1. American Craft Beer Fest is this weekend in Boston, Mass. Join us for 640+ beers from 140+ brewers! Tickets for Friday, May 29 are still available. Cheers!

Mexican Cake - Westbrook Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Mexican CakeMexican Cake

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
97
world-class

1,819 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,819
Reviews: 206
rAvg: 4.38
pDev: 9.13%
Wants: 1,362
Gots: 318 | FT: 29
Brewed by:
Westbrook Brewing Co. visit their website
South Carolina, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial Stout |  10.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Netdigger2 on 02-01-2012

Happy birthday to us! To celebrate our first year as a brewery we brewed a serious imperial stout and aged it on cocoa nibs, vanilla beans, cinnamon sticks, and fresh habanero peppers. This is the first offering in our annual Anniversary series. Here’s to many more!

50 IBU
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
to view more.
Ratings: 1,819 | Reviews: 206
Reviews by UnderPressure:
Photo of UnderPressure
4.36/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

In bottle 2 months.

Pitch opaque black with a really thick, seriously dark brown head. It looks delicious.

Rich, dark malty aroma. Strong chocolate and some coffee also.

Really complex flavors going on here. Lots of chocolate, some spice. A tingling on the tongue (from the habaneros, I assume.).

Thick, thick mouthfeel. One of the heaviest bodied beers I've had in a while.

I'm glad I had the opportunity to try this beer. I really like the peppers.

More User Reviews:
Photo of obiwan_k3n00bi
2.75/5  rDev -37.2%

It tastes like they added chalk to a mediocre stout.

Photo of mabermud
4.5/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Look: Luscious dark chocolate body. Fine, dense, deep-colored mocha head. With a twirl of the glass, the head curtains and easily cascades down the side of the glass.
Smell: The smell is of Mexican hot chocolate, except this drink isn't warm in temperature. Rich, unsweetened chocolate, cocoa powder, vanilla, cinnamon, and sweetness. Faint hints of mole spice.
Taste: See above. Mmmmmmm...The habanero pepper adds a nice little kick. No alcohol detected, maybe I drink too much...Nah.
Feel: Substantial. Silk-smooth. Creamy. Dense.

Overall - I am impressed. I thought the habanero kick would have significantly dissipated, but I was wrong. Better than Hunahpu, no. Better than Xocoveza, yes. Better than Cafe Con Lech, different. Better than Belching Beaver Horchata Milk Stout, different. Nonetheless, these are all different beers with different adjuncts. It does show how much ethnic tastes and flavors can influence beer. This is a high end stout that shows off the Mexican influence. This is definitely something I will seek out in the near future.

Photo of tectactoe
4.34/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Got a few bottles of this from various people - thank you to all. The pour is very dark; dark enough to be called black, allowing almost no light to pass through when staring directly at it. The head is a thing of beauty; fine-bubbled, foamy, and mocha in color, it's slow to settle down and leaves pretty decent lacing for a 10%+ ABV imperial stout.

At first, the aroma took me back and seemed just a tad cluttered. Luckily, as things progressed and the beer warmed up a bit, the different aromatic elements started to mesh and intertwine quite nicely, which is a good thing since there's so much going on. I highly suggest letting this one warm a bit before enjoying it.

The nose is heavy with milky chocolates, sweet, sweet vanilla beans, substantial roasted malt, and a light dash of cinnamon. Peppers go somewhat unnoticed in the aroma, and any kind of spiciness noted can probably be attributed to the cinnamon. Very robust smelling, a complex and nice execution of many different parts. Mild leathery notes on the very back end.

The first sip starts off with a beautiful dose of roasted malts before quickly becoming compounded with mounds of cocoa nibs and lively, sweet vanilla. It tastes like a molten fudge cake with warm vanilla drizzle on top. Very sweet, pushing the edge of almost being too sweet, but luckily falling just short and remaining manageable the whole time.

Cinnamon is a bit understated at first, but becomes quite nice with even more warmth; nice, toasty cinnamon flavor without being too spicy on the tongue. Peppers don't add much flavor-wise, but they are appreciated in the form of a lasting tingle on the very back of the throat and tongue. A solid, layered addition without adding any real "heat" to the brew, rendering it undrinkable.

Mexican Cake finishes with a sweet, resounding aftertaste full of nuttiness, vanilla, heavy fudge, a touch of cinnamon, and some tingling pepper presence. The viscous and thick body is just shy of chewy, but feels good for a stout; medium carbonation. I was hesitant to try this because with this list of ingredients, things could easily have gone awry. Luckily the execution was great, and the beer was really quite tasty.

Photo of barhoc11
4.75/5  rDev +8.4%

I was surprised how good this was for the style. Big upfront cinnamon flavor that mellows into a smooth vanilla taste with a decent amount of pepper burn at the end. Impressed!

Photo of mverity
4.63/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

2013 bottle from Hop City in Atlanta. Pours a pitch black with milk chocolate head that held pretty well. Medium collar and fair lacing. Aroma is deeply roasted malt, slight spice, slight vanilla. Taste has a warmth from the habenero, very dark earthy-sweet malt, slight vanilla. Rich body and mouthfeel, low carbonation.

Photo of aquazr1
4.5/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Perfect chocolate and pepper flavors.

Photo of frenchblood21
4.48/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottle into Founders KBS goblet. Date of review is 7/23/14.

Appearance- One of the best looking beers I have ever seen. A vigorous pour results in a 3/4 inch SUPER creamy cardboard brown head. Lacing seems to be spectacular right out of the fridge.

Smell- I get roasted malt right away. I would argue cinnamon is the next scent followed by vanilla, hot peppers and chocolate. This is quite a unique smelling beer.

Taste- Wow, chocolate and coconut almost knock me out in a fantastic kind of way. I also get smooth creamy vanilla and the heat from the peppers. Cinnamon is taking a backseat in the flavor for sure.

Mouthfeel- Just about as close to perfect as a beer can get. Super creamy vanilla makes you think this is a milk stout, then BAM, hot peppers. Makes your throat tingle long after you swallow and I LOVE it.

Overall- Such a great beer! I am usually a barrel-aged snob, but this beer is perfect how it is. I cannot even imagine trying the apple brandy version, I just might die.

Photo of beerbalance
4.9/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This beer was an absolute pleasure! So complex, so rewarding. The flavors are expertly layered in so you can taste them all. The finish is long and wonderful with the spiciness coming on at the end. The more you drink the warmer you feel from the spice. Next year I will purchase an entire case of this wonderful beverage! There are so many beers out there that are trying to make "gimmick" beers with all sorts of odd ingredients, but this beer is a symphony of taste.

Photo of PirateLes
4.8/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Fantastic with a little burn on the tail end. Got mine via growler from BTBX in Huntsville, AL. It made a 400 mile trek and was just what the Dr ordered!

Photo of ehammond1
3.9/5  rDev -11%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle (2013)

Acquired via trade
Thanks, brooklynbrews!

Black throughout and full in body. Thick brown head. Dots and irregular webs of stick left down the glass.

Aroma of chocolate and roast, a bit of an earthy and sweet vanilla character, and just a bit of a chile character.

The flavor is similar to the aroma--chocolate, roast, with definite habanero lingering, especially after the swallow. I don't pick up as much vanilla in the flavor as I do in the aroma.

Full-medium bodied with lower moderate carbonation. Very appropriate.

Quite tasty, and even though I enjoy spice and chiles, I wish the habanero was dialed down just a slight bit. Regardless, I'm very much enjoying my glass of this, but the pepper should be complementary instead of dominant.

Photo of Mbo108
4.32/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I wanted to rate this higher, i really did, but I have to be honest. I think it was the combo of cinnamon and habaneros, or maybe i had it at this weird in-between stage (bottled 5/14, drank basically 1/15) but i didnt love it like I thought I would. The beer is gorgeous looking, even the smell was great, picked up a good bit of cocoa, but the taste....was sort of a mess. Ive been drinking a bunch of FBS, Backwoods, and BCBS lately, and this just didnt live up.

Photo of chinchill
3.99/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

32 oz growler from The Community Tap (SC) served in a snifter.

Pours black with only hints of dark brown at the edges. A light brown head has limited duration.

The aroma features coffee, chocolate, dark fruits, a modicum of spicy hops and some dark malt. Some alcohol comes out with warming. The taste features these flavors, but has a very dynamic nature: A vanilla-tinged sweet spike up front fades into a sweet/bitter/sour finish, with the bitter component, although mild, winning out. A peppery/spicy/cinnamon aspect appears mid-taste and becomes far more noticeable with repeated sipping. Although made with fresh habanero peppers, this beer only produces a very mild burn. Dark fruit in the aroma re-emerge towards the finish.

M: full body; light carbonation; alcohol warming.

O: A rich, complex and unusual stout worth seeking out, although not so great as to make me lust for more.
(lightly tweeked, mainly confirmed, with on-tap tasting of 2013 vintage in July 2013)

Photo of jeonseh
4/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle shared at the NWI Tasting Group December Meetup

A - Dark brown color with a light mocha colored head

S - Spicy Mexican hot chocolate with extra milk chocolate powder and vanilla added. There is a lot of chocolate in this with a light pepper on the back end

T - Dark chocolate, light vanila and light habereno presence that lasts until the end. Nice spice in this from the peppers without any of the vegetal taste that sometimes accompanies these

MF - Medium body. Very creamy with light carbonation. Slight oil remains on the tongue in the finish as well as a slight spice and heat from the peppers

O - Solid spicy chocolate beer with a little less spicy but more balanced than Huna

Photo of timc100
4.31/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Gorgeous looking beer - pitch black liquid out of the bottle, burnt mocha head great retention. Nice aroma of dark chocolate, cinnamon, and some vanilla and light pepper skin. Taste has a lot more pepper - great heat on the back end. Big chocolate, vanilla, and cinnamon.

All the components shine through and do not drown each other out. Just missing the pure intensity of flavor of a huna

Photo of weonfire
4.52/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Black, Dark khaki- finger thick head- dissipates slowly, small lacing, head remains for majority of brew, carbonation rising

S - Chocolate, Vanilla, pepper, cinnamon, carmel

T - Dark chocolate, vanilla, pepper, chili. Finish: Finest hint of hot pepper way back in the throat. Awesome.

M - Thick, full body, creamy, frothy, excessively smooth

O - Nose is hitting me in the face from 18" away! Hot pepper finish is so lovely!!- just barley tweeks the throat - wow. Mouth is very frothy and full - excellent. Bitter dark chocolate rounds everything out. Very very good. 10.5 ABV hidden so so well. highly recommended.

Photo of ONovoMexicano
4.34/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2014 bottle.

I've got to admire a beer that looks like this. Frothy, thick and creamy head a couple fingers thick that sits majestically like a ring of clouds over a mountain. The dark khaki color provides a perfect contrast to the pitch black liquid that when poured into the glass flowed thick as oil. Magnificent. 5

Cocoa dominates the nose initially, but a faint medley of cinnamon, vanilla and chile provide an intriguing backdrop. Dark roast malts round out the aroma and provide a deeper flavor. It's pleasant but also seems to either faded or restrained. 4

A few sips tell me the palate on this is much less restrained. First off, the chile flavor figures much more prominently here, offering a piquant bite. Chocolate and vanilla interplay around the chile suggesting a spicy Mexican hot chocolate. Baker's chocolate lingers on the finish and gives me a good reason to space out my sips and enjoy this. As I do, the beer warms up and becomes even more great. Caramel pushes to the forefront and adds to the mix of flavors that make this live up to its name. 4.5

The beer is still a tad hot, but otherwise it's as creamy and rich as any beer you can find. The taste and feel are very similar to so many of the big stouts from Evil Twin and it's clear the influence/collaboration works it's way into beers that they brew individually. There's a obvious bite to this, obviously from the chile but also from the hops. The hops also give a bit of bitterness at the finish. 4.25

2 summers back I visited Torst and this beer blew my mind on tap. I've been dreaming of it ever since. It doesn't disappoint. Delicious.

Photo of mdaschaf
4.38/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to Ryan for splitting this one with me.

A: Pours pitch black with a one finger tan/brown head on top. Good retention, reducing slowly to a nice cap that stayed around for a while. Thin lacing forms all around the glass.

S: Chocolate, a little bit of roast malt, some vanilla, a little but if cinnamon, and a slight hint of peppers. There is a little bit of cream too.

T: Nice and chocolaty upfront with some nice vanilla in the middle. There is some roasty malt, a hint of dark fruit, and a little bit of molasses. The chilis come out after swallowing, I feel a little heat (not burn) on the roof of my mouth and in my cheeks.

M: Medium to full bodied with medium carbonation. Drinks very smooth, no sign of 10.5%.

O: A very solid imperial stout, great mouthful and flavors for a non-barrel aged beer.

Photo of twizzard
4.79/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Wasn't sure what I'd think about the spicy end of this beer as I'm a 'mild wings' kind of guy....But wow! What an an amazing beer! Poured half the bomber and felt I'd have to save the other half til tomorrow. But besides the fact that I have a drinking problem, this was just too damn good to save til tomorrow. Grab one of these and drink it now or tomorrow, but drink it.

Photo of dowen17
3.85/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours pitch black with a huge milk chocolate colored head. Big creamy head. Great retention. Good lacing as well.

On the nose is big chocolate. Some coffee and bitter notes. I pick up a little bit of vanilla and cinnamon. There's also a slight hint of pepper in the background.

Taste is milk chocolate. Sweet malts and some vanilla. A bit of cinnamon settles on the tongue towards the middle. The heat from the peppers rests on your tongue after you swallow. Very smooth. It's not as big and in your face as I'd expected. Definitely doesn't live up to the nose. It just seems a bit faint to me. As the beer warms the peppers really take over and it becomes less enjoyable.

Mouthfeel is a bit chewy but nowhere near as big as I expected. Not necessarily let down, but I did expect more. Just a bit thin. A little bit of heat from the peppers but not too much. Very sticky though. Coats your lips. Heat takes over more and more as the beer warms.

This is a great beer. Doesn't necessarily love up to the hype but it is very good. If you have a chance then pick it up. There are definitely things I can pick out that I'm not extremely fond of but it disappeared from my glass pretty quickly. Very easy to drink.

Photo of PBRmeasap1980
4.43/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle poured into stemless wine glasses (all we had)

A- Dark black with thin tan head. No light passing through this stout!
S- Coco and vanilla with roasted malt
T- I get the coco nibs followed by the sweet vanilla. No cinnaman or peppers. The peppers come in on heat on the back end. A pleasent heat. I was worried I wouldn't dig the use of peppers, but they did awesome with it.
M- Smooth and creamy... great!

O- Very enjoyable "mayan stout". The coco nibs give it a bit of grittiness. The vanilla works really well. The pepper played the perfect role. Boom! Delicious.

Photo of socon67
4.14/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A - Black pour that is visibly a thick beer that looks like 10W-40 motor oil. Coates the glass and doesn't lace as much as leaves a slick pattern.

S - Strong scents of fresh ground Columbian coffee and peppers. The more subtle scents of vanilla and cinnamon don't hit the nose until this beer warmed up. Has some roasted malt and cocoa notes.

T - Oddly the chocolate is much more pronounced to the palate than in the smell. Milk chocolate is dominant, as is some cinnamon spice. The heat of those habaneros hit the roof of the mouth and remind you that this has some heat. Its not gentle but clearly delivers on its promise.

M - This is a thick syrupy beer that feels a bit lighter in body but is still a sipping beer. Not sessionable; the heat will be a palate wrecker. I had with dessert and really that's the best spot to enjoy this.

O - Not quite Hunahpu but this is a standout beer. If I couldn't score the whale from CCB I would certainly settle on this. First offering from Westbrook and this would make me curious of their other beers.

Photo of SpeedwayJim
4.47/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

22oz. bottle into a Brooklyn Brewery snifter. Shared with schen9303.

Pours a thick, 2 finger chocolate colored head with excellent retention. Beer is opaque black. Lacing is thick but minimal with moderately thin legs and decent cling. Pretty.

Nose is chocolate, vanilla, fudge, cocoa, molasses and just the slightest touch of spice in the back. Real deep and aromatic. Delicious!

Opens sweet. Chocolate, vanilla and fudge. Cocoa powder and a big dose of spice kick towards the middle. End is more cocoa powder, lactose, chocolate, and fudge. This one actually reminds me of chocolate cake at the finish. Aftertaste is sweet and spicy. Pretty awesome!

Full bodied with low carbonation. Smooth and rich in the mouth and goes down spicy and silky with an accented finish and a lingering, hot, sticky aftertaste. This is spot on.

This is easily the best spicy stout I've ever come across. The body is astounding and really just makes the rest of the experience. Flavors exhibit nice complexity and the nose and look are deep and inviting but the body is what holds everything together here. An excellent beer!

Photo of prototypic
4.35/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Many thanks to kkipple for the growler.

Mexican Cake pours a very dark chocolate fudge color. It’s onyx. No light cuts through at all. Very impressive. A dark mocha head tops it off. It only rises to about a finger in height before falling quickly. Lacing was a little sticky, but definitely lighter. The color is impressive nonetheless.

The nose is very impressive. It’s chock full of roasted and chocolate malts. It doesn’t smell all that sweet. Definitely leans more toward bittersweet dark chocolate. Roasted coffee or espresso is relatively strong. It definitely has a bit of a burnt scent, perhaps charred barley. Works nicely with the malt base. Secondary scents include molasses, cocoa, and light anise. I’m not getting much in terms of spiciness. Alcohol is there, but doesn’t seem too strong.

The flavor simply rocks! It’s full of bittersweet dark chocolate malt flavor. Roasted malts are also noted, but aren’t quite as strong the chocolate variety. It does have a sweeter flavor than I anticipated. It has a bit of a brown sugar flavor. Roasted coffee is strong in flavor and tastes delicious. I’m a big coffee fan, so that works for me. It does taste a little burnt. Maybe it’s the coffee. Maybe charred barley. Molasses, anise, and a little vanilla are all secondary. There’s a light spicy quality to it, but it’s very subtle. It’s quite deep and complex. Very flavorful. Alcohol is there, but really doesn’t come through that strong. It’s not warm or hot. Finishes chocolaty, sweet, and roasty.

Mexican Cake has a body that leans toward full. It’s very svelte and smooth. Carbonation is light and very soft. This stuff goes down super easy in spite of its double digit abv. I’m sharing this small growler, but probably could’ve tackled it alone. It’d be tempting. It’s that good.

Westbrook Brewing Co. has a really nice beer in Mexican Cake. It’s very flavorful and impressive. The only qualm I really have is that there isn’t much of a spicy presence. I’m not getting anything that strongly suggests cinnamon or habanero pepper. Perhaps that’s a good thing. It sure is a fine tasting beer. Find some if you can. Thanks a ton, Dan!

Photo of Alieniloquium
4.1/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On tap at the brewery. Served in a taster.

Appearance - Black almost inky. Nice khaki head and nice lace.

Smell - Chocolate. That's kinda all I smell. Some caramel and a faint hint of cinnamon. Actually, the more I sniff it I realize there's lots of vanilla.

Taste - Oh man that's good. Lots of chocolate. Lots of vanilla. The pepper comes through sudden and strong, but doesn't seem spicy. Just a good pepper flavor. Finishes with more chocolate and pepper.

Mouthfeel - The spice builds. Medium heavy body. Not quite the thickness that could withstand the spice, but good.

Overall - So every beer like this begs the Hunahpu comparison. This one is a different focus. More of the habanero pepper and cinnamon. Less blended, but really nice.

to view more.
Mexican Cake from Westbrook Brewing Co.
97 out of 100 based on 1,819 ratings.