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The Czar - Avery Brewing Company

Not Rated.
The CzarThe Czar

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

1,644 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,644
Reviews: 859
rAvg: 3.93
pDev: 11.7%
Wants: 68
Gots: 209 | FT: 9
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: 1,644 | Reviews: 859 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of charlesw
2.95/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

How the heck are you supposed to review this? No way it's an RIS, I mean, like, no way. The only thing that's RIS about it is that that color is kind of close. Seriously. This is a very good barleywine (with a funny color) but it has so little in the way of RIS characteristics that it's really hard to put numbers on it.

I'd give it higher marks if they called it an old ale only, well, they'd have to change the name.

i mean, hey, it's pretty and dark with nice dark head. Might smell faintly of RIS (no really strong odors). But taste it... Caramel malts and maybe a bit of peat, some earthy sweetness and then a very nicely balanced bitterness right down the middle. A great beer. But not RIS and not by a long shot. Like, not at all. No chocolate, coffee or other dark or smoked malt flavors. I mean, seriously, isn't that what stout/porter is all about? Again, as a barleywine I'd only say that the color was too dark. As an RIS it's totally missing all of the important flavors. I still loved it - as did everyone else present - but wtf?

charlesw, Jan 10, 2009
Photo of TheMistler
4.13/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A dark - very, very dark - brown. I might describe it as basically black with occasional maroonish highlights, but nary a beam of light slips through this beer. Tan head settled to a thin, creamy cap. Displayed a pretty solid wall for lacing.

Cocoa nibs on the nose. Some sweet cream. Alcohol kicks just a bit. There is fruity tang in there, as well. A heady, sweet, and good aroma but it just strike me as all that distinctive or stand-out.

More dark fruit to the taste than anticipated, with a candied quality. Raisins, figs. Some slight alcohol astringency - becoming more bracing as it warms - and spice at the end, leaving behind a bit of a drying sensation. Sweet, with creamy milk chocolate combining with the alcohol spice and a dash of hops to give a taste of dark chocolate as well. Some roasted notes. Sweetness, milk chocolate battle it out with alcohol on the palate in the aftertaste.

Quite simply, I love the taste of this stuff, and find it to be dangerously drinkable. Creamy and heavy, it hits the mouth full and packs a wallop.

TheMistler, Jan 08, 2009
Photo of HalfFull
3.95/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served on tap in a pint glass this brew pours black with a half inch of tan head. The head is lighter than many an R.I.S. and I sense the beer is as well, though it's difficult to ascertain in the dim light. Offers decent retention and lacing for 2/3rds of the pint, eventually giving up.

Smell is strong on chocolate and some roasted malts yet offers a notable alcohol sense. This diminishes as the beer warms and the chocolate notes become richer but never fades away.

Taste is good with hints of coffee, malts and fresh chocolate and cocoa. Nice rich texture on the feel yet without an overpowering sweetness which give a solid drinkabilitly. Any alcohol present on the nose isn't picked up in the taste or feel. I'll take this over The Abyss any day.

Note: 2008 version shows at 11.0%.

HalfFull, Jan 07, 2009
Photo of thekanna
3.93/5  rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Had this on-tap at Birreria Paradiso in Georgetown, D.C.

Appearance: Black as pitch with coffee-colored head. However, if placed to the light it emits a reddish glow, like blood. Very impressive.

Smell: Coffee, chocolate figs, dates... nothing really out of the ordinary from other russian imperial stouts.

Taste: Very dark... caramels, dates, prunes, burnt molasses, bitter coffee, dark, dark chocolate. Like a normal stout on steroids... or bit by a vampire.

Overall: This one was a sipper. Powerful, but disguises its alcohol well.

thekanna, Jan 06, 2009
Photo of Pencible
4.05/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

This poured a very dark mahogany with thick creamy head. It smelled like burnt coffee and roasted barley malts, with toasted oats and milky vanilla, and some oak and alcohol. It tasted like burnt coffee and creamy milk chocolate, with strong oak and alcohol notes. It was thick with a bit of carbonation, and had a lasting bitter aftertaste. Overall this was a very bold beer that's very good, but must be sipped due to the strong unmasked alcohol. It had great body, but I found myself wishing that it was a bit sweeter to balance the burnt flavors and alcohol. Perhaps a few years of age would help tame this beast and mellow it out. All the complexity and richness definitely seem worth the wait.

Pencible, Jan 03, 2009
Photo of beerphan
3.8/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

22 oz bomber -> pint

The cap explodes off the bottle. Pours a deep dark not quite black, but streaked with deep scarlet acents. Thick looking tan head retreats to a fine film and leaves some droop lace.

Nose: Some piney hop oils, alcohol soda pop sweet malts.

Creamy slick and sweet. Wowzers, thick bitterness along with sweet malty alcohol burn. Some crab apple, grape soda, licorice, and pine oil hops.This baby is ripe, but not completely undrinkable by any means.

I'd say cellar this baby for a couple years. Thanks to gxxerman for the sample.

beerphan, Jan 03, 2009
Photo of bunnyhustle
3.35/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

For some reason when I bought this I was thinking it was a "top 100" beer. I was nowhere close. Pours black with creamy, cascading, mocha head with moderate retention and decent lacing. Smell is a bit like Hersheys Syrup if you ask me. A very sweet chocolate with a bit of an alcohol bite. Taste was average at best. At first, slightly cooler, it tasted like chocolate ice cream. It got a little better as it warms with a creamy chocolate and coffee flavor. A little touch of raisins and alcohol. Mouthfeel was fine. A little thin for an RIS but I didnt mind it. Overall a decent beer, nothing worth really seeking out in my opinoin.

bunnyhustle, Dec 31, 2008
Photo of TheDoorman
3.25/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

2007 Bottle.

Beer poured jet black with a coffee head with solid retention. There are few better presentations than a RIS. The nose was unrelenting malt, vanilla, molasses and alcohol esters, and the taste was more of the same. This beer is just far too aggressive. could this be called a Double Russian Imperial Stout? the alcohol ar 12.20% percent suggests so. This beer is just rich, rich, rich. The hops are present in the finish, but are completely overpowered by the malt and alcohol. It does have the silky, syrupy texture you look for in the style, with minimal carbonation. Unfortunately the beer is just too hot and unbalanced. And this was aged about a year.

TheDoorman, Dec 30, 2008
Photo of JAA
4.35/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This Czar rules your taste buds with an iron fist. What a wonderful impy stout, although not exactly an RIS.

color is as black as my girlfriends heart and also presented very little head, also much like my girlfriend.

smell and taste are similar. Chocolate and vanilla at the same time, yippee. The chocolate does end up overpowering everything though. Not much in the way of spice that i've noticed in other RIS. Overall very sweet and somewhat smooth. The 11.73% alcohol warms your gut a bit.

maybe next year santa will bring me two bombers.

This bottle is a 2007, so perhaps if you're not impressed with a fresh one, age it a year or so.

JAA, Dec 27, 2008
Photo of caskstrength
2.03/5  rDev -48.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

from a bomber.

Had fairly high hopes for this one. I'm currently on a RIS binge, sampling stuff all over the place. Heard a few good things about this one, fairly easy to find, so gave it a go.

not impressed.

pours almost more red than black. Good carbonation, which I appreciate.

smell is underwhelming. Not much stout character at all. Alcohol even on the nose.

taste is boozy, sweet, simple. minimal complexity to this beer. Some of the traditional RIS flavors try to break through the alcohol and hops, but fail. Is this really marketed as an RIS? Barleywine maybe?

Hard to drink. strong, sweet, sharp hops.

not recommended. Lots of other stuff to drink if you're looking for an Imperial Stout that's worth your palate.

Didn't meet any expectations at all.

caskstrength, Dec 27, 2008
Photo of CoolJosh
4.05/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A dark black, hazy, great low carbonated 2 finger head that keeps a thin layer all the way though

S creamy, definitely some oats and smells pretty hoppy, sweet choclate and caramel scents come through as the beer warms

T. Really nice chocolate and creamy and caramel onset, very smooth, and a great hop finish with some bitter coffee flavors

CoolJosh, Dec 26, 2008
Photo of Absumaster
4.15/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A pitch black beer with a beige head.

Smell is grainy like fresh malt and some rye notes. Light roasted and some molasses.

Taste is light roasted with molasses, liquorice and hot alcohol. Bitterness is high, together with the maltbitterness of the dark malts. Mouthfeel is very smooth, and for the style perfectly sweet and sticky.

Absumaster, Dec 26, 2008
Photo of optiontwo
3.7/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

22oz. poured into Samuel Smith nonic

Appearance: Opaque dark brown/black with a one inch tan head.

Smell: Heavy dark chocolate, hazelnut, vanilla bean, and alcohol.

Taste: Chocolate right away with a sweetness that's almost like cake frosting. Very subtle citrus hops with a slight bite at the end.

Mouthfeel: Great for an imperial stout, nice and thick. Carbonation is also great for the style.

Drinkability: This one is hefty and will probably knock you on your ass if you drink the whole bottle to yourself, that being said I couldn't wait to get back to the glass for another sip.

Overall: Another wonderful brew from Avery. This may not be the very best imperial stout but it's up there. I will be purchasing a few more of these and definitely putting at least one in the cellar, because this beer begs for aging.

optiontwo, Dec 25, 2008
Photo of ralree
3.48/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Extremely black, nice tan head with quick dissipation and barely any lacing, but that's to be expected from the style.

S: Chocolate, dark fruit, roasted malt, caramel, lots of alcohol.

T: Rich flavor, nice injection of hops for a stout, roasted malt is very good. Almost a charcoal flavor in the background it's so toasty. Dark fruit and alcohol flavors supplement. Pretty good, but the alcohol is overpowering (which seems to be intended).

M: Creamy, full-bodied, non-astringent, under-carbonated.

D: Hard to drink, but that's to be expected from the style and ABV. Not for the weak drinker. Will get you drunk really quick, though.

ralree, Dec 21, 2008
Photo of scottoale
4.18/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Sampled from a 22oz. brown bomber with a silver graphic cap/neck foil, foil main label with no visible freshness code or date. With an aggresive pour, comes a dark copper-mahogany brown, with a small ivory cap of 1/4". Carbonation is subtle, the cap settles to a patch and leaves little specks of lace trailing.

The smell is sweet and malty, full of dark fruits and some alcohol. Fig, prune and molasses stand out. The hops come through in a spicy, floral way down the back.

The taste follows suit to the nose, a little more pronounced, a little more bite from the alcohol as well. Dark fruity and candy sweet, the 70 IBU of the hops has more than it's share of the work cut out for it. The only help it has, as far as any balance, is the warming of the alcohol and just barely keeps the sweetness in check.

The body is a little thin, the carbonation a bit lax, the alcohol a bit strong...I think age would definetly improve this brew. Give this one some time and it should be a solid brew for the style...still pretty tasty, as is.

scottoale, Dec 18, 2008
Photo of jdubjacket
3.05/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5


I'm usually a big fan of Avery's brews. I spotted a 2008 vintage bottle of this on the local store and picked one up. I love Avery and I love RIS, so I thought that this was surefire. Couldn't be more wrong. Pours a deep brown - looks more like a quad than an RIS. Smell is very underwhelming. Sweet alcohol mainly. The taste, like the smell leaves alot to be desired. Alcohol, little bit of chocolate. The alcohol in this beer is very harsh. Goes down hard. Watery mouthfeel as well. Not my favorite RIS at all.

jdubjacket, Dec 14, 2008
Photo of stephens101
3.6/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A black pour with slight reddish hues finishes off with a small, quickly fading tan head. Small spots of lacing are left behind to and fro. Smells of dark chocolate, roasted nuts, caramel, figs and spice. The alcohol trumps all on the palate, with some butterscotch, pine, hops and grain finishing things off. A sweet, syrupy essence is left on the lips. While I'm not opposed to big hits of alcohol, this one isn't as well balanced as I would have hoped for, and there's some cloying and astringency at work that leave things a bit unsettled after a few drinks. I'm a big fan of Avery, especially their bigger brews, but this one falls a notch or two below what I'm used to from them.

stephens101, Dec 12, 2008
Photo of Bung
4.38/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Really liked this one. 2007 version. Had in June, a bit past the season. Standard black pour, brown head. Nice roasty malt, coffee, dark chocolate. Alcohol is well masked by smooth roast chocolate. I found it not as much a smack in the face as some RIS. Almost like a strong milk stout. Drinkable. Will drink again.

Bung, Dec 11, 2008
Photo of swizzlenuts
3.75/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Black with a huge brown head. Great retention. Looks awesome.

S: Huge chocolate nose with a smoothness coming from the hops.

T: Some chocolate notes with a very roasty malt flavour at the end. A fair amount of alcohol comes through as well. A bit dry.

M: Nice and creamy!

D: Pretty drinkable.

swizzlenuts, Dec 10, 2008
Photo of champ103
4.13/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours an opaque black. A large tan head forms and leaves rings of lace.
S: Lots of roasted malt at first. Then comes a huge dark fruit aroma of plums, figs, and raisins. Some sweet candy aroma as well.
T: Sweet malt and dark fruits again. A hop flavor that is much more pronounced than in the nose. Very good, but some of the complexities that are in the nose are gone.
M/D: A creamy full body beer. This is very easy to drink for the high ABV. Not something I am going to session, but a great beer to sip on.

I great beer, and a RIS to savor. Something I would recommend. Just as good as the other hyped up Imperial Stouts.

champ103, Dec 08, 2008
Photo of colts9016
4.25/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The Appearance: A deep dark brown chocolate coffee color with a thick tan head that has retention on it.
Nose: Roasted Malt with toffee, chocolate, coffee, and caramel; with, a nice spicy hoppines. There are notes of black currants and licorice.
Taste: A full body with a roasted malt complex. Chocolate, coffee, toffee, caramel, and laced with a smokiness. A good spicy hops brings the malt complex to a nice balance.
Overall: This a rich creamy and complex beer to be enjoy by sipping. The finish is a nice dry hop that is clean and very and very smooth.

colts9016, Dec 08, 2008
Photo of Applesauce1
4.18/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

i got this in a bomber exchange with ej285701.


Appearance; dark, dark brown with a big 1.5" head on the pour
Smell: coffee and burnt toast
Taste: coffee, toast, nuts, and some hops
Mouthfeel: fully bodied
Drinkability: one in a night is by far enough

Applesauce1, Dec 07, 2008
Photo of Yesac
3.63/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2006 vintage

A - Pours a deep dark brown color. Medium light brown head that fades away.

S - Not to much going on here, some dark fuits and roasted malt is all I can pick up.

T - Along with the taste, sweet dark fruits with cherry notes. Follwed by roasted malts and a decent alcohol presense and warming. Its overall a sweet/sugary brew..

M - medium/high carbonation. Slight bitterness is left on the palate.

D - Pretty smooth over all. Again it's very sweet.

Yesac, Dec 06, 2008
Photo of magictrokini
3.73/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

The pour is impressive; dark brown, almost black, with a thick light brown head. Aroma is full of toffee and currants. Unfortunately, the taste does not live up to the pregame show. Currants, raisins, licorice, and mocha are prevalent, but the taste is flat. I thought the beer may have been too cold, but the only flavor that got stronger as it warmed was the alcohol. Overall, a good but disappointing beer.

magictrokini, Dec 04, 2008
Photo of abfraser
3.58/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark as night, pours with a massive dark brown head.

S: Caramel, brown sugar. Smells a little flat.

T/M: Sugary caramel. Roasted malt. Coffee, coconut, and chocolate. A little too sugary and not enough roasted flavors for my tastes. Thick, full-bodied with a lingering bitterness.

D: Super high abv and sticky sweetness make this one a glass at most.

abfraser, Dec 02, 2008
The Czar from Avery Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 1,644 ratings.