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 techfed87
3.85/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Bought as part of a six pack.

Pours a thick black, with a good head. Smells of a very dark, deeply cured malt. Head dissipates quickly.

Taste matches the color of the brew, very dark, bitter, yet at the same time smooth and inviting.

A bit bitter in terms of what stouts can be, the beer doesn't develop much as it warms. And with it appearing to be around 12% in ABV, this may point to the fact that the alcohol content may be covering up some of the finer points of the beer.

A great beer, be it a very blunt one.

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Photo of BMoney575
2.85/5  rDev -27.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Sampled on 12-28-09

Pours completely black, with a bit of red/brown around the top edge. A tan head settles quickly, leaving a slowly moving ring af tan lacing.

Smell is very malty, strong notes of chocolate and vanilla, a little anise, a little smoke, and a slight booziness. Very good.

Taste is super sweet malt, a slight fruitiness, and big-time alcohol. Way too sweet, way too boozy, and way too fresh.

Mouthfeel is a little on the thin side, with lower carbonation.

Drinkability is poor, the sharp flavor and lacking mouthfeel are a terrible combo.

Overall, I'm very happy that I have 2 more to keep in the cellar. Maybe another review in a year.

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Photo of rudylaw
4.15/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Another Short's want knocked out by eyebrews! 12oz bottle; snifter.

Pours blackest night with a very thin head.

Smell is boozy hot with oats, brown sugar, molasses and chocolate.

Taste is a sweeter, more intense, version of the smell. I get a hot chocolate/cocoa powder residue flavor. Toss in a bit of raisin and this is a pretty complex stout. I quite like this in spite of the high ABV. I think I will sit on my other bottles for a long while as this can only get better and more exceptional!

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Photo of Sean9689
3.97/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle into my Darkness snifter/tulip.

A - Pours black with a tan-colored head which disipiates into a very thin ring around the edge of the glass. Otherwise, it's pretty much all black in my glass.

S - Chocolate, molasses, coffee beans. It's kind of like a sweet breakfast drink with a good amount of alcohol. Although there's 12.5% in this one, it's hidden pretty darn well.

T - Similar to the nose, lots of chocolate. Not really much alcohol here, and for 12.5%, it's pretty darn impressive. A nice bitter finish.

M - Medium to full, good creamy carbonation, dry finish.

D - For 12.5%, I'm stunned. A very nice stout by Short's.

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Photo of waltonc
3.8/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Another enjoyable Michigan brew while visiting family over the holidays. Pours opaque dark bron with a tan head. Smells and tastes predominantly of molasses. It's a littl too much for my taste, but I bet this beer would be a great barbecue sauce ingredient. There's also a considerable amount of chocolate and coffee in here. Very boozy, and coupled with all that molasses, not the most drinkable of beverages. Thick body with medium carbonation.

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Photo of WeisGuy
3.87/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

a - pours deep brown a shade lighter than black, small mocha head with little retention around the edges and little lacing

s - big molasses and burnt malt aroma, a little caramel and alcohol

t - lots of sweet molasses and bitter chocolate, some dark fruit plum predominately, big alcohol presence on the finish along with a lingering molasses and cocoa flavor

m - full-bodied, low to moderate carbonation, well-balanced finish

d - not overly drinkable, definitely a sipper, one 12oz bottle is enough, flavor is not overly interesting and/or complex either

A little disappointed in this after being blown away by the Cup A Joe, but not a bad beer by any means. This may need a little more time in the bottle for the flavors to develop a bit more.

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Photo of webmanspidey
4.15/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a chalice. This is pitch black and opaque with very little head.

The smell is very powerful and intensely sweet. Dark chocolate and cocoa, raisins, molasses, and brown sugar are present. Alcohol makes its presence known.

Taste is extremely sweet: cocoa, molasses, and oatmeal are all very prominent. Alcohol is noticeable and provides a slight burn, but is mixed in well enough to not be a drag. This is delicious but a slow sipper.

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Photo of Donerik
3.97/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

A: Dark, Black, Wonderful, not much of a head on this one but it was great looking regardless. very gentle pour though.

S: Roasty, Chocolaty, par for the course on these types of beers.

T: Bitter chocolate was the predominant flavor, like biting into one of those 90% coco bars.

M: This was my favorite part of the beer, no bite, just milky beery goodness.

D: I couldn't have back to backed these, it was a good sipper but about half way through my 12 once serving I was done.

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Photo of gordavidson
3.82/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- A very deep, dark murky brown that is almost black. The brown head is quick to rise and fall to almost nothing. Looks a bit limp for the style and ABV.

S- Dark fruit, chocolate, molasses, and a waft of alcohol.

T- Tastes like a big stout... everything noted in the aroma makes its presence known. Pretty big, but seems to lack anything to make it a stand-out.

M- Smooth and oily with a hot finish.

D- A really big stout. A bit hot now, but it is hard for me to gauge how will this will age. I am going to give it a shot to see if it improves.

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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.

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Photo of kzoobrew
4.05/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The brew settles in to the snifter opaque and black. When held to the light ruby highlights break through only the thinnest edges. Head is short in stature and color is that of malted milk. Retention is not the strong point here though moderate lacing was left behind.

There are many aromas which stand out to the nose though most are easy to distinguish. Chocolate, char and molasses seem to be battling for prominence. Roasted malt and coffee are second tier smells. Subtle caramel aroma and whiffs of booziness pop through from time to time.

Nothing from the nose warned of such a big impending flavor. Tastse starts with a surprisingly strong blend of coffee, dark chocolate and booze. The booziness is quite prominent but not overwhelming. Molasses presence is very evident. Very sweet flavor all the way around. Slight earthiness and bitterness lingering on the back of the palate after every sip.

Full bodied brew, texture is rich and creamy. Carbonation is appropriate and seems to find a muddle ground between extremes for the style.

This one is a big guy, not on to mess around with. Very bold and boozy yet thoroughly enjoyable. I could savor one as a nurse it through out the night though one is probably enough. For the style, drinkability is better than average.

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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!

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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!

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Photo of FtownThrowDown
4.12/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Growler courtesy of Northernbrews. Thanks a ton Jeff!

Pours a very dark brown in color. Whatever little head there is on the pour is quickly gone. Just a ring of off white carbonation around the perimeter of the beer.
Smell is huge chocolate malts, some bitter cocoa and just a hint of alcohol.
Taste is more of the chocolate malts, but there's an awful lot of alcohol in this bad boy as well. This is a real shit kicker, nothing to be messed with. Glad I had help with this growler because there's no way in hell one man is drinking this and living to tell about it. With all the alcohol and strength in this beer, it's still relatively smooth in the mouthfeel. Short's can just flat out make beer! Would be nice on those really cold winter nights.

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

Sounds and feels like this version is slightly different than what is listed.
Black pour with a tan head that receded quickly. Not a ton of lacing, but it is there. Some roast aromas, more cocoa and chocolates. Tastes reciprocates, but there is some espresso type tones in there as well. Not creamy, but not watery either with just enough carbonation. The coffee roast is how it finishes and it lingers a while. Not really much alcohol presence. It is just a little bit thin, with the offset being there is no problem putting some quantity of this down. Will look forward to trying to get some more from Shorts.

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Photo of younger35
3.8/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Received a growler of this deliciousness from northernbrews. As far as I'm concerned Joe Short is the most inventive brewer out there and although sometimes it's hit or miss, its still really fun to try! Drank from my Surly nonic pint glass with a buddy.

Appearance- Pours a super dark brownish black with a small half finger dark tan head that bubbles away quickly. A nice collar is left with a tiny thinned out cap and some smidgens of lacing.
Smell- A bit of dark black chocolate to start with a very wispy sort of cocoa smell. Brown sugar and a light sort of toasted grain that is fairly raw and earthy. Black coffee and cream with hints of dark fruits and smoke.
Taste- Starts slightly sweet with a dark molasses earthiness and loads of roasted malts. Espresso and caramel that slowly fade to a dry chalky chocolate that reminds me of cocoa nibs. Loads of smoke and dried plums finish covering every square inch of alcohol.
Mouthfeel- A bit on the thin side but nothing I can't get past. Fairly gritty and rough with very little carbonation.
Drinkability- I really enjoyed this but not as much as I did Cup O' Joe or even S'mores. The flavors aren't quite as big as some of the other's Short's I've tried but saying that it was definitely worth trying and I'd drink again. Thanks Jeff!

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Photo of Deuane
4.27/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-Deep, dark brown/black with a thin tan head that reduced to a thin ring and left spotty lace.

S-Dark cocoa and dark roasted oats with hints of coffee and a bit of earthiness.

T-rich and bold with strong dark chocolate and roasted malt notes. Lighter espresso notes come in late. Nice, sahrp earthy bitterness.

M-Medium body and maybe even a bit thin. With a ton of lasting flavour that hardly matteres though!

D-Mmmm, mmmm...lots of roast and chocolate going on with this one. Bump up the body a little more and this could become a world beater!

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Photo of Floydster
3.21/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

750 ml bottle, #161/500, thanks to Carlos to bringing this to the tasting, had been waiting for him to crack this open for some time now, 2006 vintage, reviewed from notes, poured into my Rader snifter

A-Pretty much black, 3/4 inch tan creamy head, some retention, minimal lacing
S-Chocolate, caramel, toffee, coffee, roasty malts, charred accents, molasses, earthiness, and booze
T-Starts off dry and ends the same way, sweet in the middle with various malts, finish is too bitter for its style, dark chocolate, coffee, and hops plays a big role in that, some oxidization too, taste gets way to sweet later on but still dry
M-Dry, sweet, and roasted mouthfeel, full bodied, low level of carbonation, taste lingers a long time
D-Could drink much of this at all, flavor is too powerful, alcohol is not hidden, sweetness and dryness thgat jump out at you, few ounces is enough

Not the best beer from Short's by any means but does keep up with their unorthodox and interesting selection of brews, think it is hilarious that they do not even remember the recipe to this one, that makes it that much cooler if it is true because it would never be able to be replicated in the future, would drink again, recommended

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Photo of rallison
3.43/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle #161/500. Sea O'Floydster epic tasting, post PP Belgian Fest. Thanks Carlos for bringing this bottle.

Molasses, carob and vinous qualities are strongly present. Some odd astringency is noticed as well. Some oxidation. Finish is meh. Too dry, without the rich, encompassing body that I was hoping for.

I really wish I had tried this fresh. The bottle we opened was a let down. Not horrid, but not great. Maybe the age, maybe the specific bottle, maybe just the beer itself.

Still, I'm really happy I got to try this - I'd been looking for this for a long time as a huge fan of Short's, so this was definitely one of my white whales. Thanks again Carlos!

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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 seaoflament
3.35/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A big thanks to the generous hoppymeal for trading me this beer that I really wanted to try, you rock Derek. I took this one to the SeaofFloydster Tasting that took place on March 28th. Bottled in 2006, #161/500.

The color was like any other imperial stout, dark with a thin head.

Pretty good aroma, lots of roasted malts and chocolate malts upfront. Almost oaky with hints of almonds. Bits of chocolate covered raisins and figs. Some dusty cocoa powder.

The flavor was a bit odd. There were parts of it that I liked and parts that seemed out of place or just overdone. Dry roasted barley, dry bitter chocolate, cocoa, and with a really long and dry finish that was a bit too astringent. Some blackberry jam. A little sweeter later on but the finish is not that good, there was an astringent grain taste that combined with the dryness and roasted barley that didn't make it so pleasant. The first part of the beer was good with the chocolate, roasted malts, and dark fruits but the finish dragged this one down.

Somewhat fizzy yet low carbonation, medium dry. Couldn't drink too much of this one, especially when there were other beers to be had.

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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 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.

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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.

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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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