Recently a dear friend treated us to a bottle of Westbrook Brewing’s Mexican Cake Imperial Stout, which has gained Whale status for a lot of beer nerds. A thick and sticky 10.5% ABV Imperial stout aged on cocoa nibs, vanilla beans, cinnamon sticks, and fresh habanero peppers…what could possibly go wrong?
Serving it too cold is wrong. Too cold only allows the harshest flavours and aromas to show through. It was still a touch too cold when we started drinking which meant that the capsaicin heat was quite aggressive, too much so even for my pepperhead sensibilities. Once the beer had warmed up to 55f (cool to the touch) the flavours suddenly smooth out into a symphonic experience: rich, aromatic vanilla; dark chocolate; super dark roast coffee; caramel and brown sugar; habanero fruitiness singing on the nose and the closing statement of gently warming chili heat.
This is undoubtedly an impressive beer. The way all the flavours blend and play with each other, the development of the character as it warms, and the way they all interlock is an experience. Is it “chase the delivery truck” good? Not for me – there’s lots of equally impressive Imperial Stouts out there – but everyone should try this at least once. Who knows, this may well be your own white whale!
Overall: 95%, very impressive, would drink again.