Cake, Cake, Cake: Introducing Cake Monster (Chocolate Habanero Lactose Porter, 5.5%)
As cold temperatures continue to blast Ontario, we find ourselves craving a trip down south. Inspired by the warmth and comfort of Mexican hot chocolate, this month Bandit Brewery is pleased to announce the introduction of Cake Monster, a sweet and spicy variation on an American Porter that is sure to take your palate on a sensory journey down to the land of Mayan chocolate, mole, and habaneros.
Cake Monster has been released previously as part of our X series, a collection of more experimental brews that are created in very small pilot batches (less than 50 bottles at a time). After noticing the excitement that this particular beer brought to our staff and to our regular patrons, we’ve decided to brew this in full batch form.
The idea for Cake Monster came from Bandit brewer Shehzad Hamza, after a recent trip to the Yucatan peninsula: “ While in Mexico, I visited a chocolate factory where I had a hot chocolate unlike I’ve ever had before; made from roasted raw cacao and a hint of cayenne pepper,” Shehzad tells us. “The chocolate’s innate strong flavours and its limited sweetness inspired me to create a beer that reflected those characteristics and I think we’ve come quite close with Cake Monster,” he adds.
The malt base for Cake Monster is very similar to a classic American Porter’s, but with some added biscuit malt and lactose to round out the beer. After the initial fermentation and bittering, we conditioned the beer with 5 kg of roasted cacao nibs from Toronto-based company Chocosol, which outsources their cacao from indigenous communities in Oaxaca and Chiapas, Mexico. A hefty addition of 1 lb. of habanero peppers were added soon after that to create that lingering hint of spice at the end. The last step was to add some Madagascar vanilla beans, which were sliced up and opened fully in order to bring the “cake” element into the beer. The end result tasted exactly like a spicy hot chocolate cake mix.
Shehzad’s favourite part of the process? “Definitely the 30 minutes following the hand dicing of the habaneros,” he says (with a definitive eye roll). “I remembered to wear gloves, but then somehow still managed to get habanero juice all over my hands, which of course I immediately proceeded to rub in my eyes,” he adds.
Cake Monster tastes just like a warm hot dark chocolate with strong notes of coffee. The initial taste is relatively sweet, but the habanero kick at the end makes you keep wanting one more sip.
Cake Monster is available on Friday, March 23rd on tap in our brewpub and in our Bottle Shop.