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The Czar - Avery Brewing Company

Not Rated.
The CzarThe Czar

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

1,692 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,692
Reviews: 862
rAvg: 3.93
pDev: 11.7%
Wants: 71
Gots: 213 | FT: 10
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: 1,692 | Reviews: 862 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of taylorhamrick
2.78/5  rDev -29.3%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

The color reminds me a bit more of a porter than an imperial stout, it's still dark, but there are plenty of amber/ruby hues in the beer. The head comes out pretty big and fluffy, with decent lacing. The smell has a bit of spicy hops and deep sweetness. The alcohol is in the smell, but not as much as I'd expect. The smell might be the most interesting part of this beer. The taste is a bit burnt, with hints of sweetness like licorice, and there's also a bit of spiciness, but I'm not exactly sure what the spices are. The alcohol doesn't overpower the taste either, but you can feel it as you swallow. For all that this beer fails to have that I like in an imperial stout, I found it surprisingly drinkable, even with the high alcohol content.

taylorhamrick, Dec 01, 2008
Photo of nick76
3.83/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The aroma has toasted malt, alcohol, dark fruit (raisins), molasses, chocolate, coffee, hops, and rubber. The appearance is dark dark brown with a three finger tan head. The flavor is sweet and like the aroma in every way. However it is much more mellow than I expected. I guess it's the vintage. The palate is somewhat thin for the style but it's still smooth. The aftertaste is spicy with a hint of butterscotch, I also detect vinegar, peat, pineapple and astringent hops that come across as rubbery. Overall it's good and certainly complex but not really my thing.

nick76, Nov 28, 2008
Photo of GilGarp
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled in 2007.
1.104 O.G.
70 IBUs
11.73% ABV.

Pours from the 22oz. brown bottle into a pint glass. Not as dark as many imperial stouts, there's enough light passing though the center to actually see dark brownish red color. A nice little layer of head diminishes quickly and leaves little behind.

Aroma is roasty, malty, and a bit spicy. There's dark chocolate fudge in there too.

Flavor is pleasant with lot of dark malts and roasted flavors but surprisingly balanced with a load of spicy hallertau hops. The hops are actually what set this beer apart from other imperial stouts because the distinct spicy character is picked up despite all that malty goodness.

Mouthfeel is slightly thinner than what I would expect but it's nicely carbonated. If only it hid the alcohol better.

Drinkability is always relative and this one's not bad. As long as you remember to enjoy it slowly, the strength isn't a downside. However, I would normally think that 8-10% would be ideal for this style.

Overall a good imperial stout and one that has aged well over the past year.

GilGarp, Nov 22, 2008
Photo of hopdog
3.68/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle.

Poured black as night with a very small sized tan head. Aromas of chocolate, roasted malts, molasses, coffee with a slight hoppy hint. Sweet tasting (licorice) with a light bitter finish. You can taste the alcohol in the end, but overall it is well hidden.

Notes from 5/29/04

hopdog, Nov 21, 2008
Photo of sholland119
3.58/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A-Pours an opaque black with a thin tan head and nice lacing.

S-A nice RIS aroma. Sweet caramel and molasses with some vanilla and a bit of roasted malt.

T-Starts off well with a nice caramel and milk chocolate sweetness. Some nice hop bitterness and roasted coffee in the finish is pretty much completely overwhelmed by alcohol. Yeah, it's 12.2% or whatever but the alcohol is not really hidden at all.

M-Rich and oiy, with nice carbonation.

D-Nice enough but not very drinkable even by the standards of the style. A rare disappointment from Avery.


sholland119, Nov 17, 2008
Photo of humanawho
4.47/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Fresh 2008 bottle

A - very strong black body and brown-cream colored head with fair retention and lacing

S - fruity, smell strongly of kiwi with a sweet roasty finish, for some reason i really like it

T - nice clean roasty chocolaty flavor with a slight bitter finish, nothing crazy but very smooth and well rounded

M - nice thick heavy body

D - smooth nothing bad and nothing too out of the ordinary that

humanawho, Nov 16, 2008
Photo of BretSikkink
4.03/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Quite dark, moving up on black, and who can tell in dim bar light anyways? Head is firm and sticky, leaves nice lacing.

Aromas of burnt malts with enough dark fruit to make it a little less one-dimensional.

Rich, fruity-sweet flavor brimming with blackstrap molasses, cocoa powder, and a hint of aniseed. I found the dark fruit sweetness just a little bit more than what I like from this style, but it's still a great beer.

A little spicy hopping and a little prick of alcohol round out the flavor, lasting long into the finish. Smooth and a little on the thin side for an RIS, still pretty well attenuated.

BretSikkink, Nov 16, 2008
Photo of DmanGTR
4.58/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Had this on tap at Monk's Cafe in Philly.

A - poured an opaque black with 1" tan head that laced beautifully in a flute glass

Sm - chocolate malts, espresso, alcohol, light fruitiness and bready. Interesting, but definitely in a good way.

T - coffeelike, heavy malty sweetness with an intense bitter aftertaste. Yeasty, malty, and hoppy. Alcoholic finish.

M - heavy and bold with mild carbonation. Coats the palate well.

D - for such a big beer, surprisingly drinkable. Maybe a bit too drinkable hehehe....

Overall - I was very impressed by this beer, as I am by all that I have tried from Avery's lineup. Deliciousness in every drop. Will definitely buy again. Wouldn't mind a few of these to enjoy in front of a fireplace when the holidays come near.

DmanGTR, Nov 09, 2008
Photo of beckje01
3.78/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Black color not at all see through, thin white head on the top with no visible activity.

S- Some malt but light, not a big nose on this one.

T- Bitter malt but in a good way. Good over all flavors.

M- Good activity in the mouth, and a nice thickness for the flavors.

D- Drinkable if not a bit too drinkable for the ABV.

beckje01, Nov 06, 2008
Photo of aforbes10
4.45/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from 2004, from a whole case of 2004s hidden in the cooler at an old favorite liquor store of mine. Pours a bit thin looking for the style, with a light brown head and some of that semi-invisible lacing. Big raisins, prunes and demerera sugar nose with obvious alcohol and a brandy-like quality. Inviting. Taste is massive and vinous, with a big fruity punch up front, lots of cherries, prunes, grapes. Also a big chocolate and thick malt presence, with a warming alcohol on the finish. Lingers well. Full bodied without being syrupy. A real treat to have a bottle so well aged. Delicious.

aforbes10, Nov 05, 2008
Photo of bboven
2.7/5  rDev -31.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5


Appearance is jet black with little head and lacing.

Aroma is dark chocolate and hot alcohol.

Taste is chocolate again, but it's dominated by a hot alcohol flavor especially in the aftertates and on the exhale. It tastes like someone threw a shot of cheap vodka into a really nice stout. Way too much alcohol here. It's making my throat tingle right now.

Mouthfeel is a little thin, again, there's more thin alcohol here than body. Not the greatest.

There are certainly better examples of imperial stout out there. I would skip over this one, even though I like most everything else from Avery.

bboven, Nov 02, 2008
Photo of cyraxx
3.7/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Opaque black, tan head looks great.
S-Roasty, coffee, sweet malt smells
T-Faint hint of coffee, very sweet, too sweet for me
M-Perfect amount of carbonation, nice viscosity
D-Would be much more drinkable if it wasn't so sweet

Solid beer, packs a punch, but if you like malty/sweet beers this would be worth a shot.

cyraxx, Oct 31, 2008
Photo of PhiloPsych
3.6/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Cola brown color as it pours from the bottle with a light moussey head. In the glass, the color is deep so that very little light comes through, but not at all hazy--clear ruby highlights are visible around the edges; nor is it as black as some stouts; it is a deep, dark, chocolate brown. The smell is very sweet, faintly ftuity, slightly alcoholic. The taste is also quite sweet, even a bit sugary--brown sugar or molasses. The fruit from the smell is present up front in the taste, then disappears or is overshadowed, then comes back again at the end. Not a very roasty stout, I only really get any roasted malt flavor in the aftertaste. For me the dominant taste is brown sugar or molasses and this flavor also hides the high alcohol content--my first taste seemed a bit hot, but I don't notice the alcohol after the first several sips. For some of my favorite breweries, their imperial stout is among their best offerings, but this certainly isn't the best beer I've had from Avery. It is by no means a bad beer, but I will probably pass it up for better imperial stouts in the future. It's difficult to get through a bomber of this; by the end, the syrupy sugar taste is overwhelmingly cloying. (By the way, the site describes the alcohol at 12.2%, while the bottle says 11.7%. Either way, it's knocking me out.)

PhiloPsych, Oct 28, 2008
Photo of Floydster
3/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

22 ounce bottles sampled with my dad, 2006 and 2007 vintages, each were around seven dollars from Cooke's in El Segundo, preferred the fresher batch myself, poured into my New Belgium snifter

A-Dark brown with some reddish tint, real dark, thin 1/2 inch creamy tan head that goes away quickly, not much retention, no lacing
S-So much alcohol in the nose, toffee, dark fruits, slightly roasted malts, maple syrup, stale sweetness, lots of caramel, prunes, brown sugar, and strong candy-like scents
T-All I can taste with the first few sips is the molasses and booze I identified in the smeall, once it warms fully, fruits come first, then slight roasty accents in the middle, finish is hot as can be too, was not a big fan of how strong this tasted, needs to be some dryness somewhere to balance it all out, age did not do this much good either, not a desirable flavor
M-Thin body somehow, not enough carbonation in my opinion, was a bit syrupy at times, sweet, hot, and pungent mouthfeel, taste lingers too long
D-Could not finish a bomber of this ever, way too much booze in the flavor, also over twelve percent, really heavy on the stomach, should be shared between three to four people, my dad and I left more than half in both of the bottles which were later poured down the drain

Avery is a great brewery but I am not too impressed with this beer, it is strong, that is for sure, very different from other Russian Imperial Stouts out there, more reliance on sweet malts than roastiness or coffee, probably will not be drinking any time soon, still worth trying

Floydster, Oct 19, 2008
Photo of weeare138
4.15/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottled 2004, sampled last night, October 4th, 2008.
Appears a near opaque black showing crimson highlights with a dark tan head that quickly fades out into a mild film and collar. Tiny traces of spotty lacing are left around the glass.
Smell...up front, there is just a hint of oxidation detected with an aroma of packing cardboard. Heavy amounts of molasses, roasted java, burnt grains, and bittersweet cocoa are in the inhale.
Taste echoes the aromas but perhaps a slight notch below due to the overpowering roastiness and molasses taking over the entire beer. There is a part of this that reminds me a little of Storm King (perhaps the hops) but it falls short compared to the Storm Czar...er King.
Mouthfeel is full, chewy, smooth, and slick in the swallow. ABV is still evident. I remember the first time I had this one many years ago and I opted not to rate it due to the noticable alcohol presence. I'm not sure if aging this one has made it better. Perhaps the hops and fusels have faded but the mild oxidation and heavy roasted/burnt grain characteristics seem to distract from what this beer could/should be.
Sadly, I used the second half of this bomber to make a bbq sauce...of which I can still smell and taste the roasty, burnt grains.
Overall, this isn't a bad beer, reflected by my scoring of the beer. It's actually a pretty good beer compared to some other beers. The problem arises when comparing this Imperial Stout to the several others out there, where it just doesn't seem to measure up.

weeare138, Oct 05, 2008
Photo of dbatch
3.03/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Twenty two ounce bottle, poured into a Sam Adams glass. I had this back in January and I'm just getting the chance to transfer my notes to the site.

A: Pours dark and thick, but not opaque. The carbonation is floating up the outside of the glass. Nearly white head, not particularly thick, leaves little to no lacing.

S: Pungent alcohol aroma, very strong, with a faint chocolate aroma, malty, with back of sweet hops.

T: Alcohol is very prevalent here, obviously, followed by a nice bakers chocolate flavor. Tasted very smoky.

M: Beer felt thin, left a very tart, acrid aftertaste. Carbonation feel was not as strong as it would lead you to believe by just looking at it.

D: Due to the high level of alcohol, and the harsher after taste, this was nice to try, but I dont know if I'd try to find it again. Well, thats not true, but defintely one to split.

dbatch, Oct 05, 2008
Photo of CaptainIPA
3.48/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

P: Presented in a 22 oz., brown bomber bottled in 2007. Received from Masala Mama as part of a WI/MN trade.

A: Pours a deep mahogany body with ruby highlights and a generous, two-finger head with excellent retention. Imparts seriously sticky lacing.

S: Raisins, prunes, molasses, candied plum, roasted malt, and a hint of hops in the far background.

T: Robust and rich roasted malt upfront, followed by prominent notes of raisin, semi-sweet chocolate, molasses and candied fruit. Hints of spicy chicory hit the middle, before submitting to an assertive (70 IBUs) bitterness. Finishes warm with a burst of alcohol on the back end.

M: Thick, chewy and syrupy.

D: Challenging drinkability. Prepare for easy sippin.' One and you're done.

CaptainIPA, Sep 19, 2008
Photo of JoeMayo
3.98/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A- Pours very dark brown, but very thin. A small head forms, but doesn't stick around too long and doesn't leave very much behind on the glass.

S- The smell is very dark and fruity. Figs and raisins are the first to hit the nose, followed by rich malts, dark chocolate, and notes of rum as well.

T- Not quite as rich as I would have expected, but still not bad. Roasted malts and dark fruits dominate the flavor. A slight booziness, reminiscent of rum, is there, but not overpowering. Cocoa and vanilla also make their way through.

M- Thin and boring

D- The alcohol is very well hidden and the body certainly isn't too heavy. Overall, it's a solid beer in terms of its flavor, however it's texture is a huge let-down.

JoeMayo, Sep 09, 2008
Photo of BradLikesBrew
4.28/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

My second pour at the Avery 15th Anniversary Party.
"Holy shit, they have a Vintage Tent!!!"

Just now typing up my notes.

'03 Vintage:

a: Pitch black body with a fluffy light tan head.

s: Figs and chocolate in the nose. On the sweet side.

t: Sweet roasted malt, figs, bittersweet chocolate.

m: Exceptionally smooth, velvety texture.

d: mmmm...tastes like happy. Aging sure did this beers well, wow! Super smooth texture. My first vintage beer of the day didn't disappoint me.

BradLikesBrew, Sep 06, 2008
Photo of david131
2.95/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

2007 Bottling

A- A dark brown beer with a surprising amount of light getting through. The head is thin, splotchy and off white. Kind of limp looking.

S- Raisins, chocolate, lots of dark fruits and roasted malt. Kind of sweet and clean smelling. Not all that aromatic at all, and I'm not really blown away either.

T- Lots of raisins and sweet dark fruit. Some chocolate in there as well. Kind of complex, but this is just not hitting on all cylinders.

M- Pretty thin and watery, but a little harsh from the alcohol. This is not velvety and smooth like I would expect from a Russian Imperial Stout.

D- I was really not impressed by this. It's too thin and is just not what I look for in an Imperial Stout.

david131, Sep 04, 2008
Photo of Goliath
3.88/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours black and completely opaque. A thin light brown head sits on top and diminishes immediately.

The aroma is ok. Some sweet chocolate tones up front, with a bit of booze, and some roasted malt.

The taste is pretty big. Some big chocolate notes, slightly bitter. Some toffee and coffee as well. Kind of milky, and pretty harsh. A pretty big alcohol taste detracts from this brew, but probably has nice aging potential.

Mouthfeel is full bodied, thick, syrupy, and creamy. There is a moderate carbonation level leaving a bit of a tingle on the tongue.

Drinkability is low to moderate. Flavor is fine, but this one is rather aggressive with both the chocolatey malt and the alcohol presence. Sip slow and definitely enjoy.

Goliath, Aug 29, 2008
Photo of Biggness
4.13/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours very dark with a 2 fingered tan head with thick lacing. The smell of this beer is very nice of vanilla and chocolate malts. The taste is nice but there is a little sour taste that I was not expecting. Tastes of vanilla, coffee, chocolate, a very solid base of malts. The mouthfeel is nice and creamy and the carbonation level is nice. A fairly drinkable beer but I don't see myself drinking more than 2 in a sitting.

Biggness, Aug 27, 2008
Photo of BMoney575
4.53/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sampled on 8-19-08
Bottled in 2007

Pours a super deep red color that settles to black in the glass. A thin bubbly head sits on top, leaving thick rings of lacing.

Smell is sweet, lots of vanilla, caramelized sugar, with a tiny bit of oak and coffee. Extremely complex, with the perfect amount of agedness.

Taste is sweet malt at first, followed by a good kick of boozy warmth. The middle is filled with flavors of anise and chocolate, finished with a tangy hop bitterness and alcohol dryness.

Mouthfeel is spot-on for an RIS, smooth but not too thick.

Drinkability is very good, strong flavors are balanced by the hops, and the alcohol adds a positive character.

Overall, a very good beer. Another year and it might be unbeatable.

BMoney575, Aug 20, 2008
Photo of gonzo46and2
4.28/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark opaque with a dark brown head.

Smell is sweet and full of mild and blended tones. Chocolate, coffee, dark fruits, raisins, caramel, brown sugar. Leaning heavily on the sweet side.

Taste was very sweet and complex. I liked that this beer wasn't as overhopped as many Impy Stouts I've tried but still stuck with the style. It simply seemed much more balanced to me than the Old Rasputin or Expedition Stout.

Mouthfeel is syrupy but active with good carbonation.

This was a fantastic beer.

gonzo46and2, Aug 12, 2008
Photo of tonistruth
4.05/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- deep black with a huge fluffy/foamy tan head and excellent retent, just a little bit of lacing though

S- sweet aroma, roasted malts, molasses, caramel, floral, and toasted malts

T- toasted and roasted malts, caramel, molasses, licorice, with toffee at finish make up the malt side. pine and citrus make up the hop flavors, which are suprisngly apparent for this style

M- full and smooth with a hot and coarse finish

D- complex and tasty RIS, though i prefer my RIS roastier and maltier. I feel this borders on a strong ale

tonistruth, Aug 08, 2008
The Czar from Avery Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 1,692 ratings.