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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 monitorpop
4/5  rDev -1%

monitorpop, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of Jas45678
4.25/5  rDev +5.2%

Jas45678, May 31, 2014
Photo of robwestcott
4.13/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

big thanks to erikkoppin for another bottle of short's brew.

poured cold from the bottle pitch black to a founders brewing goblet with just a hint of a quickly fading mocha head, leaving a thin rim of bubbles around the surface

aroma of dark chocolate and bourbon in the back, and maybe a wee bit of smoke.

very nice. wow. bourbon way up front, but no heat, not overwhelming and actually, as it warms, its balanced quite nicely with the chocolate malts.

medium bodied, bigger carbonation than the pour gave away, smooth, sweet and a bit of heat as it heads down.

overall, a very enjoyable brew and at 6.5abv, i'd have a couple more if i had them.

robwestcott, Sep 15, 2011
Photo of FtownThrowDown
4.43/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Bottle I bought from Short's, picked up for me by the ever generous Northernbrews. You da man Jeff!
Pours black in color with just a bit of froth for a head. Smell is bourbon, cocoa and some vanilla to round it out. This smells absolutely incredible. Taste is more of the bourbon, some cocoa and a bit of roasted malts. This is very good for a schwarzbier. Very smooth and I can't even put into words how drinkable this is. It's often overstated, but I could drink this everyday, allday. Wonderful beer from Short's. Thanks again Jeff, you da man!

FtownThrowDown, Jun 07, 2009
Photo of TonyTalon
4.25/5  rDev +5.2%

TonyTalon, Oct 16, 2012
Photo of JohnQVegas
4.15/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle into snifter, then into another snifter to keep from gushing. Thanks to Jon (aqsprint) for the chance to try this very interesting beer!

Let this one warm up a bit before trying it. You'll be glad you did.

Pours black, dense light khaki head that settles into a dense but thin cap.

Nose has quite a bit of lemony brett, some green apple, vanilla from the bourbon comes through underneath. I don't know what it is about it, but I couldn't quit smelling it. The fruity brett notes are so nice in this one.

Taste is very unique. I have no idea as to whether the sourness is intentional or not; whether it is or it isn't, the result is a beer that doesn't taste quite like any I've tried before.

Initial taste is mix of big time bourbon and oak, a funky sour note that combines some lemony brett notes with a big lacto sour note, and an underlying dry, chocolatey, lightly roasty body that seems just a bit smokey. Finish is sour, acidic, lingering, notes of oak, some roasty bitterness in there as well though not much escapes the wildness. My guess is this guy was infected accidentally, though I don't know that for sure. Regardless, I don't want to stop drinking it, even if just to try and pick everything in it apart. Really interesting beer.

Mouthfeel is crisp, lighter body, bit acidic, pretty nice.

Drinkability is a tossup. Some really drinkable elements, but it's so unique I'm not sure how to grade it. I'm really glad I tried this. Such a unique beer, and by the time it really warmed up, I think it really came into its own.

JohnQVegas, Jun 06, 2009
Photo of FrankHammer
4/5  rDev -1%

FrankHammer, Oct 21, 2013
Photo of BeerTruth
3.85/5  rDev -4.7%
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.

BeerTruth, Jul 24, 2008
Photo of zoso1967
4.75/5  rDev +17.6%

zoso1967, Mar 25, 2012
Photo of sgoro
4/5  rDev -1%

sgoro, Sep 29, 2012
Photo of DanGeo
3.75/5  rDev -7.2%

DanGeo, Jun 27, 2013
Photo of dcloeren
4.25/5  rDev +5.2%

dcloeren, May 26, 2013
Photo of wiltznucs
4/5  rDev -1%

wiltznucs, Dec 03, 2013
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.

nataku00, Jan 09, 2012
Photo of JizackFH
4.15/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This review is taken from notes from when I went to the Shorts brewpub in July 2010.

A - This beer pours a very dark brown color, that has a reddish tint when held to the light. It has a a nice dense tan head on it. The head left behind thin lacing on the glass.

S - I'm getting a big bourbon barrel aroma at first. There are also some notes of chocolate, toffee, vanilla, dark roasted malts, a woody sourness, cinnamon, and caramel.

T - This is dark and roasty up front, with a big bourbon barrel presence. All of the notes from the nose seem to be present, but the dark fruit notes come out more in the taste. Roasted coffee taste really comes in that the finish.

M - It has a medium body and good carbonation. It is also rich and creamy. The finish is dry.

D - This beer has very good drinkability. It has a great bourbon presence, but there is also a nice tartness to it. Overall I think this is a really good beer, and I'm glad I got to try it (especially now that I see it is retired.) I would like to try this one again, but I doubt that will happen. Great beer though, cheers.

JizackFH, Dec 19, 2010
Photo of brew3crew
3.65/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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 sukwonee
3.98/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Dark Brown to black body with 1 finger head, good amount of lacing

S: Bourbon, chocolate, Breadiness, some cheese? I smell something like a chocolate cheesecake.

T: I cannot say I have ever had anything like this before. Starts off with bourbon, chocolate, slight booziness, sweet malt, then some sourness kicking in. Sour apple maybe? Finishes off with more booziness. Sweetness is also there.

M: It's thin but syrupy. Carbonation is pretty sharp for a bourbon aged beer. Finishes dry.

O: I would say, this beer is very solid. I am not sure though what the hell I just drank though haha (not familar with the style and such style beer aged in bourbon barrel).

sukwonee, Jul 16, 2012
Photo of rallison
4.3/5  rDev +6.4%
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.

rallison, Jul 02, 2008
Photo of Slay40
4.5/5  rDev +11.4%

Slay40, Jun 20, 2013
Photo of midlifec
4.25/5  rDev +5.2%

midlifec, Sep 05, 2013
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.

seaoflament, Jul 17, 2008
Photo of SportsandJorts
4.08/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Appearance: black, maybe dark mahogany. A small tannish head that fades quickly and leaves nothing behind. Completely opaque.

Smell: mostly bourbon. Maybe some chocolate.

Taste: lots of bourbon. Low alcohol. Some chocolate. Very smooth.

Mouthfeel: very light. A little bit of lager aspect to it.

Overall: a nice light bourbon barrel beer. Pretty light and nicely simple. Some lager aspects to it in taste and feel. I'd say it's a strong bourbon tasting beer with very little others tastes and very low other character.

SportsandJorts, Jun 07, 2014
Photo of mjw1200
3.75/5  rDev -7.2%

mjw1200, Jun 06, 2013
Photo of kzoobrew
4.22/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

enjoyed at Short's 07/31/10, review input from notes.

Deep brown body in the glass, lets face it a Schwarzbier is rarely black. Slim cafe au lait colored head. Retention is not a strong suit, thought a light ring is left around the edge. Scattered lacing through out but not particularly impressive.

Bourbon is evident right off the bat. While the bourbon stands out it is not overwhelming. Roasted malt and a bitter chocolate aroma are able to shine through and balance the aroma.

Much the same as in the nose, bourbon but balance. My first barrel aged beer from Short's and I am impressed. Like any good -bal beer the bourbon should be very evident but not overwhelming, this is certainly the case. With every sip the bourbon is noted but allows the flavor of the beer to remain recognizable. Combination of roasted and bready malt. Vanilla and a woodiness contributed from the barrel. The booze is light and slightly warming.

The body is lighter than most barrel aged beers I have encountered. Medium bodied. remains light despite the booziness of the bourbon. Carbonation is on the lower end but fits well.

Very good beer, I would have enjoyed another glass but there were too many other options on tap. Worth a try if available to you.

kzoobrew, Aug 29, 2010
Photo of adamant1912
4.25/5  rDev +5.2%

adamant1912, May 09, 2012
Short's Bourbon Barrel Sustenance Black Beer from Short's Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 190 ratings.