Short's Mystery Stout | Short's Brewing Company

very good
206 Reviews
Read the review
Short's Mystery StoutShort's Mystery Stout

Brewed by:
Short's Brewing Company
Michigan, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.40%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
*12 oz. bottles released in 2009 are 10.8% abv. The original 750 ml bottles from first batch were 12.5% abv.

This beer demands respect and respect it will have. Imperial Oatmeal Stout with cocoa and molasses. It is very strong and possesses rare flavor combinations which can overload even the most experienced beer connoisseur.  Capture every bit of its warmth and wisdom, as it will demand all of your attention.
12.5% ABV

Added by mcallister on 05-24-2006

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 206 | Ratings: 374
Photo of weeare138
4.59/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Much thanks to zrrbrrt for sharing this outstanding gem (#160/500)...
Appears a dark brown bordering black with a 3 finger tan head that slowly fades into a small film and collar. Spotty lacing is left all around the glass.
Smell is of maple, cocoa, caramel, oats, vanilla, plenty of sugar, and dark grapes.
Taste is of the mentioned aromas toned down slightly with roastiness standing out. There is also a light oakiness found in the flavors as well.
Mouthfeel is roasty, full bodied, with caramel and brown sugar running along the palate.
Drinkability is nice, and ripe. I bet it'll get even better with age.

 615 characters

Photo of maximum12
4.59/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Hand-carried by the cheerful malty all the way from Michigan to our rain-soaked rendezvous in a Madison parking lot. Thank you sir, & for the pour of BA Plead the 5th on Saturday, too!

Pours flat, still black, like my favorite lake at midnight, with only vague swirls of lighter beings on top. Stick your nose in this - holy crap. A total mind-bend. I can't even process this properly so I wander upstairs for a few moments. Nope, still doesn't compute. For something this dark, the smell is chock-full of sweets. I love my local, hand-tapped maple syrup, & this is a fine imitation. My mouth begins to water in anticipation. Frickin' fantastic; both unexpected & completely delicious.

Short's Mystery Stout is brimming with warring flavors of cocoa & fresh-boiled syrup, both noted on the label & both clearly evident (which isn't always so). Roasted malts pump the brakes on the sweetness & add a welcome counterargument, plus a side plate of acrid bitterness. The alcohol is nowhere to be seen, but this is silk-boxer smooth in the mouth. Drinkable? Hardly, except that it's so bloody good that I'm going to be downing this like a wit after an hour of mowing the lawn.

Wow. Nothing like a pleasant surprise. An excellent beer, a unique beer, & one that I'm very sad that I only have one single of. Happy to have met you, Mystery Stout, & I hope you stay longer next time.

 1,379 characters

Photo of elNopalero
4.57/5  rDev +16.6%
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?

 405 characters

Photo of mentor
4.52/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle purchased from the brewery by my mother (who lives near the brewery) and hand-carried out here to Colorado (back when you could carry bottles of liquid on airpalnes). Stored in my cool dark basement until consumption about 6-8 months later. Thanks mom!

Pours a solid finger of light-chocolate head over a pitch black liquid. Smells quite hoppy, roasty, and sweet. Hops are clearly american; pine with some citrus sweet and quite dry grassy of co-humulone. Cluster or Columbus hops, perhaps? Malt sweet is below the hops and has a dark tang. Alcohol sting is present, but arrives late and high in the sinuses. Clean and and clearing, like a winterfresh mentholiptus. Also a metalic character that I can only describe as smelling like a new bicycle chain. I know that may sound bad, but it's not unpleasant. It's a smell I know but can't place. It's some 'lighter' spice carried on alcohol.

Tastes wicked strong in flavor with noticable alcohol sting that is fairly clean of fusels. Sweet chocolate with drying dark malts at equal play. Both aspects very strong. Licorice is clear and dark fruity esters of plum and fig are mild...well, mild in relation to the other flavors...they would be strong in any other beer. Woody golding hop characteristics accompanied by just a touch of orange.

Oh man, the aftertaste is *killer*! Two aspects of chocolate...the first is a really delicious rich sweet Godiva chocolate-filling. The second is a really dry cocoa with a splash of coffee. Paired with a rounded hop floral and some grassy co-ho. Malt sweet just peaking through the surface. Mouthfeel is thick aand creamy. This is good, because it serves to hold the sweet around to fight the woody and roast dryness as well as the late alcohol that rises into the sinuses. Alcohol carries with it a bit of vanilla with oak edgings.

Carbonation is modest, despite the large head (I was worried it would be overcarbonated). Boy, this beer needs about 3-5 years more in the cellar. I'd guess it could easily stand a decade. I'm glad I tried this, but am kicking myself because I have just one bottle left. Also, one glass and my head is a bit light. 12.5% ABV...I wonder if it might be more. I hate to say this, but the bottom portion of my glass is a bit tough to handle. My tastebuds are absolutely fried. The only beer I've had that compares in flavor intensity is World Wide Stout by Dog Fishhead. Different flavor combinations, but both very intense.

Sorry for writing a novel on this review, but dang, there was so much to describe (and likely much that my description missed).

 2,591 characters

Photo of HellsBELLS24
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Unbelievable Imperial.

It has a beautiful motor oil color with a very dark brown head. Has the sewwt smell of molasses along with hints of chocolate. Takes a while to drink but is one of the better imperials. I had split a 750 with a friend and it was impressive. Great job Mr. Short. The high ABV helps because after one serving you are feeliong quite well!!

 362 characters

Photo of BBP
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- It seems that none of the beers that I have from Short's are going to have full heads, or even little heads for that matter, so it's good for their sake that appearance counts for less of the new ratings. Maybe they just can't present themselves nicely in a snifter like most other beers.

I barely got any head at all, even from a rough pour after swishing the bottle around a bit. It soon receeded to less than a film, although there were little bits of brown coming up from the deep black body. There was also a slight amount of lacing.

S- There's a gigantic amount of oatmeal and molasses to the nose. Large amounts of cocoa as well. It's truly enticing. It's like they took the aromas from several of my favorite stouts and mixed them.

T- Sweet from the oatmeal is balanced by the cocoa's bitterness, with a ton of molasses as the foundation. It's matching the description on the bottle pretty perfectly. While I know this stout ends up on the bitter side, it still feels pretty balanced. The cocoa adds up though, and adds a lot of sharpness. It takes up the greater part of the aftertaste as well.

M- It feels pretty heavy, but isn't the fullest stout by any means. It has a nice creamy feel which I'm coming to expect from most of Short's Brewing beers. They really tend to do well at making a beer that feels nice.

D- For a 10.8% beer, it's pretty damn drinkable. There's only a little bit of heat as it goes down. No heat can really be tasted; only felt.

It's a very nice interpretation of the style, albeit simple. Cocoa, oatmeal, and molasses, and then some more cocoa sums it up.
I'm really enjoying it, but can't say much for it's complexity. But for what it's worth, they did what they were trying to quite well.

It's a beer that I find myself appreciating more a when I don't analyze it. A great value as well.

 1,841 characters

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

A: Pretty much pitch black with a big, dense mocha colored head. Head retains very well, takes forever to settle. Lacing tattoos the glass everywhere.

S: Strong bitter roast (almost to the point of being coffee-like) complimented by lots of bitter chocolate. There is a nice sweet molasses smell and the oatmeal is just a subtle hint. Delicious.

T: Whoa. A lot of flavors at once. Up front it is bitter roast and oatmeal, then the chocolate and sweet molasses kicks in to subdue it. Very roasty, chocolately and sweet. The oatmeal gives it a creamy smoothness. This is really big and really tasty! As it warms, the bitter roast/coffee flavors linger nicely in the aftertaste.

M: Pretty thick with lots of creamy goodness. Smooth as silk.

O: This one really surprised me. Somewhat lackluster reviews but the beer blew me away. The bottle is about a year old, maybe a little age is required? The review below this one mentions brownies and kahlua - it's not far off. This is a decadent dessert beer. I was close to giving some 5s, that's how good it was.

 1,058 characters

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

This was in my box from FrankenBrew in the RIS BIF. Thanks a lot!

Poured into a snifter.

A- Not much head, not much color. Just black. Very deep and inviting.

S- Huge on the coffee. The oatmeal is very apparent. The nose is sweet, creamy, chocolatey and coffee-y. It has that characteristic "breakfast" stout nose.

T- Lots more coffee, creamy chocolate, milkiness and roast.

M- Smooth, low carbonation, full and milky.

A great beer from Short's

 450 characters

Photo of ElGrecoVerde
4.49/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Dark brown with a somewhat thin light tan head.

Strong notes of roasted coffee and dark chocolate. Hints of hops as well.

As expected, loaded with roasted flavors. Coffee, burnt toast, very dark, dry chocolate. Undertones of molasses. Solid amounts of hops with bitter grapefruit flavors. Alcohols are smoothly blended in and well masked. Warms well.

Full and creamy. Perfectly matched the style.

A very underrated brew in my opinion. I wasn't expecting much and was very impressed.

 512 characters

Photo of RomaniIteDomum
4.47/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from one of the 12oz bottles.

Pours black with a chocolate mousse head that sticks around for quite some time. This beer looks like a dessert.

Smells as advertised of oatmeal, molasses, and chocolate. I also pick op some maple, peanut, and espresso notes. I love the complexity and how everything fits in well together.

Sweet with chocolate and toasted oats in the front. Syrup and more chocolate give way to espresso and some mousse. There is a hint of lingering peanuts.

The feel is rich and velvety. Great body.

Overall, this was a real treat. This is an awesome desert beer and it seems that I like it mroe than most other reviewers.

 649 characters

Photo of LadyOfMuchBeer
4.47/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle served in pint glass.

A-less than 1/4 inch head, fades fast to barely any lacing. not much visible carbonation. Pours a shade away from black, no light to be seen, sticky, but not too think.

S-sweet molasses, oatmeal, chocolate and coffee, slight booze on the nose.

T-bitter chocolate hits hard on the front, malty in the middle, oatmeal is nicely present. mild hops finish with a sweet molasses touch.

F-not as sticky as I expected. a clean, slightly bitter feel.

Overall I like this...a lot.

 512 characters

Photo of hopdog
4.45/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared courtesy of Zrrbrrt. Bottle #168 / 700 and bottled on 4-20-06.

Poured a dark black color with an averaged sized light brown head. Very nice looking.

Wow, what an aroma! I could smell this one all night and every night. Cocoa, dark & milk chocolates, molasses, dark fruits, oak, wood, vanilla, and oatmeal. I too would have put lots of money that this was Barrel Aged.

Tastes of cocoa, dark chocolate, wood, molasses, roasted malts, and dark fruits.

I would have never guessed this was 12.5%. I really got to find a way to get some more of this one!

 578 characters

Photo of MarkIntihar
4.43/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the 12 oz. bottle into my Bell's snifter.

A - Pours very dark brown with a finger plus of deep tan head. Needs a fairly vigorous pour to get the desired effect but it gets there. Very good retention at the top of the glass as well.

S - Smell is not as potent as the first time I had this. Still picking up some coffee, dark chocolate, creaminess. Perhaps the faintest hint of molasses as well.

T - Oh WOW. The taste of this beer absolutely blows the nose out of the water, which has caused me to dock the smell a half point. Biter dark chocolate followed by slightly burnt coffee and molasses, just a hint of a creamy finish, but not enough to spoil the heavy taste. This beer is right up there with Terrapin WnB as the best oatmeal stout I've had (both imperial, obviously). The cocoa in the beer is perfectly done, not so much to overwhelm the other tastes, but enough to be the most present flavor and give it an excellent chocolatey profile.

M - Goes down very smooth, probably due to the creaminess discussed earlier. Hides the 10.8% extremely well, with little to no burn on the way down.

O - Overall a great effort by Short's. As mentioned earlier, this is right up there with the Wake 'n' Bake as far as Impy Oatmeal Stouts are concerned. Just an excellent beer!

 1,287 characters

Photo of DannyDan
4.43/5  rDev +13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A. Pours a brownish-black mahogany like color with some retention and some lacing.
S. the smell has some chocolate,molasses,and a touch of coffee.
T. First like I taste is roasted cocoa, followed by molasses, some coffee, alcohol, and finishes off with some bitter hops. The sweet oats and molasses balances the bitter chocolate and hops very well. This is very pleasing on the taste buds.
M. Very smooth and creamy with a nice medium to full body feel. D. The nice smoothness and great taste makes this a very drinkable beer and so far it is the best beer that I have tasted from Short's.

 589 characters

Photo of grub
4.42/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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

64oz growler. sampled dec 5/09.

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

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

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

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

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

 1,170 characters

Photo of Gushue3
4.42/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- pours dark black and has medium chocolate head with no lacing

S- roasty coffee up front with a chocolate note in the middle

T- much like the smell. coffee and lite chocolate with an subtle oatmeal sweetness. im getting much more coffee than oatmeal in this oatmeal stout. tiny bitterness lingers very well rounded

M- smooth and moderately heavy on the tongue. feels real good.

D- very drinkable. alcohol is hidden well, taste is excellent, and feels great goin down. i wish i got more when shorts was in ma.

 514 characters

Photo of DrJay
4.42/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Quite dark, not much in the way of edges. A hard pour produced a smattering of light beige bubbles. Short-lived, spotty lace. Now that's a roasty aroma! Nutty and coffee bean notes along with brown sugar, toffee, milk chocolate, dry cocoa, bit of lactose, slightly toasty. There's a strong bitterness present, but rich sweetness prevails. Lots of caramel and toffee, chocolate, and roast. A bit fruity towards the end, chocolate covered raisins and faint citrus. Slight alcohol in the finish, along with lingering bitterness. Creamy texture, some alcohol warmth, full bodied, low carbonation, light astringency from the dark grains but not enough to dry out the palate. Very smooth. A very good beer with nicely integrated flavours. Everything seems to work very well together and the alcohol is well hidden if this thing is really 12.5%.

 838 characters

Photo of kegger22
4.4/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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

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

 470 characters

Photo of Thorpe429
4.37/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes.

Pours a very dark brown; almost a cocoa color. Thin light mocha head that sticks around for some time. The nose is really nice with notes of cocoa, vanilla, molasses, brown sugar, and some slight roast. The taste is really strong with the cocoa and molasses and light vanilla notes in the end. A bit boozy, but it works well with the strong dessert flavors. Really nice overall, though it's a bit much to really pound down.

 445 characters

Photo of Viggo
4.37/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

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

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

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

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

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

 853 characters

Photo of GbVDave
4.35/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into two small snifters. Special thanks to HeatherAnn for the assist. Extra special thanks to Randalld for this from our recent trade!

A: Pours cola black with some (surprising) lighter brown at the edges. Thin dark brown head quickly melts down to a thin ring that doesn't leave much lace.

S: Awesome aromas of DARK chocolate, brown sugar, heavily roasted malt, and french press coffee.

T: I was surprised by the strong, freshly roasted coffee bean flavor in this. I had to read the label to see if there was any coffee listed on the label, but there was none listed. Excellent bitter dark chocolate and dry, roasty malt.

M: Thick but not syrupy. Slightly sweet with a huge dry & malty backbone. Finishes sweet, bitter, dry, and savory. Hint of alcohol spice.

D: A fantastic stout! Heather and I are starting off the evening with this...maybe we should've done this as a closer? Who cares!

 922 characters

Photo of
4.35/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Short's Mystery Stout poured into over sized snifter. Hard pour produces half inch head. Mystery Stout is slightly less dark than a typical Impy Stout. Great light brown lacing on this as I sip away. The smell of this beer is the essence of a big stout, chocolate, roastyness and a bit of a hop backbone. The thing about this beer is the sweetness really lends itself to being super drinkable, probably due to the beer being an oatmeal stout. The 10.8 % abv is hidden very well. Some Impy Stouts tend to be very hot and boozy but this one feels light and silky. Congrats to Shorts for brewing such a fine beer and giving me a reason to figure out what the mystery is about. Dare I say this is a better double oatmeal stout than Breakfast Stout?

 744 characters

Photo of TheBlackMallard
4.33/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed while watching a bootleg copy of Role Models.

Pours still and black, some bubbles rise to the top and form a small mocha ring. Leaves plenty of lacing while the beer itself seems to coat my snifter.

Smells of Chocolate, Plums, Coffee, Roasted Barley, Molasses and Brown Sugar.

Strong coffee notes, Chocolate, Raisins, and Awesomeness.

Thick and creamy with medium low carbonation. Dangerously drinkable for the ABV.

 429 characters

Photo of FrognutUnl
4.32/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Deep cola brown in color with a scant tan head. When I had it at the brew pub it was a bit more carbonated than this growler I have now, but it is almost a month old in the growler. The aroma hasn't changed a bit, big cocoa and roasted oats with hints of coffee, absolutely wonderful. The taste is the same as the nose. Not a whole lot of complexity, but still a damn tasty brew. Mouthfeel is a little thin due to the lack of carbonation, but again the growler has been in my fridge for quite awhile. Carbonation issue aside, this rates very high on the drinkability scale.

 573 characters

Photo of Roke87
4.32/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a snifter at cellar temperature

Appearance- Pours a dark black colour with no light penetrating this one except maybe some light edging, with a nice one finger of fluffy brownish white head that quickly resides to a nice think ring leaving lots of lacing throughout till finish.

Smell- Lots of roasted malt, a hint of chocolate and a bit of sweet smell from the molasses and cocoa, I also get a nutty smell similar to roasted peanuts.

Taste- You can really taste the oatmeal right away and roasted malts are also very heavy on the forefront, some chocolaty cocoa flavours come through and finishes with another kick of the roasted malts and molasses.

Mouthfeel- Medium-Full bodied stout with a perfect amount of carbonation that keeps a constant sexy brown ring around the glass till finish. Very easy to drink for the ABV with lots of roasted malt flavours and oatmeal throughout.

Overall- A great stout and a very solid offering from Short’s one of their better brews for sure, very flavourful for the higher ABV although I would like to see a little more of a chocolate taste in this one, the roasted malts and oatmeal really take over from start to finish. But none the less definitely a great stout that I would definitely pick up again.

 1,275 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Short's Mystery Stout from Short's Brewing Company
3.92 out of 5 based on 374 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.