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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: 629
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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 159 | Hads: 629
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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Photo of DrinkSlurm
4.18/5  rDev -0.9%
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.

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Photo of Retail1LO
4.3/5  rDev +1.9%
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.

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Photo of badbilly30
3/5  rDev -28.9%
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.

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Photo of koopa
4.42/5  rDev +4.7%
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.

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Photo of ThickNStout
4.09/5  rDev -3.1%
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.

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Photo of chilly460
4.35/5  rDev +3.1%
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.

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Photo of b3shine
4.2/5  rDev -0.5%
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.

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