Short's Mystery Stout | Short's Brewing Company

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Short's Mystery StoutShort's Mystery Stout
Very Good
375 Ratings
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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 375 |  Reviews: 206
Photo of ClockworkOrange
3.88/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A capped 750ml bottle shared at a recent tasting. I got this one a few years back from Tim (metallitone). Bottled on 4-20-06, bottle #340 of 500. Uncapped and poured into my snifter glass. The stout appears a dark brown color with about a finger of creamy light tan foam. Nose and flavors consist of cocoa, molasses, sweet caramel malts, mocha, brown sugar, milk chocolate. Very nice mouthfeel courtesy of the oatmeal. The 12.5% ABV is not noticeable at this point. The flavors have mellowed and smoothed out nicely.

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Photo of gford217
3.77/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle of the recent bottling from hoppymeal.

Pours dark chestnut brown that's not quite black with a thick creamy tan head that recedes slowly and leaves good lacing. It's a little lighter than I was expecting in an impy stout.

The aroma is interesting, with some oatmeal and sweet brown sugar with a hefty dark roasted black malt presence. Also some anise and plenty of chocolate.

The taste is big on oatmeal and cocoa. The molasses comes through as well, but it's not that big and the taste is fairly subdued overall. Not that impressive actually.

The mouthfeel is highly carbonated and fairly thin for the style.

I'd been looking forward to this one for a while and it's an extremely drinkable impy stout. Unfortunately, the flavor and feel are a bit light for the style. Seems like a nice, standard oatmeal stout.

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Photo of KeefD
2.34/5  rDev -40.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Pours a milky dark brown color but becomes black as night in the glass with no head or lacing. Aroma of charred malt, light cocoa, and not a whole lot else. Taste is a little off for me. There some alcohol heat up front, follow by what can only be described as burnt plastic, and an odd sweetness to finish things up. There's some chocolate flavors going, and maybe a hint of coffee from the roasted barley, but it's overpowered by that odd plastic flavor. Medium-full bodied with almost no carbonation. Burns the throat and stomach on the way down. No thanks.

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Photo of darklordlager
3.68/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Acquired from Randalld in a trade--thanks Randall.
A: Pours a oily black, with small ½" medium tan head. Decent retention.

S: Dark malt, roasted malt, and chocolate. Can't really detect the molasses through the darker malt. A bit fruity (from the yeast?). A bit bready.

T: Interesting. Vanilla, bready, chocolate, roasted malt--the molasses comes through a bit more here bringing a thick mouthfeel and a dark caramel flavor. Alcohol is in the back, warming the throat as it goes down.

M: Somewhat heavy, thick and creamy. Low carbonation. Very hearty.

D: A nice beer from Short's. Could probably use a bit of age to mellow out the alcohol and let the flavours blend a bit more.

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Photo of GbVDave
4.35/5  rDev +11.3%
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!

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Photo of Telix
3.5/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

This is a review of the 12 ounce December 2009 release. Poured into a DFH chalice:

A: It's a deep deep dark brown/black, with a 1/2" head that quickly disappears, even with a quick, hard pour.

S: Roasted nuts and sweet cocoa, with a decent strength.

T: Creamy smooth malts, with an nice use of oats to smooth the initial flavors, but there is a big level of alcohol heat and fairly high IBUs that overwhelms the oat presence, especially on the finish - which is long and sharp, with a roasty character. It's a bit reminiscent of their Cup A Joe without the coffee, really, but this makes it a bit too much like a chocolate syrup beer.

M: Thick, rich, smooth, with some tongue bite from the booziness and hop presence.

D: Another Short's brew I could have stopped drinking halfway through the bottle.

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Photo of danielharper
4.3/5  rDev +10%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Black, completely opaque, with a thin brown head that dissipates quickly. Considering the ABV, it's amazing that this has any head at all. Great presentation.

S: Smells of toffee, chocolate, hints of coffee. Very dry aromatics, lots of chocolate malt. Some sweetness like chocolate-covered cherries, with just a hint of the alcohol that is to come.

T: Very high alcohol astringency, dominating other flavors. A dry maltiness underneath, lots of coffee and hints of caramel sweetness. Finishes dry and "hot" with alcohol.

M: Moderate thickness, coats the tongue nicely. Carbonation low, hoppiness barely present. The alcohol stings the tongue a bit, so keep that in mind.

D: I'm conflicted, honestly. It's a bit one-note with the alcohol, but you can't deny the technical ability that went into making something this intense alcoholic but with such a moderate mouthfeel. You could hand this to a drinker of, well, not BMC but at least Magic Hat or Guinness and they'd at the very least be able to get to the bottom of the glass.

My score is my score, numbers picked because I needed to put something down to post the review. But the words in this case are far more important than the numbers. Take that as you will.

This will probably age amazingly.

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Photo of MbpBugeye
4.5/5  rDev +15.1%
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

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Photo of corby112
2.87/5  rDev -26.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

12oz. bottle courtesy of ipa247. Thanks a lot Jeff!

Pours a deep dark hazelnut brownout of the bottle but appears pitch black in the glass. Completely opaque without even the slightest bit of lighter color edges. One finger chocolate tan head that quickly fades into a thin lasting ring. Not much in the way of lacing.

Nice roasty dark malt aroma with lots of bittersweet dark chocolate, lactic creaminess, oatmeal, burnt toast, toffee, honey, molasses, subtle coffee bean and licorice. Once again Shorts puts out a beer with an amazing aroma. Smells incredibly complex.

Very roasty chewy body that's on the fuller end of the spectrum. Lots of viscous bittersweet dark chocolate malts along with a strong oatmeal presence as well as some lactic creaminess, licorice, burnt toast, toffee, bitter earthy hops and a sweet honey molasses character. This beer is very hot and the high ABV is not well masked at all. Lots of stinging astringent alcohol throughout and especially overpowering in the finish. This beer is pretty flavorful but the strong alcohol presence makes it very hard to drink. Interesting but not very well balanced with way to much of a roasty and strong alcohol presence.

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Photo of Sammy
4.15/5  rDev +6.1%
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 DrJay
4.42/5  rDev +13%
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%.

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Photo of alexgash
3.52/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle.

Very dark chocolate brown. Small, dirty khaki head doesn't last long. Some lacing. Nose is a mix of chalky, roasted malts and ripe dark fruits (plums and grapes?). Notes of dark chocolate, peat, and caramel. Also a little alcohol.

Starts off with some woody, herbal bitterness which quickly becomes more of a roasted coffee bitterness. Chocolate, caramel, molasses, and boozy fruits (plums?) combine mid-palate. There's some milk chocolate sweetness, but it soon gets overwhelmed by dark chocolate bitterness and tobacco earthiness. Rather hot finish with lingering dark chocolate bitterness and fading notes of sweeter malts. Full-bodied with a mouthfeel that starts off a little thick and ends somewhat chalky. A little boozy and rough; could maybe use some age.

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Photo of spartanfan
4.17/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle

A: Pours an opaque, unfiltered black. A very aggressive pour yeilds a two finger head, which doesn't stick around for long, and has now faded to a thin layer atop the beer.

S: Oooooweee, this is one potent beer. A very complex nose yields odors of caramel, molasses, coffee, and oats. Quite a sweet scent, but there are also some roasted aromas as well to balance.

T: The taste is not quite as overwhelming as the smell of this beer, but it is equally complex and enjoyable. Flavors of roasted coffee come to the forefront and are quickly joined by flavors of dark chocolate and molasses, with a trailing bitter after taste. As the beer warms more dark chocolate and toffy flavors come out. There is also the distinct taste I've noticed in all Short's brews that I've tried. I'm guessing it comes from their yeast.

M: The first thing I noticed upon taking a sip of this beer was the luxuriantly smooth, almost oily mouthfeel. This is one of the most full bodied beers I've tried yet, and I'm really enjoying it. It has just enough carbonation to really work well with the flavors.

D: While this beer is quite high in alcohol, I could not detect it in the taste or the nose of the beer. However the thickness of the beer cuts back on the drinkability for me.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.91/5  rDev 0%
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 tpd975
3.53/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a very deep dark black with an average sized tan head. Little in the way of retention but it does manage some spotty lace.

S: Very roasty, lots of bitter chocolate, dark fruit, and acrid coffee.

T: Fairly acidic. Burnt gas station coffee, bakers chocolate, booze, and dark fruit. The finish is very bitter so bitter that I can tell if its hops over burnt malt.

M: Medium in body, sharp, boozy and bitter.

D: Not real drinkable, but not bad. If the short's guys were after big and bold they got it.

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Photo of k3n
3.85/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle.

Pours a rich, molasses brownish-black. 0.5" of head which disappates rather quickly. =( Subsequent swirls stir up minimal bubbles which don't deign to hang around. Minimal lacing.

Aromas of toasted malt. hm. that's it.

Taste is led by the roasted malt, followed by burnt sugars, and the dryness of black coffee. Mouthfeel is medium-bodied, with a pleasant, lingering coffee bitterness.


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Photo of dukedevil0
4.15/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this 12oz bottle from a nice guy on another site.

A: Poured dark black with just a bit of khaki colored head that settled down to a ring of foam at the edges and no lacing.

S: Really nice smell - scents of chocolate, vanilla, coffee, lightly roasted malts, molasses, brown sugar, nuttiness, breadiness

T: Smells similar to the smell but the flavors are kind of a mess - chocolate, vanilla, slight coffee, slight roasted malts, some molasses and a noticeable alcohol sweetness and tinge

M: Mouthfeel is lighter carbonated than average, but still thicker and creamy due to the bubbles

D: Not super drinkable as you can tell this one is 12.5% but the flavor is good even though they aren't melded well together.

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Photo of heliosphann
3.97/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle provided by my good friend from Ann Arbor. Served in a Pint Glass.

A: Pours black, but not quite completely since there's some brownish highlights. A very small amount of tan head fades very fast, leaving a nice ring around my glass. Lacing is pretty fine and leaves a slow cascade.

S: Sweet milk chocolate shines through right off the bat. Present also is some molasses, oatmeal and nuttiness.

T: Much of the characteristics of the smell are here. Big smooth, but somewhat bitter chocolate oatmeal flavors dominate. Sweet molasses and some roasted malts also are in the mix. The is a good amount of heat present and some bitterness lingers on the finish.

M: Medium to full bodied. Very creamy, thick and viscous. No doubt the oatmeal really helps in this category. Now this is how I like my stouts to be. Fantastic!

D: My 12oz went pretty fast. I'm waiting for a response from Joe Short, but I'm pretty sure this isn't 12.5% ABV. However, it is still pretty boozy at this point and with the bitterness, one is plenty for a night.

I've had the opportunity to have 2 different versions of Mystery Stout. Unfortunately not the original batch, but in April '09 several times I had a version of this stout that was only 7-8%. This beer is superior to that version (and supposedly closer to the original), but it's also a lot more boozier. I'm pretty sure 8-12 months in my cellar will do wonders with this beer and it will be significantly better.


Joe Short did get back to me. The 12oz bottled version of Mystery Stout is around 10.8%.

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Photo of mikey711
3.92/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Another great beer courtesy of eyebrews!

A: Dark imtimidating black which poured a fluffy mocha colored head that quickly faded

S: A bit like a chocolate chip cookie with some sweet milk chocolate and a nice hints of breadiness before transitioning into a roast bitter beast. I can definitely detect the molasses in this one as well.

T: Lots of roasted flavors like espresso, bitter chocolate. There is also a heavy amount of dark fruit and licorice present in the taste. The fruit is figgy. Very very agressively bitter with only a minor amount of sweetness. There are also some sherry notes and a hint of booziness. Very complex.

M: Slightly chalky but definitely thick and chewy. Surprisingly no booze is present but this is very thick and heavy

D: This would be a great bottle to share with someone else, even as a 12oz

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Photo of techfed87
3.85/5  rDev -1.5%
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 -27.1%
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 +6.1%
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 +1.5%
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 -2.8%
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%
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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Short's Mystery Stout from Short's Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.91 out of 5 with 375 ratings