Black Licorice Lager | Short's Brewing Company

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Black Licorice LagerBlack Licorice Lager
Very Good
185 Ratings
Black Licorice LagerBlack Licorice Lager

Brewed by:
Short's Brewing Company
Michigan, United States

Style: Euro Dark Lager

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
"A high gravity American dark lager aged on anise seed, Madagascar bourbon vanilla beans and fresh chocolate mint leaves."

Added by hoppymeal on 06-06-2007

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 185 |  Reviews: 129
Photo of Another6Pack
5/5  rDev +29.2%

Photo of Cotton_27
5/5  rDev +29.2%

Photo of Rempo
5/5  rDev +29.2%

Photo of brentk56
4.92/5  rDev +27.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Pours an espresso brown color with ruby highlights; the tan head sticks incredibly well and while the lacing is sporadic, the strength of the head is impressive

Smell: I can't help but pick up the chocolate mint as the dominant aroma, with vanilla wafers being secondary; the anise is also there, no doubt and puts up a good battle with the other aromas

Taste: The chocolate mint also dominates the front end, with some vanilla, licorice and balsa wood appearing by mid-palate; after the swallow, the anise flavor builds in intensity but that mint...oh, brother, how unusual is that

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate, but creamy, carbonation

Drinkability: It's too bad Short's is in such a remote location as their beers are very hard to come by; this is my first of three beers obtained in a trade with hoppymeal; if the others are anywhere near as good, it will be an extraordinary experience to drink them

Thanks again, hoppymeal

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Photo of ncvbc
4.82/5  rDev +24.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Well, where to begin? Another brew from the Short's Imperial Beer Series...I want all these damn trading cards before it's over!

This one pours quite dark, nearly black. Some brown hues can be seen on the edges of the glass. A nice and creamy tan head rises up, never falling below a ring.

I just can't put a finger on this brew. Seems to be the case with many Short's creations, huh? These guys make some unique stuff, that's what can be said. Amazing how soft the smell can seem, not aggressive by any means, for the size. Black licorice is there on a much smaller scale than you'd expect. Nice roast malt. Chocolate with faint mint in the distance. Dreamy.

Taste brings more flavor up front. Still though, it's surprisingly soft and supple in the mouth. Light roast is there at all times. Creamy chocolate mint, licorice, and luscious vanilla. The flavors just combine in a perfect fashion. I was expecting this beer to be a lot more explosive in an unbalanced type of way...I mean what else can you expect from a Black Licorice Lager? It was anything but that...tamed and beautiful.

I'd say this has a medium to full body, creamy but with an airy, fluffy feel. It goes down like silk and leaves a taste of delicious mint chocolate urging you to take another sip.

Drinkable? Way more than expected. This surpassed my expectations with ease and currently stands as my favorite Short's brew. I hope to try many more from these guys in the future. Would kill to have tried the Imperial Spruce fresh...I think it would be pretty amazing.

Thanks to hoppymeal for sending this as an extra in a trade a while back...

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Photo of martyrthisthat
4.75/5  rDev +22.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

After having the horrific experience of having the PB & J Ale by Short's I was kind of turned off by the company. But I am so glad that I tried this. This is one of the best beers I've had in a long time. I didn't find the anise flavour to be very strong. To me it tasted more like mint chocolate chip ice cream. a beautifully crafted beer.

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Photo of BentLegBrewer
4.69/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Had at tasting. vintage was 06 or 07 one of about 850. first appearance was great, it pour thicker than 10w50 moter oil dark as a cave 50 ft under the earth with a finger width tan to cream white head. aroma is certainly overloads of black licorice, hints of cookie dough and vanilla. taste see above with a short alcohol burn for the back of your throat very cream and full the whole way through. My advice is split it if ya have it it does have a level of sweetness and licorice to it that would make it hard to finish more than half a bomber. Overall a homerun especially in tasting eviroment

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Photo of kruz805
4.62/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: jet black with a dark tan creamy head that presists

S: coco with a light mint aroma. Med low burbon aroma with a hint of vanilla. Did not get much anaise aroma.

T: chocolate and lsome mint, burbon and vanilla. Very much the same as the aroma

M: this is only a medium body beer but, you exspect more.

D: due to this beer being a lager, itis very smooth and clean. Nice to have a few glasses but may become a little much.

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Photo of ngeunit1
4.62/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a dark black color with some brown around the edges and a thin covering of frothy chocolate colored head. The head fades down at a normal pace leaving behind some light lace.

S - Aroma is a mix of roasted sweet chocolate malts with some anise, bourbon, vanilla, and mint. Really nice and complex nose.

T - Starts out with a mix of sweet roasted chocolate malts with some mint and anise in the background. Through the middle, some vanilla and bourbon come through alongside some more mint and a touch of burnt malt. The finish is a mix of sweet roasted chocolate, anise, vanilla, and a hint of bourbon booze.

M - Medium-plus bodied with moderate carbonation. Smooth with a warming dry finish.

D - Very drinkable. Really big an bold flavors, but they come together really nicely and taste balanced. I really like the vanilla been and anise combination.

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Photo of seaoflament
4.62/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to hoppymeal for trading me a bottle of this one. I have developed a taste for anise through absinthe and had always wanted to try this one. I've already tried a couple of the Short's Imperial beers but this is the first one I've sat down and rated. Bottle #201 out of 744 (hey Joe Short didn't sign the back of this card!).

Pours the color of a strong porter, dark and with some ruby edges when held to the light. A thick and frothy head, soapy and creamy looking, rises from the bottom to the tip of my glass. About half of the glass filled up with foam. Great retention, there's a good quarter inch of foam that just doesn't disappear.

Wow, probably the best nose of all the Short's beers I have tried. There's a soft mint chocolate aroma that just makes my mouth water. Quite a bit of chocolate on this one with some lightly roasted malts, caramel, vanilla, wood, and a subtle anise aroma in the background. As much as I like anise I'm glad that it was not overdone, at least not in the aroma. There's also some mineral water and/or club soda, something I have detected in other beers from their Imperial Series.

Taste is very similar to the aroma, did not believe it could live up to it. Lot's of chocolate, a little bit of mint, vanilla, oak, cocoa, roasted malts, woodsy licorice, and anise in the finish and aftertaste. A tiny bit of alcohol can be detected in the end. Boy, this is one tasty beer!

Rich and creamy mouthfeel, at the right temperature so drink this one between cellar and room temp. Semi-dry finish with lots of roasted malts and chocolate in the finish. I have not liked the mouthfeel from most of the Short's beers, I find them gaseous and thin, but this one is just great.

From the other Short's beers I have tried I'm not sure if I could have finished a whole 750ml bottle by myself (maybe their Imperial Black Cherry Porter) but I will have no problem finishing and savoring this bottle.

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Photo of kzoobrew
4.6/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Deep and nearly opaque brown body could easily be mistaken for black. Slim white sandy hand recedes quickly though a nice cap is left. Spotty lacing left clinging fairly tightly.

Roasted malt and chocolate aromas are pleasant on the front end. The anise settles in just behind as more of a complimentary component. Whiffs of mint come in and out in a rather pleasant manner.

Sweet mint and roasted malt flavors merge on the front of the palate. Anise is present but not as strong as I anticipated. Smooth vanilla flavors are subtle but enjoyable through out. The combination of flavors is exceptional, this is one of the best tasting beers in recent memory.

Body is slightly above light delivering and incredibly smooth and creamy texture. Carbonation is on point, any more or less would be a mistake. Moderate finish with a nice mint flavor lingering on the back of the palate.

I have found other lagers that I really like, this one I love. I could drink multiple bottles of this in a sitting. Solid beer from beginning to end. Highly recommended, great beer.

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Photo of king75
4.59/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance is jet black with a small but creamy head on it, with generous lacing.

One of the best smelling beers I have ever had. A complex smell of chocolates, licorice, and a slight hint of mint are quite present.

Taste really malty, the licorice taste is well balanced with the chocolate, an extremely smooth lager that almost drinks like an american porter, but not quite as heavy.

Very drinkable, if you are looking for something different, buy it, buy it regardless, you won't regret it.

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Photo of Mebuzzard
4.5/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Ok, I hate licorice, anise and cough medicine, which are three things I think of before trying this brew.
A dark pour, some hints of ruby tones. Does it look a bit dark blue? Hmm. Slight head on it, a bit filmy.
A medium strength aroma of anise rises, followed by some slightly roasted malt and soft herbal hops. The licorice isn't very strong, but noticeable.
So goes with the taste. Very well balanced. Soft bourbon, anise, fennel and caramel blend nicely. Presently surprising. The anise/licorice is not the main focus. Slight medicinal touches. Easy drinking as well. Very nice brew!

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Photo of gford217
4.5/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Another gem provided by hoppymeal. 750mL bottle #403 poured into a tulip.

Pours dark brown out of the bottle and settles in completely black in the glass with a big billowy tan head that recedes fairly quickly but leaves tons of delicate lacing on the sides.

Well, there's definitely some licorice in this one! Sweet licorice just dominates the nose, much sweeter than the licorice I normally experience in beer. On top of that is the chocolaty mint aroma. I love this aroma.

The taste just picks up where the aroma leaves off. The first sip taste like mint chocolate chip ice cream, with some dark malts in there to remind me its a beer. The finish brings back the black licorice which lingers through the aftertaste.

The mouthfeel is fairly heavy for a lager with good carbonation and tons of sweetness that sticks to the mouth after each sip.

Overall, this is a wonderfully crafted and very sweet dessert beer that's not fooling around when it comes to the licorice. Their imperial series has been a wonderfully creative mix of beers and this is definitely one of my favorites. An outstanding beer.

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Photo of domfreego
4.5/5  rDev +16.3%

Photo of pwedge
4.5/5  rDev +16.3%

Photo of nanobrew
4.5/5  rDev +16.3%

Photo of alexgash
4.5/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle, # 223 of 744.

Dark root beer brown body with garnet edges. Thick, creamy, resilient, light cocoa brown head. Good lacing. Interesting nose of, well, black licorice. Anise stands out, but there is a core of toasted marshmallows, chocolate, plummy fruits, and earthy tobacco. Maybe some mint and miscellaneous spices. Even though I'm not a big black licorice fan, this smells pretty good. I like the complexity.

Roasted malts and anise spice up front. Hints at being a licorice bomb, but luckily more flavors quickly blend in mid-palate. Dark chocolate, hints of fruity Kenyan coffee, tobacco, leather, and some very ripe plums. Slightly tangy/spicy edge throughout (maybe fennel). Earthy anise and licorice root also stays throughout, but it's not overbearing (reminds me of root beer more than black licorice). It's actually pretty tasty as it lingers in the long finish. Medium body with a somewhat oily feel, especially in the finish. I like this a lot! Another great brew from Joe Short.

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Photo of younger35
4.47/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Received this brew in a trade with northernbrews. I really love how Short's is brewing some of these crazy unique brews. This will be my fourth of the Imperial series. Drank from my Ithaca Excelsior tulip.

High Gravity American dark lager aged on anise seed, Madagascar bourbon vanilla beans and fresh chocolate mint leaves.
Date Brewed: 12/19/06
Batch No: 250
Date Bottled: 2/13/07
Non Traditional Ingredients: Fresh Chocolate Mint, Anise Seed, Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Beans
Imperial Beer 4 of 13
Bottle Number 326 of 745

Appearance- Pours a pitch ass black with a nice creamy one finger head that recedes fairly quickly leaving no cap and a really thin collar and not a whole lot of lacing.
Smell- Wow, potent ass nose was evident upon opening. The anise is pretty light imparting just a bit of its goodness in the nose but the vanilla is fairly prominent. Earthy and woody at times there is a nice vanilla and chocolate ying and yang. The chocolate is rich and fudge like with an almost caramely aspect. Lightly minty (might have faded over the last year and a half) at times, I was really hoping for more of that numbing mint bite. Overall great nose though.
Taste- Starts lightly chocolaty with that light raw cocoa nib like chocolate-ness. Caramel and toffee lend just a small tad of sweetness and really accentuates that chocolaty goodness. The anise is surprisingly very light and not all that licorice-e. The vanilla is light and adds more to the beer than does the anise. The mint kicks in toward the finish but it's very light and almost undetectable. As the beer warms the darker roasted malts really come through adding just a tinge of roasty bitterness. Lots of vanilla in the finish that seems to linger forever.
Mouthfeel- Light to medium body that is super smooth and has more of a soft creamy feel than the usual light crisp feel that you'd expect from a lager.
Drinkability- This is by far the tastiest Short's brew I've had so far (although I have a growler of Cup O' Joe in the fridge, expecting good things). It's pretty damned unique and not some crazy ass licorice beer like the name implies. It's lightly chocolaty with some licorice and caramel. I wish the mint played more of a role but none-the-less this thing is tasty. Big thanks again to Jeff for his generosity!

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Photo of hoppymeal
4.47/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle #20 of 744. We need an American Dark Lager category for this one. Labels states a high gravity lager aged on anise seed, Madagascar bourbon vanilla beans, and fresh chocolate mint leaves.
Pours black with a small light coffee and cream colored head that slowly recedes to a ring, sediment at the bottom of the bottle. Aroma is strong of anise, like a box of good and plenty's, also some nice cola like vanilla aroma that blends with a soft mintiness. A great aroma, very soft and yet very complex. Taste is soft vanilla and cola up front that quickly blends with some anise which dwells on the palette into the somewhat astringent and slightly roasted aftertaste. Mouthfeel is medium, definitely some malts here to get that alcohol up there, but still crisp and clean, soft carbonation on the tongue mid taste and an astringent, slightly bitter and nicely dry finish. I can't get enough of this beer, for its alcohol content, it is very well balanced, the anise and vanilla melded very well together and the lagering allows these flavors to come thru better without fighting other yeast flavors. Outstanding aroma and very tastey, no problem with the full 750ml. If you like black licorice, seek this out!

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Photo of DaveHS
4.45/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Urbancaver for sending this one.

A-Pours jet black with almost no head. A thin ring of khaki-colored bubbles around the perimeter of the glass.

S-The nose is intriguing. Anise is present, but there's also a pleasant touch of vanilla, and something else. Milk chocolate? A touch of bourbon sweetness.

T-Wow. There's the anise, right up front. I really dig this beer. There's a delicate acidity at play beneath the light flavors of vanilla and anise. It's mouth watering, and makes me want to keep drinking. The carbonation is light and spritzy, which plays nicely against the roastiness mid-palate..

M-Light bodied, with pleasantly light carbonation.

D-Pretty high. This is one elegant beer. I'm gonna get another one of these as soon as possible.

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Photo of hosehead83
4.45/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a standard pint glass.
Dark ruby/black with a huge head of tan foam
Aroma-heady mix of chocolate and fresh mint leaves.
Taste-Liquid peppermint patty, chocolate, mint leaves, roasted coffee, vanilla bean. Exceptional flavor and character. Every sip has a different flavor nuance. An excellent, flavorfull brew. Seek it out if you can. Highly recommended.

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Photo of tpd975
4.42/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks to jdubfl for bringing all the Short's beers in for a tasting.

A: Pours a flat blackish brown sort of hue. Small tan head with little retention or lace.

S: Vanilla forward with anise beneath. Almost craft rootbeer aroma. Light chocolate and some cream.

T: Lots of balance between the flavors. Fresh vanilla bean with notes of light anise, chocolate, and some roasted malt. A hint of fresh mint in the finish.

M: Medium in body, smooth, good carbonation to carry the flavor.

D: Good, damn these Imperial series brews are so good and so unique. The best Lager to ever pass my lips.

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Photo of B0bD0bbselbock
4.38/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into glass tumbler.

A- Pours a deep, dark, reddish-brown color with nice head large head that reduces to about medium height. Nice medium-ish lacing.

S- Sweet aroma with the bourbon vanilla coming out very nicely, along with notes of chocolate and anise, and almost a kind of marshmellowy hints in the background.

T- A very nice sweetness that covers the palate, with roasted/caramelized malts, tasting kind of like roasted chicory or burnt coffee, maybe, which lingers pleasantly in the aftertaste. I also detect the anise and vanilla in the start. Somewhat bitter and slightly sour hint, with the vanilla coming out a bit more in the finish, and the anise reemerging in the aftertaste, as well. Also, the alcohol is well hidden.

M- Smooth, creamy, silky, somewhat tart, and full-bodied.

D- Drinks really well. I find the flavors really mesh well together, making for an curious experience for the palate. I could easily drink several of these.

Another great brew from the Short's crew. I found the nose very inviting, and the bold, dark, sweet flavors mingled well on my palate. Although i didnt find the overall flavor to taste be quite like black licorice, this did not deter my brain from enjoying this charming, flavorful, dark brew. Its really something unique, to my mind, and i will definitely buy this again to savor next to a roaring fire during this cold Michigan winter season.

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4.35/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle into tasting glass.

A: pours a deep ruby red, that looks black once settled. The head has great formation and grows steadily. High level of carbonation, with full and fluffy lacing.

S: A very light and clean aroma of subtle roast and a hint at vanilla. Anise comes through on a very slight note.

T/M: Good flavors all around, a well malted lager, that has a light character, but that doesn't compromise on taste. Anise plays a very good role in the lingering finish. The vanilla is very subtle, but does have active role. Very chocolaty mouthfeel, with a clean finish.

O: This is a very well done experimental beer, with a taste of anise that is very well balanced with all the other elements, it does not become over powering. Very interesting brew.

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Black Licorice Lager from Short's Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.87 out of 5 with 185 ratings