Anniversary Ale - Short's Brewing Company

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Anniversary AleAnniversary Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

194 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 194
Hads: 492
rAvg: 3.98
pDev: 11.31%
Wants: 63
Gots: 68 | FT: 9
Brewed by:
Short's Brewing Company visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
Wheatwine |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: hoppymeal on 05-08-2009

2009 Tap only
2010 Tap and bottle
2013 Tap and bottle

Same recipe every year, according to the brewer, though ABV varies slightly.

"Anniversary Ale~ A high gravity wheat wine made with blood oranges that render an alluring dark purple hue to the color. Flavor abounds from the spice of green peppercorns and tang from blood orange zest. Aggressive dry hop additions amplify the citrus overtones and spiciness found throughout. ‘Anni’ Ale typifies the full magnitude of Short’s Brewing Company by embodying all the complexities and fulfillment necessary to pay tribute to another year of brewing. 10% ABV 63 IBU's"
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 194 | Hads: 492
Photo of Shumista
4.1/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours dark red brown, zero head despite an aggressive pour. Smells citrusy, very much like fresh squeezed orange juice. The peppercorns are in the nose as well, however much more subtly. Tart citrusy taste from the oranges, almost borders on sour. There is a spiciness from the peppercorns. Also some sweet caramel malt throughout. The mouthfeel is pretty thick and syrupy. Surprisingly drinkable for how sweet and high in alcohol it is. A really unique beer, worth tracking down and keeeping a few in the cellar. (561 characters)

Photo of Kkottonmouthkngz
4.53/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: the color alone on this scores high points. ruby red/orange hued beauty. rocky, minimal head, but doesnt matter. the color is just amazing, i wouldnt want it any other way... wow.
S: reminds me of a recent trip to florida where we had fresh squeezed local oranges for juice in the mornings. just super concentrated orange blast, and again, huge points. theres just the tiniest hint of alcohol hidden in there, but you have to struggle to find it.
T: the intensity of the oranges backs off just a smidge, but only to let in the peppercorns, but i love how it works together. this beer so far really is just stunning. my tastebuds are going crazy right now.
M: i love how smooth this is and the light heat from the peppercorn just completes the goal at hand. medium body with low carbonation seems the right fit, i cant get enough.
D: if this werent utterly through the roof in terms of ABV, id drink it forever. i know by the time i get to the end ill be ready to move on, but i will be refilling its space in my cellar with more bottles. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. (1,060 characters)

Photo of weizenbob
4.47/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 vintage. 12 ounce bottle poured into a large wine goblet. An aggressive pour yields half a finger of peach-tinted head. Retention is moderate, though better than expected for such a high-gravity brew. A ring of lacing holds to the top of the glass and glides down as the beer disappears. The beer is mahogany colored with precious little translucence. I'm assuming the color is a result of the blood oranges, and it is a pretty sight.

Oranges manifest themselves way up front on the nose. It's a sweet, citrusy, alcoholic blending that works really well. Spicy hops snap nicely and only serve to compliment the fruity aroma herein. It is unlike any beer, wheatwine or otherwise, that I've put my nostrils to; but it's such a natural combination that I'm amazed nobody has thought to brew this before now.

The flavor follows suit. Sweet tangerine-like flavor is first to impact the tongue. This is accompanied by a nice dose of piney hops (hop varieties were wonderfully matched to this brew). The citrus and hops lay a wonderfully spicy groundwork that is formidably matched by the heft of the malt profile. It is malty to the point of being syrupy. As the beer slides to the back of the mouth, a nice literal kick of peppercorn is noted. It's enough that you know there's some pepper in there, but not so much that it detracts from the rest of what is going on. The primary flavors are intense to the point that you don't notice the alcohol unless you're really looking for it. For being so overblown, it has great balance.

It's tough not to have a nice mouthfeel with a beer this big, and Anniversary Ale does not disappoint. It's thick; it has a lot of alcohol which makes it velvety. The carbonation level is absolutely perfect. The citrusy nature of the brew actually makes it refreshing, easily the most refreshing and easy drinking brew in its weight class. It's supposed to be a sipper, but I'm failing to pause for very long between sips.

For the most part, Short's unorthodox concoctions are hit or miss affairs. This one is a big hit. In fact, it may be my new favorite in their seasonal lineup. It looks interesting, smells, tastes and feels great. And it's refreshing to boot. It's the most drinkable 10% beer I've ever sampled. Hats off to you, Short's.


The Two-Schlitz Scale: (reference my profile for an explanation)
I give two Schlitz about Short's Anniversary Ale. Here's to another great year of brewing. (2,440 characters)

Photo of techfed87
4.42/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice orange head. Color is a reddish amber.

Smell is very floral, with a nice, sour hoppy characteristic to it.

First sip is very hoppy, but at the same time quite circus-filled as well, almost like a grapefruit.

One of the big selling points of this beer comes from the blood oranges that they add to it, and I can say it really gives life to the flavor.

A very delicious beer and an excellent way to celebrate their sixth year of production. Very good job, Shorts! (479 characters)

Photo of Tripel_Threat
4.81/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Had this one from a grumbler (10th Anni) at the brewpub last summer, took it to a family reunion, and drank it out of red Solo cups. This ale was something special even in those circumstances. This year (11th Anni), poured from the bottle into tulip, pours a clear golden orange with a finger of fizzy head that dissolves quickly to a small ring around the edges, no lacing to speak of.
Aroma is huge on the nose, right from the bottle. Citrus hops and blood orange, sweet caramel malts. Every now and again, a whiff of booze, but it's never overpowering.
The taste is like biting into the juiciest of oranges with a small bitter and tart bite balancing out any excess sweetness. A bit of wheat ale lurks. Some heat and pepper bite on the backend. This one is bold in aroma and flavor, lots going on and all of it enjoyable. The ABV is dangerously subtle.
Hope Short's Anniversary Ale is around for many years to come (920 characters)

Photo of Wadsey
3.67/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Short's Anniversary Ale

Year-old bottle served at cellar temperature in DFH signature glass. 

A: Hazy amber with little effervescence. Insubstantial head subsides to thin skim. No lacing. 

S: Orange juice is prominent. Then citrus peels and maybe spice. 

T: Thin orange juice, then subdued spiciness of peppercorns, finally fresh red ruby grapefruit, which lingers on palate. The beer has a "soft" bitterness, which reminds me of citrus peels. Finishes very dry. 

M: Medium-heavy body and moderate carbonation. Soft on palate. Somewhat astringent. Not warming. 

O: I think the year in the cellar has helped this beer out, bringing its various elements into balance. An above-average wheatwine.  (706 characters)

Photo of drewba
3.73/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Well, its color is...blood orange. Pours with a one finger off white head that has very little retention. Lots of big bubbles are lingering. This has some decent legs and splotchy lacing.

S - Unusual; smells faintly of a mimosa. This really does smell like blood oranges, but then this smell like cherry cough drops. Huh? I've not familiar at all with green peppercorns, but I think it's coming out in the smell as a dry earthiness.

T - Very interesting...artificial cherries, dry & semisweet orange, lemon rind, wood and plenty of that earthy pepper I'm getting in the smell. There is a tiny tart and funky pop at the end. This is quite fruity, but it's a little overshadowed by the ever present cough drop taste. This tastes like a cherry and raspberry ricola (obviously the best cough drop ever), but I feel like saying the taste is "interesting" is a little too polite. It's downright strange; not necessarily in a bad way, but it's just strange.

M - Syrupy, low carbonation. No complaints here.

O - I sipped on this for awhile and I'm still a little baffled. It isn't like anything I've had to date - oddly enough, it's almost like a flanders mixed with a saison. (1,177 characters)

Photo of sennin
4.05/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 2.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a snifter on June 2, 2013.

A: Light caramel colored with a very smell white head that seems to quickly diminish, not a whole lot of lacing on the glass, rather average.

S: The smell is a completely different story, I mean wow. I get tangerines, oranges, blood oranges, peach, cherry tomatoes, and some pepper spice as well. An absolute bouquet of fruit- this beer is a feast for the senses. Excellent stuff.

T: First taste is a mix of grapefruit and oranges. Later, I get something like herbal, viney tomatoes which I guess isn't too surprising considering that this beer is rather similar to Short's other brew, Bloody Beer. There are a lot of similarities in taste between the two, but I definitely like this more considering that the tomato isn't super overwhelming like it is in Bloody Beer. Peppercorns are also heavily prevalent and it works very well with the lemon zest that eventually makes an appearance on the back-end, adding something of a bitter (but not overly so) backbone to the brew. It's also a very, very easy drinker. I would almost consider this a session beer for me.

M: Creamy and smooth, but nothing really to write home about. However, the moderate carbonation does add a very pleasant bubbly sensation on the tongue as the session goes on, which is a definite plus. Slightly above average mouthfeel here.

O: This is a great beer from Short's, the taste and smell are awesome and I think it is among the best of Short's line of eccentric brews. Very good, and definitely worth a try for sure. (1,538 characters)

Photo of Tripphop
4.08/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep orange color in the glass, very sexy color. Head is absent, managed to force a few bubbles with a heavy pour, but they run and hide. The carbonation is present in the mouth, however. Aromas of sweet candied oranges, smells sticky. Flavor has god intensity, orange is nicely squeezed in the midpalate with a wheaty finish. A good bit of heat fro mthe booze, matches up nicely with the mellow, rich body to this beer. Very solid brew, my favorite of the Short's I've tried. (476 characters)

Photo of DearthVader
4.08/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to jrags8 for this one!

Pours a ruby red with a great oranges glow that comes from the edges. A very aggressive pour produced nothing more than slight bubbles and absolutely no sign of lacing is left. Good thing this brews color is so appealing.

Smell is overwhelmed with orange and almost impossible to pick up the peppercorn, but it is there. I was hoping for a lot more pepper in the nose after reading the label, but was let down. Still had an intriguing aroma to it.

Taste is upfront with orange juice and a slight bitter grapefruit flavor. I can pick up a slight peppery taste that is followed by a bready flavor and a sweet malt backbone. Very enjoyable.

Mouthfeel is very full with a fairly low amount of carbonation. You definitely can't detect it's 11.7% ABV.

I'm very happy with my first offering from Shorts. I've heard some mixed reviews on these extremely experimental brewers, but I look forward to trying out a few more.

Thanks again Jim! (972 characters)

Photo of justinp444
4.06/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A clear golden orange beer with a frothy foamy white head. Smell is of orange, citrus, blood orange, tons of malt, and a minor grassy/earthy smell. Taste is of blood orange and malt with a spicy background from the peppercorn. It's a mildly sweet beer with a medium body, mild carbonation and easy drinking. (307 characters)

Photo of grrrah
3.75/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Clear, burnt orange/copper. No head with a very thin white collar. No lacing and very little carbonation.

Smell: Loaded with citrus, mostly grapefruit and orange pulp.

Taste: Grapefruits and blood oranges. Rich and juicy with a citrus juice tart. Wheat adds carame to the fruits. Not getting much booziness.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with a little more carbonation than appears. Slick and smooth. Clean finish almost like the carbonated juice drinks. (472 characters)

Photo of decadance
4.1/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Lucky enough to stumble upon this.

A - Would look like a reddish amber if not for the lack of any head.

S - This is a smell of sweet citrus on top of wheat. Very pleasant.

T - Wow. It is tart citrus and grapefruit with a background of sweet citrus and wheat.

M - It is a little thick. It is a bit cloying on the palate.

D - You sip it. You drink one. You are over. The taste is so complex you don't want anything before it to muss up the taste buds, nor do you want (or need anything after). (498 characters)

Photo of badboyrsl84
4.2/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours red/orange in the glass with a little white lacing around the glass

Smell - blood orange right off the bat. Tartness and some sweetness brought on by the fruit.

Taste - bitter tartness from the blood orange. Its a good taste though. I get a little peppercorns in the aftertaste. But the bit from the citrius acidic blood orange fruit dominates. No hint of the 11% alcohol.

Overall - it's unlike any beer I've ever had. I can respect what Shorts was trying to do. It may not be the most drinkable beer but its one of the most memorable I've had from them. (563 characters)

Photo of association330
3.87/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle, no freshness date

A - Pours the color of a blood orange, with a thin film of white head and just a few spots of lace.

S - Blood oranges dominate, with tones of wheat and bit of other tropical fruits in the background. Overall, fruity.

T - The blood orange flavor comes through from start to finish (moderately sweet up front, then sour on the swallow). A bit of wheat, and just a touch of alcohol bite. Very faint peppercorn character.

M - Medium-boded, with low carbonation akin to a very young white wine.

D - With its sour, slightly alcoholic profile, it drinks a lot like a wine. Definitely a sipper, but a good one. (640 characters)

Photo of MasterfulIdiot
3.59/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

10th anniversary edition (2014) poured into an Ikea snifter. The pour kicks up a relatively modest cream-colored head that fades quickly and leaves no lace to speak of. The liquid itself is a nice transparent gold with amber hues.

Wow - aroma is a citrus knockout! It's not the bright orange or lemon that I normally think of when I think citrus, it's a lot darker and more floral than that, making me think of plums and raspberries. I guess this is what blood orange smells like, but I'm not at all well-versed in semi-obscure citrus fruits. I also get hints of a caramel sweetness.

Flavor follows the aroma pretty closely, with some surprising bitterness from an herbal hop presence thrown in on the finish. The fruit flavor here is really wonderful. However, with the caramel sweetness, fruit sweetness, and then finishing bitterness, it ends up feeling almost too sweet and too bitter at the same time. Still, the flavors are pretty nice, just not necessarily in conjunction with each other. I was a little underwhelmed with how the flavor compares to the aroma. Still, the flavor from the blood oranges is really wonderful, so I have to give it some points for that!

Mouthfeel is medium-bodied, with somewhat heavy carbonation, which is nicely pleasant.

Overall, there was some really nice fruit flavor, but it didn't really come together on the palate for me. (1,369 characters)

Photo of johnd513
4.82/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I enjoyed this beer on tap at the brewery. The brewery described this beer as a wheat wine and the description stated that they used a half a pound of blood oranges per gallon. This beer pours a ruby red color with a small head that quickly dissipates. The smell has a huge tropical aroma of grapefruit, pineapple and orange. The taste is incredibly sweet with grapefruit and orange flavors. The mouthfeel was relatively thick and nicely carbonated. Hands down the most interesting and complex beer I have had so far this year. (527 characters)

Photo of Preismj
4.12/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

a: orange and cloudy. Looks beautiful with a rich white head and nice carbonation.

s: good aroma of orange and orange zest. Creamy and sweet smells with a beautiful bread aroma leaking off the rim of the glass.

t: nice and zesty orange flavor. Creamy indeed with an incredible wheat flavor and a wine sweetness. tasting peppery flavor as well in this and a nice malt backbone here, but the orange zest takes center stage and shines.

m: rich and creamy, coats well and leaves the palette wet. nice bitter finish on this, but not too bitter at all.

o: this is a great wheat wine and the orange zest is an incredible flavor in this. Blends well in the style and I'll be trying to get a few more of these. (705 characters)

Photo of 33nickadams
3.9/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

a- reddish orange, semi-translucent, very little head

s- smells like cranberry orange

t- sweet and citrusy

m- goes down smooth and quick

d- very warm, lots of alcohol, could probably only have one at a time

Great beer! I am impressed with the creativity of Short's brewery. They don't disappoint and I think they are always worth a try. (341 characters)

Photo of khumbard
3.71/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to phishisphunk for this cool extra. Bottle poured into Duvel tulip.

Pours a very cool deep orange/red with a white fluffy head. Pretty awesome looking beer, you can definitely tell they took full advantage of the blood oranges.

Aroma is interesting. Definitely sweet, tangy oranges. Lots of fruitiness from the heavy wheat malt. Not really any hops to speak of, but still pretty nice

Taste is definitely sweet, but it has a bitter and tangy orange rind flavor. Not bad, but it takes a bit to get used to. Finishes sweet, with a little bit of booze.

Mouthfeel is alright. A little bit too sticky sweet for me, but the carbonation is right on.

Overall this is a very interesting brew, which I'm glad to have had. A little bit too sweet for me, but I appreciate the effort from Short's. Not too many beers out there made with oranges that work very well, but this one is on the right track. (900 characters)

Photo of gnemesis
3.92/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2011 bottle poured into snifter on 05/12/2011. This beer immediately lives up to its name. Blood orange/red body topped by a thin off-white head that dissipates quickly and leaves very little lace. The nose is met with orange (strong citrus) and a touch of honey for an attempt to balance. The taste follows though- lots of blood orange, sweet malt, with a slightly bitter finish. Medium body, light/medium carbonation. Good and interesting brew. One or two is enough. (468 characters)

Photo of hardysf
2.68/5  rDev -32.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

This was a fail by shorts in my eyes. Pours clear with a small head. Smells sweet and of citrus. Taste is a unbalanced mess. Sweet flavors, with an odd citrus (maybe guava). Up next is a bit of a sour flavor. Finishes with a spicy pepper flavor. I'm glad I decided to only buy a single instead of a six pack.

This brought back a lot of memories of bells Venus which also was a fail to me. (393 characters)

Photo of airohead2001
4.1/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Thanks glazeman for this strange brew!

A - Clear, dark pink/red, with a thin film head that quickly fades to a few bubbles that line the rim of my snifter. Interesting looking beer. After having many fruit beers from New Glarus, Short's, etc., this is really the only beer I've ever had that I can definitively say is red.

S - Mild, but complex. A blend of hops and soft cherries up front, with some citrus fruits in the middle, followed by a slight burn of EtOH.

T - What a strange beer. Wow. Probably the most bizarre drink I have ever tasted. Where to begin? Ok, here goes... Merlot, sweet cherries, oranges, hops and some type of earthy seasoning up front. The middle brings out some sours that resemble lemons, and the finish, odd as it may sound, are dry, bitter piney, hops. The aftertaste is nuttiness with a citrus sourness that lingers in the back of your throat. What a treat! Incredible.

M - Carbonation is nice, but the thinness of this beer leaves a bit to be desired. For being SO full of flavor and such high ABV, I would have liked just a tad bit more substance to chew on.

D - In the taste, this one is pretty drinkable. I could probably have at least two. But WOW, the EtOH does hit you. It's really easy to feel every bit of that 11.70%... So overall, the drinkability is limited by it's booziness, but the taste of this beer really keeps me begging for more.

This, fellow BAs, is a diamond in the rough. If you see this beer, buy it, chill it, let it sit for 20 minutes or so after pouring, and enjoy - you'll never try another beer like this again. (1,580 characters)

Photo of travMI13
3.78/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2011 vintage. 12 oz. bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Deep, ruby red body with one finger of fluffy, white head. Nice lacing and solid head retention.

S: Orange, grapefruit, peppercorn, and maybe some corriander. Very interesting aromas. It smells sweet, with a bite at the end of the nose.

T: And that is exactly what it tastes like. Very sweet citrus (grapefruit and blood orange) with a touch of the peppercorn on the finish. Short's nails the description on the bottle. Alcohol is well hidden. If memory serves me right, the peppercorn was more pronounced when this was fresh. There is a bitterness on the finish, as well. I'm surprised the hops held up enough to provide that.

M: The bitterness and sweetness both linger for quite some time. Again, interesting. It feels a bit cloying at times, but I feel like this is working, all in all.

O: I can't remember ever having a beer like this one before, which is why I pick it up each year. It is a unique flavor pairing, and it really challenges the tastebuds. Like many of the Short's brews, this is probably not for everyone. Though I enjoy it, I do have to be in the mood for it, but there really isn't anything quite like it. (1,187 characters)

Photo of bierenutz
3.85/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Pours a murky amber brown color with a smallish head and almost no lacing left on the glass.
S-Piney hops, grapefruit, orange and caramel.
T-Blood orange zest combines with a sweet/sour mix and piney hops for bitterness. The peppercorns add a spicy addition to the party.
M-Mild to moderate feel and moderately carbonated.
D-Nice beer overall...good job Short's! (364 characters)

Anniversary Ale from Short's Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 194 ratings.