Brewing Mexican Bandito Imperial Stout

This beer was a long time in the making.  The idea was conceived almost 2 years ago and there’s a great story behind it.  The super-abridged version is that the beer was inspired by an alleged theft of a bottle of Westbrook’s Mexican Cake at a very eventful bottle share.  We dealt with the situation the best way we know how, by mocking it.

BANDITO! Mexican Imperial Stout

BANDITO! Mexican Imperial Stout

After lots of discussion, retelling of the events that created the idea, drinking Mexican stouts, and planning our recipe, we finally brewed the beer.  It’s our biggest beer to date with over 26 lbs of grain in the mash plus some additional fermentables added to the kettle.  The OG was 1.114 with 65% efficiency for our 6 gallon batch, target FG is 1.027 which would give us 11.7% – our first double-digit beer.  Brew day was pleasantly smooth, other than my messing up and adding too much dextrose and D90 to the boil.  Fortunately it wasn’t enough to throw things off too much, just added about .5% to the ABV.

Mashing Mexican Bandito

Mashing Mexican Bandito

Well oxygenated Mexican Bandito

Well oxygenated Mexican Bandito

After fermenting for two weeks at 68° I added some cacao nibs, 1/2 a Habanero, a vanilla bean, and some cinnamon to the fermenter.  We’ll let this sit for 7 days and then keg it.  The sample I tried pre-spice additions was very rich with an excellent body and a nice, smooth boozy backbone.  I think this is going to be really good, I sure hope so.

Time to spice things up

Time to spice things up


05/30/15 | Beer was kegged.

06/19/15 | First sampling.  Carbonation is still a bit light.   Flavors are really good and quite well balanced, especially considering this is very young for a big stout.  Starts with sweet and rich dark chocolate, moves on to a bit of vanilla and cinnamon, finishes with a bit of Habanero tingle on the tongue.  Those that have tasted it vary from it being just right with the Habanero to thinking it could use just a bit more.  The heat is there, but very light.  I’m on the fence as to whether it needs a bit more.

06/26/15 | Tasting even better now.  Friends who tried it last week and again this week commented that it’s getting even better.  Right now we’re very happy with this beer.

09/07/15 | Really happy with the way this beer turned out.  Very rich, lots of vanilla and chocolate, light cinnamon and habanero.  I recently entered it into the New South Brew Off and scored 38.5, can’t wait to brew this one again.


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