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Anniversary Ale | Short's Brewing Company

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Anniversary AleAnniversary Ale

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

Style: Wheatwine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
2009 Tap only
2010 Tap and bottle
2013 Tap and bottle

Same recipe every year, according to the brewer, though ABV varies slightly.

"Anniversary Ale~ A high gravity wheat wine made with blood oranges that render an alluring dark purple hue to the color. Flavor abounds from the spice of green peppercorns and tang from blood orange zest. Aggressive dry hop additions amplify the citrus overtones and spiciness found throughout. ‘Anni’ Ale typifies the full magnitude of Short’s Brewing Company by embodying all the complexities and fulfillment necessary to pay tribute to another year of brewing. 10% ABV 63 IBU's"

Added by hoppymeal on 05-08-2009

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Reviews: 203 | Ratings: 516
Photo of MarcatGSB
4.42/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Fresh 2011 batch purchased from Fitzgeralds Restaurant in Eagle River Michigan. Poured from bottle into snifter.

Appearance: Pours a deep ruby red with a golden white cream half finger fluffy head. Nice lacing that hangs around.

Nose: Blind nose would lead me to a sticky hop nose, but since i read, I know its straight citrus that I'm detecting...bit of toffee, caramel, and spice. Some alcohol in the nose, but not overbearing, really allowing the sweet/tart orange to come through.

Taste: Very, very unique. The mouth starts with a sweet hint of hop bitterness followed by a sweet citrus and toasted malt. The blood oranges shine brightly, supported by an astringent peppery palate. The zest of orange gives this beer a great crisp, dry, puckering quality that adds a fantastic level of complexity.

Mouth: Bright, dry, and crisp mouthful that is fun and not overwhelming. The alcohol is not overly noticeable, and in perfect balance.

Drink and overall: The Shorts legend continues to grow. Fantastic wheat wine, that shines with the addition of peppercorns and blood oranges. I'd say this is a hit, rather than a miss. A beer for savoring.

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Photo of kbeals
3.9/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Has a ruby red hue with an off-white head. A good descriptor for this beer is pretty.

S- Oranges and pepper are the first things I notice, also has a bit of a piney, hoppy smell to it. No alcohol aroma surprisingly.

T- The oranges work well in this beer, it helps to lend a sweetness to the beer and also mutes the burn from the alcohol a bit. Also has a big peppermint taste to it, very intriguing to say the least.

M- Very smooth and medium bodied.

D- The high ABV limited me to only one of these, but I'm very glad I was able to try this beer, definitely a different experience.

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Photo of CMUbrew
3.71/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

A: Slightly darker shade of orange. Head forms breifly before fading to absolutely nothing. Carbonation soon disappears completely.

S: Immediately upon opening the bottle I could smell the blood oranges. No mistaking that. Subtle spice notes are there also.

T: Definitely get the blood orange flavor here. Then you get a little bit of citrus zest before the peppercorns make their appearance. Pretty good spice presence that fades to some herbal flavors is what you get from them. The wheaty malt flavors are also noticeable. Where is the alcohol? Nowhere to be found until a decent amount of warming has taken place.

M: For 10% ABV this feels incredibly light, probably due to a large percentage of the malt being from wheat. Also feels a touch watery and flat in the mouth due to low carbonation.

O: I think I would like this beer a lot more without the peppercorns. While they do add interesting layers of flavor, I think they are also partly clashing with the blood oranges. This is an interesting beer and it was worth the purchase, but probably not one I'd have again.

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Photo of enfield249
3.57/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - Pours a very dark grapefruit reddish color. Lots of chunks and no head.

S - Orange!! Not citrus, not citrus hops, but orange. Maybe some citrus hops, but mostly orange.

T - Now, there is nothing wrong here. That said, it's like drinking grapefruit juice and beer. Nothing bad, just not a great taste.

M - Cloying, thick, pithy.

D - This another great beer from Shorts. You can dell it's a great execution, but I think the intent falls short. Worth a try if you can find it, and definitely an experience. Just not a amazing beer.

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Photo of klikger
3.73/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle served in a Bruery tulip.

A - Dark amber-red, large white head which shrinks quickly, great lacing

S - Belgian yeasts, candied sugar, peppercorns, and orange rinds

T - Blood oranges, alcohol --> maraschino cherries, fresh herbs (parsley?), cracked pepper, and a hint of wheat --> sweet caramel malts and some citrus hops --> almost (but not quite) medicinal sweetness mixed with grapefruit bitterness (more fruit than hop) on the end - enjoyably and intriguingly odd.

M - Medium-bodied for such a big beer, although it does get a little syrupy as time passes; decent carbonation

D - A sipper - a tasty, unique, boozy sipper

Definitely worth trying - weird for a wheatwine, but quite enjoyable. I won't seek this out but would be up for another some time.

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Photo of fear025
4.17/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Romulux for sharing this with me during our IP trade!

Aroma:Sweet orange, sweet malt, sweet hops in the nose.

Appearance:Dark honey color, very little head, low retention, low lacing.

Taste:Lots of orange, some grapefruit rind in the foretaste. Very sweet. In the midtaste, the hops come through a little more. The hops are all citrus. The slight orange tang continues through the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel:Light to medium body, a little bit abrasive on the back of my throat as I drink.

Drinkability:This is an incredible and complex wheatwine with amazing orange flavors.

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Photo of jt31914
3.7/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Glad I got to taste this, but at the end of the day I found it to be just a little bit weird for my taste. It is dark amber with no head or lacing. Smells like oranges and mango and tastes like wheat and oranges. Very citrusy and odd; not very drinkable to me due to the syrupy mouthfeel and the odd citrus. Pretty good, but also weird, which makes sense for Short's.

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Photo of cetherid
3.87/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

poured into a tulip


beer pours a murky orange/brown color. The head is almost non-existent on this beer.


the smell is pure blood oranges. Sweet fruity smell like orange gummie bears. Slight peppery smell in this beer but mainly oranges.


Same as nose. Sweet oranges... a little peppercorn with hints of bitter hops and booze. Perhaps a maltiness in the finish of this beer as well. This is a very unique brew.


about medium bodied. Decent carbonation. Almost leaves a sticky sweet coating in the mouth, like you just finished eating an orange or drinking some fruit juice. The booziness in the beer is pretty warming. Good for this below-zero night.


Unique none the less. Difficult to find and a little pricey for these beers, but I do enjoy it. It's a sipping beer, but the sweetness makes it feel like I could slam this. ABV is definitely prevalent. A beer you'd just have one of. I've had this out of a growler and a bottle and both were excellent. I'd have it again, but doubt I'll seek it out.

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Photo of bigaltemple
3.51/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Hazy, golden orange. White head shrinks to a thin halo. No real lacing to speak of. Pretty good show of effervescence though.

Seems to be as advertised. Get a lot of wheat, along with all things orange. Bright and sharp zest, as well as some sweet pulp.

Immediate thought is pink grapefruit. Seems to be some sweetness trying to fight its way out, but the grapefruit characteristic is too overpowering. Some orange rind mingles in as it warms a little. Also able to pull out some of the wheat notes. Mouthfeel is refreshingly crisp and wet.

Interesting brew, and an okay summer drink, but not something I would actively seek out again.

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Photo of TCHopCraver
3.98/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes on 7/20/10.

A: The color of this beer has a ruby and garnet hue, like a "sailor's warning" sunrise over North Lake Leelanau. This is truly a beautiful beer. An off white 1/2 finger head fades to leave an attractive haziness on top. Dotty lacing meanders slowly down the sides of the glass.

S: BAM! BLOOD ORANGES! Really, that is the dominant aroma. Deeper inhales reveal the green peppercorn spice complement. I smell some wheatwine characteristics, but they are pretty much overpowered by the citrus and spice. This is a unique and pleasant smell.

T: Much more complex than the smell. The blood orange taste is evident throughout the sip and speaks primarily to the broad top of my tongue. The green peppercorn spice is also omnipresent and bites at the sides and tip of my tongue. The backside of each sip is where this beer really gets wild and crazy. At roughly the same time, the alcoholic heat, full, creamy malts, and bitter hops play like a trumpet fanfare on my palate. It is amazing to me how lasting an impression the bittering hops leave on my tongue, because for most of the sip, this is a sweet and spicy beer.

M: With the sweet citrus, spicy peppercorn, hefty malts, bitter finish, and the high alcohol content, there is a lot substance to this MF. It is perhaps medium bodied, but the component parts really titillate my palate.

D: This is a really large and interesting beer which I have had a couple of times now. But, with its aggressive spiciness, high a.b.v., and dry finish, I don't think this would be a 'drink often' beer for me.

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Photo of Shumista
4.1/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours dark red brown, zero head despite an aggressive pour. Smells citrusy, very much like fresh squeezed orange juice. The peppercorns are in the nose as well, however much more subtly. Tart citrusy taste from the oranges, almost borders on sour. There is a spiciness from the peppercorns. Also some sweet caramel malt throughout. The mouthfeel is pretty thick and syrupy. Surprisingly drinkable for how sweet and high in alcohol it is. A really unique beer, worth tracking down and keeeping a few in the cellar.

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Photo of Kkottonmouthkngz
4.53/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: the color alone on this scores high points. ruby red/orange hued beauty. rocky, minimal head, but doesnt matter. the color is just amazing, i wouldnt want it any other way... wow.
S: reminds me of a recent trip to florida where we had fresh squeezed local oranges for juice in the mornings. just super concentrated orange blast, and again, huge points. theres just the tiniest hint of alcohol hidden in there, but you have to struggle to find it.
T: the intensity of the oranges backs off just a smidge, but only to let in the peppercorns, but i love how it works together. this beer so far really is just stunning. my tastebuds are going crazy right now.
M: i love how smooth this is and the light heat from the peppercorn just completes the goal at hand. medium body with low carbonation seems the right fit, i cant get enough.
D: if this werent utterly through the roof in terms of ABV, id drink it forever. i know by the time i get to the end ill be ready to move on, but i will be refilling its space in my cellar with more bottles. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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Photo of weizenbob
4.47/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 vintage. 12 ounce bottle poured into a large wine goblet. An aggressive pour yields half a finger of peach-tinted head. Retention is moderate, though better than expected for such a high-gravity brew. A ring of lacing holds to the top of the glass and glides down as the beer disappears. The beer is mahogany colored with precious little translucence. I'm assuming the color is a result of the blood oranges, and it is a pretty sight.

Oranges manifest themselves way up front on the nose. It's a sweet, citrusy, alcoholic blending that works really well. Spicy hops snap nicely and only serve to compliment the fruity aroma herein. It is unlike any beer, wheatwine or otherwise, that I've put my nostrils to; but it's such a natural combination that I'm amazed nobody has thought to brew this before now.

The flavor follows suit. Sweet tangerine-like flavor is first to impact the tongue. This is accompanied by a nice dose of piney hops (hop varieties were wonderfully matched to this brew). The citrus and hops lay a wonderfully spicy groundwork that is formidably matched by the heft of the malt profile. It is malty to the point of being syrupy. As the beer slides to the back of the mouth, a nice literal kick of peppercorn is noted. It's enough that you know there's some pepper in there, but not so much that it detracts from the rest of what is going on. The primary flavors are intense to the point that you don't notice the alcohol unless you're really looking for it. For being so overblown, it has great balance.

It's tough not to have a nice mouthfeel with a beer this big, and Anniversary Ale does not disappoint. It's thick; it has a lot of alcohol which makes it velvety. The carbonation level is absolutely perfect. The citrusy nature of the brew actually makes it refreshing, easily the most refreshing and easy drinking brew in its weight class. It's supposed to be a sipper, but I'm failing to pause for very long between sips.

For the most part, Short's unorthodox concoctions are hit or miss affairs. This one is a big hit. In fact, it may be my new favorite in their seasonal lineup. It looks interesting, smells, tastes and feels great. And it's refreshing to boot. It's the most drinkable 10% beer I've ever sampled. Hats off to you, Short's.


The Two-Schlitz Scale: (reference my profile for an explanation)
I give two Schlitz about Short's Anniversary Ale. Here's to another great year of brewing.

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Photo of techfed87
4.42/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice orange head. Color is a reddish amber.

Smell is very floral, with a nice, sour hoppy characteristic to it.

First sip is very hoppy, but at the same time quite circus-filled as well, almost like a grapefruit.

One of the big selling points of this beer comes from the blood oranges that they add to it, and I can say it really gives life to the flavor.

A very delicious beer and an excellent way to celebrate their sixth year of production. Very good job, Shorts!

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Photo of Masonz223
3.93/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Smell: orange juice white grape sweet fruit wine
Taste: alot of orange peel upfront middle of the mouth sweet orange a white wine flavor a faint tartness finishes with a slight peppery taste Some grapefruit hop bitterness and a mild alchool burn.
Feel: mediums to full body sticky syrupy mouthfeel.
Overall: lots of orange in this beer but also has a nice white wine Characteristic. Very nice.

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Photo of Wadsey
3.67/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Short's Anniversary Ale

Year-old bottle served at cellar temperature in DFH signature glass. 

A: Hazy amber with little effervescence. Insubstantial head subsides to thin skim. No lacing. 

S: Orange juice is prominent. Then citrus peels and maybe spice. 

T: Thin orange juice, then subdued spiciness of peppercorns, finally fresh red ruby grapefruit, which lingers on palate. The beer has a "soft" bitterness, which reminds me of citrus peels. Finishes very dry. 

M: Medium-heavy body and moderate carbonation. Soft on palate. Somewhat astringent. Not warming. 

O: I think the year in the cellar has helped this beer out, bringing its various elements into balance. An above-average wheatwine. 

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Photo of drewba
3.73/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Well, its color is...blood orange. Pours with a one finger off white head that has very little retention. Lots of big bubbles are lingering. This has some decent legs and splotchy lacing.

S - Unusual; smells faintly of a mimosa. This really does smell like blood oranges, but then this smell like cherry cough drops. Huh? I've not familiar at all with green peppercorns, but I think it's coming out in the smell as a dry earthiness.

T - Very interesting...artificial cherries, dry & semisweet orange, lemon rind, wood and plenty of that earthy pepper I'm getting in the smell. There is a tiny tart and funky pop at the end. This is quite fruity, but it's a little overshadowed by the ever present cough drop taste. This tastes like a cherry and raspberry ricola (obviously the best cough drop ever), but I feel like saying the taste is "interesting" is a little too polite. It's downright strange; not necessarily in a bad way, but it's just strange.

M - Syrupy, low carbonation. No complaints here.

O - I sipped on this for awhile and I'm still a little baffled. It isn't like anything I've had to date - oddly enough, it's almost like a flanders mixed with a saison.

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Photo of sennin
4.05/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 2.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a snifter on June 2, 2013.

A: Light caramel colored with a very smell white head that seems to quickly diminish, not a whole lot of lacing on the glass, rather average.

S: The smell is a completely different story, I mean wow. I get tangerines, oranges, blood oranges, peach, cherry tomatoes, and some pepper spice as well. An absolute bouquet of fruit- this beer is a feast for the senses. Excellent stuff.

T: First taste is a mix of grapefruit and oranges. Later, I get something like herbal, viney tomatoes which I guess isn't too surprising considering that this beer is rather similar to Short's other brew, Bloody Beer. There are a lot of similarities in taste between the two, but I definitely like this more considering that the tomato isn't super overwhelming like it is in Bloody Beer. Peppercorns are also heavily prevalent and it works very well with the lemon zest that eventually makes an appearance on the back-end, adding something of a bitter (but not overly so) backbone to the brew. It's also a very, very easy drinker. I would almost consider this a session beer for me.

M: Creamy and smooth, but nothing really to write home about. However, the moderate carbonation does add a very pleasant bubbly sensation on the tongue as the session goes on, which is a definite plus. Slightly above average mouthfeel here.

O: This is a great beer from Short's, the taste and smell are awesome and I think it is among the best of Short's line of eccentric brews. Very good, and definitely worth a try for sure.

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Photo of FlandersNed
3.53/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Tap. Lightly-hazy copper color., low off-white foam. Orangey/hoppy nose. Big green peppercorn & orange rind flavor. A bit boozy. Full body & medium to full carbonation.

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Photo of Tripphop
4.08/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep orange color in the glass, very sexy color. Head is absent, managed to force a few bubbles with a heavy pour, but they run and hide. The carbonation is present in the mouth, however. Aromas of sweet candied oranges, smells sticky. Flavor has god intensity, orange is nicely squeezed in the midpalate with a wheaty finish. A good bit of heat fro mthe booze, matches up nicely with the mellow, rich body to this beer. Very solid brew, my favorite of the Short's I've tried.

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Photo of DearthVader
4.08/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to jrags8 for this one!

Pours a ruby red with a great oranges glow that comes from the edges. A very aggressive pour produced nothing more than slight bubbles and absolutely no sign of lacing is left. Good thing this brews color is so appealing.

Smell is overwhelmed with orange and almost impossible to pick up the peppercorn, but it is there. I was hoping for a lot more pepper in the nose after reading the label, but was let down. Still had an intriguing aroma to it.

Taste is upfront with orange juice and a slight bitter grapefruit flavor. I can pick up a slight peppery taste that is followed by a bready flavor and a sweet malt backbone. Very enjoyable.

Mouthfeel is very full with a fairly low amount of carbonation. You definitely can't detect it's 11.7% ABV.

I'm very happy with my first offering from Shorts. I've heard some mixed reviews on these extremely experimental brewers, but I look forward to trying out a few more.

Thanks again Jim!

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Photo of grrrah
3.75/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Clear, burnt orange/copper. No head with a very thin white collar. No lacing and very little carbonation.

Smell: Loaded with citrus, mostly grapefruit and orange pulp.

Taste: Grapefruits and blood oranges. Rich and juicy with a citrus juice tart. Wheat adds carame to the fruits. Not getting much booziness.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with a little more carbonation than appears. Slick and smooth. Clean finish almost like the carbonated juice drinks.

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Photo of decadance
4.1/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Lucky enough to stumble upon this.

A - Would look like a reddish amber if not for the lack of any head.

S - This is a smell of sweet citrus on top of wheat. Very pleasant.

T - Wow. It is tart citrus and grapefruit with a background of sweet citrus and wheat.

M - It is a little thick. It is a bit cloying on the palate.

D - You sip it. You drink one. You are over. The taste is so complex you don't want anything before it to muss up the taste buds, nor do you want (or need anything after).

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Photo of MasterfulIdiot
3.59/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

10th anniversary edition (2014) poured into an Ikea snifter. The pour kicks up a relatively modest cream-colored head that fades quickly and leaves no lace to speak of. The liquid itself is a nice transparent gold with amber hues.

Wow - aroma is a citrus knockout! It's not the bright orange or lemon that I normally think of when I think citrus, it's a lot darker and more floral than that, making me think of plums and raspberries. I guess this is what blood orange smells like, but I'm not at all well-versed in semi-obscure citrus fruits. I also get hints of a caramel sweetness.

Flavor follows the aroma pretty closely, with some surprising bitterness from an herbal hop presence thrown in on the finish. The fruit flavor here is really wonderful. However, with the caramel sweetness, fruit sweetness, and then finishing bitterness, it ends up feeling almost too sweet and too bitter at the same time. Still, the flavors are pretty nice, just not necessarily in conjunction with each other. I was a little underwhelmed with how the flavor compares to the aroma. Still, the flavor from the blood oranges is really wonderful, so I have to give it some points for that!

Mouthfeel is medium-bodied, with somewhat heavy carbonation, which is nicely pleasant.

Overall, there was some really nice fruit flavor, but it didn't really come together on the palate for me.

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Photo of badboyrsl84
4.2/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours red/orange in the glass with a little white lacing around the glass

Smell - blood orange right off the bat. Tartness and some sweetness brought on by the fruit.

Taste - bitter tartness from the blood orange. Its a good taste though. I get a little peppercorns in the aftertaste. But the bit from the citrius acidic blood orange fruit dominates. No hint of the 11% alcohol.

Overall - it's unlike any beer I've ever had. I can respect what Shorts was trying to do. It may not be the most drinkable beer but its one of the most memorable I've had from them.

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Anniversary Ale from Short's Brewing Company
3.96 out of 5 based on 516 ratings.
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