Mexican Cake - Westbrook Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Mexican CakeMexican Cake

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

2,003 Ratings
THE BROS
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(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,003
Reviews: 235
rAvg: 4.39
pDev: 8.88%
Wants: 1,378
Gots: 417 | 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: 2,003 | Reviews: 235
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.5/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Growler pour sampled at mrbubbler's tasting.

Pours an almost opaque super dark brown with a dark khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark malt, cocoa, and some subtle chile aromas. Taste is the same but the chile presence is very subtle flavor-wise. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good stout but nothing all that special in my opinion.

Photo of kylehay2004
3.88/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: large dark head on a jet black. No light getting through. some lacing.

S: sour lemon, espresso, dark chocolate, roasted malts, flour and dough.

T: very sweet with sour notes which dominate up front. Spicey, cinnamon, roasted malts, milk chocolate, vanilla and dark fruit, mostly cherries. a touch alcoholic. The pepper and spiciness dominates the finish.

M: medium body and moderate carbonation.

Overall: A very interesting and memorable beer. A little too sour and alcohol dominant but still very much worth experiencing.

Photo of metter98
4.39/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Cantebury Ales, Oyster Bay, NY

A: The beer is jet black in color. It poured with a short tan head that died down, leaving wispy lacing on the surface and a thin layer of bubbles around the collar.
S: Moderate aromas of cocoa nibs and vanilla beans are present in the nose along with notes of spicy chili peppers.
T: The taste starts out with flavors of chocolate, cocoa nibs, and vanilla. It quickly transitions to spicy cinnamon followed by habanero peppers, the latter of which linger through the finish.
M: It feels medium- to full-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer has an interesting contrast between the cocoa, vanilla, cinnamon, and habanero peppers. The spiciness increases a bit as it warms up, but it isn't overly hot and does a good job masking most of its alcohol. Once fully warmed up, the chocolate and vanilla become stronger.

Serving type: on-tap

Photo of Thorpe429
3.8/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of mdfb79. Served in a SAVOR wine glass.

Pours near black with a tan head. Pretty good retention and some spotty lacing on the way down.

The nose carries a nice mix of chocolate, light spice, roasted malt, sweetness, and a touch of vanilla. Nice blend, for sure. The nose doesn't quite carry all the way over to the flavor and everything isn't quite as integrated as I'd like, though the components are still quite nice.

Body is medium-full with low-medium carbonation and a good chewiness. No real noticeable alcohol.

This was a really nice beer I was glad to finally try. Thanks, Dan.

Photo of brentk56
4.7/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Arrives pitch black with a cap of espresso foam that curtains lace

Smell: Smoky chocolate, vanilla and cinnamon with a roasted chile undertone

Taste: Smoky chocolate and vanilla, up front, with the cinnamon flavors arriving just ahead of the habanero pepper; gets rather hot, after the swallow, when the brown sugar flavors arrive to moderate the heat

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation

Overall: This is a really unique beer and another extraordinary ale from Westbrook

Photo of BEERchitect
4.49/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

What better way to celebrate a birthday than with cake? When you are a brewery, it's done with a birthday cake-flavored beer! At least that's the intent of Westbrook as they turn a ripe old age of 1 earlier this year.

With a bold chocolaty appearance, the dark brown (almost black) ale settles with a viscous and creamy pour that causes for a slow separation of beer from foam. The moussey froth takes on a medium brown hue, shows sturdy retention, and laces well. A gentle swirl of the glass leaves inky legging on the glass that's reminiscent of brandy.

Strong chocolate notes sooth the sense of smell with a very dessert-like reaction. Met with background note of dark fruit, espresso, fudge, and rum, the malty rich beer pulls complexities from yeast, hops, and rich toffee-ish malt.

Strong chocolate and roast flavors begin with a heavy coat across the palate. Fudge-like sweetness is propelled by bittersweet chocolate, burnt toffee, espresso, and walnut oils. Secondary notes of vinous sherry wines offer a more succulent and fruity note that opens up a bready, savory taste. Rum-like alcohols offer a spicy sweetness that cuts through the malts and balances the sweetness in finish.

Certainly full bodied, the larger-than-life ale continues the fudge-like character with it thick and marshmallowy textures. Alcohol burn acts as a thinning agent and lessens the rich body just enough to savor the silky complexities to finish the beer. Shy of cloying, the roast of bitterness and heat signal closure, but allow the dessert-like nuances to linger indefinately.

Although it's Westbrook's birthday, I feel like I had gotten a gift in being able to try this luscious ale. The only thing that's missing is the candle.

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.49/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

a really amazing beer, didnt think i would find one in a store on this first round to colorado, but i got lucky up in fort collins. its crazy beer, in the abraxas style, but very very different. the fresh habanero pepper instead of an ancho type makes a huge difference, you get that fleshy pulpy fresh pepper flavor in the beer without the smoky heat in the same way. inky black beer, very dense, heady, and intimidating as a night cap. the habanero flavor is really intense, but the heat is not, just warming in the throat and not lingering. im not a huge chili beer guy, and this is very very drinkable in terms of pepper influence. the cinnamon would be the next strongest of the additives, its spicy in own right, and works amazingly well with the bittersweet dark barley, ashy almost burnt, and thats where the desserty element comes from, the coffee notes in the malt with that cinnamon, its awesome. vanilla and cocoa do more highlighting and accenting as center staging, balancing sweet and bitter elements really well, and also bringing the most out of the malts. its like a cake batter, i see that in the base beer very much, the additives take it to the next lever, crazy really how flavorful this is. its also just so smooth and silky drinking, like the frosting that might be on such a cake. i thought this might be too much pepper for my palate, but i think its right on with the other flavors in here. gets boozy and a little sweet as it warms, but this is a really special beer. make sure you have a partner in crime who you can share this one with, a whole bomber is a serious task!

Photo of Knapp85
4.19/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This poured out as a very thick looking black color with a very dense brown head on top. The retention is long lasting and the lacing is pretty impressive also. The smell of the beer is chocolaty and roasted, not much pepper on there nose though. The taste is very rich, it's very roasted and had a good amount of chocolate in there. The vanilla is hidden and the peppers come out subtly in the finish. The mouthfeel is oily, very thick and smooth. There is a light carbonation to it this also. Overall it's a very good beer, well worth the time and money in my opinion to get this one.

Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.12/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled on 5/15/13.

Appearance: Very dark brown, near black body with a near lofty, medium tan-hued head.

Smell: Fairly roasty nose with an agreeable aroma of bittersweet chocolate flecked with a bit of vanilla and given a pinch of cinnamon atop the underlying vein of earthy, spice-evoking chile peppers.

Taste: Dark chocolate atop a firmly roasted, faintly ashen maltiness yielding a light astringency. Subtle vanilla. A little singe of cinnamon mingled amongst the sweetness. Showing some chile heat lumped in with the mild hop, sustained charred grain element, and the warming alcohol. The chile quality lasts into the warm, chocolaty finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium carbonation. Fairly smooth, creamy on the tongue.

Overall: While it is another in what is a fairly long line of loud, big, brash imperial stouts, your heart has fucking died if you didn't enjoy it.

Photo of nickfl
4/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours with a big, four finger head of medium tan foam on top of a black body. The head settles down slowly and leaves thick smears of lace on the walls of the glass as it goes.

S - A slightly acidic aroma of coffee and chocolate with notes of cinnamon, clove, and anise as well as some plum and orange fruity notes.

T - Plum and dark bread up front with some pine and citrus in the middle. Spicy notes of chili and cinnamon in the middle and a chocolate note with pomegranate

M - Medium body, moderate carbonation, and a slightly sweet finish.

D - Very nicely done, though the draft version that I had a few months ago was more enjoyable and complex. This works well but seems to have soured just a touch and lost the best of what it was when first brewed.

Photo of jlindros
4.02/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to... I think Andy, at my 30th birthday whale tasting.

Pours a big fizzy fluffy dark head, decent lacing and nice legs.

Nose has cocoa nibs, dusty oak barrel and wooden shelf, light cinnamon, woody esters, hint of dark chocolate and vanilla.

Taste brings sweet chocolate, caramel, dusty oak and wooden shelf, nice light chili pepper heat, little cinnamon again, little soy though too, light bready malts, thick and lush, hot pepper and booze there, syrupy.

Mouth is thick and syrupy, decent carb, some booze and pepper heat.

Overall not bad, decent characters, nice pepper and chocolate, bit of soy though.

Photo of Kegatron
3.96/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

22oz bottle. 2013 Edition. Big thanks go to Stakem for the share on this. Pours black with a frothy dark mocha head. Retains well, leaving rich and robust ringing along the sides of the glass. The aroma smells like chocolate cake, coffee, cinnamon sticks and chilies, with a smidge of green citrus and vanilla sweetness thrown in. I’m liking this. The taste is pretty similar. Baker’s chocolate, dense roasted coffee, a firm citric bitterness, slight alcohol sweetness, a touch of vanilla which bonds to the chocolate and finally, spices throughout, which really heat up the finish. The mouthfeel is full bodied with a lively and sharp feel to the carbonation. The alcohol here does a little stinging in spots and it working with the peppers comes on a bit strong at times on the palate. While I found the first release of this to be an overall smoother beer, this latest go-around still has a lot to offer with plenty of rich flavors and a spicy kick! This is well worth seeking out.

Photo of Rifugium
4.08/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a Westbrook goblet. Thick and viscous, opaque black, with a well-retaining half-inch cap of mocha head that left a few streaks of lacing on the glass when swirled. That's what I like to see. Aroma was a bit muted at first, but came out more as the beer warmed a bit, as expected. Dark roasty malts, cocoa, coffee, not much of the other elements of the beer, though again, the peppery spice was more apparent as the beer warmed. In the taste, earthy cocoa, dark chocolate and roasty dark malts up front, with the habaneros making themselves quite obvious mid-palate, a strong, spicy sensation prickling the taste buds, roasty aftertaste with a bit of coffee, and just a hint of vegetal vanilla bean; didn't get any cinnamon whatsoever. About halfway through the beer, the palate adjusted and the pepper heat mellowed quite a bit, turning this into quite a nice sipper. I'd say the body was nearly full, mouthfeel was pretty smooth for a habanero beer. Overall quite good. Cheers!

Photo of MasterSki
4/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle thanks to Mike (Thorpe429). Served in a tulip.

A - Medium brown foam settles to a wispy partial cap, thick collar, and spotty lace. Very dark brown body that displays some transparency at the fringes.

S - A mixture of chocolate cake, chiles, cinnamon, and a bit of tar and smoke. Alcohol is quite well-hidden - didn't realize this was in the doube digits.

T - Taste as more cocoa nib and vanilla bean presence, with some light roastiness as well. Less overt cinnamon, and surprisingly little chile heat for a beer made with habanero. Again, minimal booze presence.

M - Smooth medium-full body, pleasant moderate carbonation, lightly sticky finish, and a hint of warmth that could either be from the peppers or the alcohol.

D - Solid brew - reminds me a little bit of Abraxas but isn't quite as intense, although they have similarly well-disguised booze. Worth checking out if you like chile pepper stouts.

Photo of mdfb79
4.25/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From 03/30/12 notes. Bottle sent to me by Mikesgroove and shared with some friends at our mini-Westbrook tasting. Thanks Mike! Poured into a tulip.

a - Pours a very dark brown, almost black color, with one inch of dark tan head and low to moderate carbonation. Looks good.

s - Smells of peppers, sweet chocolate, roasted notes, dark chocolate, spice, and toasted malts. Very nice, some nice hot pepper up front though it doesn't dominate.

t - Tastes of sweet chocolate, vanilla, cocoa, roasted malts, light bitter dark chocolate, cream, toasted malts, peppers, spices. Less spice and pepper then the nose and more sweet chocolate, which I like a lot. A step up from the nose for me.

m - Medium body and low carbonation. Smooth and creamy, and easy to drink. No alcohol heat at all; was surprised this one was 10.5% ABV.

o - Overall I thought this was a really good stout. Some nice pepper in the nose, and sweet chocolate in the taste which I loved. Great body and easy to drink as well. Would definitely pick this one up if I saw it on the shelf, and by far the best of the four Westbrook beers we tasted. A good non-BA stout.

Photo of drabmuh
4.12/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks Dan! Poor man's Hunahpu's a pretty nice beer.

Beer is black with a tan head of small and medium bubbles, some lacing, nice retention, high carbonation, a little too carbonated perhaps.

Aroma is nice with cinnamon and allspice.

Beer is light in body and sweet with this nice brown sugar and spice flavor that carries through to the end, the body is nice but perhaps a little thin, overall an interesting beer and I enjoy it.

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 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 stakem
4.09/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to BA Shilt for hooking me up with a bomber of this. Poured into a snifter, the brew appears black in color with 2 fingers worth of dark brown froth that slowly fades leaving patches of lace on the glass. A swirl revives a dark brown finger of silk back to the surface that holds with solid retaining powers.

The aroma is quite cake-like. Sweet milk chocolate mixed with a deeper more earthen baker's cocoa. Hints of vanilla really accent the chocolate appeal. There is a hint of citrus present I assume to be from the chili inclusion because it also includes that peppery spice blending at the same time the citrus notes are evident. A little bit of roasted coffee comes out as it warms up as well as some notes of cinnamon bark.

The taste is quite roasted and earthen. Right upfront is an immediate indication of the spicy pepper inclusion. The peppers bring a spicy tingle of heat as well as citrus element. The spice blends well with notes of chocolate and vanilla. The chocolate taste is more earthen and bitter like baker's cocoa but as more sips are taken, more vanilla comes out and it starts to get a bit sweet like milk chocolate. The aftertaste has roasty coffee and a hint of cinnamon.

This is a medium bodied brew with a modest amount of carbonation. It is smooth in the feel yet spicy and complex. This was an enjoyable sipper but admittedly, I think the spice got to me before the alcohol did. That would be my only gripe about this beer, while chiliheads im sure scream for more, I would prefer it tamed back a bit to increase its overall drinkability. Regardless, this is an enjoyable brew that is worth seeking out. I wouldnt mind having it again sometime.

Photo of Huhzubendah
4.42/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Shared by mdfb79. Thanks Dan.

The beer is dark brown, nearing black, with a quarter inch of oily, beige head. The aroma offers roast, cinnamon, chocolate, vanilla. The flavor brings notes of Kahlua, booze, chocolate, burned roasted malt. Nice flavor, but I like the aroma even better. Even without the title, I definitely get notes of flan. Sweet, but not too. Overall, very enjoyable. I would definitely have this again.

Photo of yourefragile
3.48/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle shared by Dan.

Pours dark brown, near black with a large tan head. Well carbonated with a retentive head and light lace. Nose isn't very well balanced, alternate whiffs bring forward chocolate, peppers, cinnamon, vanilla, and roast; generally sweet and a little spice. Light bodied, slightly thin, with same flavor profile as nose, but predominantly spicy and chocolately. This and the Farmhouse IPA are my favorite Westbrook beers I've tried. If this was on the shelf in 4 packs locally I'd pick this up, but wouldn't actively seek it out.

Photo of billab914
3.06/5  rDev -30.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22oz bottle poured into a tasting glass. Black in color with a thin frothy head to it. Nice lacing and head retention to it.

The aroma is very sugary and sweet. It's got some slightly spicy notes with the hot peppers being noticeable. Chocolate and vanilla play a pretty big role as well. I like the flavors, but the sugary sweetness just dominates it too much.

I'm finding the taste cloyingly sweet and sugary as well. I'm liking the underlying pepper and chocolate notes but it's just too over the top sweet for me and overwhelms the other flavors unfortunately.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with higher carbonation, which doesn't fit the style well for me. Overall, it was an interesting beer to try but a tough one to drink more then a sample of. The overdone sugary sweetness and the higher carbonation really took away from some of the really nice underlying flavors in it for me unfortunately. Given all the other positive reviews it makes me wonder if this was just an off bottle or something. I'd love to try it again sometime to see.

Photo of Georgiabeer
4.33/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

As good as advertised. Had this on-tap at Barley's in Greenville. Pours black as pitch with a coffee and cream head. Lovely aromas of chiles, vanilla and cinnamon with some roasty notes in the background. Really excellent taste- enough spice to heat things up and give you a constant tingle, but not enough to hit you over the head and make things unpleasant (like Stone's Crime and Punishment). Also, since the heat comes from habaneros , you get a nice fruitiness from the peppers that blends well with the cinammon, vanilla, coffee, and chocolate notes. Really nice. Not as deeply flavored as Huanapu, nor as much body, but there is a silkiness in the finish that's nice. Very well done.

Photo of Alieniloquium
4.1/5  rDev -6.6%
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.

Photo of John_M
4.25/5  rDev -3.2%

Very tasty beer, and while the heat from the chili peppers is noticeable, the dark chocolate, cinnamon, light vanilla and coffee are more than enough to handle it. A very delicious beer, and one I was very happy to have the opportunity to try.

Still tasted very fresh after being in the growler for several weeks.

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Mexican Cake from Westbrook Brewing Co.
97 out of 100 based on 2,003 ratings.