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The Czar - Avery Brewing Company

Not Rated.
The CzarThe Czar

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

1,824 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,824
Reviews: 884
rAvg: 3.94
pDev: 11.42%
Wants: 80
Gots: 264 | FT: 11
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: 1,824 | Reviews: 884 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jacobseyb
3.68/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A=deep dark black opaque, tannish golden head of one finger that dissipated to a nice crown

S=nice roasted malt aroma, with some hop characteristics finding their way through

T=malts again very prevalent, some crisp bitterness on the finish

M=crisp carbonation, and an oily finish

D=as drinkable as the style can be given the sweetness and abv's prevalent. Overall a good imperial stout though I typically prefer a bit more balance of hops to the malts

Photo of br3wmeister
3.97/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2008 Czar Imperial Stout
Served in over-sized red wine glass from 22 oz Bomber

This beer pours a deep red-brown so dark it is almost black. The head is light brown in color and has great retention with moderate lacing. I must say this is a pretty beer, though I find most stouts pretty. The aroma of this beer is wonderful, honey poured atop a pile of dark ripe fruit, plums, raisins and figs. Dark roasted barley, chocolate, caramel, and roasted nuts also make a nice addition to the complex aroma of this beer. The Alcohol comes out as a spicy peppery aroma, there is some bitterness from the hops as well. My first sip of this beer is magical. This beer is extremely smooth with a large malty sweet flavor up front. Again honey, plums, raisins and figs make an appearance. There is also a good amount of bitterness to balance all those sweet fruity flavors. Hints of charcoal, burnt toast, and pine bitterness. The flavors grow in intensity at first but later begin to fade and finishes clean with some remaining sweetness on the palate . Overall this is a really good Imperial Stout. I might have to add a few of these to my cellar.

Photo of hayesez
2.77/5  rDev -29.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into a Westvleteren chalice. Bottled in 2008.

Not quite black with quite a bit of amber light sneaking through the edges of this beer. Left a two-finger very light-tan head that dissipated very slowly throughout the drink. I was quite surprised that the beer was not nearly as "thick" as many others of this style. The high alcohol content may be one of the few characteristics of this brew that move it toward an RIS style. A bit of sticky spots left behind, but no real lace.

The beer smells of strong roasted malts and a fair amount of alcohol. There is a slight sweetness to the smell as well.

The malts are not as strong in the taste as they were in the smell. Unfortunately, a strong part of the taste was the stinging alcohol; way too pronounced for my tastes. The sweet taste mirrors the smell - molasses appear to be the driving force behind this...perhaps a bit of caramel. I'm really not getting the imperial stout taste from this - perhaps a heavy brown ale would be more appropriate. The beer also has a thinner mouthfeel that doesn't enhance the experience.

After hearing some very nice things about this beer, I was quite disappointed in the experience. Had been aging for over a year, so I expected better things. Not a beer that I will go out of my way to drink again.

Photo of satowns
3.68/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

this beast pours black as a siberian night. pitch black sans stars. thick head of light brown foam. looks delicious!

aromas of oiled leather. bitter chocolate.

nice notes of toffee, dark fruit. vanilla and alcohol. caramlized brown sugar.

extremely balanced and delightful.

Photo of skrib09
4.26/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

this stout poured the usual with a fantastic brown head up top. really dense looking with good lacing.

smells deep and dark, roasty, and overall a bit fruity. plenty of berries and raisins on the nose.

great taste playing off of the nose. sweetness, fruit, and a bit of spice. strong malt flavor amongst the fruit and candy taste.

thick, almost oily mouthfeel. reminiscent of a deep stout. drinkable with the high sweetness.

Photo of Lunch
3.06/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Served from a 22oz. bottle, purchased at State Line Liquors in Elkton, MD, into my Hennepin goblet (11/23/09) at cellar temperature.

A: Pours a moderately thick and viscous blackish brown with a 1.5 finger light mocha head. The head dissipates rather quickly leaving next to no lace.

S: Pungent aroma of dark fruits along with a sweet molasses. Roasted malt is somewhere in there, but is overwhelmed by a yeasty, fruity character. Not really my favorite aroma profile.

T: The yeasty dark fruity character is here as well and tends to make this rink more like a Barley wine than a RIS. There are hints of roastiness and chocolate, but to me this is lacking in the RIS flavor profile department.

M: A medium-bodied beer with thick creamy carbonation.

D: Below average drinkability in my book as I felt like I was forcing this beer down.

Overall this beer was certainly not a bad beer, but I would say that it is a sub-par RIS. Not Recommended.

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

Poured from a 22oz bomber(bottled in 2008) into a snifter glass.

Appearance is opaque black with a bit of red around the edges and a frothy tan colored head that settles into a thin film.

Smell is of roasted malt with hints of coffee and a little bit of chocolate as well. A bit of hops in the end but overall a fairly light and sweet aroma.

Taste is fairly chocolaty up front with some dark fruit and coffee as well. The alcohol makes itself known giving a nice warming bite and a slight bitterness to the finish. A pretty well balanced flavor.

Mouthfeel is full bodied and smooth that feels pretty creamy on the tongue. A mild amount of carbonation and a pleasant burn from the alcohol. Very nice!

Drinkability is good. It goes down fairly easy for the alcohol but I don't think I'd want is as a session beer. Better to have it now and then and take your time with it. I would certainly like to have it again and I'd like to see how it would be with a little more age on it as well.

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

Drinking a 2008 Czar (Aged 1 year) in a Bruery tulip glass at about 40 degrees.

Pours a jet black with a thick, creamy tan froth with good retention and lacing. Pronounced aromas of chocolate cake, dark fruit, coffee, roasted malts, sweet-sweet alcohol, toffee, spiced hops, & chocolate mousse. Did I mention chocolate and alcohol yet? Good, but sweet and pretty. The beer is very smooth, creamy, & sweet with louds of dark chocolate cake, milk chocolate mousse, red fruit, caramel/toffee, molasses, fresh espresso, and a subtle orange/citrus hop profile on the finish.. There is also a great warmth to this brew....a great choice on a cold day. Overall, this is one of my favorite beers to drink...not too hoppy, smooth, sweet, and easy to drink with lots of complexity. Awesome!

Photo of Avagadro
3.99/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Almost opaque, except for a couple of garnet highlights around the edges. The head quickly settles into a thin, beige film on top of the brew.

S: The aroma is somewhat muted. Caramel, molasses, and sourdough bread all contribute.

T: Unlike most other RIS's, The Czar's main player is not roast, but molasses. Caramel, chocolate, and floral hops make up the the remainder of the flavor.

M: Thick, robust, and chewy; everything that a RIS should be.

D: I was happy to see this brew finally come in to my area. This is a fine example of one of my favorite styles. Worth checking out.

Photo of GarrisWH
3.78/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. bomber - bottled in 2009

A - Pours an opaque, deep brown with two fingers of creamy light-tan head. Solid retention and leaves some nice lacing behind.

S - Slightly muted in the aroma, although still a pretty good smelling brew overall. Roasted malt aromas with a sweet, dark fruit quality notable up front. Slight chocolate and coffee presence comes through behind, as well as a hint of hops.

T - Chocolate flavors are a lot more present in the flavor, with a creamy, milk chocolate character. Slight coffee presence comes through as well as a menage of sweet flavors that are difficult to pinpoint - molasses and anise are the only ones I can pick out. Finish brings a bit of dry, bitter hoppiness as well as just a bit of alcohol presence. Sweet chocolate and coffee flavors carry into the aftertaste.

M - Full bodied with a smooth, creamy aftertaste. Moderate carbonation keeps the thickness in check. Slight alcohol burn.

D - Good flavors overall, although the alcohol presence detracts just a little bit from the drinkability. It makes itself known more as the beer warms. I'd definitely like to try one of these aged for a year or two, I bet it could be improved quite a bit.

Photo of FloppyDog
4.59/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottled in 2008 and poured into a tulip glass. A deep black with dark amber around the thinner parts of the glass. Poured with a 1/2 inch head that dissipates to a 1/8 inch head throughout the drink.

Aroma is not as bold as I was expecting. Slight alcohol and noble hop, mixed with a nice maltiness.

Is rich in chocolate, alcohol and hop bitterness. An extremely well-balanced beer with a decently thick mouthfeel that coats the tongue for a few seconds after the sip goes down. Carbonation is spot on.

Overall, one of the most well-balanced (in flavor) imperial stouts I have had. Very impressive, although the aroma could have a little more umpf.

Photo of Brandt
4.75/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

this beer poured out a jet black with faint burgundy hues and a rich tan head

the smell of this beer is amazing, you get a rich plum/date aroma in the beer as well as the inevitable alcohol on account of the ABV. there are also notes of chocolate and even jsut a bit of fig.

the taste is the culmination of this brew. this is hands down one of, if not the, best imperial stouts i've had. there is booze in the forefront as expected but such other rich dark fruit flavors like fig as well as the anise/liquorice undertones. in the very back of the flavor profile set a touch of chocolate that jsut rounds it out perfectly.

this beer finishes huge, bold full body and leaves you mouth coated with its glory. this is such a great beer and i can't think of a better example of russian imperial than this one, just a great beer!!

Photo of sirdrinkwell
2.38/5  rDev -39.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

a: nice mahogany-to-black with a nice thick tan head...

s: very underwhelming and yeasty, there is also a dry and unimpressive fruity character here as well...

t: bread, malt, oats. this tastes more like a barley wine than an imperial stout. i can scarecely detect any chocolate or coffee character in here at all...if i were rating this on its own merits it might get more than 2.0 in the taste department but as a Russian Imperial Stout this is six thumbs down all the way because it is definitely a failure in what it purports to be.

m: rich carbonation, little aftertaste (which is something to be thankful for giving the taste)

d: hopefully this IS better upon cellaring because what you get up front isn't very impressive to me. unfortunately, i am sufficiently unimpressed that i will probably not bother to buy another bottle to test the theory...


Photo of Kromes
3.35/5  rDev -15%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Black with a dense tan colored head that falls to a thin line of bubbles. No real lacing down glass.

S: Sweet bready, honey malts and a little bit of fruity hop and alcohol. Was expecting more of a coffee or chocolate aroma instead.

T: A pepper spicy hop, burnt malt flavor with a big bitter alcohol bite and some bready yeast flavors in the background.

M: There is a strong bitterness and burning from the alcohol. The beer is highly carbonated which adds to the burning alcohol feel.

D: The very strong alcohol burning that doesn't go away sort of limits the amount that you can enjoy this. Definitely a sipper and not something that you can slowly drink all night.

Photo of BierFan
3.93/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22 ounce bottle into a cervoise. Bottled in 2008. ABV of 10.77%. I love the label of this beer. I just had to say that.

Appearance: Thick light brown head on a black body. Dark shades of red shine through the glass when it's held to the light. Really good lacing and head retention.

Smell: Dark fruits and dark chocolate are the dominate forces in this beer's aroma.

Taste: Black currants and chocolate. Not alot of other flavors going on, but what's present is so delicious. The bitterness is farely average for the style.

I think I might have to pick up a few more bottles of this for cellaring.

Photo of BeerAdvocate
4/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From BeerAdvocate Magazine Volume II, Issue I:

Pours a nearly opaque pitch-black, with ruby hues marking the edges and a cascading tan head that crowns to a good two fingers. Aroma is of rich, sticky, deeply ripe fruits--raisins, prunes and figs come to mind--followed by a smooth chocolate note, freshly-milled malts and an alcoholic sherry back. Ultra smooth on the palate: full-bodied, round, viscous and creamy from a lively carbonation. The chewy malt flavors are bold with a strong chocolatey presence, mild espresso, some tangy molasses, deep rooted toffee candy, caramel, honey, golden syrup and an anise-like edge; we're picking up pumpernickel bread, too. Hops are leafy, spicy, even a bit resiny and provide just enough pushback on the malty sweetness. Alcohol is quite warming and hot, producing a bit of a rummy sensation that's both sweet and peppery. Finish is dry, with lingering char notes, faint tobacco and a dusting of malt husks.

The Czar is a bit hot out of the gate, but surprisingly balanced and definitely a must-try for RIS fans. Avery's website notes, "The 2007 Vintage is showing beautiful notes of chocolate right off the bat." They also recommend aging the Czar to allow it to mature, becoming more dense and complex. We agree.

Photo of pourmeup
4.6/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottled in 2008

A- standard dark opaque black that is expected from a Russian Imperial Stout, retains slylight less than a quarter inch head of an off-white tone that leaves behind small bits of lacing on the glass.
S- Roasted oats and dark chocolate predominate the nose
T- Dark chocolate predominates the initial taste, light roasted coffee flavors on the after-taste, extremely smooth on the pallet throughout the tasting
M- not as thick as we was hoping for, but still quite nice for a RIS
D- exceptionally drinkable when considering the alcohol percentage; the different flavors do well to mask this and help balance the overall character of the beer

(two person review)

Photo of tigg924
4.2/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

10 ounce sample--2009 edition at Avery tap room

Appearance: dar black in color, 1/4 inch head

Smell: toasted malt and chocolate

Taste: toasted malt, chocolate, alcohol, oak, and some cream at the end

Mouthfeel: heavy, can feel the carbonation, very sweet at the end

Drinkability: This is a very good RIS. It has multiple layers and is a sipper. The aftertaste and last taste are very sweet, but the body of the beer is not. I would say it is actually less sweet than others in the style. I look forward to having this again.

Photo of homebrew311
4.06/5  rDev +3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bomber into Delerium Noel snifter.

A: pours mostly black with a hint of brown. Appears to be lighter in color than some other imperial stouts. A nice tan head forms and sticks around

S: I am hit with a nice chocolately sweetness, a great malt profile comes through on the nose. There are dark fruits in there, but mainly chocolate and molasses. Little to no hop presence.

T: The taste is a little unexpected in relation to the nose, that chocolate sweetness is there, but much more robust and it is quickly melds into heat from the alcohol and finishes somewhat dry. I would say the finish is weak compared to the initial flavor and aroma, but still a very enjoyable RIS.

M: I was worried by its appearance that the body wouldn't hold up to these big robust flavors. I was surprised to notice it has a very velvety texture and is very thick.

D: Drinkability is relative with imperial stouts as most beers north of 10% don't exactly qualify as highly drinkable. That being said, this is a very drinkable imperial stout, especially considering its high ABV. These are on sale right now for 5.49 so I'm thinking I need to pick me up a few more. All around a solid beer.

Photo of endincolorado
4.2/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance- Fairly thick, black body with good, foamy tan head. Decent head retention. Pretty good lacing.

Smell- Aromatic, bitter hops balance toasted malt, cocoa (vague anise) and toffee.

Taste- burn toasty malt, some cocoa and molasses. Pleasant hops to balance. vague alcohol (well masked)

Meowthfeel- Medium body, great carbonation. creamy and satisfying.

Drinkability- Surprisingly refreshing for an Imperial stout.

Photo of capn
4.77/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

For those of you who really enjoy an imperial stout, this is a great one. I recently had the opportunity to try THE CZAR Imperial Stout from the Avery Brewing Company. Right away you can see the pitch-black color which develops into a nice, thick brown head. Even when held up to a light, this brew could not be seen through. It has a very pleasant and complex nose with several different notes, some obvious, others you have to hunt for. I spent several minutes just enjoying the aroma. The central aroma that I detected was what I think is sweet molasses. The first sip did not disappoint, the flavor was complex and pleasant. Be advised, this a strong one, expect to feel a slight euphoria after drinking this one.

I wish you Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.
The Cap'n

Photo of bonsreeb85
4.65/5  rDev +18%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Brewed November of '08

A - very, very dark brown, not quite pitch black like other beers of this style. A decent head from my vigorous pour into a snifter stays for a decent amount of time considering the strength of this beer.

S - dark chocolate covered raisins, candied dark fruits, some coffee(slight) carmalized sugar and black licorice. hops have mellowed out over the past year, but can still be sniffed out of the backround.

T - as I stated, the bitterness and alcohol has tamed quite a bit for only 12 months. This could be good or bad depending on one's particular taste preferences. I find the sweeter side of the Czar quite enjoyable. the bitterness still closes the show and keeps the sweetness from getting out of hand. Not before putting on a dazzling display staring sickeningly sweet(this is good) dark fruits, licorice and small hints of espresso and lots of chocolate. I love the flavor, it's a malt lovers dream come true! the alcohol in the finish warms the beer and the belly, but never gets "hot"

MF - well full bodied, the feel is relatively light considering the style, thus giving this high abv. brew a dangerously quaffable quality. I could use a bigger/thicker feel but this is only a minor gripe.

D - this one was way different than expected. i thought i was getting a bitter bomb, but instead I was pleasantly surprised by how rounded out the flavor was. The Czar only gets better with age.

Photo of sprucetip
3.71/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

From notes. Black, 1 finger tan head, some retention and lacing. SMELL molasses, licorice. Faint at first, more with a swirl. A bit of chocolate. TASTE is bold and aggressvie. Licorice, molasses, roasted grains, chocolate, coffee, sweet malty and boozy notes contrasted by an assertive bitterness that emerges toward the finish. Fairly complex, very bold, but not especially balanced. FEEL thick, rich, viscous and full bodied. Some alc heat and lingering bitterness in the finish. OVERALL a sipper if ever there was one. Not very smooth. I'm liking it better than I remembered it. I'd be proud to have made it, but I like more others of the style better than this one.

Photo of blaheath
3.2/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottled 2008
Pour is black in color with a light carbonation that leaves a very thin head with almost no lacing. Aromas of licorice, raisins, and roasted malts. Taste is all over the place. Medium bodied, heavy bitter, licorice, raisins, burnt sugar, herbs, roasted malt, charcoal, and an average bitter finish. There was just too much going on here to enjoy. Flavors were muddled and didn't work well together.

Photo of njmoons
3.2/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Even in a big beer I like balance.

I recently tried the Czar and being a fan of both RIS's and some of Avery's beers I was looking forward to it.

The appearance was dark and brown, almost black. It poured a brownish 2 finger head which held up really well. Looked like a solid RIS.

The smell was a sweet fruity malty blast. There was plum and current, and noticeable alcohol with the malt. There was no or very little aroma hops (not unusual in a RIS)

I found the taste disappointing. It seemed all the ingredients for a great RIS were there, but the front end was too sweet, and the sweetness lingered before a very bitter finish. The sweetness and bitterness were extreme and to far removed from each other. The whole taste seemed out of balance front to back.

The beer was thick/syrupy as is normal for an RIS, and unfortunately with the taste out of balance I did not find this very drinkable.

The Czar from Avery Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 1,824 ratings.