El Zacatón | Hubbard's Cave Brewery

El ZacatónEl Zacatón
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Reviews: 10 | Ratings: 37

#613 ranked American Imperial Stout | 12.00% ABV

Hubbard's Cave Brewery
Illinois, United States

Notes: Rotating availibility. Imperial stout fermented with almond flour, cacao nibs, cinnamon sticks, vanilla beans, ancho chiles, guajillo chiles, habanero chiles, and cherry wood.
El ZacatónEl Zacatón
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Reviews: 10 | Ratings: 37
Photo of GreesyFizeek
3.38/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Bottle purchased at The Ginger Man in Boston, MA.

This one pours a fairly dark brown color, nearly black, with a small head, and no lacing.

This smells like tangy cinnamon candy, with vanilla, milk chocolate, dried cherry, port, and chili heat.

All of the adjuncts- mainly the cinnamon and pepper playing together - give this an almost tangy flavor that's slightly distracting to me. The cinnamon has a sweet and tangy candied aspect to it, almost like a Fireball candy without the heat. There's too much going on here, and it's a touch muddled. The base stout is also unremarkable and kind of thin. I'm not super impressed here.

This is thin and slightly oily, with a lower level of carbonation. It's not super drinkable.

There's just too much going on here - it's too busy. The tanginess doesn't help either.

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Photo of Damian
4.48/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Drank from a 1 pint 9.4 fl oz (750ml) bottle purchased at Fort Point Market, Boston, MA
Served in a tulip

Really unattractive appearance. The liquid poured an oily pitch black and was capped by a thin, filmy film of saddle brown bubbles that quickly dissolved. Brown clumps of what appeared to be cinnamon could be seen floating atop the body.

While the beer looked pretty bad, the aroma was outstanding. Both the cinnamon and the vanilla notes came through big time. This reminded me a lot of a freshly baked, frosted cinnamon roll. Sweet but not excessively so. Malty and robust. Dark malts were apparent. Slightly roasty. Perhaps a touch of almond too.

The flavor was similar but less adjunct forward. Malty and sweet up front. Big roasted and caramel malt notes. Vanilla came through in the center. Good dose of cinnamon too. Some dark chocolate notes were detectable. The beer finished fairly boozy with more roast, sweetness and just a hint of lingering chili spice. Nicely balanced for a pastry stout.

The beer was medium bodied for the style. A touch lighter than I anticipated. The liquid contained a fine, moderate effervescence that turned frothy, slick and smooth on the palate. By the drink’s end, the sugars in the beer left a slightly sticky film on my lips.

El Zacatón is a impressive cinnamon and vanilla-forward imperial stout and a great deal at $17 a bottle. I definitely plan on trying more of Hubbard’s Cave stouts and hoppy beers as well.

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Photo of REVZEB
4.59/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap. Smell was typical mexican chocolate stout, with big cinnamon and vanilla especially, always a great combo in the aromas. The taste though was next level for the style! The almond flour gave it a little more pop in the base, and the cherry wood provided a nice adherent for the sweetness to balance. Not a taste of booze in sight! Smooth and spicy in the body, has the pastry stout thin and dry finish. Fine work here

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Photo of mothman
4.25/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Tap. Little tan head. Black color.

An interesting Mexican stout. A lot more peppers, especially in the finish. Cinnamon shows. A lot of chocolate and fudge. Full bodied. Fairly strong.

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Photo of dukeandduke
3.91/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

9/16/18 (Niles, IL): $5.40 6 oz pour into sampler glass at Une Annee Brewery, Pitch black, no lacing. Strong balanced vanilla, cinnamon and malt aroma. Strong taste, habanero chili peppers, cocoa and cinnamon, a nice blend which works well. Light thin mouth feel, peppers felt on tongue, nice. Overall very good and unique pour.

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Photo of stakem
3.35/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

750ml bottle poured into a snifter appears black in color with a dark brown head. It has a weird chunky spotty topping across the top thats almost oily looking that kills the head quickly.

This smells roasty and earthen with chocolate, coffee, cinnamon and oak.

It tastes spicy with peppers and woody cinamon with raison and fruity raison. There is a drying wood and cinnamon almost tannic feel to this.

This is light in body with modest carbonation. Its interesting but not that good and I certainly would not purchase it again.

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Photo of dbl_delta
4.22/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Undated 750 ml bottle (2018-1) into pint glass. Pours an oily black with an almost nonexistent tan head. Initial impression is dark chocolate, oak, and vanilla - plus some heat from either the alcohol or the peppers. Or both. Overall, it gives the impression of sweetness but is bitter at the same time. Weird. Mouthfeel is medium thick; carbonation is subdued but slightly prickly. Finish is bitter chocolate, morphing to sweetness. This is a very intriguing brew. Tasty but not something I could (or should) indulge in frequently.

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Photo of darktronica
4.26/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2018 batch on draft at the source. Pours a dark brown, opaque but thinner than expected given the 12% ABV and additives. Cacao nibs and almond flour on the nose, sweet with only a hint of cinnamon. The flavor profile is still restrained, with the three peppers holding back. Also some candied pecan notes and mild vanilla and malt. Much better than the original batch!

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Photo of stortore
4.27/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

750 ml bottle into a snifter. Had 9/9/17.

Pours dark, opaque and oily looking, with no real head and some light, filmy lacing. This really smells great. Aromas of cinnamon, cocoa, malt, some peppers, chocolate, some vanilla. The taste is medium roast malt, cinnamon, cocoa, chocolate, vanilla. The peppers are subtle, with a little heat on the finish. No hint of alcohol, but it’s pretty sweet (underlined). Smooth, a good full body, not a lot of carbonation, but that may be intended.

The add-ins are bold, has a great aroma. Hides the 12% ABV really well. It’s sweeter than it needs to be by a fair amount, but if you are okay with sweet, you’ll like this.

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Photo of eppie82
3.5/5  rDev -18%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

From draft in mini-snifter at Art of Beer in Highwood, IL.

Deep dark brown-black liquid with very little foam upon pour. Small lacing bubbles did stick around edge of glass and as swirled. Holy crap does this smell and taste sweet! Huge cinnamon sticks, cocoa, vanilla and even almonds present. Was basically like smelling and eating a Cinnabon. I can't believe I'm recommending this as I don't like peppers, but the two types of peppers in this beer were not nearly enough to offset the absurd amount of sweetness. This might be the biggest dessert and sweetest beer I've ever had. Sticky mouthfeel and that taste lingers for a while. Will likely ruin anything else you may want to have after it. 5oz of this is more than enough to give you diabetes.

Overall, entirely too sweet for me and I will not get this again. However, for some that REALLY enjoy sweet/dessert beers, this one will deliver (maybe too much!)

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El Zacatón from Hubbard's Cave Brewery
Beer rating: 93 out of 100 with 37 ratings