Dismiss Notice
Sneak peek! BeerAdvocate magazine #104 (September 2015) featuring Leah & Oscar from Highland Brewing in Asheville, North Carolina. Learn more ...
Dismiss Notice
Join The Buzz! Subscribe to our newsletter and get the latest BeerAdvocate updates delivered to your inbox.

Mexican Cake - Westbrook Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Mexican CakeMexican Cake

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

244 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 244
Hads: 2,170
rAvg: 4.39
pDev: 2.51%
Wants: 1,413
Gots: 470 | FT: 46
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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 244 | Hads: 2,170
Photo of Sparkk
4.83/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Fresh batch so it was bringing some heat. Loved the habanero spice being so present if only to balance out the density of the other favors. As with many other "Mayan stouts", better as it warms though fell off at a certain point a few degrees above room temp.

Overall, one of my new favorite beers. Can't wait to find and enjoy some more very soon. (351 characters)

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

Look - Poured into a snifter. Pours black with a slight brown head.
Smell - Great smell of chocolate and peppers.
Taste - Chocolate, roasted malt, mild cinnamon, and peppers up front with an amazing spicy aftertaste and slight burn down the throat. It only gets better as it warms.
Feel - Smooth up front, full body, low carbonation, and great afterburn!
Overall - I love this beer. It's probably my favorite imperial stout. The complex flavors only get better as it warms. No boozy flavor at all. (504 characters)

Photo of hughesjbailey
4.42/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Tasted the 2014 and the habanero had become just a background note - not nearly as hot as some other reviewers indicate. Black/brown - opaque. Balance of cacao (but not biter), coffee and spice w/strong stout backbone. Memorable pour. (237 characters)

Photo of Jimboice
4.6/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Missed the '15 release but had a '14 at the brewery while visiting. Met all expectations. Pours black with smell of cinnamon and spice. Just the right amount of spice from the habaneros, but not overwhelming. Get it if you have the opportunity! (248 characters)

Photo of tjcapture
4.5/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Amazing beer. Thick and rich, the chocolate really comes through up front, then the habaneros build on the finish. Just in case, let this beer warm up a bit. Gets better and better. (181 characters)

Photo of nyyfanatic213
4.12/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'm going to be straightforward. I had reservations going into drinking this beer. Thankfully they were not all met. Honestly, this is alcoholic molé. So good. Just enough spice to make it interesting, lots of chocolate and coffee notes, highly recommended (257 characters)

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. (1,077 characters)

Photo of rodmanfor3
4.45/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big spice and gingerbread flavor.

Aged for three years in a cellar and tasting fantastic.

This is a difficult beer to acquire via trade and not worth trading for given its market value, though I would never turn it down at a tasting.

There are other spiced stouts that could rival its flavor for a lower price of admission. (328 characters)

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

Bomber per Al's Whiskey Lounge in Syracuse, NY. It SMELLS a lot like Ten Fidy, but it tastes much spicier, specifically on the back end. Retains a nice 1cm layer of head. Wow—if you're a stout guy like I am, don't pass up this one. (233 characters)

Photo of mtomlins
4.41/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to UncleJazz for the bottle.

Pours thick and black with a short mocha head. Big chocolate character in the nose, sweet and milky backed by plenty of other spices (cinnimon, alspice, and maybe some chili). The taste is very well balanced! Up-front is the grain bill, big sweet and roasty, lots of chocoloate and coffee, then comes the spice at just the right balance and is followed/finished with the chilis on the finish with just enough heat to let you they are there. I admit I am not usually a big chili stout lover, but this one is realy well done. (566 characters)

Photo of mggkohl
4.6/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Muddy thick
S: Nice scent of coffee and cocoa
T: Dark chocolate, coffee and vanilla finishes with cinnamon and chile at the end
M: soft fluffy glossy
O: Wonderful balance of flavors. Amazing stout. Can't wait to drink another one of these. (243 characters)

Photo of IPAGeorge
4.77/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured form a bomber into a tulip

A. 100% opaque brownish black. Like i'd expect.

S. Roasted malt, vanilla cocoa and a int of spice.

T. Wow the flavors are layered but balanced. You get the vanilla and cocoa followed by the cinnamon and peppers. Just delicious!

M. Not trying to dog but I think BCBS ruined me. And I needed to mention that because for most this will be thick enough. I just wish it was a lil more. But thats to be perfect. This is def very good mouthfeel!

O. I love this beer. One of the best Stouts i've ever had. I will look for this again! (578 characters)

Photo of LambicPentameter
4.21/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I was very pleased to recently acquire two bottles of Mexican Cake from two great trading BAs, cvm4 (2013 vintage) and fordknox (2014 vintage). As a lover of "Mayan" imperial stouts, I've been eager to compare to one of my favorites for a long time. This review (and scores) will cover the 2014 vintage, but I may speak a bit to some of the most obvious differences between it and the 2013. Poured into an oversized brandy snifter.

Appearance (4.0) - I begin my pour moderately, but then begin to pour a bit more aggressively when I see that there isn't much head being coaxed out, ending up with about a finger of brown sugar colored head that lingers for a short period of time before dissipating to a ringlet around the edge of the glass and a smattering of foam pinpricks across the surface of the liquid. Lacing is essentially nonexistent. The body is a dark almost-black brown color that allows zero light to penetrate, and the liquid isn't terribly viscous, but has a slightly oily look to it.

Smell (4.25) - Here is where I first notice a difference between the 2013 and 2014 batches. While the 2013 was all bittersweet chocolate and barely a touch of the spice aroma that I love so much about this sub-style, the 2014 was a better balance of baker's chocolate and cinnamon, with a tiny bit of that dried pepper heat coming through as well. Maybe a touch of vanilla peeks through, but it's fleeting, almost not there at all.

Taste (4.25) - As with the aroma, the taste bears a pretty stark contrast between the 2013 and 2014, with the cinnamon and chocolate playing quite well together in the fresher version, with notes of semi-dark chocolate, fresh cinnamon stick, cocoa powder, roasted malt bitterness and a faint kiss of vanilla on the aftertaste. The year-old version is really lacking in the spice department, although both seem to bring the spice and heat out a bit more as the liquid begins to warm up to room temperature. The second glass I pour from my bomber is worlds different than the first.

Mouthfeel (4.0) - Medium-bodied and slightly chewy, but could use a bit more body. Reminds me more of Xocoveza than it does Abraxas in terms of body. Carbonation is moderate-to-low and the finish is bittersweet, with a bit of pepper warmth on the tastebuds.

Overall (4.25), a very good take on the sub-style, but not one that I'm likely to expend a great deal of effort to have again because it just doesn't quite get that spice overload that I personally enjoy. Chocolate and cinnamon are a great flavor marriage, because the chocolate sweetness tends to transform the cinnamon from being a dry, mildly interesting flavor to a rich, spice melange, sort of the way salt can amp up the flavors in so many foods. (2,729 characters)

Photo of aleigator
4.67/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Thanks to Kevin and Matt for providing the bottle. '13 vintage.

Pours a completely black color, with a decent beige, stable head.

The aromas are all about cinnamon, earthy bakers chocolate and hints of slightly wooden vanilla, with roasted malts. Not particular sweet on the nose, but very intriguing, due to its wonderful complexity.

Has a distinct, coffee infused malt foundation, joined by a load of slightly earthen cinnamon. Bakers chocolate adds to the humble wooden malts, getting topped of by toffee and syrup. The brew then turns into a sweeter, slightly sticky direction, due to molasses and a metallic, hot alcohol peak, intruduced by the lively carbonation. The brew is, despite its entwined, sublime cinnamon-chocolate sweetness, heavily hopped, creating a decent antithesis, forming its full body. It is pleasantly balanced, providing a smooth drinking, outstanding complexity.

It finishes with burning hot, peppery chilies, acting as the perfect addition to the rich chocolate taste, challenging the tastebuds, as this beer is evolving in taste from the beginning till its very end. (1,103 characters)

Photo of rubetube56
5/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I love this beer, I cannot rate it high enough.

I love how the pepper just hits the back of your palate as the smooth chocolate taste covers the top of your tongue. I think this is the perfect beer, its just a shame that it is so difficult to get if you are not in distribution range. (288 characters)

Photo of Yellolab2010
4.75/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

#600! Love this brew as I picked it for 600! What a fantastic beer! Nice chocolate notes with a bit of heat...not much, just enough! Outstanding brew that is more then worthy of hunting down! Congrats Westbrook on this fantastic beer! (234 characters)

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. (466 characters)

Photo of Kendo
4.4/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured from the bomber into a Piraat tulip/snifter-type glass. Body is black. Thick, viscous black. Small tan head on top.

S: Cocoa, peanut butter, molasses and sweet malt.

T: Roasty malt up front - cocoa, coffee and roasted barley malt - with some vanilla. Finishes with a hint of cinnamon and the faintest touch of heat - presumably from the habanero peppers - fighting the vanilla and cocoa sweetness for dominance. Nicely balanced dessert beer.

M: Full-bodied, thick beer. Carbonation is modest, creating a slightly slick feel.

O: Very good beer. (557 characters)

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

When I first tasted the DB version of Mexican Cake two months ago, it immediately took the crown as My Favorite Beer, a title it still holds. Now, months later, finally getting hold of a bottle of the regular version, sure, I was expecting there to be some separation between the two, but not THAT much. I've found a wider split than I had imagined.

Obviously I love this beer, as my score would indicate. But it wasn't even close to the Double Barrel. Two things may have hurt it:

1) it was bottled in May, and this is a beer (as the label states) to be consumed fresh. The spice notes just didn't pop like they had in the DB.

2) I had some fresh Abraxas and Vanilla Abraxas on tap just 24 hours beforehand. Abraxas and Mexican Cake are, essentially, the same beer, and the cinnamon and chocolate were clear and vibrant in the Abraxas, with real heat from the peppers, all of which outshone the Mexican Cake a day later.

This is an amazing beer, no doubt, but, for me, at least as of this round of bottles, Abraxas blew past it. Maybe the next round will make me flip my scores, we'll see. (1,094 characters)

Photo of larryarms847
4.25/5  rDev -3.2%

Pours rather thin, but dark black with a sliver of caramel foam.

Spice, spice, peppers, and more spice, some chocolate, and more pepper.

Sweet chocolate and cinnamon upfront with an immediate greeting from the habanero. The habanero sticks the length of the swallow and hangs around a bit after. Not to keen on the spicy aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is sweet and sticky on the front end and finishes spicy and dry.

Overall, I can see why people enjoy this; however, pepper in beer is just not for me. (497 characters)

Photo of breadwinner
4.38/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Perhaps just a touch behind the decadence of Abraxas and Huna...perhaps. On the other hand, I appreciate its lighter body in some ways, and I also appreciate a somewhat stronger, or at least more lingering, spicy finish, but I'm also one who prefers their spicy stouts good and spicy. Not surprised it's behind the other two aforemtioned brews in the ratings, as I think most would prefer their richer bodies, but don't sleep on this one -- it's a good'un. (456 characters)

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. (1,624 characters)

Photo of BeerDawgs
4.75/5  rDev +8.2%

A - black, no clarity, 2 fingers of brown head

A - cinnamon, brown sugar, nutmeg
T - sweet up front, cinnamon and spices,
M - full bodied, well carbonated
O - Amazing spicy stout. Cinnamon and nutmeg, cocoa. Well played Westbrook, well played (244 characters)

Photo of SteveB24
4.25/5  rDev -3.2%

Pours a mud brown color, with a finger of brown, creamy foam that retains well, stream of bubbles visible in the beer. Aroma is rich, consisting of coffee, mild chocolate and the peppers are there. The flavor consists of coffee, hints of dark chocolate, cinnamon and vanilla smooth the bitterness from the chocolate and coffee and then the chili hits you like a ton of bricks. The 10.5 ABV is completely undetectable.
While the chili was a bit much for my taste the beer is complex and very, very tasty. a very unique and very positive beer experience. (552 characters)

Photo of brewskifan55
4.34/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a tulip glass. Thanks a million, Shannon!

A: The blackest of blacks. Not much head. Limited lacing. Like oil in a glass. Viscous.

S: Cocoa and vanilla come on strong. Very slight habanero.

T: A beast of a beer. Dark chocolate, cocoa nibs and vanilla start out, with a habenero heat on the finish that doesn't overwhelm. This one's a sipper. Gets better and better as it warms.

M: Light to medium with medium carbonation.

O: A great one to share with friends. Sip slowly and be overwhelmed. One of the top 5 beers I've had this year. Magnificent. (580 characters)

Mexican Cake from Westbrook Brewing Co.
97 out of 100 based on 244 ratings.