Mexican Cake | Westbrook Brewing Co.

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Mexican CakeMexican Cake
2,862 Ratings
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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,862 |  Reviews: 354
Photo of BEERchitect
4.49/5  rDev +2%
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.

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Photo of CarolinaKev
4.5/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of ncaudle
4.25/5  rDev -3.4%

Photo of Jeffo
3.76/5  rDev -14.5%
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 UnderPressure
4.36/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

In bottle 2 months.

Pitch opaque black with a really thick, seriously dark brown head. It looks delicious.

Rich, dark malty aroma. Strong chocolate and some coffee also.

Really complex flavors going on here. Lots of chocolate, some spice. A tingling on the tongue (from the habaneros, I assume.).

Thick, thick mouthfeel. One of the heaviest bodied beers I've had in a while.

I'm glad I had the opportunity to try this beer. I really like the peppers.

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Photo of HevvyMetalHippie
4.75/5  rDev +8%

Photo of jaasen64
4.35/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

32oz growler. Thanks to DonFrap for bringing this one. Poured into Hunahpu snifter. Growler split 5 ways. Drank right after Zhukov and Hunahpu during our stout tasting.

Despite being cellared for just over a month the cap came off this with a very nice hiss. Filled my snifter about 2/3 of the way (just under 7 ounces).

A- Pours a dark opaque black with a thin layer of creamy mocha brown head that recedes to leave a still top. Nice retention for a thin layer of head, leaves nice layered lacing. Fairly viscous and oily, but slightly less then the Hunahpu and Zhukov we had right before. Nice carbonation, especially after sitting in a growler for almost a month.

S- Chocolate, cinnamon, some peppers in the background. About average aroma strength, the aroma was pleasant but nothing that special about it.

T- The taste really out-does the aroma in this one. Thick creamy chocolate almost like chocolate frosting without being too rich. Some light vanilla + roasted coffee with a nice presence of cinnamon that adds flavor to the beer, but doesn't dominate it too much. Some fairly subtle habanero peppers on the finish that add a slight bit of spiciness and gives it that lightly spiced Mexican cake presence. Everything is very flavorful and well balanced.

M- Fairly thick although a little bit less so then the Zhukov and Hunahpu. Creamy and definitely on the thicker side for a beer, but definitely not too thick. In my opinion a very nice body. A nice level of carbonation for being kept in a growler. The chili peppers tingle the tongue a little bit without providing too much heat. Abv extremely well hidden. Very drinkable.

O- My first offering I've tried from Westbrook, but it definitely left a great impression. Literally what you would expect from a chocolate Mexican Cake. Not as good as Hunahpu, but definitely up there and did not disappoint even though the two were drank back to back. I would definitely like to revisit this one and would even consider trying to trade for it. If you like chocolate, I would definitely recommend this beer.

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Photo of Auror
4.75/5  rDev +8%

Photo of DonFrap
4.75/5  rDev +8%

Photo of BlackBelt5112203
4.55/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

32 oz growler poured into a snifter at fridge-cellar temperature.

L – Jet black color with a 2-finger brown frothy head. Nice retention as the head fades down slowly into a thin layer of froth that lingers on the beer’s surface throughout. Really nice lacing.

S – The first thing that is apparent is the kick from the added cinnamon and peppers. A strong stout backbone is also there with aromas of roasted coffee and chocolate malts, plum esters, and vanilla.

T – Starts off sweet with chocolate, vanilla, and dark fruit flavors. As the taste progresses, the cinnamon and peppers come into play and turn up the heat. This added spice sticks around while the roasted coffee bitterness creeps in and lasts throughout the finish. A little bit of alcohol becomes apparent at the finish, as well. Very tasty.

F – Full-bodied with pretty good carbonation, a rich and creamy mouthfeel, and a spicy, slightly bitter, and slightly dry finish. All of the flavors in this thing linger, but cinnamon spice lingers the longest. The heat from the spices melds with the throat-warming sensation that appears at the finish from the alcohol.

O – This beer is awesome. If you took away the “Mexican” kick, it would still be a good stout. The cinnamon and peppers only make it that much better and more unique. This has all the usual notes of a well-done stout plus more. Another job very well done by Westbrook. I’m so pumped that I got to try this one, and I hope they decide to brew it again.

 1,501 characters

Photo of Ryan011235
4.15/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Bell's tulip on 8/28/12

Bottled on Jan 25 2012

Many thanks to PDXHops

Wow, I haven't seen such a thick, inky incredibly dark brown imperial stout in quite a while. It's no surprise the beer blocks all light once in the glass. The pour yields a massive, dense array of mocha colored foam; there are easily several inches worth of foam here. The top of said foam smooths as the head collapses slowly. Heavy drapes of lace cling for a few moments before drying up or sliding down the glass.

Depth and darkness have a fastened hold on the aroma like few others. While the habanero peppers had the first say while the beer was still in the bottle, once in the glass, burnt tones are in full force. Molasses, prune, rum-soaked raisins. Hints of scorched dark chocolate. The head's demise finds a more open aroma and it's only then that the added ingredients make known their contributions. Habanero singes the edges of dusty cocoa and cinnamon atmosphere. The vanilla bean is fairly soft, offering a creaminess to the overall aromatic effect.

Huh. The taste is far, far different than the dense, dark sugar-heavy flavor I was expecting. My first reaction is that the beer has a lot of tangy roast going on; however, there is a more complex assessment to be made. Indeed, the flavor is "brighter" than expected, but I find that to be largely the work of the peppers, which bring right away a moderate spiciness to the tongue. Further digging finds many of the dark sugars that seemed absent initially. Molasses and burnt chocolate with hints of prunes and a very subtle dark fruitiness. Cinnamon is largely concealed, though notions of the spice occasional sneak in for a quick peck on the lips. Intermittent tobacco notes. The finish finds a surprisingly dry, burnt, ashy flavor (much to my liking) and the habanero tapers off at a slow, enjoyable pace.

The feel starts off vivacious with a flurry of carbonation and hepped-up spices. However, over time the viscous, heavy body of the beer emerges - slick, sticky and sugary. That said, Mexican Cake is neither particularly cloying or hot with alcohol (though it's possible the habanero could be masking the moderately high alcohol content). In a showing off good faith, the carbonation dies down considerably which lets every nuance of flavor to wallow in gluttonous excellence.

Much like a real cake, Mexican cake should probably be enjoyed by a few other appreciators of fine baked (brewed) goods. Also much like a real cake, the fat, fat, fatty feeling of consuming a whole Mexican Cake can feel pretty damn good.

 2,582 characters

Photo of nanobrew
4.75/5  rDev +8%

Photo of comfortablynumb1
4.25/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes

22oz bottle. Big thanks to Andrew for the hookup on this one.

A - Pours black with a two finger dark brown head. Head retention is decent, and there is a good amount of lacing to be had here...

S - Chocolate, vanilla, roast, chilies, and spice. Chili is not dominate on the nose, but blends in very nicely. Smells sweet and spicy. Very inviting...

T - Chocolate is present throughout with vanilla, some light roast, and cinnamon in the mix. Also pick up a hint of dark fruit. Finishes on a chili note with the abv being very well hidden. Like the nose the chili doesn't dominate, but is very balanced with the other flavors...

M - Rich and creamy. Sits somewhere on the higher end of the medium bodied scale with a moderate amount of carbonation...

O - Really enjoyed this one. I've heard there is alot of hype on the east coast about this beer, and I can see why. Not world class, but damb good. Will be looking to try some of Westbrooks other offerings...


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Photo of tat2dhllblly
4.75/5  rDev +8%

Photo of brystmar
4.47/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Growler courtesy of McNuts.

Beautiful black pour, tan head, sticky lace. Fantasticly complex aroma showcases the various ingredients, particularly vanilla & chiles. Reminds me of Hunahpu, and that's a serious compliment.

Chocolate, vanilla, cinnamon, chiles, roasty malt, and boozy warmth melt together to present a remarkably balanced flavor profile. Peppers and chocolate linger after swallowing. Super complex, yet it works. Again, comparisons to Huna dance in my head.

A fantastic example of creativity in the American craft brewing scene. More please!

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Photo of Schlais
4/5  rDev -9.1%

Photo of Mark000
4.5/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of acurtis
4.25/5  rDev -3.4%

Photo of djrn2
4/5  rDev -9.1%

Photo of zac16125
4.47/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Westbrook Mexican Cake
Growler poured into a snifter

A: Pours a moderately viscous appearing opaque jet black, with only the faintest dark mocha colored head that comes and comes almost instantaneously.  Leaves no appreciable lacing, but some alcohol legs can be seen running down the glass.  

S: Initial aroma of chocolate, roasted malt and a BIG peppery spice, no hiding the habanero in this one.  I also get vanilla,  a hint of cinnamon, and some booze.  Great interplay of sweet and spicy.  Awesome aroma.  

T: Initially very sweet, with chocolate syrup and rich chocolate fudge notes.  Significant vanilla characters, dark fruits reminiscent of chocolate covered cherries, and roasted malt flavors which come out as I progress through the drink.  Spice starts to come out about halfway through the glass, but the habanero notes are certainly not as strong on the tongue as they were on the nose, and the spice is more of a generic lingering bite, although it continues to build with each sip and reaches a rather noticeable (but quite pleasant) level by the end of the drink.  A touch of booze comes out on the finish. Really quite complex and delicious.  Initially borders on cloyingly sweet, reminiscent of Dark Lord, but fortunately the spice and alcohol presence work well to balance this out.  Very well done.

M/D: Incredibly smooth and succulent. On the fuller side of medium bodied, but could be a touch thicker and chewier on the palate.  Low carbonation, but certainly not flat, and personally I prefer a very low degree of carbonation in my imperial stouts, so this works well for me.  Leaves the lips feeling sticky.  The drinkability on this one is scary, I literally can't wait to take the next sip, and this large glass disappeared in no time.

O: Worth the hype for me.  I loved this offering.  I'm so glad a keg popped up at a growler station, completely out of the blue.  I'll definitely be seeking this out if it is brewed again.  Very unique, and just plain delicious.  I love Westbrook more and more with each beer of theres that I try.  Cheers to you guys for a job well done.  

 2,132 characters

Photo of chinchill
3.99/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

32 oz growler from The Community Tap (SC) served in a snifter.

Pours black with only hints of dark brown at the edges. A light brown head has limited duration.

The aroma features coffee, chocolate, dark fruits, a modicum of spicy hops and some dark malt. Some alcohol comes out with warming. The taste features these flavors, but has a very dynamic nature: A vanilla-tinged sweet spike up front fades into a sweet/bitter/sour finish, with the bitter component, although mild, winning out. A peppery/spicy/cinnamon aspect appears mid-taste and becomes far more noticeable with repeated sipping. Although made with fresh habanero peppers, this beer only produces a very mild burn. Dark fruit in the aroma re-emerge towards the finish.

M: full body; light carbonation; alcohol warming.

O: A rich, complex and unusual stout worth seeking out, although not so great as to make me lust for more.
(lightly tweeked, mainly confirmed, with on-tap tasting of 2013 vintage in July 2013)

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Photo of kylehay2004
3.88/5  rDev -11.8%
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 nickfl
4/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours with a big, four finger head of medium tan foam on top of a black body. The head settles down slowly and leaves thick smears of lace on the walls of the glass as it goes.

S - A slightly acidic aroma of coffee and chocolate with notes of cinnamon, clove, and anise as well as some plum and orange fruity notes.

T - Plum and dark bread up front with some pine and citrus in the middle. Spicy notes of chili and cinnamon in the middle and a chocolate note with pomegranate

M - Medium body, moderate carbonation, and a slightly sweet finish.

D - Very nicely done, though the draft version that I had a few months ago was more enjoyable and complex. This works well but seems to have soured just a touch and lost the best of what it was when first brewed.

 765 characters

Photo of Urbancaver
4.5/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of seeswo
4.5/5  rDev +2.3%

Mexican Cake from Westbrook Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.4 out of 5 with 2,862 ratings