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: 176 | Ratings: 719
Photo of Jeffo
2.77/5  rDev -34.7%
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 badbilly30
3/5  rDev -29.2%
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 CJS
3.06/5  rDev -27.8%
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 DavoleBomb
3.5/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter.

3.5 A: Based on visual inspection of the bottle, this might have been underfilled by a bit. It seems to have manifested in the pour. Black color. Aggressive pour yielded only half a finger of frothy light brown head. Retention was average at best given this beer's attributes. No lacing was left.

3.5 S: This smells good, but it's a lot less impressive that I predicted given the big three things that I love in a stout (lactose, bourbon barrel, coffee). Bourbon and coffee are fairly mild, while the lactose doesn't give much of a tangy zing that I like. The one thing I do like about the coffee is that it has a nice deep roasted aroma to it. Underneath, there is a touch of chocolate, but not a whole lot else.

3.5 T: This is a lot like the nose. Bourbon is mild, but both the coffee and lactose have a bit of a boast. Soft, supple roastiness. More chocolate in the taste as well along with some molasses. Moderately sweet with a lactose aftertaste.

3.5 M: Heavier medium body. This could use some more carbonation, but it's nowhere near flat. Creamy, but it could be creamier. Smooth with a light warming on finish.

3.5 D: Good, but not as impressive as the reputation. In all honesty, this is pretty much average through and through (like 3.0 average), but my love of milk stouts and barrel aging has kicked it to the upper limit of average.

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Photo of yeahnatenelson
3.54/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance -- Pours an inky dark brown with a faint ring of tan suds. looks nearly still. No lacing, but seems to coat the glass.

Smell -- Chocolatey roast malt, dark fruit, bourbon, vanilla, maple sugar and cafe latte.

Taste -- Gently dark roast, cocoa, and dark fruit are most prominent. Barrel character is somewhat minimal, lending sweet bourbon flavor, gentle vanilla, and faint oaky tannin. Coffee is surprisingly vacant, though it seems to make its presence known in the finish. Lingering flavors of sweet bourbon and coffee.

Mouthfeel -- Medium-bodied with gentle carbonation. Could use more bubbles.

Drinkability -- This is the second time having this beer, the first being about a month after the release. Wasn't blown away by the coffee flavor then, either. A bit sweet, even for the style, but otherwise it's pretty good. There is enough going on to keep one engaged. I distinctly remember enjoying my first experience with this beer more - bottle variation?

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Photo of BMMillsy
3.58/5  rDev -15.6%
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 ChristianBlack
3.62/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark brown to black with a tan mocha head. No lacing really.

Lots of roasted and chocolate malts in this one with tons of coffee. I like what someone else said. This one is a coffee story.

Roasted graininess and coffee are all over this one. If you want a coffee beer they named it right. It makes its presence known in the finish. Not a big fan of the lingering flavor.

Not a great carbonation on this one.

Okay just not a big fan of the coffee flavor and aftertaste. I just wasn't blown away with this beer. A bit sweet, even for the style.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.68/5  rDev -13.2%
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 drabmuh
3.75/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Beer is completely black and has a thin brown head that sticks around leaving some lacing on the glass.

Beer smells like coffee with bourbon in it.

Lots of bitterness from the coffee and the forward sweetness from the bourbon. Eh, as far as bourbon barrel beers go its kind of mediocre. Otherwise its a decent beer.

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Photo of jrallen34
3.75/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Mystery beer...Bottle poured into a perfect pint glass...Dark brown, light black pout with a tan head that rises quickly but lacking in retention. A few spots of lacing...A really nice aroma of chocolate, wood and cherry...The taste is like the aroma chocolate with coffee, cherry, and a bit of the barrel. A weird finish, that kind of kills it, acidic...The feel is too thin for, pretty easy to drink.

Didn't know what to expect here but not bad at all.

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Photo of Sammy
3.77/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A coffee story. I am not a coffee drinker, still excellent coffee. A lace sheet. Wafting coffee aroma. Dry roast, sugar and milk, black body, coconut from barrel. Medium mouthfeel. Best is its not acidic.Cafe brulee and slight bourbon.
Radek's bottle.

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Photo of largadeer
3.8/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Tick thanks to bifrostguard.

Blackened with a mocha head, appealing but typical of the style. Coffee and creamy sweetness are prominent on the nose. There's a ton of vanilla and brown sugar; it smells very sweet for the relatively low ABV. The coffee character isn't reminiscent of freshly roasted beans like Founders Breakfast Stout, it's more like brewed coffee; perhaps a bit stale smelling in contrast, and somewhat acidic. It's coffee forward on the tongue, but equally sweet and quite creamy. The combination of coffee and milky sweetness makes me think of one of those syrup-laden Starbucks espresso drinks. Bourbon barrel aging has contributed a ton of vanilla, though little oak or heat. It's a mellow beer, very sweet but not particularly heavy. The finish is mild, creamy, and never quite dries up. This is solid, but nothing special.

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Photo of BarrytheBear
3.8/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle courtesy of bobertkuekn and shared with milwaukeeclassic. Thanks Robert!

Black pour with a very short lived head that diminishes to nothing.Orange/yellow oily ring when held to back lighting.

Iced coffee and bourbon...very rich and sweet.

Chocolate, bourbon, and very sweet iced sugared coffee. The nice parts of this beer, namely the chocolate and bourbon cannot fully repel the lactic sweetness. Try as I might, overly lactic beers just don't fully agree with me. This one has real potential, particularly if the ratios were re-established.

Somewhat light bodied and creamy with moderate-low carbonation. Unsure of the abv on this, but it's an easy drinker.

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Photo of trxxpaxxs
3.83/5  rDev -9.7%
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 amphion1065
3.83/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber poured into a tulip. Thanks to Plenum for sending this one my way.

Pours out milkshake-thick, oily and viscous. The color is dark maroon bordering on black, with a one-finger khaki head that dissipates slowly. Very nice lacing. This is a looker.

Roasted malts, chocolate and raisins are all in the nose. There's a hint of barrel presence, with underlying aromas of caramel, toffee and vanilla. It seems very sweet, and quite appetizing.

Those same roasted malts come through strongly in the flavor - there's a very obvious coffee element here. Some semisweet chocolate and a hint of vanilla, but the coffee remains in the forefront. At first I noticed only a hint of bourbon in the aftertaste, but as my glass warmed this aspect of the flavor became far more apparent. By the time I finished the bomber this tasted downright boozy.

Very full and rich, with medium carbonation that could probably be toned down a notch. Definitely a dessert beer.

Though I initially wrote this off as a pleasant but unremarkable sweet stout, the bourbon qualities of this beer make it more interesting. I'm not sure of this bottle's vintage, but I imagine it could benefit from a touch more aging, though I worry the coffee flavors would fade accordingly. All in all, this is a fairly easy to drink -bal aged stout that I'd be interested in trying again.

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Photo of ShanePB
3.87/5  rDev -8.7%
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.

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Photo of Jwale73
3.87/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Part of Thirstybird's pre-trip beer blowout. Pours two shades shy of black with no head, just a thin soapy band around the edges. Nose expresses roast, coffee, a trace of vanilla and a boozy quality. Taste reveals roasted malt, artificial sweetener, coffee grounds and some char towards the back. Mouthfeel is medium-light in consistency with an even carbonation from start to finish; not mild, but not quite prickly. A decent brew (didn't realize it was a milk stout), but not much of the barrel is present. Overall, I found it fairly tasty, but not something I would seek out again.

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Photo of stakem
3.89/5  rDev -8.3%
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 ThePorterSorter
3.94/5  rDev -7.1%
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 JayQue
3.95/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A good but not great Double Stout. Pours a really dense black color with no light getting through. Less than average size tan head with little lacing and less than average retention

Smell is fairly weak but good aromas, malt, coffee and a little bourbon.

Taste is good, a lot going on: malts, vanilla, bourbon/wood combination and coffee.

Mouthfeel is a bit thin for a double stout but the saving grace is tremendous smoothness.

Drinkability is good. A lot of flavor, not much of an alcohol blast and very smooth. I would drink this again. This is not Ten Fidy or The Abyss, but it goes down a lot easier than these beers. There are times when I want a less intense but still flavorful stout. This would do it.

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Photo of BarrelO
3.95/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bomber poured into a goblet.

A: Black body. Tan head that leaves a bit of lacing.

S: Big notes of bourbon and chocolate. I'm not detecting any coffee.

T: The coffee shows up a bit at the front, but it's quickly drowned out by chocolate, vanilla, and bourbon. One pleasant surprise was the lack of booziness.

M: This was my least favorite part of the beer. Too thin for my liking.

D: Kevin at Grape & Gourmet was raving about this beer, but it didn't really wow me. It's a very solid impy that occasionally comes close to approaching greatness, but it doesn't really justify the mini-hype it's been receiving. It's worth picking up if you can find a bottle, but it won't redefine your view of stouts or anything.

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Photo of bobschmenge
3.95/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Aggressive pour yielded a thin tan head that quickly dissipated leaving siwrls of whispy foam. Very dark.
S: Moderate bourbon and oak nose.
T: A strong initial flavor with coffee transitioning to bourbon flavors - tends to fall off a bit at the back end. Could use a bit more carbonation to liven it up.
M: Decent mouthfeel but has a thin finish.
D: A sipper.

You know right away what this beer aims to be, but with this style represented so well by other breweries, it falls a bit short. Still a nice beer.

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Photo of mdfb79
3.97/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From 09/21/10 notes. Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a tulip.

a - Pours a dark brown color with two inches of tan head and light carbonatioin evident.

s - Smells of coffee, bourbon, oak, roasted malts, vanilla, and chocolate. Very complex and balanced.

t - Tastes of bourbon, coffee, roasted malts, chocolate, and vanilla. Oddly sweet.

m - Medium to full body and low carbonation.

d - Overall this was a good stout. I thought it smelt great; lots of bourbon, oak, vanilla, and chocolate. The only thing that brought this down for me was the taste. While I enjoyed it, I thought it was a bit too sweet. Luckily I split it with a buddy because I don't know if I could drink a full 22 oz. bottle by myself because of the sweetness. Either way I'm glad I tried it and would try it again.

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Photo of maximum12
3.97/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to ksurkin & yourefragile for shipping bottles of this to Minnesota. Based on the fine Williamsburg brews I've had to date, I'm expecting this is going to be a good one.

Pours black as good growing dirt. Smells beautiful, a great balance between a big black stout, coffee, & barrel.

Cafe Royale take balance to the extreme. The barrel, coffee, & underlying stout do an alien mind-meld to make them almost indistinguishable. Nothing is dominant. Nothing is tantamount. Nothing rises above any of the other ingredients.

I wouldn't have believed it, but this is a routinely good barrel aged big coffee stout. I had no idea that this being existed in the wild. Very good beer.

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Photo of ChadQuest
3.97/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours black with a smallish rich tan head that recedes quickly into a collar.
Aroma is composed of roasted malts, coffee, and vanilla.
Wow, this beer has great coffee flavors. One of the better flavor wise i've had. The coffee itself has that rough course roast notion to it that is a must for me. Just very clean roast with vanilla sweetness backup.
I can notice the bourbon barrels poking through in support but not enough to distract.
mouthfeel is light and creamy.

One of the better coffee beers i've had. there are a handfull over Cafe Royale still, but this one is worth seeking out. I'd gladly drink more of this.

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Café Royale from AleWerks Brewing Company
4.24 out of 5 based on 719 ratings.
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