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

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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 mothman
3.63/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of Huhzubendah
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A big thank you to FlandersNed for sending this beer my way in our last trade. Split with Adam.

The beer is dark brown, nearing black. The beige head stands in at a finger's width, and leaves some decent lacing on the glass.

The aroma is quite sweet. Booze, vanilla, malt, light roast, chocolate.

The flavor is definitely bourbon forward. Grandiose vanilla presence. The sweetness is formidable, and I can see that my six ounces will be sufficient. The bourbon, while overpowering to some degree, is bold and tasty. Chocolate and roast play a secondary role, and blend nicely with the the bourbon character. Mildly roasty, perhaps the other aspects of the beer overshadow the roast somewhat.

Medium bodied with appropriate carbonation. Sweet and boozy.

An interesting beer. Not my favorite bourbon barrel aged brew by any stretch, but worth a try. I enjoyed this.

Photo of brandoman63
4.5/5  rDev +11.4%

Photo of Zaphog
4/5  rDev -1%

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 johnnnniee
3.9/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Received in trade from jtrockchalk in the Black Booty Bif, Thanks for the opportunity!

Pours a deep dark brown with the faintest of ruby highlights and a huge bubbly off white head that sticks around forever. Smells of lemony citrus, bourbon, vanilla, faint bit of bretty horsehair, and cocoa. Slightly sour on the nose, is that supposed to be there, or did some bugs hitch a ride from barrel to bottle? This would certainly explain the spirited carbonation. Taste is a bit sour with some chocolate, bourbon, and vanilla thrown in. Carbonation is quite high, body is medium but filled with bubbles, mouthfeel is creamy but slick. I enjoyed this one, but I'm not sure its a schwartzbier anymore. Very flavorful, but the carbonation ruins the mouthfeel for me. I'd love to try a fresh bottle if someone wants to send me another.

Photo of chippo33
3/5  rDev -25.7%

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.95/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

No freshness info apparent.
Poured in to tulip.

A - Poured black with one finger of tan coloured head that reduced to a thin layer.

S - Huge bourbon and oak aromas up front followed by some sweet vanilla notes. The barrel characteristics dominate the nose with only light roast aroma coming through from the base beer.

T - Bourbon and oak up front with roast, chocolate and pitted fruit notes present as well. A touch of barrel funk going on here but not enough to be distracting. More of the base beer comes through than the nose indicated.

M - Light to medium body with a slight chew. Moderate carbonation. A touch thin.

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.

Photo of tectactoe
3.95/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Thanks to Jeff for picking me up a sixer of this at the brewery. Not sure exactly what is meant by Bourbon Barrel "Soaked", rather than "Aged", but I'll never turn down a Shorts brew. This one pours a dark brown color, kind of thin and a bit lighter looking compared to what I had imagined in my mind. Almost no head at first, but it gracefully forms seconds after I finish pouring - tan in color, big-bubbled, and lightly creamy. No lace on the glass, but the beer leaves some wet legging when swirled.

One thing's for sure - the aroma on BB Sustenance is much more robust than its appearance might have you believe. It comes out swinging with a huge barrel presence - bourbon is perhaps the strongest peripheral, following closely by a large amount of smooth and sweet vanilla. Some mild oaky, woody, and nutty aromas lay beneath those, creating a beer that smells not too far off of sticking your head inside of an old bourbon barrel. Upon warming, more roasted malts and sweet chocolate notes jump out, too - this beer smells great.

One sip and you're immediately assulted by a great deal of booze; the bourbon hits hard, almost coming off as more of a raw, whiskey flavor. Once the initial shock of the bourbon subsides, other flavors that come out include a soft-spoken mix of cola, oak, roast, and some vanilla - sadly in much lower capacity than was found in the aroma. Lots of chocolate and cocoa powder comes crashing in about halfway through and hangs around for the aftertaste. Especially when this puppy warms up, the semi-sweet cocoa becomes a big proponent in the finish.

The mouth feel on BB Sustenance is slick and wet, but it has a slight creaminess to it that keeps it feeling smooth and refreshing on the palate. Carbonation is pretty low, but it really isn't much of a bother. I guess when I hear "Bourbon Barrel" in front of a beer, I'm expecting some thick, viscous, chewy-ass liquid, but that's simply not the case. Schwarzbiers typically are not thick, and so it shouldn't be too much of a concern that BB Sustenance isn't, either, save for the barrel-induced creaminess.

It's hard to believe this beer is only 6.5% ABV - the bourbon character is very strong and very forward. It starts strong and finishs strong, leaving a warmth that engulfs your throat and even the upper-half of your chest after each swallow. Not so much robust as it is unabashedly powerful; while I still enjoyed the beer, some time in the cellar might provide a smoother flavor profile with a slightly toned down alcohol assault. Fresh, this one's a slow sipper. Shorts wasn't too far off with their slogan for this one - "for when you're hungry and thirsty".

Photo of AgentZero
3.5/5  rDev -13.4%

Photo of gford217
4.33/5  rDev +7.2%
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!

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.

Photo of ROGUE16
3.75/5  rDev -7.2%

Photo of BMart
4/5  rDev -1%

Photo of maximum12
3.98/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Been wanting to try this forever & when tectactoe tosses a bottle my way I inexplicably...leave it in the fridge for six weeks, or something. The mysterious ways of the mind. 12 oz. bottle sipped with a good brat, & afterwards.

Poured, the beer lives up to it Deutsch billing; black, though red around the edges & as the volume in the glass falls. Carbonation is fair to middlin'. Nose is heavy on the bourbon, with soft backups of roast & malts. Bourbon rules the roost here.

Bourbon Barrel Sustenance would be welcome in my water skin if I was wandering the depths of Mirkwood. Or Chicago. The brew is driven by the barrel, to the point that this could be a barrel-aged Dicktbier & it might not be much different. Fair dip of chocolate in the middle bracketed by oak, coconut (maybe?), vanilla. Bourbon takes control on the end, though it's been lined with chocolate. Plenty OK. Creamy; akin to a milk stout, almost. I'm sipping this like it comes with an expiration minute.

I'm not going to knife anyone for another bottle, but I'm seriously enjoying it. If the world were fair, it would get bonus points for being a relatively low ABV barrel-aged beer. Very good.

Photo of FosterJM
3.73/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of tpd975
3.78/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks to my boy BeerTruth for supplying for first Short's Brew.

A: Pours a dark black hue almost the shade of a cup of coffee. The head is rather small with little retention. Some very light spotty lace is noted.

S: Very light aromas. What is there is very much about the barrel. Notes of Oak, vanilla, and bourbon meld nice with roasted malt.

T: Lots of light toasted oak up front. Hints of vanilla and bourbon come next. A slight sourness comes thru in the middle with a blast of dark fruit and toasted malt in the finish.

M: Medium in body, smooth.

D: Not bad at all. Can't wait to try a few more Short's brews.

Thanks Adam!

Photo of alexgash
3.95/5  rDev -2.2%
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.

Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.63/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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).

Photo of tommy5
4/5  rDev -1%

Photo of warnerry
4.45/5  rDev +10.1%
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.

Photo of hopdog
4.55/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thank you Derek for this 22oz bottle!

Poured a dark brownish color with an averaged sized off white head. Aromas of wood/oak, vanilla, some bourbon, nutty, chocoalte, roast, and earthy. Tastes of vanilla, bourbon, dark fruits, chocolate, nuts, roast, and wood. Very nice!

Notes from 5/20/08

Photo of ffejherb
4.58/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured via 22oz. bomber at the Bullfrog Liquid Sunshine Reserva release. Big thanks to iceicebaby for sharing!

A - Poured a translucent chocolate brown body with walnut and mahogany accents and a slim beige head that reduced to a patchy retention and left a bit of lace around the glass.

S - Initial aroma released a waft of bourbon and vanilla goodness with a bit of chocolate sweetness. Malt presence is akin to Rice Krispies. Some caramel notes are also present.

T - This is simply a delicious schwarzbier with a subtle bourbon presence and lots of vanilla sweetness, but not overpowering at all. Crisp, rice-like malt with chocolate in the very backend through to the finish. Finish with just a slight astringent character and alcohol warmth.

M - Medium bodied and softly carbonated. Extremely smooth and creamy texture, although perhaps a bit thin in the mouthfeel overall. Alcohol presence is quite subtle.

D - This is a beautiful bourbon soaked beer from Short's, to say the least. Really glad I had the opportunity to try this, as I've loved everything I've had from Short's in the past, especially their dark beers. Drinkability is off the charts!

Photo of prototypic
3.98/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bourbon Barrel Sustenance pours a dark, chocolate fudge color. It’s not opaque. Backlighting reveals some burgundy highlights throughout. A tan head covers the top. It rises above a surface covering, but not by much. The surface bubbles hold steady for a while. Lacing was definitely light and spotty. Not bad at all.

The nose is good. It kicks off with a nice bourbon scent. It’s not overly strong. I like that. It complements the dark malt notes of cocoa and chocolate well. Light roasted malt scents are present, but they’re very subtle. Secondary notes include vanilla and oak. Alcohol is definitely in the mix. What’d you expect with something barrel-aged? Doesn’t smell overly strong though. Smells good.

The flavor is likewise good. It’s a touch better than the nose, but not enough to trigger a score bump. It kicks off with a mix of chocolate, cocoa, and light roasted malts. Bittersweet dark chocolate leads the charge. Bourbon follows quickly and complements the malt base extremely well. Its presence is moderately strong. I love that. Secondary flavors include oak, vanilla, coconut, and roasted coffee. Good stuff. Alcohol is there, but isn’t too strong. Seems a little stronger than 6.5% to me, but perhaps not double digit territory. Just sayin’. Finishes malty with a touch of bourbon. Very good stuff.

Bourbon Barrel Sustenance has a medium body that’s nice and smooth. Carbonation is dialed back nicely. I like the feel quite a bit. Perhaps a tad bit more body would improve it, but that’s just a guess. Pretty well done as it is.

Short’s Brewing Company continues to impress. Bourbon Barrel Sustenance is very solid all-around. Bourbon Barrel-aging a Schwarzbier – who would’ve thought? It works extremely well though. The moderate bourbon presence was a great call. It complements rather than overpowers. Very good stuff. Easy recommendation.

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