El Jefe
Madhouse Brewing Company

El JefeEl Jefe
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American Imperial Stout
Ranked #494
Ranked #3,167
4.29 | pDev: 12.82%
Madhouse Brewing Company
Iowa, United States
El JefeEl Jefe
Notes: Literally the Boss. Spicy chocolate melds with vanilla and cinnamon in this Imperial Mexican Stout. Brewed with chili's and aged in Tennessee Whiskey barrels with cacao, cinnamon, and vanilla beans.
Reviews: 11 | Ratings: 53
Photo of Buck89
4.37/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a snifter. An opaque dark brown color with a quickly vanishing tan head. Great aroma packed with spices, bourbon, vanilla, chocolate, and cinnamon. Same on the palate. The cinnamon was outstanding: enough to play with the other spices, but in check and not overbearing. Great barrel presence. The heat was mild but allowed all the other adjuncts to shine. Really outstanding.

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Photo of BWood
4.65/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Look: typical dark stout. Black with small ring of a head.

S: up front is the Mexican chocolate. Slight spice and a decent hit of vanilla.

T: absolutely fantastic. The same if not better than Mexican cake and the New Mexican monsters park for MT. Not quite abraxas though. But man the flavors melt into perfect harmony. Spice is there. Slight booze. Chocolate and vanilla swirl.

F: straight up silk. Low carbonation and oily tongue coating goodness. Again this is not quite abraxas but damn if it's right there.

O: as far as the Mexican chocolate beers go I definitely put this either #2 or #3. This brewery is a sleeping giant and they are doing all the right moves. This and carpe diem will put this place on the map as a top tier brewery. Watch out.

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Photo of Slack
4.34/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

22 oz
No visible date

Deep brown to black with an incomplete ring of head that remains.

Nose is vanilla and sweetness, cinnamon, minor bourbon and minor oak.

Taste is similar to the nose with sweet bourbon vanilla mixed with semi sweet coffee-chocolate and accented by cinnamon and spicy peppers on the finish.

Mouth is medium to heavy and smooth. Carbonation is low. Finish is sweet.

This is straight up Mexican Hot Chocolate in a beer. It is sweet and spicy and boozy but not overwhelmingly so. It is balanced and in harmony. The real bit hit here is the under carbonation which really took away alot. That aside it is sippable and very very enjoyable.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
2.78/5  rDev -35.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

750 mL bottle. Black body. Khaki head. Smells of chocolate, vanilla, and some peppers. Tastes of cinnamon, chocolate, alcohol, strong sweetness, and then peppers. It's not that spicy, but it doesn't really die down. It just lingers with an incredibly strong alcohol finish. Heavy, sweet, and extremely alcoholic. Extremely difficult to drink.

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Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.68/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Rating #: 2,700!

750ml bottle sealed with black pressure cap.

poured into a pair of Founders Snifters; shared with TATURBO who introduced me to Madhouse Carpe Diem. So it is only fitting that I share with him... His first taste of EL Jefe.

Appearance: black body with a thick cap of medium brown head. Thick booze legs on the glass.

Smell: chocolate, bourbon, cinnamon, vanilla, and light oak. Not a hint of the peppers, but I think that the cinnamon and pepper seem to layer over each other in the nose. All the adjuncts in this beer smell authentic. Very pleasing nose.

Taste: This stout is very satisfying. Big and rich flavors that a masterfully blended together in near perfect harmony. Sweetness from the bourbon and vanilla. Light bitterness from the cocoa nibs as well as a savory flavor from the richness that the cocoa nibs provide. The cinnamon, oak, and peppers add a light sweet, spicy, woody, and earthy richness to the stout. All these flavors seem to just meld so nicely together; not a single flavor overpowers the other. This is insanely fantastic!

Mouthfeel: medium full body. low and adequate carbonation. Very drinkable and not a hint of booze! Nice thick and oily body; much more substantial of body than Carpe Diem. How is this beer 13%? I honestly cant figure it out. Ever sip beckons for another because everything is so well in balance. There is absolutely no palate fatigue while drinking my half of the 750 bottle.

Overall: The situation on this beer is all about balance of flavors and aroma. How can this no namer brewery from Iowa be making such amazing barrel aged stouts? Carpe Diem was absolutely mind blowing and initially I thought this to be a one hit wonder from Madhouse and I am clearly dead wrong! Well enter... El Jefe! This is a near flawless barrel aged mexican stout. I actually enjoyed El Jefe substantially more than barrel aged Abraxas.

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Photo of bmrattay
4.97/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks to umichfan to hooking me up with this beer. Shared with the wife on a date night.

Pours out like black cream, thin tan head that sticks to the glass like syrup. Just about as black as can be with the only light coming through at the edges of the top of the glass.

Nose is tons of vanilla, bourbon, chocolate cake and then slight hints of chillies at the end.

Dar chocolate ice cream, vanilla, bourbon oak, pancakes and maple syrup, gentle bitterness and great malt profile. The sweetness does a nice job at masking the fact that this beer is 13% alcohol. I get booze on the nose, but only a little at the end of the taste. There is a faint bite from the chillies but it's not overbearing. Just the impression of spice once you swallow.

Feels like cream in the mouth. It's thick, but it needs to be with the flavor profile.

This is a beast of a beer. The appearance is there, the flavor is there, the aroma is there, and the mouthfeel is there. This is just an incredible beer that I'm surprised I haven't read more about. I can't believe people aren't clamoring for this yet, but they will once the word gets out. The only thing I can see people shying away is maybe the sweetness, which for me wasn't an issue and really only presents itself at the beginning of the sip.

Seek this out, feel lucky you found it, and then drink it with someone special.

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Photo of umichfan
4.75/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I can't believe that this is brewed 5 miles from my house. This is a world class beer & it's only a matter of time before this and Carpe Diem are recognized as such.

Poured near room temperature into a tulip glass. I hate this overused analogy, but it truly does pour like motor oil with little carbonation and thin, caramel colored head that dissipates quickly. Prepare yourself for sensory overload as this beer has it all. It's a pitch black beer from which light itself cannot escape that coats the glass with a molasses-like film. Immediately you'll pick up on the cinnamon and pepper notes in the nose, as well as plenty of cocoa, some vanilla, and definitely some strong, sweet barrel undertones.

This thing hits you up front with a jab of spice, but mellows quickly as it coats your tongue in a soothing elixir of complexity and vigor. Waves of flavors come at you, starting with the cocoa and vanilla, followed closely by the brown liquor and cinnamon. It ends with the right amount of pepper to remind you that you're drinking a Mexican Imperial. Not overpowering in the least and adds that final touch in perfect coordination.

Finishes strong and bold; you'll know you've drank something substantial. For me, it's a game changing beer that I'll continue to look forward to whenever I can sample.

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Photo of Scott17Taylor
4.25/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Starts sweet and chocolatey turning to cinnamon and other Mexican spices, finishing with a nice warming heat. It's nice and spicy, it's done very well.

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Photo of KillerJigger
4.3/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a thick black coffee brown with a dark brown head that fades. Tastes of spice explodes in your mouth and warms you up right away. As it breathes the spice mellows and you realize the base stout tastes of roasted chocolate and has a thick mouth feel. More tastes follow. Very well done!!!

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Photo of HawkeyeJosh
4.55/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer is black, no light shines through. It smells like cinnamon and vanilla, the mixture almost comes across as cloves when cold, but as it warms it is most definitely cinnamon and vanilla. The taste is cinnamon, vanilla, and Mexican chocolate. So good. And it is much spicier than I expected, but I like it.

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Photo of DesMoinesMike
4.71/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

This beer is definitely the boss. It's intimidating just pouring into my glass. The night sky-dark liquid flowing thickly producing little carbonation. My sniffer is messed up with allergies but the cocoa and cinnamon still come through. Taste wise I am just blown away. The cocoa and vanilla are noticeable up front, with the chili peppers and whiskey creating some heat on he finish. It all blends so well together. I'm not a whiskey fan but Madhouse goes light when they whiskey-barrel age their brews. I think $12 a bottle is steep so this will be a 1-time purchase if it stays there.

Had on tap 2/11/17 and it's just aggressive with the chilies on the back end. Loving this years'.

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El Jefe from Madhouse Brewing Company
Beer rating: 93 out of 100 with 53 ratings