Dismiss Notice
Save $5 when you subscribe to 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine and select auto-renew.

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join Our Email List →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.
Dismiss Notice

Pre-order your Respect Beer "Hipster" Hoodie today!

Plus: Free shipping (US only) on orders of $25 or more until 12/18/15. Just select "Free Shipping" at checkout.

Shop now →

Short's Sustenance Black Bier - Short's Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Short's Sustenance Black BierShort's Sustenance Black Bier

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

83 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 83
Hads: 165
Avg: 3.77
pDev: 13.26%
Wants: 7
Gots: 14 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Short's Brewing Company visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
Schwarzbier |  6.00% ABV

Availability: Spring

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: TurdFurgison on 06-07-2009

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 83 | Hads: 165
Photo of bierenutz
3.88/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Pours a dark brown color with mocha thin head and moderate lacing about the glass.
S-Coffee, dark chocolate, licorice and malt dominate the aroma with milder notes of caramel and hops.
T-Burnt malty coffee flavor with milder citrusy elements and a finish and afternotes of smokey oakey earthiness which lingers on and on.
M-Creamy but not thick, it has moderate carbonation with a little bitterness at the finish.
D-This beer got better as it warmed. I started out with it from the fridge and didn't think much of it at first, but by the end it had a respectable taste and feel and turned out quite tasty.

 607 characters

Photo of SerialTicker
3.89/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

$3 on-tap during Happy Hour at HopCat.

Appearance: Welp, it's black. What did you expect? Decent lacing, nothing special.

Smell: Ash. Smoke. Chocolate.

Taste/feel: Like the smell... tastes like ground up bricks, soil, smokey ash, roastiness, and a bit of chocolate. That should sound disturbing -- and it was disturbing to my dad and sister -- but it's what I thought the beer would taste like, and I enjoyed it. The smoke/ash flavor isn't massive, but it's definitely there, and the chocolate/coffee flavors follow. The feel is a bit thin for my liking, but it does make this a very drinkable beer.

Another tasty brew from Short's. I'm not too sure I like this more than their Black Diamond, which is a pretty similar beer, but it's still one that I'd like to have again when I want a dark beer that's not quite a stout or a porter.

 837 characters

Photo of gnemesis
3.92/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into pint glass on 04/09/2011.
Pours dark- definitely a black bier. The head is off-white, dissipates quickly, and leaves little lace. The nose is full of caramel, dark fruit, a few dabs of maltiness scattered about. The taste offers up some coffee, vanilla, slight roast, and chocolate. Medium body and medium carbonation. Overall I like this offering from Shorts. Very drinkable.

 400 characters

Photo of Huhzubendah
3.95/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On draft at Churchkey in D.C.

The beer is a deep, dark shade of brown with a large beige head that leaves copious lacing on the snifter.

The aroma is slightly sweet, bready, and lightly roasty.

The flavor is malt forward with a light roast character. Each sip brings a subtle sweetness, with hints of dark fruit. A decent beer, and one I'd try again.

 355 characters

Photo of semibaked
3.97/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass.

A - Pours a pitch black with a thin layer of brown foam.

S - Big roasted malt aroma strikes me first then dark chocolate and a bit of licorice.

T - The taste is similar to the smell big roasted malt flavors, good bitterness from the dark chocolate and some of the licorice too. Nice flavors!

M - Medium bodied with good creaminess and has some chew to it too.

D - Definitely happy with trying this and you should too. Great effort from Short's here.

 480 characters

Photo of IPA35
3.97/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A bottle with no freshness date or alcohol percentage. We in Europe have better regulation regarding these issues it seems.

A really, really dark brown, nearly black beer. You cannot see through it and it has a thick frothy off white head. Pours thicker than for example a true German schwartzbier like Köstritzer.

Smells more intense than I expected, not unlike a stout. Coffee, roasted malt, dark chocolate, a light smokiness. Not much hops and quite sweet from the nose of it.

The taste is more subdued as per the style.
The roastiness is not very strong, the flavour is one of this light roast, sweet malts, dark chocolate and slight earthy hops.
It is actually rather nice yet still quite drinkable.

The body is medium and the carbonation is low to medium. Smooth and a little creamy.

Overall this beer is more flavourful compared to beers like Köstritzer. This a little less sessionable though, but that's not a big issue for me.

A nice beer, recommended.

 969 characters

Photo of Lukafer
3.97/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Review from notes:

Again, thanks Josh!

Appearance is black, really black with a thin tan head. Smell is roasted malts, dark fruits, anise, and some pine thats kind of burie. Taste is roasted malts, coffee and maybe some molasses. Mouthfeel is okay, astringent, and drinkabilty is pretty low, one is enough, still glad I had a chance to try this one.

 351 characters

Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Nellie for sharing this bottle.

The beer pours a dark brown color with red highlights and a white head. The aroma is roasted malt, coffee, burnt malt, dark fruit and smoke. The flavor is heavy on the smoke and roasted malt along with some caramel malt and dark fruit notes in the background. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

 343 characters

Photo of Kegatron
4/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a deep brown (although a bit of clear ruby does come out along the edges), topped with a rich ½ finger of dark mocha head. This maintains some robustness on the edges, leaving back a foamy cascade of lace. The aroma smells of cocoa, toffee, coffee, and some green citric character. This is well balanced in the nose and quite flavorful.

The taste is sweet up front with a mix of chocolate and caramel but that is evened out nicely by more bitter notes of roasted coffee and some green citric hops that give this some zip. This overall has a nice tangy bite to it from the flavors, with a dry and bitter finish that hangs in there a bit. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, with a steady crispness on the tongue, yet there is also more of a slick and creamy feel along the back as well.

This was nice. A well balanced and flavorful Schwarzbier here that I would consider pretty darn drinkable for a 6% ABV dark beer. Short’s did right by the style with this one.

 1,004 characters

Photo of SpdKilz
4/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A huge thanks to Erik (erikkoppin) for this great extra. Cheers!

Appearance – Pours a dark chocolate color into my glass with over two fingers of dark tan head that dissipates slowly leaving great looking lacing.

Smell – A great aroma of roasted malts, bitter chocolate, coffee, and just a hint of hops. A clean crisp smell.

Taste – Actually spot on with the nose, however, I do believe there is even a more predominant roasted flavor throughout. Reminds me of being at a campfire, and honestly I feel this would be great to have while around a campfire on a crisp autumn night. More cocoa than chocolate (dry and a hint more bitter), just a hint of coffee on the back end, and finishes with a crisp dry hop flavor.

Mouthfeel – Medium bodied, perfect carbonation, finishes slightly dry and roasty.

Overall – Pretty damn impressed with this. While more along the lines of a stout, this is extremely quaffable and the flavors meld perfectly. I would certainly pick this up in the future if I saw it.

 1,012 characters

Photo of mikesgroove
4/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

so i decided last night to break out 10+, thats right 10+ new shorts beers for a nice sampling with the family. turns out my and my brother in law were the only ones willing to go down this road, so long afternoon for sure. serve cold and consumed on 10/02/2010.

pours out a nice dark color with a small head of tan that seems to sit on top for the duration of the session. nicely done and really a very interesting look and quite big for the style

aroma is simply chock full of campfire and smoke notes. rich with hints of bitter chocolate, rich and seemlingly neverending doses of smoked malts and a rich and complex air. as the first sips go down i notice how it is not as full as i thought given the look and aroma but it still seems to work quite nicely for me given the overall presentation. rich smokey malts, lots of brown sugar hiding in the back and a lovely sense of dark chocolate all wrap around a very well carbonated and luscious finish that really sealed the deal for me.

one of my favorite styles and this one certainly did not dissapoint in any way. would do this again in a heartbeat.

 1,106 characters

Photo of SupaCelt
4/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

black pour. little tan head. some lacing. nose is roasted and milky and chocolate cocoa with sticky bun glaze. the flavor is delicious and makes for an easy to quaff drank. chocolate and some chalky tones with a modest hop bitterness and light roasted quality are the main notables. mouthfeel is around medium. overall this is a nice little dance across my face. it does go well with food and i feel as though i lived the label being totally stuffed on alton brown's artichoke dip recipe and this here schwarzbier from short's. this is a semi sessionable dark bier toward the heavy end of the spectrum that remains true to style as it circles the stout and porter realm but never goes inside. thanks.

 700 characters

Photo of BradLikesBrew
4/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Elijah for this bottle.

Pours a dark brown, nearly black.

Dutch process cocoa powder on the nose.

Nutty toffee, caramel, cocoa, and coffee with a tinge of grassy, floral hop bitterness on the finish.

Drinks like a thinner, lighter stout. Exactly what you want in a schwarzbier. Darker richer flavors delivered in a more sessionable method.

 357 characters

Photo of jt31914
4/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: black with nice foamy brown head; lacing is great and retention is okay. Not overly carbonated, but looks pretty good.

S: Coffee, Toffee, Alcohol, Chocolate, Licorice. Straight forward blend of five awesome flavors.

T: Very malty and full. All the smell flavors come out in the taste. A very nice beer, once again Short's impresses.

MD: Very much so in both cases.

Unique dark beer. Very much black, and very much good.

 426 characters

Photo of mikereaser
4/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Shorts Brewing Sustenance Black Beer
A - Pours a pitch black with an inch of off white foam that quickly faded and left some decent lacing
S - Roasted malts with a good amount of smokiness but not too much, there is a bit of cocoa and dark fruit, roasted coffee and brown sugar. Its like all of these flavors blend together and it is hard to pick out just one.
T - Taste is very similar to the aroma, roasted coffee, dark malts, some chocolate, a bit of plums. There is a bit of an alcohol flavor in the finish along with more chocolate. Interesting flavor, not an every day beer, but i'd go for another one.
M - smooth mouthfeel, medium bodied with a decent amount of carbonation.
D - Very enjoyable and mild beer. I like it because its not over the top on flavor. Its just easy to drink and very nice.

 814 characters

Photo of tai4ji2x
4/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

on-tap during the short's throwdown at the roadhouse, in brookline, ma, on april 24, 2009, the week of the craft brewers conference.

very dark, almost black. reddish brown and clear under the light. head recedes to wispy layer, then just wisps and thin ring. lacing exists but is somewhat sparse.

aroma: dark caramel and molasses with roast note, almost coffee. hint of licorice? light whiffs of earthy, grassy hops.

taste: sweet dark caramel, hint of molasses and fruit, with more roast malt and coffee note, mixing with earthiness of the hops. moderate to bold bitterness, both resinous from the hops and roasty from the malt. more sweet caramel with dark fruit hint, peeking through the bitter, resinous finish.

medium body, with moments of light syrupy quality. resinous astringency in the finish is accentuated by the crisp carbonation.

perhaps a bit unconventional for a schwarzbier, but quite flavorful overall.

 923 characters

Photo of Tripel_Threat
4.04/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle to pilsner glass. Brew is color of dark chocolate,o cofe beans. Thin off white head, a finger full, that settles to a little cap with no lacing. Not much rentention. Smell is toasted malts, sweet dark fruits, raisin, black bread. Taste follows, with a sweet, raisiny tang upfront and a bitter bite on the end. Got this as part of the Spring variety pack; all have been winners. Highly recommend.

 415 characters

Photo of techfed87
4.05/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a well-rounded head. Color is about that what you'd expect from a schwartzbier, very very dark. Smell is a bit more sour than I would expect otherwise. Kind of a Corona-flavor wafting off of it.

First taste is a bit hoppy, and yet not as bitter as I thought it was going to be. Mouthfeel is what you would expect from a Short's beer: very potent and very rewarding.

One of the stronger examples of what a schwartzbier can be, this one is really worth your while.

 471 characters

Photo of younger35
4.05/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Received this beer from Northernbrews in a recent trade. Gotta love Short's and I'm pumped to give this one a go. Drank from my Surly nonic pint glass.

Appearance- Pours a super dark brown with a beautifully creamy one finger dark tan head. A spotty cap and thick collar remain along with a few random spots of lacing here and there.
Smell- Very roasted and full of big malty coffee like burntness. Hints of molasses and licorice are also quite abundant. A touch of caramel creeps in and an almost oakiness. Some vanilla and chocolate round out the nose. Lots going on here.
Taste- Starts much the same as the nose with a lightly sweet bite of extreme roasted malts. Almost buttery at times with a bit of caramel, licorice and vanilla. The coffee isn't as prominent as you'd expect but the chocolate is. Loads of milk chocolate with a light earthy finish. Maybe even a touch of citrus cuts in towards the end.
Mouthfeel- Big full body with creaminess that is substantial. The carbonation is pretty low but the mouthfeel is awesome.
Drinkability- Not too shabby, really enjoyed this one. It's got a great mouthfeel that's top of the line and big bold flavors. The beer 'for when you're hungry and thirsty' rings spot on. Thanks much Jeff!

 1,238 characters

Photo of divineaudio
4.05/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

120z undated bottle into a pint glass.

pours a dark, chocolatey brown and forms a thin cap of tan head that lasts for most of the beer. got some nice leggy lacing too.

smell is roasty, earthy, and grainy with a bit of herbal hops.

taste comes through with lots of roasted malt and hints of smoke. has bit of a peppery spiciness to it and a pleasing herbal hop character. strong malts up front are well balanced by bitterness in the finish.

lighter in body with prickly feeling carbonation.

very drinkable and a great dark beer for the hot summer months. short's definitely did good with this one. added to my shopping list.

 628 characters

Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.07/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Acquired via trade from MilwaukeeCrusher, so a big “Thank You” goes out to him. Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep dark brown color, with a thin beige head that fades slowly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains coffee, roasted malts, lager yeast and a touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out with a hearty roasted malt character followed by lager yeast and a strong black coffee flavor. There are also touches of dark fruit and chocolate in the background. The after-taste is slightly bready and a little bitter-sweet.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is dry and slightly sticky.

O: Tasty, goes down very easily, not too filling, good kick, very good representation of style, this is a very solid dark lager worth drinking for a long time if you’re in the mood for the style.

 878 characters

Photo of WakeandBake
4.1/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A black color pour with a small off white head, medium carbonation , spotty and jagged lacing . Aroma is caramel and roasty grain , coffee ,black licorice, and spicy hops . Flavor is very roasty , lightly sweet , lightly bitter with some roasty malt,caramel, black licorice, and earthy spicy hops . medium body , smooth creamy mouthfeel , very sessionable and very good , Nice work Shorts .

 390 characters

Photo of Deuane
4.1/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Ashley's in Ann Arbor, MI.

A-Deep copper bordering on deep ruby. A medium off white head reduces to a thin cap and leaves nice lace.

S-Earthy, musty malt with a noticable peppery spiciness. Underlying notes of citrus rind that pops more upon warming.

T-Bold up front spicy citrus rind with supporting, but light, caramel malt. Not overly sweet.

M-Medium bodied, sharp and crisp with a long lasting bitterness.

D-A fairly spicy hop infused schwarzbier. Just enough citrus pressence to keep things in check and a light malty sweetness that creates a near perect balance. Very nicely done.

 601 characters

Photo of superspak
4.1/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle into lager glass, bottled on 2/2/2015. Pours slightly hazy very dark brown color with a 1 finger dense tan head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings down the glass, with a moderate amount of streaming carbonation retaining the head. Aromas of big dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, caramel, toast, dark bread, light smoke/char, herbal, and roast/smoke earthiness. Damn nice aromas with good complexity of dark/roasted malt and earthy hop notes; with good strength. Taste of big dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, caramel, toast, dark bread, light smoke/char, herbal, and roast/smoke earthiness. Fair amount of herbal hop and roast bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, toast, dark bread, light smoke/char, and roasted earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Damn nice complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roasted malt and earthy hop flavors; with a great roasted bitterness/sweetness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Very clean in lager flavors with zero yeast notes present. Medium carbonation and body; with a very smooth, crisp, fairly creamy, and slightly sticky/chalky mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a slight warming present after the finish. Overall this is an excellent schwarzbier style. All around great robustness, complexity, and balance of dark/roasted malt and earthy hop flavors; and very smooth and crisp to drink. A very enjoyable offering.

 1,523 characters

Photo of marcobrau
4.12/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Deep black with moderate to light carbonation that forms a head that falls to a ring of foam. No lace. Fairly complex aroma of dark chocolate, burnt caramel and smoke. Tastes of dark chocolate, dark molasses, a touch of burnt caramel. Finishes with roasted chicory and espresso. Tastes moderately to lightly hopped; most of the bitterness tastes like it's coming from the malts with no real hop flavor. Fairly complex yet highly drinkable.

 439 characters

Short's Sustenance Black Bier from Short's Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 83 ratings.