Short's The Wizard | Short's Brewing Company

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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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Reviews: 101 | Ratings: 187
Photo of OWSLEY069
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep amber to brown-ish color with a light tan head. In the aroma, dark fruits, raisin, and a small alcohol note. In the taste, alcohol stands out, dark fruits, especially figs and raisin. A smooth and medium to bigger bodied mouthfeel, with a small dry dark fruitiness in the aftertaste. Not syrupy, and nice alcohol presence, not being that big.

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

poured into a tulip


Beer is dark brown, slight purplish color...kind of an ugly beer... About 1 fingers worth of light tan head. Some slight lacing going on the sides of the glass.


sweet caramelly malts with big time dark fruit/raisins..maybe a little TOO much raisin. A nice little hoppy aroma is present as well which surprised me. Slight alcohol presence, but really low for being 11%

*as the beer is warming up, the booziness really comes out*


sweet malts with some booze soaked raisins. The beer has a nice sweetness/bitterness ratio to it..I was expecting more of a sugary mess in this but it is pretty balanced from the hops. At then end you get hit with a nice boozy warmness to finish off the flavor.


medium bodied beer. Carbonation a little low but decent. I'm able to revive a slight amount of head from spinning the beer in my glass. The initial mouthfeel I feel like it's syrupy but then the bitterness in there really transforms it giving a slight dry finish.


A decent showing. I love raisins but this might be a little TOO much for me. I could go for a few more fruit notes in this beer instead of being raisin heavy. Would love to try the bourbon wizard as I've heard great things about it. I'm sure it would taste much different but I'm a fan of barrel aged beers. Of course, a little difficult to find for me unless I'm driving an hour out of my way, but I always pick up some Short's when I'm in MI.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
3/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Poured a dark brown with ruby red highlights leaving an ok tannish head which faded very fast

S: A muddied dark fruit nose and caramel mainly.

T: Caramel and fruit driven, with some sugar and booze behond it.

M: Sticky, sweet, nice body to it

D: An average bwine. Drinkable yes, go back to it? Nope

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Photo of billab914
3.35/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Dogfish snifter. It had a darker brown, raisin like color to it. It started with a thin white lacing barely covering the top of the beer, which lasted pretty well into drinking it.

The aroma shows a lot of the, dark fruit, fig and raisin like qualities to it. I also get a good dose of sweeter, brown sugar, malty flavors as well as some piny citrus as well. Some boozy alcohol seems to bring it together some.

The taste is very strong with the raisin and dark fruit flavors. The piny, grapefruit, citrus flavor comes through and adds a resiny bitterness to it. In the finish I get a lot of sweet, sugary, fruit flavors to it.

The mouthfeel is on the heavier side with carbonation being average for the style. Overall it was an interesting beer, but not an amazing one. I liked the dark fruit, raisin flavors up front, but it felt very sweet and sugary in the finish That hurt the drinkability for me some. I liked the aroma a lot though. It was a cool beer to try, but nothing I'd buy regularly.

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Photo of waltersrj
3.36/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pour: Caramel brown with a reddish golden hue and a slight off tan beady head around the glass' rim.

Nose: Heavy alcohol, caramel malt, citrus hops, orange zest, golden raisins, bread and light toffee.

Taste: Initial hot alcohol, slight chocolate, slight caramel malt, bread, citrus hops, orange zest, raisins, toffee and more alcohol.

Mouthfeel: Light for the style and very drying on the tongue. A hot burning alcohol heat that never leaves.

Overall: Different for the style. The light mouthfeel increases drinkability if you don't mind the heat of the alcohol. The flavors aren't very complex and everything seems light. I liked this and would love to cellar one to see how it changes and whether or not the heat would mellow. Good stuff.

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Photo of inilegna
4.77/5  rDev +26.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured this one into a small snifter. What an amazing beer!

A - Pours with almost no head. A rich, reddish brown -- amber -- and quite opaque.

S - Sweet, sun dried raisins and medium roasted malt. Strong fresh rolled oats. Syrupy and molasses-y.

T - Strong alcohol right at the tip, then sweet, malty raisin and molasses. Strong roasty malt, full bodied brown sugar. A bit of hops at the mid, citrus, like orange, in the nose and a caramely finish.

M - Smooth, syrupy, and slightly crisp. Not very carbonated. Tingly froth when swished around.

D - Very high -- but be careful @ 11%! Very good beer!

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

On tap @ the Sunset Grill & Tap (Allston, MA) on 3/11/11. Served in a tulip glass. This was listed as 13% ABV on the tap list here.

Pours a clear deep copper, topped with a ½ finger cap of stiff off-white head. This has a very robust looking retention going on with it, leaving back a rich cascade that settles into some thick spotty swathes of lacing. The aroma smells freshly floral, piney, and citric, which is layered on top of a powerful mix of chocolate, toffee, and burnt roast. The malts are big in the nose but those fresh American hops are even bigger here and pretty much control things. The high alcohol that is present gives this some robust heft in the nostrils.

Malts take over a bit more in the taste here, with notes of cocoa, brown sugar, and toffee and roast character that combine to give off a bit of a sweet molasses flavor. Hops add a good bit of citric fruit (bitter grapefruit is in abundance) and sticky pine resins to the profile. That big 13% ABV gives this warm notes of sweet alcohol and spice, which linger in the finish with leftover burnt malts and pithy bitter fruit. The mouthfeel is full bodied, with a big creamy feel that fills the mouth but then dies down some as you near the swallow. Overall, this is pretty lively in the mouth and succeeds in showcasing off all of those fresh hop flavors. As mentioned before, the hefty alcohol presence keeps itself confined to adding some extra complexity to the profiles and keeps any stinging heat out of the equation for the most part.

Well I'm glad that I got to experience this beast of a Barleywine on draft, where all of that fresh American hop character could shine but luckily not outshine those thick delicious malts and sweet spicy alcohol notes that were present as well. At 13% ABV, this is a sipper, but I was pleased to find that it was a smooth and complex one. I was really looking forward to this one during this Short's takeover and it did not disappoint.

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

Chilled 12oz bottle into a glass. From semibaked. Thanks!

A: Pours an opaque maroon body with a nice tan head. Decent retention, though lace is lacking (and not expected).

S: This is incredibly raisiny in the aroma. Mild caramel, figs, and a dose of citrus hops. It's not hoppy enough to be mistaken for, say, Bigfoot, but neither would it be mistaken for J.W. Lees.

T: Raisin flavors are unmistakable; I didn't even have to look at the bottle to pick those out. Lesser elements of figs, caramel, brown sugar, and citrus hops (grapefruit). There is also some hop bitterness that works very well here. It's very raisin-dominated, but I find myself wondering what some age and oxidation will do to the beer. It would be pretty interesting, I'm sure.

M: Medium-full bodied. Just a mild hint of booze, but it's not overpowering or clashing. Carbonation is on the low side, which works very well to enhance the body's heft and flavor expression, especially as it warms.

O: Enjoyable. I felt this was one of the better beers I received in the variety pack (and I enjoyed all of them to some degree). I'd have this again without waiting for any recipe tweaks.

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

on tap at sunset tap and grille in boston during the post-EBF brunch

Poured a deep caramel brown with some reddish hues. Nice froth of beige head sits on top, retaining with a layer of film and some webbed lacing on the glass.

A decent spike of thick bready malts, followed by light hoppiness, brown sugar, caramel, and some faint edges of raisin, date, and booze.

Rich malt flavors up front with brown sugar and some syrupy caramel. A bit sweet with some dark fruit such as raisins and figs. Decent hop presence, especially towards the finish. Alcohol warmth and fruit sweetness at the end.

Fuller bodied, a bit sticky and syrupy, coats the palate. Drinks pretty nicely, decent flavor, although a bit sweet like many of their beers are. I'd still drink this one again though.

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Photo of sweemzander
3.19/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz. bottle poured into a nonic. Thanks to steebo777 for the bottle!

(A)- Pours a deep and dark brown with ruby red highlights. Produced a good frothy tan head. Plenty of lacing.

(S)- A dark fruit profile with lots of raisin and caramel.

(T)- Similar profile as the smell was. Primarily a fruit driven beer and a raisin base. The background is primarily grain, barley and bread notes.

(M)- A good carbonation level and balance. A tad thin for a barleywine, but the flavor is there. I never would have thought this was 11%ABV.

(D)- A decent barleywine. Was expecting something richer, but this does have some depth; just a straightforward one.

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Photo of Brez07
3.3/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Received from kzoobrew in the Disc Golf BIF. 12oz bottle poured into a snifter

A: Pours a dark brown, opaque. The beer is somewhat translucent along the edges, with a purple tinge. Pour yields a 1/2 finger cream colored head. A swirl garners about that much, but it fades to a thin layer

S: Reminds me of a typical barleywine, but some of the ingredients aren't quite there. Some citrus (orange and lemon mostly) from the hops, so I'm assuming this is relatively fresh. Also some caramel malt. Getting some dark fruit as well, which I assume is from the raisin. Faint whiff of alcohol at the end

T: Initially hits the tongue with a tart fruit flavor. Blends with hop bitterness which cancels out any sweetness. There is some malt in the finish, but not much. Towards the end of the glass, this basically tastes like watered down red wine

M: Medium bodied. Light carbonation. Aftertaste is combination of bitter hops and slightly spoiled fruit. Finishes dry, almost like wine

D: Not quite what I was expecting. As mentioned, it had most aspects of a barleywine, just not quite up to par. The flavors didn't really blend well but did manage to hide the alcohol. Probably wouldn't seek out again

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Photo of alpinebryant
3.16/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a mahogany brown with white dusty head that is mostly just around the edges of a snifter after a few minutes.

Smell of strong Caramel, raisin and figs. Healthy dosing of citrusy hops.

Taste of sweet brown sugar, oakey raisin and fig components and a slightly astringent bite / aftertaste. It is relatively cardboard in flavor but could be from raisins in the primary fermentation, not sure. Strong hop presence that is both floral and citrusy that when mixed with caramel crystal and raisins creates a pretty potent flavored barleywine. The taste is not quite clean though, I like it enough , but its not quite done cleanly enough to enjoy more. Drinkability suffers from the aftertaste. High carbonation , medium body, very dry.

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

Poured from 12oz bottle. Thanks to VinnieVanGogh for the bottle.

A- Pours a nice darker brown color with red hues that really shine when held to the light. Half finger khaki colored head shows poor retention. Spotty lacing on the sides of the glass round out the appearance of the beer.

S- Carmael malts and hints of plum in the front of the aroma. The darker fruit really turns to raisin from the middle of the nose to the ending. Light brown sugar notes in the middle as well. The ending of the aroma has citrus hops in it which took me by surprise and a nice settle alcohol hint. Not a typical barleywine aroma for sure.

T- Caramel malts in the front of the beer with a hint of darker fruits give a nice malty start. Raisin does come in next but does not overly saturate the flavor. Bready caramel malts come back in the ending of the beer with a nice citrus hops. This almost balanced out the beer but there is a nice warming alcohol in the ending of the beer which went with the maltiness.

M- Medium heavy mouthfeel. Carbonation is light but fitting for Short's. Caramel malts, raisin, and citrus hops. Aftertaste is a lot of alcohol, caramel malts, raisins, and citrus hops. Flavors were not balanced and malty till the end but the hopping in the end brought it back a little. No off flavors were present when drinking this beer. High alcohol drying on the palate.

D- This beer was a nice drinker. A little age on this beer would do wonders I think. The ABV is high which limits the beer itself to only a couple before moving onto something else. There was a nice raisin flavoring to this that didn't go over the top but did add a nice layering to the flavoring.

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Photo of gnemesis
4.32/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 vintage bottle (12oz) poured into snifter on 3/1/11.
Pours a dark brown hue with a thin off-white topper. Recedes quickly and leaves no lace. The first thing I pick up is raisins and fig. My nose moves into some caramel, a drop of vanilla, and some brown sugar. The raisins, figs, caramel, and brown sugar play well after a few sips. Add to that a bit of earth and slight booze. The alcohol is not overwhelming and should be expected at 11%ABV. It provides nice warmth on a cold night. This tasty treat is full bodied and remains so as it warms. The low carbonation seems to be the norm for a barley wine of this gravity. The Wizard is pretty good and remains another unique brew from Short's. Some age will only improve this ale but from experience Short's doesn't recommend it. I will purchase again.

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