Mexican Cake - Westbrook Brewing Co.

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Mexican CakeMexican Cake

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BA SCORE
97
world-class

2,001 Ratings
THE BROS
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Ratings: 2,001
Reviews: 235
rAvg: 4.39
pDev: 8.88%
Wants: 1,377
Gots: 420 | FT: 44
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
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Ratings: 2,001 | Reviews: 235
Reviews by mwgroove23:
More User Reviews:
Photo of obiwan_k3n00bi
2.75/5  rDev -37.4%

It tastes like they added chalk to a mediocre stout.

Photo of Hopdaemon39
4.38/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

This years is very nice- smooth rich flavor, a touch of heat, nice chocolate and vanilla notes. This is a good one. I had it on tap so I can't vouch for the heat in the bottle- without the heat it wouldnt be anywhere near as good.

Photo of Heady_Eddy
3.92/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer was built very well, I just couldn't finish it from the creeping heat of the habanero peppers, not my thing.

Photo of CHickman
4.37/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Bottled 5/6/2015->bottle says best consumed fresh, don’t age it: Pours pitch black opaque color with a thick 2 finger brown head that was full of tiny bubbles and faded about average time for a stout leaving decent spotty lacing and rings as it went down. A layer sticks around on top.

Smells of cocoa powder, dark chocolate, light vanilla, coffee grinds, charred wood, roasted malts, oaky notes, smoke, toffee and brown sugar; the spice is evident, but it does not smell like a pepper, especially a habanero. Earthy notes mix well with the chocolate and smoked malts, adding a lot of complexities for basically a one dimensional aroma.

Taste is where all the ingredients on the label show up: the cocoa nibs, vanilla beans and cinnamon are all quite pronounced and the habanero brings immediate head that does not hurt but adds a whole new aspect and feel to the beer. The heat is like wasabi, it strikes adding some instant heat and flavor, and trails off nicely and allows the malty side show off with appearances by the cocoa powder, dark chocolate, coffee grinds, charred wood, roasted malts, oaky notes, smoke, molasses, toffee, brown sugar and some spices. Seems like piney hops are in the mix along with white pepper and fresh ground black peppercorns, along with a shot of bourbon or whiskey. The alcohol gets covered up by the habanero burn, which warms up the back of your throat and belly in the best way possible for those who like hot peppers or spicy food. The cinnamon and vanilla come on strong at the end with a mild bitterness blending with char and chocolate notes. Considering the level of heat from the habanero this drinks much smoother than it should and remains very interesting and complex with every sip.

Mouthfeel is very creamy and milkshake smooth, with very mild and almost thin carbonation, a medium chewy body that leans towards thick yet slides across the tongue, and then fades slightly bitter like a coffee with a lot of grinds in it and a full slap in the face of heat that stings and then fades slowly as it gets swapped out for dark chocolate, vanilla and spicy cinnamon. The blending and mixture of the main components really keep this dynamic and extremely interesting at the same time. This is an excellent display of brewing craftsmanship to bring such heat and booze so aggressively that results in a complex, tasty beer that flows down so smooth with such a velvety feel even though it seems like you just drank a shot or ate a jalapeño popper.

I got this hoping for a great beer but expecting a novelty beer since it’s billed as a stout with habanero in the blend; it turned out to be a great brew that was changing and evolving with every sip, allowing the pepper heat to add accents which tweaked the beer each and every sip. Shock and awe, this was a great unique beer experience which exceeded my expectations. I thought this was great and hope to have it again some day. A lot of fun and a great combo if you love stouts and love spicy food.

Photo of mabermud
4.5/5  rDev +2.5%
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 danh53
4.35/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Somehow I expected this to be overrated, but it lived up to expectations. Great chocolate aroma and flavor. So smooth and well balanced. The peppers were not too hot, and the medium mouth feel held everything together quite well. I got some cinnamon and graham cracker sweetness, but I think the cinnamon had faded a little since this bottle was a year old. I look forward to trying this again when it is fresh.

Photo of Beer_Doge
4.62/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Wow.

So chocolate.

Much body.

Such pepper.

Complex.

Wow.

Photo of tectactoe
4.34/5  rDev -1.1%
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 +8.2%

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 +5.5%
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 +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Perfect chocolate and pepper flavors.

Photo of BoobieMyles
5/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Off the charts, if you have a chance to try please do.

Photo of frenchblood21
4.48/5  rDev +2.1%
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 +11.6%
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 +9.3%
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 -11.2%
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 -1.6%
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 -9.1%
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 -8.9%
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 -1.8%
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%
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 -1.1%
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 -0.2%
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 +9.1%
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 -12.3%
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.

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Mexican Cake from Westbrook Brewing Co.
97 out of 100 based on 2,001 ratings.