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: 713
Photo of oberon
4.28/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours black as an oil slick with a thinner creamy beige head.Chocolate covered nuts and sweet bourbon in the nose,very rich aromas.Creamy smooth in the mouth and quite chewy,very nice.Chocolate and dark fruit flavors abound with more of the nuttiness,the bourbon hits in the end giving a vanilla tinged finish.A rich dessert-like work of art,a great beer.

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Photo of boilermakerbrew
4.38/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Hits the glass pretty much pitch black in color with very little head. With a little coaxing and rough pouring I was able get a tan colored head of about half a centimeter to form. There is minimal lacing on this beer, but the scent is pretty incredible. Huge coffee notes hit first and are quickly followed up with bourbon barrel goodness. The vanilla is really more prominent than the oak, but then moves toward a touch of dark fruits towards the end of the drink.

When this beer hits the tongue it follows the scent pretty closely, but the coffee is stronger than in the smell. The dark coffee is mildly bitter before the bourbon barrel kicks in with charred vanilla sweetness. It balances out the coffee nicely before the coffee returns to combine with the dark malts of the stout. Lingering taste is of coffee and sweet vanilla from the barrel. The feel of this beer is very smooth and very, very easy to drink. The alcohol is low and undetectable, while the carbonation to fairly low as well. Neither the coffee or the barrel flavors are overwhelming, making this close to chug-able.

Overall, this is a great, low ABV, barrel aged stout. The coffee and the barrels work together seamlessly and give the beer both a great feel and taste.

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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 n2185
4.02/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: Pours black with a finger of brown head that almost completely vanishes with little lacing.

S: Roasted malts with char, some bitter cacao, a bit of coffee, vanilla and toffee, and some sweet bourbon and oak towards the finish.

T: Oak, vanilla, caramel, and toffee dominate here with roasted malts, char, and a bit of dark roast coffee coming through before a moderately boozy finish.

M: Thick body with lowish carbonation, this beer is surprisingly thick and heavy for only 8% and leaves a sticky sweetness behind.

O: A damn good beer overall. A little on the sweet side and I'd like more coffee presence, but otherwise great.

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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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Photo of gopens44
4.34/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Had it on tap, so the initial pour looked fantastic but by the time I made the 30' walk back to the table, the head completely disappeared. Decent legs, but no real lacing to speak of. Nose carried a little bourbon but wasn't' an overwhelming aroma. Taste is where this thing wins (and I guess all that really matters, right?). Never had a more balanced BA stout, ever. Bourbon was certainly there but not overwhelming, little to no heat at all and not cloyingly sweet. Just a damn fine tasting beverage. Period. Other than being a little thin, this is a little jackpot of a beer!

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Photo of cjgiant
4.39/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Bottle dated 8/2014:
Pours jet black, with not much head on a decidedly soft pour. Head color is tan, and it does rim the edge, providing temporary lacing on each sip. The nose is rich in coffee and chocolate. The wood from the barrels also comes through, although the bourbon is missing.

Taste starts of nicely toasted and a bit nutty. Swiftly the chocolate and vanilla notes come in and last most of the taste. Mid taste, the rest of the flavors start coming, a little coffee bitterness with a slight tartness from the wood, the milky chocolate flavor. This is all very tasty, but the coffee is sort of hidden, and the bourbon is masked. Feel is quite silky but a little thinner than I'd like.

A very enjoyable beer even if it doesn't fit it's "style" as much as I'd like.

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Photo of cvm4
3.99/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottled Aug. 2014

L - Pours black body with a brown espresso one finger head. Not much lacing or retention going on.

S - Lots of creamy coffee with no bitterness behind it. Gobs of semi-sweet chocolate. Bourbon & oak are there but not really overpowering.

T - Bourbon is in the forefront on the taste. Roasted malts abound with creamy coffee and semi-sweet chocolate.

F - For the style, it works well. It's not an RIS but a good medium body & low carbonation.

O - Great offering of a sweet/milk style. It's not cloying and really lets all the flavors shine through.

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Photo of Seanniek91
4.3/5  rDev +1.4%

2013 vintage?

Just Notes

Pitch black. No head or lacing. Smell is coffee, cocoa, cherry, oak, bourbon. Taste is largely bourbon oak. Some light cherry and cocoa remain. Coffee is mostly gone. Drinks like it's 10+abv, not 8. Relatively thick.

Great barrel notes on this beer!

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Photo of Kurmaraja
4.03/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Batch from 2013. An unfortunate cherry tartness coming in and sourness taking over the aroma. Too bad as it seems the base beer is very good.

Just beware of aging. Seems like there are other reports of sourness beyond mine.

- Revised. Infected version was no bueno. New and fresh, this is solid.

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Photo of uvachief
4.33/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Draft. Pours dark black with creamy brown head. Think. Lingers. Aromas of roasted malts and good Italian coffee. Taste good strong espresso coffee with chocolate, cinnamon and vanilla. Something bitter buried deep. Best taste is the strong espresso. Heavy stout. No carbonation. Strong espresso and malt aftertaste. Smooth though. Very drinkable. Like it as much or better than Evil Twin Donut Break. Very good imperial stout. 6-15-15 Update. Had the 15 version. Still fantastic in my book. One of the best coffee stouts out there.

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Photo of clayrock81
4.1/5  rDev -3.3%

Poured a dark brown, almost black body with one finger tan head that dies quick and leaves little lace.
Aroma is light coffee and light roasted malts with some wood and slight booze, a little bit of chocolate and vanilla as well.
Smooth body, light for a stout, roasted coffee malts are minimal and basically kept in background for balance.
A more vanilla, lactic java-esque sweetness along with some chocolate and caramel (slight caramel) and the bourbon notes don't add heat but keep it woody and smooth.
Pretty good sweet/mild stout that is worth trying.

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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 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 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 Beer-A-Lot
4.34/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This beer is just a superb balance of roasted malts, bourbon-barrel flavors, coffee, and bitter chocolate. It gets better and better as it goes down, with just the right amount of alcohol, a nice touch of sweetness, and while a tad thin in mouthfeel, it doesn't detract from the enjoyment at all. I have a bottle for aging, so I'll give that a try to see what it does for the sweet flavors. Outstanding.

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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 HattedClassic
4.18/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

The beer pours a very light and creamy brown head. The beer itself is a dark chocolate black and appears a little slick on the surface. The beer smells tend to be distinct but mix very well.

The smells vary from milk chocolate, bourbon, cocoa, and a bit of an alcohol note as well. The alcohol note is very minor but the bourbon smell is fairly strong compared to the other notes. However, the milk chocolate taste takes over it as it warms up.

The taste is a different from the smell in that the bourbon taste is not as strong as the smell. The milk chocolate taste actually dominates the tongue instead with the bourbon complementing the taste. Other slight notes include cocoa and a bit of a dark fruit taste as well. The beer taste also has a very strong vanilla note and a little bit of oak as well. There is also a slight boozy taste to it as well.

The beer feels surprisingly smooth such that it also feels creamy and heavy bodied.

Overall, a pretty good sweet stout and worth getting when it's available.

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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 Duane_Opfer
4.46/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2013 Vintage. 24 oz bottle poured into a pint glass. Consumed on 11/25. Written from notes.

A - Almost black in color with a brown sugar colored head. Moderate carbonation with no lasting lacing.

S - Very fragrant, and smells easy to distinguish. Bourbon, chocolate, toffee, espresso, and heavy creme.

T - Bourbon, milk chocolate, vanilla, dark fruits, nutmeg, and coffee acids. Beautiful chocolate finish. Hides ABV very well. Loved the fact that unlike many bourbon barrel aged beers, Cafe Royale is not dominated by bourbon; rather, the bourbon is a nice accent that balances well (as does not diminish) other flavors in the beer.

M - Good carbonation and a nice tingle in mouth. Smooth and creamy, and slightly sticky.

O - Loved it. Wish I could have bought more, but the 2013 vintage is already sold out. Fully expect that this beer will be sought out nationwide.

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Photo of PHBoiler
4.21/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A little thin for a stout, but done to style. Loads of chocolate on the nose and in the taste. Goes down very smooth. Hints of oak and bourbon as it warms. Definitely a well done stout and one to seek out if you're a fan of coffee and chocolate. Coffee is more subdued and played well.

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Photo of brentk56
4.24/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Pour almost pitch black with a modest tan cap; some streaks are left behind

Smell: Coffee, caramel and milk chocolate buttressed by the Bourbon and vanilla tones

Taste: The coffee leads the charge, with the caramel and milk chocolate not far behind; by mid-palate, the Bourbon and vanilla add another dimension, with the flavors all merging into the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium body with low to moderate carbonation

Overall: One of the more nicely balanced barrel-aged stouts I have encountered; this is really good

Thanks, Dave_Treat, for the opportunity to re-visit

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Photo of barleywinefiend
4.13/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A: Poured a very deep brown, nearly back with a tannish colored cap, good carbonation left some bubbles and dcent lacing on the glass

S: Creme, wood, milk chocolate and a whiff of barrel like funkiness

T: Initial waves of chocolate cream puffs come to mind. I detect some woody notes and light barrel funk undertones with this.

M: Medium-full to full bodied, well carbonated, a silky sweet and smooth mouthfeel. Decadence in a glass.

O: A definite after meal sipper, a pretty darn good one too.

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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 Stevedore
4.34/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22oz bottle, thanks to Daniel for sending me this one in a trade. No bottling date, I believe this is from late 2012/early 2013. Shared with Doug today, 8/5/2013. Poured into a Bell's snifter.

Pours a dark black body, not completely opaque but very dark. Comes with a minimal 1cm tan head that drops into the beer fairly quickly. Not much lacing left. Standard appearance for any good imperial stout out there.

Lots of coffee and roasty chocolates in the nose, complemented by a nice milky lactose sweetness.. and a dab of smoky bourbon sweetness and oaky vanilla. The barrel is clearly making a small contribution- the coffee and milk are the stars of the show.

Lactose sweetness, lots of coffee bitterness, balanced milk chocolate sweetness and a touch of sweet bourbon and barrel vanilla. This has good depth, everything comes together very well in complementary ways. The barrel isn't dominant, but it doesn't need to be in this beer. Bravo!

Medium bodied, creamy with the right amount of carbonation for the style. No heat at all. Incredibly smooth and goes down very well. Not quite a sipper, but this is a beer that you can savor.

Doug and I were both very impressed with this one. Its a beer where the barrel treatment makes a definite contribution, but still allows the base beer and its adjuncts to stand out. This was a delicious beer with a lot of depth. Highly recommended if you enjoy milk stouts.

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Café Royale from AleWerks Brewing Company
4.24 out of 5 based on 713 ratings.
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