Café Royale | AleWerks Brewing Company

BA SCORE
94
outstanding
181 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score
Send samples
Café RoyaleCafé Royale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
AleWerks Brewing Company
Virginia, United States
alewerks.com

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
181
Ratings:
736
Avg:
4.24
pDev:
8.96%
 
 
Wants:
265
Gots:
159
For Trade:
15
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 181 | Ratings: 736
Photo of rugyrl04
3.49/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Look: Deep brown with a healthy carmel brown halo.
Smell: sweet, coffee, bourbon
Taste: Bourbon and coffee, well balanced
Feel: medium feel, smooth with a carmel flavor
Overall: Originally in bottle, I drank from a tulip glass. I experience a smooth, well balanced bourbon and coffee flavor.

 293 characters

Photo of Buck89
4.1/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter. Inky, viscous black color that produced a modest and fleeting tan head. Whiskey, coffee, and cocoa on the nose. A touch of sour cherries. Smooth aroma with the bourbon up front. Chocolatey taste at first which opened to coffee and finally a warming, slightly tart whiskey flavor. Some milk up front as well. Nice vanilla and oaky notes on the path to a warming finish. A slightly sticky, sweet quality but definitely not cloying. Drinks "bigger" than the 8.4% ABV, which is nice but also a slight knock. Overall a great sipper.

 550 characters

Photo of braker649er
4.27/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I'll call it "pitch brown" for a touch off black in the color. But opaque. A little sweeter than I would have hoped for, but otherwise very rich and deep in flavor. I appreciated the smell more than anything, which is rare for me. There was booze and plenty of lactose milk stout sugar. And a touch of black licorice in smell and taste that gave it spiciness. A worthwhile pour in my book. Not any head to speak of, even on the pour, but still a tinge of carbonation in the mouthfeel--not as creamy as some milk stouts, but still smooth around the edges.

 554 characters

Photo of FBarber
4.28/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a shiny black color. So shiny that you can see your reflection in the beer itself. Fizzy soda like brown head dissipates quickly leaving a thin ring of brown foam along the outside of the beer.

Smell has prominent notes of coffee, milk chocolate, roasted malts, some musty oak and a touch of bourbon, but not too much.

Taste has notes of coffee, milk chocolate, and malts up front. The malts are curious because there is a roast character to them, but they taste more like they were smoked providing a bit of a smoky flavor to the beer that is quite nice. Some smoked wood comes through - almost like BBQ smoking wood chips. Remarkably strong bourbon flavor for a beer that was only aged 3 months provides an overarching bourbon flavor and some permeating heat. It might be a milk stout base, but there is not much sweetness here other than that milk chocolate like flavor. The smoke and bourbon cuts down on being overly sweet.

Feel is smooth and medium bodied. Mild to medium carbonation, but prickly and lively. Sweet finish with some alcohol burn.

Overall I really like the smoky character coming through from this one - added some depth to the beer. Im also impressed with how prominent the barrel was for only being in there 3 months - just goes to show that you can do a well done BA stout without needing to leave it in the barrel forever.

 1,360 characters

Photo of Riff
4.4/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours an inky black color with a light tan head about a half finger thick and dissipates quickly away. Smells of coffee, bourbon, chocolate, and vanilla. Tastes of dark chocolate, mild coffee, cream, and vanilla. Sweet but in a pleasing, not overly sweet way. A little thin but doesn't take away from the beer. Excellent take on the variety, sort of like a mocha coffee.

 370 characters

Photo of DankScuba
4.11/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

L: Pitch black, quickly fleeting off white head.

S: Coffee, bitter chocolate, molasses, roasted malt

T: Very sweet, milk, chocolate, subtle chocolate

F: On the thinner side, but not detracting from the beer.

O: Great beer, good balance.

 240 characters

Photo of Slack
4.43/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Deep brown in color with minimal head and no lacing.

Nose is strong molasses, sweetness, smoke, and bourbon.

Taste is sweetness up front, molasses, roasted coffee, vanilla, bourbon, and oak / black coffee on the finish.

Mouthful is medium and smooth. Carbonation is a touch above medium. Finish is semi dry.

This is a super dessert beer. Sticky, sweet, and sippable. Alcohol is hidden. Flavor profile is nice. Body is excellent. Reminds me of a lighter version of Parabola. I would drink this after dinner every night if I could.

 540 characters

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!

 571 characters

Photo of WunderLlama
4.35/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bomber poured into a snifter

Pitch black liquid, pours a one finger brown foam cap that quickly subsides to a brown ring around the edges

Aroma of bourbon, vanilla

Taste of bourbon, vanilla, coffee

Velvety Smooth , low sudsing

Deliciously good, repeatable

 260 characters

Photo of Stevem68
4.27/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a rich dark chocolate color. Aroma is boozy with notes of vanilla, cocao and a lIttle sweetness. Flavor is coffe and chocolate with a bourbon note throughout. Has notes a slightly sweet vanilla too. Overall this drinks really smooth and had great flavor, it's just a delicious beer.

 288 characters

Photo of Newbeergeek1
4.34/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a wonderful jet black, with a very nice coffee/bourbon smell and a terrific nose/taste blend. I picked this up at the brewery last spring and am really enjoying this as I am watching the Daytona 500. Nice way to celebrate a great race with a great beer. Hope they haves eat Alewerks the next time I am there.

 317 characters

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.

 274 characters

Photo of TomMorris
3.99/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown with some mahogany highlights. No head save for a tight ring around the perimeter of my glass.

Incredible nose with rich fudge notes and buttery vanilla bourbon.

Taste is a slight let down overall, but quite delicious. I'm not getting as much coffee or roasted malt flavors as I was hoping; the beer largely reminds me of bourbon-flavored chocolate syrup. It's extremely decadent and fudgy with a considerable, but not at all hot or overbearing sweet bourbon presence.

The feel is also a bit thinner and dissipates more quickly than I would like, but when the moment it first hits my tongue is pretty sublime. Plenty thick and chewy, but too much of a transient.

Overall, I was slightly disappointed in Cafe Royale. I was hoping for a very roasty and balanced coffee stout with barrel characteristics and instead got a decadent, incredibly sweet tasting stout with some barrel characteristics. A great beer for sure, but a bit cloying to be amongst the upper echelon of barrel-aged stouts.

 1,013 characters

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This was an excellent beer. A massive coffee presence, both in the nose and in the palate is complimented by roast, chocolate and a good sweetness. The barrel comes through mostly in the form of vanilla, which compliments the coffee very well.

 245 characters

Photo of DavidHume
4.34/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bomber bottle. No date code, but given how that Alewerks' barrel releases don't exactly sit on the shelves around here, it's probably a very recent batch. Served in a teku at around 50°F.

Pours 8 ball black, with a rich brown head of fine bubbles which slowly dissipates into a ring around the edge of the glass, with persistent lacing on the sides. The aromas are very bourbon-forward; no doubts about where this stout was aged. Chocolate and sweetened coffee follow, with a faint hint of vanilla. Bourbon dominates the palate initially, followed by chocolaty coffee flavors. The coffee develops into dark cocoa and fig, before finishing with dry and tannic. It's definitely a sweet stout; while not cloying, it's sweet enough that finishing a bomber alone would be a challenge. Share it with a friend; they'll thank you for it (and you can thank me for the suggestion). The mouthfeel is quite thick, especially given the beer's strength. You expect a big mouthfeel from a 12% monster, but it's quite unexpected from an 8.4% brew. Overall, it's an excellent stout, well-worth seeking out, and a perfect nightcap for a crisp fall evening.

 1,140 characters

Photo of bwood06
4.26/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22 oz. bottle into a pint glass (multiple pours)

A - 1/4 finger head (from a very hard pour) that is dark brown in color and dissipates to a sparse lacing rather quickly. Beer itself and pitch black and cannot see carbonation whatsoever. Ever so slight hint of mahogany on the bottom of the glass if titled to the right angle to the light. 3.75/5

S - Vanilla, oak, and cream are the main aromas that I get with this beer right off the bat. Brown sugar/molasses is also present. A bit of smokiness comes out as well as tobacco and leather. Dark cola (i.e. Coca Cola) seems to be present as well. 4/5

T - Brown sugar and honey hit my tongue immediately followed by a dark chocolatey malt as well as toffee. More milk chocolate than dark chocolate (hints at this being the milk stout as classified). A bit of vanilla and coffee comes across with the milkiness. Coffee comes across as more of a latte than just straight coffee or espresso. Dry coffee bitterness on the back end but does not linger. Leaves a sweet taste in the mouth. Not really getting any sort of hops, but this may be hidden by the coffee. Dominated by sweetness with only moderate bitterness. A hint of oak rears its head right at the end as the bitterness comes in but only for a split second. 4.5/5

M - Very smooth with very little carbonation, only a slight tickle on the tongue for the carbonation. Very full bodied and heavy, almost chewy. Surprisingly, for this heaviness, does not linger on the palate. 4.25/5

O - Nice complex flavor profile, especially for a milk stout. Appearance loves something to be desired since there is virtually no head, even with an extremely hard pour, but the taste and mouthful more than make up for this. Does not have the boozy bite that many bourbon barrel aged beers have which is a nice change. 4.25/5

 1,845 characters

Photo of ThisWangsChung
4.3/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pure. Dessert. In. A. Glass. That's what I'm getting from the amazing nose. Yes, some coffee comes through, as well as a nice amount of bourbon - with those two notes alone, this would still smell decent. But this also features an incredible amount of dark chocolate and dark fruit esters. In a way, the nose invokes chocolate-covered cherries in such a beautiful manner. Thankfully, the flavor follows the nose (nearly) to a T. It starts off with evocative bourbon flavors, along with some gentle fruit esters. It finishes with nice amounts of chocolate, lactose, and roast. Maybe it could be a little bit roastier. Whatever. This feels full and oily on the palate, coating the mouth quite well. Because it's so sweet, it's not a beer that can be drunk quickly. If I have to bitch (and you know I always have to!), it gets too sweet after a while. Just split it with someone and enjoy the chocolate-bourbon-and-coffee goodness to its fullest. Problem solved!

4.3/5: Awesome dessert beer

 988 characters

Photo of AppaZappa
4.38/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was a great beer for my 100th rating/review. Beautiful dark almost black beer that is thick and chewy. Nice balance between dark malt, coffee, chocolate, and bourbon. The bourbon doesn't dominate, but comes out surprisingly well for 3 months of aging. This stands up there with other big hitters in the Coffee-Barrel-Stout club IMO--a real treat.

 351 characters

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.

 1,008 characters

Photo of FriedSlug
4.38/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into my Duvel tulip it was black with a nice cocoa brown head that is thick and creamy but mostly dissipated within a minute. It did hold on around the edges of the glass and left only minimal lacing. The smell is sweet roasty malts, coffee, chocolate notes and a very faint mellow bourbon smell. The taste follows the nose as the coffee, chocolate malts, sweetness and bourbon meld together nicely without one flavor standing out. This is an incredibly well balanced and pleasant beer.

 493 characters

Photo of TildenKatz
4.6/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark black with a quickly dissipating tan head. The scent gives off a nice aroma of bourbon and sweet cream. The bourbon gives this a perfect amount of sweetness and a tinge of vanilla laced with flavors roasted coffee and milky chocolate. Has a very smooth and creamy texture with almost no effervescence or bitterness. This is a highly drinkable barrel aged brew.

 372 characters

Photo of jrnyc
4.27/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Very nice looking beer. Good smell. Really enjoyed this one, like that it is only 8.00 abv, but drinks much bigger than that. Reminds me a bit of BCBCS.

 152 characters

Photo of jlindros
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Thanks to rudzud

Light fizzy head fades quickly, decent legs, pitch black.

Nose big fluffy nougat, caramel and candy bar, big spicy hops, little toasted coffee and roast, hint fudgey, little acrid.

Taste big caramel, fluffy nougat, candy bar, little coffee, fudgey, chewy oats, char, hint of vanilla barrel whisky thing, charred oak, bitter earthy spicy hops, nice barrel, vanilla coconut, toasted, little sweet malt. Little nougat biscuit toffee candy. Finish is dry but sticky hint of booze, little caramel, late is burnt charred coffee and malt.

Mouth is med to fuller bod creamy, decent carb, just a hint of carb.

Overall pretty nice.

 647 characters

Photo of dbrauneis
4.31/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: Pours an opaque yet still clear jet black in color with light to moderate amounts of gentle visible carbonation along the edges of the glass and moderate amounts of dark cola brown + garnet highlights. The beer has a finger tall foamy dark tan head that reduces to a couple of small patches of thin film and a thin ring at the edges of the glass. Light amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate to strong aromas of freshly brewed coffee with light to moderate aromas of roasted malts, milk chocolate, bourbon, vanilla, and oak.

T: Upfront there is a moderate flavor of roasted malts which is quickly overtaken by strong flavors of freshly brewed coffee. That is quickly followed by moderate flavors of milk chocolate which contributes a moderate amount of sweetness. There is a moderate to strong flavor of bourbon and vanilla with just a hint of oak. Minimal amount of roasty bitterness in the finish which lingers slightly.

M: Slightly heavier than medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Smooth. Hints of alcohol warming from the barrel-aging in the finish.

O: Extremely easy to drink, hiding the alcohol very well with the exception of the bourbon flavors. Wonderful aromas of coffee and bourbon which are quite complementary with the milk chocolate sweetness. So glad that I finally got distribution to this brewery as I have wanted to try this one for a while. Very enjoyable.

 1,403 characters

Photo of metter98
4.24/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: The beer is jet black in color. It poured with just a few tan bubbles on the surface that died down rather quickly, leaving only a thin ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass.
S: Moderate to strong aromas of bourbon are present in the nose.
T: Similar to the smell, the taste is mostly dominated by flavors of bourbon from the barrel aging process. Not many chocolate or coffee flavors are present; these only become noticeable once the beer warms up.
M: It feels a bit more than medium-bodied and a little smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: For a bourbon barrel aged ale, this beer is very aromatic and flavorful for a relatively lighter body stout so it is rather drinkable considering its strength. The only drawback is that the bourbon obscures the coffee flavors.

Serving type: bottle

 832 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Café Royale from AleWerks Brewing Company
4.24 out of 5 based on 736 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.

    Subscribe