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 Greywulfken
3.87/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: deep brown and hazy with orange-red highlights; finger of tan foam left laces trailed behind

S: pecans and syrup and booze - some herbal and earthy elements; hints of spice and cinnamon

T: candied pecan and maple syrup flavors, slightly herbal and medicinal with some booze connotations, brown malty nuts and winter spice

M: medium body, modest carbonation, mildly bitter brown nut aftertaste

O: a decent brown ale with pecan and maple characteristics amply expressed

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Photo of PaulyB83
3.79/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Bottled 02/23/15

L- Deep hazy reddish brown, small light khaki head.

S- Fruity raisins, over ripe banana, light bit of apple. bit of alcohol.

T- Similar to aroma but with the alcohol coming out more, has an aftertaste that reminds me of pecans with a bit of a chalkiness.

F- Not too heavy for a high abv beer.

O- Pretty good but kinda hoping for more maple flavor.

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Photo of breakingbland
3.99/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

The pecan and maple do indeed add to this beer but in a fairly subtle way. The flavor profile is deep and rich and includes a barrel aged quality even though it's not a ba beer. The high gravity is evident but the alcoholic burn is minimal. The flavor components usually found in a porter are downplayed. I'll definitely look for this one again.

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Photo of Vogie
3.73/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bottled 2/23/15. Served in a tulip glass.

Pours a thick dirty cinnamon color with a soapy off white head that leaves a ring around the edges of the glass. Aromas of cherries, dark fruits, cinnamon, dark bread, maybe a hint of maple syrup, and heavy alcohol. Tastes of brown sugar, cinnamon, dark break, alcohol, hints of maple syrup and nuttiness on the backend. Almost has a lingering sweet peanut butter aftertaste. Mouthfeel is heavy, a little harsh, heavy on alcohol, and a dry finish.

A speciality double brown ale indeed. This was a good brew in complexity and experimentation. I wish the maple syrup and pecans were pulled out more. However this is a balanced brown ale that offers a bit of dry and sweet. Perfect for the colder months of the year and true to Short's style.

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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 Beerguy1969
3.69/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A slightly heavy ale, which I was expecting but a little more than expected I suppose. What compensates for the heaviness is the slight sweetness the maple syrup brings to the mix. Overall a good beer that I would recommend to friends and partake of myself again if given the opportunity.

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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 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 buschbeer
3.91/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12 fl. oz. bottle
Served in a perfect pint glass

A - It is a ruddy brown color with amber highlights. It is topped with an inch of mocha head.

S - I smell some sweet chocolate and the maple syrup. It does have a nutty smell to it, as well.

T - This beer starts out sweet with a touch of alcohol. Then it finishes with earthy, nutty brown ale flavors. The finish has enough bitterness to cancel out the sweetness up front.

M - Medium to full.

O - This is one flavorful brown ale. It gives me a nice warming sensation on a chilly fall day. It is perfect for today's weather.

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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 sleuthdog
3.35/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Thanks out to rpbuckeye for this one

Poured into my new Short's pint courtesy of rpbuckeye also

Pour: A nice rusty brown with reddish hues when held up to the light. Maybe a half finger of dirty white head that decided not to hold on. No lacing even when trying to produce some.

Smell: Sweet with a nutty like touch on the nose. I do pick up on the maple aspect of this with some brown sugar and dark fruits. There is some roasty notes within everything else.

Taste: Sweet for sure with toasted malts and the pecans in the back and aftertaste. It is somewhat a big beer in that it is very sweet and maybe too much so. There is the sweetness that I guess is from the maple syrup but it also has a burn sugar like quality. I am not getting much alcohol if at all.

Mouthfeel: I would describe this as medium maybe because of the sticky feel that seems to cover the palate but yet it is thin at the same time. Hard to describe for me. It is smooth and creamy with a let down on the thinness of this beer. Carbonation seems medium.

Overall: First offering from Short's and I guess I would say it is just ok. It is pretty easy to drink despite it's fairly high ABV but just too sweet and a bit off balance. I like the uniqueness of the nut flavor with the sweetness.

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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 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 SerialTicker
3.84/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Bottled 12/07/12

Appearance: A super dark brown color with a finger of head... lacing is minimal at best... nitro beer? The bubbles are almost microscopic, the beer's creaminess is unbelievable, and it just looks really, really nice.

Smell: Obviously, tons of malts ... but the maple syrup and nuttiness are also pretty prominent. Not a strong aroma by any means, but a pleasant one.

Taste: Most important part as always, and I'm not completely impressed. The beginning of each sip is a wallop of sweetness from the maple syrup and malts, and a good bit of nuttiness comes through in the middle. On the finish though, I get a super sweet alcohol taste ... the sweetness likely because of the syrup, and the 9.5% just isn't very well hidden here. The first few sips were especially alcohol-y, but it got better as the beer went on. The after taste and film on the roof of my mouth tastes like toasted pecans, which is what the beer's supposedly brewed with.

Woodmaster's not BAD. Not bad at all. I just find it to be a bit too sweet (wanted more of a maple FLAVOR and a little less of the maple SWEETNESS), and the alcohol comes through a bit too much for my liking.

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Photo of elNopalero
4.14/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

This pours a ruddy dark caramel brown color with very light, thin foam. There’s a light aroma defined by some sweet maple notes and a touch of mild caramel malt. The flavor has a pronounced bitterness that is appealing contrast to malt sweetness along with some maple notes. There’s some pecan on the finish but it doesn’t draw undue attention to itself. I get some heat but it’s on the mellow side. That said, I felt the abv before I noticed it.

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Photo of BlissJunkie
4.17/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer has been one year aged in a cellar. Upon opening it is still very maple forward. There is very little head even on an aggressive pour.
The color is definitely on par for a brown. It's not clear but it's not cloudy however you can see through it unlike a porter or a stout. First sip has a great amount of alcohol and lots of dark fruit. While the alcohol is the most dominate flavor, its not hot alcohols. Everything is very mellow and enjoyable. Past the figs and dates the pecans stand out more than the maple. The maple is present but it's more ambiguous and leaves you searching for all that makes this beer so good. It has a subtle but enjoyable carbonation.
I enjoy boozy olde ales and this one aged a year is definitely one of my favs. I enjoy it fresh as well but the year makes it a much more complex beer.

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Photo of HeightsEats
2.98/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance is dark brown, pretty much exactly what one would hope for a maple beer. Aroma is burnt caramel and maple, promising a flavorful, satisfying beer. Unfortunately, that promise ends up broken after a drink or two. The alcohol (9.5%) is not well-hidden at all, and a booze flavor predominates with just a little roasted malt and pecans in the aftertaste. I couldn't get through a bottle of this on its own, but having a meal to counterbalance the alcohol made it a little better.

Considering the high bar set by most Short's beers, this was a disappointment. A few months (or more) of ageing, though, might smooth out the flavors and improve it.

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Photo of tectactoe
3.77/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a mostly opaque, murky brown color, slightly reminiscent of a quad with less red tones in it; some light shines through the edges, but not much. Beige colored head settles down quick and leaves just a little bit of lacing on the way down. Aroma is full of some damp chocolate notes, toasted malts, faint nuts, and rubbing alcohol. The alcoholic aroma is actually quite strong - I don't smell much maple syrup as advertised. The taste, however, delivers with a bit of that maple goodness I was looking for; very nutty, woodsy, and maple flavored. Some toasted malts to back it up; light earthiness and not much of a hop profile to speak of. However, that rubbing alcohol flavor was abundant and almost a little too distracting, which was unfortunate. It was almost a little like nail polish remover - just kind of strong and in the way, but not enough to ruin the beer for me. Medium body, medium-high carbonation.

Pretty tasty beer - unfortunately, I think the alcoholic body masks some of the flavors a bit, and if that were toned down a little, this beer would be pretty damn good.

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Photo of sennin
2.78/5  rDev -26.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottled on January 2, 2012.
Poured into a pint glass on August 30, 2012

A: It's nothing special really. It is essentially what you would expect from a Brown Ale. But there is very little lacing and head retention, but I suppose that is a common trend with most of Short's brews. Even still, it is not a particularly "sticky" beer either, so the lacing doesn't really stay on the glass...a bit disappointing.

S: Not very good. I almost didn't drink this beer because of the smell alone! Sour milk is prominent scent up front with some dark chocolate, syrup, coffee, and burnt sugar like scent wavering around it. I know the beer has aged a bit, but honestly- it has hardly aged at all! Very odd smelling beer. But it isn't horribly off-putting I guess (I mean, I did still drink it).

T: This is a completely different story since the taste is actually quite alright. First taste is oddly of cherries to me with something of a coke like taste coming in a bit after. There is a subtle "nuttiness" in the background which I am sure is from the pecans. It later evolves into something of a coffee like taste. Syrup shows up much later in the tasting session but isn't prominent enough considering that it is a major ingredient in the beer. Regardless, it's a truly odd tasting beer, almost resembling a brown ale/cider fusion. Strange, but not necessarily bad.

M: Wet and silky on first taste, but quickly dries out, creating a kind of powdery feel on tongue. Bitterness is present and caresses the sides and back of the tongue. The dryness the brew leaves is a bit unpleasant though.

Overall, this beer was below average to me by Short's standards. I don't see myself buying it again anytime soon. But it may be worth trying for the odd experience it embodies alone.

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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 RuckusDu
2.66/5  rDev -29.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A - Maybe a third of a finger of large bubble off yellow head. Falls to nothing. Body is slightly cloudy caramel color.

S - I think it is a typical Short's scent, but not one that is very pleasant to me and I don't know if that is true. Sour milk with some wood and biscuit.

T - That sour milk is still there, but not as strong. Good malt flavor that goes with that biscuit-ness.

M - Good carbonation with moderate body.

O - Not that great as the sourness dominates. The malty backbone helps, but not enough to make it great.

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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 davey101
3.03/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

No idea what vintage this is. 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A - Dark brown body that lets light through. 2 finger high light khaki head settles into some edging. Weak retention, but tight bubbling.

S - Roasty and sweet. Maple syrup isn't present, but it is nutty with some burnt brown sugar and caramel malts. Warming and sort of out of balance.

T - Each sip has this one dimensional flavor that lasts through the entire time. Brown sugar, caramel, and toasted nuts. Its bizarre how the flavor doesn't change or break down. Finish is warming with a lingering nuttiness. High carbonation and a medium mouth feel.

O - I did not like this beer all that much. It seems to be a bit too sweet and nutty with a massive amount of carbonation.

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Photo of EJLinneman
3.7/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Whenever I hear that Shorts is coming out with a new beer, I always try to get my hands on it. The beers are always at the very least, interesting. This beer is no different. Short’s describes The Woodmaster as a “High gravity brown ale fermented with Michigan maple syrup & toasted pecans”.

The beer pours a very dark brown color. It’s almost to the point where I could mistake it for a porter. It’s well carbonated and a crème colored pillow of head forms and lasts for a few minutes. The head disappears and leaves a healthy amount of lacing along the sides of the glass.

Although this is brewed with maple syrup, the smell of it is very faint. There’s sweetness to the smell, but it comes off more as a milky sweetness. You can almost tell the type of mouthfeel this is going to have before you even drink it. As it warms that same sweetness comes out more, but very subtlety little by little. When it finally hits the optimal point, it’s smelly creamy with a little bit of syrup and pecans in the background.

At first taste it’s mildly sweet and you can taste the syrup a little bit. The syrup doesn’t make a huge impression, but it’s there. It then takes a dive into bitterness territory with still containing that slight sweetness. The bitterness splits off into an alcohol burn which melds itself with the bitterness– But again, nothing over powering. I’d say the most intense flavor that I’m getting is the herbal bitter finish which lasts for a substantial amount of time. It’s a rollercoaster and I don’t really know what to think of it. I’m intrigued, but mostly because I’m slightly confused with what just happened.

The mouthfeel is very light considering the alcohol content (9.5%). I could probably drink a few of these without a problem. Although I feel that it would probably get a little more difficult after 3.

Overall, it’s a good beer, but I’ve had much better from Shorts. My anticipation going into it was that I it would be much sweeter. However, the herbal woody taste – although not bad – really surprised me. I probably wouldn’t seek this beer out, but was glad I tried it.

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Photo of madeofsteel
4.12/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured into a nonic, it has a very pretty mahogany color. Some spotty lacing, and only a soapy ringlet around the outside.

S - Caramel, brown sugar, pecans, and warming/crisp alcohol. Inviting, it screams wintery desert beer.

T - Over the top. Lots of brown sugar and maple. Pecan fights for attention over these, but sort of loses out. Very rich.

M - Messy in the cheeks (ha) and has a warming finish. Nice mellow carb.

O - I love all of the flavors presented, I just don't have much of a sweet tooth. This is just too rich for me, like the beer equivalent of pecan pie or somesuch. Certainly worth a turn of the head, though.

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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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