Short's Mystery Stout | Short's Brewing Company

very good
206 Reviews
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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

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Reviews: 206 | Ratings: 374
Photo of Sammy
4.15/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Great stout. Pours very dark brown, some white head. Decent attractive aroma, some of the cocoa, mollasses. Very tasty bittersweet chocolate. Light coffee. Above average mouthfeel. Very tasty and drinkable, smooth.Surprisingly high a.b.v. as not felt at all.

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Photo of GRG1313
2.93/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours black with a short and quickly fading medium brown head.

Nose is a light synthetic black chocolate and light roasted grain/coffee character but not rich; a bit of a "thin" nose.

Mouthfeel is light and thin; no creamy character.

Flavors are big but more like burned grain/burned coffee strong with an underlying kick of sweetness. There is no real cocoa character and more "burned" molasses than desired.

Finish is very bitter espresso. There is a short and almost citrus character to almost every aspect of this beer.

Extreme type of flavors but not real pleasant.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.08/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to GrandCruDrew for sending me this one!

Pours an opaque black with dark khaki highlights on the edges of the glass and a very small 1/2 inch dark khaki head that fades to a film on the top of the beer. Small rivulets of lace stick on the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malts, toasted oats, cocoa powder, and molasses. However, the smells are somewhat underwhelming. Taste is much better than the smell with roasted malts/oats, dark cocoa powder, vanilla extract, and molasses. Good mouthfeel with low carbonation but a smooth and creamy feel. Overall, this is a good stout that I am very happy I got to try after reading about it. One of the best of the Short's beers I have had.

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Photo of metter98
3.97/5  rDev +1.3%
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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Photo of biboergosum
4.08/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, labeled "Mystery Oatmeal Stout". Thanks to Roke87 for the hookup.

This beer pours a solid black, with slight cola edges, and one fat finger of tight foamy, creamy tan head, which exhibits stellar retention, eventually giving up some approaching storm cloud lace around the glass as it settles. It smells of lightly roasted malt, powdered beverage chocolate, bitter coffee, and a separate earthy sweetness. The taste is sweet toffee malt, strong bittersweet chocolate, mild day-old coffee, some earthy, floral honey, and mild sticky molasses. Not a whiff of booze, nor even a warming - wow. The carbonation is quite sedate, almost drowsy, the body medium-full in weight, deadly smooth, and somewhat creamy. It finishes still sweet and chocolaty, a subtle dryness that's more bitter leafy hop than alcohol keeping things in check.

One smooth-talkin', Barry White analogue of a big stout. The molasses and chocolate sure provide more bang for the buck than the oatmeal apparently does, but so what - it all goes down insanely easy for the purported strength, and in a nice dessert-like, coma-inducing manner.

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Photo of brentk56
4.23/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottle# 270 of 500; Bottled 4/20/06
Updated in 2015 with a bottle from the 2013 bottling

Appearance: Closer to dark brown than black, with a mocha head that foams and fizzles to a film; leaves a curtain of lace

Smell: Dark chocolate with molasses and a hint of coffee

Taste: After a burst of dark chocolate, hints of molasses and char appear, along with a hoppy bitterness; after the swallow, the chocolate and roast regain strength, with the coffee making an appearance at the very end

Mouthfeel: Full bodied and creamy, with moderate carbonation; some warmth from the ABV

Drinkability: Another interesting beer from Short's; while the molasses dominated the 2006 bottling, the 2013 version is much more balanced and ups my score from 3.78 to 4.23

Thanks, hoppymeal, for the opportunity and, FlandersNed, for the chance to re-visit

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4/5  rDev +2%

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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Photo of emerge077
3.93/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Big ups to MasterSki for pulling out this from notes.

Black body with a near ruby glint at the meniscus of the glass. Dry coffee and tobacco nose, sort of faint, reminded me of an Irish Dry Stout. Tobacco leaf, dry ashy bittersweet chocolate, traces of espresso. Thin bodied, with a firm bitterness. Fairly simple with nice roasty chocolate flavors. Nowhere near 12.5%, and therein lies the mystery. Paired nicely with Chris' donated chocolate...

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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.

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Photo of mothman
4.12/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into darkness snifter. Thanks to eyebrews for this one!

Pours 1/2 finger of tan head that fades to a thick ring. Leaves some splattered lace. Color is a midnight black.

Aroma: Lots of oats up front, chocolate/heavy cocoa, coffee, molasses. A very big, roasted stout. Grassy hops in the background.

Taste: Definitely is a huge oatmeal stout. Roasted malts, oats, heavy molasses. Deep cocoa and rich coffee notes. Grassy hops again balance it out a bit. Very much like the aroma.

Mouthfeel: Roasted, smooth, and rich. Full bodied with a decent amount of carbonation. Ends roasted and dry.

Overall, this is an awesome oatmeal stout. It is massive and packs a lot of flavor. A definite sipper, but a good one. I dig this one. Another winner from shorts. Glad to see this one wasn't the ones that went bad.

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Photo of superspak
4.22/5  rDev +7.7%
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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Photo of jlindros
4.22/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a darker colored thick head that fades at a medium pace with lots of little bubbles and a bit of lacing, over midnight black colored beer.

Nose adds lots of dark malts, some roasted malts, black patent, some oats, bit of dark chocolate and cocoa nibs, creamy chocolate milk and lactose like, some light bitter earthy malts, light coffee and caramel.

Taste starts with a bit of a smoked malt, some light smoked malt flavors dominate the initial flavor, then some other dark malts, bit of roast, black patent, and a hint of chocolate malt, some cocoa nib flavors, light chocolate milk, flaked oats, a bit sweet, there's also an interesting slight fig like fruit flavor, light coffee, later comes plenty of caramel and molasses. As it finishes it dries a bit, and as the liquid evaporates a huge dark chocolate flavor appears and just blankets my mouth, like I was just chewying on dark chocolate, and plenty of oatmeal as well late, just the faintest hint of booze which is hidden well, and some light earthy hops come out from hiding really late.

Mouth is a bit heavier bodied, slightly creamy, decent carbonation, and just the faintest hint of booze.

Overall I'm impressed. By far the best short's I've reviewed so far (I tried a few crazy beers but didn't review them at festivals that were really good), lots of great flavors and aromas, booze is hidden well, nothing over the top, nothing lacking too much aside from maybe a bit more hops, but tasty and I bet it will age well.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.8/5  rDev -3.1%
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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Photo of mikesgroove
3.88/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

One of the last of the new Shorts I needed to try, I cracked this one open with dinner last night. Served in a pint glass and consumed on 02/11/2010.

The pour was dark as night with a small cap of tan that appeared right on the top, settling down slowly it leaves a touch of side lacing and a nice bit of foam around the edges. Ten minutes in the top is bare though and only some light lacing on the sides remains. Aroma is sweet, licorice and brown sugar, hints of chocolate coming together nicely, but missing that little bit of push to really throw it over the top for me. Smooth, creamy and full bodied it started to grow on me as the session wore on. Bitter, dark German chocolate, coffee, hints of something else, fruit, maybe but probably not. Hard to place but there is something else there providing another flavor of some sort that is hard to discern. Dry finish with a light alcohol warmth to it and last tastes of cookie dough and coffee.

Overall interesting, not my favorite of the lot but interesting for sure. Wish I could figure out what the other taste was though, it just has me terribly perplexed at the moment.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.91/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Once again I must thank calsbeek for hooking it up with a few bottles of this one. Thanks Ryan!

A: A very nice looking pour on this beer. Black and viscous with a decent sized tan head.

S: There is a lot of roast going on here, but a slight sweetness/sugar character from the molasses provides a bit of contrast.

T: Again, a lot of roasted malt with some nice molasses flavor. The oatmeal provides a smooth, cookie-like taste, and there is a bit of alcohol as well.

M: The body is full and the carbonation is low to moderate.

D: Again, an interesting beer from Shorts. I found this one to be a bit too boozy, but not surprising at such a high ABV. The flavors are fairly nice, though, just note quite as mellow as I might have hoped for.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.65/5  rDev -6.9%
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 RblWthACoz
3.88/5  rDev -1%
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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Photo of MasterSki
4.18/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Busted this out for a Sunday afternoon tasting with a bunch of the Chicago BAs. Served in a mini-pint glass. Big thanks to rclnmeyer for hauling this down from Bellaire.

A - One finger of light than foam that dissipates quickly with minimal lacing. Dark, dark, dark brown with a hint of lighter brown at the fringes - one step away from black.

S - Quite the surprise - smells kind of like an Irish dry stout! Baker's chocolate, a touch of smokiness, burnt malt, and some dark fruits way in the background. Not one hint of booze.

T- Roasted malts, a hint of coffee, dark fruits, a touch of molasses, and a mild bitter aftertaste. Not the most complex stout, but still quite nice.

M - Surprisingly thin, more porter-like in texture than imperial stout (see below). Nice carbonation with a lot of tingle on the upper lip and top palate. Solid residual stickiness.

D - If this was really 12.5% it'd be the greatest beer of all-time. Even still, it's incredibly drinkable - the guys and I polished off the growler in no time, even though we had major problems with the Sheol earlier that was only 1% stronger. Nice moderate carbonation, mild aftertaste, and incredibly well-hidden alcohol (no matter what the ABV really is).

The guys and I did a double-take when we saw the listed ABV of 12.5% - apparently this is a new version that is closer to 7.2% and features a significant receipt tweak. I'm not even sure this can be considered the same beer as the bottled version, which I unfortunately never got a chance to try.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.97/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured in to my Duvel tulip.

A - Poured a very dark brown with half a finger of coffee coloured head that didn't stick around very long. Completely opaque.

S - The nose is sweet roasted malts. A strong chocolate nose up front; sugary sweetness and dark roasted coffee in the background. The molasses really comes through with long breaths. An excellent complex nose.

T - Dark roasted coffee and chocolate with a sweet molasses taste on the finish. A slight licorice taste in the background. The alcohol is apparent but not overly so (for almost 11% ABV).

M - Light to medium body. Somewhat lighter than I normally like from a stout, especially an imperial stout. A very slight amount of chew.

D - This one is a bit "hot" ... the alcohol is definitely apparent, but doesn't dominate. A solid IS.

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Photo of liamt07
4.1/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by Steve, 12ozer into some snifters. Thanks dude.

Poured a deep dark brown, a shade or two off black. Some brown-sugar coloured head, with moderate retention and decent lace. Nose has some roasted malts, milk chocolate, with some caramel and molasses notes going on. Milder hint of vanilla and other general sweet notes. Taste has more milk chocolate, roastiness with some caramel and molasses sweetness. Good thick body brought upon by the oats. Lingering roastiness on the palate, and the sweeter notes prevail along side (vanilla-like). No sense of the alcohol, and I was shocked when I found out this was >10%. Quite drinkable and easily revisitable, a nice offering all around.

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Photo of Mora2000
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to TasteTester for sending this beer to me.

Pours dark brown to black with a beige head. The aroma is dark chocolate and roasted malts. The flavor is chocolate, roasted and burnt malts, coffee and some nice bitterness - although I am not sure if it is from hops or from the bitter chocolate. Very creamy mouthfeel and low to medium carbonation.

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Photo of BARFLYB
3.48/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

09 bottle into a glass.

Shorts Mystery stout pours almost burnt oil in wad and is a dark ass stout, black if you want to get specific, the cap on top is creamy and dark tan looking, spots.

Smell is straight forward stout with roasted malt up front on top of semi choco/cocco, with remains of a oatbath. A bit of roast but no apparent coffee.

Taste goes down rich and creamy like, with traces of lactose with a lot of roasted malt, piled on slight espresso with vanilla and molasses. The mystery to me is the aftertaste.

Like said smooth up front with a rocky middle, the feel is smooth and creamy, yet after it's down the hatch I get heat, just a slight warm fuzzy heat, it reminds me of Canaynne pepper or maybe traces of chili pepper. Either way it's one of those, if there is indeed a mystery.

A good beer to go to, I could not taste the alcohol, but indeed this is a 10%er, The aftertaste killed it for me though. Chill on those additives.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this one a while back from Kbeals.... Thanks a bunch Kevin. I decided to pull this one out because I was worried that it may be infected, but I am happy to report, no sour notes are found.

Dark tan 1" head... sorta dies quickly... only hints of lacing... the brew is black.

nose is very nice... good chocolate whaffs combine with the dark malts... if it was sweeter, I would think iced mocha.

Flavor has more in the way of roasty malts that speak of coffee... some nice fruity esters are pretty lite mid palate that remind me of plum... a bit of char toward the finish... and a touch of metal shows, but isn't too distracting... plenty roasty and chocolaty across the board.. pretty nice right now, I doubt age is really going to help. Body is a tad light for this big of a stout, but the mouthfeel is smooth and a lighter than expected carbonation adds to the overall presence.

Thanks again to my main Short's connection... Kevin we should do it again sometime!!


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Photo of rudzud
3.56/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Purchased after seeing a nice inexpensive imperial stout at Julios. Quite tasty.

A - Poured into a Duvel tulip a nice deep brown pour with a slightly dense one finger mocha head that slowly fades to leave a light cloud and average side lacing.

S - Some nice burn carmel malts and nice chocolate notes. The ABV definately present on the nose.

T - Much like the nose there are some nice sweet burnt dark malt flavours upfront with againthe ABV being quite present. There are some nice chocolate notes, not getting much in the way of coffee.

M - A bit too carbonated for me. Not really creamy instead its almost crisp. Just not a fan.

O - Even with its flaws, this is still a good imperial stout. Still, not my favorite but might be good for someone new to the style. For the price though its a solid buy.

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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.

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Short's Mystery Stout from Short's Brewing Company
3.92 out of 5 based on 374 ratings.
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