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

Not Rated.
Czar Brew - Russian Imperial Stout Aged In Oak Bourbon Barrels
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BA SCORE
83
good

115 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 115
Reviews: 49
rAvg: 3.68
pDev: 15.49%
Wants: 7
Gots: 14 | 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)
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Ratings: 115 | Reviews: 49 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of t0rin0
3.75/5  rDev +1.9%

Photo of jaydoc
3.8/5  rDev +3.3%

Photo of womencantsail
2.05/5  rDev -44.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Thanks? to Greg for sharing this...

A: The beer pours almost black in color with a finger of tan head.

S: When the first thing you smell is butter, you're rarely in for anything good. Lots of butter, a bit of roast and bourbon, a touch of vanilla, and some sourness. Not sure whether that's vinegar or just too much booze.

T: The flavor is much the same. Heavy on the butter with a more pronounced sourness and even more booze. Light bourbon and vanilla flavors with lots of roast and oak, some coffee is also there.

M: Medium bodied with very low carbonation.

O: This was a nice contribution to the dump bucket.

Photo of emerge077
3.13/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

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.

Photo of TMoney2591
3.7/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in a Dogfish Head shaped pint glass.

There was a "render unto Caesar" joke in my head for this at one point, but I doubt it would've turned out very well. Still, this brew pours a straight black-brown topped by a healthy tan foam. The nose comprises chocolate, roasted malts, oak, cheesy omelets, and molasses. I'm pretty sure that cheesy/eggy smell comes from the barrels, but have no way to prove it. Regardless, it doesn't do the beer any favors. The taste holds notes of roasted malts, oak, vanilla, caramel, dark chocolate, light coffee, and a slight twinge of whiskey. The body is a hefty-ish medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a nearly chewy feel. Overall, a nearly solid big stout, but the slightly off smell and a body that's just a bit too light do not help the drinkability very much here.

Photo of zeff80
4.1/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out an opaque, jet black color with a brown, foamy and bubbly head. It left trails of soapy lace.

S - It smelled of bourbon, vanilla, oak and roasted malt. There was a slight floral aroma.

T - It tasted very sweet and even a little citrusy. The bourbon flavor was mild but present.

M - It was smooth and soft. A medium to full-bodied beer.

D - This is a very nice RIS. It has unique flavors.

Photo of WVbeergeek
3.25/5  rDev -11.7%

Photo of feloniousmonk
4/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black as the blackest black, under a creamy, smooth, slathering of cocoa-tanned topping. Classic RIS look.

Rich espresso notes in aroma, molasses, cocoa nibs, ...and the onset of sweet bourbon-y notes, ...more flavors reveal themselves, smoke, char, licorice, they keep coming.

And it's there in spades, on the tongue, full flavored, full-bodied, and surprisingly easy going down. Definite whiskey character now covers the palate, sweet vanilla tones coming in, along with the barrell feel.

Fills and coats the palate more, but not in a overly sticky, intrusive way. Nice, even, well-rounded, balanced, with the whiskey flavor always keeping pace. So tasty, and so easy drinking, with plenty of bourbon-ation trucking on down the line.

Photo of InspectorBob
3.5/5  rDev -4.9%

Photo of imperialking
4.25/5  rDev +15.5%

Photo of weeare138
4.33/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of barleywinefiend
3.73/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks RJ
Poured a nice black with a light brown head Nose is quite nice, sweet and slightly chocolate.
Taste is nice with cocoa, light coffee, roasted malts with little bourbon.Mouthfeel is a little thin which is surprising as the taste is so rich. it also had a sour, skunked taste on the tail end of this beer. A good RIS but no Old Rasputin.

Photo of rhoadsrage
4/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(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.

Photo of jrallen34
4.6/5  rDev +25%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I drank this on tap into a snifter.

The beer is black with a light tan head that is gone quickly.

The aroma is very strong with bourbon that really just knocks you on yoru ass. There is also some light oak.

The taste is awesome. It is really sweet with tons of vanilla, makes you question where'd the bourbon though but I guess it shows itself as the vanilla. There is very light bourbon and oak at the end.

The feel is a little too light for a stout but this is incredibly drinkable.

Overall this is a great beer that really shows of its barrel aging unlike so many other BA beers.

Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.35/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of barnzy78
3/5  rDev -18.5%

Photo of sweemzander
3.83/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A massive 1 Liter resealable pop top dipped in wax bottle poured into a snifter. Winter 2009 release printed on the label.

(A)- Pours a thick pitch black color that produced a great creamed coffee colored tan head with good retention. Lots of lacing left behind as it slowly dissipated.

(S)- A rich roasted profile with caramel and brown sugar with bits of molasses and chocolate.

(T)- Very similar to the smell. A new and bigger raisin character within the roasted profile. Bits of caramel and molasses.

(M)- A good carbonation level and balance. Has a good roasted profile and richness to it. A bit slick mouthfeel with a slight salty component coming through about 1/2 way into the bottle.

(D)- A good stout for sure. I am afraid that this is starting to show signs of going bad due to the signs of that salty soy sauce character, so I am glad I opened this when I did. A solid example of the style and enjoyable. They are still making this, so it is not retired as far as I know. I see the 2010 release in stores

Photo of tpd975
3.95/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Enjoyed this one with a buddy along side of some wonderful smoked bourbon marinated ribs.

A: Nice black with a head that bubbles up to one finger and then fades quickly. The head fades to a nice solid ring and leaves very little lacing.

S: Sort of mild, expect a bit more to be honest. Tons of rich rousted malts. Sweet Bourbon, Molasses, and Chocolate can be noted.

T: Pretty nice, though the ribs were better than the beer. Hints of chocolate and coffee right up front. The bourbon oak flavor comes next which ends with a bit of sweet and smoke.

M: Medium to full bodied not quite chewy. Would have liked it a bit thicker to be honest.

D: Due to the size of the bottle this one is perfect to share.

Overall: This is a rather rare brew that I am glad came thru my local beer guy. I had been holding it back for quite sometime as I really wanted to share this one. When my buddy invited me over for bourbon marinated ribs, I just knew I had to bring this one along. Well let me say the ribs were to die for and the beer was a nice match. We really enjoyed this one before moving onto an Abyss to finish off the dinner. It really is a must try if you can fine it. For those who can not. Well it sucks to be you.

Photo of Bung
4/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of jbaker67
3.75/5  rDev +1.9%

Photo of mcallister
4/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very dark bordering on black but more of a charred wood color. Loose fluffy mocha head fades quickly into a light lace and resilient topping to the liquid.

Burnt woody aromas with hints of bourbon, coconut, dark chocolate, mollasses, blackberry, alcohol, vanilla, and currant. A lactose type aroma at the end of it all, almost a heavy cream type aroma.

Very creamy mouthfeel yet too thin. Great flavors of dark semi sweetened chocolate layered with rich vanilla. The oak and bourbon show through nicely but don't overpower. The "stout" seems like it could have held up a little better to the barrel aging or it may have been aged slightly too long. Very feminine and lacking depth. Black berry, currant, smokey meats, and an earthy feel. Yet just lacking depth. A very good beer but way overpriced.

Photo of atone315
3/5  rDev -18.5%

Photo of Crosling
3/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

1.0 L Bad Boy. Dark brown color with a small head with a very light tan shade to it. Nose is fairly dynamic and shows some toasted wood, coconut, vanilla, cocoa, roast, fruit, but also a little funk. Flavor doesn't match the complexity of the nose and lacks richness. Very light malts, with light hints of chocolate. Mainly dominated by the barrel, but unfortunately there is some unwelcome contamination with the brew. It's fairly sour and funked and doesn't pair well with the delicacies of a BBA IS.

Photo of jzeilinger
3.9/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Served at room temp. Pours an opaque jet black color with a nice finger or two caramel colored head. You hold this thing to the light and there's nothing going through it, looks like motor oil. Would be best served in a snifter.

Smells of caramel, some toffee notes, vanilla, dark chocolate. This beer does nothing to hide the booze, it's up front and in your face, it smells pretty darn good. Has a little peppery note in the aroma.

The taste really mirrors its aroma. Nice blend of caramel, vanilla, dark chocolate, deep roasted malt, some black licorice, and a very slight touch of coffee bean. But it gets better, there's a huge amount of bourbon flavor in this beer, one of the "booziest" stouts I've had. Regarding the bourbon booze flavor in the Czar: I don't like to mention other brewers in a review but I would say this beer rivals and surpasses the Goose Island Bourbon County Stout and I didn't think that was possible. It's definitely not shy, but in your face and has a very noticeable warming in the throat from the bourbon.

Mouthfeel is surpisingly thin for a massive beer like this and is very smooth. Drinkability is very good but unfortunately the body makes it fall flat on its face and lost points.

The bottle I had was massive - 1L. I'm not sure if this is how the brewer bottles this particular beer, or if I happened to find the man-size version. Definitely need to share with a friend or two unless you want to fall off your chair. I've never heard of the brewery, but I absolutely loved this beer. Definitely worth checking out, I'm going back to buy another bottle or two.

Photo of RedneckBeerz
3.5/5  rDev -4.9%

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Czar Brew - Russian Imperial Stout Aged In Oak Bourbon Barrels from Sprecher Brewing Company
83 out of 100 based on 115 ratings.