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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 CampusCrew
4.63/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was a hit at my derby party of bourbon beers. Poured nealry pure blacj
Kmwith a nice tan head. Awesome nose. Coffee stuck out huge. With a touch a bourbon. Drank really smooth. Lots of flavour and thr perfect beer with derby pie. Huge chocolate and cofee of course. Loves this beer. Great for desserts

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

Dark brown opaque body with just surface carbonation as the head. It has a viscous appearance.

It smells like a sweet coffee dessert, tiramisu. I love tiramisu. It has the warming smell if freshly ground coffee beans, vanilla, and a light caramel.

The lactose sweetness really pairs well with the coffee. Vanilla, carmalized sugar, and a light oak char in the flavor. It has good depth considering the heavy play in the coffee.

Smooth mouthfeel. The body is on the lighter side for a stout but it works well with the sweet aspect and makes it dangerously drinkable.

It's an amazing beer all around. Great smells, a little complexity in the taste, and drinkable.

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

Poured from the bottle into a snifter glass. OH NO, dude you bought the milk STOUT! SHOOT... ugh.. well ok it's barrel aged so let's see where this leads?

A very dark walnut brown, with a fleeting tiny pencil thin head on the pour. The head though is quite mocha dark brown, but settles to a tan collar with microscopic bubbles. Body is very opaque and a good black solid walnut with faint red hues on the edges. Probably the darkest milk stout I've seen.

Nose is impressive, but not too varied for a barrel aged brew. Lots of sweet cream, warming roast malts and faint coffee. The coffee angle is quite buried, but the sweet lactose character is not overpowering or overly dominant but in control. It's a good compliment. Pretty solid.

A good controlled sweet cream palate. Creamery finish mixing in with the roast, and the coffee just kisses this nicely. Palate has a light bodied character like most milk stouts, but has a good piping coffee and milky warmth which is harmoniously balanced. Hints of barrel aging, whiskey, tannic quality, caramel, vanilla, are not really to be found, but there's a good depth that is given to the palate with a light milk lactose quality. Carbonation on first sip hints at fizz, but is slightly taken down with obvious barrel aging.

This is probably the best milk/coffee stout hybrid I've ever had. It's a great compliment to the flavors and style, this turned out exceptionally well and drinks like nothing. One of the easiest barrel aged stout beers to drink I've ever had. After note, I am not a milk stout fan. So that says something right there...

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Photo of nihiloexnihil
4.36/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a bomber into Dogfish Head glass.

Appearance: Inky black, reddish tints to the edges, littles rim of mocha head that dissipates quickly but clings ridiculously to the glass. Looks like a nitro tap.

Smell: Hm. How to describe. Almost as if someone added coffee to your hazelnut milk. Then chocolate and vanilla all at once. Hints of bourbon but not exceedingly strong.

Taste: Coffee, bourbon, vanilla, very sweet, lactose-y. Absolutely delicious.

Mouthfeel: Super creamy, smooth, the thickest mouthfeel I've ever experienced in a milk/sweet stout.

Overall: This is delicious. Why this isn't more hyped up, I'm not sure. I will definitely seek this out again.

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Photo of dlello2
4.03/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle at a tasting. Had about a 3oz pour... could have had more bit this one was intense!

A - Great thick brown/black pour. Good amount of head.

S - Chocolate creamy sweetness. Not as much coffee as I'd hoped. Not the best but nice.

T - Whoa this is like dessert. Super sweet. I mean, it's delicious, but it's too sweet for me to want to drink a full pour. The lack of coffee in the nose follows through in the taste. Lingering sweetness with a touch of roasty bitterness.

M - Thick and full bodied. Medium-low carb.

O - Again, this is a great dessert beer. I'm just not the biggest fan of overly sweet brews. Even for a milk stout it's definitely above average in that category.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.68/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

650 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Black body transparent at the edges. Nice khaki head that comes back as I move it around. Leggy.

Smell - Acidic coffee. Lactose is more subdued than Coffeehouse Stout, but still present, much to my chagrin. Chocolatey and a touch of oak, but not much barrel.

Taste - Acidic coffee again. Lactose and coffee blend. Much more chocolatey and even a bit more of the barrel. Nice chocolatey finish.

Mouthfeel - Lactose gives it body. Medium carbonation. Heavier than I expected it to be.

Overall - Stupid lactose. Although this is nice despite. Not a fan of that acidic coffee
Is that a byproduct if the lactose or barrel?

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Photo of AlexFields
4.23/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Thanks to mojiboo02 for this bottle.

Pours a very dark near black with a big rich coffee head.

Smells of bourbon, lactose, sweet vanilla and chocolate...not getting much coffee.

Taste is moderate bourbon, creamy espresso/latte style coffee, sweet chocolate and vanilla malt. Delicious.

Very drinkable with a rich creamy mouthfeel.

Great beer, wish it were more readily available all the time.


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Photo of jeonseh
4.32/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25


A - Dark brown, clean beer. Small mocha color head that just has a small layer of foam on the sides

S - Big coffee nose with slight cream and bourbon. Lots of coffee on this one. Coffee is smooth and sweet with no sign of bitterness

T - Sweet coffee up front with cream, brown sugar, sweet bourbon, and milk chocolate. The finish is slight roasted malt and espresso. Overall, this is a nice, smooth and complex beer

M - Smooth creamy body that goes done nice and easy.

O - A nice overall beer that is smooth and creamy, has good coffee flavor, a nice sweetness and hints of bourbon. It reminds me of a baby BCBCS.

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Photo of russwbeck
4/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Cafe Royale pours out a thick black color, sludge-like, with one finger of bubbly brown head. I wish the head both built up more and lasted longer as it fit perfectly atop the beer. 3.5

S: The aroma is of dark coffee roasts with some oaky vanilla from the bourbon barrels. I'm surprised that the bourbon nor chocolate make a statement on the aroma. It's sort of bland and I'm not sure what to expect once I taste it. 3.5

T: The bourbon, again, isn't really the focus here. It's all about the coffee. The lactose and some chocolate provide a base for freshly roasted coffee to assault the palate. This finish has a hit of oakiness and leftover coffee grinds with some vanilla. The coffee rests on the palate forever. I wish the bourbon took more of a part of this beer. It just doesn't really taste like it was aged in anything. 4

MF: Medium body with a lower than average carbonation, albeit one that fits the style. It has a dry finish and is really drinkable. 4.5

O: For everything I wish had changed about this beer, I still think it's outstanding for a milk stout. Probably my second or third favorite I've ever had for this style. 4.5

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Photo of malloyca
4.04/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Opaque black appearance which fades to a reddish mahogany around the rim. Pours with little head but nice lacing. Aromas open with vanilla, coffee and then a distinct bourbon note that contains oak and more vanilla. Initial tastes of vanilla and coffee bean, then finishing with bourbon and bitter chocolate. Mouth feel is viscous but not overly syrupy, and some nice effervescence keeps it from being too heavy. Other than the bourbon notes this does not taste overly alcoholic and is very drinkable. A great brunch beer or with (or for) dessert after dinner.

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Photo of hornsup
4.98/5  rDev +18%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

2012 Edition...have 5 more bottles I plan on aging for comparison

Poured into a Cigar City snifter

A: Pitch black with a musketeer-esque colored thin lacing on the top that stuck around for a a minute or two just to taunt me

S: Smells like a load of sugary vanilla and then you just get smacked with a subtle bourbon nose to it. you also get some dark dark chocolate notes at the end.

T: Tastes pretty much as it smells. Very very smooth at the beginning with creamy vanilla notes, some chilled coffee, and then in the aftertaste you get the bourbon woody factor...absolutely amazing.

M: Mouthfeel may be the weakest part of this beer, which is saying nothing at all because I loved this beer so much and the mouthfeel was great....I was just too occupied with the taste to completely focus. Its a bit thin, but it suffices while the bourbon coats your taste buds.

O: I think this beer is fantastic....alewerks has really outdone themselves with this beer. The beer completely changes notes once its warmed up, which I think is for the better. The bourbon compliments the sweet vanilla and chocolate notes perfectly even though I'm not a huge bourbon fan. I cant wait to see how these other bottles age.

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Photo of VncentLIFE
4.64/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks LambicKing!

Ok so this thing is dark. Crazy, scary dark. No translucence, so light at all. Just straight Black. It was a bit cold when I poured it, but no real head or carbonation whatsoever.

I seriously love the way this thing smells. Amazing sweet chocolate up front and throughout, with a good bit of bourbon comes in as well. The bourbon is harsh, with no real oak. Slight hint of vanilla as well.

Its a chocolate milk stout at heart, and it doesnt lose it. Up front bourbon bite with a hint of dry bitter oak that fades into a super creamy, silky smooth body. Smooth vanilla accents the light bodied sweet milk stout nicely. The milk stout underneath is everything I wanted Moo-Hoo to be. Decent body, but just slick sweet chocolate milk.

My only issue with the beer is the mouthfeel. The base beer feels amazing, but the bourbon flavors translate into a strong upfront bite that is the only real problem with this beer.

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Photo of dirtylou
4.47/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber, split, served in great lakes chalice

Virginia whale delivered by @blackie. Really a decadent beer - lots of fudge, layered chocolate cake, cookie dough, chocolate covered espresso, bourbon. Hazelnut, brown sugar, luminescent of an iced cappucino or something other sugar-jacked starbucks creation. This one drinks dangerously easy, but after a few servings, you'll likely need to be screened for diabetes. Would definitely drink this one again.

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Photo of CJS
3.06/5  rDev -27.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Got this in a trade and poured out into a tulip glass with high expectations.

A Poured out nice and dark brown to black in hue. Soon followed by a sandy finger width build up of a head. Quickly graduated to a paper thin lace.

S Not much of a bellowing aroma at all. Smell of cold coffee and semi sweet milk chocolate. Has a woody scent, but not too much of a liquor soaked barrel wood scent to me.

T Malty, caramel, brown sugary up front. Basic Coffee and Chocolate on the back end with a slight barrel age taste of a finish.

M Not to thin at all. Nice consumable consistency and still able to be enjoyed.

O Could have had more coffee intensity to balance out the sweetness. A bit more chocolate depth and longer barrel aging could also have improved this brew. The hop additions were acceptable. But could have been slightly more bitter for my taste.

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Photo of Jdouble777
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

1pt 6oz ice cold bottle of deliciousness

How this beer was under a 95, I will never know.

Appearance- Dark caramel

Smell- Malty chocolaty sweetness...if your drinking this beer, your aiming for this, and it is a perfect landing

Taste- Firm full body that somehow maintains a smooth silky flow throughout with notes of hazelnut, dark coca, cappuccino, and maybe light creamy amaretto at the very end

Mouthfeel- Minimal carbonation, smooth, potent yet rapidly relaxing

Overall- Just freaking great...surpassed Lefthand's Milk Stout, which I never thought would happen...well worth the time and money

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Photo of mojiboo02
4.58/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Fantastic beer. The 2012 version was drank on tap at the tasting room and had a great balance of bourbon and flavor. One of the best barrel aged stouts I have had recently. Excited to try it out of the bottle as this beer tasted so good on draft. Cheers!

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Photo of ChefHopMeister
4.38/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

*** Updated - The Latest Batch: Bottled Approx 12/11/12 - First day of sale 12/13/12.

Another strong batch of CR from Williamsburg Alewerks. This is an outstanding limited release brew although maybe a bit drier than the previous batch released in late winter 2012 since it was in the barrel a few extra weeks.

Highly recommended for the cellar as I continue to revisit bottles from the previous release at 3-4 month intervals...it continues to get better with age and this latest batch will be no different as it will get better in the months to come. The "problem" is keeping it around long enough to get some time behind it.

Get it if you can find it. Cafe Royale will not disappoint those of us who like a nice Bourbon finish with our coffee, cream and malt.


22oz Bomber, cold - poured into a Pint glass
Bottled Jan 2012 (no date)

Pour: Aggressive pour into the pint resulted in less than a skinny finger head. Dark stout color with a rich coffee stained tight lacy head which faded quickly.

Nose: Somewhat underwhelming at first but as the brew gradually warmed towards room temp, the rich scents of French roast coffee, caramels, plump raisins, hints of smoke, some ripe banana.

Taste: A slicky smooth viscosity in the mouth as if you were drinking a cafe latte. The coffee, caramel and malt are well balanced with the Bourbon finish providing a rich but non-intrusive background. Well allocated carbonation.

Finish: A sweet milk stout, cafe latte finish lingers in well balanced harmony. The Bourbon continues to work magic underneath this tasty example of a whiskey finished stout.

This is a seasonal release by WA and is their Coffeehouse Stout recipe finished in 2nd use barrels that they first used to age their very popular Bourbon Barrel Porter.

The whiskey barrels are provided by micro-distiller A. Smith Bowman (located in Fredricksburg, VA about 75 minutes drive north of the brewery) and used to age their Virginia Gentleman Bourbon.

Cafe Royale is one of those beers that is nice to have "in your backyard" with easy access to. A very delightful stout that any stout lover should try and get a ho

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

From beer cellar: 2011 version.

Pitch black into my CCB snifter. Bourbon! Big, bold note of bourbon upfront with the smell of coffee beans lingering. Minimal mocha head that consists of small, tight bubbles. Has a little bit of "leg" when swirled.

The bourbon, however, doesn't overpower. The dominate flavor is baker's chocolate, followed by vanilla and a muted espresso note. There is also a vinous quality to this ale, almost like a young red blend that has mild tannins and lots of juicy middle (think Chambourcin/Merlot). Booze is well-hidden. Medium-full bodied with medium carbonation. Fairly dry finish with a nice coffee with cream flavor that rounds out the finish. Very nice in the taste and mouthfeel categories.

Smooth and remarkably soft on the palate. Not too sweet with the year's worth of aging. Mellow, sweet-ish nightcap. Great as a dessert by itself. Would also be good with a cheese plate to bring out the lactose a bit more.

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Photo of SpeedwayJim
4.59/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

22oz bottle into a Cigar City snifter. Shared with schen9303.

Pours pitch black with a dark mocha ring that dissipates quickly. Lacing is patchy and thick with little cling. Oily, slick legs. Average for the style.

Nose is robust and aromatic. Chocolate, mocha, lactose, roasted malt, and just a touch of sweet bourbon. Super appetizing.

Opens sweet chocolate, dark fruit, roasted malt, and mocha. Some coffee and a sweet bourbon burn towards the middle. Lactose background smooths everything out. End is bourbon, molasses and sweet dark fruit. Finishes sticky sweet. Great balance of flavors that are perfectly executed.

Medium bodied with low carbonation. Silky smooth in the mouth with just a touch of burn going down. Finish is sticky with an oily, filmy, velvet-y aftertaste. Very solid.

Probably the best of the style I've ever had. The flavors are perfectly balanced and the bourbon is assertive yet mellow. Smells great and drinks like a dream. Wish I could get my hands on more of this.

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.32/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle poured into a snifter.
8% ABV, bottle signed by brewmaster; thanks Chaney!!

A - Pitch black to the core, even a tall pour doesn't quite coax a formitable head from this beer. A dusting of mocha foam rests briefly on the beer before disappearing into the blackness with little lace left behind.

S - Charred oak stave and notes of peat smoke waft through the cold-brewed coffee and bitter chocolate nose. Dusty, dry cocoa and heavily roasted malt follow with subtle vanilla tannins, hazelnut, and warm bourbon notes. The aroma is good but quite aggressive and rough around the edges.

T - Nutty hazelnut and vanilla bean emerge from behind the cold coffee and semi-sweet chocolate for an opening flavor that's considerably smoother than the aroma. Black French-pressed coffee grounds and mocha follow suit with a lingering finish of warming bourbon.

M - It's easy to forget through the course of this beer that it's a milk stout with all of it's roasted characteristics and charred, biting notes, but the lactose shines in feel really smoothing this beer out with a mild sweetness. Medium-full bodied, this beauty of a beer has a supple feel, especially as it warms, with oak and vanilla tannins and a dry feel that blends exceptionally well with the warming bourbon finish.

O - Café Royale was a total sleeper hit the first time I had it. I knew what to expect the second time around and this complex beer still surprised me with loads of nuances and depth. Masterfully blended, the barrel aging adds quite a bit to the beer. A dessert treat to be sure, this is one beer you don't want to miss.

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Photo of trxxpaxxs
3.83/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a pitch black with about a half finger of toffee colored head. The foam fades quickly, leaving only a tiny dark berige ring along the edges of the glass. There is no lacing as it drinks.

S: The nose is super sweet. Sweet malt, milk sugar, caramel, coffee, and almonds. It smells like diabetes.

T: It starts out sweet with a quick hit of coffee and then sugar, sugar, and sugar. I get some milk and dark chocolate in the middle, and the finish is like a liquified milky-way bar.

M: Full bodied beer. It's sweet and cloying and lingers forever.

O: This is a beer for the candy addicts and those with a major sweet tooth. It's good, but it's way too sweet for me. I'm happy to have tried it, but I don't want to drink this again.

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Photo of Wasatch
4.35/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks goes out to richardflyr for the in person trade when he visited Utah.

22oz. Bomber

Pours a very nice dark brown color, nice carbonation, with a nice little fizzy dark tan head, with some nice sticky lacing left behind. The nose is malty, with a lot of chocolate/toffee, nice little bourbon note, and a very nice touch of vanilla. The taste is sweet, malty, lots of dark stuff going on here, slight bourbon note. Medium body, pretty complex brew, really. Overall this one really surprised me, glad to have a chance to try it. Thanks Dick!

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Photo of weeare138
4.42/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appears a dense dark black with a fluffy dark tan head that slowly fades. Scattered bits of lacing are left around the glass.
Smell is of vanilla, dark chocolate, bourbon, espresso, and toasted wood.
Taste is of the aromas with a caramel machiato and vanilla espresso atop a bourbon blast.
Mouthfeel is full bodied, chewy, and a touch boozy.
Overall, a choice alternative to KBS at half the price.

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Photo of kawilliams81
4.32/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a Bell's tulip.

A- pours pitch black with a 1 finger dark tan head. Small bubbles ring the glass.

S- big coffee aroma, oak, and some vanilla.

T- sweet chocolate, coffee, roasted malts, bourbon and vanilla.

M- full body and medium carbonation. Nice smooth feel.

O- very good BA stout with all around great characteristics.

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Photo of Duff27
4.24/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Short lived mocha head. Some lacing, dark down beer.

Great coffee scent, milk sugar takes a back seat but there. No barrel notes in the nose.

Ahhh nice and sweet an then the slight sourness due to the lacto. ABV sits right at 8%

Medium mouthfeel, adequate carbonation.

Sits right behind Surly Four as far as milk stouts go. Well received by this guy. Williamsburg Alewerks is 2 for 2 in my book. Recommended for milk stout fans.

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