Mexican Cake
Westbrook Brewing Co.

Mexican CakeMexican Cake
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Stout - American Imperial
Ranked #99
Ranked #323
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: 410 | Ratings: 3,031 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by unclekeith:
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unclekeith from Alaska

4/5  rDev -9.5%

Aug 03, 2014
More User Reviews:
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obiwan_k3n00bi from California

2.75/5  rDev -37.8%

It tastes like they added chalk to a mediocre stout.

Nov 06, 2014
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JFresh21 from Illinois

3.47/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Has everything going for it, but the finish of the habanero peppers is too much. I love spicy food but this beer leaves an unpleasant sting in your mouth that washes away all the brilliant flavor. I traded for this and didn't even finish the bottle.

Aug 16, 2015
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StonedTrippin from Colorado

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

a really amazing beer, didnt think i would find one in a store on this first round to colorado, but i got lucky up in fort collins. its crazy beer, in the abraxas style, but very very different. the fresh habanero pepper instead of an ancho type makes a huge difference, you get that fleshy pulpy fresh pepper flavor in the beer without the smoky heat in the same way. inky black beer, very dense, heady, and intimidating as a night cap. the habanero flavor is really intense, but the heat is not, just warming in the throat and not lingering. im not a huge chili beer guy, and this is very very drinkable in terms of pepper influence. the cinnamon would be the next strongest of the additives, its spicy in own right, and works amazingly well with the bittersweet dark barley, ashy almost burnt, and thats where the desserty element comes from, the coffee notes in the malt with that cinnamon, its awesome. vanilla and cocoa do more highlighting and accenting as center staging, balancing sweet and bitter elements really well, and also bringing the most out of the malts. its like a cake batter, i see that in the base beer very much, the additives take it to the next lever, crazy really how flavorful this is. its also just so smooth and silky drinking, like the frosting that might be on such a cake. i thought this might be too much pepper for my palate, but i think its right on with the other flavors in here. gets boozy and a little sweet as it warms, but this is a really special beer. make sure you have a partner in crime who you can share this one with, a whole bomber is a serious task!

Jul 05, 2015
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wulfie85 from California

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

Had this next to Abraxas, Huna, and Bomb! Mexi was the spiciest of the set, but with little pepper flavor. The base stout came through very well with notes of chocolate and vanilla

May 07, 2016
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cjgiant from District of Columbia

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

Bottle (revisit 8/2019 on 3mo old bottle)
Oily look coming from the bottle, but not as thick as some stouts I've poured. The head comes already creamed into a smooth, very small bubbled brown cap to this beer. The head doesn't fall too quickly, but gets to a point of half centimeter atop the black body and waits for me to start sipping.
(Revisit: pour seemed a bit thicker than described, but otherwise the same)

But first, the nose. My initial quick sniff shows a bit of char with a little dark chocolate. A second sniff confirms the dark chocolate and maybe just the lightest hint of marshmallow - but the char is now a mix of roasted malt, earthiness, and maybe even a hint of coffee sizzling on the burner after a not too careful pour from the carafe.
(Revisit: cinnamon is obvious and vanilla comes out little more distinctly from the marshmallow flavor, a chocolate cake donut impression is noted)

Taste is more dark chocolate, bakers chocolate, brownie on the chocolate side. There's a little earthy spice dryness in the middle - maybe cinnamon or nutmeg like. A roasty, regular stout malt note comes next, followed by a very light and brief malty sweetness. The ending is a bit slick and the beer slides off my palate surprisingly quickly. A light ashen chocolate remains to watch my palate's reaction to the light acutely tingling burn that sneaks in at the end. This heat slowly pervades further into the beginning taste not as heat - but as a mere accent of red peppery sweetness.
(Revisit: earthy spices unveils the woody cinnamon a little more; the habanero bite comes through early and holds with a little numbing tingle)

I like how the heat comes out, and find the level quite enjoyable. I wish peppery bite came on a little earlier in the taste, but not too far forward. The bulk of the beer is nicely put together with a chocolatey note that is sweetish but still can lay claim to being an imperial stout first.

May 30, 2017
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Mateo2699 from Texas

4.83/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Finally got my hands on one. 2015 version, poured into a snifter.

Pour is jet black, viscous and slightly oily. Hits the glass with absolutely no head initially, and bubbles up to a half finger khaki color. Settles to a small ring. Minimal retention because of this.

Smell is deep chocolate, roasted malts and hints of vanilla. Not much of a cinnamon or pepper profile until it warmed up, then it came out a little bit. Still very subtle.

Taste totally makes up for the nose. Chocolate and roasted malts initially, then subtle cinnomon comes through than you get that pop of habanero pepper in the back end. I found the spicy linger very enjoyable. Similar to the nose, the heat is more noticable as it warms.

Mouthfeel is low carbonation, velvety and very smooth.

Very impressive pepper stout. Comparing this to Bomb, the only other pepper stout I've had, this one definitely had more of heat going on especially as it warms. More viscous and flavorful as well.

May 15, 2016
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floridadrift from Florida

3.65/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

L: Black, tan head, lacing retains for some time.
S: Spices
T: Lacking huge in the flavor department. Mostly spices come through, don't get much else.
F: Semi-smooth body, somewhat watery
O: Poor and bare in flavor, nowhere near Hunahpu. Insane how this base beer gets transformed into something incredible with bourbon or other spirits.

Jan 26, 2016
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WalkerHater from Northern Ireland

4.26/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I hate chilli stouts. This beer smells and tastes amazing. Absolute top 5, bit then that fucking habanero kicks in and burns my throat. I knew what I was getting into, so it's no real surprise, but the burn in quite harsh. Amazing beer, but ruined by that heat!

Jan 27, 2016
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Moose90 from Washington

3.83/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

2015 Vintage, 22oz bottle, poured into tasting glass

A — Pours a nearly opaque, very dark dark brown color into the glass, comes out of the bottle quite quickly and immediately seems a bit thin. When held up to the light you can see some dark brown hues and waves of light around the edges. There is a coffee colored head atop the beer that fades somewhat quickly and leaves some spotty and sticky lacing around the edges.

S — This beer has a nice aroma before you even put your nose up into it, can smell lots of chocolates, cinnamon, brown sugar, caramel, coffee, cocoa. There is a bit of a sharpness to it though, not super rich or chewy, but there is a fair depth of aromas going on here.

T — Tastes initially much like the nose, with some really nice coffee and chocolate character, like chocolate frosting, quite sweet. Little bit of vanilla and caramel as well. As you get towards the finish you are hit with a large sharp nearly burning heat, hello chili peppers! What once was a nice if not overly sweet stout, is now a steaming hot spice war.

M — Medium-Full bodied, expected this to be full bodied and much thicker though.

O — A good beer overall, I just wish there would have been a bit more balance to this one, maybe over time there will be a mellowing out of the chili heat, only one way to find out!

Jul 21, 2015
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CHickman from New York

4.43/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Bottled 5/6/2015->bottle says best consumed fresh, don’t age it: Pours pitch black opaque color with a thick 2 finger brown head that was full of tiny bubbles and faded about average time for a stout leaving decent spotty lacing and rings as it went down. A layer sticks around on top.

Smells of cocoa powder, dark chocolate, light vanilla, coffee grinds, charred wood, roasted malts, oaky notes, smoke, toffee and brown sugar; the spice is evident, but it does not smell like a pepper, especially a habanero. Earthy notes mix well with the chocolate and smoked malts, adding a lot of complexities for basically a one dimensional aroma.

Taste is where all the ingredients on the label show up: the cocoa nibs, vanilla beans and cinnamon are all quite pronounced and the habanero brings immediate head that does not hurt but adds a whole new aspect and feel to the beer. The heat is like wasabi, it strikes adding some instant heat and flavor, and trails off nicely and allows the malty side show off with appearances by the cocoa powder, dark chocolate, coffee grinds, charred wood, roasted malts, oaky notes, smoke, molasses, toffee, brown sugar and some spices. Seems like piney hops are in the mix along with white pepper and fresh ground black peppercorns, along with a shot of bourbon or whiskey. The alcohol gets covered up by the habanero burn, which warms up the back of your throat and belly in the best way possible for those who like hot peppers or spicy food. The cinnamon and vanilla come on strong at the end with a mild bitterness blending with char and chocolate notes. Considering the level of heat from the habanero this drinks much smoother than it should and remains very interesting and complex with every sip.

Mouthfeel is very creamy and milkshake smooth, with very mild and almost thin carbonation, a medium chewy body that leans towards thick yet slides across the tongue, and then fades slightly bitter like a coffee with a lot of grinds in it and a full slap in the face of heat that stings and then fades slowly as it gets swapped out for dark chocolate, vanilla and spicy cinnamon. The blending and mixture of the main components really keep this dynamic and extremely interesting at the same time. This is an excellent display of brewing craftsmanship to bring such heat and booze so aggressively that results in a complex, tasty beer that flows down so smooth with such a velvety feel even though it seems like you just drank a shot or ate a jalapeño popper.

I got this hoping for a great beer but expecting a novelty beer since it’s billed as a stout with habanero in the blend; it turned out to be a great brew that was changing and evolving with every sip, allowing the pepper heat to add accents which tweaked the beer each and every sip. Shock and awe, this was a great unique beer experience which exceeded my expectations. I thought this was great and hope to have it again some day. A lot of fun and a great combo if you love stouts and love spicy food.

Jun 22, 2015
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danh53 from Florida

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

Somehow I expected this to be overrated, but it lived up to expectations. Great chocolate aroma and flavor. So smooth and well balanced. The peppers were not too hot, and the medium mouth feel held everything together quite well. I got some cinnamon and graham cracker sweetness, but I think the cinnamon had faded a little since this bottle was a year old. I look forward to trying this again when it is fresh.

Jun 13, 2015
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Phyl21ca from Canada (QC)

3.98/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a pitch-black color stout with a nice large brown foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of black chocolate notes with roasted malt is pretty nice. Taste is a nice mix of roasted malt and black chocolate with some residual sugar notes, some cinnamon notes and some spicy peppers notes which really only become noticeable in the aftertaste. Body is quite full with nice creamy notes and good carbonation. Solid imperial stout thought spicy notes becomes a bit too much for my liking.

May 24, 2016
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BEERchitect from Kentucky

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

What better way to celebrate a birthday than with cake? When you are a brewery, it's done with a birthday cake-flavored beer! At least that's the intent of Westbrook as they turn a ripe old age of 1 earlier this year.

With a bold chocolaty appearance, the dark brown (almost black) ale settles with a viscous and creamy pour that causes for a slow separation of beer from foam. The moussey froth takes on a medium brown hue, shows sturdy retention, and laces well. A gentle swirl of the glass leaves inky legging on the glass that's reminiscent of brandy.

Strong chocolate notes sooth the sense of smell with a very dessert-like reaction. Met with background note of dark fruit, espresso, fudge, and rum, the malty rich beer pulls complexities from yeast, hops, and rich toffee-ish malt.

Strong chocolate and roast flavors begin with a heavy coat across the palate. Fudge-like sweetness is propelled by bittersweet chocolate, burnt toffee, espresso, and walnut oils. Secondary notes of vinous sherry wines offer a more succulent and fruity note that opens up a bready, savory taste. Rum-like alcohols offer a spicy sweetness that cuts through the malts and balances the sweetness in finish.

Certainly full bodied, the larger-than-life ale continues the fudge-like character with it thick and marshmallowy textures. Alcohol burn acts as a thinning agent and lessens the rich body just enough to savor the silky complexities to finish the beer. Shy of cloying, the roast of bitterness and heat signal closure, but allow the dessert-like nuances to linger indefinately.

Although it's Westbrook's birthday, I feel like I had gotten a gift in being able to try this luscious ale. The only thing that's missing is the candle.

Oct 23, 2012
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JamesStreet from Louisiana

4.32/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A- Jet black pour with a khaki finger-sized head that vanishes quickly.
S- I get bitter chocolate, big roasty flavors. Some booze.
T- chocolate, roast, you definitely get the cinnamon flavors and the spiciness from the peppers really finish off the sip nicely.
M- heavy-medium feel. Like drinking boozy chocolate cake batter. Moderately carb'ed. Booze hidden well in sip. Actually get more heat from the peppers.
O- glad I got to try this one. Gets lots of hype and deservedly so but I wouldn't quite say world-class. Still, very delicious!

Jul 09, 2015
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Beer_Doge from New York

4.62/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75


So chocolate.

Much body.

Such pepper.



Feb 17, 2015
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metter98 from New York

4.39/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Cantebury Ales, Oyster Bay, NY

A: The beer is jet black in color. It poured with a short tan head that died down, leaving wispy lacing on the surface and a thin layer of bubbles around the collar.
S: Moderate aromas of cocoa nibs and vanilla beans are present in the nose along with notes of spicy chili peppers.
T: The taste starts out with flavors of chocolate, cocoa nibs, and vanilla. It quickly transitions to spicy cinnamon followed by habanero peppers, the latter of which linger through the finish.
M: It feels medium- to full-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer has an interesting contrast between the cocoa, vanilla, cinnamon, and habanero peppers. The spiciness increases a bit as it warms up, but it isn't overly hot and does a good job masking most of its alcohol. Once fully warmed up, the chocolate and vanilla become stronger.

Serving type: on-tap

Jun 20, 2015
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mabermud from Washington

4.5/5  rDev +1.8%
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.

Apr 19, 2015
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Heady_Eddy from Massachusetts

3.92/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer was built very well, I just couldn't finish it from the creeping heat of the habanero peppers, not my thing.

Jun 16, 2015
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colts9016 from Idaho

4.59/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A huge thank you goes out to FFFJunkie and Dragginballs76, for getting this bottle to me. Poured into my Surly glass at 50 degrees. The beer has a 2 finger dark brown head with okay retention. The head is billowy and creamy, as it dissipates it does not leave any lacing on the glass. The beer is dark brown like used motor oil and opaque. Every now and then I can a couple carbonation bubbles popping up on the side of the glass.

The first initial aroma of the beer is dark roasted chocolate, dark roasted malt, and vanilla. Additional aromas I smell is coffee, earth, molasses, bread/yeast, cinnamon, brown sugar, pepper, and pastries.

The beer has a very pleasant dark roasted malt, rich dark chocolate, vanilla, espresso, molasses, brown sugar, wood, earthy, the peppery note is on the tail of end of the beer. Other flavors I get is bread/yeast, floral, and a touch of citrus.

The mouthfeel of the beer is full body, chewy, medium carbonation, a touch astringent, a little bit dry, and full finish.

I was a bit apprehensive about trying this beer. I read there were habaneros brewed in this beer; however, I think the pepper really makes this beer unique and flavorful. The pepper note comes on the back end for me. The beer has an incredible balance to it; furthermore, the beer is velvety smooth and deceptive. I am very grateful to get this beer, thank you so much.

Dec 10, 2017
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Hopdaemon39 from New York

4.38/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

This years is very nice- smooth rich flavor, a touch of heat, nice chocolate and vanilla notes. This is a good one. I had it on tap so I can't vouch for the heat in the bottle- without the heat it wouldnt be anywhere near as good.

Jun 18, 2015
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enelson from Illinois

4.75/5  rDev +7.5%

Aug 12, 2013
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advent from Michigan

4.5/5  rDev +1.8%

Feb 08, 2012
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Mark000 from Michigan

4.5/5  rDev +1.8%

Aug 01, 2012
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Stumpy29er from New York

4.25/5  rDev -3.8%

Jun 29, 2013
Mexican Cake from Westbrook Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 98 out of 100 with 3031 ratings