Sustenance Black Beer - Bourbon Barrel-Aged
Short's Brewing Company

Sustenance Black Beer - Bourbon Barrel-AgedSustenance Black Beer - Bourbon Barrel-Aged
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Style:
Lager - Schwarzbier
Ranked #6
ABV:
6.5%
Score:
90
Ranked #5,756
Avg:
4.05 | pDev: 10.37%
Reviews:
83
Ratings:
208
From:
Short's Brewing Company
 
Michigan, United States
Avail:
Rotating/Seasonal
Wants
  58
Gots
  26
SCORE
90
Outstanding
Sustenance Black Beer - Bourbon Barrel-AgedSustenance Black Beer - Bourbon Barrel-Aged
Notes: Sustenance Black Beer aged it in bourbon barrels for 11 months.
Reviews: 83 | Ratings: 208 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by superspak:
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superspak from Michigan

4.03/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle into tulip glass, bottled in 5/2009. Pours opaque dark brown/black color with a 1-2 finger fairly dense and rocky light khaki head with fantastic retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lasts. Nice dense foamy lacing clings on the glass, with a light amount of streaming carbonation. Fantastic appearance. Aromas of big raisin, plum, prune, cherry, fig, date, apple, apricot, red grape, milk/dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, roasted nuts, bourbon, toasted oak, and dark bread/crust; with lighter notes of coconut, licorice, caramel, brown sugar, toffee, smoke, char, wood, herbal, grass, peppercorn, and yeast/roast/toast/oaky earthiness. Minimal booziness in the aromas as it warms. Damn nice aromas with great complexity, and balance of black/roast/bready malts, bourbon barrels, and light-moderate earthy hop/fruity yeast notes; with big strength. Taste of big raisin, plum, prune, cherry, fig, date, apple, apricot, red grape, milk/dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, roasted nuts, bourbon, toasted oak, and dark bread/crust; with lighter notes of coconut, licorice, caramel, brown sugar, toffee, smoke, char, wood, herbal, grass, peppercorn, and yeast/roast/toast/oaky earthiness. Light pine, smoke, char, wood, herbal, grass, peppercorn, smoke, charred bitterness; and bourbon/oak tannin spiciness after the finish. Lingering notes of light/dark fruits, milk/dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, roasted nuts, bourbon, toasted oak, dark bread/crust, coconut, licorice, caramel, brown sugar, toffee, smoke, char, wood, herbal, grass, peppercorn, and yeast/roast/toast/oaky earthiness on the finish for a while. Great complexity, robustness, and balance of black/roast/bready malts, bourbon barrels, and light-moderate earthy hop/fruity yeast flavors; with a great great hop/char bitter/sweet and bourbon/oak spiciness balance; with no cloying/acrid/astringent flavors after the finish. Very clean on lager flavors, not overly fruity/yeasty. Lightly increasing dryness from lingering hop/char bitterness, and bourbon/oak spiciness. Medium carbonation and medium-plus body; with a very smooth, moderately creamy/silky/bready/grainy, and fairly sticky/chalky/tannic mouthfeel that is great. Mild increasing warmth of 8.5%, with minimal lingering booziness after the finish. Overall this is an excellent barrel aged schwarzbier style. All around great complexity, robustness, and balance of black/roast/bready malts, bourbon barrels, and light-moderate earthy hop/fruity yeast flavors; very smooth and easy to drink for the ABV, with the mellowly bitter/charred/tannic/drying finish. Great soft feel and lightly bitter/charred/tannic. Light residual sweetness with lingering charred/tannic dryness. A very enjoyable offering, and impressive style example. Aged really well for 11 years.

Dec 24, 2019
More User Reviews:
Photo of chippo33
chippo33 from Vermont

3/5  rDev -25.9%

Jan 10, 2013
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adrienne from Illinois

4/5  rDev -1.2%

Sep 09, 2013
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TonyTalon from Wisconsin

4.25/5  rDev +4.9%

Oct 16, 2012
Photo of tectactoe
tectactoe from Michigan

3.97/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Thanks to Jeff for picking me up a sixer of this at the brewery. Not sure exactly what is meant by Bourbon Barrel "Soaked", rather than "Aged", but I'll never turn down a Shorts brew. This one pours a dark brown color, kind of thin and a bit lighter looking compared to what I had imagined in my mind. Almost no head at first, but it gracefully forms seconds after I finish pouring - tan in color, big-bubbled, and lightly creamy. No lace on the glass, but the beer leaves some wet legging when swirled.

One thing's for sure - the aroma on BB Sustenance is much more robust than its appearance might have you believe. It comes out swinging with a huge barrel presence - bourbon is perhaps the strongest peripheral, following closely by a large amount of smooth and sweet vanilla. Some mild oaky, woody, and nutty aromas lay beneath those, creating a beer that smells not too far off of sticking your head inside of an old bourbon barrel. Upon warming, more roasted malts and sweet chocolate notes jump out, too - this beer smells great.

One sip and you're immediately assulted by a great deal of booze; the bourbon hits hard, almost coming off as more of a raw, whiskey flavor. Once the initial shock of the bourbon subsides, other flavors that come out include a soft-spoken mix of cola, oak, roast, and some vanilla - sadly in much lower capacity than was found in the aroma. Lots of chocolate and cocoa powder comes crashing in about halfway through and hangs around for the aftertaste. Especially when this puppy warms up, the semi-sweet cocoa becomes a big proponent in the finish.

The mouth feel on BB Sustenance is slick and wet, but it has a slight creaminess to it that keeps it feeling smooth and refreshing on the palate. Carbonation is pretty low, but it really isn't much of a bother. I guess when I hear "Bourbon Barrel" in front of a beer, I'm expecting some thick, viscous, chewy-ass liquid, but that's simply not the case. Schwarzbiers typically are not thick, and so it shouldn't be too much of a concern that BB Sustenance isn't, either, save for the barrel-induced creaminess.

It's hard to believe this beer is only 6.5% ABV - the bourbon character is very strong and very forward. It starts strong and finishs strong, leaving a warmth that engulfs your throat and even the upper-half of your chest after each swallow. Not so much robust as it is unabashedly powerful; while I still enjoyed the beer, some time in the cellar might provide a smoother flavor profile with a slightly toned down alcohol assault. Fresh, this one's a slow sipper. Shorts wasn't too far off with their slogan for this one - "for when you're hungry and thirsty".

May 01, 2013
Photo of Benny3000
Benny3000 from Michigan

3.75/5  rDev -7.4%

Jun 01, 2013
Photo of hopswap1
hopswap1 from Illinois

4.04/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle from Nachos4two, Thanks!

Pours dark brown almost black with finger of head that shrinks rather quickly. Smell is a big punch of sweet bourbon with a little bit of chocolate. Wow is that bourbony. Taste follows the nose with a big bourbon presence with a slightly boozy taste. The beer is rather thin but surprising amounts of carbonation. Overall, a beer unlike any I've had. Not an incredible beer but definitely one of a kind and worth a try. Wouldn't mind drinking this frequently.

Sep 21, 2012
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Sirvis from Michigan

4.25/5  rDev +4.9%

Mar 08, 2014
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beernads from Florida

3.5/5  rDev -13.6%

Feb 15, 2014
Photo of jschott75
jschott75 from Illinois

4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Jun 15, 2016
Photo of DMarlinJ
DMarlinJ from Michigan

4/5  rDev -1.2%

Jul 28, 2013
Photo of Tracker83
Tracker83 from Michigan

3.79/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Mar 18, 2017
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BjornRK from Michigan

4.25/5  rDev +4.9%

Sep 09, 2013
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MarkGleason from Michigan

4.5/5  rDev +11.1%

Aug 11, 2013
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TypsiYpsi from Michigan

4.25/5  rDev +4.9%

Mar 13, 2014
Photo of ubenumber2
ubenumber2 from Arkansas

4/5  rDev -1.2%

Oct 16, 2013
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Dicers from Colorado

3.68/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Feb 08, 2015
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TheBeerDad from Michigan

5/5  rDev +23.5%

May 17, 2013
Photo of JamesShoemaker
JamesShoemaker from Michigan

4.35/5  rDev +7.4%

Aug 26, 2014
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mrn1ceguy from Illinois

4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Feb 10, 2015
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ltltony from Michigan

4/5  rDev -1.2%

Aug 19, 2013
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krl2112 from Illinois

3.93/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Jul 30, 2015
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TheConnMan from Michigan

4.5/5  rDev +11.1%

May 14, 2013
Photo of Stevedore
Stevedore from Oregon

3.74/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle from the most recent 2013 release (no bottle date), generously given to me by fellow BA Benish. Poured into an unlabeled snifter today, 9/1/2013.

Pours a dark black, opaque body with a 1cm brown head that dissipates into a fairly thick brown collar. Not much lacing to speak of. Very dark looking brew.

Smells like sweet bourbon. Not much smoke or roastiness at all here. A bit of earthiness in the background.. must be the hops. But pretty much a sweet nose here. Not much oak or vanilla- just that sweet bourbon, a bit of chocolate and just a wee bit of roast malts.

Tastes like sweet bourbon mixed in with some caramel and toffee. Tasty brew that kind of reminds me of Jack and Coke, to be honest. Not much vanilla or oak here which I would have expected from a bourbon barrel beer, even if they call it "soaked" on the label. Interesting, pleasant, not super complex but tasty.

Mouthfeel on this is medium bodied, good carbonation. Its a bit slick and resinous, covers my tongue in sweet bourbon flavour. It's surprisingly low ABV which I don't get, with all that sweet bourbon! I guess this is part of the charm here. At the same time its a bit of a sipper just because of that flavour... you sip bourbon, right?

Interesting beer. Not meant to be compared to say, Bourbon County Stout or anything like that, but on its own this is an interesting, flavourful beer. I enjoyed it, and I recommend it to anyone who likes a lighter beer with some bourbon flavour in it. It holds up well surprisingly despite the relatively thin body and malt presence.

Sep 02, 2013
Photo of SportsandJorts
SportsandJorts from Virginia

4.05/5  rDev 0%
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.

Jun 07, 2014
Sustenance Black Beer - Bourbon Barrel-Aged from Short's Brewing Company
Beer rating: 90 out of 100 with 208 ratings