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 UCLABrewN84
1.38/5  rDev -63.5%
look: 4 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

Thanks to GrandCruDrew for sending me this one!

Pours a murky dark brown with a 2 inch beige head that fades to a small cap. Nice rings of lace on the drink down. Smell is of hearty bread, roasted nuts, and maple. There is also a funky gym socks smell that ruins everything. I think this bottle may be infected. Taste confirms the infection. This is a sour beer on first sip, but I can taste the malty bread flavor, roasted nuts, and slight maple syrup. The infection issue is awful when combined with these flavors. Carbonation level is average. Overall, I bet this is a really good beer when it's normal but this was definitely infected.

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Photo of brentk56
3.58/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a cloudy color that perfectly matches the bottle in which it was stored; a nice cap persists and dots with lace

Smell: Some caramel, a definite toasted pecan aroma but another aroma, too; I think a previous BA called it sausage, but that is too generous, I'm afraid

Taste: Opens with a lot of caramel and a building maple presence that turns nutty by mid-palate; unfortunately, the pecan flavors seem a bit rancid to me; after the swallow, the off flavors persist to the finish although at the very end, the toasted pecan returns

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body (creamy) with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: I had much higher expectations for this beer; perhaps age has brought on the rancid flavors (as they would for Christmas pecans one kept around until summer); still enjoyed the adventure and look forward to trying the last of my Shorts beers soon

Thanks, hoppymeal, for the opportunity

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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 largadeer
3.65/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle shared by ipa247 back in January. Thank you, Jeff.

Semi-hazy dark amber with a small off-white head that recedes to a thin collar. Toasted pecans leap out of the glass, slightly overwhelming the toasted malt foundation. Maple syrup is noticeable on a lesser level, lending only a touch of sweetness. Toasted pecans and maple follow through on the palate, though it's not especially sweet. Flavors of toast and roasted malt are stronger mid-palate along with moderate bitterness. This is enjoyable, but I find myself wishing it were less attenuated to balance the slightly chalky and astringent character of the nuts. The finish is dry and lightly bitter with a lingering nutty aftertaste. Pretty good, a different yeast, something with more of an English ale character, would have made this more enjoyable.

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Photo of oline73
3.13/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle into a standard pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a murky reddish brown with a finger of off white head and good retention.

Smell: Very sweet, mildly tart malt with a ton of dark fruit notes. There is also a molasses note with some wood and spices.

Taste: Not quite as sweet as the smell, but the sweet malt and dark fruit notes are still there. There is a lot of alcohol and a mildly tart flavor to this beer as well. There seems to be a woodiness to this beer as well. Finish is bitter with a lot of hot alcohol.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with smooth carbonation and a dry finish.

Overall: Way too much alcohol. I would have liked the more complex flavors to have room to shine. Oh well.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.5/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks to jale for gifting me this bottle. Served in a Mikasa tulip.

Pours a very dark brown with a short, stubby off-white head and some spotty lacing. Galaxy swirl on top. The nose brings some light cherries and molasses along with some brown sugar and sweetened malt. Also a bit nutty. The flavor has a decent amount of maple and brown sugar plus some light nutty character. Mild toffee and caramel plus a bit of light cherry. Mouthfeel is medium and quite chewy. Nothing too great about this, though not bad either.

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Photo of superspak
3.88/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into tulip glass, bottled on 2/23/2015. Pours hazy dark reddish brown color with a 2 finger dense light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Nice dense soapy lacing clings around the glass. Aromas of chocolate, caramel, toast, brown sugar, brown bread, raisin, plum, apple, maple, light nuttiness, herbal, and yeast/toasted earthiness. Nice and pleasant aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/bready malt, fruity yeast, and adjunct notes; with solid strength. Taste of big chocolate, caramel, toast, brown sugar, brown bread, raisin, plum, apple, maple, light nuttiness, herbal, and yeast/toasted earthiness. Light earthy herbal bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of chocolate, caramel, toast, brown sugar, brown bread, raisin, plum, apple, maple, light nuttiness, herbal, and yeast/toasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Very nice complexity and robustness of dark/bready malt, fruity yeast, and adjunct flavors; with a great malt/bitterness balance and no cloying flavors after the finish. Light-medium carbonation and fairly full bodied; with a very creamy and lightly slick/bready mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is fairly well hidden with a light-moderate warming that lingers after the finish; but never really feels boozy. Overall this is a very nice imperial brown ale. All around good complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/bready malt, fruity yeast, and adjunct flavors; and quite smooth to sip on for the huge ABV. Definitely could use some aging time to smooth out the warming alcohol, but still a very enjoyable offering right now.

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Photo of jlindros
3.83/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

My last Short's, thanks to grub.

Light fluffy 1/2 finger head and light lacing, murky dark molasses brown colored beer with barley light getting through.

Nose brings lots of interesting aromas, fruit, dark dried fruits, a light sour malt aroma, some toasty brown malts, creamy malts, little brown sugar, maple, toasted pecans, little raisin, little syrupy, crystal malts, weird but interesting.

Taste starts a bit sweet, malty, fruity, again toasty brown malts, creamy malts, light reddish malts, light sour malt as well and a bit spicy, little bit of booze with a bit of warmth and tingle, then maple syrup, a bit of dark fruit and hints of raisin, molasses, toasted pecans, it comes through a little bit syrupy and creamy. Finishes a bit boozy and slightly anesthetized, pretty syrupy in the mouth, little sweet still, and a bit malty, also some lingering maple and dark fruit.

Mouth is a bit heavier bodied, lighter but decent carbonation, and some warming and tingly booze, a fairly big beer.

Overall pretty good, creamy and a bit syrupy though which seems weird but not as bad as I thought, interesting malts, good fruits, nuts, maple, syrupy, and all those flavors add a weird light sour tart flavor, a bit boozy but designed for that I think, a big beer.

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Photo of billab914
3.97/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured from a 12oz bottle into my Dogfish snifter. It poured a murky, caramel brown color with a thin tan head clinging to the edges of the glass.

The aroma has some distinct toasted nuttiness and syrupy flavors to it. I get some of the typical brown ale, caramel, malty flavors to it, but the pecans and syrup are very interesting.

The taste shows more of the brown ale, malty, caramel like qualities to it at first. Midway I start to get some of the maple syrup and pecan flavors. I get a lot of nutty flavors coming from the pecans. The maple syrup gives it a sweeter, syrupy flavor lingering in the finish. Both mix pretty well actually and give it some pretty cool flavors.

The mouthfeel is on the heavier side, and slightly slick. Carbonation is moderate. Drinkabilty was pretty good actually, things came together pretty well in it. I liked both the nutty, pecans and the sweeter syrup in it. Pretty cool and good beer overall.

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.83/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

dark reddish tinted amber with a sparkling clarity to it. Lots of carbonation was visible rising up to the surface throughout the session. There was a good three inches of white pillow like foam

Lots of spices are evident on the first pass through and this is more or less to be expected. Nice notes of cinnamon, spiced apple and pear, and a touch of nutmeg. There was a good amount of sweetness mixed in with caramel and a roasted nice like smell coming off it as it warmed. Deep underling grain and malt base was apparent as well. Very sweet and entirely malt driven, this was not terrible, just underwhelming. Good bit of spice added in and a nice bitter hop driven finish.

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Photo of womencantsail
2.05/5  rDev -45.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Thanks to Iain for sending me this one.

A: The pour is brown in color with a tall off-white/khaki colored head.

S: Sour. What. The. Hell. Some nail polish remover, vinegar, and toasted bread. Just an awful combination. A bit of cherry cough syrup on the finish, too.

T: The flavor is a bit better as it lacks much of the nail polish remover and cough syrup. But, it's still vinegary and sour. A bit of toasted malts and bread and a little nuttiness.

M: Medium in body with a medium to high carbonation.

O: Dear Shorts, learn how to bottle a fucking brown ale without it going sour

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Photo of Huhzubendah
3.82/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

afdempse hooked me up with a growler from Short's. Thanks Adam!

A: Thin, brown hue with only a small head that leaves little lacing.

S: sweet malt, nuts, wood

T: The beer has a pleasant taste, with maple syrup really coming through. There is also a good roasted pecan flavor in there. The downside is the sweetness, which is overabundant.

M: A moderately thin body and very sweet throughout. Also, I would prefer a bit more carbonation.

D: An interesting beer and fun to try. Best in small quantities.

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Photo of stakem
3.43/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Thanks to StormKing47 for hooking me up with a 12oz bottle of this. Poured into a snifter, the brew appears a dark brown color with more of a mahogany clarity about it as it is held to the light. It displays a finger of tan head that quickly recedes to a thin film across the top and leaves fingers of lace sticking to the glass.

The aroma has a bit of tangy alcohol that I have noticed is fairly similar to other shorts brews. It mixes with some nutty grain sweetness. A bit of toffee and vanilla mix with a solid amount of brown sugar. As it warms up, it gets a little toasty smelling and some herbal hops emerge with a note of sulfur across the back.

The taste is herbal and nutty with a grain flavor that is toasty. Some brown sugar flavoring is present along with more nutty grain aspects that never quite get to be sweet. The alcohol is prevalent with a warmth and mild fusel character. The finish is primarily a mixture of herbal hops and a bitterness that includes enough alcohol to almost make this medicinal with a hint of raw woodiness.

This is a medium bodied brew with a moderate amount of carbonation. It is quite bold and shows hints of the character and ingredients displayed on the bottle. However, the description sounds better than this brew tastes. I think if the alcohol was toned down there could be more focus on the flavoring without it getting caught up in all the alcohol character.

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Photo of drabmuh
3.53/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a becher glass. Beer is brown but light brown, forms a thin broken head. Beer is clear and carbonation is low, no lacing left on the glass.

Smells sweet and woodsey, like slightly old wood. There is a liquor smell to this beer.

Beer is sweet and has a liquor like quality to it, a rather strong liquor like quality, bourbon almost. I guess the point of this beer is to taste like bourbon, congratulations, you did it, you really did. Drinkability is fine, mouthfeel is fine. I guess its an OK beer but not a repeat for me.

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Photo of Mora2000
3.88/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to RBlaszak for sending me this bottle.

The beer pours a dark reddish-brown color with a tan head. The aroma is very nice. I get some maple and caramel as well as some strong brown sugar notes.

The flavor is also very nice but is more complex than the aroma. I initially get a lot of brown sugar, caramel and maple notes. There is also some oak and pecan notes in the flavor. The alcohol is noticeable and the beer is very easy to drink. There is also the slightest bit of tartness in the flavor but I am not sure where it is coming from.

Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation. A very nice brown ale.

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Photo of kscaldef
2.38/5  rDev -37%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A: Murky brown topped by a 1-finger dark tan head

S: Roasty with some chocolate, dark fruit, and banana notes. Sort of bizarrely reminiscent of a peanut butter and banana sandwich.

T: Hits with more of that banana on the front of the tongue, then big roasty flavors that fade to a mild sourness like overripe fruit.

M: moderate carbonation & body, fairly long linger

O: Seems a bit odd and disjointed in the end. Interesting, but not what I would call pleasant. I have to wonder what's intentional here and what's not.

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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 tigg924
3.64/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Had on tap @ Lord Hobo

Appearance: dark brown in color, clear, one inch head, medium carbonation

Smell: wood, nut, and sugar

Taste: big wood in the beginning, nut appears in the middle, and maple kisses the end, alcohol is noticeable.

Mouthfeel: medium-heavy body, medium carbonation, sweet start with a bitter middle and slightly sweeter end, dry

Overall: A nice woodsy brown ale where I wish the maple was a bit more pronounced. Not a bad beer, but probably a victim of Shorts overall quality. I do not think the flavors burst here as much as they do with other Shorts beers. I would get this again, but there are others in the brand I would go to first.

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Photo of DrDemento456
3.55/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Clear dark brown with a nice 1/2 inch of tan colored head with excellent lacing.

S - Well it smells very sweet with pecans, toasted malts, syrup, and a touch of brown malts. Maybe some chocolate but I got to reach for it.

T - Alcohol is pretty strong in the taste which is kind of a let down. Quickly it moves to pecans and then finishes sweet with what I hope is the syrup. Wished it was as balanced as the soft parade...

M - Medium to heavy. It's weird because I can taste the alcohol but I get little to no burn.

Overall I was kind of excited to try this, then reviews of bozzyness let me down a bit, finally the confirm that it taste boozy really sucks. So far my least favorite shorts beer. I guess to do an imperial brown ale with this high ABV then avoid boozy flavors is impossible.

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Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
3.67/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

thanks to duff27 for sharing this bottle. Thanks duff!

reviewed from notes of 5/23/12.

Appearance: opaque medium brown bodied beer with large head. Head is approximately 2 fingers tall and is an off white color. Spotty lacing is left as head falls down to a thin cap.

Smell: nutty, earthy, and brown sugar sweetness in the nose. Nose is not as expressive as I would have hoped for, I guess the best word for the nose is it is slightly bland.

Taste: Get a little hint of maple and pecan immediate when the beer hint the toungue. It is fast fleeting though. More prominent characteristics of the beer are nuttiness, toasted malt, and an earthy note. Hint of brown sugar. Finishes is a bitter kick and a grainy note that amplifies the bitter aftertaste. Maple comes off as earthy and not much sweetness, but it is rich.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied beer with low carbonation. easy to drink; you would not think its almost 10%. Slight booze note present here.

Overall: Was hoping for a little more than what this was. A brown ale brewed with maple syrup and toasted pecans should be a pretty robust beer. Not what I imagined, but not not horrible either. If I did not read the label I would not have noticed or been looking for maple and pecan flavors.

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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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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 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 cosmicevan
3.66/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

big thanks to CraftyBastard for the bottle, enjoyed from a batch 002 TB oversized snifter.

a - brew pours cloudy brown that settles in the glass as opaque dark brown with almost purple highlights. frothy cream colored head didn't hang but left streaks of lace on the glass.

s - nose is as advertised, brown ale with maple syrup. some sweet malts give hints of nuts, but not specifically pecan.

t/m/o - the first thing that jumps out is the body. fairly full bodied while having a very silky feel. juice like. flavor is very sweet raisin, prune, brown sugar with yes...pecan. super sweet, not boozy aside from the sweetness. yet another interesting beer from shorts. these are all fun to try but there are only a handful of shorts brews that i would want a 6'er of and this one fits the one and done category.

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Photo of trxxpaxxs
3.53/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to wintbs379 for this bottle.

A: Pours a deep chestnut brown with about 1/2 finger of khaki colored head. The foam settles nicely along the top of the beer. There is very little lacing as it drinks.

S: It smells a little sweet with hints of roast and vanilla. There is also an unmistakable bit of tartness in the nose. I'm really hoping this beer hasn't "re-fermented". But then again... it is a Short's beer, so I would be surprised.

T: The initial hit is sweet malt mixed with some mild tartness. I then get some oily nuttiness, a little buttery, and a touch of booze. There might be a bit of a flavor issue with this brew, but it's not terrible.

M: Medium bodied beer. This beer is a bit brash right up front, but it turns quite silky and coating towards the finish. Like I mentioned earlier, it's a touch oily.

O: This beer is nothing special. I has high hopes based on the label description, but had no idea what to expect considering it's from Short's. I'd like to try this beer again in the future, but not from a bottle.

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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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