The Czar - Avery Brewing Company

Not Rated.
The CzarThe Czar

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BA SCORE
87
very good

897 Reviews
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 897
Hads: 1,899
rAvg: 3.89
pDev: 12.34%
Wants: 84
Gots: 289 | FT: 12
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
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Reviews: 897 | Hads: 1,899
Photo of Sammy
3.6/5  rDev -7.5%
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. (630 characters)

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.92/5  rDev +0.8%
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. (572 characters)

Photo of GRG1313
4.3/5  rDev +10.5%
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). (928 characters)

Photo of metter98
3.9/5  rDev +0.3%
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 (746 characters)

Photo of brentk56
4.05/5  rDev +4.1%
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 (538 characters)

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.12/5  rDev +5.9%
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 (939 characters)

Photo of BEERchitect
4.23/5  rDev +8.7%
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. (681 characters)

Photo of Knapp85
3.7/5  rDev -4.9%
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. (569 characters)

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.3/5  rDev -15.2%
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. (582 characters)

Photo of largadeer
3.67/5  rDev -5.7%
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. (678 characters)

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.3/5  rDev +10.5%
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. (2,378 characters)

Photo of biboergosum
3.69/5  rDev -5.1%
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 falls 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? (1,776 characters)

Photo of mikesgroove
4.38/5  rDev +12.6%
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. (1,445 characters)

Photo of zeff80
4.58/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My 700th Review..but not 700th beer.

2006 Edition

A - Poured out a jet black color with a foamy, creamy-smooth, caramel-colored head. It left sticky rings of lace down the entire glass.

S - It smelled of caramel, roasted malt and floral hops.

T - It tasted of spicy bitter hops. It was overpoweringly malty. Nice chocolate tastes. Also, some alcohol in the taste.

M - It was very smooth and creamy with a warm alcohol presence. It was medium to heavy-bodied.

D - This is simply outastanding. I wonder how it might taste after more aging. (543 characters)

Photo of oberon
4.1/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours like an oil slick completely black with a mocha colored head that is gone pretty quickly,big buttery aromas almost of butterscotch and dark roast coffee.Typical big Impy stout flavors vanilla spiced rum and some butter along with some unsweetened chocolate with the high alcohol coming thru more as it warms.Incredibly smooth mouthfeel went down to easy for me even in the hot NC weather today.A damn solid impy stout glad I gotta chance to try it thanks to hopped up for the chance. (489 characters)

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.15/5  rDev -19%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

(2005 Batch)

Appearance: Pours a black body with ruby-hued edges and a hefty beige head.

Smell: Chocolate malt, caramel, anise, and even a little Madeira. Lesser notes of dried fruits and soy sauce.

Taste: Starts sweet, with flavors of chocolate and caramel. Madeira wine and licorice candy. There's a slight hop bite to it, but it's pretty muddled underneath the malts. Sweet, alcoholic finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation. Slight stickiness on the palate. Very warming.

Drinkability: It's fine, sure, but could benefit from a fuller, body-building malts and added roastiness to help quell the glaring alcohol. (633 characters)

Photo of TMoney2591
3.85/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.

Gotta love the cooler weather, if for no other reason than the widespread rising of big imperial stouts like this one. It pours a straight onyx topped by a finger of tan foam. The nose comprises roasted malts, dark chocolate powder, and a twinge of toasted molasses. The taste brings in more of the same, but the roast is deeper, the chocolate is darker, and there's a strong current of bitter darkness, like treacle mixed with strong coffee and booze. It becomes a bit much over time. The body is pretty hefty, with a light moderate carbonation and a chewy feel. Overall, a solid impy stout, though the roast is a touch strong for its own good. Still, I'd gladly take another. (712 characters)

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.5/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From a bottle that reads "Bottled in 2002.... 1.100 Original Gravity... 70 IBUs... Alcohol 12.2% by Vol." Cellared for nearly 3 years.

With a little coaxing, a short but creamy head of light tan can be brought up over it's very dark, ruby accented mahogany body. The head retention is limited, but that's to be expected in any beer with over 12% alcohol by volume.

The nose is fruity (berries, juicy apples), caramelish, lightly chocolatey, and toasty, with a clear note of alcohol as well.

In the mouth it's surpringly smooth and lightly creamy with a dextrinous, medium body and very fine-bubbled, restrained carbonation (or was some lost during cellaring?).

The flavor is exceptionally caramelish, backed by chocolate, and accented by berry-like fruitiness. There's not much roastiness here...? It's backed by a solid bitterness; and a clear note of alcohol helps to dry it as well. Rich notes or caramel; soft milk chocolate; nuttiness; and a subtle note of mocha java linger in the finish with a forceful spritz of warming alcohol.

Overall, it's a bit "rummy", with good notes of caramel but too much warming alcohol. It's not as rich, malty, or roasty as most examples, but that gives it a unique character that's intriguing. (1,246 characters)

Photo of Kegatron
4.1/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the Capital Ale House. Glen Allen, VA. Served in a sifter.

Pours an impenetrable pitch black with a thin burnt colored tan head. Retains wells around the edges and with small wisps across the center leaving behind lacing that slides the glass. The aroma is deep sweetness, dark roasted malts, floral hops, dark fruits, soy sauce, and some heat.

The taste is a commanding mix of sweet caramel and toffee sweetness, rich chocolate, coffee bitterness, dark fruits, and black licorice. The mouthfeel is full and rich with a big, beefy feel. Alcohol was fairly prevalent, adding some beefy warmth to the body although it did get a little stinging towards the bottom of the glass.

The last time I had this, it was a couple of years ago (I believe a bottle of 05) and I felt that the heat component kind of took a little away from my overall opinion then too. Find yourself a bottle of this now, age it for a couple of years and go nuts. It should be quite heavenly. (975 characters)

Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.78/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

On-tap 1/25/09 at Julian's in Providence, RI, served in a snifter glass.

A: The beer is a deep black color, with a short beige head that fades very slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of dark chocolate, dark fruit, roasted malts and a touch of hops.

T: The taste is malty but not as thick as you would expect. The typical dark chocolate flavor is there but it's not as strong as most big stouts. There are complimentary flavors of dark fruit and coffee, along with a significant alcohol sting and a mild hops presence. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and very smooth, light-to-medium body, medium carbonation, finish is clean.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, very strong kick, good representation of style, this is a good high-octane beer but it's not the first one I would choose in the style. (851 characters)

Photo of mactrail
3.55/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Handsome brew in the Leffe goblet, with the mahogany brown color. Nice beige head with every pour. A little bit viscous but virtually no lacing along the glass. Quite creamy carbonation, pleasing tiny bubbles to go with the thick mouthfeel and rich flavors.

Dark and fruity with a bitter undertone. Toffee is the big malty taste to me. Flavors of dried figs, molasses, dried cranberries. Quite sweet and borders on a candy taste. A sharp taste takes over as the hops come forward. Label says 55 IBUs. Then you get some dark roast malt and a little charred flavor.

Quite sippable. It's a different sort of RIS, with warmer notes and a restrained sweetness. Label says this is Batch no. 10, Nov. 2011. (702 characters)

Photo of russpowell
4.31/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

05 Vintage

Pours Mahogany to black, letting a few tiny shafts of sun light to penetrate the glass as the sun goes down over the Rockies. Impressive 3 finger plus deep fluffy tan head. Great lacing and good head retention

Smell: Maltiness and a hint of alcohol

Taste: Malty chewiness, choclate, hints of licorice. Faint taste of leather, warming spicy alcohol rum-like taste on the finish

MF:Rich and smooth, belies its massive ABV

Very drinkable. I even enjoyed this on a mild Winter's day. Worth seeking out if you like Imperial Stouts/porters (549 characters)

Photo of kojevergas
2.42/5  rDev -37.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.25

Batch no 10. November 2011.

BOTTLE: 1 pint 6 fl oz brown glass with a gold foil-ed over pry-off pressure cap. Served cold into a Guinness goblet and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

Reviewed live as an imperial stout per the label. 10.57% ABV.

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: 1 finger wide. Khaki colour. No lacing sticks to the sides of the glass as the head recedes. Retention is poor - maybe 20 seconds.

BODY: Opaque amber-black. No yeast particulate or hop sediment is visible.

Appears undercarbonated (though this may be from age). Not unique or special for the style, but satisfactory.

AROMA: Raisin, prune, dark malts, dates, grape, and a hint of cherry. Dark malts. Sweet. Fruit dominates.

An obviously aged brew with plenty of depleted sugars.

A decent aroma of average strength. No alcohol or off-notes is/are detectable.

TASTE: Raisin, prune, dark malts, dates, grape, malty sweetness. Raisin and prune dominates. Decidedly Belgian yeast character guides it.

This just plain isn't an imperial stout; it's a Belgian dark ale.

No yeast, alcohol, or off-notes come through.

Fairly balanced. Lacks much complexity/intricacy. There isn't any subtlety here.

TEXTURE: Subtly dry and coarse. Medium-bodied. Overcarbonated. A biteen rough. Uncomfortably astringent. The dryness and coarseness suits the raisin.

Not oily, gushed, hot, boozy, scratchy, or rough.

OVERALL: Downable but underwhelming, and just plain not an imperial stout. It has a Belgian character and lacks sufficient complexity and subtlety. I expected far better.

D+ (1,654 characters)

Photo of smcolw
3.18/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Nice initial pour, but the head drops to a minimal level. Pretty good lace on the glass. Dark mahogany, but light does pass through on the edge.

OK, this is an odd smell to report: beef barley soup from campbells. I do not get any of the usual darker malt aromas.

A thin beer for an Imperial Stout. It is creamy (with lactose sweetness) and has some chocolate flavor. The hop takes over in the swallow, which I find appealing.

What an odd beer, the smells and flavors are so unusual. It is not unappealing, but it is very different from my expectations. (556 characters)

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.52/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: vastly black, thorough and complete in it's darkness and opacity, with a fine, toasted tan coating of froth atop.
Nose sticks out from afar, and is rather distinct from other IS's, in it's creaminess, like Bailey's and ice cream with an extra dollup of whiskey, and a hint of rum. Quite appealing, maple and mollasass and more.
In the taste, all that and then some, but basically, sweet, dark, sticky, and strong. Commandeers the palate, conquers and coats...rich is an understatement, warm is a redundancy, for it's all those things times a thousand, with the alcohol riding high in the saddle as the flavors thicken and coalesce into a wondrous mix, twisted, thick, delicious!
Licorice flavors peek in, too, mingling with dark rum, and meeting up with charcoal and smoke as well, rising handily from glass into mouth.
Full bodied? Duh! Rich texture? Uh, huh! Long, luxuriant, rewarding finish? ...um, ya THINK???
This was a great Imperial Stout, though it didn't upseat any of my previous favorites, it ably made a case as a stand-in, and that's pretty damned good!
Enormous thanks to prAna for this'un! (1,123 characters)

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The Czar from Avery Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 897 ratings.