Mexican Cake
Westbrook Brewing Co.

Mexican CakeMexican Cake
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American Imperial Stout
Ranked #84
Ranked #299
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: 393 | Ratings: 2,986 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of TonyLema1
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

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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.

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Photo of Snowcrash000
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.

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Photo of jgido759
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.

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Photo of beertunes
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.

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Photo of Thankin_Hank
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.

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Photo of officerbill
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.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
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

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Photo of DokiDokiLitFam
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.

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Photo of StJamesGate
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!

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Photo of Cylinsier
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.

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Photo of mkh012
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.

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Photo of JohnFred4
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.

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Photo of Treb0R
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.

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Photo of HoppingMadMonk
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.

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Photo of Newbeergeek1
4.42/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Just truly got lucky at a World of Beer in S.Carolina with it on draft. A feekin’ amazing. I have been to Westbrook several times a just never when they they released it.

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Photo of GuyFawkes
3.75/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottled 5/28/15; drank 6/26/15 @ Golgi Apparatus.

Black/brown appearance.

Minimal tan head; minimal lace.

Cinnamon, bakers chocolate & brown sugar notes in the nose.

Medium thick mouthfeel.

Cinnamon & milk chocolate flavors up front; habenero bite on the finish, with a hint of cream for some balance.

Too spicy for me but certainly enjoyable.

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Photo of Dheeznuhhtz
4.18/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Solid imperial stout with great body and mouthfeel. Strong notes of chocolate and heat from habaneros that lingers, cinnamon and vanilla are very faint on the start. 10.5 abv and it’s not boozy but still brings the warmth. The 2017 was Smoother with more prominent vanilla and cinnamon.

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Photo of Bruno74200
4.68/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Well for a Mexican Cake, that's a beautiful one!

Thick pitch black with a little beige head

The cinnamon is great, the habanero is very nice and hot. The cocoa and vanilla are great

The mouthfeel is very thick and smooth.

The whole is perfectly balanced, very gourmet like but never too sweet

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Photo of Cieren
4.9/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I adore Mexican Cake - the only issue is that depending on which section of the keg you get, the taste is somewhat inconsistent. Otherwise it's amazing.

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Photo of soze47
4.35/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Nice beer with a welcome imperial stout bitterness providing the canvas. The first taste is what showcases this beer craftiness - the slightest of chocolate cake sweetness before a wash of secondary flavors - cocoa, pepper, and a glowing alcohol warmth. Body is loose enough to let it dance on the palette. Very nice beer in a competitive sub-category. Forgoing lactose and barrels do this one right.

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Photo of RMW66
4.33/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours black with a 5mm head tan-brown head that disappears over a few minutes leaving fine lacing. The nose is dark chocolate with subtle cinnamon. The taste is dark chocolate with cinnamon, green pepper and vanilla notes and mild chili heat and some alcohol warmth at the back end. It is full bodied and has a smooth mouthfeel with subtle carbonation and medium length. The tastes are well integrated and it is well balanced and complex. Very good.

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Photo of DannyAdlerman
4.46/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a wonderful, celebratory winter stout. It works well with dessert in a tiny 4 or 5 oz novelty glass, or even better as a dessert in it's own right, I suggest a small snifter, perhaps 6-8 ounces. This way you'll feel good about having seconds.

This smooth and thick stout demands your attention and focus, but not to the point of distraction. It is complex, but ready to be consumed on face value. The 10.5% alcohol ABV is obvious, but it tastes smooth and chocolatey rather than harsh and obtrusive.

And excellent brew, I recommend, and will be getting more!

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Photo of thebeers
4.19/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a rich dark brown — approaching black — with a finger-and-a-half of mocha head that’s soupy on the top. It leaves nice, messy lacing.

Refined pepper, cinnamon and chocolate malts in the nose continue to the taste where they’re coupled by hints of green pepper and vanilla and some fairly strong, but not overpowering, pepper heat on the backend.

I like that the cinnamon is complementary without being over-the-top. The pepper is just about as strong as I’d prefer, too; maybe a bit too spicy in my middle age. The chocolate and vanilla play off each other nicely.

It has a silky, medium-bodied feel and moderate carbonation that accentuates the pepper.

The heat in this one is really something, and the other flavors play well together, too. Overall, I like it as much as Abraxas and better than Hunahpu or Bomb. 4/26/18 bottling date.

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Photo of AyatollahGold
3.84/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Did this blind with Abraxas & Huna.

This beer is black with highlights around the edges of the top. Has a dark khaki/caramel colored crown. 4.5

The smell brings a deep cooked/roasted like pepper presence. Almost reminds me of a Chinese smell. Salty. Chocolate reminiscent of fudge brownies. But gotta say I’m not really into the roasted aspect of the peppers I’m picking up. 3.5

The taste comes in with that salty, roasty pepper presence again. But it’s much better in the taste than the nose. Shows some chocolate & slight vanilla sweetness. 4

The mouthfeel is full bodied. Brings a very slight pepper tingle but more of a salty, dry feeling more than anything that I just seem to not get past in this one. 3.5

Overall, this one seemed to be the worst for my palate. I was just not into the Chinese food/roasted presence that it brought. I do like how it brought some slight pepper tingle, but I still wanted more. 3.5

Update. After finishing the bottle it ended up being much more enjoyable for me. That saltiness I was picking up mellowed out and melded with the vanilla and cacao better. Gonna bump the feel & overall up to 3.75.

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Mexican Cake from Westbrook Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 98 out of 100 with 2986 ratings