Café Royale | AleWerks Brewing Company

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Café RoyaleCafé Royale

Brewed by:
AleWerks Brewing Company
Virginia, United States

Style: Milk / Sweet Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by mcallister on 08-21-2010

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Reviews: 175 | Ratings: 714
Photo of just_n_thomas
5/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Off tap in a tulip style glass.

The more mature big brother of Coffeehouse Stout.

Pours black and shares many of the same cold pressed coffee and chocolate notes of the coffeehouse stout, but with the added complexity of barrel aging.

Boozy up front, but not overwhelming and very smooth finish.

A personal favorite.

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Photo of Xenoreactive
5/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Cracked open on 24/10/2015 after being cellared for roughly 9 months.

Pours a thick pitch black with a light head that dissipates very quickly. Smells of dark chocolate, bourbon, molasses, subtle espresso, and toffee. Tastes very similar. I would record this as a heavy chocolate milk with a bourbon undertone. Delicious and sweet, but not to an overbearing degree. The bourbon helps refine the mouthfeel. Has a texture similar to a chocolate shake. Overall, a wonderful experience.

Aging this beer has toned down the bourbon nose and brought out milk chocolate and vanilla notes.

2 more aging in the cellar. Will update with a 1 and 1.5 year description.

Edit: 1 year tastes phenomenal. Coffee does not fade and the bourbon presence thickens.

2nd Edit: Adjusting this to a perfect 5. The bourbon gives this more texture over time as it thickens and adds more vanilla/dough flavor to the beer. Coffee does not sour or turn to soy sauce, but adds a richness to the beer. 1.5 year was phenomenal as well.

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Photo of hornsup
4.98/5  rDev +17.5%
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 ksurkin
4.88/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

FIRST RATING of this one on RB! 22oz bomber, fresh from the brewery, dated 9/2/2010. pours a silky, thick black with a full, two-finger, dark beige head with hints of red around the edges leaving beautiful lacing. aroma is utterly fantastic with big, woody, bourbon notes at the outset that settle beautifully into the background of huge roasted coffee, dark chocolate cake, vanilla, and light coconut with subtle touches of dark fruit and toffee. flavor is spectacular, and i’m a homer so it’s perfect, with an absolutely flawless balance of fresh, roasted coffee, espresso, and dark chocolate mocha with a light, creamy, lacto-sweetness sliding through ahead of smooth oak, vanilla, and spicy bourbon with a long, ashy malt, bitter chocolate, and roasted coffee finish. palate is sublimely full bodied, silky smooth, and damn near milkshake-esque creamy with perfect carbonation and incredible drinkability. overall, without a doubt one of the five best bourbon barrel aged stouts i’ve ever tasted. bravo, geoff. *re-rate* aww, hell this brew is just getting better and better every time i open another bottle. perfect 5 for this VA homer!

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Photo of Urbancaver
4.78/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a beautiful brown with a nice reddish tint. A touch of light tan head. Very very pretty with a reddish tint. Smells phenomenal. Lots of coffee and a light bourbon hint on the nose. Smells sweet with lots of milk sweetness on the nose. Taste is similar. Coffe, milk, sweet sugary goodness, and bourbon but light and perfect for the base beer. This is a damn near perfect beer

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Photo of ColdPoncho
4.75/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

THanks much Cam for sharing this.

A - Black body with red along the edges with a small tight brown head.

S - great dark malts, and lactose, light on the bourbon. Great balance, really nice stuff here.

T - wow. Just delicious, one of the best tasting stouts I've had. Sweet roasted malts, nice lactose profile, bourbon is present but not too much. Could not ask for more.

M - oh yeah, a nice big and thick creamy mouthfeel. Exquisite.

O (D) - this is a great beer.

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Photo of Prince_Casual
4.75/5  rDev +12%

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 GoGriz
4.67/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow! Wasn't expecting this. Damn good brew with my number one take away thought being "an incredibly well-integrated beer."

Pours is dark but lacks a decent head and it disapears too quickly. Smell is fantastic, bourbon, coffee, chocolate, delicious. Taste is fantastic too with all flavors taking shape one after the other and working into eachother. One of the best tasting and most flavorful beers i have had. Spectacular. Mouthfeel is rich and creamy. Drinkability is also top notch.

Highly recommended.

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Photo of VncentLIFE
4.64/5  rDev +9.4%
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 pnkRed
4.63/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Chimay Chalice.

Pour is pitch black with little hint of any carbonation. Head is a solid 1/2 cm that disappears pretty quickly. Smell is of fresh coffee and vanilla. Pretty tame, but elegant. Vanilla and coffee blend seamlessly together with the roasted malts. Toffee and chocolate combine with the vanilla and coffee and hit your palate with a complex array of flavors that beg you to want more. Slight bitterness toward the finish. This is a sipper that goes down easy. It's not heavy, but packs a ton of flavor into the medium body. Carbonation is moderate to low.

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Photo of CampusCrew
4.63/5  rDev +9.2%
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 Shumania
4.61/5  rDev +8.7%
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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Photo of philbe311
4.6/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - Slightly less than on fingers worth of audibly fizzy dark brown head that quickly fades living next to no lacing and just a slight collar... A slightly viscous flat black color with some brown edges when held up to the light... Quite still...

S - The nose is a wonderful blend or deeply roasted malts, coffee, and chocolate cake... The barrel aging yields some minor bourbon and wood notes...

T - Some times bourbon barrel aging overwhelms the original beer and other times in barely noticeable, but in this case it is the perfect compliment... The roasted malts, coffee, and chocolate notes still are at the forefront and the bourbon adds layers of complexity... Also present are some minor notes of licorice and dark fruit...

M - Full bodied... Starts Thick... Chewy... Syrupy... Lush... A wee bit of alcohol heat lingers on the tongue... A mildly chalky finish... Perfect...

D - An exquisite offering from the folks at Williamsburg Alewerks, a brewery that continues to impress me... The appearance and aroma are good, but the taste and mouthfeel are wordly... This is also a wonderful example of bourbon barrel aging... I highly recommend and look forward to attempting to grab some more for myself...

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Photo of SpeedwayJim
4.59/5  rDev +8.3%
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 Eamonn-Cummings3
4.59/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a spieglau stout glass.

Look is pitch black with a razor thing dark brown head.

Lots of rich wonderful roast and vanilla bourbon.

Taste is delicious. A wonderful balance between roasted malt and sweet creamy vanilla. Absolutely wonderful.

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Photo of dvmin98
4.58/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Stumbled across this bad boy. Didn't realize that AleWerks was disto'ing to NC. This thing, for the money, is one of the best beers you can find. $9.99 for a bomber and the quality of the coffee and bourbon, you can't go wrong. Do yourself a favor and stock up.

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Photo of mojiboo02
4.58/5  rDev +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!

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Photo of TappaKeggaBrew
4.57/5  rDev +7.8%
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 KeefD
4.56/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Graciously sent by bobertkuekn. Thanks, Robert! Pours a solid dark black color with no head or lacing. Looks kinda lifeless, but there is some carbonation bubbles popping up along the edges. Fantastic aroma of dark and milk chocolate, lactose, roast and coffee, which is probably slightly mellowed because of the age. Wow, this thing taste amazing! Loaded with rich milk chocolate, lots of sweetness, a touch of lactose twang, molasses, caramel, and loads of coffee which are much more prevelant than what the nose suggested. Not getting a whole lot of bourbon notes, but there is a touch of vanilla toasty nuttiness in the background. Just an all-around, well rounded taste, everything mingles together perfectly. Absolutely tasty! Medium bodied, close to full, light to moderate carbonation. This is an incredibly tasty beer and wish I could many more bottles of this! Thanks again, Robert!

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Photo of joshuaseresse
4.55/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Received as an extra from billab914, thanks Bill! Poured into snifter:

A - A black oil pour with light tan head that dissipates into a thin ring around the edges. Lacing retention is pretty good.

S - Roast coffee, bits of barrel and sweet but not much in the bourbon flavor, which is kind of disappointing. Milk chocolate and bits of coco.

T - Creamy chocolate up front with medium roast and coffee flavors in the middle and finish. Cappuccino dessert, very tasty.

M - Smooth and creamy, perfect carbonation.

D - Probably nice with chocolate cake. I'd like about 8oz in a sitting but it's great for sharing. Although I didn't get much barrel I still enjoyed it and will seek more sometime soon.

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Photo of Treyliff
4.54/5  rDev +7.1%
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 VBWharfRat
4.54/5  rDev +7.1%
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 Masonz223
4.52/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Smell: big chocolate notes fudge medium roast coffee vanilla oatmeal.
Taste: big amounts of fudgy chocolate upfront middle of the mouth medium
Roast coffee milk chocolate vanilla oatmeal finishes with a hint of toasted coconut and French vanilla coffee creamer.
Feel: medium body creamy mouthfeel
Overall: an awesome beer lots of big fudgy chocolate notes but also nice barrel notes. A pretty sweet beer but not over the top it's just right!

Note: this was bottled 1/23/15 and I'm drinking this on 9/9/16. I'm blown away that a 8.5% percent coffee beer aged this well!

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Photo of Futility
4.52/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'm getting some syrupy cherry here. But in an coffe rather than a fruit way. A bit sweet? Maybe for some, but it's nice to see coffee flavor without too much of a roasted chocolate flavor. Worth seeking out as a different take from the way others approach the style.

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Photo of ordybill
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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

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Café Royale from AleWerks Brewing Company
4.24 out of 5 based on 714 ratings.
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