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Café Royale - AleWerks Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Café RoyaleCafé Royale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

166 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 166
Hads: 657
Avg: 4.22
pDev: 18.72%
Wants: 272
Gots: 156 | FT: 14
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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 166 | Hads: 657
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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Photo of BMMillsy
3.58/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from trade with Ken. Thanks! Pours black with a half finger creamy mocha head. Aroma of bourbon, earthy coffee, chocolate, oak...a bit heavy on the sharp bourbon smell. Flavor is roast up front, a little sweet lactose, with a straight bourbon finish. Not much coffee to taste. There isn't much else going on here. Velvety smooth with medium carbonation, and medium bodied. Overall I am psyched I got to try this, but these lighter stouts and porters just can't stand up to the bourbon. I can't get into this one. Meh.

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Photo of HattedClassic
4.18/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

The beer pours a very light and creamy brown head. The beer itself is a dark chocolate black and appears a little slick on the surface. The beer smells tend to be distinct but mix very well.

The smells vary from milk chocolate, bourbon, cocoa, and a bit of an alcohol note as well. The alcohol note is very minor but the bourbon smell is fairly strong compared to the other notes. However, the milk chocolate taste takes over it as it warms up.

The taste is a different from the smell in that the bourbon taste is not as strong as the smell. The milk chocolate taste actually dominates the tongue instead with the bourbon complementing the taste. Other slight notes include cocoa and a bit of a dark fruit taste as well. The beer taste also has a very strong vanilla note and a little bit of oak as well. There is also a slight boozy taste to it as well.

The beer feels surprisingly smooth such that it also feels creamy and heavy bodied.

Overall, a pretty good sweet stout and worth getting when it's available.

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Photo of stakem
3.89/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Thanks to Kegatron for sharing this bomber. Heard nothing but good things about it, excited to get it into my snifter. The brew appears black in color with a thin tan head. Sone spotty lace sticks to the glass and tan clarity is seen around the edges.

The aroma for the most part is quite muted but as it warms and the glass is swirled notes of chocolate, coffee, bourbon and an oatmeal sweetness like freh grain emerge along with some caramel. This boasts an overall sweet fresh graininess about it and the other expected character is downplayed quite a bit.

The tastes includes plenty of oaky bourbon. Some coffee and burnt chocolate. A little raisony with dark fruity alcohol blending to something more along the lines of molasses. Caramel and toffee are noted more towards the finish.

This is a medium bodied brew with a modest amount of carbonation. It was decent but not as good as I was expecting. All the advertised flavors are present in equal levels but nothing really stands out to make it memorable.

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Photo of Duane_Opfer
4.46/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2013 Vintage. 24 oz bottle poured into a pint glass. Consumed on 11/25. Written from notes.

A - Almost black in color with a brown sugar colored head. Moderate carbonation with no lasting lacing.

S - Very fragrant, and smells easy to distinguish. Bourbon, chocolate, toffee, espresso, and heavy creme.

T - Bourbon, milk chocolate, vanilla, dark fruits, nutmeg, and coffee acids. Beautiful chocolate finish. Hides ABV very well. Loved the fact that unlike many bourbon barrel aged beers, Cafe Royale is not dominated by bourbon; rather, the bourbon is a nice accent that balances well (as does not diminish) other flavors in the beer.

M - Good carbonation and a nice tingle in mouth. Smooth and creamy, and slightly sticky.

O - Loved it. Wish I could have bought more, but the 2013 vintage is already sold out. Fully expect that this beer will be sought out nationwide.

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Photo of PHBoiler
4.21/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A little thin for a stout, but done to style. Loads of chocolate on the nose and in the taste. Goes down very smooth. Hints of oak and bourbon as it warms. Definitely a well done stout and one to seek out if you're a fan of coffee and chocolate. Coffee is more subdued and played well.

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Photo of brentk56
4.24/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Pour almost pitch black with a modest tan cap; some streaks are left behind

Smell: Coffee, caramel and milk chocolate buttressed by the Bourbon and vanilla tones

Taste: The coffee leads the charge, with the caramel and milk chocolate not far behind; by mid-palate, the Bourbon and vanilla add another dimension, with the flavors all merging into the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium body with low to moderate carbonation

Overall: One of the more nicely balanced barrel-aged stouts I have encountered; this is really good

Thanks, Dave_Treat, for the opportunity to re-visit

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Photo of barleywinefiend
4.13/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A: Poured a very deep brown, nearly back with a tannish colored cap, good carbonation left some bubbles and dcent lacing on the glass

S: Creme, wood, milk chocolate and a whiff of barrel like funkiness

T: Initial waves of chocolate cream puffs come to mind. I detect some woody notes and light barrel funk undertones with this.

M: Medium-full to full bodied, well carbonated, a silky sweet and smooth mouthfeel. Decadence in a glass.

O: A definite after meal sipper, a pretty darn good one too.

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

Picked up my last bottle for the season today (and Alewerks' second to last bottle to boot!). They are just now opening up a tasting room and bar in there, with some exclusive one-offs that are sure to be delicious. If you have the chance to stop in Williamsburg, do it. You won't regret it.

This beer pours a nice, dark black with a mocha head. The smell is sweet bourbon and chocolate. The taste is similar, starting out with bitter dark chocolate, finishing with coffee undertones and a sweet bourbon finish (this is where the fact that it's a barrel aged milk stout really comes out). Solid brew.

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Photo of Stevedore
4.34/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22oz bottle, thanks to Daniel for sending me this one in a trade. No bottling date, I believe this is from late 2012/early 2013. Shared with Doug today, 8/5/2013. Poured into a Bell's snifter.

Pours a dark black body, not completely opaque but very dark. Comes with a minimal 1cm tan head that drops into the beer fairly quickly. Not much lacing left. Standard appearance for any good imperial stout out there.

Lots of coffee and roasty chocolates in the nose, complemented by a nice milky lactose sweetness.. and a dab of smoky bourbon sweetness and oaky vanilla. The barrel is clearly making a small contribution- the coffee and milk are the stars of the show.

Lactose sweetness, lots of coffee bitterness, balanced milk chocolate sweetness and a touch of sweet bourbon and barrel vanilla. This has good depth, everything comes together very well in complementary ways. The barrel isn't dominant, but it doesn't need to be in this beer. Bravo!

Medium bodied, creamy with the right amount of carbonation for the style. No heat at all. Incredibly smooth and goes down very well. Not quite a sipper, but this is a beer that you can savor.

Doug and I were both very impressed with this one. Its a beer where the barrel treatment makes a definite contribution, but still allows the base beer and its adjuncts to stand out. This was a delicious beer with a lot of depth. Highly recommended if you enjoy milk stouts.

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Photo of harrymel
4.24/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottled: unk

When I crowned this bitch, I immediately held it over the sink on account of its excessive pppfffttt! Pours a black ale with a huge light mocha foam, in line with the acoustics provided. Leaves a solid webbing of lace. Smells of oak, vanilla, coffee, sweet cocoa - to be honest, my first sniff made me immediately think of KBS - but easier to get. Really pleasant nose. Flavor is robust with bitter coffee, semisweet chocolate, oak, bits of vanilla and tannin. Body is a hint light probably on account of it's excess carbonation and dry finish. If the body was adjusted, I think the beer would be leaps better, as it warms it achieves this a bit, but still, the beer is negatively affected by these limits.

After awhile, and plenty of swirling, the carbonation died down and the mouthfeel became medium heavy with a really nice finish. This also allowed for more of the sweetness in the flavor to come through, bumped the mouthfeel from 2.25 to 3.5 (since the issue was present) and the flavor up from 4 to 4.5.

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Photo of Gosox8787
4.44/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 22 oz. bomber bottle chilled and poured into my Cigar City tulip glass. Big thanks to Centennial for the hookup on this long time want.

Appearance: Dark brown to black in color. A slight medium brown head that recedes into very little lacing.

Aroma: Roasted coffee, caramel and a light chocolate backbone. Definitely some bourbon and vanilla from the barrel. The coffee provides a nice earthy tone to it.

Taste: Strong coffee notes upfront with some nice backing sweetness. Caramel, chocolate fudge, and bourbon add a nice sweetness to the coffee. Not a lot of char or smoke from the coffee, but there is a nice earthy tones. Really nice balance of malt sweetness, barrel notes, and coffee.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and very smooth with average to low carbonation.

Overall, a really nicely balanced and tasty coffee stout with a light bourbon influence. The coffee adds a really great flavor and is elevated by the malt sweetness and the barrels. A really nice surprise and awesome value. Definitely one of my favorite bourbon barrel coffee stouts.

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Photo of RonfromJersey
4.48/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

$9.75 bomber from Abe's.

Pure black body, no highlights, topped by a thin dark tan head.

Aroma begins with deep roast coffee, followed by a big smack of bourbon and vanilla. Strong supporting roles for chocolate and dark fruits.

Taste follows a similar path. Deep roast coffee. Bourbon with vanilla. A big hoppy bite. Warming alcohol in the belly. Doesn't have quite the depth of KBS or Bourbon County.

Smooth and slick, would like it a hair richer.

Highly enjoyable and highly recommended.

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Photo of inlimbo77
4.16/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle
Plastic 16oz cup, Winter 2013 vintage

A: Pours dark black in color. Thin layer tan head sits on top for a little while. Some lacing is left, but mainly only a little due to plastic cup.

S: Vanilla. Dark chocolate. Fudge. Booze. Hints of dark fruit. Molasses.

T: Dark chocolate bitterness up front. Booze leading to vanilla flavors. Pulling some delicious coffee and fudgy flavors.

M: Full bodied. Creamy mouthfeel.

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Photo of ThePorterSorter
3.94/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a deep black with loose lacing and a thin tan halo of head. The nose is a potent caramel sweetness upfront with a hint of vanilla, but little coffee or booze. The taste is obviously great caramel sweetness upfront, with a hint of bitter, roasty coffee, and very little bourbon. Rounded-out chocolatey, full-bodied, smooth sweetness without bitterness or booze defines this potent coffee BA milk stout. I'd love to drink this beer again, but think it lacks the bourbon and coffee I've come to expect with its world-class drinking status.

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Photo of justintcoons
4.32/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

22oz bottle poured into a snifter.

Inky black with a short, dark brown head that dissipates quickly.

Coffee & cream, molasses, espresso, dark chocolate and fudge. Hints of bourbon and vanilla.

Light roasted coffee with cream, molasses and caramelized sugar. Hints of espresso, dark chocolate and fudge. Milky and sugary sweet. Touches of sweet bourbon and vanilla.

Medium-full bodied, smooth, silky and sweet.

Sweet, smooth and decadent. This raises the bar for Sweet Stouts.

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Photo of teromous
4.45/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pitch black body with a short dark tan head. Head carbonation looks fairly creamy. Lacing doesn't stay.

S: Strong coffee scent, with a little bit of dark chocolate smell coming out of there. Faint earthy scent but it doesn't linger in the nose for long.

T: Smooth coffee flavor with just a hint of oak. Very low on bitterness. Some notes of rich dark chocolate come through as well. It tastes better than most actual coffees.

M: Very smooth and creamy. Extremely drinkable. No presence of harshness in this at all. The bitterness is very mellow, the coffee sits right where it should.

O; This is an extremely enjoyable drinking experience. It's not an overly complex beer, and I didn't think the bourbon barrel flavor stood out that much, but the beer works as a whole. To me, that is more important than any gimmick or process used to make the beer. This one just tastes wonderful.

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Photo of TappaKeggaBrew
4.57/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A: Very dark brown, with just a hint of red at the edges -- it's too dense for light to penetrate anywhere else. The head is walnut brown, but thin in spite of an aggressive pour and lacing is non-existent.

S: Coffee is the first aroma, which even for a coffee-based brew is a little surprising. Next came vanilla, then dark fruit notes, then heavily-toasted grain, and finally some floral hops.

T: Malt is potent, more sweet than toasted grain. Coffee notes develop, but more like an iced vanilla latte than straight coffee. As with most stouts, I get the acrid taste of burnt malt, but it's very subtle and not at all unpleasant. I definitely taste the bourbon here as well, blending seamlessly with the mildly bitter hops at the end. I think I even detected a little diacetyl in the mix as well.

M: Smooth, creamy, and chewy. Alcohol was well hidden for an 8% ABV. About as good as it gets for this style.

O: This is the best beer I've yet had from Williamsburg AleWerks. It is really good -- almost a dessert beer for all its sweetness, smoothness, and flavors.
I'm definitely going to get another of these -- Correction: I'm going to buy several more of these for future consumption!

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Photo of Shumania
4.61/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

22 ounce bomber poured into a tulip

a: dark as night with minimal head

s: coffee and sweet booze. vanilla and oak in there too.

t: a lot sweeter than I thought it would be. Same flavors as the smell with coffee, dark chocolate milk, vanilla, and oak. There is a small boozy finish from the bourbon.

m: very creamy. this is a sipper.

This beer is awesome. I had heard good things about it, but this is a great combination of coffee and bourbon!

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Café Royale from AleWerks Brewing Company
93 out of 100 based on 166 ratings.