Mexican Cake | Westbrook Brewing Co.

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Mexican CakeMexican Cake

Brewed by:
Westbrook Brewing Co.
South Carolina, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
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

Added by Netdigger2 on 02-01-2012

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Reviews: 326 | Ratings: 2,683
Photo of EricCioe
2.96/5  rDev -32.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Had at a chili beer tasting including Hunahpu's, Chocolate Sombrero, Theobroma, Cocoa Mole, and Ghost Face Killah.

This pours a viscous black with a small dark head. On the nose there are chocolate and chili intermixing in a similar way to the other two chili stouts, though here perhaps there is heavier chili. To me that flavor just doesn't tend to sit well with chocolate, though at least with Huna the quality is more evident. In the mouth the roast intermixed with chocolate and chili, with the chili making for a long finish. The body is medium full.

Overall, like the others, I just didn't care for this beer that much. It's closer to Huna in quality than Chocolate Sombrero. If you like chocolate chili stouts, check this out. I won't be again.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.43/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

650ml brown glass bottle. $21 per 22 fl oz bottle.

10.50% ABV. "Imperial Stout." "Malt beverage with cocoa nibs, vanilla beans, cinnamon, and habanero peppers added." The bottled on field reads only "516."

HEAD: None. Only a dark floater ring. No lacing.

BODY: Opaque solid black. No yeast particulate or hop sediment is visible.

Looks like any pretty good but not unique imperial stout.

AROMA: Cinnamon spice, subtle vinegary habanero chili pepper, chocolate specialty malt, dark malts, cacao nibs, a vague vanilla note (not genuine vanilla bean, but something flirting with that), nougat, fudge, Hershey's syrup.

Aromatic intensity is mild to moderate. I detect no overt hop notes, yeast notes, off-notes, or alcohol.

TASTE: Hits on chocolate and vinegary chili pepper, providing mild chili heat without overdoing it. Hints of rich Hershey's chocolate syrup. Richly sweet chocolate malts, a heavy presence of sweet dark malts, spicy cinnamon. Yes, the subtle Chile heat balances out the malt sweetness nicely, but it's not ideally dialed in.

Sweetness is well checked by the habanero, but the cacao flavour is nice. I don't find any roasted barley or coffee.

Duration and intensity of flavour are nice.

TEXTURE: Flirts with a syrupy texture to perfect extent, coming off sticky to just the right degree whilst maintaining an apt thickness and medium to full body. Well-carbonated. Unrefreshing (obviously). Smooth and wet. A more powdery, creamy, soft mouthfeel might serve it well.

OVERALL: I hoped for a world class beer given the reputation this has, and in that respect I was perhaps a bit disappointed. But damn if it doesn't have some really lovely elements that force me to question my initial underwhelmed impression.

I don't find it dazzling or incredible, but there's a great deal here to enjoy and I wouldn't shy away from trying it again.

Competent fare from a talented brewery.


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Photo of JFresh21
3.47/5  rDev -20.8%
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.

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Photo of yourefragile
3.48/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle shared by Dan.

Pours dark brown, near black with a large tan head. Well carbonated with a retentive head and light lace. Nose isn't very well balanced, alternate whiffs bring forward chocolate, peppers, cinnamon, vanilla, and roast; generally sweet and a little spice. Light bodied, slightly thin, with same flavor profile as nose, but predominantly spicy and chocolately. This and the Farmhouse IPA are my favorite Westbrook beers I've tried. If this was on the shelf in 4 packs locally I'd pick this up, but wouldn't actively seek it out.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.5/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Growler pour sampled at mrbubbler's tasting.

Pours an almost opaque super dark brown with a dark khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark malt, cocoa, and some subtle chile aromas. Taste is the same but the chile presence is very subtle flavor-wise. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good stout but nothing all that special in my opinion.

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Photo of tewaris
3.53/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks dc55110 for this rarish tick, thought I will never get to try it but I got lucky.

Looks the part, black and thick. Hints of spice and chocolate... the spice is obscure to my palate though and I wouldn't know about the pepper part if I didn't know. I don't feel any heat :-/

Slight stout tartness that puts me off in almost every stout I drink, but there's a good presence of roast. Medium body, full carbonation. It's certainly a well made, above average imperial stout. However, I don't get the hype behind this one. Or I just had my hate on this particular evening.

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Photo of simont1
3.59/5  rDev -18%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

3/7/2013 bottle. Black, brown gray head. roasty, bitter chocolate, semi sweet, some cinnamon and licorice. Spicy/hot after taste which I personally do not approve of. First sips are great, but the spice takes over and masks flavor for me after a while, for me a huge minus.

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Photo of cpetrone84
3.63/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pour is motor oil with tight mocha head. Nose is light chocolate fudge and vanilla, roasted malt, and faint soy sauce and spice. Taste has a ton of spice to it, a bit richer in a good way. Some fudge notes, light vanilla. Some roasted malts mid palate with the spice taking over in the back and lingering on a long finish. Full body, thins in back, smooth and creamy feel. The beer is decent but it's super spicy so it's hard to really drink, not sure how much I can handle.

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Photo of HoppyBastard1
3.64/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

After having several other chili stouts and hearing so much about this one, I can honestly say it does not live up to the hype. What a let down!
A - pours nice, dark, seemed a bit thin
S - a bit of roastiness, very little pepper, hint of chocolate
T - Meh, not much chocolate or pepper. No way they use habanero peppers
M - much thinner than you would expect. Nothing compared to Huna, Abraxas or Bomb!
O - just ok, definitely way better Chili Stouts out there. Not worth the price of admission. What a let down

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Photo of floridadrift
3.65/5  rDev -16.7%
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.

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Photo of boothbeer
3.67/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to vicjr85 for sharing this with me. Coincidentally this was my 100th review. I am a big fan of the "mexican style" stout, and this was a beer I have been wanting to try for a long time. Unfortunately, it didn't compare to other stouts in the same category (Huna, Abraxas, etc.). This beer pours a thick black stout with nice head. Smells of chocolate, pepper, roasted malts. I get no cinnamon and no vanilla.
The biggest problem with this beer is the taste. I can tell that it has good base stout, but the habanero is unbelievable. It totally overtakes every other flavor. I can't taste anything other than chocolate and pepper. It actually started to make my stomach hurt. The pepper is too much. A little pepper goes a looooong way, espcially with habaneros. I wanted to love this beer, but I was greatly disappointed.

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Photo of craytonic
3.68/5  rDev -16%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of Dan the Man

Appearance: Chocolate pour, decent head and retention
Smell: milk chocolate, roasted malt, a bit of bitterness
Taste: Malt, spices, brown sugar
Mouthfeel: A bit thin, good carbonation
Overall: Decent beer but not up there with the big dogs.

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Photo of SHerninko
3.72/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Snifter full from a bottle -about 6 months from bottle date.

A bit thin not creamy. Smell is nice. Color is dark like any stout. No real lacing or head. Slight chocolate taste but not a dark, dry chocolate. More like a slight cake frosting which hence the name makes sense. Just about no carbonation. A slight smokey flavor early on the front of the tongue. All mix well and though not much vanilla to balance but to me the back of the tongue hot & spicy chilli is too much. It overpowered the other flavors.
Overall you should try it, but I won't seek it out again.

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Photo of jpro
3.73/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into a Duvel tulip glass...

A: Pours black with a massive, four-finger foamy head - the bottle opened with a huge PFFFFTTTT... ruh roh; the dark brown head leaves some dots of lace.

S: Sweet malts; a little thin on the nose; maybe some dark chocolate and leafy hops.

T: Roasty coffee malts; chocolate; dessert-like sweetness and toasty / roast; cocoa.

M: Full; high carbonation; smooth, yet so big; heat from the habañeros builds over time.

O: Thought this one was much better on draft at Westbrook when they released it several months ago; also, much better at Brewvival (although that might have been the Coffee Cake version); something funny about the bottled version that didn’t go as well as the other times I’d had it.

*from notes (6-16-12)

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Photo of rodbeermunch
3.76/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours out dark brown and black, equal parts, 1/2" tan head on the top, maybe as low as 2/5". Aroma of chocolate, roast. I didn't really pull cinnamon out of this one. Very mild pepper aspect.

Taste, now some of the adjuncts are coming out. Vanilla, peppers and cinnamon, none of which dominate, even though chocolate is the first among equals I guess. A slight bitterness from the roasting, and moderate hop usage. The mouth feel is where this beer is strongest, it hides the alcohol well, it has a substantial bragging right about 'balance' between everything.

Its a good beer. Is it worth the price of admission? Depends on how much you value your time. I'd buy at retail, wouldn't wait in line. Anything secondary, trading or value, GFY.

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Photo of Jeffo
3.76/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bomber provided by claaark13. Originally tried the Mexican Coffee Cake at the Copenhagen Beer Celebration in 2012 and loved it, so I was stoked to see this one land on my doorstep. Cheers for the beers man!

From a bomber into a snifter
Brewed for their 1st Anniversary
Bottled on 25 January 2012

APPEARANCE: This one slowly foamed out a bit, which is never a good sign. A dark, black pour yields a huge, massive, booming looser light mocha colored head that just doesn't quit. The glass is 4/5 head, and it actually looks infected as it continues to grow over the next 15 minutes. Thick black body with higher levels of carbonation evident. Very carbonated for the style. Head eventually fades to a full cap and leaves some chunky lacing down the glass. Too carbonated and the head is out of control. Looks infected as well.

SMELL: Initially there's quite a bit of sour brett and cherries on the nose, with light vinegar as well. This might be infected. As it sits, however, these off aromas fade and the original beer comes through more. Some roasted malts, cocoa powder and peppers appear, with chillies and cocoa nibs. Some light vanilla as well. In retrospect, perhaps the sour notes at the beginning came from the bold cinnemon and chili peppers. After they were allowed to air out, the other qualities showed up and this actually came together pretty well.

TASTE: Not infected at all. It's really nice actually. Roasted notes with chili peppers up front. Some nice cocoa powder and vanilla flavors at the swallow. A bolder finish of roasted maltes, bitter espresso, cocoa nibs and a good dose of cinemon and sharp habanero peppers. Quite spicy on the finish, but everything works well together. Fun stuff.

PALATE: Medium body and medium carbonation. Slightly prickly on the palate, could definitely be creamier, goes down okay and finishes slightly sticky. Lots of spicy peppers linger providing a decent tickel at the back of the throat after the swallow.

OVERALL: What a ride. This beer is all over the map. The look sucks and the nose doesn't know what the score is, but the flavor is excellent and very complex. I would love to see this bottled again with the cinnemon a little more restrained and the look cleaned up. As it is now, a this is a fun beer well worth checking out. Cheers again claaark13!

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.8/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of mdfb79. Served in a SAVOR wine glass.

Pours near black with a tan head. Pretty good retention and some spotty lacing on the way down.

The nose carries a nice mix of chocolate, light spice, roasted malt, sweetness, and a touch of vanilla. Nice blend, for sure. The nose doesn't quite carry all the way over to the flavor and everything isn't quite as integrated as I'd like, though the components are still quite nice.

Body is medium-full with low-medium carbonation and a good chewiness. No real noticeable alcohol.

This was a really nice beer I was glad to finally try. Thanks, Dan.

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Photo of Moose90
3.83/5  rDev -12.6%
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!

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Photo of PDXHops
3.84/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bomber poured into an oversized snifter. In spite of the widemouthed glassware, a thick cap of dark tan foam stubbornly sticks atop the dark body. Sticky and splotchy lacing all over the place.

The habaneros somewhat overwhelm the spices and chocolate in the nose (although a healthy roastiness is quite pleasant). Tasty stuff, though. The habaneros kick into high gear in the finish; before that, the cinnamon, vanilla and cocoa nibs are quite potent. Velvety, chocolatey and plenty roasty. Espresso shows up in the aftertaste after the peppers finally calm down. I'm digging this stuff. I'm curious about how it would age, but it's pretty damned good now, and I suspect drinking it fresh may be the best way to enjoy the the pepper presence. Kinda reminds me of a Mexican twist on a pecan pie I made a while back.

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Photo of nerdboy19
3.84/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

On Tap @ Mekelburg's Brooklyn

Look - Tan black 4/5
Aroma : Big cinnamon and spicy nose, with little bit of chocolate ,vanilla, and coffee. 7/10
Mouthfeel : Medium carbonation, medium-full body, might be a little bit light 3/5
Flavor : Cinnamon, chocolate, vanilla, coffee, dessert-like, spicy, hot chili taste in the end. Not that sweet or bitter. 8/10
Overall : Great chili stout but wasn't mind blowing or anything. 16/20

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Photo of dowen17
3.85/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours pitch black with a huge milk chocolate colored head. Big creamy head. Great retention. Good lacing as well.

On the nose is big chocolate. Some coffee and bitter notes. I pick up a little bit of vanilla and cinnamon. There's also a slight hint of pepper in the background.

Taste is milk chocolate. Sweet malts and some vanilla. A bit of cinnamon settles on the tongue towards the middle. The heat from the peppers rests on your tongue after you swallow. Very smooth. It's not as big and in your face as I'd expected. Definitely doesn't live up to the nose. It just seems a bit faint to me. As the beer warms the peppers really take over and it becomes less enjoyable.

Mouthfeel is a bit chewy but nowhere near as big as I expected. Not necessarily let down, but I did expect more. Just a bit thin. A little bit of heat from the peppers but not too much. Very sticky though. Coats your lips. Heat takes over more and more as the beer warms.

This is a great beer. Doesn't necessarily love up to the hype but it is very good. If you have a chance then pick it up. There are definitely things I can pick out that I'm not extremely fond of but it disappeared from my glass pretty quickly. Very easy to drink.

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Photo of CuriousMonk
3.88/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Brewed as a limited release to celebrate Westbrook Brewing's first anniversary. Poured from bomber into tulip glass. Pours espresso black along with a beautiful and huge head. Very nice lacing that lasts throughout. Aromas of sweet cocoa nibs, vanilla, cinnamon, and pepper. Picked up chocolate, cocoa, vanilla, and definitely can taste the habanero peppers! Unfortunately, I am not a big fan of chile/peppers in my beers so that took a hit in my ratings. Thick and creamy mouthfeel! If not for the peppers, this would have been an amazing beer for me. But I have to take account for the name, "Mexican Cake". Nicely done for that specific style.

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Photo of kylehay2004
3.88/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: large dark head on a jet black. No light getting through. some lacing.

S: sour lemon, espresso, dark chocolate, roasted malts, flour and dough.

T: very sweet with sour notes which dominate up front. Spicey, cinnamon, roasted malts, milk chocolate, vanilla and dark fruit, mostly cherries. a touch alcoholic. The pepper and spiciness dominates the finish.

M: medium body and moderate carbonation.

Overall: A very interesting and memorable beer. A little too sour and alcohol dominant but still very much worth experiencing.

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Photo of ehammond1
3.9/5  rDev -11%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle (2013)

Acquired via trade
Thanks, brooklynbrews!

Black throughout and full in body. Thick brown head. Dots and irregular webs of stick left down the glass.

Aroma of chocolate and roast, a bit of an earthy and sweet vanilla character, and just a bit of a chile character.

The flavor is similar to the aroma--chocolate, roast, with definite habanero lingering, especially after the swallow. I don't pick up as much vanilla in the flavor as I do in the aroma.

Full-medium bodied with lower moderate carbonation. Very appropriate.

Quite tasty, and even though I enjoy spice and chiles, I wish the habanero was dialed down just a slight bit. Regardless, I'm very much enjoying my glass of this, but the pepper should be complementary instead of dominant.

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Photo of ThePorterSorter
3.95/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

very happy to try this beer. It's got a very intense nose with tremendous spice and a lot of stout goodness. The alcohol is hidden very will in this beer from nose to finish. Lots of spice carries through to the taste, more than expected with such a strong base. This is a very drinkable stout and pushes the style to it's limits with the habenero and cinnamon.

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Mexican Cake from Westbrook Brewing Co.
4.38 out of 5 based on 2,683 ratings.
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