Review: Short’s Woodmaster

In Beer Reviews by Ryan

Short’s says:

“A high gravity American brown ale fermented with Northern Michigan maple syrup and toasted pecans. This dark brown, full bodied ale is rich with sweet malt and syrup flavors which are complimented by the presence of hop aromas and a faint nuttiness. The palate delights with toasted qualities of caramelized malt and an earthy pecan laced finish.”

Short’s Woodmaster
American Brown Ale, 9.5% ABV

I first sampled this beer about two months ago at Crunchy’s in East Lansing, MI.  They had a Short’s night recently and there were still a half-dozen or so beers on tap.  I wound up getting a flight of four Short’s beers including Short’s Woodmaster.  And as I sipped away on my 4 oz of brown ale made with pecans and maple syrup all I could think was, “where in the F are the pecans?”  For the life of me I couldn’t pick up a trace of nuttiness and the beer seemed much thinner than I anticipated.  Color me disappointed.

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But, I wanted to give this beer another shot so I picked up a single bottle to bring home and try and a later date.  That later date is now and that beer is far different than the sample I had on tap.

Woodmaster poured an opaque and ominous black in color building up to a thin, beige frothy head that quickly faded away leaving a bit of an oil slick behind with thin wisps of tan lacing throughout.  There’s all sorts of stuff happening in the nose of this beer; caramel, toffee, maple syrup and brown sugar.  It smells thick and viscous.  Tastes that way too.

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You get a punch of pecans right off the bat followed by some silky smooth maple syrup with some citrus-y hops mixed in for balance.  The syrup fades back in near the finish and so do the pecans giving this a pleasant, nutty aftertaste that hangs with you for a while.  The brown ale backbone provides some nice roasted malt undertones too.  This beer is awfully thick and coating.

This was a night and day difference from the sample I had on tap to what poured from this bottle.  This might rank right up there with some of my favorite Short’s offerings like Short’s Cake or the Anniversary Ale.

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About the Author



Equal parts beer nerd and policy geek, Ryan is now the curator of the Guys Drinking Beer cellar. The skills he once used to dig through the annals of state government as a political reporter are now put to use offering unique takes on barrel-aged stouts, years-old barleywines and 10 + year verticals.

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