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 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 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 ottovon
3.42/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

thanks to whiterascal for opening this.

A: pours out a murky, brown color with a light brown head, that fell quickly leaving a ring around the glass.

S: i get lots of roasted malt, and bittersweet chocolate. i also get coffee and molasses. there is subtle sweetness in the aroma as well, with hints of brown sugar and nuts. there is a bit of cherry in there, and a bit of sourness too.

T: roasted malt and molasses. burnt sugar. i also get dark chocolate, and some nuttiness. there is just a touch of sourness, and then it turns bitter. the bitterness reminds me of roasted/burnt malt. the finish is definitely bitter, and not in a great way, but then it leads to a nice dark chocolate flavor. there is some cherry in there as well.

M: it is a medium-thin with a good amount of carb.

O: this is an ok beer. i am not sure how much i like or dislike this beer in this moment. the bitterness is weird to me, but the after flavor is chocolaty and nutty and nice.

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

12oz bottle poured into a New Belgium globe. Bottle generously provided by Exiled, thanks Jason!

A - Pours a rather dark color, bordering on the darkest shades of brown with some brighter highlights around the edges. About a finger's worth of head builds, tan in color with moderate retention. The lacing is sparse, however, with not much sticking around from the foam of the head.

S - Immediately after smelling this I am relieved that it isn't an infected mess like nearly all of my past Short's experiences have been. It's rather complex, actually, and brings to mind a freshly baked pecan pie in the way that the sugar-coated pecan smell comes across. Lots of earthy malts are coming through here, as well as a nice maple syrup smell. You can almost smell how sticky this beer will be.

T - Thankfully, the taste mimics the smell nicely. Again, I'm getting the pecans and malts right away, and the earthiness lends an almost grittiness to the taste, as if eating them straight from the tree. The maple syrup ad brown sugar comes afterward to wash it away with a rich, sweet flavor. It's not as sweet as Clown Shoes' Pecan Pie Porter, which is a great thing, and I think it's a nice, unique flavor. Not getting much alcohol taste out of this at all.

M - Mouthfeel is medium-bodied with high carbonation. If I could change one thing about this beer, it is that I'd crank the carbonation down a little, as right now there's just a bit too much jazz going on. Otherwise, it finishes crisply and leaves a long aftertaste.

D - Drinkability is high. A noticeable pecan flavor mixed with maple syrup is a recipe for success. While not an everyday drinker for sure, this would be great in the dead of winter, much like the label depicts, but I also didn't mind drinking this one in June.

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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 badboyrsl84
3.35/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark brown in the tulip glass with an off white 1 inch head.

Smell - a strong fig smell. With further investigation I get a pecan/nutty smell and sweet malt, no hint of syrup like the bottle states.

Taste - it tastes very similar to the other shorts brew with fermented with peanuts. One again the figs stands out the most in the taste followed by the pecan nuttyness. It finishes with more fig/sweet malt.

Overall - ehhh its ok

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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 dfillius
3.08/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Aggressive pour yields 1/4 finger of tan head with poor retention. Cloudy reddish brown liquid. Big dose of sediment came out at end of pour. I'd like more head.

S: Toffee, caramel, alcohol/booze, brandy.

T: Alcohol at first, closing with nuty pecan. A lot more balanced than I expected. After a while though, the intro becomes very hot - way too much. If it stayed like the first sips, I'd like more. This one could use some age maybe.

M: Not as hot as I expected at first, then way too hot later on! Nuttiness adds some complexity and roundness.

D: Too hot for me to have another, or even want to finish 12 oz. I won't buy again.

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Photo of AleWatcher
3.28/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle into pint glass.

A rust colored body sits below a brown sugar colored head. Two fingers of thick impenetrable head looked great at first, but dissipated into a foamy cap pretty quickly. Some noodley appendages of lace cling and reach for the top of my pint.

Smells sweet. Really sweet. Plenty of malts and a sugary maple syrup bite. No hops. There is a toasted nuttiness here too but it is much more mild in the taste.
The flavor is certainly sweet-- caramel malts and hints of chocolate too, then maple syrup. The beer has the toasty nuttiness hitting towards the finish, and it makes an effort to dry the beer out a bit, but the overly-sweet brew will not allow the residual sugars to go down without a fight.

Pretty fulll body with decent carbonation... Leaves a syrupy feel coating my mouth and teeth.

Overall, this beer is like crystal meth: might be fun to try once, but certainly bot something I will be looking for in the future.

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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 LuthersLager
3.39/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Short's beers are always worth a try. Sometimes I find a unique and amazing beer, sometime not so much. Woodmaster was one I opened with great anticipation. I'm a huge fan of Michigan flavors; cherries, blueberries & maple syrup and this beer boasts maple syrup in the description. I've had a lot of maple syrup beers that frankly should have left the maple syrup out of their name. Short's typically can nail the flavors they boast in their beer. But like many other maple syrup beers Woodmaster fell short. Its a good brown ale, but nothing exceptional. Tastes like many other craft brew brown ales that use dark brown sugar or molasses, but lacks distinct maple syrup flavor.

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Photo of Lunch
2.53/5  rDev -33.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

12oz. bottle poured into a 16oz. Old Rasputin nonic pint glass.

As soon as I open this motherfucker I was greeted with what I thought was a hint of infection. Smelled sweet and sour as it poured a chestnut brown into the glass with a sizable head. Goddamnit, Short's get your act together. Infection is not as prominent in the taste which is dominated by a sweet maple. Overly carbonated and fizzy.

Beware of any of Short's beers in a bottle.

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

12oz bottle poured into snifter - thanks to Donerik for this one

Pours a mostly clouded deep brown, some faint cherry hues, a layer of tanned head dissolves into a layer of film. Plenty of spotty and patchy lacing on the glass.

Plenty of nuttiness in the nose with some vanilla and maple syrup. Toasted pecans, a bit sweet with brown sugar, and some alcohol warmth.

Decent nutty malt bill right up front with roasted tones. Pecans and syrup are definitely present, some caramel and a touch of chocolate as well. Finishes with some alcohol warmth and some lingering dryness.

Fuller medium body, sticky and creamy, decent carbonation. Pretty nice flavor, I like the integration of syrup and nuts to the brown ale, although it didn't seem to completely mesh together.

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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 TheDudeRules
1.58/5  rDev -58.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Reviewed from notes taken on 4-3-11.

Pours a light brown with an off white head. Nothing too fancy here. I'm picking up some sour on the nose. In fact it's controlling the scent.

Pretty light mouthfeel. A slight carbonation. The taste? Well that is downright horrific. Best way to describe it is toasted crushed up aspirin. A drain pour for sure.

Not sure what went wrong here. Bottle was maybe old? The beer flat out sucks? I'd like to say I would try it again, but if it never crosses my lips I'm fine with that outcome too. For sure an avoid at all costs.

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Photo of rrheisler
3.77/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle courtesy of fellow BA, jchristie. Not a bad trade for a can of Dale's Pale Ale...

A: Pours a deep mahogany out of the bottle, with a small lingering creamy head. Nothing to write home about here.

S: A thick, syrupy waft of maple hits the nose first. A hint of alcohol winds up clearing that scent out. The way the booze comes through is almost like a winter wind while collecting maple sap: it cuts through the beauty, smacking you in the face, making you realize how much more work you have to do. A touch of pecan comes through later, warming you back up on the way through, as if you've entered the sugar house. Pardon the analogies, as I've done some sap collecting, and I know that it's part of the picture on the bottle...but still.

T: Big crash of maple dances across the tongue. It starts about mid-tongue, and then works it's way towards the back of the palate. It warms you for the hints of vanilla and pecan that come next, before the alcohol comes in, all hot and harsh. The booziness lingers into your next sip, leaving for an interesting play between the syrup and alcohol. It almost works, but just misses.

M: It's almost like syrup that hasn't gone through finishing yet: still a touch on the thin side, but playful on the tongue.

O: An interesting beer, for sure. It definitely leaves a bunch of the typical brown ale considerations behind, in favor of the experimentation with the maple flavorings. Good, but not great.

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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 steve8robin
3.62/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Got this in a recent BIF! Glad to try some more Shorts stuff. 12oz bottle...

A: A nice dark murky brown that has a small tan head that faces quickly to a lace atop the brew. Decent.

S: A hint of sweet malt sugars upfront with some nice caramel in the middle. Some apple scents on the backend. Good.

T: A watery autumn type malt upfront, kind of like malty breadiness. A slight hop bitterness hidden in the backend with a dry rye flavor. Decent.

M: Medium body with a good carbonation. A nice bready dry finish. Decent.

O: This is a decent beer.

All in all, this is a decent beer. There's much better in the style, so not amazing, but decent. Not worth hunting.

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Photo of boralyl
3.46/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to drewba for providing this as an extra.

A - Pours a very dark brown with a bit of light coming through. It produces an inch of tan head when poured into the tulip that fades fairly quickly, but leaves some nice lacing.

S - Has some roasted malts and nuttiness, as well as a slight sourness. After a few wafts the sourness is the most apparent smell. The sour aroma isn't in your face, but it's noticeable. Possible infection?

M - Medium to full in body with light carbonation which allows for a creamy feel.

T - Roasted pecans up front followed by maple syrup. Some roasted malts and nuttiness hit towards the middle. There is a little bit of green apple in the finish, that I don't think was intended to be there. I can't say I really taste any of the alcohol, so it's hidden pretty well.

It is a good beer, but I think I may have gotten a bad bottle. I'd like to try it again because I think it has potential.

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Photo of Gfunk720
3.48/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Jason for this bottle from a BIF. 12oz bottle, into my Trois Pistoles glass.

A- Brown and murky in color, with maybe a touch of redish hue. The head is perfect, and lasts forever. The lacing is also very impressive.

S- Very malt heavy. I get some nutty and sweet smells. Nice but fairly one dimensional. No maple here.

T- Quite sharp, and a little funky. I taste the pecans, and some molassas flavor. There are some hints of apple as well. Not sure if all Shorts beers taste like this, but most that I've had are fairly sour/lactic tasting.

M- Has a good deal of bite, and is a bit overwhelming on the palate at first. The aftertaste is very nice, and lingers on deliciously for a while.

O- I'm kind of torn as to how I feel about this beer. It's fairly tasty, but just not quite there. I still get some lactic/sour flavor from it, which I get from many shorts beers. Not sure if it is intentional or not.


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

big thanks to erikkoppin for this one - #4 from a great short mixed six.

poured cold and aggressively from the bottle to a founder's brewing company goblet an opaque dark mahogany brown with a 1/2 finger, short lasting tan head.

aroma of raisins, buttery brown sugar and molasses.

nutty, dark blackstrap molasses, dates. a very sharp, not at all mellow, taste.

medium bodied, medium carbonation, more bitter than sweet - actually sticky sweet.

drinkable - nah, not really.

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Photo of DavoleBomb
4.16/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter.

3.5 A: Murky dark brown color. One and a half fingers of tan head with average retention given the ABV and some spotty lacing.

4.5 S: Wonderful! All the best aspects of a brown are here - plenty of nuts, toasty, caramel, toffee, and brown sugar. Raisin fruitiness and tobacco. Then the maple syrup kicks in making this unique and the pecans kicks the nuttiness into overdrive. Booze is well hidden. Very well done.

4.0 T: The taste is sweeter than the nose suggests. The caramel comes out to play and brings the toffee with it. Nuttiness is there is ample amounts again with brown sugar, toastiness, raisin, fig, and tobacco. I don't know if it is partially due to the maple syrup, but there's a sourish sweetness in this. It isn't off-putting or anything bad though.

3.5 M: Medium body. A bit lighter than I would prefer for this beer. Good moderate carbonation. A bit chewy. Reasonably creamy and smooth.

4.0 D: I like me some brown ales and this is a good one. All the best qualities of a brown and some interesting additives to keep it fresh.

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

Pours a healthy chestnut / pecan brown with light tan bubbles that primarily sit around the edges directly after the pour.

Smell of oak, toasted almond, pecan and other nuts and brown sugar. There is quite a boozy aroma that is inviting.

Taste of ripe pecan nuts. Sticky nutty aroma lingers around until you cannot hold back I had to take a taste. It was hard because after a long day at work 12+ hours I am both very hungry and thirsty. There is a definite maple syrup presence, but after brewing my own maple ale with a lot higher percentage of maple syrup in it, this didnt have a chance. Where it does very well though is in the nut and woodsy flavors. I wouldnt hesitate that this is a very beefed up Oktoberfest beer with a similar yeast profile mixed with Old Ale characteristics. Slight astringent bite at the end but hard to complain with such a large amount of brown ale character. This is tasty stuff, wish I had a few more hanging around.

Medium to light mouthfeel for a 9.5% and a medium to light carbonation which seems about right for the style. Overall a very good brown ale.

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Photo of SeaUrchin
3.64/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

bottle poured into my duvel tulip, 4th bottle before i decided to review it, i was confused about this one on my first bottle, s i held off, but because i was so excited about its release i figured i should do this at some point

appearance - a light-dark brown color, similar to a caramel color, a bit cloudy, with noticeable carbonation, about a finger of light brown head, faded to a thin layer as i drank it, left decent lacing

smell - up front is strong maple syrup and nuts(without reading the bottle i dont know if i would have known it was pecans) there was a supporting cast of roasted malt and a slight alcoholic tinge, inviting nose

taste - up front is a maple sweetness and lightly roasted malts, this moves into a a nutty sweetness with the slightest bit of alcohol, the aftertaste is pecans and maple syrup, the sweetness is almost unpleasant in the aftertaste but the pecans help to balance it out

mouthfeel - thick, a bit gooey, but very pleasant, the carbonation helped to lighten it up so it didnt feel like i was drinking mrs. buttersworth

drinkability - 1 at a time is enough for me, good but i didnt have an urge to grab another immediately, definitely a dessert beer for me

overall - overall this is a good beer, not the best buy something i have drank since and will drink again

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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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