1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Short's Mystery Stout - Short's Brewing Company

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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
88
very good

362 Ratings
THE BROS
82
good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 362
Reviews: 206
rAvg: 3.91
pDev: 11%
Wants: 117
Gots: 43 | 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:
*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 added by: mcallister on 05-24-2006)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Short's Mystery Stout Alström Bros
Ratings: 362 | Reviews: 206 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of womencantsail
3.93/5  rDev +0.5%

Once again I must thank calsbeek for hooking it up with a few bottles of this one. Thanks Ryan!

A: A very nice looking pour on this beer. Black and viscous with a decent sized tan head.

S: There is a lot of roast going on here, but a slight sweetness/sugar character from the molasses provides a bit of contrast.

T: Again, a lot of roasted malt with some nice molasses flavor. The oatmeal provides a smooth, cookie-like taste, and there is a bit of alcohol as well.

M: The body is full and the carbonation is low to moderate.

D: Again, an interesting beer from Shorts. I found this one to be a bit too boozy, but not surprising at such a high ABV. The flavors are fairly nice, though, just note quite as mellow as I might have hoped for.

womencantsail, Jan 11, 2010
Photo of tpd975
3.53/5  rDev -9.7%

A: Pours a very deep dark black with an average sized tan head. Little in the way of retention but it does manage some spotty lace.

S: Very roasty, lots of bitter chocolate, dark fruit, and acrid coffee.

T: Fairly acidic. Burnt gas station coffee, bakers chocolate, booze, and dark fruit. The finish is very bitter so bitter that I can tell if its hops over burnt malt.

M: Medium in body, sharp, boozy and bitter.

D: Not real drinkable, but not bad. If the short's guys were after big and bold they got it.

tpd975, Jan 10, 2010
Photo of k3n
3.88/5  rDev -0.8%

12 oz bottle.

Pours a rich, molasses brownish-black. 0.5" of head which disappates rather quickly. =( Subsequent swirls stir up minimal bubbles which don't deign to hang around. Minimal lacing.

Aromas of toasted malt. hm. that's it.

Taste is led by the roasted malt, followed by burnt sugars, and the dryness of black coffee. Mouthfeel is medium-bodied, with a pleasant, lingering coffee bitterness.

Solid.

k3n, Jan 09, 2010
Photo of dukedevil0
4.13/5  rDev +5.6%

Got this 12oz bottle from a nice guy on another site.

A: Poured dark black with just a bit of khaki colored head that settled down to a ring of foam at the edges and no lacing.

S: Really nice smell - scents of chocolate, vanilla, coffee, lightly roasted malts, molasses, brown sugar, nuttiness, breadiness

T: Smells similar to the smell but the flavors are kind of a mess - chocolate, vanilla, slight coffee, slight roasted malts, some molasses and a noticeable alcohol sweetness and tinge

M: Mouthfeel is lighter carbonated than average, but still thicker and creamy due to the bubbles

D: Not super drinkable as you can tell this one is 12.5% but the flavor is good even though they aren't melded well together.

dukedevil0, Jan 08, 2010
Photo of heliosphann
3.98/5  rDev +1.8%

12oz bottle provided by my good friend from Ann Arbor. Served in a Pint Glass.

A: Pours black, but not quite completely since there's some brownish highlights. A very small amount of tan head fades very fast, leaving a nice ring around my glass. Lacing is pretty fine and leaves a slow cascade.

S: Sweet milk chocolate shines through right off the bat. Present also is some molasses, oatmeal and nuttiness.

T: Much of the characteristics of the smell are here. Big smooth, but somewhat bitter chocolate oatmeal flavors dominate. Sweet molasses and some roasted malts also are in the mix. The is a good amount of heat present and some bitterness lingers on the finish.

M: Medium to full bodied. Very creamy, thick and viscous. No doubt the oatmeal really helps in this category. Now this is how I like my stouts to be. Fantastic!

D: My 12oz went pretty fast. I'm waiting for a response from Joe Short, but I'm pretty sure this isn't 12.5% ABV. However, it is still pretty boozy at this point and with the bitterness, one is plenty for a night.

I've had the opportunity to have 2 different versions of Mystery Stout. Unfortunately not the original batch, but in April '09 several times I had a version of this stout that was only 7-8%. This beer is superior to that version (and supposedly closer to the original), but it's also a lot more boozier. I'm pretty sure 8-12 months in my cellar will do wonders with this beer and it will be significantly better.

****UPDADE****

Joe Short did get back to me. The 12oz bottled version of Mystery Stout is around 10.8%.

heliosphann, Jan 06, 2010
Photo of mikey711
3.9/5  rDev -0.3%

Another great beer courtesy of eyebrews!

A: Dark imtimidating black which poured a fluffy mocha colored head that quickly faded

S: A bit like a chocolate chip cookie with some sweet milk chocolate and a nice hints of breadiness before transitioning into a roast bitter beast. I can definitely detect the molasses in this one as well.

T: Lots of roasted flavors like espresso, bitter chocolate. There is also a heavy amount of dark fruit and licorice present in the taste. The fruit is figgy. Very very agressively bitter with only a minor amount of sweetness. There are also some sherry notes and a hint of booziness. Very complex.

M: Slightly chalky but definitely thick and chewy. Surprisingly no booze is present but this is very thick and heavy

D: This would be a great bottle to share with someone else, even as a 12oz

mikey711, Jan 02, 2010
Photo of techfed87
3.88/5  rDev -0.8%

Bought as part of a six pack.

Pours a thick black, with a good head. Smells of a very dark, deeply cured malt. Head dissipates quickly.

Taste matches the color of the brew, very dark, bitter, yet at the same time smooth and inviting.

A bit bitter in terms of what stouts can be, the beer doesn't develop much as it warms. And with it appearing to be around 12% in ABV, this may point to the fact that the alcohol content may be covering up some of the finer points of the beer.

A great beer, be it a very blunt one.

techfed87, Dec 29, 2009
Photo of BMoney575
2.73/5  rDev -30.2%

Sampled on 12-28-09

Pours completely black, with a bit of red/brown around the top edge. A tan head settles quickly, leaving a slowly moving ring af tan lacing.

Smell is very malty, strong notes of chocolate and vanilla, a little anise, a little smoke, and a slight booziness. Very good.

Taste is super sweet malt, a slight fruitiness, and big-time alcohol. Way too sweet, way too boozy, and way too fresh.

Mouthfeel is a little on the thin side, with lower carbonation.

Drinkability is poor, the sharp flavor and lacking mouthfeel are a terrible combo.

Overall, I'm very happy that I have 2 more to keep in the cellar. Maybe another review in a year.

BMoney575, Dec 28, 2009
Photo of rudylaw
4.15/5  rDev +6.1%

Another Short's want knocked out by eyebrews! 12oz bottle; snifter.

Pours blackest night with a very thin head.

Smell is boozy hot with oats, brown sugar, molasses and chocolate.

Taste is a sweeter, more intense, version of the smell. I get a hot chocolate/cocoa powder residue flavor. Toss in a bit of raisin and this is a pretty complex stout. I quite like this in spite of the high ABV. I think I will sit on my other bottles for a long while as this can only get better and more exceptional!

rudylaw, Dec 27, 2009
Photo of Sean9689
3.98/5  rDev +1.8%

Poured from 12oz bottle into my Darkness snifter/tulip.

A - Pours black with a tan-colored head which disipiates into a very thin ring around the edge of the glass. Otherwise, it's pretty much all black in my glass.

S - Chocolate, molasses, coffee beans. It's kind of like a sweet breakfast drink with a good amount of alcohol. Although there's 12.5% in this one, it's hidden pretty darn well.

T - Similar to the nose, lots of chocolate. Not really much alcohol here, and for 12.5%, it's pretty darn impressive. A nice bitter finish.

M - Medium to full, good creamy carbonation, dry finish.

D - For 12.5%, I'm stunned. A very nice stout by Short's.

Sean9689, Dec 27, 2009
Photo of waltonc
3.8/5  rDev -2.8%

Another enjoyable Michigan brew while visiting family over the holidays. Pours opaque dark bron with a tan head. Smells and tastes predominantly of molasses. It's a littl too much for my taste, but I bet this beer would be a great barbecue sauce ingredient. There's also a considerable amount of chocolate and coffee in here. Very boozy, and coupled with all that molasses, not the most drinkable of beverages. Thick body with medium carbonation.

waltonc, Dec 26, 2009
Photo of WeisGuy
3.88/5  rDev -0.8%

a - pours deep brown a shade lighter than black, small mocha head with little retention around the edges and little lacing

s - big molasses and burnt malt aroma, a little caramel and alcohol

t - lots of sweet molasses and bitter chocolate, some dark fruit plum predominately, big alcohol presence on the finish along with a lingering molasses and cocoa flavor

m - full-bodied, low to moderate carbonation, well-balanced finish

d - not overly drinkable, definitely a sipper, one 12oz bottle is enough, flavor is not overly interesting and/or complex either

A little disappointed in this after being blown away by the Cup A Joe, but not a bad beer by any means. This may need a little more time in the bottle for the flavors to develop a bit more.

WeisGuy, Dec 22, 2009
Photo of webmanspidey
4.13/5  rDev +5.6%

12 oz. bottle poured into a chalice. This is pitch black and opaque with very little head.

The smell is very powerful and intensely sweet. Dark chocolate and cocoa, raisins, molasses, and brown sugar are present. Alcohol makes its presence known.

Taste is extremely sweet: cocoa, molasses, and oatmeal are all very prominent. Alcohol is noticeable and provides a slight burn, but is mixed in well enough to not be a drag. This is delicious but a slow sipper.

webmanspidey, Dec 22, 2009
Photo of Donerik
3.95/5  rDev +1%

A: Dark, Black, Wonderful, not much of a head on this one but it was great looking regardless. very gentle pour though.

S: Roasty, Chocolaty, par for the course on these types of beers.

T: Bitter chocolate was the predominant flavor, like biting into one of those 90% coco bars.

M: This was my favorite part of the beer, no bite, just milky beery goodness.

D: I couldn't have back to backed these, it was a good sipper but about half way through my 12 once serving I was done.

Donerik, Dec 22, 2009
Photo of david131
3.83/5  rDev -2%

A- A very deep, dark murky brown that is almost black. The brown head is quick to rise and fall to almost nothing. Looks a bit limp for the style and ABV.

S- Dark fruit, chocolate, molasses, and a waft of alcohol.

T- Tastes like a big stout... everything noted in the aroma makes its presence known. Pretty big, but seems to lack anything to make it a stand-out.

M- Smooth and oily with a hot finish.

D- A really big stout. A bit hot now, but it is hard for me to gauge how will this will age. I am going to give it a shot to see if it improves.

david131, Dec 21, 2009
Photo of kegger22
4.4/5  rDev +12.5%

Short's Mystery Stout is a dense, dark brown with a minimal beige head that immediately reduces to a collar. The aroma is chocolate. The taste is sweet chocolate and coffee, but I think there may be some vanilla too. The feel is full bodied with little carbonation. Drinkability is good.

I just tried Cup a Joe two days ago and I believe I prefer Mystery. It was thicker, a more full body and a better flavor. This one is right up there with Founders Breakfast Stout.

kegger22, Dec 20, 2009
Photo of kzoobrew
4.05/5  rDev +3.6%

The brew settles in to the snifter opaque and black. When held to the light ruby highlights break through only the thinnest edges. Head is short in stature and color is that of malted milk. Retention is not the strong point here though moderate lacing was left behind.

There are many aromas which stand out to the nose though most are easy to distinguish. Chocolate, char and molasses seem to be battling for prominence. Roasted malt and coffee are second tier smells. Subtle caramel aroma and whiffs of booziness pop through from time to time.

Nothing from the nose warned of such a big impending flavor. Tastse starts with a surprisingly strong blend of coffee, dark chocolate and booze. The booziness is quite prominent but not overwhelming. Molasses presence is very evident. Very sweet flavor all the way around. Slight earthiness and bitterness lingering on the back of the palate after every sip.

Full bodied brew, texture is rich and creamy. Carbonation is appropriate and seems to find a muddle ground between extremes for the style.

This one is a big guy, not on to mess around with. Very bold and boozy yet thoroughly enjoyable. I could savor one as a nurse it through out the night though one is probably enough. For the style, drinkability is better than average.

kzoobrew, Dec 18, 2009
Photo of grub
4.43/5  rDev +13.3%

another growler that Viggo shared, courtesy of hoppymeal. thanks eric and derek!

64oz growler. sampled dec 5/09.

pouirs deep brown, not quite black, with a small dense tan head. the head drops fairly fast and leaves spotty lace.

aroma is great. dark and milk chocolate. coffee. cocoa. bit of molasses. light alcohol, but it definitely hides most of its strength. caramel. bit of butterscotch. almond. earthy. touch of dark fruit. multi-grain bread and biscuit. bit of cracker.

taste is great. dark and milk chocolate. touch of bittersweet chocolate. coffee and espresso. molasses. lightly warming alcohol. vanilla. woody and earthy. lightly toasted multi-grain bread. actually, more like a 12 grain bread with sunflower seeds and such baked into it. bit of nutty character too, but the sunflower/grainy character is probably closer. caramel. bit of toffee. a bit friuty.

mouthfeel is good. nice big body. just below medium carbonation level. slightly prickly, but that may be a touch of alcohol more than carbonation.

drinkability is great. it hides most of its alcohol, drinking like 7-8% rather than over 12%. great depth and complexity. this is one tasty stout!

grub, Dec 06, 2009
Photo of Viggo
4.35/5  rDev +11.3%

Wow, huge thanks to hoppymeal for the growler extra! A god among men.

Pours a cloudy and opaque very dark brown, basically black out of the light, thin tan head forms, quickly settles to a thin ring around the glass, a tiny layer, no real lacing, but looks pretty good.

Smell is rich and intense, chocolate, lots of roast, caramel sweetness, big biscuity toast, oatmeal, very toasty, some fruit, very brown sugar and a bit of lactose sweetness, really well integrated.

Taste is very good, sweet and roasty, chocolate wafers, some roast, caramel, brown sugar, oatmeal, nice fruity character but mostly just a lot of dry roast and fruit. Raisins, a touch of alcohol, light bit of floral, real silky sweet finish.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with low carbonation, pretty damn silky and smooth, absolutely no hint of the ABV on this one. I owe you Derek!

Viggo, Dec 06, 2009
Photo of FtownThrowDown
4.15/5  rDev +6.1%

Growler courtesy of Northernbrews. Thanks a ton Jeff!

Pours a very dark brown in color. Whatever little head there is on the pour is quickly gone. Just a ring of off white carbonation around the perimeter of the beer.
Smell is huge chocolate malts, some bitter cocoa and just a hint of alcohol.
Taste is more of the chocolate malts, but there's an awful lot of alcohol in this bad boy as well. This is a real shit kicker, nothing to be messed with. Glad I had help with this growler because there's no way in hell one man is drinking this and living to tell about it. With all the alcohol and strength in this beer, it's still relatively smooth in the mouthfeel. Short's can just flat out make beer! Would be nice on those really cold winter nights.

FtownThrowDown, May 27, 2009
Photo of brentk56
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%

Bottle# 270 of 500; Bottled 4/20/06

Appearance: Closer to dark brown than black, with a mocha head that foams and fizzles to a film; leaves a curtain of lace

Smell: Dark chocolate with lots of molasses and a hint of coffee

Taste: After a burst of dark chocolate, the molasses takes over, dominating the flavor to mid-palate, along with a hoppy bitterness; after the swallow, the molasses continues in strength, with the coffee making an appearance at the very end

Mouthfeel: Full bodied and creamy, with moderate carbonation; some warmth from the ABV, even after three years of age

Drinkability: Another interesting beer from Short's but the molasses is a bit too dominant for my tastebuds

Thanks, hoppymeal, for another treat

brentk56, Apr 28, 2009
Photo of Bung
4.1/5  rDev +4.9%

Sounds and feels like this version is slightly different than what is listed.
Black pour with a tan head that receded quickly. Not a ton of lacing, but it is there. Some roast aromas, more cocoa and chocolates. Tastes reciprocates, but there is some espresso type tones in there as well. Not creamy, but not watery either with just enough carbonation. The coffee roast is how it finishes and it lingers a while. Not really much alcohol presence. It is just a little bit thin, with the offset being there is no problem putting some quantity of this down. Will look forward to trying to get some more from Shorts.

Bung, Apr 20, 2009
Photo of younger35
3.83/5  rDev -2%

Received a growler of this deliciousness from northernbrews. As far as I'm concerned Joe Short is the most inventive brewer out there and although sometimes it's hit or miss, its still really fun to try! Drank from my Surly nonic pint glass with a buddy.

Appearance- Pours a super dark brownish black with a small half finger dark tan head that bubbles away quickly. A nice collar is left with a tiny thinned out cap and some smidgens of lacing.
Smell- A bit of dark black chocolate to start with a very wispy sort of cocoa smell. Brown sugar and a light sort of toasted grain that is fairly raw and earthy. Black coffee and cream with hints of dark fruits and smoke.
Taste- Starts slightly sweet with a dark molasses earthiness and loads of roasted malts. Espresso and caramel that slowly fade to a dry chalky chocolate that reminds me of cocoa nibs. Loads of smoke and dried plums finish covering every square inch of alcohol.
Mouthfeel- A bit on the thin side but nothing I can't get past. Fairly gritty and rough with very little carbonation.
Drinkability- I really enjoyed this but not as much as I did Cup O' Joe or even S'mores. The flavors aren't quite as big as some of the other's Short's I've tried but saying that it was definitely worth trying and I'd drink again. Thanks Jeff!

younger35, Apr 14, 2009
Photo of Deuane
4.3/5  rDev +10%

A-Deep, dark brown/black with a thin tan head that reduced to a thin ring and left spotty lace.

S-Dark cocoa and dark roasted oats with hints of coffee and a bit of earthiness.

T-rich and bold with strong dark chocolate and roasted malt notes. Lighter espresso notes come in late. Nice, sahrp earthy bitterness.

M-Medium body and maybe even a bit thin. With a ton of lasting flavour that hardly matteres though!

D-Mmmm, mmmm...lots of roast and chocolate going on with this one. Bump up the body a little more and this could become a world beater!

Deuane, Apr 12, 2009
Photo of Floydster
3.18/5  rDev -18.7%

750 ml bottle, #161/500, thanks to Carlos to bringing this to the tasting, had been waiting for him to crack this open for some time now, 2006 vintage, reviewed from notes, poured into my Rader snifter

A-Pretty much black, 3/4 inch tan creamy head, some retention, minimal lacing
S-Chocolate, caramel, toffee, coffee, roasty malts, charred accents, molasses, earthiness, and booze
T-Starts off dry and ends the same way, sweet in the middle with various malts, finish is too bitter for its style, dark chocolate, coffee, and hops plays a big role in that, some oxidization too, taste gets way to sweet later on but still dry
M-Dry, sweet, and roasted mouthfeel, full bodied, low level of carbonation, taste lingers a long time
D-Could drink much of this at all, flavor is too powerful, alcohol is not hidden, sweetness and dryness thgat jump out at you, few ounces is enough

Not the best beer from Short's by any means but does keep up with their unorthodox and interesting selection of brews, think it is hilarious that they do not even remember the recipe to this one, that makes it that much cooler if it is true because it would never be able to be replicated in the future, would drink again, recommended

Floydster, Apr 01, 2009
Short's Mystery Stout from Short's Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 362 ratings.