Mexican Cake
Westbrook Brewing Co.

Mexican CakeMexican Cake
Rate It
Beer Geek Stats | Print Shelf Talker
Stout - American Imperial
Ranked #103
Ranked #319
4.42 | pDev: 8.37%
Westbrook Brewing Co.
South Carolina, United States
Mexican CakeMexican Cake
Notes: 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
Reviews: 403 | Ratings: 3,015 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of ThisWangsChung
ThisWangsChung from Maryland

4.22/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a very dark, almost black color with a finger worth of tan-colored head. The aroma really brings the cocoa and vanilla, along with cinnamon, as well as a sturdy roasted base. Cinnamon is incredibly well-integrated here, and a subtle heat is noticed. The usage of habanero peppers (compared with, say, ancho, guajillo, or jalapeno) is unique, and seems to give just a hair more aromatic bite next to other Mexican hot chocolate stouts. It manages to be desserty without being overbearing. The flavor profile reveals more cinnamon and a little more pepper than the nose indicated. The base beer provides a canvas of roasted malts, tobacco, and licorice. Habanero peppers don't overpower or clash like I initially feared, nor is it as overly sweet as I feared. Chocolate and vanilla are subtle (but palpable) elements that help balance the deep roast, while the habanero slowly but surely builds on the finish. While not the most substantial-feeling imperial stout I've ever drank, the texture is still fairly thick yet creamy. It's not oily or slick like a porter, it's actually surprisingly dry. Dry enough to go down far too easily for a monster stout over 10%! This stuff is excellent, period. It never overdoes any one element (really easy to do with a Mexican hot chocolate stout), yet provides the big, bold experience I expected. Well worth seeking out.

Yesterday at 09:41 PM
Photo of NYNorseman
NYNorseman from New York

4.49/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Westbrook is a very good brewery and Mexican Cake is an excellent stout. This beer is much thinner than I thought it would be but it still produces a a robust mouthfeel due to the kick of the habanero peppers. It produces a slight tang up front and a slow, soft burn as you swallow it. The cinnamon is nicely balanced against the cocoa nibs. I picked up a bomber on sale from our local beer store and this was worth every penny. South Carolina is home to Myrtle Beach, Westbrook Brewing and Lindsay Graham. Two out of three ain't bad!!!

Nov 08, 2020
Photo of NiceTaps
NiceTaps from New Jersey

4.53/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bomber poured into a totally inappropriate vessel; a clear plastic shaker cup.

Opaque jet black colored liquid with malted milk froth on top. The 1-plus F cap holds up and manages to leave a hearty ring of lacing in the plastic cup before tapering to a thick film.

Cinnamon and sugar, Scoville units, dark cocoa, vanilla .

Chili spiked dark chocolate with some cinnamon. A touch of sweet vanilla and dark fruit, like plum.

Equal parts of smooth drinkability and stout sturdiness. Liquid cocoa with a hit from the chilis on the taste buds.

An imperial stout, indeed. The label's claims are accurate about flavor and style.

Oct 30, 2020
Photo of rex_4539
rex_4539 from Greece

4.73/5  rDev +7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L: Jet black color, one finger brown head, incredible thin lacing, no visible carbonation. As good as it gets.

S: Chocolate, coffee, cinnamon, alcohol. Nice!

T: Chocolate, coffee, cinnamon, spicy. Delicious!

F: Light bodied (surprisingly!) but full flavored and dangerously drinkable.

O: World class imperial stout, no doubt.

Sep 27, 2020
Photo of titty_mcbitty
titty_mcbitty from Tennessee

4.71/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A: Pours pitch black with a swirly khaki head on top. Lacing on the sides after swishing it around.

S: The cinnamon comes through in the aroma, as does the vanilla.

T: Sweet, rich brownie batter, cinnamon sticks, vanilla, cacao, and just the right amount of habanero. Slight bitterness throughout, yet sweetness carries through as well. Wow, great job Westbrook.

M/F: Thick and velvety, very very smooth as it goes down. Cinnamon, chocolate, and habanero linger in the throat and tongue.

O: This is a wonderful beer that does not lie about the flavors. All of them show up here and meld very well together. This is a top-tier stout, and if they haven't already they should barrel age it!

Sep 09, 2020
Photo of whisperquiet
whisperquiet from California

3.14/5  rDev -29%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

Had this beer on a whim in January 2020 when I was sheltering from downpour in a bar. Being at one of the better beer spots in NYC, I took a leap of faith before ordering this $10 draft served in a 6 oz glass. Plus being from the southwest, I generally enjoy dessert-type things associated with Mexican cuisine.

I really wish I looked this beer up before I got it. In fact I thought I was having an allergic reaction after my first sip. When I realized the irritation wasn't my throat closing up, I decided to finally doing a quick Google to find, to my horror, that this beer contains habaneros.

Habaneros? Really? Every other spicy "mexican" beer I've drank has used guajillos, pasillos, or even cayenne. In all my years around Mexican cuisine, I have never in my life heard of a dessert that uses habanero peppers. I even checked my spanish-language Mexican recipe book. and of the dozen or so desserts none of them contained it. When I used a Mexican VPN to google habanero desserts in spanish, I only found one clickbaity hit about how a restaurant used habanero in their flan. The title even referenced how unthinkable it otherwise would be.

This is all a roundabout way of saying that not only did I find this a thoroughly forgettable imperial stout sans spice (eventually I was able to taste the chocolate and even that was a bit syup-y for my tastes), with the habaneros it was probably the least enjoyable 15 minutes I'd spent in a bar in a very long time. I'll admit that I'm not the biggest fan of spicy foods, especially when it's spice for spice's sake, but I've never chugged a beer this expensive so quick.

So if you're looking for a high ABV imperial stout with chocolate and habanero, I suppose this is your match. But if like me you're looking for a stout which would accurately be dubbed as "Mexican Cake," I'd really recommend you look elsewhere.

Aug 12, 2020
Photo of FBarber
FBarber from Illinois

4.36/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours a dark, shiny black color. Nice thick velvety 2 finger head. Head collapse and dissolves leaving no residual head.

Aroma has rich notes of chocolate, chocolate malts, roasted malts followed almost immediately by a rich aroma of sweet vanilla with just a little hint of smoky heat on the very back end.

The taste follows the nose - notes of milk chocolate, rich roasty malts with a slowly building moderate heat that crescendos on the back end. The heat is a nice moderate, smoky burn that doesn't dominate the flavor profile otherwise. A nice balancing sweetness comes from the vanilla beans. There is a bit of bitterness from the charr malts on the back end. The heat from the pepper does build on itself as the beer is slowly sipped resulting in a nice warmth that lingers in the chest.

Feel is medium to moderately bodied for a stout of such weight. But that works in its favor keeping it from getting too heavy. Moderate carbonation provides a smooth liveliness to the beer. The finish is a bit bitter, but that habanero pepper provides a definite warmth in the chest.

Overall an absolutely killer stout from Westbrook. Absolutely delicious - a beer to be sipped and enjoyed.

Jul 25, 2020
Photo of patre_tim
patre_tim from Thailand

4.18/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pitch black with a finger of dark rusty beige head.

The smells of chocolate and coconut, dark chocolate and toasted malts.

The taste is of dark chocolate, cocoa, red chilli pepper, and rich cream.

Texture is of velvet, creamy, deep and rich.

I got this in Asheville North Carolina and I am drinking it in Redding California July 20, 2020. Excellent brew!

Jul 21, 2020
Photo of DEZ01301960
DEZ01301960 from Illinois

3.4/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Wow, this was supposed to be epic. Tavour purchase. The beer was OK but the hype killed it. I don't get some of these ratings. I was tempted to purchase a bottle of KBBS online but, decided that I would probably be disappointed, especially, for the price point.

Jul 16, 2020
Photo of Apellonious
Apellonious from North Carolina

4.44/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bomber poured into a tulip glass, 5/4/2020, pitch black with a quarter finger dark tan head. Aroma of anise, vanilla, medium roast cold brew, cocoa powder.The taste is right in line, with some mild cinnamon and some intermittent back end zing. Everything melds together nicely. Over time, the pepper burn gets stronger. Mouthfeel is full but not heavy, a touch sticky as it warms. Low carbonation. Overall, a must try stout.

May 30, 2020
Photo of TonyLema1
TonyLema1 from South Carolina

4.05/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

L: jet black, with a tight tan head, really nice lacing
S: Roasted malts, hints of chocolate and peppers
T; Follows the nose, malty, some chocolate, hints of cot, with a peppery finish
F: Thick, rich, silky, chewy, awesome
O: this is an outstanding effort, I missed the last couple of years, but this is great

May 10, 2020
Photo of k1ng0j

4.5/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I found this beer to be really good had nice Smokey notes with the chocolate and a velvety texture. The only downside was that it was a little too spicy.

Feb 27, 2020
Photo of Snowcrash000
Snowcrash000 from Germany

4.51/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Pours a pitch-black coloration with a small, creamy, mocha-colored head. Smells of roasted, caramel malt and dark chocolate,with lighter notes of cinnamon and vanilla and coffee, as well as just a hint of chilies and licorice. Taste is a perfect balance of roasted, caramel malt, dark chocolate and chili heat, with lighter notes of cinnamon, vanilla and coffee, as well as just a hint of licorice, tobacco and earthy, herbal hops. Finishes with a medium bitterness and some chocolate and coffee lingering in the aftertaste, as well as a good chili heat lingering on the tongue long after the swallow. Full mouthfeel with a medium body and carbonation.

I love a good mexican chocolate Stout and after many recent disappointments this is finally a great example of the style, which is heavily dominated by the chocolate and chili heat, backed up by roasted malts and bitter, earthy/herbal hops, with the cinnamon and vanilla contributing to the overall flavor profile but remaining firmly in background, just as it should be. Nothing ruins a mexican chocolate Stout like overdone cinnamon and vanilla. There are also further notes of coffee, licorice and tobacco here adding depth and complexity to this and integrating into the excellent overall flavor balance very nicely. While this may be just a tad lacking in aroma and mouthfeel, it more than makes up for that with a sublime flavor profile and perfect balance of roasted/bitter, sweet and spicy notes, making for an incredibly enjoyable drinking experience. This certainly wipes the floor with the Evil Twin collab variation hard.

Jan 26, 2020
Photo of jgido759
jgido759 from New Jersey

4.29/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Enjoyed under not-to-ideal conditions. . . poured into a clear, plastic cup at a tailgate party.

Color was a deep, dark black, with a used motor oil consistency with a brown, foamy head. lacing was hard to tell in the plastic cup.

Aroma was of dark, roasted coffee with a hint of dark chocolate and cinnamon.

Taste was of roasted coffee and chocolate with a spicy, pepper finish.

Overall, a very smooth, enjoyable stout that would go well with a dessert course.

Nov 25, 2019
Photo of BBThunderbolt
BBThunderbolt from Kiribati

3.6/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Roguer for this one, from NBS BIF #10. 22oz bottle (bottled either 5/2, 5/21, or 5/27, 2019. The ink is blurry.) poured into 14oz teku. Poured the expected solid black color, with about 1/8 inch of dark tan head that had low-moderate retention and very low lacing.

The aroma was as advertised, spicy, chocolatey, and had a bit of coffee notes from the roast.

Very similar, just bolder on the tongue. The cocoa was brighter, the vanilla a bit sweeter, and the cinnamon and pepper combined to leave a tickling burn at the back of the palate.

The body was typical, maaaybe a touch thinner than average, for the style, was very smooth, and, in something of a surprise, managed a finish between between medium and semi-sweet.

Drinkability was very good, although the peppers kinda wore on me after a bit, I didn't really have any issues finishing the bottle (and, I usually get bored after about 12oz).

Overall, a very good beer. I would drink it again. Certainly worth your time if you get the chance.

Nov 14, 2019
Photo of Thankin_Hank
Thankin_Hank from Texas

4.87/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Beautiful dark and rich. Smells great. Coffee, cocoa, vanilla, cinnamon and awesomeness. Taste is good. The habanero heat comes through with the chocolate and coffee and is not sweet or syrupy. Alcohol is well hidden. It’s smooth and delicious with enough bitterness to know you’re drinking beer. Overall this is the epitome of American Imperial Stouts. My restaurant didn’t provide the correct glass but we made do with a tumbler. Cheers.

Oct 20, 2019
Photo of officerbill
officerbill from New York

4.17/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

L: the color of used motor oil with a thick milk chocolate head that forms a ring and spotty lace
S: chocolate, coffee, caramel, vanilla, like a rich hot cocoa
T: chocolate, cocoa, coffee, vanilla, cinnamon, chili (medium to hot), built on a very good stout
F: mild tingle from the light carbonation, dark chocolate aftertaste with a lingering pleasant heat
O: an excellent Mexican stout. Rich and complex hot cocoa flavors with just the right amount of heat.

Oct 05, 2019
Photo of NeroFiddled
NeroFiddled from Pennsylvania

3.99/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Westbrook Brewing Co. "Mexican Cake"
22 fl. oz. brown glass bottle, "BOTTLED ON: 5/2/19" and sampled on 10/3/19
$15.99 @ Total Wine & More, Cherry Hill, NJ

Notes via stream of consciousness: it's poured an opaque black body beneath a short head of creamy dark tan foam. The aroma is surprisingly limited. What exactly is supposed to be in here? "Malt beverage with cocoa nibs, vanilla beans, cinnamon, and habanero peppers added". OK, so let's see, I'm getting a little bit of the cinnamon and a little bit of the vanilla, and I guess some of the cocoa nibs although that could just be the malt. Maybe once it warms a bit it will become more pronounced. It's not like it's straight out of the refrigerator though. On to the flavor... ahhh, much fuller, and I get the habanero right upfront, followed by cocoa, and that lingers in the finish. That's pretty intense and I wonder if the habanero isn't a bit too much. I'm finding some vanilla in the aftertaste, but not much, and after just a few sips my upper lip is tingling. So, another sip brings me cocoa immediately followed by the habanero flavor which is kind of thin, but enough heat that it's made me cough. There's more heat on my upper lip, and again I'm getting a lot of cocoa in the finish. I like that. Oh, and after a few moments the vanilla shows up. It's a long lingering finish and I appreciate that. Let me go back in for another sip, but first, what am I looking for? Ahh, the cinnamon. Yes, that's there. Maybe I've just been overwhelmed by the heat of the habanero and the strong coco. Still, I have to say that the cinnamon takes a back seat to everything else, even the vanilla. The malt is chocolatey, and cocoa-ish of course, well, that's actually the cocoa, but how can you separate the two? There's a bit of a coffee-like flavor as well, and just a bit of coffee-like roastiness. I'm not finding a lot of bitterness but I'm not sure how much bitterness I could even fathom given that my lips and now the roof of my mouth are burning. And that's literally burning. When you eat hot peppers the acids are actually burning your skin. It seems that it's warmed a bit more now and I'm getting more cinnamon in the aroma and the flavor, and the order that the flavors appear in has now changed. I used to get heat or cocoa first, but now I'm getting cocoa and cinnamon backed by heat and followed up by cinnamon. All the while the chocolatey and softly roasty malt seems just there to support the other flavors, whereas with other beers I've had like this the malt has always played a fuller role. Hmmmm. Moving forward, it's medium leaning towards medium full in body and gently crisp but also quite bristling due to the acids from the habaneros. I've poured the rest of the bottle and I've got another short head of dark tan but it's fading rapidly before my eyes, and there was no lacing left over from the first go-'round. That's probably because of the peppers but I'm not sure. I guess vanilla gives you oils as well, as does the cocoa, so that's probably a deadly combination for head retention and lacing. It's much warmer now and I'm essentially tasting a different beer, but I've always held the belief that you can't really taste a beer without drink a whole pint because of the changes that happen, from warmth to softening carbonation. I'm getting much more cinnamon in the aroma now, and much more vanilla in the flavor. It really has changed, but I wonder how much of that is my getting used to it and now my brain is looking for new things? We know that the nose does that, eventually blocking out aromas that are too strong or have been around for too long, and as the olfactory palate is most of what we "taste" that would all make sense. So, to get back on track, this does taste like a rich dark chocolate cake with cinnamon and vanilla, and that's nice. I like it. I think it's a little off-balance with so much heat, but maybe that's just my personal take, although I'll clearly state that I'm not adverse to hot foods at all. It's OK, but it's not the greatest and I wonder why it's so highly rated. Still, I'd say it's worth trying except that at $16 a bottle I'd have to call it a hard pass. I'll blame that on the cost of vanilla which is disappearing, and soon cocoa will follow so these beers will eventually become extinct as well.
Review #6,744

Oct 03, 2019
Photo of DokiDokiLitFam
DokiDokiLitFam from New Jersey

4.31/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

Pours dark and thick. Motor oil. No head. Swirl the glass. Mild lacing. Fine bubbles.

Nose is nice roasty malt, cinnamon as it warms, a little bit of chocolate, and a little bit of heat rising to the top. At 10% it's smells a little boozy. It's not in your face but definitely present.

Taste is a mix of bittersweet dark chocolate and cinnamon. The cinnamon presence is very mild, serving as more of a bittering agent rather than a whole entity. The chocolate is dark. Very nice. Some vanilla. The habanero pepper provides heat on your pallet. Mostly on the finish. It creates this huge warmth in your throat. Suitable for winter consumption.

Mouthfeel is amazing. Full bodied with smooth carbonation. Beautiful consistency. Velvety without being a thick like gravy stout. This is just a perfect mix with the flavors going on here.

Overall this beer does a few things different from other Mexican chocolate beers such as Stone's Xocoveza and Epic's Big Bad Baptista. The flavor is more tame and the heat is nice. They absolutely nailed the mouthfeel. Well done and cheers to Westbrook.

Sep 22, 2019
Photo of StJamesGate
StJamesGate from New York

4.54/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Viscous jet that pours like oil + kills all head; crazy intense Cinnabon nose with chocolate + vanilla; big fudgy malts, slight fig, creeping cinnamon, slight chili hum, dark chocolate comeback; silky smooth + chewy.

4.5 4.75 4.5 4.25 4.5

Dunkin’ Donuts nose! More intense cinnamon follows with a warm blanket of chocolate + a surgical dose of chili - vanilla strictly in support. No cloy or heat, but the wonder here is how everything is in the perfect proportions. I questioned bright + fruity habaneros over something mellower like, say, ancho, but not after tasting it. There’s as much going on in the recipe design as there is in the brewing itself. Only a couple of months in the bottle; freshness may be helping here.
Melded, round, balanced, well-executed, considered, fun - truly epic.

Feel the cinnamon!

Sep 16, 2019
Photo of Cylinsier
Cylinsier from Pennsylvania

4.25/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22 oz bottle

Pours opaque black, tan film for a head.

Aroma is of coffee, cocoa, toast, cinnamon and vanilla.

Tastes of cocoa, toast, cake, cinnamon, chili peppers, vanilla and caramel.

Full body, velvety carbonation. Capsaicin sting going down.

Really good chili stout, the spice balances the sweetness nicely. Goes down super easily despite the spice. Would have again.

Sep 15, 2019
Photo of mkh012
mkh012 from Colorado

4.31/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2019 vintage, bottled 1 month ago.

Pours near-black with a thin tan head.

The nose is rich chocolate, a biscuity note that reminds me of a waffle cone, and very subtle habanero.

The taste opens with chocolate, cinnamon, and malt, before substantial habanero spice on the backend. Unlike Abraxas, this chili pepper stout actually has some kick to it. The backend taste is definitely habanero-leaning. Chocolate, root beer, roast then boom! the heat comes in.

The mouthfeel is medium. The peppers make it somewhat bright and dry out the finish.

Overall, I enjoyed this. It's a fun, complex beer and worth picking up. It's just not blowing me away like a few other chili pepper beers have.

Jun 30, 2019
Photo of JohnFred4
JohnFred4 from New York

4.17/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Look: black-brown with a long-lasting, slow-sliding tan khaki head. makes delightful patterns on the top of the beer.

Smell: coffee, char, chocolate. don't really smell the peppers that will follow.

Taste: dry chocolate and peppers. slow burn on the chili.

feel: relatively light, drank alongside an Abraxas, and this is positively effervescent, comparatively.

Overall: a nice, slow, but always present serrano/shishito pepper burn. not like prarie bomb! which has a much more subtle pepper. again, I drank this alongside Abraxas; mexican cake, despite its name, is a meal, in terms of savoriness a spice. Abraxas is much heavier feel, is a meal in terms of mouthfeel, but is a true Mexican cinnamon dessert beer.

Jun 28, 2019
Photo of Treb0R
Treb0R from Oregon

4.45/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

An amazing experience from start to finish. I love this beer; I wish it ran from my faucet. The habanero presence is just enough to be noticed flavor-wise, but not enough to be spicy. Buy it. Learn how to brew it.

Jun 28, 2019
Photo of HoppingMadMonk
HoppingMadMonk from New Jersey

4.29/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Light carbonation with an above average body ,has creamy oily feel
Aroma is espresso, spicy hot pepper, green pepper, roasted malt
Taste is similar to aroma but the pepper heat takes over taste and lingers.

Jun 13, 2019
Mexican Cake from Westbrook Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 98 out of 100 with 3015 ratings