Short's The Woodmaster - Short's Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Short's The WoodmasterShort's The Woodmaster

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

338 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 338
Reviews: 135
rAvg: 3.85
pDev: 14.29%
Wants: 47
Gots: 51 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Short's Brewing Company visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
American Brown Ale |  9.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BelgianAleSlut on 06-29-2007

Specialty Double Brown Ale.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 338 | Reviews: 135
Reviews by jale:
Photo of jale
3.5/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Pours a hazy copper-brown with a quarter of tan head.

S: Roasted malt, toasted nuts and some maple.

T: Slight maple and pecans. Quite boozy with a small amount of hop bitterness towards the end. I feel this is a bit light for a brown ale. Would like to have tasted more of that flavor.

M: Adequate carbonation. Somewhat thin for me.

D: One is enough for me. I'll keep a 6 pack for a time to see how this ages.

More User Reviews:
Photo of Swettenham_Shire
4.5/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Received a bottle of Woodmaster during a Michigan road trip beer swap. This was actually bottled back in December of 2012. I'm sure the maple and pecan taste has faded, but it still packed a punch. Looking forward to trying this fresh!

Update: 2015 batch consumed April '15 - definitely more boozy, maple syrup present. Missing that strong pecan flavor though. Will age the remaining bottles.

Photo of tectactoe
3.77/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a mostly opaque, murky brown color, slightly reminiscent of a quad with less red tones in it; some light shines through the edges, but not much. Beige colored head settles down quick and leaves just a little bit of lacing on the way down. Aroma is full of some damp chocolate notes, toasted malts, faint nuts, and rubbing alcohol. The alcoholic aroma is actually quite strong - I don't smell much maple syrup as advertised. The taste, however, delivers with a bit of that maple goodness I was looking for; very nutty, woodsy, and maple flavored. Some toasted malts to back it up; light earthiness and not much of a hop profile to speak of. However, that rubbing alcohol flavor was abundant and almost a little too distracting, which was unfortunate. It was almost a little like nail polish remover - just kind of strong and in the way, but not enough to ruin the beer for me. Medium body, medium-high carbonation.

Pretty tasty beer - unfortunately, I think the alcoholic body masks some of the flavors a bit, and if that were toned down a little, this beer would be pretty damn good.

Photo of TCHopCraver
4.32/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes written on 2/23/11.

The Woodmaster (great name and artwork combination) pours moderately dark brown with an attractive hint of mahogany. The head is beige and about one finger tall after a down-the-middle pour into a large snifter. The lacing looks very much how a shaken up snow globe appears.

I can definitely smell the maple and pecan influences over top of a big, brown ale aroma, which is slightly nutty and very heavy on brown sugar. Other scents of caramel and toffee slip into the bouquet. Just judging by the smell, I would love to have this beverage at a campfire on a cold autumn night.

The Woodmaster has a really unique and oh-so-yummy taste. The maple syrup flavor is the highlight for me and it blends nicely with the brown sugar and caramel notes that I would expect an Imperial Brown to have. The finish is nicely nutty and toasty on my tongue as the pecans take over. Perhaps some hops and a little bit of alcoholic heat add to the finish.

The mouthfeel is a fine medium body and has perfect carbonation for the beer. The finish isn't necessarily drying, but it has a toasty snap at the end of each sip.

Well, The Woodmaster certainly isn't sessionable, but it is a beer that I enjoy greatly. The two Imperial Browns that I have had from Shorts (this and Good Humans), have both been standouts and I am impressed with how different the two taste, while still remaining pretty similar. This is one of those beers that I am surprised by how good it is every time that I drink it.

Photo of BeerAdvocate
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beer review from BA Mag Oct 2007.

Extreme beer will never die, it will just become more difficult to be original. Original is what The Woodmaster is, a Double Brown Ale fermented with earthwork maple syrup and toasted pecans. Number 7 of 13 in their Imperial Beer Series.

The carbonation struggles through the semi-viscous brew to form a tight tiny-bubbled tan lace. Mildly hazed dark-mahogany color has a dull glow when put up to the light. This maple-caramel fusion jumps at the nose with suggestions of date sugar, ripe strawberries, rum and cocoa powder in the back. Very smooth at first sip but then the creaminess takes over with a lush full body. Mellow toasted-malt blankets the palate and cradles the rounded fruity ester and mild earthy, nutty character of the maple and pecans. Alcohol is very warming but does not get hot, hops are laid back and simply balance in their faded state. A tad mineral or salty in the semi-sweet finish.

How is a beer of 9.5% ABV so damn drinkable? It's scary in a way as this is a sipper, so make sure you have a friend or two to share the bottle with ... or not. The maple syrup does add a good amount of depth, as well as the pecans even though they stay a little vague. Vite Estreme Della Birra!

Photo of orbitalr0x
4.37/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle. #313 of 936.

Deep brown and opaque with a half inch of light tan head on top. Big brown malts with a nice sweetness from the highly evident maple syrup. Earthy with caramel accents as well along with a nutty undertone. Rich and inviting.

First sip brings smooth brown malts with sweet caramel accents. Toasted pecans come through quite nicely as well as fresh maple syrup flavors. Roasty brew with a smooth finish. Nutty, malty and overall just damn yummy.

Medium body and creamy with good carbonation. This was wonderful brew and a gem in a great series of beers from Short's. The last of the Imperial Series for me and it just leaves me wanting more, so give me more Joe!!

Photo of nickadams2
3.78/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A_Dark brown with a reddish hue. Thick tan head that dissipates into a thin ring. Spotty lacing.

S_Pecans,caramelized brown sugar and maple syrup.

T_Maple syrup,rich pecans,caramel,brown sugar with a touch of heat from the alcohol. Warms with each sip.

M_Full bodied with a decent amount of carbonation. Slick mouthfeel.

D_Definite sipper. Pretty rich in taste.

Photo of tigg924
3.64/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Had on tap @ Lord Hobo

Appearance: dark brown in color, clear, one inch head, medium carbonation

Smell: wood, nut, and sugar

Taste: big wood in the beginning, nut appears in the middle, and maple kisses the end, alcohol is noticeable.

Mouthfeel: medium-heavy body, medium carbonation, sweet start with a bitter middle and slightly sweeter end, dry

Overall: A nice woodsy brown ale where I wish the maple was a bit more pronounced. Not a bad beer, but probably a victim of Shorts overall quality. I do not think the flavors burst here as much as they do with other Shorts beers. I would get this again, but there are others in the brand I would go to first.

Photo of Mora2000
3.88/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to RBlaszak for sending me this bottle.

The beer pours a dark reddish-brown color with a tan head. The aroma is very nice. I get some maple and caramel as well as some strong brown sugar notes.

The flavor is also very nice but is more complex than the aroma. I initially get a lot of brown sugar, caramel and maple notes. There is also some oak and pecan notes in the flavor. The alcohol is noticeable and the beer is very easy to drink. There is also the slightest bit of tartness in the flavor but I am not sure where it is coming from.

Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation. A very nice brown ale.

Photo of madeofsteel
4.12/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured into a nonic, it has a very pretty mahogany color. Some spotty lacing, and only a soapy ringlet around the outside.

S - Caramel, brown sugar, pecans, and warming/crisp alcohol. Inviting, it screams wintery desert beer.

T - Over the top. Lots of brown sugar and maple. Pecan fights for attention over these, but sort of loses out. Very rich.

M - Messy in the cheeks (ha) and has a warming finish. Nice mellow carb.

O - I love all of the flavors presented, I just don't have much of a sweet tooth. This is just too rich for me, like the beer equivalent of pecan pie or somesuch. Certainly worth a turn of the head, though.

Photo of 33nickadams
4.2/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark brown color, translucent, with a half a finger head with small bubbles. Smells of nuts, chocolate, maple syrup and malt. Taste is nutty, chocolatey, slightly coffee and I get very little maple syrup. Mouthfeel is on the heavy side and is carbonated lightly. Overall, this is a great beer and I will seek this out every year. A great winter warmer. If you were never able to get Cashew Mountain Brown, this one ranks right up there with it in my opinion. I would love to see this one barrel-aged.

Photo of beerhan
4.68/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12 oz bottle. One of the most amazing descriptions of a beer ever.

Poured into a goblet, nice thin head with a gorgeous brown color.

Smells straight up like maple syrup and alcohol. Not much else going on.

Taste is phenomenal on this beer. Lots of maple syrup, nuttiness, booze, caramel. This tastes so good that I want one all the time.

Very drinkable and has a great mouthfeel. It is like drinking waffles with nuts and godiva on them. Amazing unique brew and the best thing shorts has ever done in my opinion. Such a beautiful beer.

Photo of SpdKilz
4.17/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

My second beer of the night and another great beer provided by Kevin (kzoobrew). Cheers buddy!

Appearance - Pours into my Russian River Tulip with a roasty chocolaty brown color with just hints of light coming through the edges of the glass. About a finger of slowly dissipating head is achieved, that leaves slight lacing on the sides of the glass.

Smell - Nutty, brown sugar, malty backbone, pecans, and maple syrup. Yummm.

Taste - Oh wow, I can immediately taste the pecans, but for just a split second before the maple charges in and takes over. Holy cow. This tastes exactly like my grandmothers pecan pie. Dang it I wish she was here - despite her not being the "drinkin type" I'd trick her into sipping this so she can see how similar it tastes! The nuttiness from the pecans makes itself present again after the initial sweet wave of maple syrup subsides, and ends on a sweet, toffee note.

Mouthfeel - Pretty damn thick - chewy, lower carbonation, syrupy. Appropriate.

Drinkability - As with all of Short's beers, I have honestly never been able to taste the alcohol. This, for being so high in ABV, is pretty damn drinkable. I can see why Kevin has spoke about this beer in the past. Well done Short's!

Photo of akorsak
4.2/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 25.7 oz bottle, from the 2007 bottling; purchased at the brewpub three years ago this week. # 631 of 936.

A: The brown ale is dark, a syrupy chocolate/caramel look, obscured and opaque. A thin head, mildly off-white, is just a thin band around the glass. Not back for being as old as my middle child.

S: Maple syrup, toasted pecans, and caramel. The richness of the aroma is very reminiscent of Utopias, the maple syrup adding a luxurious texture to the smell. Brown sugar adds to the sweet spiciness of the nose.

T: A little long in the tooth, but just a little. That age has mellowed out maple syrup a spell, coaxing more out of the nuttiness. That nuttiness is chewy and darker, a full flavor that segues into the nutty caramel flavors of the base brown ale. The maple syrup is sweet, a dark richness against the nuts. A little thin at times, the ale still holds up remarkably well. The maple syrup aspect lingers, a dry sweetness that packs a boozy punch at times. An excellent beer to nurse through.

M: The maple syrup and pecan are a good combination, nutty and sweet. Spicy brown sugar and raisins add to the wall of flavor. Damned, this one held up well.

Photo of emerge077
4.17/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Sample courtesy Jay23, via trade with Hoppymeal. Thanks!

Around an 8 oz. sample, poured into a Chimay chalice. Deep orange/brown body with pretty crimson highlights. Consistent head with spindly lacing. Good clarity on the first pour. Plenty of visible carbonation streams.

Dark and exotic aromas of vinous berry, dried apple, maple, with the mild lactic elements of a Flanders red.

Fairly mild apple tartness, brown sugar, a unique nuttiness (presumably pecan listed on the label), definite 100% maple syrup tones, and dried figs rounding it out. Bittersweet. The maple gives it a nice oomph in the body, along with a forest-like element. Taste=4.25 if I could.

Ultra malty, smooth, and medium bodied overall. There's a twinge of alcohol under the maple goodness, which slows you down some, but it's not distracting. Very creative and highly recommended!

Photo of SeaUrchin
3.64/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

bottle poured into my duvel tulip, 4th bottle before i decided to review it, i was confused about this one on my first bottle, s i held off, but because i was so excited about its release i figured i should do this at some point

appearance - a light-dark brown color, similar to a caramel color, a bit cloudy, with noticeable carbonation, about a finger of light brown head, faded to a thin layer as i drank it, left decent lacing

smell - up front is strong maple syrup and nuts(without reading the bottle i dont know if i would have known it was pecans) there was a supporting cast of roasted malt and a slight alcoholic tinge, inviting nose

taste - up front is a maple sweetness and lightly roasted malts, this moves into a a nutty sweetness with the slightest bit of alcohol, the aftertaste is pecans and maple syrup, the sweetness is almost unpleasant in the aftertaste but the pecans help to balance it out

mouthfeel - thick, a bit gooey, but very pleasant, the carbonation helped to lighten it up so it didnt feel like i was drinking mrs. buttersworth

drinkability - 1 at a time is enough for me, good but i didnt have an urge to grab another immediately, definitely a dessert beer for me

overall - overall this is a good beer, not the best buy something i have drank since and will drink again

Photo of badboyrsl84
3.35/5  rDev -13%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark brown in the tulip glass with an off white 1 inch head.

Smell - a strong fig smell. With further investigation I get a pecan/nutty smell and sweet malt, no hint of syrup like the bottle states.

Taste - it tastes very similar to the other shorts brew with fermented with peanuts. One again the figs stands out the most in the taste followed by the pecan nuttyness. It finishes with more fig/sweet malt.

Overall - ehhh its ok

Photo of Greywulfken
3.87/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: deep brown and hazy with orange-red highlights; finger of tan foam left laces trailed behind

S: pecans and syrup and booze - some herbal and earthy elements; hints of spice and cinnamon

T: candied pecan and maple syrup flavors, slightly herbal and medicinal with some booze connotations, brown malty nuts and winter spice

M: medium body, modest carbonation, mildly bitter brown nut aftertaste

O: a decent brown ale with pecan and maple characteristics amply expressed

Photo of mikesgroove
3.83/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

dark reddish tinted amber with a sparkling clarity to it. Lots of carbonation was visible rising up to the surface throughout the session. There was a good three inches of white pillow like foam

Lots of spices are evident on the first pass through and this is more or less to be expected. Nice notes of cinnamon, spiced apple and pear, and a touch of nutmeg. There was a good amount of sweetness mixed in with caramel and a roasted nice like smell coming off it as it warmed. Deep underling grain and malt base was apparent as well. Very sweet and entirely malt driven, this was not terrible, just underwhelming. Good bit of spice added in and a nice bitter hop driven finish.

Photo of buschbeer
3.91/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12 fl. oz. bottle
Served in a perfect pint glass

A - It is a ruddy brown color with amber highlights. It is topped with an inch of mocha head.

S - I smell some sweet chocolate and the maple syrup. It does have a nutty smell to it, as well.

T - This beer starts out sweet with a touch of alcohol. Then it finishes with earthy, nutty brown ale flavors. The finish has enough bitterness to cancel out the sweetness up front.

M - Medium to full.

O - This is one flavorful brown ale. It gives me a nice warming sensation on a chilly fall day. It is perfect for today's weather.

Photo of Another6Pack
4.42/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: murky brown pour, 1/4" head that lasted about a minute, nice sturdy lacing. Flakes of what I presume are the toasted pecans are suspended throughout.

S: sweet, earthy, and even a little alcohol in the nose. Pretty darn interesting and appealing.

T: blast of sweetness at the front, malt and pecans in the middle, and a kick of alcohol at the finish. I am not a sweet beer fan, but the sweetness in this one is not prolonged. Every now and then the finish was strangely reminiscient of Jagermeister.

M/D: nothing at all adverse here. Drinkability gets an extra .5 for the flavor/heat combination.

I like that I can taste everything that was put into this ale, and would be pleased if it worked its way into a regular winter bottling rotation.

Photo of largadeer
3.65/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle shared by ipa247 back in January. Thank you, Jeff.

Semi-hazy dark amber with a small off-white head that recedes to a thin collar. Toasted pecans leap out of the glass, slightly overwhelming the toasted malt foundation. Maple syrup is noticeable on a lesser level, lending only a touch of sweetness. Toasted pecans and maple follow through on the palate, though it's not especially sweet. Flavors of toast and roasted malt are stronger mid-palate along with moderate bitterness. This is enjoyable, but I find myself wishing it were less attenuated to balance the slightly chalky and astringent character of the nuts. The finish is dry and lightly bitter with a lingering nutty aftertaste. Pretty good, a different yeast, something with more of an English ale character, would have made this more enjoyable.

Photo of Gfunk720
3.48/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Jason for this bottle from a BIF. 12oz bottle, into my Trois Pistoles glass.

A- Brown and murky in color, with maybe a touch of redish hue. The head is perfect, and lasts forever. The lacing is also very impressive.

S- Very malt heavy. I get some nutty and sweet smells. Nice but fairly one dimensional. No maple here.

T- Quite sharp, and a little funky. I taste the pecans, and some molassas flavor. There are some hints of apple as well. Not sure if all Shorts beers taste like this, but most that I've had are fairly sour/lactic tasting.

M- Has a good deal of bite, and is a bit overwhelming on the palate at first. The aftertaste is very nice, and lingers on deliciously for a while.

O- I'm kind of torn as to how I feel about this beer. It's fairly tasty, but just not quite there. I still get some lactic/sour flavor from it, which I get from many shorts beers. Not sure if it is intentional or not.


Photo of ritzkiss
3.85/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750ml split courtesy of Viggo - another gem on a good night, thanks man!

Pours an amber/auburn/brown with little head, has some retention - no issues there.

A rich, complex brown. Raisins, caramel, vanilla, sweet maple syrup, a light earthy pecan nuttiness, anise, a little bit of roast in there, honey, cocoa powder - a light hop bite in the finish to give some balance to the sweetness and booziness. Nice carbonation, pulls it all together. Balanced and rich, perhaps a little too much sweetness/syrupyness but what do you expect from a beer with maple syrup?

Rich and tasty, unique. Certainly worth a try.

Photo of oline73
3.13/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle into a standard pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a murky reddish brown with a finger of off white head and good retention.

Smell: Very sweet, mildly tart malt with a ton of dark fruit notes. There is also a molasses note with some wood and spices.

Taste: Not quite as sweet as the smell, but the sweet malt and dark fruit notes are still there. There is a lot of alcohol and a mildly tart flavor to this beer as well. There seems to be a woodiness to this beer as well. Finish is bitter with a lot of hot alcohol.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with smooth carbonation and a dry finish.

Overall: Way too much alcohol. I would have liked the more complex flavors to have room to shine. Oh well.

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Short's The Woodmaster from Short's Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 338 ratings.