Short's Bourbon Barrel Sustenance Black Beer | Short's Brewing Company

BA SCORE
88
very good
205 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score
Send samples
Short's Bourbon Barrel Sustenance Black BeerShort's Bourbon Barrel Sustenance Black Beer
BEER INFO

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

Style: Schwarzbier

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.50%

Availability: Spring

Notes / Commercial Description:
Sustenance Black Beer aged it in bourbon barrels for 11 months.

Added by Baileyuk on 04-28-2008

BEER STATS
Ratings:
205
Reviews:
82
Avg:
3.97
pDev:
10.58%
 
 
Wants:
59
Gots:
28
For Trade:
3
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 205 |  Reviews: 82
Photo of twenty5
3.5/5  rDev -11.8%

Photo of JMBSH
3.5/5  rDev -11.8%

Photo of gratefulbeerhead
4.25/5  rDev +7.1%

Photo of gordavidson
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- A slightly hazy dark leathery brown liquid with a thin mocha head. Thinner than I was expecting.

S- Vanilla, raisins, and German chocolate cake. A little on the faint side for a bourbon barrel aged beer, but considering the style it's fitting.

T- Vanilla, oak, chocolate, and raisins. Tasty.

M- Smooth carbonation with a slight oaky dryness on the end. The body is on the lighter side.

D- A pretty unique beer. I appreciate what the bourbon barrel aging has done to a somewhat simple beer. Drinks nicely, although I question the ABV a bit. Well done Short's.

 565 characters

Photo of SpdKilz
4/5  rDev +0.8%
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.

 1,480 characters

Photo of sholland119
4.2/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this one from dashirey for Powerball. Thanks, Dain! Shared this one with Deuane, SierraGS and vickster529.

A-Pours dark brown, opaque, with a thin tan head. No real lacing.

S-A bold tart oakiness is somewhat balanced by a bit of dark chocolate.

T-Very tasty. Roasty and tart up front with a very strong oak presence. Following this, some nice cherry notes sneak in, followed by a roasted coffee finish.

M-Medium bodied and dry.

D-Nicely tart and tasty. A bourbon barrel schwarzbier is a bold concept but well executed here.

HV

 536 characters

Photo of joe1510
4.28/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

22oz Bomber

Recieved this in an ongoing trade with hoppymeal, thanks again Derek! Sustenance pours black with deep chestnut highlights when backlit. A creamy two fingers worth of mocha head rose on the pour and as it slowly fell left thick sheet lacing down the glass. Each drink leaves great, thick drink lines behind. The head eventually settles to a half finger cap atop the black body.

The first thing that hits my nose is the effects of the barrel "soaking" as the bottle implies. Damp oak, bourbon, and vanilla come forward in that order of intensity and although the barrel aging is most prominent it's soft and allows the schwarz to come through nicely. Each swirl of the glass brings along a solid roastiness and espresso. A mouthwatering beer the second I bury my nose in the glass.

Flavor keeps in stride with the aroma. Roastiness and coffee grounds upfront lay the foundation for the barrel aging. The maltiness is present throughout the drink allowing the bourbon to be a complimenting, as opposed to dominating, characteristic. The damp oak falls back compared to the aroma. The bourbon is brought to the front, followed closely by vanilla, and last but certainly not least is the damp oakiness. The bourbon finishes things off with a nice heat and hit of booziness. This is a super high quality schwarz from Short's.

One of the reasons I love schwarz biers is the body. This follows stride with some of the best but adds a bit of creaminess from the barrel aging. Medium body that leaves a slickness on the tongue.

For a barrel aged beer this is highly drinkable. The lighter body and a manageable abv keep this flowing without a problem. As a matter of fact I'm drinking this glass way too fast. I can't slow down.

I thought this would be a good beer, just as all Short's beers are, but I didn't expect to be drinking something so good. This is a phenomenal beer. So many barrel aged beers are over the top in whatever liquid the barrel previously held but Short's hit it on the head here. Another great beer from a brewery that's becoming one of my favorites with every passing beer I drink.

Reviewed: 6/7/08

 2,134 characters

Photo of JISurfer
4.25/5  rDev +7.1%

Photo of MinorThreat
4/5  rDev +0.8%

Photo of midlifec
4.25/5  rDev +7.1%

Photo of Tracker83
3.79/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Photo of orbitalr0x
3.72/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bomber with awesome label art. The cap comes off with quite a pop as the brew flows out of the bottle...a quick catch into my glass leaves me a dark brown body with a two finger light tan head on top. Initial aromas of lightly roasted dark malts and hints of caramel. There's a wild yeast character here that brings some sour bretty funk to the table as well with fruity accents. Woody oak tones and a mellow bourbon character that just barely shines through.

First sip brings a nice roasty dark malt upfront with hints of caramel and fruitiness. There's a hint of chocolate that moves into a woody oak flavor. Sour tinge is still there with the wild yeast accent. Only a touch of bourbon flavor hints through on the way down. My bottle at least comes off as a funky, oaky schwarzbier and even if this was not the intention I enjoyed it.

Mouthfeel is on the lighter side with swift moving carbonation and plenty of it. This goes down rather easily, but the bubbles are a little much. Overall, the wild yeast twist to this beer made it taste a lot different that I was expecting...this reminds me of a Jolly Pumpkin brew expect aged in bourbon. I did end up enjoying the bomber and thanks to hoppymeal for the opportunity.

 1,228 characters

Photo of Cotton_27
4.5/5  rDev +13.4%

Photo of Photekut
4.25/5  rDev +7.1%

Photo of robwestcott
4.09/5  rDev +3%
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.

 651 characters

Photo of amalburg
5/5  rDev +25.9%

Photo of shand
4.44/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a snifter.

This one gave me some headaches just wondering what to pour a bourbon-barrel aged lager into! It pours out pretty black, with a small head that quickly shrinks to the edge of the glass. The aroma? Goddamn, that's bourbon-y. The taste is also great and interesting. It is very strong on the bourbon at first, but goes interestingly tart pretty quick. The finish cancels out the tartness for some roasted malts and some more of the bourbon flavors (and a touch of wood). The body is extremely light, especially for a beer with such a bourbon taste. It works with that tartness in the middle though. The drinkability is good. What an interesting brew from Shorts, I was a little skeptical, but it works out better than I expected.

 770 characters

Photo of kbutler1
3.8/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Draft. Stopped in the brewery and had a little sampler of several beers. Very similiar to the regular version with the exception of the bourbon flavors and notes. Very distinct bourbon notes in the nose. Fairly strong bourbon flavors in the taste along with vanilla and chocolate. Very smooth. Tan head with good lace. Medium/heavy mouthfeel.

 342 characters

Photo of krl2112
3.93/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Photo of klipper
4/5  rDev +0.8%

Photo of hopsolutely
3.92/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, almost opaque black with red highlights at the edge of the glass. Very little head, and low carbonation yielding a silky but otherwise unremarkable mouthfeel.

Stellar aroma of roasted dark malts and aged barrel tannin smokiness. The flavour is equally well delivered, a sweet caramelized & toasted malt portfolio with a well balanced vanilla & oak background and a decent hop bitterness at the end. The finish is pleasantly dry with a slight & surprising black licorice note and lingers for an impressive length of time.

 536 characters

Photo of Urbancaver
3.91/5  rDev -1.5%
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

 289 characters

Photo of FrankHammer
4/5  rDev +0.8%

Photo of monitorpop
4/5  rDev +0.8%

Photo of SportsandJorts
4.05/5  rDev +2%
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.

 526 characters

Short's Bourbon Barrel Sustenance Black Beer from Short's Brewing Company
3.97 out of 5 based on 205 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.

    Subscribe