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Short's Mystery Stout - Short's Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Short's Mystery StoutShort's Mystery Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

371 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 371
Reviews: 206
rAvg: 3.9
pDev: 10.77%
Wants: 113
Gots: 44 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Short's Brewing Company visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial Stout |  10.80% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: mcallister on 05-24-2006

*12 oz. bottles released in 2009 are 10.8% abv. The original 750 ml bottles from first batch were 12.5% abv.

This beer demands respect and respect it will have. Imperial Oatmeal Stout with cocoa and molasses. It is very strong and possesses rare flavor combinations which can overload even the most experienced beer connoisseur.  Capture every bit of its warmth and wisdom, as it will demand all of your attention.
12.5% ABV
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 371 | Reviews: 206
Photo of djeucalyptus
4.22/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A big thanks to semibaked for this one! pours the blackest of black. held in front of a 150w bulb, not even a glimpse of light at the edges. And a dark brown head of several fingers has good retention and solid lacing.

aroma is intensely brown sugar, caramel, molasses, and black honey. hints of malt, a touch of roasty malt, cocoa and espresso... then more blackstrap molasses.

taste surprisingly veers a bit from the aroma. a hint of caramel sweetness up front, then a rush of unexpectedly robust burnt and roasted malt. hints of vanilla, leather and pumice. earthy and chalky bakers cocoa.

mouth is light for the abv, full of vibrant yet thick carbonation. the finish falls somewhere between luscious rich and cloyingly astringent and chalky which ends up yielding a pleasant drying finish, not unlike snorting cocoa powder, which I'm actually really liking at the moment.

This is one of the strongest, blackest, richest, most vibrant oatmeal stouts I've had without that intense boozy, alcoholy, intense heat that so many strong stouts have. which makes this one stellar in my book.

Photo of MarcatGSB
3.93/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into snifter. Purchased from Keweenaw
co-op in Houghton MI for $11.99/6 pack.

Appearance: Pours an ultra thick black, not letting any light through. Tall one finger cream/hazelnut head. Great chalky lacing is left on the side of the glass.

Smell: Strong molasses supported by a bitter toasted oak.

Taste: Sweet body, some with nice support of roasted malt and chocolate.

Mouth: Chewy...I like it. Gives you a good opportunity to really chomp on this year and dissect it. High carbonation, with is welcomed, it really balances out the overall weight of this beer.

Drink and overall: Very solid stout. It's actually a little boozy...but enjoyable. I like high ABV Imperial Stouts so I won't complain. Good beer to start the night off and get your palate active.

Photo of steve8robin
4.15/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Got this bottle at a local beer store. Shorts delivered a few cases to MA for a beer event that was coming to town. Short lived Shorts access. 12oz bottle...

A: A deep dark brew with no light shining through. A small 1/2 inch mocha colored head that fades at a decent rate and keep a nice lace on top of the brew. Good.

S: Smells of a nice creamy vanilla and smoked bourbon upfront with some nice obvious chocolate and cocoa in the middle. This one smells like chocolate milk. Good.

T: A smoky bitter chocolate upfront with a sort of carbonated cocoa in the middle and some mild hop and vanilla on the back. Good.

M: Full body with a nice carbonation. A dry finish. Very good.

D: Goes down very good.

All in all, this is a good brew. A nice stout to try if you like the style. Definitely worth hunting down. Good going Shorts!

Photo of angrybabboon
4.27/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Cheers to Goblinmunkey7 for this bottle

Consumed 3/25/11

Appearance: Near black, super dark brown, not much of a head - looks dark and mysterious (oh snap)

Smell: Espresso, bitter chocolate, burnt malts, molasses - smells simply delicious

Taste: Hits the palate with some nice roasted, burnt malt flavors - lots of dark, bitter chocolate and bitter coffee - a nice amount of molasses; not too much, but enough to be obvious and add some sweetness - alcohol is well-hidden

Mouthfeel: Very smooth, but I have an odd desire for it to be more full-bodied - I feel like it could use some more malts (or oatmeal)

Overall: A great stout, but not mind-blowing

This might just be the best thing I've had from Short's. It is heavy on the molasses, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Overall, this could be a little better, but it is great and definitely worth a try.

Photo of inilegna
4.15/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From a bottle into a small snifter.

A - Beautiful dark, black coffee. Thin head spirals around nicely.

S - Very faint coffee and roasted cacao. Strong roasty malt -- Short's signature rye scent. A touch of molasses.

T - Beautiful cacao on the tongue, roasty malt and dandelion root. (A lot like Dandy Blend, if you've had it). Nice bitterness and creamy finish.

M - Light, frothy and bitter.

D - A dessert beer of sorts. I could only do one before quits. So rich and filling that you don't really need much more.

Photo of EricCioe
4.21/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This pours a deep, dull brown with a receding mahogany head that leaves no lace at all. A pretty dull looking beer, but on the nose, there is a huge oatmeal presence that lays on top of the roasted coffee and bitter cocoa nubs. In the mouth the chocolate rides a little higher in the flavor profile, but there is never any mistaking this for anything other than an oatmeal based stout. The finish isn't super long, with really only the bitter chocolate sticking around, and the body isn't quite as big as one might think. I had four of these in a sitting once and I'm just finishing my last bottle from that six pack and will have to buy this again, something I don't do too often. This is a great, great stout.

Photo of ElGrecoVerde
4.49/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Dark brown with a somewhat thin light tan head.

Strong notes of roasted coffee and dark chocolate. Hints of hops as well.

As expected, loaded with roasted flavors. Coffee, burnt toast, very dark, dry chocolate. Undertones of molasses. Solid amounts of hops with bitter grapefruit flavors. Alcohols are smoothly blended in and well masked. Warms well.

Full and creamy. Perfectly matched the style.

A very underrated brew in my opinion. I wasn't expecting much and was very impressed.

Photo of silentjay
4.16/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

pitch black and opaque with a huge, dense mocha colored head that sits atop the glass forever, and clings to the glass exceptionally.

charcoal, cacao-heavy chocolate, a bit of dark roasted coffee, some campfire smoke, and some woody hops.

charred malt flavor of baker's chocolate, some dark coffee (unsweetened and uncreamed) with some wooden ash, burnt caramel, a touch of anise and licorice that quickly turns into a cocoa powder finish.

almost full bodied with a subtle carbonation that suits the style well

overall, a great beer, and one that I would frequent if available in MA more often. not one of short's "crazy" offerings, but a solid "mainstream" beer that shows no sign of its ABV, and just is very well-rounded.

Photo of muttyd
3.96/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

One of the best looking beers I have poured in a long time. Pitch black pour with a massive tan head. This one filled my Portsmouth tulip glass to the brim. As the head settles, it reveals its massive glass coating stickiness. Aroma is big on roasted chocolate malts, coffee, and dark chocolate candy bar. Slight smokiness in the nose as well. Flavor reveals the true roasty/graininess of this beer with the coffee and molasses flavor taking a backseat. Finishes with a dry grain earthiness. Smoky in the finish as well. Rather dry but still has a pleasant dark chocolate candy bar sweetness. Mouthfeel is a bit on the thin side for the style. I can't seem to put this one down. Love the 12 oz. bottle format, perfect sipper to celebrate the completion of another tax season.

Photo of Gushue3
4.42/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- pours dark black and has medium chocolate head with no lacing

S- roasty coffee up front with a chocolate note in the middle

T- much like the smell. coffee and lite chocolate with an subtle oatmeal sweetness. im getting much more coffee than oatmeal in this oatmeal stout. tiny bitterness lingers very well rounded

M- smooth and moderately heavy on the tongue. feels real good.

D- very drinkable. alcohol is hidden well, taste is excellent, and feels great goin down. i wish i got more when shorts was in ma.

Photo of albern
3.97/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This stout is full bodied, full palated, and is very assertive. The beer pours a matte brown with just a few ruby notes. The beer pours thick, with very little head, no lasting retention, or lacing. The beer is quite oily in consistency right from the pour. The nose is roasted brown malts, chocolate, cocoa, maybe some coffee grind, and a bit of chocolate fudge.

The taste is a tad smoky, very thick with molasses, chocolate, dark malts, cocoa powder, and a bit of smoked cured ham. The beer is quite strong, but the ABV is complementary and works well with the overall direction of the beer. There is a charred flavor that works well with the smoked flavors, dark malts, molasses, and chocolate throughout. There is also a touch of cherry chocolate hidden below. The aftertaste is a bit pronounced and does linger. This beer is not for the faint of heart but it is good, assertive, strong, oily on the tongue, and flavorful.

Photo of cosmicevan
4.26/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to both gnemesis and Pellinore1 for hooking this one up!

a - cracked the 12oz bottle and poured into a unibroue tulip. poured a shiny black with a generous frothy head that hung around.

s - oaty and molassesy...touch of nutty roast. too earthy, nothing really great about it.

t - oh yum. chocolate is well rounded and perfect...this is one of the best beers i've ever tasted. i really love and oatmeal imperial stout. it is the perfect marriage of flavor and body. nice balanced bitterness. subtle roastedness on the chocolate.

m - the oats really fill the beer out. nice carbonation. cooling with a soft tingle. alc is crazy well hidden.

d - and the winner is mystery beer. surprise highlight of the shorts line for me. recently got ahold of a bunch of shorts beers and have been loving tasting each, but this is in a class of it's own. this beer is a chocolate shake. DANGEROUSLY drinkable. really really glad that i have a few of these!!!

Photo of Arbitrator
3.41/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Chilled bottle into a glass. From semibaked. Thanks!

A: Pours a very dark, cola brown. It appears opaque in the snifter, but in smaller quantities it shows some clarity at the edges, though never at the center. While not overcarbonated, it does have a generous 1.5" of mocha-colored head that retains well. It takes several pours to get it all in the glass.

S: Nice notes of roasted coffee, dark chocolate, and a small element of prunes. Some earthiness and roasted grain. It's very expressive in the aroma.

T: It's dominated by dark chocolate and roasted coffee, though neither one is more overpowering than the other. Hints of prunes; I'm more secure in this association after tasting it than smelling it. Smooth and well-integrated. I'm not sure it's any sort of stunner in the flavor department, but it's tasty enough.

M: Medium-full bodied. Carbonation is on the lower end, and it works well to bring the most out of the beer. It's surprisingly smooth for something that's almost 11%. I'm not even sure I believe the label.

D: Immensely drinkable, and its flavor improves as it warms to just below room temp. I'd certainly go after it again, though it's not something that I feel is head and shoulders above other examples of the style.

Photo of portia99
4.13/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into a Portsmouth tulip.

A - Pours an extremely dark brown...pretty much totally opaque and capped with a thin finger of mocha foam. Head is dense and lasts a long time...falls slowly leaving behind a foamy collar and lacing on the glass.

S - Really dark and roasty aromas. Rich coffee and lots of dark chocolate and cocoa powder. Some dark fruit - prunes especially and some alcohol.

T - Lots of dark roasted malts, some burnt flavors, coffee, bitter chocolate. Flavors are rather mono-dimensional. Very roasty...very smooth too. A bit of prunes as it warms up a bit.

M - Full bodied, lowish and very creamy smooth carbonation. The chocolate and roasted coffee flavors is really nice and the overall creaminess to the flavor and feel suit this beer very well.

D - This isn't the most complex of the imperial stouts out there. It is however very smooth and roasty and masks its 10.8% alcohol very, very well. This is something I'd like to revisit again - goes down very well.

Photo of OtherShoe2
4.2/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours thick black with a tan head that reduces to a skim, but leaves a bunch of lacing.

A scent I cannot describe. Alcohol-soaked herbs or cut grass? Then, dark roasted malt, and yes you get the molasses and the chocolate.

At 10%+, it still is surprisingly drinkable, but you get punch of booze early. Dark roasted malt, coffee, and bitter chocolate up front. Wait a minute, here comes the alcohol, which clears the way for some molasses, roasted grain, nutty oats, and lingering bitterness. I could find 100 things in here. Dark bread, wood, slight vanilla extract, herbal notes. Ha! Figured it out -- earthy. Friggin' earthy. Hugely complex.

Full bodied, with alcohol and carbonation to clear the palate.

This beer is a kick in the nuts. Drinking the 12 oz at 10%, can't imagine 12%. A sipper and not the best decision to be beer #4 tonight. There won't be a #5. This is a serious stout. A sipper to be enjoyed with friends. Glad I got a 6.

Photo of OldIronLungs
3.97/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Short's in MA! Short's in MA!

I'm going to write that in all my reviews.

Really excited for this impy oatmealy stout!

Poured into a pint as I didn't realize the abv - I'll be sure to have this in a snifter next. Thin and opaque, little head save for some beading around the glass. Nose hits me with rich chocolate and almost a tobacco darkness. Taste of roasty choclate malt and that unique molasses burnt finish. Mouth is medium body with light carbonation with a pleasant slickness. The alcohol only really floats around your mouth after the sip. Very nice.

Yeah. Very nice.

Photo of Someguy1989
3.97/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Got a six pack during this one week when Shorts Brews are available in Boston. Poured into a Standard Pint glass.

A: Dark brown color, almost black. Has a yellowish brown head that dissipates quickly.

S: Very sweet in flavor, a lot of chocolate in the nose.

T: Sweet chocolate flavor followed by molasses and bitter hops. The flavor profile is good, it reminds me a lot of Indian Brown ale (a personal favorite), but its a little more sweet and as such the bitterness doesn't blend as well with the roasted characteristics.

M/D: Mouthfeel was average- very thin for this kind of beer. A slight bit of coating on the mouth but nothing near what I was expecting for an Oatmeal Stout. Drinkability was really good. I did a double take when I discovered how strong this beer is and then I realized just how funny I feel. Be careful with this one, its quite deceptive.

A very interesting beer, I'm really glad us Bay Staters got the chance to try it.

Photo of gnemesis
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This review has been rewritten from the 2009 vintage to the current one.

Poured 2010 vintage 12oz bottle into snifter on 2/28/2011.
Blackness fills the glass- thin, tan head rises and falls as quick as it came. A delicious smell fills my nose and teases my taste buds- a nice blend of chocolate, vanilla, caramel, roasted malts, and hints of brown sugar. The first sip immediately backs up my initial thoughts. The caramel and vanilla remain present but the roasted malts and bitter chocolate dominate this one. A bit of booze warms my soul, late after each sip. The body is medium but seems to get fuller as it warms a bit. Low carbonation plays in step with most imperial stouts- this one is done right. Overall this imperial stout is pretty damn tasty! Another fine ale crafted by Short's. The booze I detected might mellow with age but Short's doesn't recommend it. It says "keep refrigerated" on the packaging- follow the rules... this is from experience.

Photo of Jayli
4.32/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured in to a pint glass

A: This beer pours an opaque chocolate brown, light chestnut hues around the bottom edges of the glass. 1/4 inch of brown head that recedes immediately and leaves ample wispy lacing for a beer of this ABV.

S: Nose is strong cocoa nibs, light smoked notes, coffee, a light mango fruitiness, and alcohol.

T: Taste starts withlight milk chocolate, molasses, and hint of coffee. Middle has a nice roasted, toasty malt, mingled with light caramel malt flavoring. Finish becomes like, deep hearty hot chocolate, cocoa nib flavoring, light smoked notes that appear and a bit of a citrus hop in the finish. *slight alcohol notes at first that disappear as the beer warms.

M: Fuller bodied, medium carbonation, kind of thin albeit heavier, with a sticky, chewy finish.

D: Goes down easily, very tasty, filling, big kick that by the end of a pint you don't notice the alcohol notes, and a nice representation of style. I don't really pick up on the oatmeal in this...but it's damn tasty!

Photo of cetherid
3.9/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

poured into a tulip


Beer is your typical stout/imperial stout. Very dark, essentially black in the glass. About a fingers worth of frothy light brown head. Some decent lacing going on in the glass as well.


Roasty aroma with a nice little cocoa smell. After the beer warmed up a little the alcohol becomes prevalent. Other than the roasted malts and cocoa/chocolate aromas, not getting much else in this beer.


roasted malts, bitter chocolate with a good amount of bitterness which I'm digging. Not really sweet but the booziness is prevalent. Perhaps some subtle burnt/charred aftertaste. Nothing really spectacular, but still a good beer. I could use maybe a little bit more sweetness in it.


Almost medium bodied. I think the carbonation is great for the style though. This beer has a pretty dry finish as well.


As with a lot of Short's brews, the availability and alcohol puts this a couple notches lower. Still a great sipper giving the ABV. Would love to try this on tap and compare my notes.

Photo of TwoHeartedMale
4.18/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - This beer looks like the way I drink my coffee, black! Its very dark with a light tan head, the head light in color didn't stick around leaving little residue.

S - the smell of very rich coco and black patent malt followed by spicy sweetness of the molasses.

T- Fist things first, this is an imperial stout so the first taste is roasted malt but that is quickly and almost seamlessly followed by a rich and smooth coco. The molasses adds to the smoothness and sweetness of the beer and in the aftertaste the spice comes out.

M- very mellow mouth feel, the longer it sits on your tounge the heavier this beer feels. The coco and molasses add a friendly smoothness that cant be beat!

D- when thinking of this beer two words come to mind that don't often go together, richness and smoothness. This beer is a great combo of coco and imperial stout, and molasses only helps add to the sweet aftertaste.

Photo of jale
3.7/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a dark brown almost black with a quarters worth of brown head.

S: Roasted malt, molasses and slight chocolate.

T: Very roasty malt up front then a slight alcohol burn. Mild molasses flavor. Bitter chocolate aftertaste and a tiny amount of hop bitterness.

M: Chalky with medium body and slight oily feel.

D: A little bitter for me.

Photo of TCgoalie
4.05/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a near black with just a hint of red. Some head upon pour and lingers in a haphazard way. Small bits of foam stick to the glass adding to the appeal.

A rich smell of chocolate, oats, and molasses mix with an almost bourbon like scent. The overall impression of the smell is good, but it could be better.

I am pleased with the resulting taste. The balance is good with chocolate, toffee, molasses, and a coffee bitterness. The oats add to the blend creating a solid brew.

The mouthfeel is smooth and full with a chewiness. It is so chewy that Harrison Ford would be proud.

I had this a while back and was not terribly impressed. I must say this was better than what I recall. Solid.

Photo of alleykatking
3.8/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle.

A- Pours a deep brown color..almost black. One finger tan head shows poor retention. Light lacing left on the sides of the glass.

S- Chocolate dominates the nose in the aroma. There is a molasses middle to this beer with hints of roasted malts but not much else. Alcohol is noticed toward the ending of the nose but very faint.

T- Lightly toasted malts with hints of roast come in first. These two flavors actually lend themselves to the entire beer. Middle of the beer has a molasses and brown sugary sweetness to it that balanced the toasted/roasted malts. The backend of this beer is mostly bitter baker chocolate more than anything else. Where the the molasses and brown sugar balanced out the front half this does the same with the back half. Light liquor flavored alcohol in the backend.

M- Medium mouthfeel. Carbonation was a little light for the style I thought. Chocolate and molasses is left on the palate with hints of toasted malts. Aftertaste is mostly bitter chocolate with hints of alcohol and brown sugar. Flavors were actually quite balanced for this beer. No off flavors were present in the beer itself. Light alcohol drying on the palate.

D- An interesting beer with the flavor profile going from one spectrum to the other. The ABV is not there at all when you drink this. The nose on the other hand does have some alcohol to it. A nice drinking beer which if not careful will creep up on you.

Photo of DannyDan
4.43/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A. Pours a brownish-black mahogany like color with some retention and some lacing.
S. the smell has some chocolate,molasses,and a touch of coffee.
T. First like I taste is roasted cocoa, followed by molasses, some coffee, alcohol, and finishes off with some bitter hops. The sweet oats and molasses balances the bitter chocolate and hops very well. This is very pleasing on the taste buds.
M. Very smooth and creamy with a nice medium to full body feel. D. The nice smoothness and great taste makes this a very drinkable beer and so far it is the best beer that I have tasted from Short's.

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Short's Mystery Stout from Short's Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 371 ratings.