Mexican Cake
Westbrook Brewing Co.

Mexican CakeMexican Cake
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Westbrook Brewing Co.
South Carolina, United States
American Imperial Stout
Ranked #233
Ranked #492
4.4 | pDev: 8.41%
May 20, 2023
Feb 01, 2012
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
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Photo of GrumpyGas
Reviewed by GrumpyGas from Illinois

4.63/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5
16oz can dated 04/25/23 and recently gifted by the good doctor.
Poured at fridge temp into a tulip glass shows a thick, viscous, oily dark maple, brown body and floats a 1/4 cap of tight tan bubbles that recedes to wisps and am edge-hugging ring leaving the glass coated in leopard spotted lacing.

Aroma and flavors develop with temperature so allow it to breath before the final verdict. Patience is a virtue, I hear.

Aroma starts with all the fruity characteristics of the chocolate, peppers, and cinnamon before heading underground to mine their earthy qualities including heat, spice, and bitterness. Such depth is unique. Rising temps expose the full panoply of senses. Cinnamon leads followed by cocoa and vanilla with the peppers lingering in the background.

Flavors match. I've 'enjoyed' a few beers with peppers (chipotle, habanero, ghost, poblano, and even green on the wrong side of coffee) and they can all dominate the taste and diminish the experience.
Not here.
I'm taking my time with this.

Mouthfeel is thicker, lusciously creamy, but not exactly tongue coating. The palate clears nicely with just a sense of cocoa powder and chili left behind. Almost a wet finish, more like a lighter beer, which actually encourages me to replace with another sip.

10.5%?!? I don't think so. No booze warmth, let alone fusel alcohol aroma. Very well hidden and nicely dangerous. It hurts so good.

Overall this has to be the one, but I am still holding out for better. What? It could happen.
May 20, 2023
Photo of eppCOS
Reviewed by eppCOS from Colorado

4.41/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
L - Fantastic dark night/cocoa brown density, a little foam rise, not much lacing. Impressive looking and leaves some good pattern on top, here comes the night.
S - Vanilla chocolate-fudge notes on the nose first and foremost, some hint of the pepper to come but well hidden. Nice, too, that it's NOT bourbon barrel aged. Nice change-up.
T - Fantastic cascading, then converging, layers of fudge, vanilla, then whoosh comes the habanero but it doesn't dominate and it does NOT have an overly sweet, cloying aspect on the palate. Just fantastic, like drinking dark Oaxacan mole negro, and some lingering bite after... well made.
F - Fantastic, can feel a little one-note and continuous on the mouth because of the habanero, as it starts to work on the tongue, but really this is just a great impy stout with a spicy twist.
O - A very well made Imperial Stout provided by @DoctorZombies during a visit to Colorado Spring on May 18, 2023. Can was dated April 25, 2023 so was less than a month old when enjoyed. Muled across half the country. Thanks Dave! This was a real treat.
May 19, 2023
Photo of keithmurray
Reviewed by keithmurray from Connecticut

4/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
22 oz bomber dated 5/22/22 poured into a tulip

Appearance - dark mahogany body with tan head

Smell - fudge, chocolate, cinnamon, pepper, vanilla

Taste - Pepper upfront, chocolate, fudge, cinnamon, vanilla

Mouthfeel - Chocolate and pepper upfront, cinnamon in the middle and the heat from the pepper glows on the back end. Medium bodied, medium carbonation

Overall - this is a decent Mexican stout, the peppers predominate but the flavors of chocolate and cinnamon come through. Worthy of a try.

Price Point - $14.99/ 22 oz bottle
Mar 11, 2023
Photo of philbe311
Reviewed by philbe311 from Pennsylvania

4.3/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
2021 Edition - Sludgy pour yields a minimal late to develop dark khaki colored froth with little or no retention... Color is a deep rich monotony and carbonation bubbles can be seen bursting through the surface... The nose is stellar... Rich chocolate, cinnamon and vanilla leaf with some faint lightly toasted malts... The palate is similar but the pepper notes are at the forefront along with the roasted malts... Everything else settles into the background to add much depth and complexity... On the lighter side of medium bodied... Some brisk carbonation... A slightly chalky finish... The habanero notes linger throughout the entire session... Excellent well rounded offering, highly enjoyable...
Feb 19, 2023
Rated: 4.48 by Chilmer from Iowa

Jan 23, 2023
Photo of BigGold
Reviewed by BigGold from Mississippi

4.05/5  rDev -8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4
Had Mexican Cake poured from 22-oz. bomber, label stamped bottled on "5/24/22," into snifter.

Pours absolutely black with 1-finger dark tan head, which soon dissipates to a persistent ring and partial film, which pulls a tie-dye pattern of splotchy lace down the glass. Aroma of mild roast malts and chocolate off pour, with chocolate growing, soon joined by some vanilla, and then more than a little hot pepper, to give an edge to the solid malt and chocolate. Begins with a little spicy pepper and the cinnamon missing from the aroma, over much chocolate, with the pepper continuing into a caramel spell, before the underlying roast malts are uncovered to help the chocolate try but eventually fail to balance the growing spicy pepper in the overly sticky, moderately hopped finish.

Disappointed that after years of anticipation this turns out to be a gimmick (habanero) pepper beer, but can't complain because not misled (the name is "Mexican Cake"), and it's a good gimmick beer.
Jan 15, 2023
Photo of MonDak_Joe1953
Reviewed by MonDak_Joe1953 from Minnesota

4.43/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
650ml bottle. Label is marked for bottling date of '5/16/22'.
Black colored body, with only the thinnest of red mahogany back lit edge. Fizzy dark tan head disappears quickly. Tiny ring.
Aroma is a mellow dark roasted malts with cocoa, vanilla, and cinnamon.
Taste introduces the habanero peppers, which are not burning hot but have a definite heat presence. Well integrated with the dark roasted malts is the cocoa and sweet vanilla. The cinnamon provides a spicy overlay. Really gets a peppered fudge vibe in the aftertaste.
Thicker mouth feel. Creamy and silky texture. Supportive carbonation.
Have wanted to try this and it does not disappoint. Higher ABV% is well hidden. Extremely well balanced. Not overly dramatic but still presents well. Sets a standard for a peppered cocoa/vanilla/cinnamon stout.
Jan 05, 2023
Rated: 4.5 by PaleAleWalt from New York

Sep 06, 2022
Rated: 4.11 by bendukes86 from South Carolina

Aug 10, 2022
Photo of jmdrpi
Reviewed by jmdrpi from Pennsylvania

4.37/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
22 oz bottle, dated 5/16/22

Pours a jwt black color, daek tan colored head, good head retention. Aroma is chile pepper, chocolate, a little roasty coffee. Taste is similar, smokey, spicey, cinnamon. Thick, full bodied, slick feel.
Jun 12, 2022
Photo of BloodSoakedAleMug
Reviewed by BloodSoakedAleMug from New York

4.41/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25
Look: Pours an almost pitch black shade of brown with a one and a half finger, khaki colored head of foam. Excellent head retention, very little lacing.

Aroma: Dark fudge and chocolate liquor. Some sweet marshmallow and sticky toffee.

Taste: Restrained flavors of bittersweet dark chocolate upfront, almost like brownies and molasses. Leans into notes of short bread cookies and sweet iced coffee midpalate. Finishes on very gentle notes of prickly habanero pepper and cinnamon. Heat / Scoville intensity is very low. Flavor is very well rounded and gentle, almost supple and delicate for such a strong 10.5% Imperial Stout.

Mouthfeel: Silky. Velvety. Gentle. Rich. Low carbonation. Mid weight body. Sugars and spices never comes across to the palate as cloying, slimy or overtly heavy.

Overall: I'm very, very impressed by this. I love mexican hot chocolate style stouts. The peppers worked just perfectly here, they are neither too assertive or too restrained and I really appreciate the texture not being slick or syrupy.
May 07, 2022
Rated: 4.38 by steve8robin from Massachusetts

Apr 18, 2022
Rated: 4.05 by TMoney2591 from Illinois

Feb 28, 2022
Rated: 4.5 by shigg85 from Japan

Feb 09, 2022
Photo of jngls
Reviewed by jngls from Germany

4.46/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5
Canned 4 months ago. Can to snifter.

Look: Black with a full, golden brownish foam that doesn‘t last long.

Smell: Intense chocolate and cocoa notes accentuated by a subtle chili heat.

Taste: Milk chocolate and cocoa notes. Hints of vanilla and cinnamon. Intense heat. Subtle sweetness. No bitterness.

Feel: Full and creamy. Thick but not too oily.

Overall: This is great! Chocolate and cocoa notes accompanied by an everlasting chili heat. Roasty and smooth at the same time. Complex and exciting even without any BA treatment. One of the the best base stouts I know. Probably THE best one.
Jan 02, 2022
Rated: 4.28 by ummswimmin from New Jersey

Dec 30, 2021
Photo of zeff80
Reviewed by zeff80 from Missouri

4.7/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75
On draft at Craft Brewed in Nashville. Poured out an opaque, jet-black color with a small, light brown head of foam. It left sticky lacing. It smelled of cinnamon, dark chocolate, vanilla and spicy peppers. Great chocolate and toffee taste with cinnamon and chile heat. This didn't disappoint. A classic Mexican stout.
Nov 17, 2021
Photo of Beejay
Reviewed by Beejay from Virginia

4/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
A: black in color, ours like oil, with a dark brown head on top.

S: sweet with dark brown sugar, with cinnamon and chocolate.

T: cinnamon, brown sugar and vanilla, with a little kick in the back of peppers.

M: thick body, moderate carbonation, and slightly slick finish.

O: overall an interesting brew. The spice is a touch high for me for the balance.
Oct 09, 2021
Photo of jrc1093
Reviewed by jrc1093 from Connecticut

3.88/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75
Canned on 5/28/21; consumed on 10/1/21

Pours a viscous, oily, jet-black body capped with nearly three fingers of thick, fluffy, pale mocha foam; good head retention leaves ¾ of a finger of lush cap, a moderate, frothy collar, and a moderate spread of chunky, webby lacing clinging temporarily to the walls of the glass.

Aroma presents charry vanilla enmeshed with earthy inklings of habañero advancing across the bouquet; chocolate cake batter evolves to a creamier vanilla on the back end, where the more forward pepper phases into roast and masks lighter cinnamon tones.

Taste opens with notes of charry cacao accented with touches of vanilla as lighter cinnamon proceeds through gently to roasted malts beneath ripe spice from fresh habañero; a coffee-like roast phases easily toward creamy milk chocolate on the back end and into the close.

Mouthfeel offers a medium body, at first creamy in texture before an encroaching charry roast takes hold into the mid-palate; a subdued, moderate-mild carbonation prevents the peppery spice from overwhelming into the back end, where it eases to the finish with a roasty kick.

The notions of a classically constructed stout, adjuncted for richness though committed to a core of balances roast, are all satisfying here; however, so long as peppery spice grazes every aspect of the profile, it is in large part held back from a greater expression.
Oct 02, 2021
Rated: 4.46 by dsshuck from Delaware

Oct 02, 2021
Rated: 4.4 by Sound_Explorer from Washington

Sep 26, 2021
Rated: 4.51 by curlybird from Pennsylvania

Sep 24, 2021
Rated: 4.02 by gbiello from Massachusetts

Sep 15, 2021
Photo of Smakawhat
Reviewed by Smakawhat from Maryland

4.5/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
Poured from the bottle into a teku glass. Bottle May 17th 2021.

Beautiful looking stout. Deep dark mocha forming head, a rich full pour out of the bottle inky, and deep walnut brown black, with an oily sheen. Creamy forming top layer while slowly settling down.

Delicious inviting aroma. Hot peppers with a good hint of fruity like action. Green pepper skin, nice dark chocolate that's a mix of soft and dry cocoa flavors on the nose. Sweet hints of soft cake like vanilla as well. Not picking up cinnamon flavors so much, but everything here is so very well put together. There's even a touch of light coffee bean sensations as well. A place you can really get lost in here.

Really beautiful palate. First sip is a thick ganache bitter chocolate rush on the palate. Nice small heat, but much sense of warm phenolic spice. Dark chocolate and cocoa coat all over. The finish is exceptionally memorable. Finishes with excellent pepper heat warmth, with the slowest lingering spicy build up even after the swallow. This has to be one of the most controlled chile infused beers I have ever had. The sense of warmth and slow burn is just perfection, nice and mellow, and building to a very tolerable but noticeable spice. Lots of char and roast angles also, melding nicely with deep chocolate.

This is an exceptionally put together stout. Would love to try the barrel versions of this someday, till then, this is about as close as one can get to a real non barrel aged rich stout you can get.
Aug 26, 2021
Rated: 4.48 by jera1350 from Minnesota

Aug 24, 2021
Photo of BigIronH
Reviewed by BigIronH from Michigan

3.9/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
Pours a syrupy, thick pitch black. No head. Dark caramel ring and some very spotty lacing. Smell is raisins, vanilla, cinnamon, chocolate and some spice. Tastes follows suit with a melted milk chocolate front followed by spicy cinnamon, accented with vanilla and some very delightful spice from the peppers in the aftertaste. Feel is silky smooth and chewy. I liked this more than I thought I would.
Aug 01, 2021
Rated: 4.37 by SFNC from North Carolina

Jul 31, 2021
Rated: 4 by ejimhof from Pennsylvania

Jul 28, 2021
Photo of morimech
Reviewed by morimech from Minnesota

4.02/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4
Bottled on 02/18/21. This is a highly anticipated beer I have had for years and I finally get to drink a bottle. Pours a used motor oil black with a small head that settles to a thin cap. Aroma of vanilla and cinnamon. A bit letdown by the aroma as it is only adjuncts. The flavor takes another course however. I get chocolate, mild roasted malt, with a bit of habanero heat in the finish. I would of liked some habanero tropical fruit flavor. Alcohol is well hidden. Does not taste overly sweet. Big body and nicely carbonated. Did not quite live up to expectations but still a good beer.
Jul 23, 2021
Photo of jkblr
Reviewed by jkblr from Indiana

4.41/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
22oz bottled on 5/5/21 (about 10 weeks ago) poured into a Duvel glass at just above fridge 10.5% ABV. The beer pours dense very dark brown rusty brown colored head. The head recedes to a thin ring and a few tiny bubbles. Minimal lacing. The aroma is mild with notes of roasted malt, chocolate, pepper and vanilla. The taste is semisweet roasty base with chocolate and vanilla popping first, followed by the pepper and cinnamon. Minimal to moderate bitterness. The habanero heat is dominant when cold or cool, but as it warms the cocoa and vanilla become much more expressive. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with average carbonation and a peppery, dry finish. Overall, excellent. It takes some skill to brew a stout like this and have it come out right. Real, tasty pepper heat that hits hard, but still allows the other ingredients and the base malt to shine.
Jul 17, 2021
Rated: 5 by doctorgary from New York

Jul 14, 2021
Rated: 4.6 by Danmullens1 from Wisconsin

Jul 12, 2021
Rated: 4.26 by Scottsbeer from Florida

Jul 11, 2021
Rated: 4.5 by jtransel from Illinois

Jul 08, 2021
Photo of RaulMondesi
Reviewed by RaulMondesi from California

4.73/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75
Sweet hell… You dip your beak in this son of a gun and it just lights up the night’s sky like Disneyland at 9:30 PM (my north OC peeps will feel me). Just wow. All kinds of wow. This thing is more delicate than Lauren Bacall before she died. And like Lauren, there is just so much grace and beauty in this thang. And then what’s best, you get a little Joan Crawford bite in the end from the beautifully layered, subtle heat. Why am I still here?

All I can say is get it, my children, get it good!
Jul 02, 2021
Photo of Peach63
Reviewed by Peach63 from New York

4.7/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
Pours pitch Black with a 1 1/2" tan head, which lasts. Heavy lacing to the end.

Aroma is cocoa & vanilla right off. Also, caramel, cinnamon, roast malt.

Taste is cocoa, vanilla, hot pepper, cinnamon, caramel, roast malt.

Full bodied, light carbonation. Thick, oily finish with lingering habanero burn.

This is one hot, tasty stout. Outstanding!
Jun 26, 2021
Photo of ThisWangsChung
Reviewed by ThisWangsChung from Maryland

4.22/5  rDev -4.1%
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.
Jun 21, 2021
Rated: 4 by Cpmitchno1 from Virginia

Jun 14, 2021
Rated: 4.5 by aucanuck from Georgia

Jun 13, 2021
Rated: 4.72 by Hoptometrist from Ohio

Jun 10, 2021
Mexican Cake from Westbrook Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 97 out of 100 with 3051 ratings