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The Czar - Avery Brewing Company

The CzarThe Czar

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

1,527 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1527
Reviews: 852
rAvg: 3.93
pDev: 11.96%

Brewed by:
Avery Brewing Company visit their website
Colorado, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  10.57% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: Wildman on 01-05-2003)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,527 | Reviews: 852 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

3.58/5  rDev -8.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

07-18-2004 04:22:51 | More by Sammy
Photo of UCLABrewN84


3.93/5  rDev 0%
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.

Serving type: bottle

06-19-2011 06:55:55 | More by UCLABrewN84
Photo of BuckeyeNation


4.33/5  rDev +10.2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-14-2005 22:21:14 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of mikesgroove

South Carolina

4.4/5  rDev +12%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

01-27-2010 13:57:37 | More by mikesgroove
Photo of brentk56

North Carolina

4.05/5  rDev +3.1%
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

Serving type: bottle

04-24-2005 18:28:26 | More by brentk56
Photo of Phyl21ca

Quebec (Canada)

3.33/5  rDev -15.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

05-19-2006 14:06:29 | More by Phyl21ca
Photo of BEERchitect


4.25/5  rDev +8.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

03-05-2006 17:13:50 | More by BEERchitect
Photo of metter98

New York

3.9/5  rDev -0.8%
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

Serving type: bottle

11-13-2012 02:57:03 | More by metter98
Photo of ChainGangGuy


3.13/5  rDev -20.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

09-10-2007 20:00:35 | More by ChainGangGuy
Photo of oberon

North Carolina

4.1/5  rDev +4.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

06-06-2005 03:14:10 | More by oberon
Photo of TMoney2591


3.84/5  rDev -2.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

07-27-2013 04:20:31 | More by TMoney2591
Photo of NeroFiddled


4.5/5  rDev +14.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

07-19-2005 22:52:23 | More by NeroFiddled
Photo of feloniousmonk


4.5/5  rDev +14.5%
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!

Serving type: bottle

01-15-2004 09:20:59 | More by feloniousmonk
Photo of TheManiacalOne

Rhode Island

3.75/5  rDev -4.6%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

01-27-2009 17:34:47 | More by TheManiacalOne
Photo of russpowell


4.35/5  rDev +10.7%
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

Serving type: bottle

01-16-2006 17:09:37 | More by russpowell
Photo of WesWes

New York

4.25/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a deep dark black color with a thick frothy tan/brown head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a rich, malty scent that boasts of black, chocolate, and roasted malts. It is earthy with a warm feel. The taste is awesome. It has an intensely rich and warm flavor. It is thick with black malts. It goes down slow and smooth with a warm, earthy finish. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a tremendous beer. It is full of flavor and excellent aroma; a good drinker.

Serving type: bottle

07-02-2005 00:53:00 | More by WesWes
Photo of Mora2000


4.33/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 vintage, I believe this is the last year with the old label.

As expected, the beer pours a pitch black color with a small off-white head. The aroma is heavy on the chocolate and roasted malt, with a very light hint of smoke. The flavor is fairly similar. There is a little bit of warming from the alcohol, but what really stands out is a big, bold chocolate character with some roasted malt. There is a good bit of sweetness from the malt, as well as some dark cherry and prune notes. Thick, creamy mouthfeel and low carbonation. A very nice imperial stout, which is drinking very well with 2 years of age on it.

Serving type: bottle

06-25-2012 04:37:40 | More by Mora2000
Photo of zeff80


4.63/5  rDev +17.8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-19-2008 02:24:34 | More by zeff80
Photo of Gueuzedude


3.6/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2004 release, Sampled January 2004
Pours with a thick brown creamy head, a deep black beer with amber highlights rest under the head. Serious aromas of alcohol emanate from the glass. There are aromas of black malt, roasted character, and coffee (though fairly subtle for an Imperial Stout). The body is, as expected, thick and creamy. Wow this is strikingly different. It is intensly sweet, even for an Imperial Stout. The roast character is here but pretty subdued. The sweetness dominates the flavor profile. This beer needs some age to smooth it out. The alcohol is evident in the finish. If I had to rate this as is I would give it a 3.4, based on potential though I would give it a 4.0 after it has aged a few years and smoothed out.

Serving type: bottle

02-12-2004 16:32:07 | More by Gueuzedude
Photo of Knapp85


3.73/5  rDev -5.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

07-15-2011 00:15:29 | More by Knapp85
Photo of jwc215


3.4/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22 oz. bottle - Bottled in 2007 - poured into a snifter glass:

Pours pitch black with a thin patch that becomes a ring. Minimal spotted lacing sticks.

The smell is of burnt coffee with some chocolate. Floral/fruity notes linger in the background.

The taste is alcohol dominated - almost masking the toffee, roasted coffee and chocolate. Floral, somewhat fruity hop bitterness almost overtakes the maltiness. Some licorice comes through as it progresses.

Medium-to-full bodied with a syrupy stickiness. Some astringency.

A slow-sipper - alcohol and thickishness assure this. Overall - well - it's a great style, and this hits on the key aspects. But, overall, it is overdone with alcohol prominence, a burnt characteristic and bitterness masking some of the malt complexities. Fine on its own, but doesn't stand up to others that I've enjoyed of this style.

Serving type: bottle

02-06-2008 02:35:28 | More by jwc215
Photo of Gavage

New Jersey

3.98/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black in color. Just a slight surface head that quickly disappears. The aroma was of roasted malt, chocolate, and licorice. The flavor follows the nose as there is a nice balance of the roasted malt, chocolate, licorice, coffee, light bitterness, and alcohol. The alcohol levels are slighlty strong in the flavor though.

The mouthfeel was smooth at the start and finish, with chocolate and alcohol rides the tongue long after swallowing. Not a bad drinking brew.

Serving type: bottle

07-30-2004 13:30:20 | More by Gavage
Photo of smcolw


3.23/5  rDev -17.8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-17-2008 01:36:58 | More by smcolw
Photo of Halcyondays


4.15/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at the Beachwood BBQ in Seal Beach, CA,

A: Pours black, with a firm off-white head, with good retention and good lacing.

S: Somewhat lacking, though I smelled roasted malts, coffee.

T: Taste is quite good, delicious milk chocolate combines with a light coffee and mocha note to create a great flavour.

M: Smooth, almost fluffy, very creamy.

D: A great easy-drinking Russian Imperial Stout if you could call it that, one of the best RIS's I've had in a while.

Serving type: on-tap

02-11-2008 03:54:02 | More by Halcyondays
Photo of mactrail


3.55/5  rDev -9.7%
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.

Serving type: bottle

08-19-2012 05:46:26 | More by mactrail
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The Czar from Avery Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 1,527 ratings.