Mystery Stout
Short's Brewing Company

Mystery StoutMystery Stout
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American Imperial Stout
3.93 | pDev: 10.69%
Short's Brewing Company
Michigan, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
Mystery StoutMystery Stout
Notes: *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
Reviews: 206 | Ratings: 376 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Phyl21ca
4/5  rDev +1.8%

Bottle: Poured a pitch-black color stout with a medium size dark brown head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of sweet residual sugars and molasses notes with some dark chocolate notes is pretty intense but not overwhelmingly so. Taste is a great mix between some molasses, residual sugars some black chocolate notes with a light dry bitter finish. Body is quite full but doesn’t have the smooth texture I was expecting. Good carbonation with no apparent alcohol. Very enjoyable imperials stout that is pretty sweet but not overwhelmingly so with a good depth of complexity.

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Phyl21ca from Quebec (Canada), Aug 22, 2014
Photo of OMills
4.2/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A- Pitch black and nice light brown head. Looks great! Moderate head retention, but great lacing.

S- Roasted Malts, Chocolate, Brown sugar and molasses. It smells awesome. A bit of a metallic note to it though.

T- Bitter-sweet and delicious, but has quite a nice hop balance for the style. Molasses definitely a big player. Nice roasted notes to it. Alcohol is well masked.

M-Moderate Carbonation and mouthfeel. Not too thin,but could be a bit more "beefy" IMO

O- I'd say this a damn good beer. Every shorts Ive had its damn good. The mouth feel is a bit lacking IMO, but none-the-less is still great. I would highly recommend.

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OMills from Michigan, Apr 01, 2014
Photo of Gryphon69
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle
no date

A- Pours a very deep dark brown, near black. Head is surprisingly light tan for such a dark murky beer. Nice sticky lacing everywhere I swirl my glass. Looks good

S- Cocoa and roasted malts heavy up front, a nice deep oat smell to follow, some alcohol and brown sugar sweetness at the end. Love the full frontal chocolate smack in the face.

T- Ohh, heavy on the cocoa up front with dark malts mixed in, some noticeable coffee in the middle. Has a very odd and distinctive burnt and bitter finish that is ...dry. After the burnt sensations, the cocoa and malts come back in play.

M- Full body, thick and creamy. Not much slipperiness in it but very drinkable, feels heavy, but not syrupy or smooth.

O- Good beer, fairly easy to drink. The ABV is pretty well balanced and doesn't hit jump right out at you, which could be sneaky if you don't know its 10% beer. Not a very complicated beer with the smells and taste, what you smell is what you get.Would recommend it as a good beer.

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Gryphon69 from Michigan, Mar 21, 2014
Photo of buschbeer
3.59/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

12 fl. oz. bottle
Served in a snifter

A - This beer is jet black with less than an inch of cocoa colored head.

S - I can smell the cocoa. It blends well with the roasted malt aromas.

T - I get some almost burnt flavors. The cocoa comes through, but the finish is kind of like burnt toast.

M - Full

O - I was hoping this beer would be better. The burnt flavor is off putting.

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Photo of TreyIsWilson
4.04/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a thick black with a very thin tan head. Light amount of sticky lacing.

S - Mostly dark roasted malts and toasted oats.

T - Follows the smell. Dark roasted malts, dark chocolate, coffee, and a nice sweetness from the molasses. Nice bitter coffee finish.

M - Medium bodied with low carbonation. Smooth and creamy mouthfeel.

O - This is a very solid Imperial Stout. Lots of nice dark roasted flavors. Definetly recommended.

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TreyIsWilson from Michigan, Feb 25, 2014
Photo of PaulyB83
4.2/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a tulip glass. Bottle date 10/16/13

A- Pours a pretty thick black with a nice medium brown head that dissipated to a thin ring.

S- Tart cherry, vanilla, chocolate, dark sugar. some alcohol.

T- Similar to nose. Coffee, dark chocolate, slight vanilla, dark sugar, slight tart acidity, some alcohol but the 10.8% is pretty hidden. Has a lasting dark chocolate, coffee note.

M- A bit lighter than expecting for the aroma, taste and ABV.

O- Another impressive stout from Short's. Most of their hoppy stuff I haven't dug but with this and Cup A Joe, I'd say Short's knows how to do dark beers. Nice amount of chocolate and light coffee plus some added vaniila make this a beer worth seeking out. And I found it as a discounted single for a dollar!

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PaulyB83 from Michigan, Jan 19, 2014
Photo of superspak
4.22/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle into tulip glass, bottled on 10/16/2013. Pours dense pitch black color with a 1 finger dense tan head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass, with some light streaming carbonation. Aromas of big dark chocolate, roasted malt, coffee, cocoa, oatmeal, molasses, toffee, toast, char, herbal, and roasted earthiness. Fantastic aromas with great balance and complexity of dark/roasted malt, cocoa, and molasses notes; with great strength. Taste of big dark chocolate, coffee, roasted malt, toast, toffee, molasses, cocoa, char, oatmeal, herbal, floral, pine, and roasted earthiness. Good amount of roast/pine bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of dark chocolate, coffee, roasted malt, cocoa, oatmeal, toast, toffee, molasses, char, pine, herbal, and roasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Very nice balance and complexity of dark/roasted malt and cocoa/molasses flavors; with a good malt/hop balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and fairly full bodied; with a very creamy, slick, and lightly chalky/sticky mouthfeel that is good. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a light warming present after the finish. Overall this is a highly excellent imperial oatmeal stout. All around great balance and complexity of dark/roasted flavors with moderate hop presence; and very smooth to sip on for the ABV. A highly enjoyable offering.

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superspak from Michigan, Jan 13, 2014
Photo of elNopalero
4.57/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

This pours a jet black with a healthy cap of cocoa colored foam.

There’s a hint of licorice backing the dominate aroma of cocoa nibs and dusting of cinnamon spice. The flavor has a sharp roastiness on it, with a strong chocolate-coffee presence. Great body, and pleasing finish. Enjoyed sipping.

Holy smokes, I didn’t realize it was so strong! Why doesn’t Shorts publish their ABVs on the bottles?

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Photo of CMUbrew
4.04/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Review from 12/30/13

A: Pours a dark black color. Looks fairly viscous. Fingers worth of dark brown head forms for about a minute before receding.

S: Definite oat smell, toasted oats, and dark roasty malt. There's also a little extra dimension there that could be some molasses. Just a tiny whiff of alcohol when really warmed.

T: Light roast initially, building to oat flavors and darker roast.

M: A nice full body with a good carbonation level.

O: This should be listed as an oatmeal stout because the oatmeal characteristics are definitely prevalent. Great stout overall.

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CMUbrew from Michigan, Jan 06, 2014
Photo of schnjac
3.84/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

Pours a deep, dark brown: almost black, with a minimal tan head. Moderate lacing is left on the glass. Strong roasty malts give rise to a smokey and mildly creamy coffee flavor. Moderately bitter aftertaste. Dry bitterness and very little carbonation in the mouthfeel. Nice creamy holiday stout

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schnjac from Michigan, Dec 30, 2013
Photo of metter98
3.97/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A: The beer is jet black in color. It poured with a half finger high dark tan head that quickly died down, leaving a large collar around the edge of the glass and some lacing on the surface and down the sides of the glass.
S: Light to moderate aromas of dark roasted malts, coffee and chocolate are present in the nose.
T: The taste is similar to the smell and is very rich—the cocoa flavors seem to be stronger in the taste compared to the smell.
M: It feels medium- to full-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is very enjoyable if you like cocoa and thick stouts; the mouthfeel has the consistency of a milk stout. Surprisingly, no alcohol is perceptible in the taste.

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metter98 from New York, Dec 30, 2013
Photo of SerialTicker
4.31/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11/14/13 bottling date. Poured into a Sam Adams Perfect Pint.

Appearance: Like oil. Dark brown head doesn't last long. Pretty nice lacing, considering the ABV.

Smell: Definite Imperial Stout. Heavy sweetness and roastiness... an essence of alcohol. Coffee and chocolate galore. Superb.

Taste: Awesome... so much chocolate with an awesome sweetness from the molasses, which also contributes to the almost flawless mouthfeel. Plenty of delicious roasty notes. The oats give a phenomenal feel, the molasses provides a great sweetness... but this is never cloying. It remains impeccably, DANGEROUSLY, drinkable. The alcohol is felt more than it's tasted (very little taste), but it's not harsh at all. Aftertaste has an almost burnt malt flavor that has me begging for more.

Basically world class, in my mind... maybe my favorite beer from Short's as well. To top it all off, $2 a single? I've spent two times as much per ounce on beers that can't TOUCH this one. A must-buy. Amazing.

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SerialTicker from Michigan, Dec 11, 2013
Photo of krustster
4.15/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

It can't be hard to make a good-looking imperial (oatmeal!) stout. This one is no different than most; a mouthwatering dark dark brown, with also a very dark-colored head that was a bit fluffier than I expected which left some "lacing" but didn't coat the glass as much as some I've had. Dark red around the edges when held up to the light. I've grown to really like the Short's artwork as well.

I'm not sure how to detect oatmeal in a stout, but this one smells like an oatmeal stout anyway. The molasses is detectable, as well as some coffee and the usual roasted malts and so forth. So far, so good. Smells very rich, a bit of alcohol heat in the nose too.

The taste is quite a bit better than I was expecting. For some reason I expected this to be weak because it's a Short's brew (I know they have a lot of high gravity and fantastic stuff, I don't know why I always think this but I do) but this is loaded with flavor. Lots of coffee, in fact I looked at the bottle again to see if they included it with the molasses and oatmeal in the description. Bitterness is low but still noticeable yet balanced with substantial sweetness. For an imperial stout it's pretty smooth. I almost said "mild" but these are still big flavors of roastedness, molasses, coffee, and something else that I can't put my finger on but still fits just right. Surprisingly, the alcohol heat from the nose is almost totally hidden in the actual taste. To be frank, this tastes VERY similar to Founders Breakfast Stout to me, minus the hints of chocolate and that undefinable "something extra" that FBS has, for me at least. And the coffee isn't as exotic or whatever but that's okay.

The mouth feel is just about right. I think it might actually benefit from a tiny bit more carbonation but I'm probably crazy. Other than that it's fairly heavy, not as syrupy as some but still very appropriate; maybe a little too sticky on the finish but that is probably the molasses talking.

It could be the fact that imperial stouts are so hard to find where I live is making me like each one that much more, but overall I think this is a very delicious beer that stands up quite well to the competition. I don't know what the price is since I got a few of them in a mix-a-six for $9 deal and there were no packs available, but if it's on par with the rest of Short's offerings at around $10 for a six, then this one is a steal.

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Photo of schepelz
4.01/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into snifter

A - Deep deep brown, almost a jet black. Aggressive pour that led to very minimal tan head. Not much in terms of lacing

S - Getting strong roasty malts. Faint hint of espresso/coffee. Getting a bit of boozy aroma as well

T - Very unique stout. Roasty, bitter, smokey, and also a charred flavor that others have mentioned. Lot of flavors meshing together in the most amazing way possible. Getting some creaminess which I'm assuming is from the oatmeal.

M - Minimal carbonation, medium bottom. Left with a dry bitterness

O - Very solid imperial stout that I was excited to try out of the winter 12 pack. Not what I expected, but definitely not disappointed by any means. Really enjoying the roasty / smokey / charred flavors that come through. Quite unique and very much enjoy

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schepelz from Michigan, Nov 25, 2013
Photo of SportsandJorts
4.03/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: dark brownish black. almost no head and leaves no lacing behind. opaque

Smell: strong chocolate and roasted malts. some espresso. low in strength though

Taste: chocolate up front. slightly sweet and lots of bitter. roasted malts. espresso. a hint of alcohol. pretty complex and very well balanced

Mouthfeel: nice and heavy. silky and smooth feel. strong lingering bitterness

Overall: a very good big strong stout. i hoped the oatmeal was a little more effective and i think the strong bitterness takes away from it. great strength and complexity. a wonderful beer for a cold snowy night.

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Photo of Mavigo
3.99/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Came in the Short's Limited Edition variety pack. Sounds good. Served in a tulip.

A: Pours a thick black-brown color, like motor oil, and it has a short mocha colored head that lasts a few minutes before it dissipates down to a thin mocha remnant with small patches of lacing.

S: Smells of barley, malts, yeast, chocolate, dark fruits, cherries, and booze

T: Quite boozy and bitter, strong aftertaste. Tastes of barley, malts, yeast, dark fruits, finishes with booze and hints of hops.

M: Medium amounts of carbonation, full bodied, strong flavors and strong after taste, fairly balances, very thick and rich.

O: Overall this was interesting, I was expecting something overly sweet and chocolatey but it was bold and interesting. Recommended by me.

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Mavigo from Michigan, Nov 04, 2013
Photo of joe1510
4.31/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25


Bottle #207/500
Bottled 4/20/06

I've been searching out this beer for quite awhile and was finaly able to get my hands on a bottle courtesy of faro, thanks a million Jeff!

Mystery Stout pours black as night and has the appearance of an oil slick in the snifter. The head rises ominously from the black body with faint swirlings at first that steadily grow to a one finger dark chocolate head. The head slowly falls to a skim coat with a healthy ring of foam around the glass that leaves patchy lacing here and there. The body of this beer is so black it sucks in the surrounding light like a black hole.

The aroma of this beer is absolutely huge and delicious. There's such a depth to the aroma I'm not entirely sure where to begin. Roasted malt gets things started and are quickly met with freshly brewed black coffee. This combination gives way to a huge dark berry aroma, it's so big and dense that I've never come across so much dark berry aroma in a stout before. There are handfuls of bursting ripe blackberry and black raspberry jumping out of the glass. Dark chocolate and cocoa powder brings up the rear. This barely scratches the surface of this incredibly unique, big, inviting aroma. If the nose tells me anything it's that this will be one special beer.

Wow! The nose wasn't lying. This stout is deep. The roasted maltiness abounds and lays a solid foundation for this beer to be built. The berries aren't quite as big as the nose suggested but they do play a big role in the flavor. Dark chocolate, molasses, coffee, dusty cocoa and vanilla among others flash here and there. This beer shows some port like qualities. Surprisingly the finish brings about a solid hop bitterness that combines with spicy alcohol to warm me up on the swallow. A coffee and roasted malt bitterness show up on the finish too adding even greater depth to an already never ending beer. Mystery Stout really is a work of brewing art.

The mouthfeel isn't as chewy as I expected but actually fits this beer perfectly. The body is on the thicker side with mellow carbonation but it's incredibly silky smooth. This beer works through at its own slow pace but leaving behind a bit of stickiness. The bitter characters mentioned in the flavor leave bitterness on the tongue and the alcohol warms me up on the swallow.

This is a big beer that demands your time and attention. It needs to be sipped and savored. That being said I would happily drink this beer all night long and often if I had the chance. Although it's a sipper I have no problem drinking as much of this as possible.

This is my favorite Short's beer to date. Mystery Stout is really a fantastic brew that's packed with flavor. I honestly can't get enough of this beer and wished I had a couple more bottles lying around. This is a gem of a beer and I'm glad I had the chance to give it a try. Thanks again Jeff!

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joe1510 from Illinois, Aug 18, 2013
Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.8/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep dark brown color, with a thin off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains roasted malts, chocolate, coffee and a touch of hops but it’s a bit metallic as well.

T: The taste starts with a very hearty roasted malt character that is quickly followed by flavors of milk chocolate, black coffee and oats. The hops presence is mild as it should be for this kind of beer but there’s enough to provide some balance. There is some dark fruit in the background. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Smooth and a little crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is dry and slightly sticky.

O: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, good kick, good representation of style, this is a solid 2IPA worth drinking for while.

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TheManiacalOne from Rhode Island, Dec 16, 2012
Photo of RblWthACoz
3.88/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The molasses on this really seems to overpower and overshadow everything else on this beer. It's thick and consistent on it's body and flavor, but the molasses really takes over things and unfortunately that's that. Interesting, yes. But the molasses ruins any chance the beer may have had to deliver any degree of subtle or otherwise character.

I still do appreciate this beer, but the nearly one-sided nature of it is nearly too much for me.

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RblWthACoz from Pennsylvania, Aug 31, 2012
Photo of Alieniloquium
3.65/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a Kate the Great snifter.

Appearance - Dark brown, not quite black. Good sized khaki head. Lacing and some wisps.

Smell - Well, there's a ton of molasses in here. I like it. Oatmeal is prominent too. Good thing the adjuncts work well with the aromas of the base stout, because they used a ton of it in here. Boozy.

Taste - Strong molasses flavor. Stronger than the oatmeal. Roasty malts give a bit of a coffee flavor in the end. Slightly bitter. As much of a chocolate bitter as hop. Strong lingering molasses finish.

Mouthfeel - On the boozy side. Not quite chewy, but medium-heavy. Thins out in the end leaving some booze and molasses.

Overall - Distinct phases to this beer. Oatmeal, molasses, coffee, and then molasses again. Interesting and tasty, but nothing I'd trade for again.

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Photo of woosterbill
3.72/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into a Duvel tulip. Big thanks to warnerry for including this as an extra!

A: Black body with dark brown highlights and a finger of coarse light-brown head. Ok.

S: Rich molasses, darkly roasted malt, baker's chocolate, bitter coffee, substantial booze. Really intense, quite good.

T: Smooth chocolate and molasses up front, followed quickly by raisiny dark fruit, more bitter chocolate, and gigantic alcohol presence. Long, bitter, boozy aftertaste. Both good and bad, with a bit more of the good.

M: Thick, sticky, creamy. Excellent.

O: I really enjoyed this one, and just wish that the alcohol had been a bit more restrained. The roasted flavors were so intense that I expected them to mask the booze, but it was just unmaskable. If I could get this easily I'd certainly pick up a couple to toss in the cellar for a couple years, but I don't think I'd seek out another fresh bottle.


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woosterbill from Kentucky, May 20, 2012
Photo of warnerry
4.05/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottles 2/9/11; consumed 4/11/12

A - Pours black with almost two fingers of brown head. Head is nice and pillowy and persists for awhile before fading to a collar. Some spotty lacing is left behind.

S - Cocoa, roasted malt, bittersweet chocolate and faint oats in the aroma. There is also some noticeable alcohol on the back end.

T - Bittersweet chocolate, roasted malts with a bit of char and cocoa. A bit of smoke, some dark fruits, and a touch of bitterness on the finish.

M - Velvety smooth mouthfeel with a dry, bitter finish.

O - Tasty imperial stout. Definitely leans more toward the roasted/charred/bitter end, with very little sweetness.

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warnerry from Michigan, Apr 12, 2012
Photo of HuskyinPDX
2.65/5  rDev -32.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12 oz bottle opened on 1-22-12.

A - Pours a dark brownt with a dark tan head. Good retention.

S - Chocolate, wheat, and oats.

T - Bitter chocolate, that's about it.

D - Low carbonation, and a light body.

O - Gross. What the hell? Is this a bad bottle, or a bad beer.

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HuskyinPDX from Washington, Mar 18, 2012
Photo of kawilliams81
3.8/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Alesmith Horny Devil snifter.

A- pours a thick dark brown. 2 finger dark tan head with some amoeba blotches of lacing.

S- roasted malts, chocolate, some bitterness. You can pick up some molasses.

T- semi-sweet chocolate, roasted malts, and some sour & bitterness from the molasses.

M- full body and medium carbonation. Has some bitter and dryness at the finish.

O- good imperial stout, but nothing different or special.

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kawilliams81 from Illinois, Mar 08, 2012
Photo of BirdsandHops
3.55/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours black with two fingers of dark tan head that fades into a thin layer with a little lacing.

S: Roasted malts with sweet, creamy cocoa aromas at first. The finish has notes of licorice and molasses.

T: Roasted malts again with notes of roasted coffee and semi-sweet chocolate. There is a sweetness in the middle with flavors of molasses and licorice. The finish is lightly bitter and charred.

M: Thick body with low carbonation, this beer is nice and creamy.

O: A pretty decent imperial stout. Nothing to go nuts for, exactly, but tasty and drinkable.

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Mystery Stout from Short's Brewing Company
Beer rating: 89 out of 100 with 376 ratings