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Café Royale | AleWerks Brewing Company

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Café RoyaleCafé Royale

Brewed by:
AleWerks Brewing Company
Virginia, United States | website

Style: Milk / Sweet Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
We age a stronger version of our CoffeeHouse Stout in Virginia Gentlemen Bourbon Barrels for 3 months. This aging adds layers of complexity including notes of vanilla and bourbon to this big coffee beer.

Added by mcallister on 08-21-2010

User Reviews
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Reviews: 171 | Ratings: 696
Photo of Stevem68
4.27/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a rich dark chocolate color. Aroma is boozy with notes of vanilla, cocao and a lIttle sweetness. Flavor is coffe and chocolate with a bourbon note throughout. Has notes a slightly sweet vanilla too. Overall this drinks really smooth and had great flavor, it's just a delicious beer.

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Photo of Newbeergeek1
4.34/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a wonderful jet black, with a very nice coffee/bourbon smell and a terrific nose/taste blend. I picked this up at the brewery last spring and am really enjoying this as I am watching the Daytona 500. Nice way to celebrate a great race with a great beer. Hope they haves eat Alewerks the next time I am there.

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Photo of Eamonn-Cummings3
4.59/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a spieglau stout glass.

Look is pitch black with a razor thing dark brown head.

Lots of rich wonderful roast and vanilla bourbon.

Taste is delicious. A wonderful balance between roasted malt and sweet creamy vanilla. Absolutely wonderful.

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Photo of TomMorris
3.99/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown with some mahogany highlights. No head save for a tight ring around the perimeter of my glass.

Incredible nose with rich fudge notes and buttery vanilla bourbon.

Taste is a slight let down overall, but quite delicious. I'm not getting as much coffee or roasted malt flavors as I was hoping; the beer largely reminds me of bourbon-flavored chocolate syrup. It's extremely decadent and fudgy with a considerable, but not at all hot or overbearing sweet bourbon presence.

The feel is also a bit thinner and dissipates more quickly than I would like, but when the moment it first hits my tongue is pretty sublime. Plenty thick and chewy, but too much of a transient.

Overall, I was slightly disappointed in Cafe Royale. I was hoping for a very roasty and balanced coffee stout with barrel characteristics and instead got a decadent, incredibly sweet tasting stout with some barrel characteristics. A great beer for sure, but a bit cloying to be amongst the upper echelon of barrel-aged stouts.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This was an excellent beer. A massive coffee presence, both in the nose and in the palate is complimented by roast, chocolate and a good sweetness. The barrel comes through mostly in the form of vanilla, which compliments the coffee very well.

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Photo of DavidHume
4.34/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bomber bottle. No date code, but given how that Alewerks' barrel releases don't exactly sit on the shelves around here, it's probably a very recent batch. Served in a teku at around 50°F.

Pours 8 ball black, with a rich brown head of fine bubbles which slowly dissipates into a ring around the edge of the glass, with persistent lacing on the sides. The aromas are very bourbon-forward; no doubts about where this stout was aged. Chocolate and sweetened coffee follow, with a faint hint of vanilla. Bourbon dominates the palate initially, followed by chocolaty coffee flavors. The coffee develops into dark cocoa and fig, before finishing with dry and tannic. It's definitely a sweet stout; while not cloying, it's sweet enough that finishing a bomber alone would be a challenge. Share it with a friend; they'll thank you for it (and you can thank me for the suggestion). The mouthfeel is quite thick, especially given the beer's strength. You expect a big mouthfeel from a 12% monster, but it's quite unexpected from an 8.4% brew. Overall, it's an excellent stout, well-worth seeking out, and a perfect nightcap for a crisp fall evening.

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Photo of bwood06
4.26/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22 oz. bottle into a pint glass (multiple pours)

A - 1/4 finger head (from a very hard pour) that is dark brown in color and dissipates to a sparse lacing rather quickly. Beer itself and pitch black and cannot see carbonation whatsoever. Ever so slight hint of mahogany on the bottom of the glass if titled to the right angle to the light. 3.75/5

S - Vanilla, oak, and cream are the main aromas that I get with this beer right off the bat. Brown sugar/molasses is also present. A bit of smokiness comes out as well as tobacco and leather. Dark cola (i.e. Coca Cola) seems to be present as well. 4/5

T - Brown sugar and honey hit my tongue immediately followed by a dark chocolatey malt as well as toffee. More milk chocolate than dark chocolate (hints at this being the milk stout as classified). A bit of vanilla and coffee comes across with the milkiness. Coffee comes across as more of a latte than just straight coffee or espresso. Dry coffee bitterness on the back end but does not linger. Leaves a sweet taste in the mouth. Not really getting any sort of hops, but this may be hidden by the coffee. Dominated by sweetness with only moderate bitterness. A hint of oak rears its head right at the end as the bitterness comes in but only for a split second. 4.5/5

M - Very smooth with very little carbonation, only a slight tickle on the tongue for the carbonation. Very full bodied and heavy, almost chewy. Surprisingly, for this heaviness, does not linger on the palate. 4.25/5

O - Nice complex flavor profile, especially for a milk stout. Appearance loves something to be desired since there is virtually no head, even with an extremely hard pour, but the taste and mouthful more than make up for this. Does not have the boozy bite that many bourbon barrel aged beers have which is a nice change. 4.25/5

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
4.3/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pure. Dessert. In. A. Glass. That's what I'm getting from the amazing nose. Yes, some coffee comes through, as well as a nice amount of bourbon - with those two notes alone, this would still smell decent. But this also features an incredible amount of dark chocolate and dark fruit esters. In a way, the nose invokes chocolate-covered cherries in such a beautiful manner. Thankfully, the flavor follows the nose (nearly) to a T. It starts off with evocative bourbon flavors, along with some gentle fruit esters. It finishes with nice amounts of chocolate, lactose, and roast. Maybe it could be a little bit roastier. Whatever. This feels full and oily on the palate, coating the mouth quite well. Because it's so sweet, it's not a beer that can be drunk quickly. If I have to bitch (and you know I always have to!), it gets too sweet after a while. Just split it with someone and enjoy the chocolate-bourbon-and-coffee goodness to its fullest. Problem solved!

4.3/5: Awesome dessert beer

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Photo of AppaZappa
4.38/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was a great beer for my 100th rating/review. Beautiful dark almost black beer that is thick and chewy. Nice balance between dark malt, coffee, chocolate, and bourbon. The bourbon doesn't dominate, but comes out surprisingly well for 3 months of aging. This stands up there with other big hitters in the Coffee-Barrel-Stout club IMO--a real treat.

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Photo of Xenoreactive
5/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Cracked open on 24/10/2015 after being cellared for roughly 9 months.

Pours a thick pitch black with a light head that dissipates very quickly. Smells of dark chocolate, bourbon, molasses, subtle espresso, and toffee. Tastes very similar. I would record this as a heavy chocolate milk with a bourbon undertone. Delicious and sweet, but not to an overbearing degree. The bourbon helps refine the mouthfeel. Has a texture similar to a chocolate shake. Overall, a wonderful experience.

Aging this beer has toned down the bourbon nose and brought out milk chocolate and vanilla notes.

2 more aging in the cellar. Will update with a 1 and 1.5 year description.

Edit: 1 year tastes phenomenal. Coffee does not fade and the bourbon presence thickens.

2nd Edit: Adjusting this to a perfect 5. The bourbon gives this more texture over time as it thickens and adds more vanilla/dough flavor to the beer. Coffee does not sour or turn to soy sauce, but adds a richness to the beer. 1.5 year was phenomenal as well.

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Photo of FriedSlug
4.38/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into my Duvel tulip it was black with a nice cocoa brown head that is thick and creamy but mostly dissipated within a minute. It did hold on around the edges of the glass and left only minimal lacing. The smell is sweet roasty malts, coffee, chocolate notes and a very faint mellow bourbon smell. The taste follows the nose as the coffee, chocolate malts, sweetness and bourbon meld together nicely without one flavor standing out. This is an incredibly well balanced and pleasant beer.

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Photo of jrnyc
4.27/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Very nice looking beer. Good smell. Really enjoyed this one, like that it is only 8.00 abv, but drinks much bigger than that. Reminds me a bit of BCBCS.

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Photo of jlindros
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Thanks to rudzud

Light fizzy head fades quickly, decent legs, pitch black.

Nose big fluffy nougat, caramel and candy bar, big spicy hops, little toasted coffee and roast, hint fudgey, little acrid.

Taste big caramel, fluffy nougat, candy bar, little coffee, fudgey, chewy oats, char, hint of vanilla barrel whisky thing, charred oak, bitter earthy spicy hops, nice barrel, vanilla coconut, toasted, little sweet malt. Little nougat biscuit toffee candy. Finish is dry but sticky hint of booze, little caramel, late is burnt charred coffee and malt.

Mouth is med to fuller bod creamy, decent carb, just a hint of carb.

Overall pretty nice.

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Photo of dbrauneis
4.31/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: Pours an opaque yet still clear jet black in color with light to moderate amounts of gentle visible carbonation along the edges of the glass and moderate amounts of dark cola brown + garnet highlights. The beer has a finger tall foamy dark tan head that reduces to a couple of small patches of thin film and a thin ring at the edges of the glass. Light amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate to strong aromas of freshly brewed coffee with light to moderate aromas of roasted malts, milk chocolate, bourbon, vanilla, and oak.

T: Upfront there is a moderate flavor of roasted malts which is quickly overtaken by strong flavors of freshly brewed coffee. That is quickly followed by moderate flavors of milk chocolate which contributes a moderate amount of sweetness. There is a moderate to strong flavor of bourbon and vanilla with just a hint of oak. Minimal amount of roasty bitterness in the finish which lingers slightly.

M: Slightly heavier than medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Smooth. Hints of alcohol warming from the barrel-aging in the finish.

O: Extremely easy to drink, hiding the alcohol very well with the exception of the bourbon flavors. Wonderful aromas of coffee and bourbon which are quite complementary with the milk chocolate sweetness. So glad that I finally got distribution to this brewery as I have wanted to try this one for a while. Very enjoyable.

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Photo of metter98
4.24/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: The beer is jet black in color. It poured with just a few tan bubbles on the surface that died down rather quickly, leaving only a thin ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass.
S: Moderate to strong aromas of bourbon are present in the nose.
T: Similar to the smell, the taste is mostly dominated by flavors of bourbon from the barrel aging process. Not many chocolate or coffee flavors are present; these only become noticeable once the beer warms up.
M: It feels a bit more than medium-bodied and a little smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: For a bourbon barrel aged ale, this beer is very aromatic and flavorful for a relatively lighter body stout so it is rather drinkable considering its strength. The only drawback is that the bourbon obscures the coffee flavors.

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of rudzud
4.33/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Received as an extra in a trade. Shared with JLindros and Threelions.

A - Poured into a Kate the Great tulip a dark brown hue with a thin mocha head that fades to leave thin halo and wisps.

S - Aromas of chocolate, nice rich coffee beans, nice bourbon notes. Rich and mellow.

T - Taste is very nice. Great barrel, coconut, rich bakers chocolate, caramel, light coffee as well. Very fudgy with a light acrid burnt note on the finish.

M - Mouthfeel is lightly carbonated, creamy, smooth and silky.

O - Overall this beer was nice, super smooth and mellow. The coffee is very faint on the taste. Very nice chocolate, good bourbon. Very tasty.

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of oldn00b
4.05/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.5

To me, this entirely depends on if it's on tap or in a bottle. The only two low marks here are for look and feel because bottled the carbonation is essentially non-existent. There is zero head. There is a nearly flat mouthfeel.

However I qualify this by saying I've had this on tap many times, many places and once on nitrogen. Every one of those is vastly superior to the bottle. The nitro added a great mouthfeel, a nice velvety texture. When it's on a standard tap it pours a tight dark tan head.

The flavor and aroma of this is beer is truly great. And this most recent batch seems to have almost entirely dispatched with the more syrupy viscosity (it was never a big offender here but it is better than ever). That said, it hues a touch to the sweet side in the bottle though not on tap. This is a 4.5 overall on tap, but I find it most frequently in bottles like this time and without the extra fizz it's more of a 3.5.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured on tap at the brewery in a tulip, the beer is jet black,with a light, creamy, clingy, tan head. Aromas of roasted coffee, rich sweet cream, and highlights of chocolate and molasses. Flavors are heavily roasted, with milk chocolate and bitter cocoa nib blending nicely, on a bitter roasted coffee backbone, with vanilla and woody highlights. Overtones of earth and subtle char provide depth. This beer is insanely smooth and velvety, with a delicate layering of balanced flavors. The aftertaste is richly sweet and creamy, like coffee ice cream. Smooth, soft, slow and lingering finish. Tremendous.

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Photo of HomerSwim
4.4/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Great beer at a decent ABV, Not hard to find. Don't sleep on this beer as it's tasty. I only wish they did a 'double' version to really bring out some of the flavors.

Oh I finally got it, Royale since it's brewed in Williamsburg. Very clever alewerks, very clever...

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Photo of just_n_thomas
5/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Off tap in a tulip style glass.

The more mature big brother of Coffeehouse Stout.

Pours black and shares many of the same cold pressed coffee and chocolate notes of the coffeehouse stout, but with the added complexity of barrel aging.

Boozy up front, but not overwhelming and very smooth finish.

A personal favorite.

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Photo of Immortale25
4.21/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a Funky Buddha Brewery snifter. Label says 02 4 2015.

A- Pours a fully opaque black color with a 1/4 inch dark tan head that doesn't retain long before becoming a thin ring around the edge of the glass and some small patches of surface foam. Semi-resilient lacing leaves a solid ring behind.

S- Big milk chocolate aroma with some hints of bourbon barrel. Not much coffee.

T- A little more coffee than in the nose but it's mainly sweet mocha that comes through. Very sweet with notes of caramel, fudge and maple syrup. The barrel notes are quite light which is fine since this is very affordable for a BA stout. Heavy char starts to come through as it warms.

M- Thick and chewy with medium-low carbonation and a full body.

O- As far as BA stouts go, this isn't world-class but it sure is tasty if you like a sweeter, more chocolate-forward stout and you're not hoping for a coffee bomb. If I had any issue with this beer, it would be false advertising since it seems to be a non-BA chocolate stout rather than a BA coffee stout. But delicious is delicious.

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Photo of oberon
4.28/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours black as an oil slick with a thinner creamy beige head.Chocolate covered nuts and sweet bourbon in the nose,very rich aromas.Creamy smooth in the mouth and quite chewy,very nice.Chocolate and dark fruit flavors abound with more of the nuttiness,the bourbon hits in the end giving a vanilla tinged finish.A rich dessert-like work of art,a great beer.

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Photo of boilermakerbrew
4.38/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Hits the glass pretty much pitch black in color with very little head. With a little coaxing and rough pouring I was able get a tan colored head of about half a centimeter to form. There is minimal lacing on this beer, but the scent is pretty incredible. Huge coffee notes hit first and are quickly followed up with bourbon barrel goodness. The vanilla is really more prominent than the oak, but then moves toward a touch of dark fruits towards the end of the drink.

When this beer hits the tongue it follows the scent pretty closely, but the coffee is stronger than in the smell. The dark coffee is mildly bitter before the bourbon barrel kicks in with charred vanilla sweetness. It balances out the coffee nicely before the coffee returns to combine with the dark malts of the stout. Lingering taste is of coffee and sweet vanilla from the barrel. The feel of this beer is very smooth and very, very easy to drink. The alcohol is low and undetectable, while the carbonation to fairly low as well. Neither the coffee or the barrel flavors are overwhelming, making this close to chug-able.

Overall, this is a great, low ABV, barrel aged stout. The coffee and the barrels work together seamlessly and give the beer both a great feel and taste.

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Photo of dvmin98
4.58/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Stumbled across this bad boy. Didn't realize that AleWerks was disto'ing to NC. This thing, for the money, is one of the best beers you can find. $9.99 for a bomber and the quality of the coffee and bourbon, you can't go wrong. Do yourself a favor and stock up.

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Photo of n2185
4.02/5  rDev -5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: Pours black with a finger of brown head that almost completely vanishes with little lacing.

S: Roasted malts with char, some bitter cacao, a bit of coffee, vanilla and toffee, and some sweet bourbon and oak towards the finish.

T: Oak, vanilla, caramel, and toffee dominate here with roasted malts, char, and a bit of dark roast coffee coming through before a moderately boozy finish.

M: Thick body with lowish carbonation, this beer is surprisingly thick and heavy for only 8% and leaves a sticky sweetness behind.

O: A damn good beer overall. A little on the sweet side and I'd like more coffee presence, but otherwise great.

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Café Royale from AleWerks Brewing Company
94 out of 100 based on 171 ratings.