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 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 jale
3.5/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Pours a hazy copper-brown with a quarter of tan head.

S: Roasted malt, toasted nuts and some maple.

T: Slight maple and pecans. Quite boozy with a small amount of hop bitterness towards the end. I feel this is a bit light for a brown ale. Would like to have tasted more of that flavor.

M: Adequate carbonation. Somewhat thin for me.

D: One is enough for me. I'll keep a 6 pack for a time to see how this ages.

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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 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 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 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 LilBeerDoctor
3.38/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Reviewed on 6/29/2010. On tap at Shorts. Pours a dark amber brown with barely any head. Aroma of sweet nutty malt. Flavor of maple (but not so much maple sugar), nutty pecan, also a strange saltiness (mushrooms?). Not overly sugary or malty as I was expecting. Still, it didn't quite sit right with me. An interesting beer to try, but I'd suggest a small sample!

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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 webmanspidey
3.8/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Growler picked up at the pub. Dark brown with tan lacing. Smell is sweet and nutty. Taste is very sweet maple syrup up front fading into roasted pecans. The mix of the two makes you think of a great pancake breakfast. For 9.5% ABV this has excellent drinkabilty. Interesting and worth trying.

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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 BeerAdvocate
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beer review from BA Mag Oct 2007.

Extreme beer will never die, it will just become more difficult to be original. Original is what The Woodmaster is, a Double Brown Ale fermented with earthwork maple syrup and toasted pecans. Number 7 of 13 in their Imperial Beer Series.

The carbonation struggles through the semi-viscous brew to form a tight tiny-bubbled tan lace. Mildly hazed dark-mahogany color has a dull glow when put up to the light. This maple-caramel fusion jumps at the nose with suggestions of date sugar, ripe strawberries, rum and cocoa powder in the back. Very smooth at first sip but then the creaminess takes over with a lush full body. Mellow toasted-malt blankets the palate and cradles the rounded fruity ester and mild earthy, nutty character of the maple and pecans. Alcohol is very warming but does not get hot, hops are laid back and simply balance in their faded state. A tad mineral or salty in the semi-sweet finish.

How is a beer of 9.5% ABV so damn drinkable? It's scary in a way as this is a sipper, so make sure you have a friend or two to share the bottle with ... or not. The maple syrup does add a good amount of depth, as well as the pecans even though they stay a little vague. Vite Estreme Della Birra!

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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 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 brewandbbq
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle from the cellar.

Pours autumnal brown with a haze and a quarter inch of biege foam. Dotted lacing and a partial skim coat remained for the duration of the glass.

Aromatics lead off with maple syrup, caramel, sweet malt, and touch of toasted nuts. Proofing dough drizzeled with maple syrup and pecan dust.

On the fuller side of medium bodied with a sticky, tacky mouthfeel.

Sweet, plump malt, maple syrup, and a caramel reduction start the palate. Hints of chocolate, nuts, and a winey tartness follow through.

Finishes with lingering sweet syrup, rich malt, a warming booziness, and a mild tartness.

Quite sweet but probably the most maple I've had in a beer. The nuts are quite subdued at this point as well and a mild tartness seems to be developing.

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Photo of GbVDave
4.15/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750ml bottle into two St. Bernardus goblets. Thanks to HeatherAnn for the assist! Extra special thanks to Mentor for this from our recent trade! Also, thanks to Mentor for mailing me the hang tag/trading card. You rock, Paul!

Bottle # 496 of 936
Date Brewed: 3.20.07
Batch No: 289
Date Bottled: 5.9.07

A: Pours a muddy milk chocolate mixed with Grade B maple syrup color. Small khaki head gives way to thick bubbly ring and ample lace.

S: Aromas of tangy fruit, maple syrup, toasted nuts, cola nut, molassas, honey, vanilla, and pipe tobacco.

T: See above with a hint of brandy and/or rum, brown sugar, roasted nuts, and dry toasty malt.

M: Full bodied and sweet with the perfect amount of dry astringency.

D: Damn! We loved this beer! So rich and earthy, hopefully this becomes easier to find in the future.

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Photo of Arbitrator
3.35/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Chilled 750mL bottle, shared by ipa247 at his recent sour tasting. Thanks, Jeff.

A: Pours a port-like maroon body with moderately-retaining off-white head.

S: Maple, nuts (though I'd be hard-pressed to identify them as pecans after reading the bottle), toffee, caramel, toast.

T: About the same as the nose. It tips a little to the sweet side with toffee, caramel, toast, and maple. The nuts are.... bitter, almost like year-old walnuts (I know this because I have some in my cupboard).

M: It gets a bit cloying and syrupy after a number of sips, which is weird because it's fairly dry. I blame the carbonation, which seems a lit low. A bit boozy in the finish. A strange, uneven bitterness from the nuts, as I mentioned.

D: It wasn't awful, but I didn't care much for it. One of the weaker Short's beers I have had, though I love and commend their experimental side.

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Photo of grub
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Viggo opened this one up. thanks eric!

750ml bottle topped with a descriptive tag telling more about the beer. sampled jan 1/2010.

pours crystal clear deep red, almost brownish at a distance but showing a beautiful garnet and ruby blend when held to the light. the small fine tan head quickly drops to a thin ring around the glass. spotty lace.

aroma is good. warming alcohol. light maple. big caramel and toffee presence. pecan, almond, bit of peanut. multi-grain bread and biscuit. touch of apple and pear. light toasty character.

taste is neat. light alcohol. toasted multi-grain bread and biscuit. light cracker. caramel and toffee. bit of maple. pecan and almond. bit of oaky character. light vanilla. bit of apple and pear again. lightly fruity. bit of raisin and date.

mouthfeel is good. medium-large body. just over medium carbonation level.

drinkability is good. nice balance. neat depth. another interesting brew from a fine brewery.

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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 ritzkiss
3.85/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750ml split courtesy of Viggo - another gem on a good night, thanks man!

Pours an amber/auburn/brown with little head, has some retention - no issues there.

A rich, complex brown. Raisins, caramel, vanilla, sweet maple syrup, a light earthy pecan nuttiness, anise, a little bit of roast in there, honey, cocoa powder - a light hop bite in the finish to give some balance to the sweetness and booziness. Nice carbonation, pulls it all together. Balanced and rich, perhaps a little too much sweetness/syrupyness but what do you expect from a beer with maple syrup?

Rich and tasty, unique. Certainly worth a try.

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Photo of kbeals
3.78/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- 750 mL bottle poured into a pint glass. Looks like your typical brown ale with a dash of red thrown into the color mix. No real head to it, just a ring of white foam around the edge. Lacing was pretty decent surprisingly.

S- A bit of toasted pecan aroma up front then followed by a really strong smell of licorice. Unfortunately, it seems like the maple syrup has faded a bit from this beer.

T- Much the same as the smell. A bit of toasted flavor rounded out with the licorice flavor. Very interesting taste, I just wish the maple syrup showed up more.

M- Very smooth with a nice medium body. Not a whole lot of carbonation.

D- High ABV and the overall sweetness of this beer makes it a good sipper. There's no way I could have finished the whole bottle.

Overall, a very good beer. I think the age has changed the beer quite a bit. I would love to try this one fresh (hint, hint Short's).

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Photo of CoolJosh
3.96/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Shared with treyrab. He and I have had the pleasure of trying a lot of their imperial series beers, as well as their regular offerings. Neither of us have yet to be disappointed, and with this being one of the most anticipated beers of winter 09, I look forward to diving into my glass.

The appearance is that of your average brown ale minus the head. A little bit on the murkier side with some rusted red hues along the bottom and edges.

The smell comes very close to meeting expectations. A very nice toasted pecan scent matches well with the maple syrup used. Both of which carry over well into the taste and are met with a light sweet chocolate flavor. Unfortunately, some of the bitterness of a pour or aged brown ale is showing in the aftertaste. All in all, another great offering from Short's. Well done men!

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Photo of tpd975
3.92/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Huge thanks to jdubfl for bringing all the Short's beers in for a tasting.

A: Pours a nutty brown hue with no real head. No retention or lace.

S: Aroma of nuts, caramel, brown sugar, and maple.

T: Nice big nutty pecan flavor up front. Slight maple and a nice blend of spice. Earty, with a hint of bitterness. Kind of like the bitter you find in the pith of pecans.

M: Medium in body, on the flatter side when it comes to carbonation.

D: Good, unique which is a trend in the Short's Imperial series.

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Photo of Gtreid
3.41/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle poured into CCB stemware.

A: Pours a murky brown color, with not much head. And what was there did not retain well.

A: Smells of syrup and caramel malts. Not much hoppiness in this. I get a very subdued nuttiness, maybe from the pecans. Also a very prominent alcohol scent.

T: I get maple syrup, some nuts, and alcohol. Flavor is nice, just not as pronounced as I imagine it would have been when fresh. I get a little earthiness but not enough.

M: Mouthfeel is smooth for this Medium body beer. Not much carbonation going on.

D and overall impression: Drinkability falls a little short on this as well. A little too sweet for me. Overall, I think this had a little too much age on it. All of the flavors had mellowed, and I don't beleive this is what Joe intended this beer to taste like. Would have really liked to try it fresh and compare. But, I am reviewing this bottle, so i am not impressed. Skal.

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Photo of FtownThrowDown
3.95/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours brown in color, a little translucency around the edges. Smell is some light dark malts, and just a hint of alcohol. Taste is roasted malts, there's a good amount of alcohol in the taste. Very smooth and easy drinking. This is a good beer. There's even more alcohol showing up in the nose once this gets a chance to warm up. Another absolutely incredible beer from Short's. Wonderful beer from a wonderful brewery.

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Photo of gford217
3.82/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle courtesy of hoppymeal poured into a snifter.

Pours a dark cola brown with hints of amber around the edges and a small off-white head that doesn't linger long and leaves only a swirl along the top with no lacing.

The maple syrup is abundantly evident in the aroma, which is very sweet overall, with caramel and toffee coming through as well. There are hints of both the nuts and some booze which stings the nose slightly.

I think I would describe the taste as a slightly more abrasive version of the nose. It's got the maple syrup which sticks to the palate along with the alcohol which makes its presence felt in the finish especially. The overall character is slightly toasty with the pecans showing up in the background. As it warms, the abrasiveness fades a good bit and the flavors come together a bit better.

The mouthfeel is, not surprisingly, syrupy, and get almost cloying with the big maple syrup presence. The body is pretty heavy because of that and the carbonation is pretty light.

This is not one of my favorites in the imperial series (pretty high bar) and the sweetness is enough to limit the drinkability. Overall, it's a tasty brown and definitely better than most, just not quite as good as most of the other Shorts beers I've had.

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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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