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The Czar - Avery Brewing Company

Not Rated.
The CzarThe Czar

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

1,793 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,793
Reviews: 880
rAvg: 3.93
pDev: 11.45%
Wants: 70
Gots: 252 | 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:
Beer added by: Wildman on 01-05-2003

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,793 | Reviews: 880 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Magpie14
3.92/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: has dark complexions, as figured. The base of the glass holds deep red ruby colors. Nothing to out of the ordinary, I always anticipate a thick viscous pour. The lacing is sub-par as well as the meager almond creme colored head

S: here we have heavy roasted malts, burnt raisins, ripe figs, and sweet sugary notes

T: the flavors hold closely to the nose with the addition of dark molasses and unsweetened chocolates. Everything, for what is in the glass, is in control. However, one could say that it always comes back to gobs of chunky roasted (almost smokey) flavors. Alcohol is warming as the drink does with a slight spice to it

M: this brew maintains a certain smooth character and yet it is rather light for an RIS. A little more bottom end would not hurt this boy. In any event, this thing gulps, sips, chugs easy. A soft tanginess is prevalent after the sip

D: not a bad RIS the flavors are deep and rich. It is pretty good. However, I would not stop the quest for finding the most elusive RIS

Photo of farrago
3.94/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Loosely knit one finger head of light brown color, the bubbles pop with ease, any lacing lacks stickiness, swift dissolve. Jet black color, fully opaque, merest suggestion of orange at the rims. Heavy duty dark chocolate, mocha and coffee roast in the nose, malts out the wazoo, plum, black raisin, cherry and blackberry scents add to the sweet profile, there's a minute portion of graininess but nothing bitter. Full-bodied, however, the carbonation adds a violent swirl which breaks up most of the overall solidity. Minty and floral at first, actually beats the cocoa powder, ground coffee and caramel to the punch. Elevated grains, straw and bread crust elements, adds a drying touch. There's concentration but not much sweetness found in the plum, prune, raisin, cherry, apricot fruit. There is a slight astringent booziness in the texture. Maltiness lingers more than the other parts which does smooth out and extend the finish. You can be true to the beer type and offer a more nimble, nuanced product.

Photo of kegger22
3.83/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a dark brown with a respectable head, not quite two fingered, that had good retention. The aroma had something strange in it, in the taste too, but can't quite put my finger on it, I'm going to call it soapy for now. Maybe it will hit me as it warms. The taste was sweet, some chocolate, some licorice, some molasses. Feel was full bodied. oily and I got some decent carbonation if you look for it, but generally smooth. Drinkability? One bomber was plenty. Still can't find the mystery smell and flavor. Must be Russian potato borsht vodka yeast or something equally baffling.

Photo of cbutova
3.98/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours the pitch black expected from an imperial stout with a one-two finger head, nice carb in this beer, head fizzes out in a few minutes and was pretty thick. Good coating of lace left down the side of my glass. Smells of molasses, chocolate, alcohol, sweets and roasted malts. Tastes again of molasses, roasted malts, lots of sweetness (molasses again), some chocolate and a little bit of coffee. Alcohol and molasses take over after a while reminding me of a belgian beer. Mouthfeel is nice and thick and creamy, molasses coats the mouth for a long time after the beer is done. Alcohol warms in here also. Drinkability is decent, good taste but the molasses and alcohol might get old after a while, seems like the beer is best for the first half of it.

Photo of ohmybock
3.21/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

2008 bomber pours with a fluffy head. When held up to the light, the color isn't quite as dark as you normally find in an impy stout. The aroma is dominated by fruitiness with very little dark malt character. The aroma reminds me of a combination of Granny Smith apples and ripe pears. It's a pleasant aroma, but not at all what I expect in an IS. The taste has a malty/fruity sweetness upfront followed by a lingering (but light) roastiness in the finish. It seems to be a bit boozy, and the mouthfeel is a bit thin for an IS. Sadly, it's really lacking in the dark, roasty, malt character one expects in a stout or impy stout. I find this brew to be quite drinkable, but it doesn't remind me of an IS at all. Instead, it's more like some sort of dark, somewhat sweet, fruity, strong ale. I'm rating this brew as an imperial stout, and thus my ratings aren't that great. However, "as a strong ale", I would have rated this higher...such is one of the problems when rating beers. Do you rate to style or just overall pleasure? If I order apple pie, but get blueberry instead, am I disappointed? They're both types of fruit pies (and I might like both flavors), but I asked for apple, I was in the mood for apple, and they said it was apple. Such is the case with this brew...I thought I was going to get one type of beer, but I got something a bit different.

Photo of Buschyfor3
4.1/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

2006 vintage bottle. A steal of a find at $7.99 for a 11.04% ABV Russian Imperial Stout with 3 years of age on the bottle. Served in my Sam Adams Perfect Pint glass. Served slightly chilled but I know it will take me some time to work through this bomber so it should warm to room temp nicely.

A: A sluggish, viscous pour produces a rich, deep mahogany brown with some lighter cola highlights around the edges of the glass, but by no means is this beer translucent - definitely opaque through and through. Not the darkest looking RIS I've come across though. Good head on the pour, a creamy, dark khaki/beige top easily a couple finger thick. The initial head dissipates to a sheet of lacing and bubbles that arise near the edges of the glass. Coats the side of the glass with an oily film on each sip... nice.

S: Alot of dark fruits on the nose, with raisins being the most prominent note, and possibly some hints of dried cherries. There is also a licorice note in there as well. Somewhat sugary sweet on the nose - brown sugar and molasses for sure. Not really getting any kind of hop bitterness, and I wouldn't expect any with 3 years of age on the bottle. A slightly salty, soy sauce note sneaks in late, blending in with some of the bready, malt aromas. Not really getting much any booze on the nose, which I hear can be quite prominent on fresh bottles.

T: There is alot going on under the surface here. First sip delivers fruity, raisin-like flavors, followed by dashes of brown sugar and molasses. A bit of dark cocoa gets added to the mix, as well as some black licorice. The initial sweetness is surpassed by the malt background which delivers strong bready flavors along with glimpses of roasted malts and a nutty/buttery note akin to the aftertaste you get from swallowing a spoonful of peanut butter... can't really say I've ever had another beer produce that taste phenomenon but I really like it. A touch of alcohol kicks in near the finish, offering some warming spiciness but it never dominates the flavors on offer. Aftertaste brings out some stale bread flavors and a lingering hint of cocoa and raisins. Flavor profile is quite smooth and layers blend together quite well, probably enhanced by the age on the bottle.

M: Frothy, creamy smooth thanks to some superfine carbonation. Syrupy on the tongue and it coats the mouth. To be honest, I'm pretty impressed with the mouthfeel on this beer... it surprised me. This really feels like velvet on the tongue. I think I have to give this a 5 because this just feels exactly how I imagine a big, imperial stout should feel.

D: 11.04% ABV listed on the label, and while you can feel the booze creeping up as the bottle warms, the alcohol seems kept in check in both the aroma and the flavor profile. I think the aging probably smoothed out the sharp, boozy edges that other reviewers noted from fresh bottles, but the alcohol is still there and you still feel it warming your insides as you go along. One bomber is definitely enough to get you going for a night or to prolong your buzz. This beer is a sipper... and while it is probably one of the easiest-drinking sippers I've had, one bottle is enough to keep my buzz going for the night. A second bomber would be overkill, if not because of the richness of the flavors found in The Czar, it's because the alcohol is so stealthy, even with age. If anything, the fact that the alcohol is felt but not tasted is a testament to how well crafted this beer really is and how it has held up over 3 years.

This is the first Avery offering I've ever tried. I spied a '06 vintage bottle at my local bottle shop, and knowing that they are pretty considerate when it comes to storing bottles properly, I thought "What have I got to lose? A killer price for a 22oz bottle that has been aged 3 years for me.... I'll give it a shot!" I'm really glad I picked up The Czar. Smooth and delivering a nice blend of flavors backed by a delicate and devilishly smooth mouthfeel. Really enjoyed this one. Not sure how a fresh bottle would compare, but with age, this is quite a nice RIS to enjoy. With age, could this compete with some of the best of the best RIS? Perhaps. I think this bottle proves that The Czar is mighty fine with some age on its side. In the overall picture, however, The Czar probably falls just shy of RIS greatness - there are other examples that are better in each of the rating categories. Still, don't let that convince you to pass over this stout... it is worthy of a spin for anyone looking for a solid, enjoyable RIS.

Photo of damienblack
4.08/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a kind of thin looking deep black, decent looking head, not much retention. Some cool lacing, though, actually looks pretty cool whenst agitated. Smell is the low point here. A bit of booze and muted hop and dark malt, smells kind of harsh. But it tastes a lot better than it smells. A good amount of booziness, and pretty hoppy, which usually I am not a fan of. But they walk the line just perfectly between pleasure and undrinkability. Especially as it warms, it becomes an excellent sipper. I couldn't even finish a bottle, partially because it was late, but it was also getting to me a lot faster than I would have thought. Decent mouthfeel, not the most drinkable RIS, but still pleasurable. It's not in the upper eschelon of imperial stouts, but still a very worthy second-teamer.

Photo of kzoobrew
3.63/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes. Enjoyed on 02/19/2009. Bottled 2007

Very dark but not opaque. Crimson highlights. Slightly creamy off white head with decent retention and lacing.

dark roasted malt . Very sweet smelling. Alcohol is very evident in the nose.

Rich cocoa flavors complimented with more subtle toffee taste. Big roasted malitiness. Slightly hot.

Full mouthfeel but less dense than other imperial stouts. Carbonation low but appropriate. Oily finish.

Definitely a sipper but easier to drink than imagined. Very enjoyable.

Photo of Richardberg
3.18/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

A: poured from a bomber into a pint glass. Very dark but not completely so. Moderate head surprisingly foamy and white for a big beer.

S: lots of dark currants, berries. Malt syrup. Banana ester. Nothing on the coffee/cocoa spectrum, nor hops.

T: pretty much same as smell. Dead center in terms of sweet/bitter. Alcohol very present - if there's anything else, it's hidden by ABV.

M: smooth, coating, with a nice touch of carbonation too. Not exceptional though.

D: pretty low. Have to wade thru a lot of alky, for not much reward. Interesting fruit smells and well executed feel, but nothing others don't do better.

Photo of jdklks
3.15/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer is not as "big" or as bursting with flavor as the label would suggest. It pours black (like any RIS), but when held up to light is curiously transparent. it is accompanied by a foamy head that is off-white. The color of the head doesn't excite me (a brown head I find usually suggests more coffee and chocolate; this, however, is white). The beer looks overly carbonated, which I think is due to its relative lightness (for an RIS), but it is not when tasted. The smell is weak for an RIS, and nothing really stands out; rather, it is a mixture of certain [predictable] characteristics that, having come together, are hard to place exactly as they are. In other words, this beer doesn't emphasize anything, which makes it a little dull.

The taste is similar to the smell- no clear emphasis, no outstanding flavors, and thus little complexity. The usuals are present in short supply- chocolate, coffee, roasted malts, dark fruits (plum, and maybe cherry), etc., etc. there is present an almost fruit candy sweetness, that doesn't blend well with the other flavors. As previously mentioned, the beer is lighter than expected or desired. It is not great, and I dont see myself buying it again.

edit: i didn't look at this review and ended up buying it again. score has been adjusted (lowered) accordingly. not very enticing.

Photo of alovesupreme
3.99/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Vintage 2005, served in a Maudite snifter.
A dark liquid, but unlike most Big RIS's scarlet hues still penetrate the body of the beer.A Tall head that dissipated to a small lace. This is a sticky beer that marks where it has been.
Dark fruit such as prune and dark berries with alcohol and some slightly oxidized aromas. Not that much going on.
A full body with dark currants, black berries, fig and a slight rum character.
A great beer. I believe this would be a bit overwhelming if fresh but with 4 years it comes together.

Photo of Wegbier
3.08/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

a- very good looking. best retention I have seen for this style yet. It has a dark ruby red shade towards the bottom. The rest you cant see through

s- very up front smell of hops and some sweet malt profile.

t- fine and typical for an RIS

m- medium body-ish, kind of a light taste, hard to discern much.

d- lowest of many that i have tried. this beer does not handel its 10.77abv very well at all, it was very hot and numbing in my mouth and then my stomach is hot. I did think about pouring the rest out.

It was a 2008 release, To be fair I want to try this one when it is much older when that alcohol doesnt burn the taste away. I guess the Czar never was the nicest guy and dont expect this beer to do you any favors either.

Photo of GRG1313
4.3/5  rDev +9.4%
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).

Photo of BARFLYB
3.5/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2003 vintage served in a large snifter. Thanks to oglmcdgl for opening this oldie but goody.

A- 2003 Czar is a big black oily resin stain siting in a glass. All in all in line with a RIS. Not getting any head or even a small cap of foam from a pretty hard pour. Some faint small tan bubbles try to live but die. Perhaps this is past it's due date. With no foam comes no lace.

S- A lot of roastede malts and some burnt sugars as well. Getting a lot of figs and raisins in this but the chocolate seems to have faded a bit. No sign of hops at all and just some booze in the back side. As with a lot of high abv avery brews I smell dark fruit.

T- Is in line with the style with dark fruits taking the forefront with raisins and figs. Some old stale coffee from the office, slight chocolate and some vanilla cream to round it all out. This one is very sweet but not quite how I like my sweets, which is a ongoing theme for me with a lot of avery products.

M- Thick and full bodied with minimal carbonation. Very sweet with dark fruits becoming a bit to much towards the finish line. The alcohol creeps in very slightly through all the dominate flavors. This one coats the mouth like so many RIS.

D- Czar is a very drinkable RIS dont get me wrong, it's just not my favorite. The aged version while better than fresh just doesen't hit the mark with me, and don't get me started on a fresh bottle of this stuff, have you ever tried to drink a fresh high ABV offering from avery?, it's almost impossible for me. Either way this is a good RIS and should be tried at least once.

Photo of aglose45
4.12/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber sized bottle. Wrapper said it was bottled in 2003, which makes me believe this will be pretty good..

A: Pitch black, light brown head that left minimal lacing on the glass.

S: I picked up raisons, dark chocolate and a hint of caramel. This beer smelled extremely sweet and malty.

T: Taste was a little more complex than the nose. I tasted raisons, molasses, dark chocolate, and a warming alcohol taste at the end. There was also a hint of oak as the beer warmed.

M: Very smooth, medium bodied. The alcohol flavor stays in the mouth for a few seconds post-swallow.

D: This beer has great drinkability. My only complaint is that the bitterness has faded. After 6 years in a bottle this makes sense, but it is what it is and I would have liked some bitterness in this beer.

Photo of giblet
3.73/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

poured a very nice rich brownish color with about one inch of thick head. nice aroma smells of rich sweet roasted malt. the taste was too sweet for me. not a bad flavor but one that i would like to finish a bit less sugary. left nice lacing down the glass. a good beer but not my favorite russian stout.

suckem up and movem out.


Photo of everetends
3.8/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber I picked up from Greens in ATL, Ga. Part of the Avery liquidation sale for $3 a bottle. An amazing deal if you ask me. This says it was bottle in 2008. Served up in my Terrapin snifter.

A: Pours a somewhat thin dark brown that creates a rich and black body. Held to the light, this beer is letting zero light through. The pour yielded about half a finger of head that diminished quickly own to a somewhat sizeable ring that is thin and bubbly. As you sip, it seems like the lace is going to cover the glass easily, but it slips off the glass easily creating no lasting lace on the glass. Its a decent looking RIS but its just a bit above average if you ask me.

S: Getting some nice bitter roasted malt coming through. There seems to be a lot of dark fruit in here with maybe some dark cherries and some prunes. Touch of brown sugar and chocolate is peeking its way through. Then you can find some licorice in here as well. Everything is rounded out by a sizeable amount of booze. I mean the alcohol really comes out and easily overpowers the other scents in here.

T: Taste is better and somewhat different from the nose. I am still getting that nice roasted malt with just a bit of bitter chocolate and sweet brown sugar. Licorice adds a little sumptin sumptin to it. The booze is far more subdued in the flavor and doesn't dominate at all. Instead, behind all this roasty malt goodness you find some hops. And I mean some . . . citrus hops. Lots of lemon and some orange are actually coming out are far more pronounced than I was expecting. The citrus is a bit candied thanks to the sugar and chocolate, but it works very well in my opinion.

M: Medium in body which is a bit more watery than I would expect from the style. Carbonation is sizeable and has a good amount of bubbly crispness going on here. Getting some nice alcohol burn coming out in the throat and palate. its a nice slow burn that is a super pleasant warming quality for a chilly night. Aftertaste is mostly some nice citrus hops soaked in chocolate.

D: This beer is not bad at all. It goes down pretty easily thanks to the somewhat thinner feel. It doesn't sit as heavy as some RIS's out there and for 12.20% on the ABV it drinks easy as hell. The flavors are different for me but they work incredibly well. Sure, Avery could work on the look, aroma and feel, but thi brw still works well and remains enjoyable. For $3 I am not going to bitch at all. Fine brew.

Photo of gford217
3.6/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2008 bomber poured into a tulip.

Pours a little lighter than I was expecting. Not quite black in the glass and with light showing through a little reddish in the corners. The mead is big and creamy and shows good staying power and solid lacing.

The aroma has plenty of dark roasted malts but there is a pretty strong sweetness that I'm having trouble identifying - maybe licorice, maybe a little citrus hops.

The flavor follows the aroma to a degree and I definitely think there's a quick hop kick up front before the big roasted malts kick in. I'm also getting a little more chocolate, mostly bakers, than in the aroma. The finish is roasty and has a definite alcohol burn that warms the throat on the way down.

The mouthfeel is light to medium bodied for the style and very smooth. There is decent carbonation though it could be a tad light for me.

Despite not being one of my favorite Avery brews, it's still a decent RIS. A bit too light bodied to be a seriously great RIS, but very drinkable.

Photo of younger35
4.35/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My buddy in Denver sent me quite a bit of Avery brews when he first moved to Boulder a couple years ago. I pretty much drank the other stuff but this one was left. Drank from my Darkness snifter while watching the NCAA National Championship game (UNC vs. MSU).

Bottled 2007

Appearance- Pours a dark black with a beautiful one finger light tan head that recedes fairly slowly. A decent cap and thin collar remain leaving zero lacing.
Smell- Super dark and roasted with an almost burnt char on the malts. A bit of light coffee and molasses before a swell of dark, overly ripened fruit hits me. Dates, prunes and currents are fairly potent and mixed with the alcohol are fairly brandy-ish. Milk chocolate really comes through as the beer warms as does a more potent version of caramel that isn't as detectable warm. Light alcohol as well but not too bad considering it's over 11%.
Taste- Very bold and bright with a big bitter hoppy start that is fruity and spicy. Perhaps it's the Hallertau or the alcohol but either way it's fairly spicy. Prunes and browned apples are a part of that dark fruity bitterness. The malt isn't a slouch either though once that initial hop blast passes. Tons of rich dark chocolate and brownie batter cut through adding a bit of rich sweetness. A bit of molasses and smoke finish with little if any of that 11%.
Mouthfeel- I'm 50/50 on this. Half the time I think it's a hair to thin but the other half I think it's nice and silky with a bit of heft. Either way it's a damn nice feel. If it wasn't for that immediate thought of too thin this would be a 5.
Drinkability- I've enjoyed every last drop of this brew. It's only about 2 years old but honestly I can't possibly imagine it getting any better. The hops are still aggressive and a huge part of the beer and the alcohol has faded to nearly nothing. My guess is that this brew was a bit harsh young but is absolutely beautiful now. Tasty treat for sure!

Photo of BarrelO
3.85/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bomber poured into a goblet. Bottled in 2008. I had it on tap recently and it was dominated by a very non-RIS-like vinous character, so I wanted to see what it was like in the bottle.

A: Dark brown, not quite black. Almost like a quad. Nice head with good lacing, though.

S: Chocolate and roasted malts.

T: Chocolate, anise, hops, and alcohol. The fruity vinous character shows up after a while.

M: Quite thin, not rich enough for a RIS.

D: A solid enough RIS.

Photo of Contagion
3.14/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The beer pours a thick dark brown color like a dark coffee. There is a ruby tint to it that is brought out as the light catches it along the edges. It's thick enough that light doesn't pass through easily. A tan head formed but rapidly disappeared into just a small ring around the edge of the glass. There was some lacing, but not much.

The initial scent after pouring had an acrid scent of alcohol. The following scents, if taken mildly, were much more pleasant. There was creaminess to the smell like one gets with a cream liqueur. It opened the way for the gentle smells of caramel and coffee malts. There was also a hint of dark fruit (raisins, dates, prunes etc) to it. No matter what, the scent of alcohol was always present. The first taste was a biting alcohol taste, but subsequent sips revealed a nice caramel malt taste with a chocolate malt follow up. There is a slight molasses finish to it. As the beer warmed, the taste of alcohol became more and more present.

This is a full bodied beer that has a more watery than creamy feel to it. It's thick while in the mouth, but after swallowing, there is no coating.

This is not a beer I would suggest drinking in any great quantity. This would be something that you drink one bottle at a time, probably on a special occasion. This beer also gave me the impression that you have to be in the mood to drink it. I could see where if you were not expecting this beer, one would not like it, where as if you were anticipating it, it would be really good. I don't know if I'd classify this as an excellent beer, but it is pretty good. I'd be interested to buy a bottle and cellar it for a year or so and see how it ages. I may have to pick up an extra bottle and do a re-review in a couple of years.

Photo of GatorBeerNerd
3.66/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle purchased from Green's on Ponce as part of an "inventory reduction sale" for the incredibly low price of $3. Poured into a Bass pint glass. The listed ABV on the bottle is 10.77% instead of the 12.2% listed here.

A: It appears completely black, but there are a little bit of ruby highlights around the edges. The head was a nice chocolate tan color and probably 2.5 fingers thick at pour. It settles down quite a bit as it sits but never disappears fully. It leaves behind huge clumps of lace. Definitely a nice looking beer.

S: I am not picking up much here outside the dark roasted malt that is the cornerstone of the style. There is a hint of what I think is a dark fruit like aroma. It is so faint I can not quite put my finger on it, but there is a sweet aroma that is not due to the malt.

T: Big dark roasted malt flavor. There was a bit of a raisin flavor which must have been what I was picking up in the aroma. Quite a bit of a boozy kick which is not surprising based on the ABV. I can not really say the taste is anything special or out of the ordinary. It is just a nice tasty stout.

M: Its more of a medium thickness instead of being full bodied. It is nice and creamy from the carbonation, but it is just a bit too thin for the style.

D: Even with the high ABV, due to its thin nature and lack of bitterness it is very drinkable. It is not a sipper like many of its style competitors.

Photo of mothman
3.68/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into Sam Adams Sensory Glass

Pours almost a 2 finger dark tan head that had fades of peach mixed int. Color is a deep deep back and a little brown shows around the edge of the glass. Good head retention with nice lace rings and splatters.

Aroma is a deep dark chocolate. Very malty. Mainly roasted malts. Also some carmel.

Taste is very boozy. Bitter earthy hops. Very malty. Roasted flavor and carmel. The abv is way too much here.

Mouthfeel is bitter at first, but then it gets a lot more smooth. After that, the booze hits hard. The aftertaste is like the aftertaste after taking a shot of vodka.

Overall, this beer was way to much alcohol. I have had high alcohol beers, but they have never been this noticeable. I definitely had a hard time finishing this bomber. Not my favorite RIS.

Photo of Strix
3.5/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown (near black) and transparent on the edges of the glass. Not much head.

Smell primarily roasted malt and caramel.

Lots of flavors here, initially roasted malt, then bitter hops kick in with dark chocolate, vanilla, butterscotch, and grass. A fairly sweet RIS, with a bitter finish. Flavorful, but out of balance for me, too much buttery grassy hop bitterness.

Medium mouthfeel and carbonation.

The flavor mix on this didn't excite me much. I found it to be overly sweet and bitter for my tastes. Improved a bit as it warmed, but the grassy buttery hop flavors did not compliment the dark roasted flavors. Perhaps I drank it too young, some age might smooth out some of the hop character.

Photo of Rayek
3.95/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Deep garnet color borders on black. Rocky cream head has very nice retention and leaves intermittent patches of chunky lace. It's a nice overall look.

S: Rather sweet up front. A big dose of chocolate and dark fruits, plus a shot of espresso are joined by a pleasant pine forest scent.

T: Hops dominate, but not in an overly bitter fashion. The pine flavored bitterness I've come to expect from many Avery beers is front and center. Underneath them lies a complex layer of chocolate, raisins, prunes and coffee that I wish came through stronger. Finishes with a nice alcohol warmth and a lingering pine bitterness.

M: Medium-heavy body doesn't feel as thick as the beer's high ABV made me think it would. Carbonation level starts out a bit high, but calms nicely after the beer breathes for a bit.

D: Definitely a candidate for the cellar. I think a year or more to calm down the hops would do this beer wonders. Even at this young age; however, I found this beer quite good.

The Czar from Avery Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 1,793 ratings.