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

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

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BA SCORE
90
outstanding

192 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 192
Reviews: 80
rAvg: 4.04
pDev: 10.64%
Wants: 54
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: 192 | Reviews: 80 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Crosling
2.58/5  rDev -36.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Dark brown color with a small, filmy head. Nose seems to show some contamination with wild yeast and funk, some mild fruit character (plum and strawberry,) and a touch of whiskey. Flavors seem to be very muted. A light touch of the base beer, with also a light hint of the barrel. Not much to report. Not a lot of flavor. Super thin mouth feel with very little texture. I don't care for this beer.

Photo of RustyDiamond
2.78/5  rDev -31.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to frognauthal for this one, my first brew from Short's. Split with willheels. Cola brown pour into my SA beer glass. Oatmeal colored, frothy somewhat gooey head.
Aroma of BOURBON, with a dash of oak and butterscotch. The first taste sent my right elbow into a back n froth hitchhiking pose. Whoa...is this infected? Way sour at first, but a little better as she opens up a little. I get a hint of a roasted lager taste, before the sour comes on. Tongue burning with a metallic twinge on the sides. Nice lacing in the glass, though. Tastes nothing like the description on Short's website, which leads me to believe something went south with this one.
At a loss, we pulled out a bottle of Jefferson's bourbon to smell and ended up sipping, then went back to the beer. It didn't help...the final verdict? Sour black lager aged too long in a bourbon barrel.

Photo of chippo33
3/5  rDev -25.7%

Photo of oldp0rt
3/5  rDev -25.7%

Photo of dlello2
3/5  rDev -25.7%

Photo of GrandCruDrew
3/5  rDev -25.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle 2011 edition poured into my bells goblet.

A- Dark brown, almost black, like a dark porter with a 2 inch hea that is tan in color.

S- Hmmm. Butterscotch, vanilla, some sweetness, maybe some toffee and sweet caramel. A little booze.

T- vanilla, subtle butterscotch, which makes believe a little dyactyl(spellcheck), boozey, some sweetness, toffee, bourbon. We'll see how it warms up. I can revise after.

M- creamy, good mouthfeel, little boozey, quick finish.

Overall- Good, I'm a little indifferent at this point. A little less complexity then I remember from years past.

Photo of Wadsey
3/5  rDev -25.7%
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. 

Photo of s1ckboy
3/5  rDev -25.7%

Photo of OakedCanuck
3.05/5  rDev -24.5%
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.

Photo of nataku00
3.13/5  rDev -22.5%
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.

Photo of mdvatab
3.25/5  rDev -19.6%
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!

Photo of camil1mj
3.33/5  rDev -17.6%
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.

Photo of Rhettroactive
3.33/5  rDev -17.6%
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.

Photo of Devi0us
3.5/5  rDev -13.4%

Photo of EricTKole
3.5/5  rDev -13.4%

Photo of AgentZero
3.5/5  rDev -13.4%

Photo of twenty5
3.5/5  rDev -13.4%

Photo of benpopper
3.5/5  rDev -13.4%

Photo of JMBSH
3.5/5  rDev -13.4%

Photo of djmichaelk
3.5/5  rDev -13.4%

Photo of seeswo
3.5/5  rDev -13.4%

Photo of gearbike
3.5/5  rDev -13.4%

Photo of beernads
3.5/5  rDev -13.4%

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.53/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sampled November 2009
A solid pour into my 25cl tulip glass produces a three finger thick, lightly browned, tanned colored head. The beer is quite black in color that shows a brilliantly clear, rich ruby hue when held up to the light. The aroma is definitely spiced with an ample signature of Bourbon, though it is not overwhelming; notes of toasted coconut, vanillin, spicy oak, and a touch of heat from the Bourbon. I can't really notice much of the base beer underneath the Bourbon though; perhaps a touch of toasted malt.

The beer tastes fairly dry with a touch of tartness from the oak and Bourbon. Notes of vanillin, some coconut and a bit of spicy Bourbon in the finish are noticeable, but don't play nearly as big a role as they did in the aroma. There is a touch of toasted malt noticeable in the finish as well as hint of roasted malt that tastes a bit like black coffee. A touch of Bourbon heat is brought out by the oak more so than actual alcohol. This feels quite light bodied on the palate, but that isn't unexpected as this isn't the world strongest Bourbon aged beer; the carbonation adds a prickly texture that tends to make this beer seem a bit thin at first, but releasing the extra carbonation produces a creamy texture despite the light body.

This is a fairly one-dimensional beer with the Bourbon being quite dominant. If you can appreciate that sort of thing then you will likely enjoy this beer as it is done pretty well here. This does have a nice vanillin and coconut character to it, though it is a bit hot and spicy from the Bourbon'ed alcohol at times. I could definitely wish for more dark malt character to come through, but this more than a serviceable brew for this "chilly" Arizona weekend.

Photo of seaoflament
3.53/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to hoppymeal for sending me this extra and the opportunity to try this brew.

Pours a dark caramel color and looks like a cola based soda in the glass. The edges show hues of ruby and scarlet when held to the light. A very fizzy head accumulated and reaches a good 2 inches in height, somewhat good retention but then settled to a very thin layer.

First I got notes of grapes and some vinous aromas, vanilla, and a bit of roasted malts. After the beer settles in the glass I get some weird, or should I say interesting, notes of nuts, some type of powder (sugar maybe?), caramel, earthy hops, fresh hops, mineral water, and notes of oak/wood. I can say for sure that I have never smelled a beer like this one before, weird, but in a good way. It has a particular note on the nose that reminds me of sour beers, something like Temptation (weird huh?). After a while I can detect hints of sugar coated berries.

Tasting it is quite a bit different from the aroma. I taste a good amount of roasted malts, caramel, hints of roasted barley (or the hop bitterness combining with the roasted malts), nutty malts, toast, almonds, and some grapes in the finish and aftertaste. A little more roasted, burnt, almost charred malts can be tasted after a few sips. The beer also start to develop some vinous, grape, flavors that seem really odd with the roasted malts. I'm also beginning to taste come cola flavors...not really doing it for me. A little more bourbon on the tongue after the beer warms up, woodsy and fruity.

The mouth-feel is not the best it could be. The over-carbonation stings the tongue a bit, at least at first, and it feels fizzy. There's also a little alcohol warmth in the back of the throat. The flavors also seem a little rough.

Definitely and odd one, but it wouldn't be a Short's Brew if it wasn't odd.

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Short's Bourbon Barrel Sustenance Black Beer from Short's Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 192 ratings.