Short's The Woodmaster | Short's Brewing Company

very good
134 Reviews
Short's The WoodmasterShort's The Woodmaster

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

Style: English Brown Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Double Brown Ale fermented with Northern Michigan maple syrup and toasted pecans

Added by BelgianAleSlut on 06-29-2007

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Reviews: 134 | Ratings: 349
Photo of moonboogie_n8
4.84/5  rDev +28%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This is what craft beer means to me.
an ale that has quickly become my favorite all-time brew.
Dark brown pour with a light fluffy, albeit thin head that stays around.
best in a snifter, it helps later with agitation.
the right mix of sweet malt and grains. follows the nose.
this is also the first maple flavored beer that actually tastes like real maple. yum.
toasted chocolate notes with a slight bitter hop finish. again, balanced right for me.
will purchase again and again to enjoy. my favorite so far. 06-2015

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Photo of beerhan
4.68/5  rDev +23.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12 oz bottle. One of the most amazing descriptions of a beer ever.

Poured into a goblet, nice thin head with a gorgeous brown color.

Smells straight up like maple syrup and alcohol. Not much else going on.

Taste is phenomenal on this beer. Lots of maple syrup, nuttiness, booze, caramel. This tastes so good that I want one all the time.

Very drinkable and has a great mouthfeel. It is like drinking waffles with nuts and godiva on them. Amazing unique brew and the best thing shorts has ever done in my opinion. Such a beautiful beer.

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Photo of Tripel_Threat
4.62/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from bottle into pilsner glass. Deep, rich brown in color with an off-white fizzy head that settles into a small, creamy cap. No lacing. Smell is roast malt, biscuit, and sweet sugar, fresh cut wood, and juicy plum. Tastes of sweet, dark fruit (plum, cherry), a boozy bite, dark bread, yeast, biscuit, and roasted pecans on the back end. Entirely too smooth drinking for the ABV, this one is going to sneak up on me, and no aftertaste. Full, chewy mouthfeel. Delicious little meal in a bottle.

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Photo of hardysf
4.62/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Tasty beer. Smells like syrup and pecans. A touch boozy right now. Less boozy when first poured. Will sit on a few bottles and retaste in a few months.

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Photo of B0bD0bbselbock
4.5/5  rDev +19%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle poured into tumbler pint glass

A- Amber brown, moderately opaque, appearing somewhat like grade A maple syrup (appropriately enough). Fairly strong head, about 1/4 inch thick, with nice lacing.

S- The pecans seem to come out first, following quickly by the sweet aroma of maple syrup and brown sugar. I can really detect the maple syrup notes, along with brown sugar, paired with the roasted pecans, smelling somewhat like a maple glazed doughnut.

T- The maple syrup and roasted pecans shine through very nicely in this delectable drink. Amazing! The pecans really compliment the brown sugar and maple syrup notes beautifully. Also, a nice bit of warming alcohol in the finish, complimenting the other flavors well. The flavors linger very pleasantly on the palate, reminding me somewhat of flapjacks with pecans topped with real maple syrup. Truly, a chemical wedding of complimentary flavors dancing on the taste buds.

M- Medium-bodied, somewhat creamy.

D- Very, very drinkable. The lovely pairing of familiar flavors make for an enjoyable drink that goes down quite well, either enjoyed sip by sip , or guzzled at moderate pace :)

To my mind, this beer seems outstanding in many respects, from its bold and synergistic flavors, lovely aroma and color, to its high ABV- this beer has a lot to offer. I imagine this would be a nice drink to share with those who may have yet to develop a palate for craft brews, as this showcases quite nicely flavors that most folks may already know and appreciate. And on cold winter nights, sitting around a nice fire with friends or a loved one, this would be a winner, for certain, IMO. Maybe even as compliment to pancakes, bacon, and eggs for breakfast, for those "vacation" days ;) I also find the whimsical artwork on the bottle brings yet another dimension of enjoyment to the beverage. In Short's, a brilliant beer :)

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Photo of Swettenham_Shire
4.5/5  rDev +19%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Received a bottle of Woodmaster during a Michigan road trip beer swap. This was actually bottled back in December of 2012. I'm sure the maple and pecan taste has faded, but it still packed a punch. Looking forward to trying this fresh!

Update: 2015 batch consumed April '15 - definitely more boozy, maple syrup present. Missing that strong pecan flavor though. Will age the remaining bottles.

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Photo of DannyDan
4.5/5  rDev +19%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A. Pours a dark mahogany with a thick tan head with superb retention, and lacing. It also has decent carbonation.
S. The aroma is roasted pecans, maple syrup, coffee and chocolate. The smell just lets you know you have a high quality beer.
T. This is a very unique taste of maple syrup, pecans, chocolate, coffee mixed together followed by some sweet malts, some fruits, more maple syrup, a nutty pecan finish with hints of saltiness in a semi-sweet finish.
M. This starts out smooth, but as you drink it the creaminess takes over. The mix of smoothness and creaminess goes all over the mouth and when swallowing the beer can feel the warmness of the alcohol in you.
D. For being a full bodied beer with a 9.5% ABV it is very drinkable.
So far this is the best beer I have tried from Short's. This is highly recommended and a beer this good makes me proud that people who are local to me made this great brew.

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Photo of Another6Pack
4.42/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: murky brown pour, 1/4" head that lasted about a minute, nice sturdy lacing. Flakes of what I presume are the toasted pecans are suspended throughout.

S: sweet, earthy, and even a little alcohol in the nose. Pretty darn interesting and appealing.

T: blast of sweetness at the front, malt and pecans in the middle, and a kick of alcohol at the finish. I am not a sweet beer fan, but the sweetness in this one is not prolonged. Every now and then the finish was strangely reminiscient of Jagermeister.

M/D: nothing at all adverse here. Drinkability gets an extra .5 for the flavor/heat combination.

I like that I can taste everything that was put into this ale, and would be pleased if it worked its way into a regular winter bottling rotation.

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Photo of Chris_the_Tartar
4.41/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Color of black coffee w/ 3 finger mocha head. Smell of malts and roasted nuts. Nuts and malts in the taste as well as Carmel notes that get stronger as you go and an oak flavor that lingers pleasantly. Surprising thick beer. Pretty solid and quite unique. glad I picked up a sixer.

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Photo of TurdFurgison
4.4/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle courtesy of jale (thanks Jim!). I've been looking forward to this particular beer more than many other Shorts creations.

It pours dark and murky, amber brown with what looks to be floating bits of translucence. A couple fingers of tan foam than never sink below 5mm or so.

It smells malty and a little sickly sweet, a noticeable hit of maple syrup, some light roast too. I want to say pecan, but only because it's on the label. It doesn't really smell nutty to me.

It's definitely easy to get the maple syrup in the flavor, evocative of several maple barrel aged beers from Founders. And in come the pecans, delicious! This really tastes just as advertised, much more than expected from the aroma. A little noticeable ethanol but not too much.

Thick and coating, almost oily feeling mouthfeel. Matches the flavors well, a beast of a beer and delicious. Well done.

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Photo of flpiii
4.4/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle in to a standard pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a dark red that can be described as slightly dense.
Just under a finger of a cream colored head. The head holds steady.

Smell: It's a sweet nutty smell, the nuttiness in very present in addition to hints of fruit.

Taste: I would say splendid! I was anxious to try this beer and I was not disappointed. The smell is a sneak peak of what you get, which is...nutty and full of sweet winter goodness!

Mouthfeel: This was my only disappointment with this beer, I love the Shorts earthiness that you get in most of their beers, but this one lacks that. Perhaps it's just this style of beer. Don't get me wrong it still has a good mouthfeel, just not what I was anticipating.

Overall: A great Brown Ale with a little kick!! A true Winter Warmer! I thoroughly enjoyed this beer and encourage you to give it a try!

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Photo of orbitalr0x
4.37/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle. #313 of 936.

Deep brown and opaque with a half inch of light tan head on top. Big brown malts with a nice sweetness from the highly evident maple syrup. Earthy with caramel accents as well along with a nutty undertone. Rich and inviting.

First sip brings smooth brown malts with sweet caramel accents. Toasted pecans come through quite nicely as well as fresh maple syrup flavors. Roasty brew with a smooth finish. Nutty, malty and overall just damn yummy.

Medium body and creamy with good carbonation. This was wonderful brew and a gem in a great series of beers from Short's. The last of the Imperial Series for me and it just leaves me wanting more, so give me more Joe!!

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Photo of kzoobrew
4.37/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Enjoyed on tap at the Bellaire brewpub 07/31/10.

Dark brown body with slight amber highlights gleeming through the edges. Head is slight and doesn't linger long. Light eggshell color, decent lacing left despite the minimal head.

Rich maple syrup is strong upfront. Aroma is rather sweet all the way around. Caramel and brown malts with a nuttiness from the pecans. Slightly boozey but not offensive.

The flavor on tap is a bit deeper than later samples from the growler. On tap the darker malt flavors are stronger melding well with the sweet maple flavor. The nuttiness blends in just behind complimenting the previous flavors well. Out of the growler the sweetness seems to be increased as the darker malty flavors fade.

Full bodied with a thick and creamy mouthfeel. Very syrupy, sweetness sticks to the tongue leaving the finish to be very long.

Another dangerously drinkable beer from Short's. A hefty beer which will really sneak up on you. A couple pints would probably be my limit, but I would enjoy the hell out of those pints. Excellent beer and a privilege to drink.

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Photo of TCHopCraver
4.32/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes written on 2/23/11.

The Woodmaster (great name and artwork combination) pours moderately dark brown with an attractive hint of mahogany. The head is beige and about one finger tall after a down-the-middle pour into a large snifter. The lacing looks very much how a shaken up snow globe appears.

I can definitely smell the maple and pecan influences over top of a big, brown ale aroma, which is slightly nutty and very heavy on brown sugar. Other scents of caramel and toffee slip into the bouquet. Just judging by the smell, I would love to have this beverage at a campfire on a cold autumn night.

The Woodmaster has a really unique and oh-so-yummy taste. The maple syrup flavor is the highlight for me and it blends nicely with the brown sugar and caramel notes that I would expect an Imperial Brown to have. The finish is nicely nutty and toasty on my tongue as the pecans take over. Perhaps some hops and a little bit of alcoholic heat add to the finish.

The mouthfeel is a fine medium body and has perfect carbonation for the beer. The finish isn't necessarily drying, but it has a toasty snap at the end of each sip.

Well, The Woodmaster certainly isn't sessionable, but it is a beer that I enjoy greatly. The two Imperial Browns that I have had from Shorts (this and Good Humans), have both been standouts and I am impressed with how different the two taste, while still remaining pretty similar. This is one of those beers that I am surprised by how good it is every time that I drink it.

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Photo of stooge
4.32/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle dated 12/7/12; tasted on 6/5/13 in a Hair of the Dog tulip glass.

A- dark brown and cloudy, slightly opaque
S- subtle sweetness, maple and vanilla
T- slightly sweet and well-balanced with hints of maple, vanilla, pecans, and dark fruits that blend very well in harmony together.
M- just the right amount of carbonation for the style, not too much as you would expect from a brown ale.
O- quite enjoyable, excellent blend of flavors that complement each other well. This has become my favorite Short's offering, which says a lot. Not too sweet, not too carbonated, and not too complex; they really hit a home run with this one. Highly recommended!

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Photo of SportsandJorts
4.32/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Released February 2015, drank February 2016

Appearance: pours a leathery to mahogany brown color. a finger or two of a tan head with strong retention and leaving behind a big frothy lacing. dark and a bit hazy making in completely opaque.

Smell: maple syrup, pecans and a light and fruity yeast. some biscuity to toasty malt.

Taste: opens up with a little bit of maple syrup. the syrup flavor develops into a really rich and sweet flavor before blending in with pecans and some sweet malts. malts play in largely with notes of biscuits, toasted grains and some additional nuttiness comes through. a little bit of earthy bitterness sneaks in. some fruity yeast esters come in before finishing with a bit more syrup.

Mouthfeel: good full feel, which would go well even without this being an "Imperial." lots of sweet flavors but really nicely balanced.

Overall: I normally wouldn't write a review for this beer a year out, but I thought that this one deserved it. I really enjoyed this beer fresh but as I crack my last bottle I am realizing it is a real treat at a year old. the flavors have blended together really nicely and balanced out perfectly.

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Photo of zoso1967
4.3/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The Woodmaster pours a fairly cloudy, deep woody (go figure) brown color with a light tan cap of foam. The foam has nice staying power and leaves equally nice lace.

The aroma is sweet and malty with plenty of brown sugar, some maple and a bit of toffee. It also has that sort of earthy spice to it that seems so common in Short's larger beers. I also can detect just a bit of alcoholic heat and perhaps even some vanilla.

The flavor is also quite malty with a pretty big punch of dark and rich fruity sweetness. The malt character of this beer also has a good dose of molasses and plenty of maple goodness. Probably my favorite aspect of this beer is that all this sweetness melts away to reveal a nice nutty and slightly toasty character that you would find in a more traditional brown. It is a very smooth transition that makes the beer very balanced and makes me want to take another sip.

The mouthfeel is also quit pleasant. Nice and smooth with a medium body. The finish is slightly sticky, but at the same time has enough dryness to keep it from getting out of control. Toasted nutty notes linger on my palate after swallowing.

This might not be as drinkable as a standard brown ale, but it is much more drinkable than many other beers of its size and malt character. When I smelled this and got all that malt in my nose, I figured it would be a sipper, but the nuttiness on the end helps it go down faster. This is a very well made beer.

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Photo of chugalug06
4.29/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Very dark brown with very light dense foamy head. Not much lacing.

Vanilla, maple, sugar, roasty, sweet.

Very nutty flavor, dry and mouthy. Sugars are roasty and forward. Nothing is subtle about this brew. Carbonation is a nice medium with a slight agave finish. Flavor is a bit tight and could use sometime in the cellar.

Highly recommended, a great drinker even at 9.5%. Lots of unique aromas and flavors. Thanks Abanton for spreading the Shorts wealth.

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Photo of techfed87
4.27/5  rDev +13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice powerful head. Color is dark brown. Smell is fairly sweet, with a definite malt presence there.

First sip is quite interesting. It starts off very slowly, building in intensity from what could be described as an average brown ale to something far more nuanced. There is a bit of a nutty flavor to it, which I guess could be the pecans. Mouthfeel is very rich as well, with an aftertaste that's quite tasty in its own respect.

Having heard that this is a limited release, I strongly suggest you try this one before it runs out.

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Photo of emerge077
4.25/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Sample courtesy Jay23, via trade with Hoppymeal. Thanks!

Around an 8 oz. sample, poured into a Chimay chalice. Deep orange/brown body with pretty crimson highlights. Consistent head with spindly lacing. Good clarity on the first pour. Plenty of visible carbonation streams.

Dark and exotic aromas of vinous berry, dried apple, maple, with the mild lactic elements of a Flanders red.

Fairly mild apple tartness, brown sugar, a unique nuttiness (presumably pecan listed on the label), definite 100% maple syrup tones, and dried figs rounding it out. Bittersweet. The maple gives it a nice oomph in the body, along with a forest-like element.

Ultra malty, smooth, and medium bodied overall. There's a twinge of alcohol under the maple goodness, which slows you down some, but it's not distracting. Very creative and highly recommended!

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Photo of maximum12
4.24/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Thanks to GrandCruDrew for this bottle, an extra in a springtime trade off my wants list. I approach this Short's offering as I approach all of them: ready with a towel, or ready for a great treat. Which will this be?

Pour is an undeniable brown with a respectable, but not suspect, off-white cap. The smell, my lord, the smell. Like somebody dropped my mother's Christmas kitchen into a pecan pie, then topped it off with sweet malts & a coating of maple syrup. Unlike any aroma that's ever graced these nostrils; just fantastic.

Short's The Woodmaster almost lives up to this heavenly bouquet. Pecans & maple syrup blow out of the glass in a verdant wave of tastiness. Sub-tastes are raisins, figs, shoe leather, a more general nuttiness, perhaps a stray drop of malt or two. Enjoyable either way: surface or deep. The only drawback, & this is picky, is it ain't too drinkable. I've already had it popped for over half-an-hour, & perhaps 3-4 ounces are gone. One of the heaviest, most-filling brown ales I've ever run into.

But hey, whatever, this is simply an excellent beer that pushes boundaries in every direction. A showcase of Short's at it's best.

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Photo of JizackFH
4.23/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This review is from notes taken when I went to the Shorts Brewpub on 7/7/10. I love going to their brewpub by the way.

A - This beer pours a deep mahogany color. The edges glow crimson when held to the light. It has a nice 2-finger off-white head on it, that left good lacing on the glass.

S - It has a good maple syrup smell up front. There are also notes of pecans, almonds, caramel, alcohol, and toffee. There is also a bit of toastiness present.

T - The toasted malts come out first. There is also a nice sweetness present as well. The maple taste is present, but much less than in the nose. I am also getting the caramel, toffee, and nuttiness that was in the nose.

M - This has a medium-ull body with low-medium carbonation. It is a very smooth beer, and has a creamy feel to it. It coats the mouth nicely.

D - This has good drinkability. It goes down easy and tastes great. It has a good balance to it, as a deep flavor profile. This is a great beer from a great brewery, and I'm glad I got the chance to enjoy it. I can't wait until my next trip the Shorts brewpub.

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Photo of 33nickadams
4.2/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark brown color, translucent, with a half a finger head with small bubbles. Smells of nuts, chocolate, maple syrup and malt. Taste is nutty, chocolatey, slightly coffee and I get very little maple syrup. Mouthfeel is on the heavy side and is carbonated lightly. Overall, this is a great beer and I will seek this out every year. A great winter warmer. If you were never able to get Cashew Mountain Brown, this one ranks right up there with it in my opinion. I would love to see this one barrel-aged.

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Photo of akorsak
4.2/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 25.7 oz bottle, from the 2007 bottling; purchased at the brewpub three years ago this week. # 631 of 936.

A: The brown ale is dark, a syrupy chocolate/caramel look, obscured and opaque. A thin head, mildly off-white, is just a thin band around the glass. Not back for being as old as my middle child.

S: Maple syrup, toasted pecans, and caramel. The richness of the aroma is very reminiscent of Utopias, the maple syrup adding a luxurious texture to the smell. Brown sugar adds to the sweet spiciness of the nose.

T: A little long in the tooth, but just a little. That age has mellowed out maple syrup a spell, coaxing more out of the nuttiness. That nuttiness is chewy and darker, a full flavor that segues into the nutty caramel flavors of the base brown ale. The maple syrup is sweet, a dark richness against the nuts. A little thin at times, the ale still holds up remarkably well. The maple syrup aspect lingers, a dry sweetness that packs a boozy punch at times. An excellent beer to nurse through.

M: The maple syrup and pecan are a good combination, nutty and sweet. Spicy brown sugar and raisins add to the wall of flavor. Damned, this one held up well.

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Photo of Viggo
4.2/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle. Huge thanks to rlcnmeyer for the DLD hookup!

Pours a clear dark ruby red, very thick off white head forms, settles down to a thick ring, good retention as it keeps up a solid layer, no real lacing on the glass though.

Smell is nice, very nutty, heavy toffee/caramel, lots of raisin and dark fruit, figs, bourbon, wood, vanilla, very rich and malty aroma, nice and biscuity, smells good.

Taste is better, very fruity and nutty, pecan pie, maple, alcohol, sherry, vanilla and oak, cherry puts, toffee and caramel, biscuit, more nuts, really cool flavour profile.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with low to medium carbonation. Smooth going down, this is nice stuff. Thanks Randy!

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Short's The Woodmaster from Short's Brewing Company
3.78 out of 5 based on 349 ratings.
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