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Czar Brew - Russian Imperial Stout Aged In Oak Bourbon Barrels - Sprecher Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Czar Brew - Russian Imperial Stout Aged In Oak Bourbon BarrelsCzar Brew - Russian Imperial Stout Aged In Oak Bourbon Barrels

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
83
good

92 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 92
Reviews: 45
rAvg: 3.64
pDev: 16.76%
Wants: 8
Gots: 13 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Sprecher Brewing Company visit their website
Wisconsin, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  11.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: rallison on 08-05-2007)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 92 | Reviews: 45 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by BedetheVenerable:
Photo of BedetheVenerable
BedetheVenerable

Missouri

3.73/5  rDev +2.5%

Presentation: Impressive/beautiful/classy 1L flip-top, waxed brown bottle; regal label, with no date but "9245" hand printed on the back

Appearance: BLACK, opaque beer with a nice tan brown cap with pretty nice retention.

Smell: Really interesting notes of burnt toasted marshmallows, rich vanilla extract, burnt caramel, dark chocolate, a hint of booze, toasted walnut syrup, and recently-doused-campfire.

Taste: Wow...bourbony...there's lots of sweet vanilla bourbon here, toasted wood, dark brandied fruit, just a hint of roast and some charred oak on the finish. Not unpleasant, but not nearly as deep or complex as suggested by the aromas. I'm getting a touch of burnt caramel as this warms. WARMING brew.

Mouthfeel: A bit thin for the style/11% abv

Drinkability: Medium-high

Conclusion: Thanks much to Jimmy for picking this up for me at the Sprecher brewery; we enjoyed this with some dense chocolate cake for the wife's birthday and it was pretty darn tasty. The aromas are fantastic, the flavors are pretty good, the feel's a bit of a letdown. At nearly $20 a bottle, I might not buy another one of these, but then again I might. If I did, however, I'd let it sit for a good long time (2-3 years) before cracking it open to see if I could get any more complexity out of it once the booze calmed down a bit.

01-29-2010 13:49:22 | More by BedetheVenerable
More User Reviews:
Photo of don1481
don1481

Wisconsin

2.25/5  rDev -38.2%

Appearance: Pours a jet black with a cocoa colored head that retains for a bit. Leaves a small amount of lacing on the side.

Smell: big nose with a variety of vanilla, bourbon, coffee smells.

Taste: ...and here is where this falls apart. Such a thin, watered down taste. Where are all the delicious bits from the nose?? Beyond disappointed.

Mouthfeel: for something that tastes this thin it leaves a surprisingly thick feeling.

Overall: so tempted to drain pour this. Something does not add up here.

08-17-2014 02:23:19 | More by don1481
Photo of magictrokini
magictrokini

California

3.93/5  rDev +8%

1 L bottle. Pours black with a big cascading tan head. Aroma of chocolate malt, smoke, bourbon, leather, oak, and caramel. A shockingly thinnish mouthfeel for an Imperial. Taste is nice; good bittersweet chocolate and coffee flavors with a strong, but not overwhelming bourbon sourness. Some vanilla, caramel, oak, and earthy flavors that pop out at different times. Overall, I really enjoyed this beer.

12-16-2008 18:18:43 | More by magictrokini
Photo of rhoadsrage
rhoadsrage

Illinois

4/5  rDev +9.9%

(Served in a snifter)
A- This beer has a jet black body with a dark molasses tan head that fades to a thin ring pretty quickly.
S- There is a graham aroma with a softer dark roasted note and a softer oaky hint in the finish. As the beer warms the oaky note takes on hints of vanilla and leather.
T- This beer has a big black inky flavor that turns a bit vinous when warm. A soft oaky note in the finish turns more cola like as it warms with a chocolate note and a light boozy note.
M- This beer has a medium-light mouthfeel with a slight astringent hint from the dark roasted grains and a fizz the covers up most of the flavor that might linger.
D- Pretty average when cold but opens up a bit when it warms up. Still bigger flavors would have been nice but the alcohol content was very hidden.

01-06-2010 22:45:29 | More by rhoadsrage
Photo of cdm1313
cdm1313

West Virginia

3.84/5  rDev +5.5%

08-23-2014 21:47:55 | More by cdm1313
Photo of weonfire
weonfire

Illinois

3.5/5  rDev -3.8%

04-11-2014 03:21:43 | More by weonfire
Photo of augustgarage
augustgarage

California

4.4/5  rDev +20.9%

Reading over the reviews, it seems this is an entirely different beast on-tap than it is in the bottle. The pour I'm reviewing was served in a snifter at Blue Palms Brewhouse in Hollywood.

Opaque seal brown body with a dense finger of tan cream. Good retention (especially for the ABV), almost like a layer of chocolate milkshake floating atop a massive espresso shot. Full sheets of lacing and rivulets of legs.

Clearly there is no attempt to disguise the full barrel aged notes. Heavy and complex mix of vanilla, coconut, and tobacco immediately suggestive of bourbon or even rye whiskey. Molasses, prunes, dark chocolate, and burnt sugar join the barrel notes to form an intoxicating whole. There is a touch of pepper from the alcohol when you bring the glass closer to the nose. Impeccable really...

The flavor profile carries over everything from the aroma and adds a low roast malt element; this is joined by faint hop notes to balance the ensuing sweetness which lingers into the finish along with rich licorice, molasses, and chocolate. Another subtle wave of wood smoke, pepper, toast, and maybe coffee appears long after the rest of the flavor has dissipated. Very well done - while lacking the singular alchemy of Firestone 13, it is otherwise more akin to that superlative blend than it is to most examples of RIS (even those that are likewise barrel aged).

Full bodied and chewy, but well carbonated. Mild astringency and notable warming.

A little sweet overall, and some might find the barrel notes to be obstructive rather than a key feature...very good as a dessert beer.

12-16-2009 05:18:32 | More by augustgarage
Photo of BeerZack
BeerZack

North Carolina

2.8/5  rDev -23.1%

Thanks to JDV for sharing this big swing-top.

Pretty black in color, with dark brown edges. Thin head leaves decent lace.

Smells of caramel, marzipan, make it seem more like an aged barleywine than an Imperial stout. Some alcohol smell.

Sweet, almost cloying, yet sour, soy vinegar, some cardboardiness.

Tastes like it could have been a bad bottle, maybe just stored improperly, but it seems pretty oxidized and thin.

03-05-2008 09:09:31 | More by BeerZack
Photo of ohiobeer29
ohiobeer29

Ohio

3.25/5  rDev -10.7%

05-06-2014 04:30:30 | More by ohiobeer29
Photo of jdkitchi
jdkitchi

Wisconsin

4/5  rDev +9.9%

12-29-2013 02:41:56 | More by jdkitchi
Photo of Bung
Bung

Michigan

4/5  rDev +9.9%

06-10-2014 02:46:28 | More by Bung
Photo of emerge077
emerge077

Illinois

3.13/5  rDev -14%

Opened this with a few friends, after picking it up in Milwaukee a few weeks ago. Unfortunately it seemed that something had gone awry... definitely oxidized, and developing tart astringent flavors. No date on the label, i'm guessing it was last years batch. No sound when opened. Sprecher should cap these instead of using a swingtop, and wax that if they have to. I think a compromised seal may be the culprit here.

Pours a dark brown, and black in the glass. It doesn't really look thick or viscous, more like a porter almost. The tan foam was scant, dispersing into a frothy ring of bubbles, and a wispy skim across the dark surface.

Aroma had telltale soy and clay notes of oxidation creeping into the sweet vanilla notes of the bourbon barrel.

Sweet and sticky, some vanilla and tart cherry astringency. Fairly light bodied for a barrel-aged RIS. There was a moderate bourbon flavor, and a stout buried in there somewhere, but it was overshadowed by the cherry skin tartness.

No one could finish a glass, but I drank most of mine for the sake of this review.
Will re-review if I can find a vintage dated bottle.

12-18-2010 01:06:53 | More by emerge077
Photo of BeerFMAndy
BeerFMAndy

Wisconsin

4.35/5  rDev +19.5%

1 Liter bottle (awesome label!) poured into an Imperial Pint. 11.0% ABV, 9126 hand-written in silver marker on the back.

Review number 500. Been saving this one for a good occasion!

A - It pours out like filthy motor oil, thick and black. No light shines through this behemoth! It cascades momentarily leaving a huge three-finger, dense, cream-like, dark tan head. Absolutely amazing retention with legs on the glass as well as a thick collar of lacing that resembles a mountain silhouette scene. Towards the bottom of the first glass lacing covered 90% of the glass.

S - The oaky nose is strong with a good bourbon punch to it and a rich vanilla and molasses syrupyness. Lots of warm alcohol but not solventy at all. The hops are totally absent as the malts take front and center. Dark roasted barley with chocolate too. Notes of dark fruits like raisin and plum are faintly present too. The aroma is incredibly rich and foreboding.

T - The taste falls short of the nose a bit providing a large helping of roasted malts, so roasted in fact, it gives it a cocoa-like feel with a giant bitterness that's largely overshadowed by strong oaky bourbon. Thankfully it's such a complex beer other flavors swirl around constantly in the background giving me other avenues to explore. A light touch of room-temperature black coffee lingers by a vanilla bean and molasses flavor while the dark fruit notes poke through with mild sweetness. The large oaky bourbon barrel flavor finishes out with a warm alcohol kick. Again, hops are absent giving the malts and their compatriots free roam. The flavor is huge and good, just not as well-blended as the aroma is.

M - It's immediately evident, based on the pour, it'll be as thick as syrup. And it is. Creamy and smooth as velvet, the texture is something to behold. That is, until that large chalky-bitter punch comes in. It doesn't ruin it but it does put it off a bit. The alcohol gives it a subtle warmth to the finish without a harsh, sharp flavor. Absolutely full-bodied and rich as can be.

D - It's one hellofa Russian Imperial Stout. Something I wouldn't mind constantly having on hand. It's drinkability is only lowered by the pesky cocoa-dry bitter thing going on an a bit overly bourbon flavor. I don't mind it for a glass, but for a while liter, which at this point is more than half-gone, it's getting a bit old. A great winter warming beer to sip your way through on a freezing January day or to share with a full-on beer lover. Make sure they like 'em strong and rich.

11-12-2009 01:32:33 | More by BeerFMAndy
Photo of CaptainNomihodai
CaptainNomihodai

Illinois

3/5  rDev -17.6%

02-28-2013 22:25:59 | More by CaptainNomihodai
Photo of TheFugerIsNow
TheFugerIsNow

Wisconsin

3.5/5  rDev -3.8%

07-23-2014 00:53:28 | More by TheFugerIsNow
Photo of FreshmanPour77
FreshmanPour77

Minnesota

5/5  rDev +37.4%

12-03-2011 19:51:35 | More by FreshmanPour77
Photo of rallison
rallison

California

4.33/5  rDev +19%

Pours a thick black with a 1 finger light brown head that recedes to a nice lacing that cotes the glass.

Smell is of rich roasted malts, bourbon and other tasty smells.

Taste grows on me. Lots of rich, roasted caramel, espresso and dark chocolate. Very dark fruits are also present. As it warms, the complexity definitely increases. Nice. Ultimately, this is a sweet RIS. Bourbon and oak flavors are pretty mellow. Also, it sort of tastes like some of it comes from a malt extract, but it works out well enough here.

Mouthfeel is rich but keeps a distinct lightness. Carbonation is good.

Drinkability is actually pretty good for an 11% beer.

Recommended. Too expensive, but a good RIS. I've had better ones, but this is a fully enjoyable one.

08-05-2007 09:52:29 | More by rallison
Photo of Big_Dave
Big_Dave

Texas

3.5/5  rDev -3.8%

08-02-2014 07:53:02 | More by Big_Dave
Photo of vacax
vacax

California

4.43/5  rDev +21.7%

One liter flip top bottle poured into a tulip. Spring 2007 batch.

Color is black, touch of light visible along edge of glass, small but tight beading and good retention on the light brown head. Nose has black treacle, bourbon, vanilla, light oxidation, and maple.

Flavor is rich with caramel, roasted malt, coffee beans, oxidation, leather, and the finish hits with brownies and bourbon. Deep flavors complemented by a bit of oxidation and quite drinkable for something so strong and robust. Body is full, but perhaps not as much as the flavor hints at. Carbonation is clearly forced but sticks to an appropriate lowish to moderate level. This drink is a nice treat, hope this one comes out again.

06-09-2010 01:50:57 | More by vacax
Photo of camil1mj
camil1mj

Michigan

2.9/5  rDev -20.3%

Bought this past Spring while I was in Madison, WI. Poured at cellar temp into my Founders snifter.

A: Deep, dark, brown. Foamy, 1 finger thin head. Minimal lacing.

S: Sweet and roasty with a faint alcoholic finish.

T: Immediate sugary sweetness nose followed by some roasted malt that leads to some bourbon undertones. The sweetness dominates the overall taste of this one.

M: Very thin for the style. Medium carbonation.

O: One of the weaker BA stouts I have had. Too thin and too sweet.

11-12-2011 02:04:45 | More by camil1mj
Photo of GABrew
GABrew

Georgia

2.75/5  rDev -24.5%

07-04-2014 00:44:27 | More by GABrew
Photo of weeare138
weeare138

Pennsylvania

4.33/5  rDev +19%

On tap at Capone's...
Appears a dark brown, nearing black with a dark amber & ruby hue when held to the light. A small, light tan head slowly fades into a mild cap. Scattered streaks of lacing are left around the glass.
Smell is of oak, roasted nuts, vanilla, cocoa, bourbon, and ripe fruit.
Taste is of the aromas with the bourbon being somewhat subdued in the flavors with the dark fruit, brown sugar, and vanilla dominating.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied, mild abv heat, and a bit chewy. Perhaps a tad thin in the finish but not bad, overall.
This faired much better than the bottle sample I had last year and opted not to rate.

05-04-2009 19:23:41 | More by weeare138
Photo of teemoney
teemoney

Wisconsin

3.92/5  rDev +7.7%

08-20-2014 16:52:02 | More by teemoney
Photo of travloh
travloh

Minnesota

2.95/5  rDev -19%

Poured from bomber to snifter. This is only the 2nd RIS I have ever had. The 1st one I enjoyed very much.

Pours a motor oil black with a tan head that looks almost like you could make a sand castle out of it.

The first smell is coffee, then a roasted, smokey odor. I also get a sour essence coming through.

This stuff is questionable, there is a sour tone that comes through. Leaves a bitter coffee aftertaste. Halfway through the glass I have to confess, I wish it were gone. Just not very good, period. I can taste the bourbon influence, as this stuff is aged in bourbon barrels. Just because you CAN doesn't mean you SHOULD. The thought of a beer sitting in some warehouse in a skanky old Jack Daniels cast-off is not appealing.

I'm not buying this again, and i am so glad I tried the other brand of RIS before this one, because the chances are good this would have turned me off to the whole style.

05-02-2008 01:01:49 | More by travloh
Photo of BarryMFBurton
BarryMFBurton

Indiana

3.75/5  rDev +3%

06-15-2014 19:08:15 | More by BarryMFBurton
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Czar Brew - Russian Imperial Stout Aged In Oak Bourbon Barrels from Sprecher Brewing Company
83 out of 100 based on 92 ratings.