Mexican Cake - Red Wine Barrel-Aged (2013)
Westbrook Brewing Co.

Mexican Cake - Red Wine Barrel-Aged (2013)Mexican Cake - Red Wine Barrel-Aged (2013)
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Stout - American Imperial
4.53 | pDev: 8.17%
Westbrook Brewing Co.
South Carolina, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Mexican Cake - Red Wine Barrel-Aged (2013)Mexican Cake - Red Wine Barrel-Aged (2013)
Reviews: 21 | Ratings: 223 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of frasergrove
frasergrove from California

4.34/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours a deep dark brown with a thin tan head. Aroma is classic Mexican Cake - spice, cinnamon, roasted nuttiness. Flavor is smooth...clearly the barrel time made this guy round out well. Limited RW flavor, but very nice none the less.

Sep 25, 2017
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mothman from Minnesota

4.4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Tan head. Black in color.

The tannins and red wine show a lot. This one is fruity. Very dessert like. The spice and heat shows in the finish. A bit of roast.

Medium to full bodied. Rich.

This one is not as enjoyable as the others. It is good, but different.

Jul 28, 2016
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drmcleod10 from Missouri

4.79/5  rDev +5.7%

A - Dark as night poured, leaves a murky reddish brownish foam head. Leaves a ring around the glass that doesn't go away here.

S - Nose has good complexity here, you can smell the heat from the base beer on the nose with slight hints of red wine which shined more as the beer warmed. You can smell chocolate, cinnamon notes as well as the fudge graham cracker notes coming through.

T - Taste follows the nose here. Notes of the red wine character really shined as it warmed. Chocolate, fudge, cinnamon, peppers, cocoa. Love this variant. It's slightly more complex than JD but not quite up to par.

M - Medium bodied here, slightly thicker than JD cake but smooth nonetheless and relatively easy to drink.

O - Not quite what JD Cake is, but this is still a world class beer and it drinking phenomenal right now. Not quite as hard to land as JD so it makes it more appealing to go after. World Class

Sep 07, 2014
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Alieniloquium from Florida

3.98/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

650 mL bottle poured into a snifter. Bottled 6/6/2013.

Appearance - Black body. Small khaki head. Reddish tint at the edge.

Smell - Oh my. Fudge. The slightest hint of a rich red wine. Blends with the chocolate. Graham cracker.

Taste - Sharper red wine. Allows more pepper to come through. Less fudgy. Oaky with that graham cracker finish.

Mouthfeel - Sharp pepper. Slight acidity to the red wine. Heavy beer.

Overall - Not quite the beer that JD Cake is. Having Apple Brandy next.

May 06, 2014
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kylehay2004 from Illinois

5/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had to write a quick review as this is the closest thing to a 5 I have had, in fact it is a 5 in every way. Half finger tan head on a jet black body with nice lacing. Aroma of red wine, some peppery heat, dark chocolate and oak. Flavor of cocoa, vanilla, oak and wine with perfect degree of heat. This one is actually perfect. Complex, all elements are at perfect levels and there isn't anything else like it. Full body and light to moderate carbonation. My first 5.

Apr 27, 2014
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Stevedore from Oregon

4.63/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle. Poured into a Hunahpu's taster 4/25/2014.

A- Dark black body with a bit of a reddish hue if held up to the light, one finger mocha head with surprisingly good retention. No lacing.

S- Awesome. Base Mexican Cake character comes through. Fudgy chocolate, caramel, cocoa, espresso, milk chocolate, cinnamon and a slight vegetal pepper presence along with a nice but subtle red wine character. Not too tannic, but it has melded extremely well with the base beer. Very complex and well integrated nose.

F- Follows the nose. Rich chocolate fudge, oak, milk chocolate, cinnamon, cocoa, espresso hit the palate first, telling you that this is a barrel-aged Mexican Cake beer. The cinnamon and cocoa really hit the spot in the beginning. After halfway through the palate, you get a nice tannic, dry and oaky red wine vinous character, which is wonderful. It doesn't come close to completely taking over the base beer, but it is certainly very impressive and bold while integrating very well with the base beer. This is wonderful.

M- Thick bodied, smooth and creamy with low carbonation (but still more carbonation than I'd expect from a wine barrel-aged beer, i.e. Napa County Stout was nearly flat). The red wine character doesn't get too strong in the sense that it gets too tannic and too dry on the finish, but the base beer makes a fantastic chocolate fudgey finish tempered by the red vinous character.

O- Wonderfully complex, well-integrated beer. The red wine barrels add a ton to the already interesting components of the base beer without overshadowing it at all. This beer is greater than the sum of its parts, and is really a very well done stout.

Apr 26, 2014
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Jeffo from Netherlands

4.56/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Three bottle set most generously sent by cparles in a recent box. Thanks for these man. They were top class!

From a bomber into a snifter
Bottled 6 June 2013
Drank this first, then the bourbon and apple brandy.

APPEARANCE: Pours out black and yields a two finger, medium looking, loud and fizzy, dark tan head with good retention. Black body with higher levels of carbonation evident for the style. A thick ring with touches of wisp remain until the end of the glass leaving some falling dots of lacing down the glass. These all basically look the same, but this one had a pretty obnoxious head.

SMELL: Lots of tar red wine and grapes, with oak, roasted malts and dark chocolate on the nose. Light cinnamon and chilies are there as well, but the red wine, oak and tart aromas mingle with the dark chocolate really nicely. Bold and more than inviting. Just outstanding.

TASTE: Roasted flavors with red wine tartness and oak up front. Wine, cinnamon and bitter dark chocolate at the finish with a kick of spicy chilies at the swallow as well. A big and lingering aftertaste of tart wine, cinnamon, vanilla sweetness, bitter dark chocolate and a bit of spicy chilies as well. All the adjuncts and barrel flavors are there over a bed of roasted malts. Really great stuff.

PALATE: Medium-full body with medium carbonation evident. The fullest of the three. Creamy on the palate, goes down smooth and finishes slightly mouth-coating. Some chili burn at the swallow and some heat lingers.

OVERALL: Just awesome. The head was a little fizzy, which is unfortunate, but the rest is top notch. All the adjuncts are there, balanced nicely against the slightly tart red wine barrels, and the roasted base beer makes a mark as well. Nice full, creamy body to support it all as well. While I do find the chili heat just a touch too much, that's the only thing keeping this from being the ├╝ber-worldly beer it otherwise is. This was my favorite of the bunch. Thanks again cparles. World class stuff.

Mar 02, 2014
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jeonseh from Indiana

4/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle into an HF Tulip

S - Tart beer, slight vinegar. Sweet vanilla and chocolate with a spicy pepper to it. Slight metallic and blood that reminds me of a Flanders

T - Spicy peppers and chocolate. Slight red wine vinegar to it that adds some tartness. Vanilla and caramel adds some sweetness. Lingering heat on the backend

M - Light body with some spice and pepper heat and a dry, tannin presence from the red wine

O - The Red Wine version of Mexican cake reminds me of the slightly tart / sour version of the three. It gives you the base Mexican Cake stout and adds a good amount of tartness and tannins from the Red Wine barrel. I thought this one was good but not as good as Napa BCBS or or the other Mexican Cake version.

Feb 10, 2014
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homebrew311 from Illinois

4.33/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Apperance is dark brown with thin white head and a tinge of purple. Nose features plenty of chocolate and hot pepper. The red wine adds a nice acidity and fruitiness to an already robust and spicy stout. Flavor starts with chocolate and the red wine shines next. It really mellows out the base beer and keeps the peppers in check. Mouthfeel is a bit heavier than the base. Overall, quite a tasty beer. The red wine definitely helps the base.

Jan 25, 2014
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inlimbo77 from Delaware

4.31/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22oz, 6/6/2013
Mini snifter

A: Pours extremely deep dark black. Dark tan reddish collar of head. A little lacing. Minimal carbonation. Alcohol feet.

S: Red wine. Dark cherry. Dark chocolate. Little bit spice. Tannic woody character. Great nose.

T: Dark chocolate. Tannic red wine. You get hit with that spice on the back end. Sticks on your lips. Finish is long, but does have some tannic dryness.

M: Vicious and thick. Chewy.

Nov 18, 2013
Photo of jaasen64
jaasen64 from Massachusetts

4.36/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Consumed at our chili stout tasting a couple months ago, reviewed from notes taken live. Thanks Don (Donfrap) for sharing this. 22oz bottle poured into FFF teku, bottle split 5 ways, consumed right after JD Mexican Cake and right before Apple Brandy.

A- Pours a jet black with a mocha head that settles at a moderate pace to a flat top, some light lacing, appears very similar to the other variants and regular Mexican Cake.

S- Subtle chilies, a little bit of cherry characteristic from the red wine, dark chocolate, very nice balance and the dark fruits from the red wine barrels balances very nicely with the rest of the beer. I preferred the nose on this a little bit over Jack Daniels due to the added complexity the red wine adds, all in all it's still fairly similar though just a subtle difference due to the barrel treatment.

T- Dark fruits, chillies, cherries, slight oak, red wine, balanced dark chocolate. Just like the JD variant this has amazing balance although I wouldn't say it was quite as sweet and instead of having the added bourbon sweetness there was more of a fruity flavor. Not bad but I think I preferred the taste of the JD slightly more but that's just personal preference.

M- Incredibly smooth, perfect carbonation, extremely drinkable.

O- Like the other variants this beer is awesome and is definitely worth seeking out. All the variants are very similar and just have the subtle different complexities that the barrels lend to them, for my tastes this was my least favorite variant but that's mainly because I prefer bourbon/apple brandy barrel-aged beers over red wine (others thought this was the best). Regardless this is still a great beer that showcases the dark fruits of the red wine but still has the great flavors of the base beer.

Nov 14, 2013
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UCLABrewN84 from California

4.02/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Wowcoolman for sharing this one at AndrewK's tasting.

Bottled 6/6/13.

Pours an opaque black with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Tiny dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, cocoa, vanilla, cinnamon, dark fruit, and slight pepper aromas. Taste is much the same with red wine, fruit, cocoa, and vanila flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of roasty bitterness and chile heat on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer with the red wine barrel aging adding a fruity aspect to the base beer.

Nov 04, 2013
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MasterSki from Canada (ON)

4.25/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Big thanks to Sean for sharing a Mexican Cake set one random night at West Lakeview Liquors. Served in a Cantillon tulip.

A - They all looked kind of the same. Tan foam that settles to a thin cap, thick collar, and specks of lacing. All are very dark brown, revealing coloration when held to the light.

S - Lots of dark fruit here; not sure if it's from age/oxidation, base beer, or the red wine imparted through the barrel-aging. Fairly low oak presence relative to the others. Base beer shares through quite a bit, with cinnamon, peppers, caramel, and chocolate.

T - The taste is quite similar, with a mix of base beer elements and jammy wine character. Good balance, with a lot of contrasting flavors that remain distinct. Again, low oak character.

M - Medium-full body, and a bit heavier than the other two. Lingering stickiness persists through tannins and dry oak. Some chile heat on the back of the throat that masks alcohol.

D - Good, but my least favorite of the three variants; the wine profile and lack of oak makes the barrel-aging more subtle but that's not a terrible outcome as the base beer is plenty enjoyable on its own.

Oct 11, 2013
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orangesol from Pennsylvania

4.29/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to DocJ007 for sharing this one with us.

A - Pours black with a nice one finger tall tan head, dissipating down to next to nothing, leaving small streaks of lace down the sides of the glass.

S - Smells of lots of vinous wine, oak, peppers, chocolate, vanilla and dark roasted malt. The red wine is pretty strong but it isn't out of control.

T - Starts off with a mix of base flavors like chocolate, vanilla and peppers but that quickly becomes enveloped by the strong vinous wine flavors that never really fade away from then on. Finish is a mix of dark roast, mild sweetness and vinous oak tannins combine to linger on the palate long after the finish.

M - Heavy body with moderate carbonation. Sweet, heavy feel with plenty of vinous tannins lurking in its depths.

O - I enjoyed this one, just not as much as the JD version. I have come to like wine BA stouts and this one certainly had plenty to offer. I think it works well but it also overpowers most of the base flavors a bit too much for my liking. Still an awesome beer none the less.

Aug 28, 2013
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stakem from Pennsylvania

4.07/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Thanks Josh for sending this my way. Bomber poured into a snifter. The brew appears black in color with a dark brown head. A swirl releases a finger that fades slowly leaving spotty lace on the glass. A thin film of bubbles stays atop the brew throughout the duration.

The aroma includes a big red wine barrel presence with a hint of harsh raw oak and tangy alcohol. Some chocolate, earth and coffee noted emerge from the glass. It has quite a vinous tang to it that almost is more reminescent of what Brett can impart in a beer moreso than wine in and of itself but admittedly I am not a wine drinker.

The flavor is earthy with almost bitter coffee leading the way. Plenty of tangy alcohol partially influenced by the wine but also carries with it almost some Brett aspects. The tang and booze bring out more of a raw barrel presence that contrasts and doesnt blend/integrate as well as you might hope. The aftertaste includes some hints of cinnamon and a mild peppery and alcohol burn.

This is a lighter to medium bodied brew with a modest amount of carbonation. The barrel presence is almost segregated and doing it's own thing in the flavor profile instead of complimenting the base brew's attributes. It just doesnt mesh together and isnt as easy drinking as the other mexican cake varieties. However, it is still a very good brew and depending on taste, some might choose this as their favorite over the other 2 that I prefer.

Aug 16, 2013
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BirdsandHops from Oregon

4.28/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

A: pours black with a finger of brown head that fades into a thin ring with little lacing.

S: lots of coconut, red wine, oak, vanilla, and chocolate.

T: lots of coconut here as well with roasted malts, semi-sweet chocolates, oak, vanilla, red wine, and a spicy and moderately boozy finish.

M: thick body with low carbonation, this beer avoids being watery, but is a bit too hot to be smooth and creamy.

O: a really enjoyable beer overall. Lots of coconut flavors and aromas, but I love coconut so I don't mind.

Aug 12, 2013
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icehawk from South Carolina

4.65/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Bottle shared with GM

Appearance: Opaque black with a short lasting dark brown head.

Aroma: Intense, dominating cocoa powder aroma

Taste: Cherries, chocolate, cinnamon

Palate: Huge, chewy, mouthfeel. Pepper (and perhaps some alcohol) heat comes in toward the end and lingers through finish. Slightly dry finish

Overall: OMFG... there is no beer that I've ever had that can be compared to this. Very sweet, raspberry chocolate cream egg in a bottle. The Cab presents itself unlike any other wine barrel aged beers I've had... no mustiness, just a completely new flavor when combined with the chocolate.

Aug 04, 2013
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MacQ32 from South Carolina

4.54/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured into my Weyerbacher tulip glass, allowed to sit for ~15 minutes.

A - Pours a very very dark brown, maybe a minuscule tint of red, but ultimately nearly black. Less than a half finger of almost a goldish/orange rich chocolate brown color. A decent ring remains around the glass, with nearly nothing towards the middle of the surface. Retention is so so, relative to the weaker head, lacing in minimal.

S - Tons of rich cocoa, quite noticeable aromas of cinnamon, definitely picking up some red wine tannis, some heat from the habeneros is well noticeable as well. Some roasty and raisin aromas as well. Much more cinnamon and habenero heat than the regular MC, Apple Brandy, and Mexican Coffee Cake - will try/review the JD version shortly.

T - Tons of tasty red wine flavors, sweet chocolate and vanilla are secondary, but are still slightly dominated by the red wine. Cinnamon and vanilla eventually transition into habenero flavor and heat - mild but enjoyable alcohol burn. Aftertaste as some tasty but very contained heat, red wine tannis characteristics linger as well.

M - Pretty full bodied, super smooth, minimal carbonation.

O - Still very good. Lots of habenero and cinnamon flavors, lots of chocolate. Red wine slightly overpowering, but i still get stronger cinnamon and habenero flavors

Aug 03, 2013
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Skrypt from Florida

4.51/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours pitch black with a finger of head that quickly dissipates. Leaves thick brown laces of foam as it slowly runs down the side of the snifter between sips.

S: Subtle sweet and fruity nose. Nothing really jumps out at you, but you can definitely pick up on the red wine barrel.

T: Sweet and tart grapes are the first thing you taste, followed by a really pleasant roasty chocolate malt. Swallow and a really gentle pepper burn sets in that lingers in your mouth. The taste is super complex.

M: Surprisingly smooth texture, and it's not as thick as one might think based on its appearance. It also has a very surprising dryness similar to a red wine. The Habanero is present enough to leave a subtle burning sensation.

Overall: Westbrook has gone all out and created some truly amazing beers. It's so complex and delicious that I'm terribly sad my pour came to an end.

Jul 14, 2013
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zac16125 from South Carolina

4.65/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

22oz bottle into a snifter
Bottled on: 6/6/13

375th BA review

Original batch of Mexican Cake, aged in Cabernet Sauvignon barrels for 18 months. Habaneros, cocoa nibs, cinnamon, and vanilla beans added after (or maybe well into) the barrel aging to prevent those favors from fading over the 18 months the base beer spent in the barrel.

A: Pours an opaque bitch black with only the slightest browning on the edges when held to light. 1/2 a fingers width of dark mocha colored head builds then quickly recedes. Leaves a few patches of spotty lacing.

S: My god. There is this huge rich, decadent, sweet aroma. The first thing I get are huge cinnamon notes. There are lots of chocolate and vanilla notes. Its reminiscent of a coffee cake or german chocolate cake. The red wine is certainly in the backdrop and mingles just perfectly with the sweet notes. There is some boozy ethanol as well, and the habanero spice is present but very subtle. This is one of the best aromas I have ever smelled in a beer. Just incredible.

T: Wow, so unique. Its very vinous, the red wine notes are surprisingly huge. There is also a big chocolate character and some roasted malt. Peppery spice is more noticeable on the taste than the nose, and builds throughout the drink until it becomes a quite significant burn by the end of the bomber. Lots of cinnamon as well, and some toasted coconut particularly in the aftertaste. I also get some dark fruits like cherry, and apple. This is pretty great, my only minor complaint would be at times the vinous, red wine components are a bit dominant, but there is so much else going on with this beer that its not a detriment.

M/D: Very smooth, full bodied and a bit chewy. Somewhat syrupy. ABV is kept well in check, and it has a very nice full body warming sensation (would be nicer if it wasn't 90degrees in SC today!). This one is a slow sipper for sure!

O: What a beer. Regular Mexican Cake is a great, but this one is so much better. Really great beer from top to bottom. And the aroma is ridiculous, if they made Red Wine BA MC candles I would go to the store and buy up the entire stock right now. Incredible.

Jul 14, 2013
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Ant4711 from South Carolina

4.6/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Appearance is an overall oil dark color. 1 finger head

S- Smell is amazing, you can pull out the red wine and the barrels

T- Taste is very very good. You get a straight hit of Red Wine but that fades out and you are left with a little pepper after taste. very complex.

M- Mouth feel is very good

Overall this is very good, although hard to compete with the other 2 variants (Apple Brandy and Bourban)

Westbrook did a very fine job on these 3 beers.


Jul 13, 2013
Mexican Cake - Red Wine Barrel-Aged (2013) from Westbrook Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 99 out of 100 with 223 ratings