Short's The Wizard | Short's Brewing Company

very good
187 Ratings
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Short's The WizardShort's The Wizard

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

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by webmanspidey on 12-28-2010

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Ratings: 187 |  Reviews: 101
Photo of JAXSON
3.35/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2011 bottle. Pours a clear dark ruby with a small head settling to a ring. Nose is a blast of resinous pine, sticky, with some sweeter darker fruits beneath. Interesting. Clearly tends toward an IPA, American end of the spectrum. Mouth is at first quite dry, almost stale. A fair amount of cardboard in the nose and the mouth. Short flavor profile. Not really what I expected, a kind of weird hybrid between a fresh IPA and a stale American barleywine, not really digging it. High carbonation. Drinkable at least, and I'll finish it, which is more than I can say for the Chop House sour disaster I just drainpoured.

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Photo of afksports
3.49/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I've been looking forward to trying a bunch of brews from Short's Brewing Company out in Michigan for a while. Thanks to my sister, Emily, I can. Thanks, for the box, Sis!

The Wizard was my first try, because I was in a barleywine type mood tonight. Plus there's some 666 reference on the bottle, so it makes me feel badass. It's a bottle from their most recent batch, so it's got no age on it.

I think that's probably a mistake. While the appearance of the beer, with its dark brown and purple hues and half finger tan head invites me to drink, the smell is a bit off-putting. Almost chemical-y. Lots of booze. A hint of raisins in the back, but mostly heat in the nose. The taste features a load of malts, and a tiny bit of dark fruits. Figs and raisins linger on the back of the palate after the swallow. Those notes are more and more prominent as the beer warms, and that does it a lot of favors. Because the 11% alcohol really comes through in the taste, too.

That said, it's certainly warming, its medium-body is smooth while drinking, with good carbonation.

I'll recommend my sister buy one, and age it a few years before drinking. I bet this Wizard will really do some magic.

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Photo of Pellinore1
3.8/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to kdub87 for sending this one.

Pours deep, barely translucent reddish brown, yielding a finger of light tan head. Possibly the darkest barleywine I've ever seen.

The smell is all dark, sweet malts, with suggestions of dark fruit, caramel, and a tiny whiff of booziness.

I taste fruit up front, followed by an interesting roastiness that reminds me more of a stout than a barleywine. Some refreshing bitterness in the finish prevents the sweetness from cloying.

Full and smooth on the tongue, the mouthfeel is good.

Drinkability is impressive considering the ABV. I barely taste the alcohol.

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Photo of TCHopCraver
4.05/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes written on 1/24/11.

The Wizard (Fred Savage, anyone?... "Get your power glove off her!") pours dark mahogany to brown with a beautiful ruby hue when held to light. The head is a half-finger tall and has a light khaki color with a tinge of brown. The lacing is nice- splashy and dotty.

The smell is very malty and fruity; I think the raisins play a huge role in this. There is a caramel and brown sugar smell, but it is more in the background than it is with most Barleywines. A sweeter citrus smell is also evident in the mix, as well as some plum and tropical fruit. The Shorts earthy-spice house smell leaves its trademark in the aroma on top of everything else.

This is a very cogent taste at first, with all of the component flavors blending well. Caramel, citrus hops, raisins, and darker fruits all harmonize to produce a tasty beer. The finish is nicely dry. It must be pretty heavily hopped to balance the boil time of six hours and sixty-six minutes.

The feel in my mouth is a medium to full bodied creaminess with a a nice hoppy and spicy finish. This is satisfyingly creamy, but very well balanced by a crisp and refreshing end.

For a big Barleywine this is very drinkable. I will have this again, for sure. The taste is smooth and the overall vibe of the beer suits me well.

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

Pours dark brown, barely allowing light through with half a finger of tan head that dissipates slowly. Smells very distinctively like a Shorts beer - their yeast has a bready, yeasty smell. Otherwise, just a touch of dark fruit or raisin and an even smaller hint of caramel. Tastes up front of a hint of brown sugar and caramel sweetness, mixed with raisin. A hop bitterness carries the flavor through the back end, finishing with a combination of hops and that bready yeast. The creaminess, and heavy mouthfeel that is not too sweet with a medium-low carbonation feels right on. At 11%, this is still a pretty drinkable brew. My next bottle is getting at least 6 months and should be even better. This is a pretty good beer that I could see being fantastic barrel-aged.

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Photo of woosterbill
3.9/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into a Birra del Borgo tulip. Thanks, Tony, for sharing.

A: Clear red-orange body with a layer of frothy light-brown head. Attractive.

S: Sweet citrus hops, candied raisins, and toffee malts. Straightforward and enjoyable.

T: Fruity up front, with malts and substantial hops bitterness closing things out. Very bright sweetness, along with clean bitterness. Nice.

M: Medium-bodied with moderate, soft carbonation.

D: The sweetness eventually overpowers the substantial bitterness, unfortunately. Still, quite good.

Notes: Solid, straightforward American Barleywine. Who would have thought that the most normal, to-style beer of the entire tasting would be brewed by Short's? Now that's crazy.


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Photo of cpetrone84
4.1/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-pours a dark transparent red with a thiner tan colored head.

S-an assertive dark malt quality dominates the aroma, hints of roasted coffee lie underneath, sticky malt sweetness in the back, pruney and plum like.

T-huge roasted malt flavors dominate the taste, very sticky and chewy malts with some light notes of roasted coffee. pretty well integrated flavors and a nice malty sweetness in the back adding notes of raisins and plums.

M-syrupy full body and very soft and creamy on the palate with lightly prickly carbonation in the finish.

D-this is a pretty nice barleywine with a nice balance of flavors and complexity. tasty stuff.

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

A huge thanks to Kevin (kzoobrew) for this great beer. Cheers buddy!

Appearance - Pours a dark mahogany color into my Russian River Tulip. Less than a finger of slight tan head is achieved with a moderate pour, which dissipates relatively fast leaving slight lacing.

Smell - Slight floral hops, orange, raisins, caramel and malts.

Taste - An interesting flavor profile. Definitely taste some piney citrus hops up front. Heavy caramel, malts, toffee, and dark fruits.

Mouthfeel - Creamy Mouthfeel, lower carbonation.

Drinkability - A sipper, though I have little if any alcohol taste or warming. A good beer by Short's but not one I'd probably seek out.

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Photo of BigMcLargeHuge
3.88/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tasted at the big "SeaBass has got to go" tasting courtesy of jdubFL over on ratebeer. 12oz bottle pours a nice ruby mahogany with thin off white head. The aroma is full of sweet dark fruity esters like prunes, cherries and slightly brighter berry notes and a touch of apple. The taste is similar with rich prunes, ripe cherries, some dark berry notes and sugar coated black currants mixing with rich malty sweetness. This is smooth and nice and just a little on the tart side.

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Photo of Magpie14
4.15/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: the body is in the range of tawny and chestnut browns. The pour brought forth a cascading of golden bubbles and helped form a dingy white foamy top. Sleek and shiny bubbles rest atop. Some lacing is present, very small though

S: the nose is nice with plenty of presence. A lot of snappy hops (both citrus and pine), raisins, hefty malts, and caramel. The nose is rather complex and full of life. Good stuff so far

T: great flavors going on in this one. Things are also pretty balanced and inviting. Plenty of pine laden hops with roasted toffee type malt notes. Caramel flavors are rich and compliment the darker side of things...darker as in raisins and sugary figs. After each sip a crisp pine and fruity resinous character cuts through and the pleasant battle between sweet and bitter continues.
I like it. In some ways it stretches the boundaries of what I would normally expect from a barleywine

M: pretty lush. Really smooth and mildly carbonated. Warming is a super plus as flavors and drink-ability increase. Body is hefty with proper feel

D: great warmer for cold nights. It seems that I am not the only one who wonders where the 11.0 ABV is? Crafted and drinks great considering it is firewater. This beer will always be welcomed. Short's can do no wrong!

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

Bottle courtesy of jale (thanks Jim!). This pours a dark reddish-brown, slightly hazy, with a thin poof of off-white foam.

The aroma has a lot going on, fairly complex with dark fruit (prune, raisin) and lots of maltiness, more sweet than roasted malt character. Some pine needle hops, not too aggressive but strong nonetheless. Overall it smells like an American barleywine rather than English.

Very sweet tasting and strong, ethanol is slightly apparent behind the rich malts and sugars. The raisin/prune character is also fairly straightforward in taste.

Kind of burny feeling, not too much but definitely slows down consumption. I guess it was a pretty good barleywine, a style that I have trouble warming up to.

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Photo of nkersten
3.67/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle provided by Erik, thanks! Poured into a NB globe, medium brown with a tiny tan collar, not a lot of active carbonation. Smell is not very much like a barleywine, lots of raisins, some caramel malty sweetness, plums, figs, a bit of alcohol. Taste is very subtle, sugary, dried fruit, raisins, prunes, pine hops in the finish to balance, some alcohol. Not mind blowing but decent. One of the first Short's beers I have had that didn't have a strange off flavor. Medium bodied with a very light carbonation, slightly hot. Overall, not a bad beer but not great for the style.

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Photo of otto251068
3.54/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a Chimay chalice. No freshness date.

Appearance: Dark brown with some hints of red when held up to the light. A thin layer of dense, dark brown head appears then fades to some wisps and a few spots.

Smell: A nice hoppy smell hits me first, a little piney, very interesting, leading to a touch of alcohol. Make that quite a bit of alcohol as the drink warms. Great roasted malts and some rich brown sugar round out the nose.

Taste: A lot going on here. There are some burnt and smokey flavors to kick it off, and then that 11% ABV takes over a little too much for my liking. The dark fruits are there, mainly raisins, but some plums, and with that comes the brown sugar sweetness. Nice maltiness to it. The sweetness really comes out nicely the longer I drink. To end it all there is a slight hoppy bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Full body with a medium carbonation. The carbonation really makes this beer more lively, (with the heavy chewy body), and enjoyable.

Overall: Very complex and there a lot of flavors that blend, compliment, and work nicely together. I could taste the 11% ABV a little more that what I would like, but as it warmed the sweetness really took over. Just not crazy about the burnt flavors and bitterness.

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Photo of gordavidson
3.93/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- A deep dark red/brown liquid with just the slightest haze to it. The light brown head is thin but creamy and leaves nice lacing.

S- Raisins, caramel, and brown sugar. A bit subdued for the style and alcohol content.

T- Smooth malty goodness with some raisins. Not much of an alcohol presence, which is surprising.

M- Very thick and creamy with lasting flavors. Coats the mouth.

D- Pretty tasty for the style. Doesn't really "pop," but it is impressive.

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Photo of GRPunk
4.14/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into my Duvel tulip.

A- A normal pour left a thin brown head atop a mahogany body with ruby edges. There were some nice sticky spots left on the glass.

S- Raisins and grassy hops at first. Sweet malts remind me of caramel or toffee. There's a hint of underlying alcohol, that's not harsh in any way. Some warmth brings out brown sugar and even rum-like qualities. More spice and leathery tones are in the background.

T- Very nice. Definite raisin notes. It's quite sweet. More toffee and almost a butter-candy flavor. Spicy hops take the edge off and offer some balance. Pleasant alcohol kicks in near the finish along with the hops that dry things out.

M- Way smoother than expected. It's lightly carbonated and pleasantly, full-bodied (staying just the right side of thick or syrupy). There's a really pleasant warm alcohol in the finish. It ends up pretty clean in the end.

D- Though not a "winter warmer" per se, it's a great beer for warming up on a cold winter day. I could see this as an awesome nightcap. While I'm not going to drink more than 1 or 2 in a sitting, I can really sit back and enjoy the complexity on this one.

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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

Graciously shared by TCHopCraver.

The Wizard pours a very dark ruby color and is ever so slightly cloudy. This is one of those beers that looks very nice when held up to a light, showing an attractive garnet hue. A fairly aggressive pour leads to a small parchment head that fades quickly. The lacing is about what I would expect on a malty high ABV brew.

The aroma is malty, but with a definite hit of piney citrus. There is a super intense dark fruity sweetness that smells sort of like jam that has been cooked down for too long. Some dark cherry notes and a bit of a spicy, earthy character are also present. This beer definitely has that Short's high gravity aroma to it.

The flavor is very enjoyable with a nice round sweetness. It is malty, fruity, earthy and ever so slightly peppery. There are notes of raisin, black sweet cherry, caramelized sugars and also a nice citrus zest kick. There is also a bit of brown sugary sweetness present.

The mouthfeel is medium with a nice finish that is sweet, but not cloying. There is a sort of zing on the end that really lightens up the finish. Zesty sweet notes like rum soaked grapefruit linger on the palate after swallowing.

When I first heard about this beer I immediately thought it was a cool idea, but pretty gimmicky. It turns out that like some of DFH's best brews, the gimmick helps make a very interesting and enjoyable brew. This is definitely one of my favorite barley wines and I really hope I can get my hands on the bourbon barrel aged version someday.

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Photo of SupaCelt
3.45/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours blood stain red with a scanty amount of spitty tan head that dusts the surface. Lace clings above the ruby. A nice visual appeal.

The nose is heavy on crusty, caramelized sugars and slightly spoiled dark fruit with dirty brown oak leaves and rooty stench. The barleywine trademark dark fruit undertones are present. A significant hop aroma emanates from beneath these old textures creating a rarity among the style. Smells oddly vanilla oaky although this may be a figment. Oak chips.

The taste is surprisingly mellow. Somewhat dry on the end of earthy sweetness. Again vanilla chips come into range creating a nearly milky tone. A fair amount of astringency. None of the over ripe darkness seems to shine through. Hops show up and dominate in the finish. A bizarre barleywine. Just barely squeeks in past a strong ale categorization. There are no elements that would demand another sample or propel this brew to the top of a group of its barleywine peers.

The mouthfeel is medium. Suitable.

The drinkability is fine. No offensive qualities are appreciated and no striking elements come through.

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Photo of slowbie
4.55/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a dark brown -- nearly black. When held up to the light some brilliant ruby hues come through. Right now it's sitting pretty much directly below the overhead light and it almost looks as if there's a red LED shining from underneath the glass.

Aroma is of chocolate covered cherries, a hint of alcohol and dark fruits, and some floral hops.

Taste is surprisingly different than the aroma. Big hoppy taste up front that fades nicely to some plum/fig/raisin flavors. An almost roasted note comes through in the middle.

Thick mouthfeel but not too syrupy sweet. Carbonation is enough to make it's point but not enough to interfere.

It's tough not to drink this one too fast. Delicious.

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Photo of jrallen34
3.44/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle, provided by Nate, drank from a Matilda tulip...Pours a watery semi translucent dark brown with lots of amber mixed throughout. A light tan head, not much of a looker...The aroma is really good, however, not reminiscent of a barleywine at all. Very sweet, lots of brown sugar, plums and raisins. Reminds me of a sweeter quad...The taste is off and a big let down, none of the sweetness of the nose comes through, chalky, flat, cardboard, a very rough slightly bitter. Toffee on the finish with mint, is weird and interesting. Wish more of those notes came through from the beginning.

The taste is really weird, not enjoyable. Can't recommend this.

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Photo of kohoutek
4.3/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The bottle describes the beer as a barleywine, brewed with raisins. A six hour & 66 minute boil was employed. Bring on the Maillard reaction!

Pours a hazy deep garnet/brown with little light penetration. Head is almost tan/orange in color. Head quickly dissipates into 1/2 to 3/4 surface coverage.

Aromas and flavors of toffee, dried dates, raisins, smoky, malty, iron, freshly baked bread, vanilla, caramel, dried autumn oak leaves and the slightest hint of dried orange peel.

The sweetness of this beer is present, but it is very nicely offset by a bright, clean and present hop bitterness.

A very unique and drinkable barleywine that seems to be more of an American/English hybrid. Clearly American yeast and IBUs, but it has English toffee and a lack of potent finishing hops.

At first I thought this beer was a bit two dimensional, but after my fourth bottle (not in one sitting!) its subtlety is growing on me. A very fresh, local offering.

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Photo of joshuaseresse
4.08/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Got this bottle in a recent trade with semibaked. Thanks a bunch! Poured into my town hall snifter:

A - Pours a damn near jet black with creamy brown hues toward the bottom. The strange thing is that when I first poured it it appeared to be black but the more time it sits in front of me the more brown it turns...interesting. An inch thick foam head that dies to foam ring around the edges with spotty white patches in the middle.

S - This one appears to smell more like a dark fruit, slight hoppy barley wine. Little bit of brown sugar and caramel, but the smells of dark fruit are black cherries and some apples. Interesting smell for a barley wine...

T - Wow, what a change from the smell. There are flavors of tabacco, leathery and oaky wood. A bit of burnt sugar, but lots of leather and tabacco. I'd give it a 4.25 but had to go with a 4 since I've never tasted a barley wine like this before.

M - Mouthfeel is good, nice carbonation and tingling vibrations in the after math. A bit drying but that's ok.

D - Pretty easy to drink. It seems that I encounter this with every Shorts beer; I get certain smells that are really unique and then once I taste it it does a total 180 and gives me way different flavors. I like Shorts and haven't had anything bad from them. I will say that all the brews I've had from them has been interesting to say the least. Worth a shot.

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Photo of JordanEllwanger
3.88/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark cola color with a lighter transparencey. A toffee mocha head leaves laces and some small to medium bubbles. A faint tracing of sediment on the bottom of the bottle. Smell is a hop aroma mixed well with some roasted malts. Can't really smell the raisins. Sweet on the tongue with a lot of hop bitterness the raisin flavor is there in the aftertaste bringing the fruity flavor to the taste. The alcohol is there but masked pretty well among the sugary sweet raisin and the oily bite of the hop. Lots of punch there. One of the better barleywines I've had.

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Photo of gford217
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another Shorts bottle from hoppymeal.

Pours dark chestnut brown that shows dark amber in the light with a one-inch beige head that recedes slowly to a thin collar.

First thing I notice in the nose is the hefty hop profile with some oranges and perfume-like floral notes. There is also a noticeable sweet caramel and raisin presence.

Taste has an initial floral hop kick with some tropical fruit thrown in. The backbone is sweet with caramel, vanilla and dark fruits, maybe some licorice. Finish is slightly astringent from the hops with some flowers.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied and very slick with soft carbonation.

As usual, an interesting effort from Shorts. I've never had a barleywine quite like this one with lots of hops but a very fruity backbone and lots of flowers, perfume almost. Unique.

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Photo of alcstradamus
2.95/5  rDev -22%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Pours a deep amber color with a finger of head that dies down to a collar.

Aroma is rich and malty with notes of flowery hops and raisin sweetness. Smells "thick"...if that even makes any sense??..??

The flavor is not what I was expecting at all. The raisin sweetness comes through but has a charred ashy quality on top of it that is kind of off-putting. Doesn't seem to be an off really seems purposefully done but it just doesn't mesh well with my palate.

The body is medium/full and carbonation is low and appropriate.

Overall this beer had the makings of being something special, but in the end the flavor profile was a huge letdown.

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Photo of Gorgoroth
4.65/5  rDev +23%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Purchased "hot" off the shelf from Martha's Vineyard at $2.49, shared with BA mermatinger and our wives in the Allerton Hotel, Chicago on our New Years weekend trip. Thanks to them for contributions on the tasting! From notes taken on 01/01/11.

Presentation: Typical Short's label layout on a brown 12oz bottle. Though this label, as with all Short's labels, lacks pertinent information such as ABV, bottling date, etc., I'm willing to give it a pass this time because this is some of the coolest damn artwork I've seen on a beer. Of course, I'm probably a bit biased due to my love of fantasy and occult-related stuff, stoner and doom metal, horror film, etc. But I love this artwork!! "Brewed for 6 hours and 66 minutes" -- that's gold! (And the 6-pack carton also says "brewed on Devil's Night").

Appearance: Shared pours into small (10oz?) snifters from the hotel bar. It is a crystal clear but very dark blood red or raisin color with low carbonation, small amounts of golden or cream-colored foam, and no lacing.

Smell: Upfront we have sour cherries, a hint of light roast coffee, fresh hops, baker's chocolate, and more dried dark fruit.

Taste: Bitter, bitter, bitter, front, middle, and back (but not in a bad way). Raisin and dark fruit flavors are apparent with an overtone of dry nutty bitterness, like raw walnuts. There is also a fairly prominent resinous flavor of fresh hops and grapefruit-like citrus.

Mouthfeel: The beer is nearly flat with a complex mouthfeel: bitter, dry, and oily. It is chalky and dry on the palate and tongue after swallowing, like after drinking French pressed dark roast coffee. I can only assume (due to lack of further information) that the ABV is somewhere between 8.5-9.5% (barrel-aged Wizard on-tap is nearly 11% I believe), and here the flavors and mouthfeel mask the alcohol very well; almost none is detected.

Drinkability & Final Thoughts: This beer is complex and strong. It has bold, intense flavors and mouthfeel and certainly a fairly high ABV which hits you after a few sips. It is very delicious and very drinkable, though quite potent on all fronts. The strong, resinous hops in the smell and flavor work great now but also indicate that, since this is a high-ABV barleywine, this is going to age very well! In my opinion, this is going to be another high-quality, low-price barleywine that ages for years to come in the realm of Sierra Nevada's Bigfoot and Brooklyn's Monster. I love everything about this beer (appearance, smell, flavor, label artwork, etc., etc.) and have had several bottles since the first one for this review. I'll continue to drink it as long as stock is available and will most certainly buy at least a sixer to age. Highly recommended!

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Short's The Wizard from Short's Brewing Company
3.78 out of 5 based on 187 ratings.
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