Mexican Cake clone info - directly from Westbrook Brewery

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IFMracin

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What are you plans for the adjuncts and quantities?
 

nikvolkert

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I've got a pint jar with 2 cinnamon sticks, 3 sliced vanilla beans, 5 chopped habaneros, and 4 oz cocoa nibs covered in vodka that I will add a week before bottling.
 

lilbova3

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I've got a pint jar with 2 cinnamon sticks, 3 sliced vanilla beans, 5 chopped habaneros, and 4 oz cocoa nibs covered in vodka that I will add a week before bottling.

Sounds good but what's your batch size? Five habaneros is going to be spicy!
 

Morrey

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I've got a pint jar with 2 cinnamon sticks, 3 sliced vanilla beans, 5 chopped habaneros, and 4 oz cocoa nibs covered in vodka that I will add a week before bottling.

Yeah, vanilla beans have gone wild in price. I have some Mexican vanilla extract I bought in Mexico, so maybe I can complement with that and use one bean.

I am thinking to make a tincture of this entire list, strain and pitch at kegging. (two habaneros)

TravelingLight and I live close enough to Westbrook to visit their taproom. Let me tell y'all this beer is something special for sure. Can't believe they shared this info as this beer is their claim to fame as far as dark beers go.
 

lilbova3

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5 Gallons

I think when I made a Mexican Cake clone like beer I cut a habanero into quarters (four even pieces) then cut that into four equal strips and only put two strips in the beer. Gave some good heat but not over powering.
 

bolus14

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Sub'd, looking to brew a big stout in the next month or so and loved Mexican Cake when I got my hands on a bottle a couple years ago.
 

nikvolkert

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What kind of final gravity are you guys getting? I ended at 1.030 which seems too high to me. I used WLP002 ang got 71% attenuation. Should I bother adding another yeast?
 

nikvolkert

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So my beer has carbed up, and I tried a bottle over the weekend and wanted to update this. I did add some WLP099 a couple days before bottling to make sure I had viable yeast to carbonate since I bottle condition. My OG was 1.112 and FG ended at 1.030, which I was afraid it would be too sweet, but after tasting it this weekend I think that the higher FG helps the beer hold up to the habaneros (I used 5). It definitely has some heat, but doesn't seem too overpowering. A wonderful tasting beer.
 

Wingnutt73

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Mine definitely smells and tastes like cake. I think I could have used another Hab or 2 in the recipe but didn't want to put it over the top since I'm serving it this weekend at a homebrew festival.
 

Roadie

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They just released this again today. Already most places are out and I don't feel like driving 35 minutes away to Whole Foods who I guess is selling with no limit. Had someone put a couple bottles away for me.
 

TravelingLight

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They just released this again today. Already most places are out and I don't feel like driving 35 minutes away to Whole Foods who I guess is selling with no limit. Had someone put a couple bottles away for me.
If anyone is in Columbia, it's here. I got a pair of bottles at Total Wine on Harbison yesterday (2 per limit). And one more from Green's on Assembly today (1 per limit).
 

phyllobeddo

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I got one bottle yesterday in Central Alabama. Hope to get a couple more this year. I was able to get three last year. I hear that this year's version has more heat to it than last year's. That's good news to me. I thought the heat was really lacking last year. Still a great beer and one of my favorite, nonetheless.

My clone of this beer which ended up at something like 12% ABV is still sitting in a keg downstairs. I will sample it some time this fall. I suspect it will be nothing like Mexican Cake in the end. :)
 

StrainedSky

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Funny thing is I was able to obtain the actual Westbrook recipe (2014) which was taped to a fermenter in their brewery. There is no mention of candi syrup only "raw cane sugar". Maybe they've changed it. Going to brew a batch in the upcoming months to see how it is.
Do you mind posting the recipe ?
 

paarman

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I wouldn't mind seeing the recipe as well if you could message it to me also. Thanks in advance if so
 

bolus14

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Here's what I have come up with from the recipe that @Roadie sent.
These are the percentages in the recipe from Westbrook:
72.48% 2-Row
11.33% Sugar
06.23% Roasted Barley
04.98% Chocolate Malt
02.49% Flaked Oats
01.25% Dark Crystal 160L
01.25% Black Patent

I have a 7.4% Scotch Ale finishing up fermentation now, once I'm ready to bottle that I'm planning to brew this and throw it on the yeast cake, or at least a portion of the cake.

The OP states that 11.034 as the OG and 1.0233, so the recipe below is very close, but off by 1 point in the OG and off by 3 points in the FG. Al depending on yeast performance it might end up at Westbrook's 1.02 though.

Title: Mexican Cake 2014

Brew Method: All Grain
Style Name: Russian Imperial Stout
Boil Time: 60 min
Batch Size: 5.25 gallons (fermentor volume)
Boil Size: 7 gallons
Boil Gravity: 1.076
Efficiency: 65% (brew house)


STATS:
Original Gravity: 1.102
Final Gravity: 1.020
ABV (standard): 10.79%
IBU (tinseth): 50.02
SRM (morey): 50

FERMENTABLES:
14.75 lb - United Kingdom - Pale 2-Row (72.8%)
2.25 lb - Cane Sugar (11.1%)
1.25 lb - United Kingdom - Roasted Barley (6.2%)
1 lb - United Kingdom - Chocolate (4.9%)
0.5 lb - Flaked Oats (2.5%)
0.25 lb - United Kingdom - Black Patent (1.2%)
0.25 lb - United Kingdom - Extra Dark Crystal 160L (1.2%)

HOPS:
1 oz - CTZ, Type: Pellet, AA: 17.5, Use: Boil for 60 min, IBU: 50.02

MASH GUIDELINES:
1) Infusion, Temp: 150 F, Time: 60 min
 

TravelingLight

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Here's what I have come up with from the recipe that @Roadie sent.
These are the percentages in the recipe from Westbrook:
72.48% 2-Row
11.33% Sugar
06.23% Roasted Barley
04.98% Chocolate Malt
02.49% Flaked Oats
01.25% Dark Crystal 160L
01.25% Black Patent

I have a 7.4% Scotch Ale finishing up fermentation now, once I'm ready to bottle that I'm planning to brew this and throw it on the yeast cake, or at least a portion of the cake.

The OP states that 11.034 as the OG and 1.0233, so the recipe below is very close, but off by 1 point in the OG and off by 3 points in the FG. Al depending on yeast performance it might end up at Westbrook's 1.02 though.

Title: Mexican Cake 2014

Brew Method: All Grain
Style Name: Russian Imperial Stout
Boil Time: 60 min
Batch Size: 5.25 gallons (fermentor volume)
Boil Size: 7 gallons
Boil Gravity: 1.076
Efficiency: 65% (brew house)


STATS:
Original Gravity: 1.102
Final Gravity: 1.020
ABV (standard): 10.79%
IBU (tinseth): 50.02
SRM (morey): 50

FERMENTABLES:
14.75 lb - United Kingdom - Pale 2-Row (72.8%)
2.25 lb - Cane Sugar (11.1%)
1.25 lb - United Kingdom - Roasted Barley (6.2%)
1 lb - United Kingdom - Chocolate (4.9%)
0.5 lb - Flaked Oats (2.5%)
0.25 lb - United Kingdom - Black Patent (1.2%)
0.25 lb - United Kingdom - Extra Dark Crystal 160L (1.2%)

HOPS:
1 oz - CTZ, Type: Pellet, AA: 17.5, Use: Boil for 60 min, IBU: 50.02

MASH GUIDELINES:
1) Infusion, Temp: 150 F, Time: 60 min
Thanks for posting this. I too got the pic/recipe from Roadie. I was breaking it down but couldn't figure out the adjunct amounts. If I knew the volume of the beer in the original recipe, I could figure it out. But I couldn't figure out on that brew sheet the total volume of the brew? Did you figure that out? Thanks.
 

bolus14

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Thanks for posting this. I too got the pic/recipe from Roadie. I was breaking it down but couldn't figure out the adjunct amounts. If I knew the volume of the beer in the original recipe, I could figure it out. But I couldn't figure out on that brew sheet the total volume of the brew? Did you figure that out? Thanks.
No, I started too, but then figured it was a waste of time. I more or less just threw the 2-row and Sugar into brewers friend, got the percentages for those and then added one ingredient at a time and played with the amounts until the percentages worked out.
 

TravelingLight

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No, I started too, but then figured it was a waste of time. I more or less just threw the 2-row and Sugar into brewers friend, got the percentages for those and then added one ingredient at a time and played with the amounts until the percentages worked out.
Sounds good. But what about the peppers, cinnamon, etc.? Those are the amounts I'm still trying to figure out.
 

bolus14

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The OP states this for the ratio:
1 : 5 : 10 : 15 (ground cinnamon : vanilla bean : habanero : cocoa nibs)

I haven't started to look at or think about those ingredients yet as the earliest I will brew the base will be this weekend, and then I have 2-3 weeks minimum before I would add those, so for me I have some time to think about that.

Like the guy from Westbrook stated in the email, the adjuncts don't easily scale to homebrew levels. The reasons I know of is that the quantities they are adding and the surface area in the brite tanks is much greater than in a 6.5 - 15gal fermenter. Also, the effect something like habanero's have is very difficult to predict on a smaller scale because each pepper is going to have a different level of heat. On a larger scale this will even out since you're adding a larger quantity and some of the stronger peppers will make up for the loss in some of the weaker peppers. For this recipe we'll likely be adding around 1 pepper, maybe 2 at the most so if you get two really hot peppers one time and two weak one's the next it's going to turn out differently. The same can be applied for cinnamon and vanilla, the age, quality, etc of each is going to vary each time.

The only consistent adjunct is the cacao nibs in raw form their not going to change much if stored correctly. The trouble with consistency will come from how you roast them to bring out the chocolate flavors in them. The grain bill doesn't provide a lot that will give you chocolate flavor so as the ratio implies you'll want to be somewhat heavy handed with them, the vanilla will also help accentuate the chocolate flavor.

I may try to come up with a rough idea of what I plan to use later today if I get some time, but I'll likely be shooting on the low side especially with the habanero and cinnamon. Too much vanilla or cacao nibs don't worry me much, but too much cinnamon could ruin it and too much habanero could make it undrinkable for a while. Can always add more of any of them, but only time will take them away.
 

bolus14

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After looking around at other recipes and reading up on using cacao nibs, here's where I think I'm going to start.

Cinnamon - 2g
Vanilla Beans - 2 beans, roughly 10g
Habanero - 2 peppers, roughly 17.4g
Cacao Nibs - 4oz, roughly 113g

The amounts come close to the ratio given, except the nibs, if you stick with the ratio it would be 30g or about 1oz. From my looking around the minimum for a stout like this is 4oz, and some have used up to 8oz.

I'm mainly questioning the habanero, I'm leaning more towards using one pepper to start, giving it a quick roast in the oven to ensure any wax coating from the store burns off. Then after a few days taste and decide if the heat is at a good spot or not. I would prefer to make a batch and have a low amount of heat and adjust up the next time if it's needed. But, again it depends on the individual peppers being used at this scale, so it's somewhat of a guess in my opinion.
 

jptouchton

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what would be better oak spirals or chips soaked in apple brandy?
 

Roadie

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what would be better oak spirals or chips soaked in apple brandy?


Chips are probably faster. Westbrook sells a 650 ml bottle of 2013 Mexican Cake aged in an apple brandy barrel for only $1,000 a bottle!!
 

bolus14

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Most people prefer to use cubes or spirals because they are easier to get the oaking level where you want it. The surface area of chips is much greater so you have to sample more often to make sure the beer doesn't extract too many tannins. For the most part

You could also just add Apple Brandy when you bottle or keg, the brandy has already been aged in the barrel so it will carry some of the flavors. Depends on how "oaky" you want it I guess but I would avoid chips.
 

DevilsCups

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For the adjuncts : What is everyones thoughts on procedure? Adding while in the fermentor then racking off and into the keg? How long would you let it sit on the adjuncts until racking out of the fermentor?
 

bolus14

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First, my plan was to have this brewed this past weekend, but do to some unforeseen personal "stuff" that didn't happen and I'm not sure when I'll get to it. If anybody else brews it please keep us in the loop on how it goes.

Just my thoughts based on what I have done with other beers. Beers with an OG over 1.080 or so tend to take a little more time to ferment than those with a lower OG, obviously there are exceptions. Because of the extra time I tend to plan 2-3 weeks for FG to be reached, depending on yeast strain this could be shorter or longer, then plan at least a week for "cleanup." Given those time frames you're looking more or less at a month in the primary.

Some get concerned with their beer being on the yeast cake for much longer than that, I won't get into this conversation but there are plenty of opinions on both sides as to whether it should be transferred or not. I have kept beer in the primary for 8 weeks and couldn't taste anything off because of it. So, with that all stated I would just put the adjuncts in the primary, I would say at most you're going to keep them in there for 2 weeks.

At that point you'd be at roughly 6 weeks from brew day. If you want to bulge age it at that point then I would rack it either to a secondary, or a keg if you're kegging. Also, if you want to add more of any of the adjuncts to increases more of one particular flavor you could add it into this secondary, without having to rack to a different vessel which is going to increase oxygen exposure more than needed.
 

Markd27

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Just brewed this per the recipe posted by nikvolkert in post #40.

OG came in at 1.110, pitched a large starter of 1098, we shall see how it goes.
 

zollara

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Just brewed this up Friday, 11/24/17. Here was my recipe.

15 lbs. Maris Otter
2 lbs. Crystal 120L
1 lb. Flaked Oats
1 lb. Carafa I
0.75 lb. Chocolate


Mashed in at 150 F for 75 min.

Boil Schedule
1.5 oz. CTZ @ 60 min.
1 lb. D-180 Belgian Candi Syrup @ 5 min
1 lb. Corn Sugar @ Flameout

Pitched large starter of WLP002 English Ale. Didn't get my OG because my hydrometer broke and I have no refractometer.... but target was 1.109 and I hit my numbers and volumes, so I am guessing I was close to that.

Currently have a tincture going with:

3 oz. Cacao Nibs
2 Vanilla Beans
2 Cinnamon Sticks
2 Habanero Peppers (chopped)

All soaking in ~ 1 quart of vodka. Plan to let this sit for two weeks until primary fermentation is finished, then rack beer onto tincture in secondary.

Will post with results.
 
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