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Café Royale - AleWerks Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Café RoyaleCafé Royale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

159 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 159
Hads: 631
Avg: 4.22
pDev: 18.96%
Wants: 275
Gots: 146 | FT: 12
Brewed by:
AleWerks Brewing Company visit their website
Virginia, United States

Style | ABV
Milk / Sweet Stout |  8.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: mcallister on 08-21-2010

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.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 159 | Hads: 631
Photo of jrnyc
4.27/5  rDev +1.2%
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 +0.7%
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 +2.1%
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 +0.5%
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 +2.6%
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%
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 +6.6%
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 just_n_thomas
5/5  rDev +18.5%
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 -0.2%
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 +1.4%
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 +3.8%
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 +8.5%
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 -4.7%
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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Photo of ordybill
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the keg at the "Bucket Trade" in Chester, VA.
Aroma- Nice coffee aroma with a chocolate follow through.
Appearance- The brew is black with a small brown head.
Taste- Has a nice malt and bourbon flavor with a hint of coffee.
Palate- This is a medium bodied beer with mild carbonation. It has a slightly oily texture that compliments the flavor.
Overall- A real good find, I would drink this again.

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Photo of gopens44
4.34/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Had it on tap, so the initial pour looked fantastic but by the time I made the 30' walk back to the table, the head completely disappeared. Decent legs, but no real lacing to speak of. Nose carried a little bourbon but wasn't' an overwhelming aroma. Taste is where this thing wins (and I guess all that really matters, right?). Never had a more balanced BA stout, ever. Bourbon was certainly there but not overwhelming, little to no heat at all and not cloyingly sweet. Just a damn fine tasting beverage. Period. Other than being a little thin, this is a little jackpot of a beer!

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Photo of cjgiant
4.39/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Bottle dated 8/2014:
Pours jet black, with not much head on a decidedly soft pour. Head color is tan, and it does rim the edge, providing temporary lacing on each sip. The nose is rich in coffee and chocolate. The wood from the barrels also comes through, although the bourbon is missing.

Taste starts of nicely toasted and a bit nutty. Swiftly the chocolate and vanilla notes come in and last most of the taste. Mid taste, the rest of the flavors start coming, a little coffee bitterness with a slight tartness from the wood, the milky chocolate flavor. This is all very tasty, but the coffee is sort of hidden, and the bourbon is masked. Feel is quite silky but a little thinner than I'd like.

A very enjoyable beer even if it doesn't fit it's "style" as much as I'd like.

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Photo of cvm4
3.99/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottled Aug. 2014

L - Pours black body with a brown espresso one finger head. Not much lacing or retention going on.

S - Lots of creamy coffee with no bitterness behind it. Gobs of semi-sweet chocolate. Bourbon & oak are there but not really overpowering.

T - Bourbon is in the forefront on the taste. Roasted malts abound with creamy coffee and semi-sweet chocolate.

F - For the style, it works well. It's not an RIS but a good medium body & low carbonation.

O - Great offering of a sweet/milk style. It's not cloying and really lets all the flavors shine through.

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Photo of Seanniek91
4.3/5  rDev +1.9%

2013 vintage?

Just Notes

Pitch black. No head or lacing. Smell is coffee, cocoa, cherry, oak, bourbon. Taste is largely bourbon oak. Some light cherry and cocoa remain. Coffee is mostly gone. Drinks like it's 10+abv, not 8. Relatively thick.

Great barrel notes on this beer!

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Photo of Kurmaraja
3/5  rDev -28.9%

Batch from 2013. An unfortunate cherry tartness coming in and sourness taking over the aroma. Too bad as it seems the base beer is very good.

Just beware of aging. Seems like there are other reports of sourness beyond mine.

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Photo of uvachief
4.33/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Draft. Pours dark black with creamy brown head. Think. Lingers. Aromas of roasted malts and good Italian coffee. Taste good strong espresso coffee with chocolate, cinnamon and vanilla. Something bitter buried deep. Best taste is the strong espresso. Heavy stout. No carbonation. Strong espresso and malt aftertaste. Smooth though. Very drinkable. Like it as much or better than Evil Twin Donut Break. Very good imperial stout. 6-15-15 Update. Had the 15 version. Still fantastic in my book. One of the best coffee stouts out there.

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Photo of clayrock81
4.1/5  rDev -2.8%

Poured a dark brown, almost black body with one finger tan head that dies quick and leaves little lace.
Aroma is light coffee and light roasted malts with some wood and slight booze, a little bit of chocolate and vanilla as well.
Smooth body, light for a stout, roasted coffee malts are minimal and basically kept in background for balance.
A more vanilla, lactic java-esque sweetness along with some chocolate and caramel (slight caramel) and the bourbon notes don't add heat but keep it woody and smooth.
Pretty good sweet/mild stout that is worth trying.

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Photo of Prince_Casual
4.75/5  rDev +12.6%

Bottle dated 8.11.14, so ~2 weeks old. Poured into IRS snifter.

Darkest brown without being black with a miniscule but staying head, which is strikingly close to the label's color.

Yum, tons of coffee, but somehow not too much. Then a bit of chocolate, and a whiff of bourbon. This doesn't feel like a mashup of powerful flavors, "classy" comes to mind.

Tastes like it smells. I won't bore, I can't think of how this could be better. Makes me think of an odd cocktail (which a cafe royale is) that just tastes perfect.

Nice sizzle of alcohol and the lactose. It's not milkshake thick, but neither are flavors, it feels well thought out.

Really a beer to get excited about, if you see it. I think this is an absolute homerun for the boys out of Williamsburg. Last time I got this bottle, I liked it so much I "cellared" one for about 14 months. It was still very good when I opened it, but lost some of the vibrancy and balance that make this beer, and I didn't think the mellowed flavors were an improvement, nor worth the wait. I may still stock up, but it won't be for the long hall.

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Photo of Jeffo
2.77/5  rDev -34.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottle from totoropanda a while back. Cheers!

From a bomber into a snifter
Vintage: 2013
Stout with coffee and aged in bourbon barrels

APPEARANCE: Dark brown pour yields a 1+ finger, slightly looser, foamy, dark tan head with decent retention. Head fades to a half wisp. Black body with minimal carbonation evident. A ring remains leaving some decent lacing down the glass. Darker body, but looser and foamy head.

SMELL: Nice bourbon, with oak, coconut, vanilla and some caramel notes. Milk chocolate and sweet cream with light aromas of coffee there as well. A touch of roasted malt under it all as well. Pretty nice barrel with plenty of nuances.

TASTE: Bourbon barrel, oak and light tartness up front. Some milk chocolate through the middle into a bolder and slightly tart finish of oak, vanilla, coconut, milk chocolate, and a definite tart cherry sourness as well. A touch of biter coffee notes under the slightly tart barrel flavors. Definite sourness to this. Intentional or not, it's not really what was expected. Too bad, as I can taste some good potential here.

PALATE: Thinner body with slightly higher carbonation. Creamy enough on the palate, goes down okay and finishes a touch sticky. Lighter for the style. Definitely needs to be thicker and heavier.

OVERALL: It's not bad at this point, and the tartness might even be seen as somewhat pleasant, but I can't imagine this was intentional. Definitely something starting to take over here, which is unfortunate, as I'd heard good things about this beer. Something I'd like to try again sometime, but not this particular batch.

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Photo of Treyliff
4.54/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2013 Vintage, poured into a snifter

A- pours pitch black with dark-tan creamy head that reduces to a small layer, leaving behind some short lasting lace. This one looks deep and dark

S- huge hit of sweet & dark chocolate up front followed by a big nutty hazelnut aroma, toasted coconut, slightly smoky malt, oaky vanilla with a quaff of bourbon. Underlying is a milky lactose sweetness, reminiscent of chocolate milk with a hint of fresh coffee. Very impressive aroma bouquet

T- sweet milk stout base provides milky lactose flavor, notes of caramel, oak, vanilla coconut and a trace of bourbon. The finish gives a big boost of lingering fresh hazelnut coffee that lingers on the palate long after consumption

M- medium body and carbonation lead to a foamy mouthfeel and a smooth and sweet finish

O- This one definitely flies under the radar, its got more coffee than bourbon but it balances out very well. Lucky to occasionally find this one on the shelf

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Photo of Beer-A-Lot
4.34/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This beer is just a superb balance of roasted malts, bourbon-barrel flavors, coffee, and bitter chocolate. It gets better and better as it goes down, with just the right amount of alcohol, a nice touch of sweetness, and while a tad thin in mouthfeel, it doesn't detract from the enjoyment at all. I have a bottle for aging, so I'll give that a try to see what it does for the sweet flavors. Outstanding.

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Café Royale from AleWerks Brewing Company
93 out of 100 based on 159 ratings.