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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

190 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 190
Reviews: 80
rAvg: 4.04
pDev: 10.64%
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: 190 | Reviews: 80 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of szmnnl99
4.25/5  rDev +5.2%

szmnnl99, Apr 18, 2013
Photo of sholland119
4.22/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this one from dashirey for Powerball. Thanks, Dain! Shared this one with Deuane, SierraGS and vickster529.

A-Pours dark brown, opaque, with a thin tan head. No real lacing.

S-A bold tart oakiness is somewhat balanced by a bit of dark chocolate.

T-Very tasty. Roasty and tart up front with a very strong oak presence. Following this, some nice cherry notes sneak in, followed by a roasted coffee finish.

M-Medium bodied and dry.

D-Nicely tart and tasty. A bourbon barrel schwarzbier is a bold concept but well executed here.

HV

sholland119, Aug 25, 2009
Photo of kzoobrew
4.22/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

enjoyed at Short's 07/31/10, review input from notes.

Deep brown body in the glass, lets face it a Schwarzbier is rarely black. Slim cafe au lait colored head. Retention is not a strong suit, thought a light ring is left around the edge. Scattered lacing through out but not particularly impressive.

Bourbon is evident right off the bat. While the bourbon stands out it is not overwhelming. Roasted malt and a bitter chocolate aroma are able to shine through and balance the aroma.

Much the same as in the nose, bourbon but balance. My first barrel aged beer from Short's and I am impressed. Like any good -bal beer the bourbon should be very evident but not overwhelming, this is certainly the case. With every sip the bourbon is noted but allows the flavor of the beer to remain recognizable. Combination of roasted and bready malt. Vanilla and a woodiness contributed from the barrel. The booze is light and slightly warming.

The body is lighter than most barrel aged beers I have encountered. Medium bodied. remains light despite the booziness of the bourbon. Carbonation is on the lower end but fits well.

Very good beer, I would have enjoyed another glass but there were too many other options on tap. Worth a try if available to you.

kzoobrew, Aug 29, 2010
Photo of mikesgroove
4.18/5  rDev +3.5%
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.

mikesgroove, Dec 04, 2011
Photo of johnd513
4.18/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown with a small frothy tan head. The smell is a huge sour bourbon and vinegar aroma more pungent than any barrel aged beer I have come across. The taste begins with oak flavors followed by cocoa, alcohol and sour flavors. The mouthfeel is crisp and goes down easy with significant carbonation that tingles the tongue. Drinkability is good. I would not have more than on of these in a sitting but this is truly one of the most unique beers I have had to date.

johnd513, Jun 23, 2009
Photo of taylorhamrick
4.15/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Got in a trade from hotpipes29.

Pours a nice dark brown color, nearly black, it would fool me if not for the ruby highlights around the edges. A small head (1cm or maybe less) forms on top, with loose bubbles, that fade quickly, no lacing. But I can see plenty of bubbles rising up in the beer. The smell hits you with an incredible sweetness, backed up with a very nice bourbon smell. Like chocolate, a little coffee, and a big whiff of bourbon. Otherwise, very clean. The taste comes back with that nice sweetness, a very clean straightforward roasty character, almost no yeast character to speak of, no hoppy presence, just a nice mellow flavor of bourbon. I mean, don't get me wrong, you know the bourbon is there, but it really fits well into this beer. Very nice. The body is right around medium, maybe a little thin, with a nice burst of carbonation. The bourbon does a nice job coating your mouth, but overall, the sweetness keeps it in check. Really, I don't know if there's anything off for the bourbon, but there isn't really anything that stands out. For a bourbon-barrel aged schwarzbier, this seems right on, and I don't know if anyone else makes one, but this is a really nice beer.

taylorhamrick, Jul 07, 2010
Photo of msubulldog25
4.15/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Have held this bottle inexplicably longer than I'd intended; it came as a very nice gesture from a Michigan BA I met several months back when he and a buddy visited Portland (thanks, marc2572). It's 22 oz. with a label design just like the photo, except the background is a rendering from above of three people finishing dinner and drinks at a large, round table. Poured to a pilsner glass.

'Handcrafted by people Who Care in Northern Michigan'

'Bourbon Barrel Soaked Sustenance Black Beer: For When You're Hungry and Thirsty'

A: Even in a tall pilsner glass the first impression is darkness, a thick charcoal. Held to light, warmer chestnut and ruby glow inside a light fog. Unsure of the age of this one in the bottle (but it's been at least 6 months since it was received), but the carbonation has held up very nicely, plenty of streaming bubbles to a 1-finger sandy cream. Very pretty lace holds in patchy cobwebs, draping rings.

S: The 'bourbon barrel' aroma is so tantalizing, maybe mellowed from what I suspect was some early heat (after 11 months in a barrel, I'd be fired up); now it's a drifting spiced perfume interwoven with fudgy chocolate and a vanilla-woodiness. Smells like a 'drunken' cake, perhaps a bit more like sweet rum than bourbon at this point. A time or two, I thought I smelled a twitch of oxidization, which then disappeared just as quickly.

T: Fortunately, flavor and aroma align almost precisely. Rich chocolate, coffee roast and that oakey/vanilla barrel spice, then an added layer: fruit. Earthy blackberries and unsweetened raisins(?). As above, the bourbon isn't too pronounced, the ending a lasting mild bitterness that has a bit of ashy char to it. A wicked distortion of a 'schwarzbier' (if that truly is what style was aimed for); the end result feels almost porter- or stout-like. And I'm ok with that.

M: What a nice coating mouthfeel: subdued carbonation (but by no means 'dead', creamy texture, stealthily building wood/spice/cocoa coating, and a barely-existent alcohol warmth. Velvety goodness.

D: I wondered to myself what this beer was like back in late spring/early summer and realized I really didn't care because what it is now is plenty enjoyable. Mellow and soothing, a fine way to celebrate an awesome 105-102 Blazers win over Phoenix - the best game I've seen live in several seasons. Not the 'prototypical' schwarzbier, but so what? Would love to try this one again someday...worth seeking!

msubulldog25, Dec 18, 2009
Photo of JohnQVegas
4.15/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle into snifter, then into another snifter to keep from gushing. Thanks to Jon (aqsprint) for the chance to try this very interesting beer!

Let this one warm up a bit before trying it. You'll be glad you did.

Pours black, dense light khaki head that settles into a dense but thin cap.

Nose has quite a bit of lemony brett, some green apple, vanilla from the bourbon comes through underneath. I don't know what it is about it, but I couldn't quit smelling it. The fruity brett notes are so nice in this one.

Taste is very unique. I have no idea as to whether the sourness is intentional or not; whether it is or it isn't, the result is a beer that doesn't taste quite like any I've tried before.

Initial taste is mix of big time bourbon and oak, a funky sour note that combines some lemony brett notes with a big lacto sour note, and an underlying dry, chocolatey, lightly roasty body that seems just a bit smokey. Finish is sour, acidic, lingering, notes of oak, some roasty bitterness in there as well though not much escapes the wildness. My guess is this guy was infected accidentally, though I don't know that for sure. Regardless, I don't want to stop drinking it, even if just to try and pick everything in it apart. Really interesting beer.

Mouthfeel is crisp, lighter body, bit acidic, pretty nice.

Drinkability is a tossup. Some really drinkable elements, but it's so unique I'm not sure how to grade it. I'm really glad I tried this. Such a unique beer, and by the time it really warmed up, I think it really came into its own.

JohnQVegas, Jun 06, 2009
Photo of JizackFH
4.15/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This review is taken from notes from when I went to the Shorts brewpub in July 2010.

A - This beer pours a very dark brown color, that has a reddish tint when held to the light. It has a a nice dense tan head on it. The head left behind thin lacing on the glass.

S - I'm getting a big bourbon barrel aroma at first. There are also some notes of chocolate, toffee, vanilla, dark roasted malts, a woody sourness, cinnamon, and caramel.

T - This is dark and roasty up front, with a big bourbon barrel presence. All of the notes from the nose seem to be present, but the dark fruit notes come out more in the taste. Roasted coffee taste really comes in that the finish.

M - It has a medium body and good carbonation. It is also rich and creamy. The finish is dry.

D - This beer has very good drinkability. It has a great bourbon presence, but there is also a nice tartness to it. Overall I think this is a really good beer, and I'm glad I got to try it (especially now that I see it is retired.) I would like to try this one again, but I doubt that will happen. Great beer though, cheers.

JizackFH, Dec 19, 2010
Photo of qua17
4.13/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle - brewed in 2011

Appearance – This beer is dark as motor oil. It poured out with a 2 inch head that dissipated and left a haze of lacing.

Smells – - Aged in Bourbon barrels, you catch a light bourbon smell that is sweet in character. It's almost candy-like, kinda like a dark brown sugar.

Taste – Aged in Bourbon barrels, there is a heavy sweetness that mellows out after the swallow. While this is a dark beer it's more like an ale than a porter or stout. The beer isn't as heavy and it lacks the dryness that sometimes come with those beers.

Mouthfeel – A lot of body but not creamy or think. Decent amount of carbonation.

Overall – Not my type of beer. I read the notes about the style and I didn't get any of the hops that are supposed to be present. I was also not a big fan of the sweetness so while I'm glad I tried it, I would be ordering it again. It's almost like a port - but lighter.

Serving type: bottle

qua17, Jul 29, 2011
Photo of robwestcott
4.13/5  rDev +2.2%
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.

robwestcott, Sep 15, 2011
Photo of beachbum1975
4.1/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks go out to RoyMunson again...

Pours a thin dark brown to blade with a bright, white and bid bubbled head.Why is it that bourbon barreled beers all have similar foaming characteristics?

Nice warm and sweetness on the nose with caramel, toffee and light coffee flavors.

This is a very easy drinking beer. Great bourbon profile on it at the present time. Very smooth, woody and at times sweet.

Recommended!

beachbum1975, Oct 12, 2009
Photo of illidurit
4.1/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

RBSG09 bottle at the grand tasting. Pours dark amber brown with a beige head. Epic aroma, lots of bourbon obviously but also dark fruits, bananas, and chocolate. Flavor is roasty and chocolatey with some tart bourbon, vanilla, and a woody dry finish.

illidurit, Jul 14, 2009
Photo of Scrumtralecent
4.1/5  rDev +1.5%
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.

Scrumtralecent, Dec 01, 2011
Photo of SportsandJorts
4.08/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Appearance: black, maybe dark mahogany. A small tannish head that fades quickly and leaves nothing behind. Completely opaque.

Smell: mostly bourbon. Maybe some chocolate.

Taste: lots of bourbon. Low alcohol. Some chocolate. Very smooth.

Mouthfeel: very light. A little bit of lager aspect to it.

Overall: a nice light bourbon barrel beer. Pretty light and nicely simple. Some lager aspects to it in taste and feel. I'd say it's a strong bourbon tasting beer with very little others tastes and very low other character.

SportsandJorts, Jun 07, 2014
Photo of flexabull
4.08/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of Tayner, thanks again!

I have been curious about Short's beers for a while, they sure are talked about a lot here... so here goes.

Pours a dark brown color, with a big thick light tan colored head.

Aromas are nutty, sour, dry, dusty, and oaky. This definitely has a surprising vinegar and sour like character on the nose that I definitely was not expecting, not bad, but a bit of a shock to me.

Taste is crisp, dry and oaky up front. Beer then settles into some cocoa, light booze, and sweet toast flavors. Finish has a light sour taste, with some roasted nuts, a light burnt and smoke flavor and some mineral like hop bitterness. Very interesting tasting beer, with a lot of different flavors.

Mouthfeel is pretty good. Beer has a general sharp crispness, but it feels a little thin on the finish.

Drinkability is quite good. I ranked it high mostly due to it's uniqueness. This is really interesting and enjoyable to taste. But with that said, I wouldn't want more than one in a sitting. Give it a try if you get a chance, it's pretty tasty and very possibly like nothing you have ever tasted.

flexabull, Jan 14, 2009
Photo of xnicknj
4.05/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into snifter - big thanks to erikkoppin

Pours a deep black color with a thinner lightly tanned head. Lightly retained, leaving curtains of lacing on the glass.

Potent nose with bourbon, but other softer notes including vanilla, oak, and coconut. Some roasted malts with caramel and butterscotch sweetness and faint booze.

A touch sweet up front with vanilla and syrupy butterscotch. Smack of bourbon with some oaky tannins. Thicker malt body, fairly roasted and warm throughout, dashes of coconut as well. Finishes sweet and a bit boozy.

Medium body, decent carbonation, sticky and smooth on the tongue, but a little on the thin side for me. Definitely an interesting bal aged beer, refreshingly different and tasty.

xnicknj, Jun 25, 2011
Photo of hopswap1
4.03/5  rDev -0.2%
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.

hopswap1, Sep 21, 2012
Photo of Floydster
4.03/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 ounce bottle acquired in a trade with OHLRangers, thanks to Ed for the opportunity, consumed 1/2/09, reviewed from notes, poured into an Aventinus glass, color is pretty close to black, some light through the top, big two inch light tan head that was rather soapy, left some nice lacing, had some good retention, aroma is made up of dark fruits, oak, smokiness, vanilla, roasted malts, lager yeast, burned caramel, and , eleven months in the barrel gave this a nice bourbon character, taste was what I expected, schwarzbier up front and bourbon in the finish, roasty at first, lots of oak and vanilla in the middle, spicy bourbon notes and lots of evidence of wood in the aftertaste, sweet, roasted, slightly hot, and smoky mouthfeel, medium bodied but on the thicker side of that spectrum, carbonation was pretty low, taste lasts a few minutes after each sip, could have gotten close to finishing the bottle but decided to give the rest to my friend Dane, a bit heavy at times but light enough in feel and ABV to enjoy a good amount, smooth to boot, great beer that is quite unique, bourbon and a black lager did not sound like it would work but it sure did, wish I had more, could age well even though it is low in alcohol, boozy presence might helps things out, hope to have again in a few years to find out, recommended

Floydster, Feb 05, 2009
Photo of mikejonze
4/5  rDev -1%

mikejonze, Mar 05, 2014
Photo of Sammy
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Sammy, Mar 01, 2009
Photo of jh1982
4/5  rDev -1%

jh1982, Nov 21, 2011
Photo of beergorrilla
4/5  rDev -1%

beergorrilla, Apr 30, 2013
Photo of DrIPA
4/5  rDev -1%

DrIPA, Aug 07, 2013
Photo of fishmich
4/5  rDev -1%

fishmich, Jul 04, 2013
Short's Bourbon Barrel Sustenance Black Beer from Short's Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 190 ratings.