Café Royale - AleWerks Brewing Company

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Café RoyaleCafé Royale

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153 Reviews
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Reviews: 153
Hads: 602
rAvg: 4.21
pDev: 8.08%
Wants: 265
Gots: 134 | FT: 11
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

Barrel Aged
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 153 | Hads: 602
Photo of CJS
3.06/5  rDev -27.3%
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. (856 characters)

Photo of Jdouble777
4.5/5  rDev +6.9%
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 (604 characters)

Photo of mojiboo02
4.58/5  rDev +8.8%
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! (254 characters)

Photo of ChefHopMeister
4.38/5  rDev +4%
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 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 (2,138 characters)

Photo of Zraly
4.25/5  rDev +1%
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. (951 characters)

Photo of SpeedwayJim
4.59/5  rDev +9%
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. (1,005 characters)

Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.32/5  rDev +2.6%
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. (1,611 characters)

Photo of trxxpaxxs
3.83/5  rDev -9%
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. (739 characters)

Photo of Wasatch
4.35/5  rDev +3.3%
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! (546 characters)

Photo of weeare138
4.42/5  rDev +5%
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. (397 characters)

Photo of kawilliams81
4.32/5  rDev +2.6%
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. (357 characters)

Photo of Duff27
4.24/5  rDev +0.7%
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. (432 characters)

Photo of DrinkSlurm
4.18/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into snifter. Pours a deep black with tan thick head. Smells fantastic of roasted coffee malts. Taste is smooth coffee, boozey, a bit of bourbon and smokey wood age. Really full of flavors and just plain smooth. Hides the alcohol so well.
Very highly recommend this brew. (291 characters)

Photo of Retail1LO
4.3/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bomber into a Founders CBS snifter.

Pours a jet black hue with a thin head that recedes quickly. Absolutely ZERO lacing. The smell on this is robust, but sweet. A nice combination of roasted coffee and vanilla intermingling with some nice bourbon notes. The taste is all coffee all the time. Nice and roasty, malty, with a load of sweet vanilla. The bourbon is completely absent in the taste, which is unfortunate. Fortunately the rest of the flavors pick up the slack. The mouth is a bit thin, but such is life with porters. Otherwise it's quite smooth with just a lingering bitterness from the coffee. Overall, this is solid. I'm not a fan of porters as a rule of thumb...but this is awesome. (709 characters)

Photo of badbilly30
3/5  rDev -28.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle generously shared by a friend. Poured into a pint glass. Huge coffee and bourbon aroma. Smell also contains some yellow cake batter, coconut, and smooth rich malt. Taste is rich sweet malt tempered by coconut, bourbon and coffee. This beer is average when compared to the other coffee beers on market. (308 characters)

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

Bottle purchased at Capone's in Norristown PA and shared with Vito at the Copper Mine Pub.

Appearance: Pours a fairly opaque black with a 1 finger brown crown that displays moderate retention and some lace.

Smell: Nice array of bourbon, chocolate, roast, coffee, oak, vanilla, and a hint of lactose.

Taste: Same as the nose but the lactose is a bit more prominent.

Mouthfeel: The bourbon barrel treatment makes it a touch thinner than your average milk stout but its still enjoyable.

Overall: Fantastic beer that goes down easy and has plenty of character. Glad I have another bottle of this puppy. (604 characters)

Photo of ThickNStout
4.09/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle from Greenville Beer Exchange (Greenville, SC). 9.29. Served in a snifter. 

Pours near black with quickly fading 1.5 finger light tan head. I'm not sure if you can really call the random few bubbles that remain clinging to the glass lacing but they're there. 

Inviting sweet nose of coffee, vanilla, boubon and chocolate. Very nice. 

Taste is as sweet as the smell promised without getting cloyingly so. Cappucino, milk chocolate, vanilla, brown sugar, wood and a pleasant faint-yet-noticeable bourbon. The many flavors play well off each other, mixing to create a complex experience on the sweeter side of the stout spectrum. 

Medium full body and lightly carbonated. Creamy but not quite viscous. 

This is an enjoyable bourbon barrel aged stout. I think I read that they age this in second-use bourbon barrels. This gives Cafe Royale the pleasant character of wood & bourbon without overpowering the many great layers of well integrated flavors. (970 characters)

Photo of chilly460
4.35/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a chalky looking black body, with a finger of rocky dark brown head. Very minimal lacing, head dissipates to a thin collar.

S - Solid nose, hits iwth a blend of quality deep roast coffee, sweeter malts, and dense chocolate cake. The barrel aging didn't impart a ton to the nose on this beer.

T - Immediately get the deep roast coffee, thick flavor and layers, very nice. Roasty malt backbone as well, lays in nicely with the coffee. The bourbon is mild, but complements well as I think it should with a "coffee" infused stout. Very nice.

M - Liked this one, thick and chewy, not quite syrupy so the carbonation does the trick.

D - Very well done beer, big coffee notes mingle well with the bourbon. Should try harder to get this when it releases next year. (774 characters)

Photo of b3shine
4.2/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle to oversized tulip. Thanks to ksurkin for this one. Looks good; black with thin lacing. Smells good too; malty and bourbony. Tastes very good. I like how the bourbon flavors married with the milk stout (I had my concerns about this). Mouthfeel is good; would improve with age. Overall, a tasty brew that I'm glad to have had the opportunity to try. (355 characters)

Photo of siege06nd
4.35/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From bomber to CBS snifter...

A: Pitch black, half finger of dark brown head. Head lightens to a cream color and dissipates to a quarter finger. Before long, there are just a few wisps surfing atop the brew. But that's somewhat expected. Decent lacing. Good.

S: Mmmm, coffee, chocolate, caramel, vanilla, and just a trace of bourbon sweetness. Very very very sweet smelling beer. I'm liking it.

T: More milk chocolate, coffee, caramel, bourbon, some oak. Extremely creamy and smooth. A fairly decadent stout here, the sweetness may be too much for some. Bourbon and coffee help even it out on the back end. This really opens up as it warms, I highly recommend serving this in the 55-60 degree range. There's a light-moderate touch of lactic acidity on the finish that really adds to the overall flavor profile. This is top notch.

M: It might be just a bit too aggressively carbonated, which muffles some of the flavors just a touch. This is a very well-balanced beer, though, and I'm really impressed with the coffee, chocolate, barrel, and lactic flavors. They are impressively integrated and play off of one another quite nicely.

O: I had this in my fridge and I was nonplussed with my first few sips. As it warmed, though, it really opened up and wowed me. A very unique brew, that is more than just a coffee or barrel aged stout. The milky, lactic finish really makes this stand apart. It drinks much like it's namesake...I'd swear I was having an iced mocha from Starbucks with a pinch of bourbon. Here, here for a beer well done. (1,542 characters)

Photo of Rifugium
4.25/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

First had: bottle from...not sure where I got this, but probably Pinocchio's beer garden

Poured a dark brown-black with a finger of mocha head; decent lacing and retention. Aroma is roasty with lots of coffee. Taste is similar, dark roasty malts, coffee, hints of cocoa and vanilla, not too heavy on the bourbon or oak. Definitely good, but nothing extraordinary. Might come through a bit better if allowed to age for a while. Medium mouthfeel, and decently drinkable.

*Edit: I liked the second bottle I had a lot more. Bourbon character came out more in the aroma and taste, overall feel was smoother, body was fuller...don't know what they did different in this batch, but it bumped the rating right up from a 4.0 to a 4.25 easily. Thanks to pdeepak for the share! (768 characters)

Photo of ShanePB
3.87/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

22 ounce bottle
Poured into a tulip glass

A: Dark brown edging on black in the glass, with a small tan head. The dissipation was quick and only a ring of thick bubbles lined the wall. Almost no lacing or retention in the middle either.

S: Fresh ground coffee beans, roasted malts, chocolate, vanilla and just a slight touch of bourbon. The back end has a nice oak scent that gives it a well-rounded aroma.

T: Lots of coffee beans and the obvious focus of the flavor profile. Sweet vanilla, chocolate malt, a bit of roast are mid-palate. The bourbon makes a quick appearance towards the back but it's not much of anything. Just a little sweetness blended with some woody barrel elements.

M: Maybe too thin for my liking, somewhat watery with a good amount of carbonation. It seems to be the pitfall with Williamsburg barrel aging, making the body much too thin.

I knew this would focus coffee but it could have been a little more balanced out with a stronger bourbon barrel presence. Good but to me this was just more of a thinner Coffee stout without much more to it. (1,072 characters)

Photo of xnicknj
4.15/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle poured into snifter

Pours an opaque black color with a crop of tanned head. Spotty, wispy film retains while leaving a few spots of lacing on the glass.

Plenty of aromatic, roasted coffee beans in the nose, backed by dark malt character. Decent amount of barrel with oaky bourbon and a few hints of vanilla. A couple touches of char as well.

A mix of coffee, chocolate and vanilla in the beginning, moving into some touches of nuttiness. Roasted dark malts with some caramel and bready notes. Smack of bourbon and oak with more coffee and roasty char. Finishes a bit warm and sweet.

Fuller body, decent carbonation, creamy and smooth on the tongue. Drinks very nicely, and the coffee and barrel flavors aren't too overboard. (744 characters)

Photo of Knapp85
4.35/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This poured out as a thick black looking brew with a tan colored head on top. The head fades rather quickly just leaving a foamy ring around the edges of the glass. The smell of this beer is pretty impressive. Lots of sweet caramel, vanilla and coffee notes. The taste is great. Lots of Vanilla and Chocolate notes with some sweet roasted malty caramel and coffee to bitter it out in the finish. The mouthfeel is nice and thick feeling with a light carbonation level. Overall this is a damn good brew. I'm starting to like Williamsburg AleWerks more and more. (559 characters)

Photo of dball
4.37/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The Cafe Royale Milk Stout is fantastic. It drinks very smooth and easy. Of course it is a rather heavy beer but delicious. It drinks so easy that I anticipated it having a very low ABV and pleasently suprised to see that it is an 8% beer. Williamsburg makes solid beers and this on is right up there with their best. (317 characters)

Café Royale from AleWerks Brewing Company
93 out of 100 based on 153 ratings.