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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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

80 Reviews
no score

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Reviews: 80
Hads: 199
Avg: 3.97
pDev: 16.88%
Wants: 56
Gots: 25 | FT: 3
Brewed by:
Short's Brewing Company visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
Schwarzbier |  6.50% ABV

Availability: Spring

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Baileyuk on 04-28-2008

Sustenance Black Beer aged it in bourbon barrels for 11 months.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 80 | Hads: 199
Photo of SaucyA
3.71/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

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.

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Photo of alexgash
3.95/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 oz. bottle.

Dark root beer brown body with a finger of airy, light khaki head. Nose of roasted malts, licorice, figs, tobacco, vanilla, oak, cherry, and coffee. Nice. Lightly roasted barley and mildly sweet fruit malt flavors up front. Coffee bitterness and faint cherry tartness present as well. Light chocolate flavors come through along with some licorice and vanilla-bourbon flavors. Not too bourbon-y though. Pretty good stuff! Medium-bodied with a slightly over-carbonated feel. Solid.

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Photo of gford217
4.32/5  rDev +8.8%
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!

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Photo of BeerTruth
3.78/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to iceicebaby for two bottles of this limited brew.

22 oz. bomber poured into a standard pint glass.

Pours a dark brown with ruby highlights and a one finger khaki colored head that quickly dies down to a thin layer of bubbles that remains. Lacing is just about non-existant, meh. Smell is interesting; cherries, wet charred oak, and bourbon up front. Aromas of caramel, roasted nuts, and moist cardboard hit the nose as well. Just an overall unique beer to whiff. Luckily the beer improves drastically after first sip. Smokey sweet malts, brown sugar, and molasses hit the tongue right off. The smooth bourbon flavors emerge midway with a hefty oak backbone. Aftertaste consists of dark fruits; figs, raisins, and dates. Light body with a strong carbonation that stings the entire mouth. I was expecting a smoother feel to it seeing it's a barrel aged beer, but that's what I get for assuming. The smell actually makes this beer difficult for me to drink. I've never experienced a beer that varies so much from nose to tongue. Interesting beer for sure that seems to be all over the place, but what else can you expect from Short's? Glad I had the opportunity to try this one though. Not sure about aging this, but I have a bottle in the cellar that I'll pull out in a few months and see how much it's changed.

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Photo of seaoflament
3.53/5  rDev -11.1%
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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Photo of rallison
4.29/5  rDev +8.1%
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.

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Photo of Crosling
2.59/5  rDev -34.8%
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.

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Photo of Lothore
4.4/5  rDev +10.8%
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!~

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Photo of TheBlackMallard
4.57/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

"For When You're Hungry and Thirsty"

I love this label.

Pours black with a small off white head.

Smell: Carafa and Crystal Malts, Caramel, with just a hint of Bourbon.

Taste: Chocolate, Vanilla, and Brown Sugar. Slight oaky aftertaste. If I didn't know this was barrel aged I wouldn't have guessed. It blends so well into the beer. Light bodied and very easy to drink.

I hope the regular Sustenance makes a return so I can compare. If memory serves me right most of the difference is in the finish with mild vanilla notes being the main difference in the taste.

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Photo of BigDaddyWil
4.4/5  rDev +10.8%
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!

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Short's Bourbon Barrel Sustenance Black Beer from Short's Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 80 ratings.