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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: 52
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 mdvatab
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!

mdvatab, Dec 04, 2011
Photo of camil1mj
3.33/5  rDev -17.6%

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.

camil1mj, Nov 12, 2011
Photo of Rhettroactive
3.33/5  rDev -17.6%

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.

Rhettroactive, Apr 12, 2012
Photo of Devi0us
3.5/5  rDev -13.4%

Devi0us, Oct 28, 2012
Photo of AgentZero
3.5/5  rDev -13.4%

AgentZero, Jul 20, 2012
Photo of twenty5
3.5/5  rDev -13.4%

twenty5, Jul 22, 2013
Photo of benpopper
3.5/5  rDev -13.4%

benpopper, Jan 01, 2012
Photo of JMBSH
3.5/5  rDev -13.4%

JMBSH, Jun 10, 2013
Photo of djmichaelk
3.5/5  rDev -13.4%

djmichaelk, Jan 10, 2013
Photo of seeswo
3.5/5  rDev -13.4%

seeswo, Sep 28, 2012
Photo of gearbike
3.5/5  rDev -13.4%

gearbike, Jun 16, 2014
Photo of beernads
3.5/5  rDev -13.4%

beernads, Feb 15, 2014
Photo of Gueuzedude
3.53/5  rDev -12.6%

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.

Gueuzedude, Mar 07, 2010
Photo of seaoflament
3.53/5  rDev -12.6%

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.

seaoflament, Jul 17, 2008
Photo of afdempse
3.58/5  rDev -11.4%

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.

afdempse, Sep 03, 2011
Photo of corby112
3.63/5  rDev -10.1%

From notes:

Pours pitch black and completely opaque without even the slightest hint of lighter color when held to a light source. Quite viscous looking with a half finger mocha colored head that quickly settles into a lasting ring. Sporadic spots of lacing left behind.

Intensely boozy aroma with a huge barrel presence. Lots of sweet boozy bourbon along with some earthy oak and faint vanilla. Underneath there is a slight smokey malt presence with hints of chocolate, toffee and roasted coffee bean but the nose of this beer is all about the bourbon.

Medium bodied and slightly viscous with a very prominent bourbon flavor. Again, as in the aroma, the barrel character dominates the flavor with a burst of hot, boozy bourbon that lingers throughout, slightly overpowering the other flavors. Slight earthy oak and faint vanilla/toasted coconut but the bourbon and hot alcohol overtake these notes pretty quickly. Underneath there is a roasted chocolate malt presence with hints of roasted coffee bean, toffee and oatmeal. Slightly smokey which provides some balance to the sweet bourbon but overall this beer is just a bit too much of a bourbon bomb for my liking.

corby112, Mar 07, 2011
Photo of mothman
3.63/5  rDev -10.1%

Pours into Stone Old Guardian Glass

Pours 1 finger of khaki head. Good retention and lace. Color is black.

Aroma: Bourbon and some heat. Smoked malts with caramel, chocolate, sweet cocoa, and roasted malts.

Taste: Bourbon and oak. Very warm. Caramel and toffee malts. Chocolate flavors as well. Big malt profile here.

Mouthfeel: Warm, dry, and oaky. Medium bodied with a low to medium amount of carbonation. Ends very warm.

Overall, this one is hot and not too drinkable. Interesting, but I am not too crazy for it. Still, I was happy to have tried this one.

mothman, Aug 10, 2010
Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.63/5  rDev -10.1%

Reviewed on 6/29/2010. On tap at Shorts. Pours a dark brown with a thick tan head. Aroma of bourbon and chocolate malts. Flavor of bourbon up front, sweet roasted malt, chocolate malt, and milky marshmallows. Not bad, one of the better bourbon barrel aged beers to me (minus the aroma which was a bit potent).

LilBeerDoctor, Dec 24, 2010
Photo of stakem
3.65/5  rDev -9.7%

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.

stakem, Sep 13, 2011
Photo of brew3crew
3.65/5  rDev -9.7%

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

brew3crew, Oct 01, 2011
Photo of orbitalr0x
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.

orbitalr0x, Oct 16, 2008
Photo of SaucyA
3.7/5  rDev -8.4%

A - Into da snifta. Black with minimal ruby highlights around the edges. Giant tan head.

S - Uh oh. This is the first bottle I've opened in a while and lemme say that something's a little off. At first whiff, I smell JP wild yeast. Dark malts, slight bourbon notes. Vanilla.

T - Yup. This is officially not the beer I drank 6 months ago. While it's not bad, the barrel definitely managed to throw some wild yeast into the mix. What once was a KBS-light is now a SFTO Wine-light. Sour notes, but it actually isn't bad... just not the beast it once was.

M - Light, carbonated, airy. Overly carbonated from the magical bugs in here.

D - Surprisingly good. I'm gonna hold onto my last couple bottles to see what it transforms into.

Notes: When I first drank this at the Anniversary Party, it was 100% different. Some beasties managed to change it, but not necessarily for the bad... it's not a gross infection, but it's not the brew Joe was intending. Hell, I'm gonna continue to enjoy it despite the issues.

To be honest, if it was going for the wild characteristic, it'd have gotten a higher rating in my eyes. While it wasn't anticipated, I can't stress enough that it's not bad at all.

SaucyA, Oct 10, 2008
Photo of jim102864
3.73/5  rDev -7.7%

A big black beer with a single finger head when poured into my Chimay goblet. Not having the most effective sniffer, I relish the brett-influenced, big sour nose. Goes down very bubbly. Bourbon barrel notes compliment this comlex brew. Interesting style. Interesting flavor.

jim102864, Mar 20, 2009
Photo of WeisGuy
3.73/5  rDev -7.7%

On-tap at Slow's Bar BQ in Detroit

a - pours a deep brown shade with a minimal tan head, retention around the edge and very light lacing, fairly hazy

s - roast malt, bittersweet chocolate and lighter notes of oak and bourbon, the bourbon character is much more muted than I would expect

t - like the nose, deeply roasted malt and dark chocolate are the dominant flavors, some biscuity and bready flavors on the midpalate with lighter notes of oak and bourbon appearing on the finish along with more dark chocolate, the barrel character is not very pronounced, but it certainly improves the base beer in that it has added some depth to the flavors

m - medium-bodied with light carbonation, finish is well-balanced, light alcohol warming

d - pretty drinkable for a bourbon barrel aged beer, albeit a lager, definitely more interesting and complex than the base beer, but still nothing that I would need to order a second glass of

Moderately more impressed with this than the regular Sustenance and well worth a try. Btw, if you're ever in SE Michigan and aren't a vegetarian, you owe it to yourself to get to Slow's Bar BQ, where the beer list is very good and the food is amazing.

WeisGuy, Aug 10, 2010
Photo of FosterJM
3.73/5  rDev -7.7%

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.

FosterJM, Jun 08, 2012
Short's Bourbon Barrel Sustenance Black Beer from Short's Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 190 ratings.