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The Czar - Avery Brewing Company

Not Rated.
The CzarThe Czar

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
87
very good

899 Reviews
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 899
Hads: 1,908
rAvg: 3.88
pDev: 12.37%
Wants: 86
Gots: 295 | FT: 13
Brewed by:
Avery Brewing Company visit their website
Colorado, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  10.57% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Wildman on 01-05-2003

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of The Czar Alström Bros
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Reviews: 899 | Hads: 1,908
Photo of HopsAreDaMan
3.03/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

22OZ bomber. The date on the bottle is Oct. 2013. Drank it after putting it in the freezer for about 10 mins. (after having it at room temp ~70-75F), so I am guessing it was barely at cellar temp. Decent amount of fizz when opened, poured rich chocolaty brown, with a head that fizzled out relatively quickly; there was a little lacing. It seemed a little better (less harsh) when tried from a small glass that was in freezer (thus lowering the temp of the beer itself). The consistency didn't impress me: when aggressively swilled in the glass, there was little head I was able to induce--as I am able to do with other beers.

The aroma is largely of burnt toast (not my favorite aroma). Clearly some bitterness in the flavor. True, I get some complexity in the flavor, but it's too harsh for me (even keeping in mind that I tend to like a good bang of flavor in my beer).

Overall: a little disappointed, especially as the beer has almost 2 years age on it. It's the first go-around with this particular beer, but I've had a number of other imperial stouts, and this one stands below the rest. However, I have read this beer can handle up to 8 years of being cellared, so I plan to get another bottle and sit on it for a few more years. UPDATE: I bought another bottle, hoping to wait a least another year. (1,311 characters)

Photo of Tone
4.25/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a black color. 1/5 inch head of an off-tan color. Slight retention and decent lacing. Smells of hops, alcohol, sweet malt, slight roasted malt, hint of yeast, slight wood, and a hint of liquor. Fits the style of a Russian Imperial Stout. Mouth feel is sharp and clean, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of strong alcohol, slight hop, strong sweet malt, roasted malt, wood, hint of liquor, hint of hop, and a hint of yeast. Overall, weak appearance, but strong aroma, body, good blend, and complexity, and feel. (531 characters)

Photo of biboergosum
3.69/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

22oz, gold foil capped bottle, October 2014 version, @8.5% ABV - a surprise find in one of the better grocery stores in Ponderay, Idaho, after my having tried to secure it on two separate trips to Colorado the past two autumns for you-know-what. Will wonders never cease?

This beer pours a fairly solid black, but for the prominent red cola basal highlights, visible even sans backlighting, and one skimpy finger of weakly puffy, loosely foamy, and mostly bubbly beige head, which leaves some minor instances of mitochondrial lace around the glass as it quickly blows off.

It smells of sharp black licorice, bittersweet chocolate, indistinct black and red orchard fruit, a lesser roasted caramel malt sweetness, free-range reduced dark sugars, and a sidling, almost metallic booziness. The taste is grainy, bready caramel malt, medium-sweet cocoa powder, thinned-out molasses, a lessened earthy anise essence, still muddled dark berry fruit, pretty tame citrus and pine resin bitters, and a weirdly hovering and brashly young-seeming alcohol measure.

The bubbles are mostly absent in their otherwise shadowy and frothy support effort for the cause, the body a wavering medium weight for the purported style, and generally smooth, even with you-know-who lurking about. It finishes semi-sweet, the cocoa, licorice, and caramel tentatively agreeing to work together to iron out the lingering wrinkles.

While I'm glad that I've finally completed the Dictator Series from Avery, it feels like I've somehow been cheated, what with the barely up-there ABV (on paper, yet strangely not in real life), and the overall lower than usual fullness of being that one might expect from an American, nay, a Boulder-located brewer of an RIS! A bit disappointing, but really not, ya know? (1,778 characters)

Photo of South2NW
3.9/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured nearly jet black with a thin chocolate head that disappeared quickly. smells of dark roast coffee with something close to a chocolate caramel candy. Taste is again dark roast coffee and chocolate, but with quite a bit of booze. Alcohol isn't masked in this beer. However, it is still quite drinkable. A year in the cellar may do this some good. (351 characters)

Photo of Cylinsier
4.43/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Tap

Pours jet black, bit of tan lacing.

Smells of caramel, brown sugar, coffee, vanilla, and cocoa.

Tastes of roasted coffe beans, chocolate, vanilla, licorice, and oak.

Full viscous body with tingly carbonation on the roof of the mouth. Slight warmth going down.

Superb stout, great across the board. Definitely a top shelf stout. (338 characters)

Photo of SerialTicker
4.25/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

14304B6 on the bottle... bottled 304th day of '14? Batch 6? Not sure. Not a big fan of these sorts of codes... I'm not sure what's wrong with simply putting 103114 on the bottle if that's when it was bottled. Anyway...

Appearance: Poured this into an over-sized Perfect Pint glass. Almost got the whole bottle in the glass, but then the head nearly overflowed. Two finger head goes away pretty quickly, leaving some lacing behind. Nothing but a beige colored ring is left on top. (4.25/5)

Smell: Kind of almost cocoa hoppy... there's a sort of gritty roast aroma with chocolate and earthy and grassy sort of hops. It definitely doesn't smell like some self-proclaimed hoppy stouts out there, and it also doesn't smell like a typical roast-forward imperial stout either. As it warms, a little booziness comes out as well as the usual suspect dark fruits like raisins/dates/etc. Additionally, there is a very slight soy sauce vibe that I get occasionally in the style. (4.25/5)

Taste/feel: Very similar to the smell... a pretty unique imperial stout. Dark fruit sweetness at the front, a slight booziness and roasted malt flavor in the middle, and then a slightly warming, bittersweet, and very dry finish. While the alcohol doesn't taste particularly strong or warm a whole lot, my tongue feels like it's getting hit with a beer that has a much higher amount of alcohol. On some sips I can really taste the hops -- they seem to come through as a little earthy or grassy like in the aroma, but they also seem to have a faint citrus flavor that accents the dark fruits. I mean I could be one of those people who makes things up to make for a more interesting review, but regardless, this is a beer that I feel I could easily pick out of a line-up, it's that different for the style. The feel is a silky-ish with a moderate body and slightly prickly carbonation -- that makes no sense, but the body seems to change every other sip. Either way, it has a very nice feel to it. (4.25/5, 4.25/5)

Interesting. I wasn't sure what I thought at first sip. It's not at all hoppy enough to taste like a mislabeled black IPA or even a hoppy stout, but The Czar has hop accents that tend to not be found in the style. A bottle of this was $8.99, and I'd definitely say the intrigue factor of this beer would have me coming back to it again at some point.

(4.25/5)

EDIT: This beer shines a stupid amount once it's approximately room temperature. Ridiculous. The 8.5% (per the label) feels more like 12% so there's a massive warmth, the flavors meld exceptionally well, and The Czar comes together in spectacular fashion. Even the aroma takes a big turn -- I actually really enjoy the huge alcohol presence. There's also a caramel malt and, strangely, an almost doughiness that comes through that I really enjoy. I'm tempted to bump my ratings up, but I'll keep them where they are because, you know, intoxication influence. (2,912 characters)

Photo of Jeffreysan
4.91/5  rDev +26.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

22 oz bottle, poured into a goblet

Appearance: Pours a beautiful, completely opaque, pitch-black color, with a half of a finger of oatmeal-colored head that quickly dissolved away into a thin lacing of foam that completely covered the top of the beer.

Aroma: Very aromatic with strong notes of rich, earthy, bready, roasted malt, which imparted aromas of freshly toasted dark bread, freshly roasted coffee beans, dark chocolate, a touch of licorice, lots of brown sugar and a touch of lactose. Inviting and delicious!

Taste: Wow! Absolutely delicious! Strong flavors of rich, earthy, bready, roasted malt up front, imparting notes of espresso, dark chocolate, a touch of licorice, followed by lots of brown sugar and dark molasses-like sweetness. At the finish, there is just a hint of slightly bitter hops, a kiss really. This is a delicious stout!

Mouthfeel: Chewy and extremely smooth and creamy, as there is no carbonation what-so-ever and a lactose-like, creaminess. With an ABV of 8.5%, there is just a slight hint of alcohol warmth on the palate.

Overall: This is a spectacular Russian Imperial Stout! Earthy, rich, complex, roasty, malty, slightly sweet, and absolutely delicious! The Czar is one of the best non-barrel-aged stouts I’ve had, certainly up there with Avery’s Out of Bounds Stout, Dogfish Head’s World Wide Stout, Evil Twin’s Love You with My Stout, Sierra Nevada’s Stout, Founders’ Imperial Stout, Great Lakes’ Blackout Stout, Oskar Blues Ten-Fiddy, etc. Another stellar beer from Avery! I love this brewery! (1,565 characters)

Photo of TheSixthRing
3.65/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Pours near black with cola brown edging where light can penetrate. Tan, finger width head that fizzes away rather quickly, leaving behind a thin, broken layer of suds across the top.

Smell - Toffee, chocolate and a bit of darkened grain. Faint booziness.

Taste - Prominently toffee and chocolate flavors upfront. Earth and a touch of raisin hits mid-taste. Distant coffee roast character. Caramel hits near the finish, then booze-laden astringency in the finish.

Mouthfeel - Full in body with low to moderate carbonation. Lightly syrupy, then a dry finish.

Overall - Decent RIS. Not quite as approachable as Old Raspy, as the boozy finish can feel a bit taxing; it also fails to deliver anything special. I'll finish the bottle and probably won't look back. (774 characters)

Photo of Beer-Revelry
4.53/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a Duvel snifter glass.

A - 4.5 - Pours to an extremely dark brown color, (pitch black if not held to light), forms a finger and a half of extremely dark tan colored head. Medium head potential, low head retention, spotty lacing.
S - 4.5 - Classic. Heavy on the roasty malt bill, lightly smoked, lots of medium sweet chocolate and coffee mingle together and create a distinct "mocha" aroma, slightly medicinal licorice, fennel and star anise.
T - 4.75 - Sweet malt and chocolate, fades into a light cherry-almond-marzipan flavor, finishes on a medium sweet medium bitter coffee end. Bitterness lingers in the after taste which helps to balance out that initial upfront sweetness.
F - 4.25 - Decent medium body, the only aspect that is lacking a bit. Claims to gain density with age, but a beer as "supremely limited" as this should perhaps have a more luxurious mouthfeel even fresh.
O - 4.25 - Overall, I think this is a great representation of the standard, american double stout style and I recommend it to fans of the style. (1,041 characters)

Photo of Brutaltruth
4.19/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

An absolute favorite----this RIS pours a pitch black with a firm tan head of foam that dies down to a moderate layer of tight beaded foam and FANTASTIC lacing. Nose of bakers chocolate, raisins, hints of smoke, a touch of coffee, deeply roasted malts, and strong booze. Flavors exceed the nose with strong dark chocolate and deeply roasted malts that mingle with a toffee like sweetness on the middle and sides. A mildly smoked malt note comes through on the aftertaste with near burnt malts and strong booze on the aftertaste. Creamy yet abrasive mouth feel is lightly lifted by goodly amounts of carbonation. Begs for a cigar and a fire----OR a hot summer day. A near perfect imperial.

Cheers (703 characters)

Photo of KevChiTown
3.67/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

I'm so posses that I sat on this for a couple months. Drink it when you buy it. Perfect example of a beer not meant to be aged. Weird tin flavor. A little sweet, very thin no burn. (180 characters)

Photo of alarmclock314
4.25/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22oz bottle, batch #13, Oct 2014. The label also lists: 22.8 deg Plato, 55 IBUs, and 8.5% ABV. Pours brownish black with a somewhat small tan head which leaves some good lacing behind. Smells of slightly floral hops, roasted malts, cocoa, and espresso. Taste follows in the same order; floral, roast, cocoa, and espresso bitterness. Slightly sweet. The carbonation is low-medium and the body feels right for the style. Would have liked a touch more alcohol sizzle. Overall, I enjoyed the bold flavors and felt they worked well together. (544 characters)

Photo of Flounder57
4.02/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle was poured into a snifter. Oct 2014 bottle date and 8.5% ABV.

Appearance: A two finger mocha head was poured that reduced to a thin layer. It is a pitch black color with no vision of anything. Spotty lacing down the glass as the beer was drank.

Smell: Smoke, toffee, caramel, molasses, bittersweet chocolate, and toasted malts. Some earthiness and dark fruits too.

Taste: Flavors more noticeable as it warmed. Very similar to the aromas. Nice maltbill, some warm booze, slight bitterness, and dark fruit characteristics. A bit more sweetness could make this beer tastier.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, full bodied, medium carbonation, char bitterness, and warm boozy alcohol.

Overall: Not as sweet as I normally like them, but still a good one. Definitely a sipped that hot better as it warmed. (815 characters)

Photo of larryarms847
3.54/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Aged almost two years, this pours a very thin dark brown with a thin dark brown that quickly dissipates and leaves a razor thin layer of foam.

Huge aroma of toasted (nearing burnt) malts, a whiff of chocolate, and then a very peculiar and unexpected pummeling of nutmeg, cinnamon, and other random spices. Rather off-putting.

I dug the aroma in a sort of air freshener sort of way, but at first sip, the initially off-putting bouquet of spices really expands once it hits the tongue. Very spiced, chocolate, roasted nuts, and more spice. and more spice.

Heavy bodied, light carbonation, thin, spiced, grainy.

Folks, take it from me, either this is meant to be enjoyed fresh or not at all. (692 characters)

Photo of HattedClassic
4.1/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a nice foamy and oak brown head that dissolves surprisingly quickly. The beer itself is a a nice opaque black that somewhat has a more brownish mahogany color. A more closer look at the beer reveals more. The beer appears to have a slight viscosity to it; similar to molasses and gives it a nice, appealing, and fluid movement.

The beer has a very strong oak smell that dominates the other notes when it's cold.. The smell has a vanilla note that mixes with the oak. The hops are floral but are dominated by the other notes. Other notes include a roasted barely smell that comes off as oak sometimes. Additionally, the beer has a sweet toffee smell that sometimes disappears. Overall, the smell is a bit heavy on the nose with its oak, barely, and toffee smells that the hops barely make it through until it warms up.

After it warms up, the beer has much more complexity to it. The hops become stronger and a hint of molasses pops out. The barley is still there but it does not quite dominate the nose like it used to.

The beer taste is a lot better and much more complex and vivid than the taste. The spicy notes from the hops is noticeable and delicious. The toffee and roasted barely are more present in the aftertaste than anywhere else. The taste also has various spices, which make this a pretty spicy RIS.

The mouthfeel is heavy, yet thin and dry. The beer has some biting carbonation but that seems to be in order for it to have some texture.

Overall, a fantastic beer and worth hunting down and getting if you can. I highly recommend this because of how good it tastes. (1,598 characters)

Photo of Way2drunk
4.61/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Batch #11 NOV 12 11.1% Dictator Series. I found this little gem hidden on a shelf behind other Avery beers in April 2015. Initially not noticing the batch. I tried this stout and immediately fell in love. Standard dark color with light hint of sweetness. I took my first sip and was shocked. I expected average! Mind you I was already enjoying a fresh cigar and this complimented it with perfection. Soft and smooth on the pallet this is one I will seek out in the future for the collection. Yes Please! (505 characters)

Photo of goods003
3.81/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Look: Poured nice with a nice white head to it..quickly disapates. Smell: not a strong smell to it, which I usually like my stouts to have a nice nose to them.
Taste: Nice roasted chocolate flavor to this..sticks around on the back of the tongue too. (250 characters)

Photo of craftbeersweden
3.82/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Bought at the releasedate in Sweden (march 6 - 2015).

I hade pretty high expectations on this beer given the brewery's good reputation and the rating of erlier years version of the beer. I got a little dissapointed when I saw that this 2014 edition had lower ABV. 8.5% instead of 10-13%.
Well. Let's get on with it! This is my review:

Dark redbrown, hazy beer with a two finger high beige head that leaves lacing on the glass.
I took this bottle right from the fridge so I think it's a little bit cold.

Nose: Hops, brown sugar, molasses, fudge, chocolate, raisin, plums, dark syrup, dried fruit and vanilla. Milk chocolate and candy. A type of sour-sweet nose that I really like!
Taste: Red fruit, chocolate, espresso, mocca, brown sugar, licorice, roasted malt, pumpernickel, raisin, pine, cherry and plum.
Body: Full body and fairly complex structure. A light carbonation and a great bitterness to compensate the sweet malt.

Conlusion: I really do like this beer! A great nose even though I took this right out of the fridge. If I had time to wait an hour I think it would grown even bigger. The taste was great but I would like a deeper, thicker body. Maby the older versions of the beer is better on that matter. Still very good though! (1,245 characters)

Photo of DoctorZombies
3.89/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Black (40+) pour into my SAPP with thick, tight dark khaki foam; great lacing. Not much nose at first, but ripe fruit, toffee and licorice as it warms. Chocolate malt base, stone fruit, subtle candy/toffee flavors, with hint of licorice on the finish. Medium lite mouthfeel, velvety tongue coating. Easy to drink and alcohol well hidden. Another winner in the Dictator series. (376 characters)

Photo of dbrauneis
3.99/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Note: Batch 13, October 2014

A: Pours an opaque yet still clear extremely dark jet black in color with light to moderate amounts of gentle visible carbonation along the edges of the glass and some faint dark cola brown highlights. The beer has a finger tall dense foamy dark tan head that slowly reduces to a couple of small patches of medium thick film surrounded by a layer of thin film covering the remainder of the surface of the beer and a thick ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate to significant amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate to strong aromas of dark roasted malts, dark chocolate, and licorice. Lighter notes of candied fruits.

T: Upfront there are moderate to strong flavors of dark roasted malts with moderate flavors of dark chocolate and freshly brewed coffee. That is followed by light to moderate flavors of candied dark fruits and licorice. Moderate amounts of roasty bitterness in the finish which lingers for a short amount of time.

M: Just shy of full bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Light to moderate amounts of alcohol warming in the finish.

O: Very enjoyable, nice complex and rich flavors and aromas with a pretty full mouthfeel. Easy to drink considering the strength of the beer but this one is a definite sipper. (1,273 characters)

Photo of marieli
3.25/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Bottle. 8.5% abv. Please note this 2014 batch is well below its apparent historical ABV of 10+%. Started at 54 degrees. This stout is all about the hops, which sounds kind of strange, but is true. It's the first thing I smelled and it was still there at the end. Taste is not as much, but still there first and foremost. Hint of chocolate on the backside, or maybe its a combo of the toffee and mocha? Bitterness is well managed at first but lingers a bit too long on the tongue. Medium body, slight creaminess. More sweetness came through at the end. I didn't think the alcohol was a taste factor. I certainly did not get the array of flavors some other reviewers seemed to have experienced. Bottom line: this is a pretty good quality beer, if you like hops. (771 characters)

Photo of scotorum
3.84/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle code 14303B7 suggests an October 29th 2014 bottling date. So now it is four months old.

Poured from the 22 oz. bomber into a Samuel Adams nonick.

a: Opaque black with the barest trace of clear ruby at the bottom when seen through light. Inch thick tan head receded to thin even surface foam and dense lacing.

s: Dominated by alcohol

t: Smoothness is the first impression, followed by alcohol and dark roastiness and then a moderate hop/alcohol bite at the sides of the tongue and throat.

m: Very smooth medium to full, oatmeal or milk stoutlike in that respect. Great body, considerable carbonation tingle.

o: An unusual imperial stout, with mild roastiness and no real coffee/chocolate notes to speak of, which seems to leave the alcohol rather naked. Yet it is enjoyable and wonderfully silky. One can imagine this actually having been consumed a century ago by a Russian potentate with great gusto and pleasure. (933 characters)

Photo of jjboesen
3.89/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This review is based on the Czar Batch 13. It opens in a large puffy beige foam atop a dark ruby body; after the initial pour, there is little lacing and a minimal head. The nose detects a subtle whiff of molasses while the palate receives a delectable blend of said molasses and toffee, both of which are finely controlled by the Hallertau hops and English yeast. (Fact: the Russian Imperial Stout is a British style - not actually Russian - of course, you knew this ...?)

There is a tad crispiness in the mouthfeel along with a semi-sweet body that makes for a very nice quaff, despite the potent alcohol boost.

If you really want to expand the experience, I recommend letting this one sit for about 10-15 minutes; this will bring more of the flavor and allow the body to settle. Nice, Comrade! (800 characters)

Photo of aderousseau
4.46/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Easily one of the best stouts you can halfway find on your shop's shelves. Nose is loaded with cereal malts and molasses. I love the sweetness and back of throat alcohol. Another Avery gem that should have higher BA scores in my opinion. (240 characters)

Photo of MadCat
4.25/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Look: Pours black with a thick tan head that leaves considerable lacing

Smell: Earthy, chocolate, coffee, roasted malts, a hint of sweetness

Taste: Starts off earthy, gives you nice dark chocolate, coffee, and roasted malts. A lingering bitterness

Mouthfeel: Full body and chewy. Medium carbonation, which is surprising considering the style and the age of the bottle

Overall: This is a pretty good brew, my bottle is labeled October 2013, so it is about a year and a half old (forgot about it in the cellar). It is pretty good. Love big stouts, especially this time of year. (583 characters)

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The Czar from Avery Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 899 ratings.