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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: 53
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 DrDoitchbig
4/5  rDev -1%

DrDoitchbig, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of GoldenChild
5/5  rDev +23.8%

GoldenChild, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of monitorpop
4/5  rDev -1%

monitorpop, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of camil1mj
3.33/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

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 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 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 stakem
3.65/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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 afdempse
3.58/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

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 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.

Huhzubendah, Sep 01, 2011
Photo of OakedCanuck
3.05/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle into cervoise. From notes

A - Pours a dark brown with tight edging (little light on the edging). Very small 1/2" tan head dissipated quickly and the lacing was slick and oily

S - Bourbon is very strong. Also get caramel, toffee, cherries and raisins.

T - Lots of bourbon with a rum or port undercarriage. Lots of bittersweet chocolate with a slight smokiness to it. VERY sweet caramel, toffee and brown sugar. Very little hoppiness if any at all. Struggling to get through this.

M - Crazy sticky from the sweetness, medium to light heavy body.

O - This was a tough one for me to finish. As much as I like bourbon barreled beers, this one seemed like it was a bit too much. Hard to finish but if you want bourbon, here it is.

OakedCanuck, Aug 10, 2011
Photo of Wadsey
3/5  rDev -25.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bourbon Barrel Soaked Sustenance Black Beer

Served in New Belgium globe glass

A: Pours clear deep brown with 2-inch head that recedes fairly quickly but leaves haphazard lacing. 

S:  Distinct and delicious aroma of butter rum leads off. Next, spiced rum, wood and brandy. The base beer is smothered. Honestly, this smells like Angel's Share should have smelled. 

T: Well, there is a slightly tart note that initiates tasting. Two other interesting notes follow: toasted coconut and vanilla. The barrel does add a splash of bourbon, but butter rum and spiced rum still come through. Again, the base beer is struggling under load and makes its presence known solely in the finish: powdered and bitter chocolate. Alcohol is easily detectable. 

M: Medium body and carbonation. A little oilier and rougher than regular Sustenance Black Beer. This beer also is somewhat warming. How much booze was added to this?

O: I like Bourbon Barrel Soaked Sustenance Black Beer less than its little brother. Too much barrel, not enough base beer. This beer also cannot compete with Short's preeminent barrel-aged beer, which is Barrel-Aged Wizard. 

Wadsey, Aug 04, 2011
Photo of qua17
4.13/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle - brewed in 2011

Appearance – This beer is dark as motor oil. It poured out with a 2 inch head that dissipated and left a haze of lacing.

Smells – - Aged in Bourbon barrels, you catch a light bourbon smell that is sweet in character. It's almost candy-like, kinda like a dark brown sugar.

Taste – Aged in Bourbon barrels, there is a heavy sweetness that mellows out after the swallow. While this is a dark beer it's more like an ale than a porter or stout. The beer isn't as heavy and it lacks the dryness that sometimes come with those beers.

Mouthfeel – A lot of body but not creamy or think. Decent amount of carbonation.

Overall – Not my type of beer. I read the notes about the style and I didn't get any of the hops that are supposed to be present. I was also not a big fan of the sweetness so while I'm glad I tried it, I would be ordering it again. It's almost like a port - but lighter.

Serving type: bottle

qua17, Jul 29, 2011
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.

xnicknj, Jun 25, 2011
Photo of SpdKilz
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz 2011 bottle courtesy of Erik (erikkoppin). Thanks so much for this generous extra. Cheers!

Appearance – Pours into my Bell’s tulip with an almost opaque dark chocolate color. When held up to bright light just the faintest red hues of light shine through. About a finger of quickly dissipating tan head that leaves decent lacing.

Smells – Smells chewy if that is possible. Lots of sweet bourbon barrel notes up front which fade to some dark fruits, brown sugar, oak, and a slight presence of vanilla. As the beer warms a butterscotch/toffee aroma becomes more noticeable.

Taste – Wow, lots of butterscotch and vanilla here right at the start! The bourbon actually becomes more prevalent as the beer warms and with each sip I take (intermixing with the first two flavors). There is bittersweet cocoa/chocolate, earthiness, and again more sweetness that goes from butterscotch to toffee to brown sugar. A “candied” beer if you will.

Mouthfeel – Medium bodied, not as creamy as I was expecting though enough, carbonation on par for what I would expect.

Overall – An interesting barrel aged beer from Short’s. As I always say, I am glad I was able to try it. Would I seek it out again? Probably not, but I am rather enjoying the flavors (though they are a bit one dimensional, smacking you in the face with each one, but then again isn’t that what Short’s is known for?). Not as cloying as I would expect, but would never have more than one at a time.

SpdKilz, Jun 08, 2011
Photo of GrandCruDrew
3/5  rDev -25.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle 2011 edition poured into my bells goblet.

A- Dark brown, almost black, like a dark porter with a 2 inch hea that is tan in color.

S- Hmmm. Butterscotch, vanilla, some sweetness, maybe some toffee and sweet caramel. A little booze.

T- vanilla, subtle butterscotch, which makes believe a little dyactyl(spellcheck), boozey, some sweetness, toffee, bourbon. We'll see how it warms up. I can revise after.

M- creamy, good mouthfeel, little boozey, quick finish.

Overall- Good, I'm a little indifferent at this point. A little less complexity then I remember from years past.

GrandCruDrew, May 04, 2011
Photo of DannyDan
3.9/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A. Pours a brownish black body with a thick tan head that disappears pretty quickly. It has very good retention, decent lacing and minimal carbonation.
S. The smell is some dark fruits, chocolate, and bourbon.
T. The taste is some bitter chocolate, followed by some coffee, dark fruits, and bourbon. It also has an earthy hops taste under the dark fruits and bourbon. A nicely well balanced taste.
M. A nice smooth and creamy beer that sticks to the lips and tongue.
O. A nice easy drinking beer that feels a lot lighter than a lot of stouts and porters, a nice winter drink when you don't want something real heavy. A nice winner from Short's, and I'll have to remember to try this on tap since I think it will be really creamy.

DannyDan, Apr 15, 2011
Photo of corby112
3.63/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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 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.

warnerry, Feb 19, 2011
Photo of Urbancaver
3.93/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

thank you jale for this treat!

Appearance- Dark brown with minimal head. Reddish hues on the edges

Smell- Smoked malt with a hint of bourbon on the nose

Taste- Rich thick smoked maltiness with a touch of bourbon

Mouthfeel- Very smooth with low carbonation

Drinkability- Very drinkable

Urbancaver, Jan 14, 2011
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).

LilBeerDoctor, Dec 24, 2010
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 joshuaseresse
4.47/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle brought back from my trip to Michigan. Drank after the golden delicious...at around 12:30pm on a Sunday...

A - A thick head with a pour, retains about a inch or so of head after the pour and holds onto it for a while. Black and brown with a ruby hue. Slight lacing retention.

S - Fresh bourbon and a little sweet toffee, carmael and light brown sugar.

T - Zesty vanilla and a bit earthy. Only slight bit of bourbon. Suprising difference between the smell and taste in that I expected the taste to follow the smell, but it was only slightly the case. Very enjoyable though.

M - Lighter than I thought based on the nose and the taste. I expected it to feel thicker than it was. The carbonation is perfect and crisp, easy and enjoyable to drink.

D - A very nice treat. The senses say one thing while the texture says something different. Very complex and a nice suprise. I'm very please and wish I bought more.

joshuaseresse, Oct 24, 2010
Photo of GbVDave
4.4/5  rDev +8.9%
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!

GbVDave, Oct 22, 2010
Photo of nickd717
3.85/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle thanks to Nick3. Always good to tick a retired beer. Retired usually means it was too good for the brewery to brew again.

Pours very dark brown with a small off-white head that leaves swirls on the beer.

The aroma is pretty big - bourbon, roast, caramel, spices, and oak.

Big flavor with big-time caramel and toffee, spices, anise, roast, hazelnut, bourbon, and oak. Solid stuff.

Medium-bodied with medium-low mouthfeel and only slight booziness.

Pretty good -bal aged beer, but not a standout.

nickd717, Oct 09, 2010
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
Short's Bourbon Barrel Sustenance Black Beer from Short's Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 190 ratings.