the pour and holds onto it for a while. Black and brown with a ruby hue. Slight lacing retention.

S - Fresh bourbon and a little sweet toffee, carmael and light brown sugar.

T - Zesty vanilla and a bit earthy. Only slight bit of bourbon. Suprising difference between the smell and taste in that I expected the taste to follow the smell, but it was only slightly the case. Very enjoyable though.

M - Lighter than I thought based on the nose and the taste. I expected it to feel thicker than it was. The carbonation is perfect and crisp, easy and enjoyable to drink.

D - A very nice treat. The senses say one thing while the texture says something different. Very complex and a nice suprise. I'm very please and wish I bought more.

joshuaseresse, Oct 24, 2010
Photo of Lothore
4.47/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a clear dark brown / blackish hue with little to no head.

S- Smell is fairly faint, non destinct sweetness along with a small roasted malt backbone.

T- Now this is what i'm talking about! Roasted sweetness followed by deep candied fruit notes mixed with dark chocolate. This is all tied off with a nice roasty coffee-esque flavor. Definitely subtle yet delicious.

M- Medium viscosity with quite a bit of carbonation.

D- This is definitely an easy and balanced drinker. I was a little worried about this being heavy but it isn't at all. All in all an excellent brew!~

Lothore, Jun 08, 2008
Photo of warnerry
4.45/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

warnerry, Feb 19, 2011
Photo of shand
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.

shand, Aug 06, 2012
Photo of FtownThrowDown
4.43/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Bottle I bought from Short's, picked up for me by the ever generous Northernbrews. You da man Jeff!
Pours black in color with just a bit of froth for a head. Smell is bourbon, cocoa and some vanilla to round it out. This smells absolutely incredible. Taste is more of the bourbon, some cocoa and a bit of roasted malts. This is very good for a schwarzbier. Very smooth and I can't even put into words how drinkable this is. It's often overstated, but I could drink this everyday, allday. Wonderful beer from Short's. Thanks again Jeff, you da man!

FtownThrowDown, Jun 07, 2009
Photo of BigDaddyWil
4.43/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Brewery release only for the Short's Fourth Anniversary party. Only 350 bottles.
Poured from a 22oz. bomber into a tasting snifter.
The brewery confirmed that this is Schwarzbier that was aged 11 months in a bourbon barrel. The beer was 6.3% abv before barrel aged.

Pours a very dark caramel color, with some copper highlights around the egdes. Half inch, off white head forms, but dissapates quickly. Some spotty lacing is left behind.
Aromas of dark bitter roasted malts upfront, with the bourbon taking a backseat. As the beer warms, more aromas of bourbon, oak, and vanilla come through.
Very nice balanced barrel aged beer!! The bourbon blends well with this lager. Neither one dominates the flavor. This is how bourbon aged beers should taste!! You can pick out the roasted malt flavors, and the bourbon seems to complement this schwarzbier perfectly. More bourbon, oak, and vanilla flavors peak through as the beer warms.
The mouthfeel is a little thin, slightly oily, but thats par for the style. This black bier holds up well to the bourbon. This is the first barrel aged beer I've had, that doesn't leave you feeling full.
Extremely easy too drink, due to the lighter body and alcohol. I don't know what the final abv is after barrel aging, but its hidden quite well. There is a hint of alcohol warmth in the finish.
Overall, a fantastic barrel aged lager and another fine beer from Short's Brewing Co!

BigDaddyWil, May 01, 2008
Photo of GbVDave
4.4/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750ml bottle (even though the label says "22oz") into a thick stemmed DFH snifter. Special thanks to joshuaseresse for this from our trade!

A: Pours a deep black with some faint lightening at the edges. Capping the darkness is two fingers of lovely, dark khaki cream that rose, ever so slightly, over the rim of the glass. The head stuck around for ages, fed by a fair amount of carbonation. Some lacey ropes were left behind.

S: Quite apparent (but not obnoxiously so) bourbon aroma when first poured. Bourbon and charred oak are the main attraction here with ample supporting help from heavily roasted malt, toffee, dark chocolate, toasted nuts, and a touch of coffee.

T: Much like above but with an excellent addition of vanilla to the mix. Caramel, dark fruit, bourbon and chocolate. Very nice!

M: Starts off sweet and quite sticky. As the bottle wore on I noticed that it became slightly drier and quite spicy. It also thinned slightly from the initial pour, making it easier and easier to drink.

D: The low abv and sorta thinnish (read: not RIS) mouthfeel make for one hell of a drinkable bourbon barrel aged beer. Totally sessionable...and frigging delicious!

GbVDave, Oct 22, 2010
Photo of JamesShoemaker
4.35/5  rDev +7.9%

JamesShoemaker, Aug 26, 2014
Photo of Georgiabeer
4.33/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Interesting beer. The lighter body of a schwarzbier gives an entirely different mouthfeel and drinking experience than most other, heavier bourbon barrel beers. Like it or dislike it, it's certainly a different approach. I happen to like it- at least for a change of pace, but I don't think it reaches the heights of the best bourbon barrel beers. Pours black with some ruby highlights and a short head. Smells of some very light graininess, lightly of bourbon, and with some dark chocolate. Tastes light and clean with noticeable bourbon, but on the lighter side. Quite dry in style. The beer is also slightly astringent and soft with a clean roasted grain flavor throughout. Soft and light in the mouth with a cocoa finish, very easy to drink. A nice surprise.

Georgiabeer, Jan 25, 2009
Photo of gford217
4.33/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of HiAIPA and armchairboogie poured into a pilsner glass.

A: Pours deep, deep mahogany with a bubbly two-finger tan head that lingers for a little while and leaves a trace of lacing.

S: Smell is complex and interesting with bourbon definitely showing up and burning the nose a little. There is also tons of dark fruit with raisins and even grapes on top a very sweet malt base with brown sugar as well.

T: Taste is just as interesting as the nose with an initial sweetness of sugar and caramel. Dark fruits show throughout on top of a roasted malt base before giving way to a tingling alcohol finish.

M: Mouthfeel is medium bodied with good carbonation and leaves a sticky sweet aftertaste tinged with booze.

D: This is one of the best schwarzbiers I've ever had and I think the bourbon barrel use is very well done. This is my first Shorts brew and I'm looking forward to more. Highly recommended!

gford217, Aug 26, 2008
Photo of webmanspidey
4.33/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a growler at Short's. Dark black color with a tan head. Smell is a combination of vanilla, oak, and caramel. Bourbon is also present. Taste is a nice mix of vanilla and oak again. Very buttery. Probably the lightest bourbon aged beer I've tried. Very sweet and mellow with more hints of molasses and caramel. Very good.

webmanspidey, Aug 17, 2010
Photo of rallison
4.3/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks, once again, to Jeff for this gem.

First off, this was entered in as a Baltic Porter? This did start life as a schwarzbier, that really ought to be the style this is classified as...this sure isn't a Baltic Porter!

Pours a cola-like dark brown with a 1/2 inch head that quickly recedes to the very outer edges.

Smells of bourbon, berries and molasses. Actually, a very tasty smelling beer.

Similar flavors to the smell with some odd similarities to cola. Not that this is necessarily bad, but it is interesting that it ended up this way. Definitely a fair amount of bourbon here, but the flavors work, so I don't mind. Coffee and some more dark fruits also present themselves.

Medium to low carbonation helps this beer from being too thin. Mind you, this is only 6.5%, so don't expect a huge body. Surprisingly, the bourbon doesn't really thin out this beer at all - I would guess this beer, without the bourbon aging, would have no more body than this, and quite possibly less. All of this helps to make this a very drinkable bourbon barrel aged beer. Slight alcohol hit at the end - in a nice, warming way.

I've not had something quite like this before, but it works well. An interesting mix of flavors with strong bourbon characteristics that make for a truly hearty schwarzbier. I can see having this with big Thanksgiving spread.

rallison, Jul 02, 2008
Photo of joe1510
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

joe1510, Aug 19, 2013
Photo of koopa
4.28/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2008 bomber received in a trade with FlandersNed who is awesome!

Appearance: Black body with 2 finger creamy beige crown composed of fine carbonation. Lots of retention and tons of lace!

Smell: Beautifully refined soft bourbon notes, lots of oakiness, a touch of anise, but a large cinnamon like quality and some lightly sour notes. This is fantastic!

Taste: Nice dark roast malt with a slight sourness in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Deliciously creamy and on the light side of medium with ample carbonation.

Drinkability: btw the lower abv and the outstanding mouthfeel, I could drink this all day.

koopa, Sep 02, 2009
Photo of king75
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%

king75, Apr 28, 2014
Photo of Photekut
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%

Photekut, May 19, 2013
Photo of jivex5k
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%

jivex5k, Sep 04, 2013
Photo of adamdd
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%

adamdd, Jun 25, 2012
Short's Bourbon Barrel Sustenance Black Beer from Short's Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 191 ratings.