Imperial Black Cherry Porter | Short's Brewing Company

very good
37 Reviews
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Imperial Black Cherry PorterImperial Black Cherry Porter

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

Style: Baltic Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.75%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerBeing on 10-13-2007

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

For Trade:
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Reviews: 37 | Ratings: 45
Photo of SerialTicker
3.88/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Had this on-tap at HopCat Detroit's grand opening.

One of the more interesting beers I had ... a bit different than I was expecting. The smell isn't what I was expecting as it gives off almost a smokey smell. This has a pretty ash/char-like malt flavor with a really nice cherry flavor with a little tanginess. Aftertaste is some more of that almost burnt malt, but it works really well. It really tastes like a porter rather than a stout due to its thin-ISH feel. I wasn't huge on Bell's Cherry Stout, but thought cherries in a dark beer like a stout or porter could easily be great, and Short's did it. I might like more of a chocolate flavor in place of the char-ish character, but it's still damn good.

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Photo of womencantsail
4.22/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Chris for sharing this one at Saturday's tasting.

A: The pour is dark, dark brown, some might call it black. Very little carbonation and no head.

S: A strong note of fleshy black cherries along with a nice bit of dark chocolate and a mild roasted character. Pretty solid combination here.

T: The cherries are fairly sweet which is balanced nicely by the roasted malts of the base porter. A good underlying chocolate flavor which provides a bit of sweetness and very little bitterness.

M: The carbonation is very low, nearly non-existent but it doesn't seem to distract from the enjoyment at all. Medium in body and still a bit light on the tongue even with the lack of bubbles.

D: I was surprised how much cherry flavor was still present in the beer, but pleasantly so. The alcohol is well hidden and a really nice drinking experience.

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Photo of klikger
3.48/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

2 to 3 oz. from a 2006 750ml bottle poured into a tulip glass

A - Very dark red in color; small brown head with light lacing.

S - Maraschino cherries and not much else

T - Roasted malts and cherry juice dominate the taste, with very little, if any, hops still detectable. Finishes a bit sweet for me.

M - Lighter than I'd expect, with no carbonation to speak of. That said, it still feels good.

D - A few sips were enough for me.

This was an interesting taster, and I'm glad that I tried it. Although the age on the bottle may have made it slightly past it's prime (?), I can't help but think I'd feel mostly the same if trying a new batch. I'll have another sip next time I see some, but I won't be seeking this out.

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Photo of levifunk
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had at Madison, WI BA Tasting #2

This is an '06 bottle.

appearance - black, looks to be quite thick.
smell - malts, smokey like a BBQ. not picking up the cherry.
taste - tastes like charcoal. malts and a bitterness.
mouth - much more fluffy than I expected. its thick, but has a strong carbonation.
overall - I would say 4 years is past this beers prime, but have never had it fresh. Another BA'er, who has had it fresh, agreed with me though. Some people said they could still taste the cherry, but to me it was not there.

I'm going to give this 4's across the board so as not to mess with its rating, but know that at 4 years, I would rate this much lower.

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Photo of Deuane
4.27/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-Deep, black/brown with a thin dark tan head that left spotty lace.

S-Nice combination of aromas to include dark, bitter chocolate, sour cherry, astringent oak and a light whiff of espresso.

T-Tart, sour cherries up front with a nice backing of chocolate malt, lesser amounts of roasted caramel malt and touch of espresso. Mild shot of earthy hops thrown in for good measure.

M-Medium bodied, fairly rich with a drying finish. Long lasting bitterness from the chocolate and espresso combo.

D-Much better than expected. Quite tart with a pleasant counter balance from the bitter qualities. Totally delicious and immensely drinkable.

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Photo of kbeals
4.25/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours out jet black with two fingers of fizzy brown head. Good head retention and lacing.

S- Chocolate, vanilla and sweet caramel malts. Cherries come in very subtly with just a touch of tartness. Overall, pretty complex.

T- This is where the cherries stand out a bit. The tartness of them sticks out just enough so you definitely know that they are there. Hitns of chocolate make it taste like chocolate covered cherries. Absolutely delicious.

M- Heavy body, smooth with little carbonation.

D- The sweetness of it gets to me a little bit, but the tartness of the cherries helps to balance it out a bit. Lower ABV helps make this a pretty good drinker. Another great brew form Short's!

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Photo of nickd717
4.23/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle via trade thanks to Tyson on BA.

Pours darkest brown with a light tan head that lasts and leaves great lacing and some foam on top.

Aroma is roast and black cherry, maybe a little chocolate. Not too sweet.

Flavor is really well-balanced and excellent. Black cherry, roasted malt, and dark chocolate.

Medium-full and very smooth on the mouthfeel with some roasty bitterness.

High drinkability. Overall a really excellent beer, as most of this series has been.

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Photo of waltonc
4.28/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to dukedevil0 for an epic trade. Many great brews involved in that exchange, and this was one of them. Pours an impenetrable brown, with nearly an inch of tan head that recedes to nice swirls in my New Belgium glass. Smells predominantly of chocolate and cherries. Flavor follows - again, chocolate and cherries balance each other out quite evenly. Neither is overbearing. There's a hint of tartness from the cherries, but it's subtle. The flavor is a little sweet, but far from excessive. Body is on the thicker side of medium. Overall, I think this is a fantastic brew. A refreshing change of pace from all of the barrel aged stuff I've been drinking lately. A great effort that succeeds based on creativity and skill, rather than merely dumping beer into a barrel and charging a premium for it.

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Photo of ffejherb
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle into goblet on 11/18/09. Thanks to Deuane for picking this up for me during a trip to Short's brewery.

A - Poured a deep onyx black body with subtle royal purple hues and a thick, creamy finger's width of mocha-colored head that reduced to a patchy film and sparse lacing.

S - Initial aroma is quite roasty with coffee notes and a hint of cherry tartness in the background. Subtle licorice, molasses and tangy fruit notes also emerged as the liquid warmed up a bit.

T - Like the aroma, the roasted malt character transfers over to the flavor with plenty of coffee and chocolate notes. A decent amount of nutty astringency appears in the middle through to the finish, while a subtle hint of vanilla smooths things out and bit and sweetens the flavor, while a mild dark fruit presence adds a bit of sour tang. Finishes with a slight cherry tartness.

M - Medium bodied with a pretty slick texture and ample carbonation. Finish is semi-dry with mild astringency and subtle bitterness on the palate.

D - While this didn't really feature the pitted fruit as much as I was hoping, I found this to still be a tasty, complex fruit beer, especially after it reached room temperature.

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Photo of BigAl723
4.42/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Uptown Grille in Walled Lake, MI.

A: It pours a dark brown, even black with a hint of ruby. Very aggressive looking with a nice one inch head. It stuck around too.

S: A cold winter breeze, hints of cocoa and coffee, dark fruit, molasses, and obviously some cherry. A real nice fragrant porter. Very inviting.

T: Heavy chocolate, rye bread, fruit hints, and dark fruits at that. I really liked how at first you taste a lot of the sweetness and fruit and then it kind of settles down with some nice roasted malts. Topped off right at the end with a little more cherry of course. This is a solid brew. I'm impressed.

M: The carbonation seemed to be perfect because the overall mouthfeel was very smooth and medium to medium heavy.

D: Very drinkable for being a heavier porter. Very good, I could have been fooled if someone told me the ABV was lower.

Overall, another solid offering from "that brewery up north". At least that's what I call it because of it's close proximity to our cabins up north. Lots of flavor, real complex, good tasting, and easy to drink. Now that's my kind of brew.

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Photo of tpd975
4.02/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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

A: Dark black, small head, no retention or lace.

S: Lots of roast, notes of chocolate, sort of earthy, with some dark fruit.

T: Some chocolate, roasted malt, dark black cherries, and light brown sugar.

M: Medium in body, lower in carbonation.

D: Not bad. Not the best of the Imperial Series, but still good.

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Photo of OChaos
4.16/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Picked this up at the brewery June 08... Finally shared with Dad and Big Port today..

Great appearance, dark as a stout, pours nice with a light tan head.

Great black cherry and chocolate malt aroma. Black cherry smell is nice on the nose with the chocolate following close behind.

Taste is much like the smell, nice cherry front with chocolate in the middle and a sweet cherry finish, this beer is much better then the carob stout I tried before.

Mouthfeel is a 5 for 5, nice think beer with appropriate carbonation for the style.

Overall, I was really happy with this one, as it warms the flavor is really coming out of this one. As I mentioned before, the carob stout really let me down and this beer makes up and more, would recommend to anyone.

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Photo of ClockworkOrange
3.57/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Deuane for bringing this back from MI for me. A capped 750ml bottle poured into my nonic Imperial pint glass. Shorts Brewing Company Limited Edition Release # 488 of 792. The porter appears a dark brown color with deep violet hues and about an inch of quickly fading ecru colored head. The foam leaves no lacing to speak of. Aromas and flavors consist of dark cherry skins, cherry puree, bittersweet chocolate, cocoa dusted black cherries, slight notes of alcohol, caramel, molasses, cherry vanilla. Smells better than it tastes. Medium bodied with rather light carbonation, evident from the time I flipped the crown off and barley a sound was heard. Thanks again for the chance to try this one Deuane!

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Photo of urwatuh8
3.37/5  rDev -16%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Thanks to nflmvp for the trade. Bottle number 568 of 792.

Pours a purplish black. thin head. A huge fruit tartiness. A bit of licorice and roastiness. Hints of bitter chocolate, leather, vanilla. Kind of like sucking on cherry pits. I'm not getting as much sweetness as many reviews, maybe that's the age. Odd fruity tang. Dry, acidic, pungent. Especially in the back. medium to thick mouthfeel. Slightly juicy. Just the right amount of carbonation. Alcohol is invisible.

This is interesting. But the flavors just don't fit that well together for me. I can respect it. I drank all of the bottle save a little I shared with my dad. But I wouldn't bother to seek it out again.

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Photo of Derek
3.92/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Black with a tan head, thin ring of retention, leaves some leg.

S: Black licorice, black strap molasses, bakers chocolate, hints of coffee and a cherry-like fruitiness.

T: There is some underlying baltic-like flavours here, but they're fairly subtle (black licorice, black strap molasses, soya sauce). There's also some bakers chocolate, rye bread and a pleasant fruitiness (though I wouldn't peg it as cherry if I hadn't known). Good bitterness.

M: Full body is very smooth with a slight roasted acidity. Extremely impressive for its strength.

D: This big boy is a pleasant sipper.

Thanks Sammy!

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Photo of Sammy
3.8/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

bottle from the brewery. Pours black cherry with off-white soapy head, and it is lacey. Above average mouthfeel. Aroma has roast and sugar. This is a very drinkable porter, with cherry, and cherry in secondary, and natural taste to it. Surpringly mild, not a baltic but a plain american porter with some cherries well-integarted.

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Photo of younger35
3.47/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Received this brew in a trade with OHLRangers. I'm super pumped to try this brew and hope it's full of cherry goodness. I've been a bit worried about this brew for quite some time since it showed up at my door frozen many months ago. Drank from my Surly Darkness snifter.

Imperial Porter fermented with fresh sweet black cherries
Date Brewed: 7/19/06
Batch No: 214
Date Bottled: 2/19/07
Non Traditional Ingredients: Northern Michigan Sweet Black Cherries
Imperial Beer 8 of 13
Bottle Number 356 of 792

Appearance- Pours a ridiculously dark black that forms a nice dark one finger tannish head that recedes fairly quickly, especially considering the size. A decent collar and spotty cap are all that remain.
Smell- A slight bit of fruity tart cherry is immediately noticeable and better yet discernable. Most of the time in these fruit beers you can't tell what the fruit really is, just that it contains fruit. Rich and roasty with a bit of a chocolaty Tootsie Roll base that has some light caramel as well. A bit of vanilla and cream top off the fairly simple nose.
Taste- Starts very roasted and lightly bitter from the big malted char. A oddly fruity tartness is honestly sort of weird but definitely not horrible. Its just seems a bit too tart, especially for sweet cherries. Some caramel and vanilla finish the beer but honestly the only real thing I get is a harsh roast and tart cherry.
Mouthfeel- Light carbonation that seems spot on for a sort of thinish beer. Its not watery by any means, just seems like it could have a bit more body considering the size of the brew.
Drinkability- The nose is fantastic but the beer is just sorta blah. It's like burnt cherries in a way. The first glass wasn't so bad but the second got to be a bit cloying and honestly a bit much. Not what I was expecting and kind of disappointing. Thank

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Photo of chinabeergeek
3.6/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

on-tap during the short's throwdown at the roadhouse, in brookline, ma, on april 24, 2009, the week of the craft brewers conference.

nearly opaque, even under the light. brown head with almost red tint, is thin but creamy. very thin layer persists to the end. splotchy lace, much of it doesn't stick for long and slides back down.

aroma: molasses and gentle roast give way to cherries with notes of coffee and vanilla. yeasty esters and trace of mash acidity.

taste: similar molasses, caramel and malt flavors, meeting with fruity cherry, vanilla, with coffee hint and some acidity, both fruity and stout-like. mild to moderate bitterness, but more in the background. tartness of the cherries comes out even more as it warms, and eventually some weird characters to the flavor appear, some of it even bordering on... vomit...? nothing too bad, but anyway, to its credit the cherry flavor is very genuine and natural, never artificial.

medium body, smooth at first, with some acidity and astringency in the finish. gentle carbonation actually brings out the acidity.

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Photo of DefenCorps
4.25/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Deuane for this at The Graduation Tasting

A: Black with a thick, dark head that dissipates a bit too quickly.

S: Wow. Chocolate and cherries. Heavy, roasted malt sweetness which is vanilla like, and surprisingly rich. The tartness lends a complexity that's intriguing

T: Opens up with plenty of chocolate, and great roasted malt flavors with an excellent cherry flavor to complement and contrast the sweetness. Finishes dry with dark chocolate. Raisins and port mid palate.

M: Light but decent heft, plenty of carbonation, nice finish

D: Very enjoyable, glad I got to try this

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Photo of gford217
4.12/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750mL bottle #558, courtesy of rlcnmeyer, poured into a snifter.

This one pours dark, dark brown out of the bottle and settles in completely black in the glass. The head is big and tan and hangs onto the glass on the way down leaving spotty lacing. I'd swear the head has hints of pink in it, but I could be crazy.

The nose is outstanding. It has the standard roasted dark malt backbone with some coffee, cocoa and licorice. The sweetness of the cherries is there but very subtle and doesn't disrupt the big porter character as much as it accentuates it.

The taste brings out a little more of the cherries. It has an initial tart cherry sweetness that immediately gives way to the roasted malts and coffee. The finish is interesting and has a bit of dry roasted character but with a definite tart cherry presence.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with good carbonation and an interesting mix of roasted character with sweetness and a slight dryness mixed together.

Another interesting and excellent take on a style by Shorts. The cherries add just the right amount and tartness and sweetness without becoming the centerpiece of the solid porter underneath. Excellent.

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Photo of treyrab
4.15/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to Deuane and Carolyn for bringing this to our graduation tasting! Poured into six taster glasses for us...

A: Pours a dark brown (basically black) but with some clarity and noticeably brown and crimson edges. Yields a nice light tan head that is expected but it does not last too long.

S: Very enticing. Smells of rich, spicy blackberry pie. The scent is not very fragrant, but it is mild. Very spicy smelling (clove, cinnamon, perhaps nutmeg), some sour black cherry and nice bitter chocolate.

T: Fairly light, but with great flavors of sour black cherries, and tons of spice. The spice is really what stuck out for me, but that is not a bad thing. Spicy, black cherry fruits that are sour, bitter chocolate. Just tasty.

Overall, this is an easy drink, but a great one at that. It wasn't bursting in your face with flavor but it was a very well done Cherry Porter! Thanks again Deuane and Carolyn!

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Photo of Floydster
3.68/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottles acquired in trades with hoppymeal and OHLRangers, thanks to Derek and Ed, bottle #366 of 792, 3 of 13 in the series consumed 3/10/09, reviewed from notes, also sampled again courtesy of JohnC at the Bruery Saturday a few days after I cracked one of my bottles, color is nearly black but there is some red around the edges, thin 1/2 inch creamy beige head that does not last long at all, no lacing, aroma is full of black cherries, it better be if there is over five hundred pounds in there and they are from the cherry capital of the world, also dark chocolate, roasted malts, black licorice, and burned barley, taste is only sweet at first with mild fruit, roasted malts make up the middle and finish, it pretty much tastes like a standard porter, cherries are way stronger in the aroma rather than the flavor, taste is dryer than you would expect a fruit infused brew, dry, roasted, and slightly sweet mouthfeel, medium bodied, low level of carbonation, could drink the whole bottle and got close to doing so, not too heavy, alcohol is hidden well too, pretty smooth for its style, although it was not my favorite brew of this series and I am not a huge fan of cherries, this one worked well, this was bottled in February of 2007 and seems to be holding up well, although I will probably drink my other bottle in six months or so because I do not how much longer it will stay that way, worth trying

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Photo of tmoneyba
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by alexsdad06.

Pours ruby color with an average frothy brown head that was lasting with excellent lacing. Moderate to heavy toasted dark chocolate, dark cherry and malt aroma. Medium to full body with a thick smooth texture and flat texture. Medium bittersweet flavor with a medium bittersweet finish of moderate duration.

This is a could have been a standout porter, soft finish.

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Photo of gordavidson
4.7/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle #525 of 792
Date Brewed- 7.19.06
Date Bottled- 2.19.07

A- Absolutely pitch black with a thick brown head that settles to a moderate covering with pretty good retention. This looks like one of the blackest imperial stouts.

S- Smell is very deep. The notes of chocolate, coffee, and northern Michigan black cherries blend beautifully into a very smooth experience. Excellent.

T- Slightly sweet, slightly tart. The roasty background goes well with the cherry flavor. This doesn't have that typical aged quality, but this seems as though the flavors have mellowed and blended over time.

M- Velvety smooth with the perfect amount of carbonation to keep things from getting sticky or cloying. Very clean aftertaste, which causes me to keep going back for more.

D- Very enjoyable. What a treat. Very easy to drink and absolutely unbelievable. I had trouble finding any flaws in this, but just missed the mark of being perfect.

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Photo of BeerTruth
4.12/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to iceicebaby for this Short's brew.

750 ml bottle poured into a nonic. Bottle #377 of 792.

Pours a onyx black with a quick one finger dark brown head that falls to a thin layer of foam. Some spotty lacing remains on the sides of the glass as well. Smell is pretty smokey with chocolate malts and espresso. Tart dark cherries, rhubarb, and some spice in the nose as well, definitely a unique aroma for a porter. Taste starts off with mild cherry pie filling, chocolate malts, and coffee beans. Midway the smokey malts really emerge on the tongue and linger into the earthy wood aftertaste. The cherry flavor is very mild and kept in check quite well with the strong malt presence. Medium body with a prickly sting in the mouth from the somewhat aggressive carbonation. Not bad, but a bit smoother and I'd be a very happy man. I like this beer, unique as always coming from Short's but very tasty as well. Seeing the abv is above 8%, I'd be curious to see what some age would do to this.

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Imperial Black Cherry Porter from Short's Brewing Company
4.01 out of 5 based on 45 ratings.
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