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The Czar - Avery Brewing Company

Not Rated.
The CzarThe Czar

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

1,844 Ratings

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Ratings: 1,844
Reviews: 889
rAvg: 3.94
pDev: 11.42%
Wants: 79
Gots: 270 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,844 | Reviews: 889
Photo of Sammy
3.6/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This is contra the herd, but I left most of this bottle for cooking. There was an overpowering bittersweetness that left this not very drinkable for me. Yes, beautiful black. Aroma of sweet molasses and maybe fig and dates and other fruit. And while masked, alcohol way too much.

A bomber 18 months later, and yes, I left the majority to cooking. very smooth and syruppy bittersweet. Improved rating, but not the pentultimate.

Three years later and good, brandyish. One of Avery's best still not the greatest imperial stout.
six years later and hangs in rgere, an aged version for 7 years and not so drinkable, but barleywinish.

Photo of t0rin0
4/5  rDev +1.5%

Photo of spycow
3.75/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.92/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

My bottle says 11.69% ABV.

Pours an opaque black with a very small 1/2 inch tan head that fades to a film around the edges of the top of the beer. Very little lacing with small dots here and there on the glass. Smell is of milk, toffee, candied fruits, and slight alcohol. Taste is of toffee, candied fruits, and roasted malt/coffee on the finish. There is a definite strong alcohol burn in the back of the throat with each sip. Low carbonation makes for a thick and chewy mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good RIS but the alcohol burn on this one takes away from the score.

Photo of djrn2
4/5  rDev +1.5%

Photo of zestar
4/5  rDev +1.5%

Photo of acurtis
3.5/5  rDev -11.2%

Photo of Texasfan549
4.25/5  rDev +7.9%

Photo of GRG1313
4.3/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Stuffed Sandwich. Very dark black with big assertive coffee/toffee and fruit nose.

Well balanced flavors of espresso, carmel and toffee with lots of sweet fruit and undertones and back palate of bitter chocolate.

Finishes with light hops and a bit sweet (a pleasant thing). A lovely drinking beer.

Then, decided to compare it to Czar in a bottle - side by side which was great fun.

Bottle poured same color but with a big thick tan head. Nose of toffee and carmel was more assertive than that on draft and also had a bit of a pineapple character to the nose.

Bottle had a creamy mouth feel with bold chocolate and carmel flavors that finished to a hop bitterness. Complex flavors an character.

Czar on draft appeared to be a bit more fruity and a bit sweeter than that in the bottle.

Both, draft and bottle were very nice and one of the "better" Russian Imperial Stouts. (Note, both draft and bottle were 2008).

Photo of nmann08
4.5/5  rDev +14.2%

Photo of kjkinsey
4/5  rDev +1.5%

Photo of metter98
3.9/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is jet black in color. It poured with a thin tan head that has very good retention properties and hardly died down, leaving some lacing running down the sides of the glass.
S: Aromas of licorice stand out in the nose.
T: The taste has flavors of roasted malts and licorice along with and a light amount of bitterness. There are some hints of alcohol in the finish.
M: It feels rather full-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation. There is a bit of alcohol warming in the finish along with some roastiness.
O: Although this beer is quite strong, it's not too difficult to drink because the alcohol flavors are not too prevalent and do not really detract from the taste.

Note: Batch No. 10, November 2011 vintage

Photo of kylehay2004
3.92/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of olradetbalder
4.25/5  rDev +7.9%

Photo of brentk56
4.05/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Dark espresso color with a modest head and a reasonable bit of lacing

Smell: Lots of dark fruit, chocolate and alcohol on the nose

Taste: Lovely dark fruit and bitter chocolate profile up front with a hoppy character developing by mid-palate; the finish is rich and chocolatey; the alcohol makes its presence felt early, but after the swallow, as the brew warms up, a complex dark fruit aftertaste is a pleasant surprise

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with modest carbonation

Drinkability: Wonderful flavor but a bit too alcoholic

Photo of ygtbsm94
3/5  rDev -23.9%

Photo of jaydoc
3.75/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of BEERchitect
4.23/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A serious punch in the mouth! Though it's been over a year since I last tried this beer, it's still as aggressive as ever. Almost black with a light crimson window of color. Smells as stout as would ever be expected with a few fruity accents. Tastes very thick and very rich of molassas, licorice, grapes, roastiness, charcoal, chocolate, espresso, and bourbon. All rolled into an assertive, over-the-top stout. Starts out smooth and alcoholicly hot / sweet into an aggressively roasted / hopped finish. A lot of complexity, softened by the sweetness, but mean with its alcohol and roastedness. Reminds me a lot of Bourbon County Stout by Goose Island, just not as melded--not yet.

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.3/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle (2005 – 11%): Poured a deep black (but not completely opaque) color stout with a small foamy head with minimal retention. Aroma of roasted malt is weaker then expected and hops are clearly not the main attraction pint here. Taste is also quite rich with roasted malt and some warm alcohol, which is not really of my liking but could have been worse. Body is above average but not as full as some other big Impy stout. I’m not sure if I had set my expectation too high or if I just don’t get it but surely this is not a beer that I will be seeking again in the near future.

Photo of Knapp85
3.7/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This was a little disappointing. I expected something much beer here but it didn't happen. This beer poured out as a pitch black oil thick liquid. The head was minimal and not very attractive in my opinion. The smell of the beer was heavily roasted and had a slight sweetness mixed in with the burnt aromas. The taste of the beer give off a big boozy chocolate flavor with some molasses and dark fruits in the mix. The mouthfeel wasn't overly complex, it was heavy but had no real carbonation to it. Overall I found this beer to be a bit on the flat which was a bummer.

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.3/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottled in 2003. Simple black with surprisingly generous ruby-gold highlights along the bottom edge of the glass. The beer isn't quite the all-encompassing, glass-crowding black hole that I was anticipating. The golden brown sugar colored cap is more bubbly than thick and rich, but still manages to deflate slowly and to leave a thick collar of crust.

While the nose is dark and rich, it lacks the nasal mucosa ripping pungency that the best of this style possess. The aroma consists of uber-roasted black malt, darkest fruit (raisin paste, prunes) and molasses. It isn't all that deep or broad. The flavor better be more forthcoming or I won't be so kind.

Thankfully, it is. The Czar is tremendously well-mannered, while still delivering potent, taste bud saturating dark malty goodness. Although the mouthfeel could be thicker and richer, the flavor is out of this world. Bittersweet chocolate, blackstrap molasses and anise are the principal elements. Hints of sooty smoke are present as well, while coffee is a no-show.

I didn't mean to overlook the dark fruit and still kickin' hops. One need only look beneath the massive maltiness and those flavors are there for the appreciating. The fact that spicy Hallertau still make an impact speaks to the quantity that must have been present at the time of bottling. The ABV is listed as 12.2% above and 11.9% on this bottle of '03. Either way, it doesn't taste like it. Age, no doubt, has helped.

I could tell by the black cherry color of the beer as it was poured and by the considerable highlights in the glass that The Czar wouldn't feel like heavy cream in the mouth. I think it would be a better beer with more heft, but it's so silky smooth that I don't mind all that much. Actually, the mouthfeel tempts one to gulp rather than sip. Given the stealth ABV, that's a recipe for total body numbing (I speak from firsthand experience, time to slow down).

The Czar is one of Avery's finest big beer creations and is a more than respectable Russian Imperial Stout. A bigger, more luxurious mouthfeel would have increased my enjoyment since it would have allowed the tremendously deep flavor profile to linger all the longer. I didn't taste it fresh, but I can't help but believe that the two years of rest were two years well spent. Thanks to prAna for the penultimate beer from the first trade that I ever made.

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
3.75/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of mikesgroove
4.38/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Seems like it had been forever since I had this one, and indeed I believe the 2006 vintage was the last bottle I had tried. Well walking into Barley's and seeing it on tap, fresh is nice so I ordered up a 10oz pours to hang out with for a while. Served in a small glass this one was consumed on 1/26/2010,
The pour was damn near perfect. Huge billowing brown head leaps up and above the dark, abyss like body. Insanely thick and menacing looking, this one really did not want to settle down at all. I did not remember it looking so damn good. I lean in for a whiff and immediately notice a strong aroma of sweet coffee that seems to be cut by a large amount of hops. Hmm. Hints of vanilla, touches of what almost seem to be molasses and dark German chocolate are all coming at me now. Very nice and very complex I have to admit. Rich, super thick feel here as the velvet like carbonation allows the body to twirl around the tongue and lets the flavor infuses every inch of the tongue. Rich chocolate decadence layered on top of a smooth, coffee flavor that is just accented wonderfully by a crisp, clean and somewhat drying hop bite. Final sips yield touches of vanilla which only serve to sweeten up that much more.
Overall I really think this one needs to get a lot more credit. At least this year's version is super tight and really could hold its own against almost anything. Was very happy sipping on this offering today for sure.

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.12/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

this is a cellared version, 2010 vintage, bottle says 11.69% abv. pours an espresso black with a pretty good head for an aged beer. smells really really strong, like smelling salts intense, with notes of black licorice, dark chocolate, and toffee. taste is huge as well, about as imperial as a stout can get. really strong alcohol punch, especially as it warms, like taking a shot. really nice bouquet of flavors happening here, even a noticable spice hint. mouthfeel is thick and sludgy, even for the genre. really syrupy and sweet, leaves a layer on the tongue and teeth. usually that would repulse me, but this is a nearly 2 year old imperial stout, its supposed to be gnawed on. overall a wicked brew, the biggest ive had from avery, although now i want to try the mephistopheles! also would be keen to try a fresh one, and see how much the aging process changed the beverage. not an everyday drink for sure, but a heck of a nice treat

Photo of largadeer
3.67/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2007 bottle.

Appearance - Dark and opaque with amber highlights; not quite the pitch black that I've come to expect from Russian Imperial Stouts. Starts with about an inch of tan-colored head that disappears too quickly.

Smell - Sweet roasted malts, espresso, a bit of woodsmoke, floral hoppiness.

Taste - Molasses, anise, a bit of cocoa. Good balance of sweet and bitter flavors. Finishes with a smooth and mild roasted bitterness. The nearly 12% ABV is nicely concealed.

Mouthfeel - On the heavier side of medium-bodied; soft effervescence. Not especially thick or coating for a Russian Imperial stout.

Notes - A good, but not great, Russian Imperial stout. Worth trying.

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The Czar from Avery Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 1,844 ratings.