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

Short's Bourbon Barrel Sustenance Black BeerShort's Bourbon Barrel Sustenance Black Beer
BA SCORE
4.03/5
206 Ratings
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
Ranking:
#3,976
Reviews:
82
Ratings:
206
pDev:
10.42%
Bros Score:
0
 
 
Wants:
59
Gots:
28
Trade:
3
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 206 |  Reviews: 82
Photo of hopdog
4.57/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thank you Derek for this 22oz bottle!

Poured a dark brownish color with an averaged sized off white head. Aromas of wood/oak, vanilla, some bourbon, nutty, chocoalte, roast, and earthy. Tastes of vanilla, bourbon, dark fruits, chocolate, nuts, roast, and wood. Very nice!

Notes from 5/20/08

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Photo of szmnnl99
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%

Photo of ffejherb
4.57/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured via 22oz. bomber at the Bullfrog Liquid Sunshine Reserva release. Big thanks to iceicebaby for sharing!

A - Poured a translucent chocolate brown body with walnut and mahogany accents and a slim beige head that reduced to a patchy retention and left a bit of lace around the glass.

S - Initial aroma released a waft of bourbon and vanilla goodness with a bit of chocolate sweetness. Malt presence is akin to Rice Krispies. Some caramel notes are also present.

T - This is simply a delicious schwarzbier with a subtle bourbon presence and lots of vanilla sweetness, but not overpowering at all. Crisp, rice-like malt with chocolate in the very backend through to the finish. Finish with just a slight astringent character and alcohol warmth.

M - Medium bodied and softly carbonated. Extremely smooth and creamy texture, although perhaps a bit thin in the mouthfeel overall. Alcohol presence is quite subtle.

D - This is a beautiful bourbon soaked beer from Short's, to say the least. Really glad I had the opportunity to try this, as I've loved everything I've had from Short's in the past, especially their dark beers. Drinkability is off the charts!

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Photo of msubulldog25
4.17/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Have held this bottle inexplicably longer than I'd intended; it came as a very nice gesture from a Michigan BA I met several months back when he and a buddy visited Portland (thanks, marc2572). It's 22 oz. with a label design just like the photo, except the background is a rendering from above of three people finishing dinner and drinks at a large, round table. Poured to a pilsner glass.

'Handcrafted by people Who Care in Northern Michigan'

'Bourbon Barrel Soaked Sustenance Black Beer: For When You're Hungry and Thirsty'

A: Even in a tall pilsner glass the first impression is darkness, a thick charcoal. Held to light, warmer chestnut and ruby glow inside a light fog. Unsure of the age of this one in the bottle (but it's been at least 6 months since it was received), but the carbonation has held up very nicely, plenty of streaming bubbles to a 1-finger sandy cream. Very pretty lace holds in patchy cobwebs, draping rings.

S: The 'bourbon barrel' aroma is so tantalizing, maybe mellowed from what I suspect was some early heat (after 11 months in a barrel, I'd be fired up); now it's a drifting spiced perfume interwoven with fudgy chocolate and a vanilla-woodiness. Smells like a 'drunken' cake, perhaps a bit more like sweet rum than bourbon at this point. A time or two, I thought I smelled a twitch of oxidization, which then disappeared just as quickly.

T: Fortunately, flavor and aroma align almost precisely. Rich chocolate, coffee roast and that oakey/vanilla barrel spice, then an added layer: fruit. Earthy blackberries and unsweetened raisins(?). As above, the bourbon isn't too pronounced, the ending a lasting mild bitterness that has a bit of ashy char to it. A wicked distortion of a 'schwarzbier' (if that truly is what style was aimed for); the end result feels almost porter- or stout-like. And I'm ok with that.

M: What a nice coating mouthfeel: subdued carbonation (but by no means 'dead', creamy texture, stealthily building wood/spice/cocoa coating, and a barely-existent alcohol warmth. Velvety goodness.

D: I wondered to myself what this beer was like back in late spring/early summer and realized I really didn't care because what it is now is plenty enjoyable. Mellow and soothing, a fine way to celebrate an awesome 105-102 Blazers win over Phoenix - the best game I've seen live in several seasons. Not the 'prototypical' schwarzbier, but so what? Would love to try this one again someday...worth seeking!

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Photo of koopa
4.3/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2008 bomber received in a trade with FlandersNed who is awesome!

Appearance: Black body with 2 finger creamy beige crown composed of fine carbonation. Lots of retention and tons of lace!

Smell: Beautifully refined soft bourbon notes, lots of oakiness, a touch of anise, but a large cinnamon like quality and some lightly sour notes. This is fantastic!

Taste: Nice dark roast malt with a slight sourness in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Deliciously creamy and on the light side of medium with ample carbonation.

Drinkability: btw the lower abv and the outstanding mouthfeel, I could drink this all day.

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Photo of ssimpson89
3.75/5  rDev -6.9%

Photo of WeisGuy
3.7/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Slow's Bar BQ in Detroit

a - pours a deep brown shade with a minimal tan head, retention around the edge and very light lacing, fairly hazy

s - roast malt, bittersweet chocolate and lighter notes of oak and bourbon, the bourbon character is much more muted than I would expect

t - like the nose, deeply roasted malt and dark chocolate are the dominant flavors, some biscuity and bready flavors on the midpalate with lighter notes of oak and bourbon appearing on the finish along with more dark chocolate, the barrel character is not very pronounced, but it certainly improves the base beer in that it has added some depth to the flavors

m - medium-bodied with light carbonation, finish is well-balanced, light alcohol warming

d - pretty drinkable for a bourbon barrel aged beer, albeit a lager, definitely more interesting and complex than the base beer, but still nothing that I would need to order a second glass of

Moderately more impressed with this than the regular Sustenance and well worth a try. Btw, if you're ever in SE Michigan and aren't a vegetarian, you owe it to yourself to get to Slow's Bar BQ, where the beer list is very good and the food is amazing.

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Photo of flexabull
4.03/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of Tayner, thanks again!

I have been curious about Short's beers for a while, they sure are talked about a lot here... so here goes.

Pours a dark brown color, with a big thick light tan colored head.

Aromas are nutty, sour, dry, dusty, and oaky. This definitely has a surprising vinegar and sour like character on the nose that I definitely was not expecting, not bad, but a bit of a shock to me.

Taste is crisp, dry and oaky up front. Beer then settles into some cocoa, light booze, and sweet toast flavors. Finish has a light sour taste, with some roasted nuts, a light burnt and smoke flavor and some mineral like hop bitterness. Very interesting tasting beer, with a lot of different flavors.

Mouthfeel is pretty good. Beer has a general sharp crispness, but it feels a little thin on the finish.

Drinkability is quite good. I ranked it high mostly due to it's uniqueness. This is really interesting and enjoyable to taste. But with that said, I wouldn't want more than one in a sitting. Give it a try if you get a chance, it's pretty tasty and very possibly like nothing you have ever tasted.

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Photo of ZombiesAteMyDog
4/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of Jas45678
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%

Photo of GbVDave
4.38/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750ml bottle (even though the label says "22oz") into a thick stemmed DFH snifter. Special thanks to joshuaseresse for this from our trade!

A: Pours a deep black with some faint lightening at the edges. Capping the darkness is two fingers of lovely, dark khaki cream that rose, ever so slightly, over the rim of the glass. The head stuck around for ages, fed by a fair amount of carbonation. Some lacey ropes were left behind.

S: Quite apparent (but not obnoxiously so) bourbon aroma when first poured. Bourbon and charred oak are the main attraction here with ample supporting help from heavily roasted malt, toffee, dark chocolate, toasted nuts, and a touch of coffee.

T: Much like above but with an excellent addition of vanilla to the mix. Caramel, dark fruit, bourbon and chocolate. Very nice!

M: Starts off sweet and quite sticky. As the bottle wore on I noticed that it became slightly drier and quite spicy. It also thinned slightly from the initial pour, making it easier and easier to drink.

D: The low abv and sorta thinnish (read: not RIS) mouthfeel make for one hell of a drinkable bourbon barrel aged beer. Totally sessionable...and frigging delicious!

 1,185 characters

Photo of loganburgh
4/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of Floydster
4.05/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 ounce bottle acquired in a trade with OHLRangers, thanks to Ed for the opportunity, consumed 1/2/09, reviewed from notes, poured into an Aventinus glass, color is pretty close to black, some light through the top, big two inch light tan head that was rather soapy, left some nice lacing, had some good retention, aroma is made up of dark fruits, oak, smokiness, vanilla, roasted malts, lager yeast, burned caramel, and , eleven months in the barrel gave this a nice bourbon character, taste was what I expected, schwarzbier up front and bourbon in the finish, roasty at first, lots of oak and vanilla in the middle, spicy bourbon notes and lots of evidence of wood in the aftertaste, sweet, roasted, slightly hot, and smoky mouthfeel, medium bodied but on the thicker side of that spectrum, carbonation was pretty low, taste lasts a few minutes after each sip, could have gotten close to finishing the bottle but decided to give the rest to my friend Dane, a bit heavy at times but light enough in feel and ABV to enjoy a good amount, smooth to boot, great beer that is quite unique, bourbon and a black lager did not sound like it would work but it sure did, wish I had more, could age well even though it is low in alcohol, boozy presence might helps things out, hope to have again in a few years to find out, recommended

 1,326 characters

Photo of thebigredone
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%

Photo of oldp0rt
3/5  rDev -25.6%

Photo of hoppymcgee
5/5  rDev +24.1%

Photo of wagenvolks
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%

Photo of nickd717
3.85/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle thanks to Nick3. Always good to tick a retired beer. Retired usually means it was too good for the brewery to brew again.

Pours very dark brown with a small off-white head that leaves swirls on the beer.

The aroma is pretty big - bourbon, roast, caramel, spices, and oak.

Big flavor with big-time caramel and toffee, spices, anise, roast, hazelnut, bourbon, and oak. Solid stuff.

Medium-bodied with medium-low mouthfeel and only slight booziness.

Pretty good -bal aged beer, but not a standout.

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Photo of Crosling
2.59/5  rDev -35.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Dark brown color with a small, filmy head. Nose seems to show some contamination with wild yeast and funk, some mild fruit character (plum and strawberry,) and a touch of whiskey. Flavors seem to be very muted. A light touch of the base beer, with also a light hint of the barrel. Not much to report. Not a lot of flavor. Super thin mouth feel with very little texture. I don't care for this beer.

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Photo of gratefulbeerhead
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%

Photo of gordavidson
4/5  rDev -0.7%
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.

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Photo of seeswo
3.5/5  rDev -13.2%

Photo of twenty5
3.5/5  rDev -13.2%

Photo of JMBSH
3.5/5  rDev -13.2%

Photo of SpdKilz
4/5  rDev -0.7%
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.

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Short's Bourbon Barrel Sustenance Black Beer from Short's Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.03 out of 5 with 206 ratings
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