Oct 20, 2010

Williamsburg Alewerks Cafe Royale

The last barrel aged product from Williamsburg Alewerks that I had the opportunity to enjoy was the company’s Bourbon Barrel Porter. In fact, I liked it so much that I enjoyed several bottles of it over the colder months last year. Needless to say, having really liked that particular barrel aged brew, I was more than stoked to find this latest product from the brewery.

Williamsburg Alewerks Cafe Royale Label

This 8% ABV Imperial Stout is only aged for a couple of weeks in bourbon barrels (not sure of the brand), but that short time still imparts enough of a presence to make this a stand out brew, especially in combination with the coffee used in the brewing process.


Cafe Royale pours thick and black with a rich, dark brown head that faded rather quickly.


There’s a great deal of wood on the nose along with bittersweet dark chocolates, dark roast coffee, a touch of licorice and a subtle bourbon presence.


Damn tasty! There is a great, dominant coffee presence that carries with it a roasted character that mixes with the barrel woodiness very well. The actual bourbon from that barrel aging doesn’t really show up until later as the beer transitions to the finish. Cafe Royale isn’t as bourbon heavy as some other barrel aged stouts that I’ve had, but the levels that this beer contains is perfect for the chocolate and coffee components. After the initial smooth and full mouthfeel, the beer shifts to a slightly dryer finish that only makes you want to take another drink. There’s also a decent warming effect from the higher ABV, but it’s far from being considered “hot.”


Though there’s the slightly lighter bourbon presence, I do love the roasty nature that this beer brings to the table. There are a variety of bourbon barrel aged stouts available (and I’m pretty sure I’ve loved just about every one of them), but this one brings something different to the table. I’ll certainly be buying more while I can during these cooler months.

Rating: 3.5/5

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