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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 185 |  Reviews: 129
Photo of Sammy
3.6/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bourbon, corn and then I was getting mostly the mint here, the concoction tasted off, yes lactose. Lager secondary, black coloured body. Some chalky taste, a little roasted malt. Whole thing does not carry together. Rather ordinary though drinkable.Stephen’s bottle from a previous batch.Tried again with Steve's bottle, and much better. Soft bodied, licorice and mint, better drinkable..

 390 characters

Photo of acurtis
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%

Photo of spycow
3.18/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Photo of djrn2
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
2.5/5  rDev -35.4%

Photo of t0rin0
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of superspak
3.88/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into pint glass, no bottling date. Pours hazy very dark brown color with a nice 2 finger fairly dense tan head with great retention that reduces to a thick cap. Some spotty lacing on the glass. Aromas of big chocolate, mint leaves, licorice, vanilla, molasses, roasted malt, biscuit, dark fruit, and a bit of bourbon. Nice and very interesting aromas as I would have expected. Taste of big chocolate, roasted malt, light coffee, licorice, bourbon, vanilla, biscuit, mint leaves, dark fruit, and some herbal spiciness. Some light licorice tartness on the finish; with some lingering notes of chocolate, roasted malt, mint, and licorice on the finish for a bit. Finish is fairly dry. Very nice overall balance of flavors, with no cloying at all. Medium carbonation and body; with a fairly creamy and slick mouthfeel. Very smooth to drink at 8%. Alcohol is well hidden with only a slight warming on the finish. Overall this is a surprisingly nice and interesting black lager; that is very drinkable and balanced.

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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 mothman
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into pint glass.

Pours 1/2 finger of tan head that fades down to a thin layer. Leaves slight splattered lace. Color is a deep caramel brown, but settles black.

Aroma: A big spice flavor on the nose. The mint is very apparent as well as chocolate and vanilla. It does smell a bit like black licorice.

Taste: Mint, chocolate, vanilla all melding together to create the black licorice flavor. Some spice notes again. Very malty.

Mouthfeel: Crisp, smooth, spiced. Medium bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. Ends with a mint flavored aftertaste.

Overall, another very unique beer from Shorts. Some unique flavors. A very big lager that I wasn't expecting. Drinks easy, however.

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Photo of largadeer
4.15/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle shared by nickd717. Dark lager aged on anise seeds, Madagascar Bourbon vanilla beans and fresh chocolate mint leaves. Thanks, Nick. I was curious about this one, and it didn't disappoint.

Dark crimson-brown in the glass, excellent clarity and head retention. The nose is a melange of licorice, vanilla and root beer. It's faintly tar-like, chocolatey, minty, roasty. The taste is similarly odd; licorice, root beer, green tea and mint at the forefront with a subtle vanilla character. Medium-light body, herbal, spicy, unique. Black licorice finish. An odd beer, but very enjoyable.

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Photo of zestar
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%

Photo of billab914
3.51/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Dogfish shaped pint glass. It poured nearly black in color with a fizzy head filling the rest of the glass. Head retention was decent and it did leave a little lacing as i drank it.

The aroma shows a lot of star anise to it. It gives it a pretty bold licorace like flavor, but there is also a good dose of citrus to it. I don't get much past that for the aroma.

The taste shows a lot of the star anise throughout the flavor. It shows a pretty bright citrus flavor to it right up front as well. Towards the finish I start to get more of a cocoa like chocolate flavor to it along with just a hint of the vanilla. It definitely has a lot of sweetness to it throughout the flavor as well.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with carbonation being below average. Drinkability is pretty decent and better then I expected going in. The star anise was a little strong for me, but I liked how the chocolate kicked in some towards the finish. Pretty decent beer overall.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.77/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes. On tap at The Union in Clarkston, MI.

Pours near black with a thin head and not much lacing. The nose is quite nice with a good dose of black licorice. After that, a tad bit of vanilla and light molasses. Taste is all black licorice. Slightly sweet. Tastes fairly authentic. Good feel with a nice sweetness and good carbonation. Nice feel. A fairly one dimensional brew, but quite good and spot on in nailing the flavor.

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Photo of Kegatron
4.12/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a deep cola-brown in the glass (with some ruby along the edges) and is topped with a finger of foamy mocha colored head. This retains with a tight ½ finger of creamy froth, which leaves back a robust and sticky cascade of lace. The aroma smells just as advertised, with notes of licorice, vanilla, and a dark and ripe fruity tanginess. There’s a touch of fresh mint flavor across the back of the nose as well, while just a touch of floral accents round out the edges. This is nice.

The taste changes things up a bit, with more malty notes of cocoa and caramel being at the forefront of the profile but I’m always picking up some vanilla and a ripe (and slightly tart) fruitiness to this as well. An earthy bitterness is present and adds a bit of assertiveness to this. Anise comes out across the back, lingering in an overall tart and tangy feeling finish. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, with a smooth crispness to this that glides along easily in the mouth. Maybe just a smidge of light warmth to this but nearly enough to tell me that this is 8%.

My experience with this beer pretty much mirrored the one that I had with it on draft last year. The nose really delivering the promised flavors (and it seemed even a bit more here in the bottle) but the flavor, while still good, just didn’t bring it as hard. This is still a really tasty and unique offering from Short’s though and I’d definitely recommend checking it out if given the chance.

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Photo of russpowell
4.09/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Cheers to MarcatGSB for this long-time want! Some sort of dating code, couldn't really read it, it was smeared a bit.

Pours a chestnut-tinged mahogany with a finger of tan head. Not much lacing or head retention

S: Herbal & faint bready notes. Sarsaparilla & mint as this warms

T: Herbal & licorice notes a long with toasty & roasty malt notes. Spear minty notes come through as this warms, along with sarsaparilla & licorice, plus dryness.

MF: Medium bodied/chewy, subtle carbonation

I really enjoyed this, a well executed one-off that didn't disappoint

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.32/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a near black body with a small, fizzy, khaki-colored head.

Smell: Aroma jam-packed with distinct-smelling black licorice and lesser notes of chocolate, roast, spearmint, and a vague fruitiness.

Taste: Sweetish black licorice flavor is quite heavy, with a lesser taste of semi-sweet chocolate. Slight hint of roasted malt. Tiny taste of chopped mint leaves. Thin measure of fruitiness. Lightly roasty finish with a lingering taste of root beer. All of the flavors and tastes combine beautifully to present a taste truly reminiscent of root beer.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: Recommended. The best root beer I've had in a coon's age. Yet another wonderful creation by Short's Brewing.

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Photo of Zaphog
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.4/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a pint glass. No bottle date and I don't even know where this came from. Maybe Marc? Just found it in the fridge and figured it needed to be consumed sooner rather than later.

Appearance - Nearly black body with just the faintest of red coming through when I hold it up. Nice khaki head that clings to the glass and maintains a thick collar with nice surface foam.

Smell - Musty mint leaf aroma. Chocolate malt and just a touch of licorice in the nose.

Taste - A lot more licorice here. Hits immediately with a dose of chocolate. Mint lends a bit of acidity to the flavor throughout. The blend is odd at certain points. I find myself focusing on different aspects with each sip. I don't discern the vanilla, though.

Mouthfeel - Pretty thin. Easy drinking, except for some of the wild flavors. Well carbonated.

Overall - Not sure how I feel about it. Sometimes I like the flavors, sometimes they seem off. As I click Review, I like it. That could change by the end of the glass.

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Photo of mdfb79
3.7/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

a - Pours a deep mahogany brown color with two inches of tan head and light carbonation evident. Head lasts for one to two minutes and leaves no lacing.

s - Smells of sweet dark fruits, chocolate, roasted malts, anise/licorice, light vanilla, very light bourbon. Smells very sweet and the dark fruit and chocolate definitely come out a lot. More vanilla as it warms up. I was expecting more anise/licorice, but it's pretty nice.

t - Tastes of bitter coffee and chocolate, licorice/anise, fennel, roasted malts, sweet fruit, and vanilla. More vanilla than the nose, and a ton more of that sweet anise/licorice than in the nose.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation. Pretty smooth body.

d - Overall a pretty decent beer from Short's; one of their better beers that I've had. Lots of sweet licorice in the taste. Probably couldn't drink more than one of these personally due to licorice overload, but nice none the less.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.1/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

so i was perplexed by this one for sure. started out with a smooth, dark pour, nearly black with a neat and tight head of tan that sat on top somewhat nicely for a good bit of time.

aroma is licorice. dark, black licorice with a touch of licorice, lol. once sided at first but warming brought out a touch of light smoke and dark fruit notes that then started to dominate the scene. first sip smacks of deep licorice flavor that steals the show. i will admit it takes a bit to get used to but once it is there it is quite nicely done. light prune and plum flavors in the back field here give it some depth with a nice finish that smacks of dark fruit.

overall a very solid an very interesting offering. i could see myself doing this one on a whim again.

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Photo of womencantsail
2.64/5  rDev -31.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to Thorpe for this one.

A: The beer pours a very dark brown color with a finger of off-white head.

S: Heavy licorice/anise aroma with a lot of lactic notes to it. There are some herbal hop notes and a little bit of roasted malt. It's also a little bit metallic, sort of like many other Short's beers.

T: Sweet malt, a light smokiness, and tons and tons of licorice and anise. As with the aroma, there is a little bit of a lactic tartness. Sort of watery, too, and a little bit of metal.

M: Light to medium in body with a medium carbonation.

O: Just a really weird, funky, flavor and aroma to this. Not very good.

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Photo of imperialking
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%

Photo of JAHMUR
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of RblWthACoz
4.1/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I have to admit I put two strikes against this one since it was a licorice beer. However, interestingly enough, there seems to be a nice minty tone to this from the licorice. And thankfully the licorice doesn't overpower things at all. What you get is a nice, evenly robust lager with a nice little flavor ride. Odd as it seems for me to say, this may end up being one of my favorite Shorts brews.

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Photo of MasterSki
4.07/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2007 Imperial Series #346/745, kindly delivered by rlcnmeyer a while back. Served in a taster glass at the monthly Goose Island gathering.

A - Pours with a dark tan finger of foam that settles to a thin cap and thick ring, with no lacing left behind. Dark brown with some transparency at the fringes.

S - Thin mints, dark bread, a bit of cocoa and vanilla, some earthy notes, and light anise.

T - Thin mints, dark rummy bread, black licorice. Finishes with light bitterness. More overt anise flavor here.

M - Body is somewhat thin, but the carbonation is thankfully not harsh. A little sticky and tooth-coating. Odd cooling menthol sensation.

D - Better than I expected. Reminded me of thin mints, or licorice cough drops like Fisherman's Friend. I had a couple pours of this one, and I may seek out a few of the new 12oz bottles to compare.

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