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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.
BA SCORE
90
outstanding

194 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 194
Reviews: 80
rAvg: 4.04
pDev: 10.64%
Wants: 56
Gots: 26 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 194 | Reviews: 80
Photo of ROGUE16
3.75/5  rDev -7.2%

Photo of illidurit
4.12/5  rDev +2%
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 maximum12
3.97/5  rDev -1.7%
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 dfhhead25
4.25/5  rDev +5.2%

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 FosterJM
3.7/5  rDev -8.4%
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
3.75/5  rDev -7.2%
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
3.58/5  rDev -11.4%
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 hopdog
4.57/5  rDev +13.1%
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 stereosforgeeks
3.75/5  rDev -7.2%

Photo of ffejherb
4.57/5  rDev +13.1%
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
3.97/5  rDev -1.7%
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.

Photo of mrn1ceguy
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of msubulldog25
4.17/5  rDev +3.2%
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!

Photo of beergorrilla
4/5  rDev -1%

Photo of mrebeka
4.25/5  rDev +5.2%

Photo of flexabull
4.03/5  rDev -0.2%
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.

Photo of koopa
4.3/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2008 bomber received in a trade with FlandersNed who is awesome!

Appearance: Black body with 2 finger creamy beige crown composed of fine carbonation. Lots of retention and tons of lace!

Smell: Beautifully refined soft bourbon notes, lots of oakiness, a touch of anise, but a large cinnamon like quality and some lightly sour notes. This is fantastic!

Taste: Nice dark roast malt with a slight sourness in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Deliciously creamy and on the light side of medium with ample carbonation.

Drinkability: btw the lower abv and the outstanding mouthfeel, I could drink this all day.

Photo of atone315
4.5/5  rDev +11.4%

Photo of StoutHunter
4/5  rDev -1%

Photo of GbVDave
4.38/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750ml bottle (even though the label says "22oz") into a thick stemmed DFH snifter. Special thanks to joshuaseresse for this from our trade!

A: Pours a deep black with some faint lightening at the edges. Capping the darkness is two fingers of lovely, dark khaki cream that rose, ever so slightly, over the rim of the glass. The head stuck around for ages, fed by a fair amount of carbonation. Some lacey ropes were left behind.

S: Quite apparent (but not obnoxiously so) bourbon aroma when first poured. Bourbon and charred oak are the main attraction here with ample supporting help from heavily roasted malt, toffee, dark chocolate, toasted nuts, and a touch of coffee.

T: Much like above but with an excellent addition of vanilla to the mix. Caramel, dark fruit, bourbon and chocolate. Very nice!

M: Starts off sweet and quite sticky. As the bottle wore on I noticed that it became slightly drier and quite spicy. It also thinned slightly from the initial pour, making it easier and easier to drink.

D: The low abv and sorta thinnish (read: not RIS) mouthfeel make for one hell of a drinkable bourbon barrel aged beer. Totally sessionable...and frigging delicious!

Photo of Floydster
4.05/5  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

Photo of oldp0rt
3/5  rDev -25.7%

Photo of Stevedore
3.74/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle from the most recent 2013 release (no bottle date), generously given to me by fellow BA Benish. Poured into an unlabeled snifter today, 9/1/2013.

Pours a dark black, opaque body with a 1cm brown head that dissipates into a fairly thick brown collar. Not much lacing to speak of. Very dark looking brew.

Smells like sweet bourbon. Not much smoke or roastiness at all here. A bit of earthiness in the background.. must be the hops. But pretty much a sweet nose here. Not much oak or vanilla- just that sweet bourbon, a bit of chocolate and just a wee bit of roast malts.

Tastes like sweet bourbon mixed in with some caramel and toffee. Tasty brew that kind of reminds me of Jack and Coke, to be honest. Not much vanilla or oak here which I would have expected from a bourbon barrel beer, even if they call it "soaked" on the label. Interesting, pleasant, not super complex but tasty.

Mouthfeel on this is medium bodied, good carbonation. Its a bit slick and resinous, covers my tongue in sweet bourbon flavour. It's surprisingly low ABV which I don't get, with all that sweet bourbon! I guess this is part of the charm here. At the same time its a bit of a sipper just because of that flavour... you sip bourbon, right?

Interesting beer. Not meant to be compared to say, Bourbon County Stout or anything like that, but on its own this is an interesting, flavourful beer. I enjoyed it, and I recommend it to anyone who likes a lighter beer with some bourbon flavour in it. It holds up well surprisingly despite the relatively thin body and malt presence.

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Short's Bourbon Barrel Sustenance Black Beer from Short's Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 194 ratings.