Someone I work with lives in Michigan and gave me a couple bottles of this. Whenever I hear that Shorts is coming out with a new beer, I always try to get my hands on it. The beers are always at the very least, interesting. This beer is no different. Short’s describes The Woodmaster as a “High gravity brown ale fermented with Michigan maple syrup & toasted pecans”.
The beer pours a very dark brown color. It’s almost to the point where I could mistake it for a porter. It’s well carbonated and a crème colored pillow of head forms and lasts for a few minutes. The head disappears and leaves a healthy amount of lacing along the sides of the glass.
Although this is brewed with maple syrup, the smell of it is very faint. There’s sweetness to the smell, but it comes off more as a milky sweetness. You can almost tell the type of mouthfeel this is going to have before you even drink it. As it warms that same sweetness comes out more, but very subtlety little by little. When it finally hits the optimal point, it’s smelly creamy with a little bit of syrup and pecans in the background.
At first taste it’s mildly sweet and you can taste the syrup a little bit. The syrup doesn’t make a huge impression, but it’s there. It then takes a dive into bitterness territory with still containing that slight sweetness. The bitterness splits off into an alcohol burn which melds itself with the bitterness– But again, nothing over powering. I’d say the most intense flavor that I’m getting is the herbal bitter finish which lasts for a substantial amount of time. It’s a rollercoaster and I don’t really know what to think of it. I’m intrigued, but mostly because I’m slightly confused with what just happened.
The mouthfeel is very light considering the alcohol content (9.5%). I could probably drink a few of these without a problem. Although I feel that it would probably get a little more difficult after 3.
Overall, it’s a good beer, but I’ve had much better from Shorts. My anticipation going into it was that I it would be much sweeter. However, the herbal woody taste – although not bad – really surprised me. I probably wouldn’t seek this beer out, but was glad I tried it.