1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Short's The Magician - Short's Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Short's The MagicianShort's The Magician

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

340 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 340
Reviews: 165
rAvg: 3.44
pDev: 16.28%
Wants: 8
Gots: 21 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Short's Brewing Company visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
Irish Red Ale |  6.00% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
"A rich lustrous dark red London Ale. Rich malt complexities lending notes of toasted caramel, raisins, toffee, and slight roast chocolate. Very light hop additions let the true malt characters promenade throughout the tasting enjoyment this beer offers."

(Beer added by: CortexBomb on 03-21-2008)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 340 | Reviews: 165 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of HappyHourHero
3.93/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Fairly rich toasted/biscuit malt aroma with hints of cocoa. No hop aroma or fruity esters. Short off-white head never really amounts to much. Slightly hazy light brown beer has an amber glow. Thick, smooth chocolate malt flavor up front with light biscuit notes. The flavor sort of disappears towards the finish. Not really fruity, and no hop flavor or bitterness. Mostly cocoa. Moderately light carbonation and medium body make it easy to drink. A solid beer that is quite easy to drink. Thanks to Erik for bringing this one back from Bellaire.

HappyHourHero, Jun 15, 2010
Photo of Gyle41386
3.85/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to mjd83goblue for this bottle...I always love trying beers from Short's. Probably the most unique, off the wall craft brewery I know of. So far, I've been pretty happy with all of their beers I've tried.

So I grab my bottle of The Magician from the fridge, and notice that it's a dark red London Ale, which apparently is the same as an Irish Red Ale. Oh well, Short's is one of those breweries that makes beers that don't always fit the style guidelines by the book, so I can work with it.

I wish I had access to BuckeyeNation's color wheel, because I'm horrible at describing beer colors. I'll call this one garnet (Go Gamecocks)...a murky garnet. Poured The Magician very carefully, fearful of a monstrous head like that which sat atop the Smoked Apple Ale. However, nothing on this one. Not much lacing adorns the glass, either. The Magician isn't much of a looker, but perhaps he prefers it that way.

There's not really a whole lot going on in the nose, which I'm rather thankful for after reading reviews of off smells and flavors. It smells, well, English. Subtle, refined, etc etc. So, boring, really. Good bit of sweetness, coming from dark fruits like cherries, raisins, and plums. Also some chocolate and toffee...and butter. There's also a spicy edge in the background, that could be either hops or some rye. Perhaps "boring" wasn't the right word to use earlier, but each aroma component seems a bit subdued. Doesn't necessarily work for my tastes, but it certainly fits the style.

The flavor pretty much follows that blueprint. There's a definite tartness to the flavor that seems to match the cherries I smelled. It's a pretty interesting contrast to both the sweetness from the chocolate and caramel, as well as the earthy, spicy flavors. Like it or not, you can't say that Short's doesn't brew flavorful beers.

I knew from the pour that The Magician would have a pretty low carbonation level. It's not quite still, but it's pretty close. Fine by me. The texture borders on being syrupy. Smooth and slick, it's an easy drinker, even if the flavors may be a bit of a challenge (or off-putting altogether) to some. A pretty good beer to accompany the debut of Stephen Strasburg...probably the first time that anyone watching a Washington Nationals game consumed alcohol without intending to drown sorrows or liven things up.

Gyle41386, Jun 09, 2010
Photo of Avagadro
1.9/5  rDev -44.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5

A: Pours ruby red with a touch of cream colored head and a slight haze. I would have liked to see a less-hazy product, as well as a bit more of a head.

S: There is something off here immediately. Sweet caramel melds with diacetyl and a citrusy twang.

T: The same three contestants are present in the taste, battling over the terrirory. The result is a war-torn pallete that is less-than pleased.

M: Full bodied and slightly carbonated.

D: If it weren't for all of the other reviews posting similar experiences, I would swear that this is a bad batch. Way too much diacetyl, and there is also the weird twang. I don't know what it is, but it has no place being there. Their goal was to let the malts take the stage, but they failed.

Avagadro, Jun 08, 2010
Photo of Dalem
3.6/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Dark, almost brown when sitting in the glass but when held up to the light a rich ruby color shines through. The head was about a half inch of so which does melt a bit but doesn't quite go away through it's sipping so it leaves quite a bit of lacing all the way through the glass.
The aroma of Michigan garden herbs, some warm roasted malt and some woodsy characteristics are what comes out in the nose but the general overall scent is fairly subdued and mellow.
The flavor, which is what really matters anyway, do have a lot more pronounced things going on. Caramel and crystal malt are the first thing on the taste buds. They warm everything right up. The middle has brings out raisins and dark cherries and the back end has noticeable smokiness and white pepper to it.

Dalem, Jun 05, 2010
Photo of jt31914
3.5/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. Bottle:

A: Dark amber red with a small amount of head.

S: Caramel and sweet sugar smells; very sweet smell.

T: Continues the caramel/crystal malt trend along with some fruit balance. I'm surprised I'm saying this, but it is just too sweet for me. Maybe a little more hoppiness to balance it out would help.

M/D: Decently drinkable in spite of the over sweetness

jt31914, Jun 03, 2010
Photo of mgbickel
3.85/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a Perfect Pint glass. Formed a 1 ½ finger butterscotch colored head that receded quickly leaving very little lace behind. The body is deep ruby with a dense, almost brown, center and lighter red/orange edges.

The nose is as advertised...caramel, roasted malts, toast, small amounts of citrus hops and even a touch of cocoa powder.

Damn...this is right in line with the nose. The roasted malts and caramel are present throughout the taster. The middle is a little sweeter (raisins...dates, maybe) and the finish finds a tiny bitter bite. Pretty nicely balanced.

Medium/ mouth feel, sort of oily yet astringent with moderate carbonation.

Another winner from the good people at Short's! Very drinkable...

mgbickel, May 28, 2010
Photo of cwylie0
3.28/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I don't get many chances to try Irish Reds, but the style is quite interesting. To me, it almost takes on Belgian characteristics with its estery and malty flavor. This one definitely has some raisin notes and a firm malt backbone. The color is pretty lovely; it's hard to find the perfect grain bill to make a beer truly red.

Also, Michigan has a bunch of great brewers... I'm vacationing here for the first time and love the variety.

cwylie0, May 28, 2010
Photo of cpetrone84
2.42/5  rDev -29.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

A-pours a dark reddish copper color, notes of ruby, tight off white head with thick lace.

S-the nose is a little off, notes of caramel and diacetyl. earthy malt with a peppery back.

T-the taste if funky, diacetyl has hit, lots of lactic acid, notes of caramel, earth, and a touch of dark fruit sweetness. light pepper and herbal hops in the back.

M-smooth, syrupy, thick but light body, low carbonation, almost like cough syrupy.

D-this is actually making me nautious. too syrupy and thick without enough carb to balance, tastes like caugh syrupy and diacetyl with lactic acid underneath. drain pour.

cpetrone84, May 26, 2010
Photo of Vonerichs
2.78/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Clear deep red with a thin head.

Scent is fruit and raisin. I also picked up an odd whiff of what resembled chili powder.

Not a big fan of the taste. There are some wierd things going on in there. I pick up some raisin, a light spiciness of hops, and again that chili powder referenced in the scent.

The body is heavily carbonated and thin. This takes a major hit in mouthfeel because of an off-putting chemical like astringency in my mouth, almost like a houshold cleaning product.

Overall, I found this beer unenjoyable and just not working together at all. I don't think this is a bad bottle in any way, there were just too many combinations that didn't work well.

Vonerichs, May 21, 2010
Photo of GRPunk
3.88/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle (stamped 03/05/10) poured into a mug.

A- 1/2 finger, tan head drops fairly quickly to a nice lace that left decent sticky spots. Dark brown/red body with moderate carbonation.

S- It's quite sweet. I picked up caramel intitially, with some subtle fruit (cherry?). A little later there was a bit of a roasty quality.

T- Fruit is more present in the flavor. Definitely a tart cherry presence. There were subtle chocolate notes. Clean finish.

M- It was pretty clean. Moderate carbonation and viscosity. Dry finish.

D- It's a pretty easy drinker. Intruiging, yet subtle. It had an interesting combination of flavors that really worked together. I wasn't "wowed" at first, but something makes me want to try it again.

GRPunk, May 17, 2010
Photo of Lauthaha
4.33/5  rDev +25.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a 4 ounce taster to be enjoyed frugally.

Appearance: Poured heavily at a steep angle. Beautiful color, an auburn tone somewhere between light and dark. Looks very tasty. Subtly carbonated, with a thick head (due to the excessive speed with which I poured the beer...I like the creamy heads, and this one looks promising). Some occasional lacing throughout the taster.

Smell: Absolutely amazing. Good hop selection, with an added bonus; a sweet note permeating the scent. It smells rich, but not overly sweet. It smells crisp without being too "bitey." Definitely a subtle undertone of fruitiness, but it's not overwhelming. Very inviting.

Taste: Just about as good as it can get, in my opinion. With a 6% ABV, there's nothing to detract from the cornucopia of flavors present here; strong toffee and caramel aromas, and a gentle chocolate aftertaste when savored. It's surprisingly thick; I had expected it to be full-flavored, but it definitely exceeded my expectations.

Mouthfeel: Slightly heavy, very pleasant. When savored, it coats the palate without being overwhelming. When imbibed quickly, it is crisp and refreshing, though I would not suggest drinking it too quickly, whereas the flavors would be lost.

Drinkability: Pretty good. The taste doesn't get old by the end of the bottle, which is a plus in my book. Its flavor remains right to the last drop, and while it is a darker ale, it doesn't have the overwhelming heaviness of a darker ale. Almost perfect.

I am very impressed with the Short's Brewery's take on Dark Red London-Style Ale. They're a good local brewery I have taken a liking to, and I'm pleased to say that they have not failed in this endeavor. I would absolutely recommend this beer to a friend, it would be great for a barbecue (I can see it going well with steak) or other get-together.

Lauthaha, May 14, 2010
Photo of scruffwhor
3.48/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pour unleashes a crimson and amber mix with cola like highlights and lowlights. Quick head... sparse head but good bubbling. I really like the color of this beer.

Dried melba toast sprinkled with herb garden hops and some toasted simple syrup aroma.

Toasted malt bill upfront with a vinegar dry palate that lasts throughout. The hops add a little earthy herb flavor to the dry toasted RED malts. The finish is a little tart on the tongue with some toffee to finish things off in a sweet and some what tart way.

This is a malty but tart palated beer. Like maybe a little vingegar fell into the mash tun. But still a flavorful Irish beer.

scruffwhor, May 10, 2010
Photo of Florida9
3.45/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle presents with a look-a-like of Igor from Young Frankenstein.

A: Dark red-brown. Pours with an unexciting, small, light tan head that recedes quickly. Very little lacing.

S: A creamy, twangy maltiness. Sort of like a faint version of soured milk.

T: Slightly sour, peat-flavored maltiness that quickly fades. There is a mild bitterness on the back of the tongue.

M: Oddly, this one starts off with a medium weight mouthfeel, but finishes with a thin, watery feel to it. Lower carbonation.

D: A decent, but rather indifferent beer. Thought the maltiness might help it pair up with a meal, but the twanginess just made it clash horribly. As for the sourness, this isn't a Belgian-style sourness - it's much, much lighter than that. And its not a bad bottle either - the sourness is deliberate. Reminds me a bit of very very toned done NG Old English Porter in the way it seems as if some of the mash may have been deliberately soured.

Florida9, May 07, 2010
Photo of WakeandBake
4/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A dark reddish brown color body with a small short lasting tan head , medium carbonation , leaving lots of jagged lacing behind . Aroma is very malty , lots of caramel , toffee , nuts , dried fruit and a hint of smoke . FLavor is sweet with lots of character , caramel , toffee , rasins ,apple skins, wood , butter and a hint of chocolete , hops are not really noticeable but there for a touch of balance to keep this from being a total malt bomb. Full body , creamy mouthfeel , short sweet finish . A good brew and quite sessionable .

WakeandBake, May 02, 2010
Photo of GbVDave
3.68/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a 20oz imperial pint.

A: Pours a chill hazed, reddish-copper with 1 1/2 fingers of creamy, light tan foam on top that receded in the blink of an eye, but left some drooping lacey ropes in the glass. Carbonation was lazy.

S: Odd nose. Weird mish-mash of biscuit malt, sweet cocoa, citrus hops, sour berries, caramel, and sour dough bread. I like it, I'm just not sure that the sour element was intentional.

T: Exactly as above.

M: Slightly sweet, then tart, then dry. Stangely appealing. Finishes creamy and dry.

D: I was prepared to be disappointed by this after hearing some less than glowing reports from some my BA buds. It was pretty good. Not great, but good.

GbVDave, May 02, 2010
Photo of BierFan
3.38/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Thin khaki head. Dark red body is not too far from black.

Smell: Sweet and toasty. Some dark fruits and rye.

Taste: Fairly tart, which is something I didn't experience when I drank one straight from the bottle. Don't know why it seems so tart in a glass, perhaps the bottle is a little off?

BierFan, Apr 28, 2010
Photo of MIbeerfan
3.68/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a SA glass on a rainy afternoon. Frothy white two finger head, disipated quickly. Deep rusty opaque color. Smells of toasted molasses. As rich as this is, I was suprised to find no lacing on the glass. Light carbonation with some richness in the mouthfeel. Taste citrus, hops, caramel?....definitely citrus with sweet then hops. Overall solid amber ale. As usual not let down, even with the high expectations I have from Short's!!

MIbeerfan, Apr 25, 2010
Photo of jrallen34
2.88/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

I drank this from 12oz bottle into my Orval glass.

The beer pours a dark amber with brown highlights, pretty clear. Light tan head, rises about two fingers gone quickly, ok lacing.

The aroma is toasty, with raisins, caramel, rye and a little alcohol. There is also something really off-putting but can't put my finger on it.

The taste is mostly roasted rye with a long alcoholic finish, not very good.

Poor feel, not an easy drinker.

jrallen34, Apr 25, 2010
Photo of brewandbbq
3.68/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle.

Pours clear amber with a ruby tinge. A solid one inch of beige froth sank slowly to a thin coating on the surface and some smeary lacing.

Aromatics lead off with fruit-laden malt, hints of chocolate, butterscotch, and husky grains. A trace of cherries under the ripe malt character. Toasty and fruity akin to an English ale.

Medium bodied with a creamy yet crisp edge.

Ripe fruit, biscuity malt, and cocoa shavings start the palate. A hint of butter, cherry, coffee, and bread ends follow through.

Finishes fairly dry with lingering malt-dusted red fruits and toasty husks.

This ones tasting pretty fresh with some proofing dough coming through on the nose, although the the butter on the palate is a turnoff for me. Otherwise a sessionable brew as long as those cherries stay in check and don't ramp up into an infection.

brewandbbq, Apr 23, 2010
Photo of dudemuskie
3.15/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Picked up a 6 pack from Binny's Lakeview during their one time only Short's Brewing sale last week!

Appearance- Pours a deep red/burnt orange color with a loose, quickly fading beige head. Some lingering patchy froth.

Aroma- Big toasty nose with a touch of floral/herbal hops and fruity ester. Hints of sweet caramel, toasted malt, powdered cocoa, and an earthy nuttiness.

Flavor- Toasted malt forward with soft herbal hops and moderate bitterness balancing out middle. Slightly sweet, but balanced by hop bitterness and big toast notes. Finishes a little thin and slightly drying. Toasty malt and a kiss of cocoa lingers on palate with a drying, almost acrid husky/grainy flavor.

Mouthfeel- Moderate CO2, medium bodied, slightly dry, well balanced.

Overall- Not too sure what to think of this brew- Its the first Shorts brew that I have had that I am not head-over-heels about. The color and aroma are very intriguing, and the super toastiness/malt complexity makes for a fun brew, but it might be a bit too much toast for my taste, resulting in a lower drinkability score. No sweat though, I am still smitten for Short's!

dudemuskie, Apr 21, 2010
Photo of dougofthefuture
3.88/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My first Short's beer - bought in Chicago while in town shortly after a truck apparently came through with a few offerings from this Michigan brewery.

A - Dark red sounds right - very minimal head that quickly went away.

S - No. Not a lot of aroma here. Little bit of pilsner-like malt. Probably par for the style.

T&M - Pale malt backbone, bit of spicy hop and zippy yeast. Nice hard water mouthfeel here as well. Well crafted without any particular "wow" moments.

D - Pretty good. Would go well with a hearty dinner.

dougofthefuture, Apr 20, 2010
Photo of Tone
3.8/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear, amber color. 1/5 inch head of a white color. Good retention and slight lacing. Smells of yeast, pale malt, slight hop, maple syrup, and slight citrus. Fits the style of an Irish Red Ale. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp with an average carbonation level. Tastes of pale hop, pale malt, sweet malt, hop, slight roasted malt, and slight yeast. Overall, a good body, aroma, and blend.

Tone, Apr 19, 2010
Photo of dfillius
4.13/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass

A: Aggressive pour yields 2/3 finger yellowish-tan head with good retention. Hazy dark reddish-brown. Pretty.

S: Herbal and citrus hops, with some possibly sour notes. Smells very good. A character almost like a red wine, maybe a cabernet?

T: Pleasant bready and sweet malt with little hop. One of the best reds I've had. Very similar in taste to a nut brown, but with less roast and more caramel. Slight sour taste is a plus.

M: Mellow, smooth, creamy

D: Very good. I'd order a second and will probably buy six of these at some point.

dfillius, Apr 18, 2010
Photo of nickadams2
4.15/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A_Dark red with a thick khaki tan head. Moderate lacing.

S_Heavy malt. Nutty and tart fruits also coming through.

T_Nutty fruity flavor up front. Tart fruits has a slightly sour but pleasant taste. Nice combination.

M_Nice mouthfeel with nice carbonation.Not too heavy. Good for sessions.

D_Low abv and great flavor.Could easily polish off a few in one session.

nickadams2, Apr 18, 2010
Photo of SpdKilz
3.73/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

New Beer Friday! A big thanks to erikkoppin for this great extra. Cheers!

Appearance - Pours a murky hazelnut orange into my SA Perfect Pint. About two fingers of tan colored head are achieved with a moderate pour. The head dissipates relatively fast leaving decent lacing.

Smell - A combination of sweet malty aromas mix with a tangy/sour lemony funk.

Taste - Similar to the smell, an odd mixture of sweet and sour tastes intermix. It honestly has a nutty flavor up front with some caramel notes which is followed by some somewhat sour lemon/orange twang. There is a sort of mustiness to this beer also, like an attic (I guess earthy notes also then?). To be honest, despite seemingly off putting with my description, it really isn't half bad.

Mouthfeel - Medium to light bodied, decent carbonation.

Drinkability - Not bad at all. I'm glad the sweeter/nutty flavors are up front because I prefer a more tangy/sour flavor at the backend of my sips. This beer is surprisingly better the more I drink it. However, as with most of the offerings I've had from Shorts, this is sort of a "one and done" type of deal. I'm glad I was able to try it but it's not something I would go in search of.

SpdKilz, Apr 16, 2010
Short's The Magician from Short's Brewing Company
79 out of 100 based on 340 ratings.