The Czar - Avery Brewing Company
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Ratings: 1,504 | Reviews: 849 | Show All Ratings:
Reviews by Chrysostom:
3.89/5 rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4
Here's a beer for a cool day. This is from the 2012 release (11.1% ABV, right in the middle of the range), cellared (at somewhat too cold a temperature) until now. $9 for a 22 ounce bomber.
CONTRARY TO my usual practice and disclaimer, this review is not 100% live. I already drank half the bottle with a meal (less than an hour ago) and took notes on paper while drinking it. I am incorporating an exact letter-for-letter transcript of those hand-written notes in to this review, which is live insofar as I gain any new insights as I'm finishing the second half of the bottle while writing it.
A: (transcribed from notes) "Appearance: Frosty dark chocolate, opaque wit/ [sic] translucent ruby highlights. Small head, larger than [a] fresh [bottle], recedeth [very slowly] to ring and cap, [moderate] thin sheet lacing [with good retention, showing this beer has hops, able to retain a head or lacing of any sort at 11% ABV]."
S: (transcribed from notes) "Smell: Subdued booze, baker's coca [sic]. Very little going on in the nose relative to the bigness of the beer - maybe too cold? An effect of aging or improper storage?"
T: (transcribed from notes) "Taste: Astringent alcohol bite up front, accentuated by spicy hops. Roast[ed] & mild [subdued] dark fruit flavours advance as alcohol & hop bite recedes, but doth not vanish. [Leather and blackstrap molasses become notable upon warming. This is very much like an imperial version of Meantime London Porter. However, hops dominate the flavour to too-great of a degree for a stout, in imbalance with everything else, likely due to the synergistic effect of hop spice and alcohol burn, leading to a full one-point subtraction for this alone.]"
M: (transcribed from notes) "M: Sharp and clean, a rarity for imperial stouts of any IBU or ostensible [level of] hopping. [Very warming in the throat and stomach with little-to-no burn, like good liquor.] "
Drinkability: Moderate; somewhat rich and a bit compromised by the alcoholic bite. I can finish a bomber of this, but would not want a second.
Overall: My numerical ratings do not do this beer justice. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts, even its "overall" rating (which is just one component part of the true "overall-ness"). It is a solid 4 out of 5, maybe higher. This is, as said above, like a Meantime London Porter (one of my all-time favorite porters, up there with Samuel Smith's) done bigger in every way, but retaining the same contours of profile. This is an excellent cold-weather libation, best consumed in moderation (even by alcoholics: switch to something lighter after a bottle of this).
A truly "imperial" ale, this one should bear wearing the purple instead of red.
To style: 72/100 (10 points subtracted due to poor masking of alcohol for style)
To taste: 80/100
Serving type: bottle
09-25-2013 04:39:59 | More by Chrysostom
More User Reviews:
3.79/5 rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75
1 PINT 6 FL OZ bottle
Served in a snifter
Batch 10 Nov, 2011
A - It is black with about a half inch of tan head.
S - I get a combination of dark chocolate and cocoa.
T - The taste has components of dark chocolate, anise, alcohol, and roasted malt.
M - Full
O - It is not a bad beer. It has held up well. The only thing that is off is a little burnt flavor on the finish, but it is mild. Now I need to try a fresh one sometime.
Serving type: bottle
03-15-2014 00:11:52 | More by buschbeer
3.74/5 rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5
This was one of the many beers poured at the December Albany Taproom bottle share. Whoever brought this, thanks! Poured out of a 22oz bottle into a tulip glass.
Yeah, this is a RIS alright - and it really shows how it's a type of stout all unto itself, in some ways. Extremely blackened, with maybe some brownish streaks at the sides of the glass, but otherwise, this looks half solid from afar. Contains a strong off-khaki head that makes this resemble freshly brewed espresso or some delectable, thickened chocolate beverage of sorts. The head dissipates pretty quickly, but it does leave behind a good ring and some sticky lacing. Definitely a good looking, mouth watering inducing RIS.
Wow, this one sure is sweet though, and I can already tell based off of the aroma at hand. Huge milk chocolate syrup, burnt vanilla, molasses, dark cherries, and raisins, with some noticeable roasted notes way at the back of the beer. Some roasted coffee beans, charred grains, maybe cinnamon? It's difficult to make out, and it's very overpowered by the sugar and intense candied dark fruit character. Caramel and toffee definitely shine through, as well as a slight bitter licorice and pine profile. Overall, though, wow. Looks like it's going to be hedonistic as far as the style goes.
Sweet Jesus! This is extremely sweet, and it's filled with heat as well. While it's definitely complex enough and enjoyable, I was glad after one sip that I was only getting about a few ounces worth. Big notes of semi-dark chocolate syrup, light coffee, molasses, vanilla, burnt maraschino cherries, raisins, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Cloves, pine, and anise are at the back, as are the roasted malty notes that make up the beer, but this is definitely approaching Dark Lord sweetness, only without the soy sauce notes. On the bright side, carbonation is pretty good here, and strong enough that it elevates the roasted nuances hidden somewhere in this beer. Finishes pretty hot, with some silky and full bodied characteristics, but the sugar, combined with the high booze, got to be a little too much over time.
This is by far one of the sweetest RIS offerings I've had to date, and I'm wondering if this was an older bottle or it's simply meant to be this intense. While I don't mind sweetness in a beer, I do like some roasted character and bitterness to off set it a bit. This almost drinks like a port, but it does contain a chocolate character that is strong, pungent, and memorable, to its credit. While it's not my favorite RIS, it's definitely one to check out at least once for what it has to offer.
Serving type: bottle
03-12-2014 22:13:35 | More by magictacosinus
3.48/5 rDev -11.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25
Poured from a 22oz bottle marked "Batch No. 12 Oct 2013" into an Avery tulip.
Appearance - pours a dark syrup, no light coming through. A thin, mocha head that has great retention, but leaves minimal lace.
Smell - some dark chocolate, mocha, spice and maybe some maple syrup and toffee.
Taste - whoa, this is hot; a big, no nonsense beer. Bold flavors similar to Ten Fidy, but the alcohol is much more present.
Feel - heavy, chewy; definitely a sipper. Finishes too sweet.
Overall - a no doubt about it, big beer! Take your time with this one! Poor value.
Serving type: bottle
03-08-2014 03:59:08 | More by DenverHopHead
The Czar from Avery Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 1,504 ratings.