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The Czar - Avery Brewing Company

Not Rated.
The CzarThe Czar

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very good

1,822 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,822
Reviews: 883
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: 1,822 | Reviews: 883 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of JordanC
2.83/5  rDev -28.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

It was a dark brown color, not as black as other RIS beers, but looked inviting

The smell was heavy with alcohol, the sour mash smell really stood out.

Taste was just like the smell, heavy on the alcohol. Some molasses and chocolate overtones

Not as thick as I would have liked and again the alcohol dominates

Average is a good way to describe it. Not a bad beer, but on the low end as far as RIS beers go, probably would not purchase again

Photo of saintwarrick
4.12/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brownish amber with a puffy tannish head. Aroma is cocoa, molasses and a lot of alcohol, it sticks out like a Russian tank and this brew doesn't hide it. Taste is chocolaty and thick, but not as thick as some other RIS's I have had. Again, alcohol is dominant which makes this a perfect winter time beer. Not much in the way of hops, but the brew isn't too sweet or cloying.

The alcohol makes this more of a nightcap on a cold night than a dessert beer like Brooklyn's Black Chocolate Stout or Lion Stout. A great brew, but a tad heavy.

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

2006 vintage. Poured into a snifter. Pitch black with a finger of surprisingly light head. Some wet lacing is left on the glass.

Aroma is boozy chocolate and molasses.

Flavor is chocolate-covered red fruits with a great roasty finish accented by cocoa powder. The 11% abv is hardly there.

Mouthfeel is rich but dry, nice carbonation and relatively high drinkability.

Photo of Mudpuppet
3.14/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to tayner for the chance to try this one.

A- Poured from a 220x bomber into a Duvel tulip glass. Pours a dark brown with no head to speak of.

S- The nose has a lot of what I consider to be wet wood scent. Smells a bit like an old barrel that has been sitting around. I get a bit of sweet malt and smoky nose from this too.

T- This is a tasty RIS but nothing incredible. Mostly coffee and burnt malts in this beer. I think I cannot get over the nose and that seems to influence the flavor.

M- A bit low on carbonation. This is a beer that is fairly thick also. It sticks to your mouth as you drink it.

D- I have to say, I have yet to be really impressed by anything from Avery. I want to like there beers because I know Adam is very talented but I am still unenthusiastic about their beer.

Photo of bkilpatr
3.65/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from a 22 oz bottle into a mug. Bottled in 2007. Consumed on 04/23/08. Split with a friend of mine.

Pours pitch black, with little to no brown head that quickly disappeared. Aromas of chocolate, roasted malts, and dark fruits.

Taste is quite unique for a RIS. Creamy smooth chocolate and bitter toffee flavors dominate. Also lots of the dark fruits, fig, raisin, and a little plum. Slight molasses flavor as well. A lot sweeter up front than I was expecting, with a bitter finish.

Mouthfeel was thick and smooth. Full bodied with very little carbonation. Drinkability was decent for being so heavy with a high ABV (11.73%). I think the full 22 oz would have been too much for me, but splitting it with someone else worked nicely.

Photo of Jerico
3.53/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Bordeaux wine glass.

A - pretty typical stout - dark, with a fuffy tan head.

S - I get bits of caramel and something vaguely like olive. Sounds gross, but is quite nice!

T/M/D - this s a tasty beer, nice and smooth and only a faint aftertaste. I detect olive too, although maybe it is more the smell. It carries very slight carbonation.

Photo of Kegatron
4.1/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the Capital Ale House. Glen Allen, VA. Served in a sifter.

Pours an impenetrable pitch black with a thin burnt colored tan head. Retains wells around the edges and with small wisps across the center leaving behind lacing that slides the glass. The aroma is deep sweetness, dark roasted malts, floral hops, dark fruits, soy sauce, and some heat.

The taste is a commanding mix of sweet caramel and toffee sweetness, rich chocolate, coffee bitterness, dark fruits, and black licorice. The mouthfeel is full and rich with a big, beefy feel. Alcohol was fairly prevalent, adding some beefy warmth to the body although it did get a little stinging towards the bottom of the glass.

The last time I had this, it was a couple of years ago (I believe a bottle of 05) and I felt that the heat component kind of took a little away from my overall opinion then too. Find yourself a bottle of this now, age it for a couple of years and go nuts. It should be quite heavenly.

Photo of Portertime
4.12/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A big brew from Avery, I always enjoy their imperials. Enjoyed this one in a bubble glass. Pours a thick ebony color with a nice sized brown head. Smells of nice malts and rich black coffee. Tastes of coffee and some molasses. Fairly smooth on the palate.

Photo of jakon
4.47/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle purchased for $5.99 at a SF Bevmo. Bottled in 2007.

Contrary to the listing here, this '07 version shows 11.73 ABV.

1.104 OG and 70 IBU's.

This beer pours black with an average sized head that displays zero retention as it recedes. The first thing I notice in the aroma is gingersnaps, which is closely followed by malted chocolate balls and roasted marshmallows. Never come across a RIS that smelled quite like this. I actually like it. There's also some blackstrap molasses in there.

The taste matches the aroma, but now I'm getting some 2-sugars coffee and some dark fruit characteristics such as fig and prune. This isn't nearly as roasted or bitter as so many other RIS's. A welcome change of pace.

The body is average for the style.

Overall, I really enjoyed this beer and plan to purchase more in the near future.

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

poured at room temperature from a 22 oz bottle into a sampling glass (all that was available).

A - deep brown color with a thick foamy light brown head.

S - not too strong but some coffee notes.

T - a nice balance of coffee and molasses.

M - nice creamy texture. little carbonation.

D - quite easy to drink for a RIS. not quite as tasty as my favorites in this style, but a decent brew nonetheless.

Photo of BigJTrucker
3.82/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep mahogany, thick creamy head settles fairly slowly. Smells heavily of floral hops and roasted malt. Taste is of peat, some oakey, tobacco notes, lots of fruit. Mouthfeel is very thick and creamy, with out being too sticky. A Very strong, flavorful RIS. One bomber is more than enough for me though.

Photo of Metalmonk
4.03/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a gooey dark brown/black with a light tan head that is small and disappears to a crown. Swirling brings the head right back to life, which I enjoyed doing a few times throughout the session.

This has a buoyant aroma. Even kind of light, relative to other Russian imperial stouts. It's close to a Baltic porter in some ways. Lighter char, milk chocolate, polite roasted scents, mayyybe some coffee...nothing outlandish or outstanding, but nice enough.

The aroma might have played nice, but the flavor is out to dominate. We have a case of good cop/bad cop here. The flavor hits with a wonderfully creamy texture, and then into a milky sweetness. But then a huge hit of coffee grounds and bitter dark baking chocolate blast the tongue, spiced up by a bit of cinnamon or some such. Fig and toffee thread their way in, as does a hop glow as it warms (and it started out at cellar temp). All this works extremely well because the bitter aspects are rounded by smooth, creamy, lactic sweetness.

With all that going on, I hardly noticed the 11.04%. This is the 2006 version, so maybe it's mellowed beyond its initial state. Whatever the case, there's still a wild streak running through it, and I have to give it props of being a unique take on the style. Surely a stout to grapple with, grow to love, and contemplate. Don't pair it with a damn thing, it offers plenty of flavor on its own.

Photo of tpd975
3.11/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Pours dark brown in color with tinges of red peeking thru. Rather small head that dies quickly and leaves no lacing.

S: Dark fruits dominate. There is some biscuity malt and molasses as well.

T: Very different in flavor from your normal RIS. This one is very fruity. Tons of figs and raisins that taste as though they have been stewed in rum. There is a molassess like sweetness in the middle as well. No real notes of chocolate or coffee noted.

M: Medium to heavy in body with low carbonation.

D: A single glass would have been enough.

Overall: It is different than what I expected it would be. The taste is very fruity and malty rather than roasted. The normal chocolate notes that I love in the RIS' were simply not there. This is not one I would drink regularly.

Photo of blackjack000
4.65/5  rDev +18%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is an '06 bottle, tasted two years post.

Appearance: This one came out looking pretty low on carbonation, but incredibly thick looking. It almost looks like syrup, and melts into a pitch black with a bit of dark brown on the very edges in the light. Almost completely impenetrable. Pouring it into a glass almost reminds me of adding oil to my engine. It pours like a magnificent sludge, so beautiful! The head turns out to be just a light frosting above the beer, letting the coal black personality glare through.

The beer is working its way down into the glass, and the head is just a ring around the periphery of the blackness. Normally, I like the feel and appearance of some head as the beer progresses, but the barely lingering head on this stout seems to be a testament to the thick and static nature of this beer. It is so very, very thick and syrupy.

The remaining head is elegantly clinging to the glass with each tip, looking like frost on a winter window, and remains frozen in place. Even the little head that is there seems to be thick and unyielding.

Smell: I neglected to note the smell until drinking half of the beer. The appearance made me so eager to taste it that I almost forgot. The smell is good, and balanced, but it could be just 10% stronger to match the flavor. Trust me, that's not a negative comment. The flavor is pretty good. I smell softened ripened plums, black liquorice, mom 'n' pop diner dark coffee with sugar on a foggy morning, spilled whiskey, and some brown sugar. The alcohol smell is coming over thick now that the beer is warming a bit. It is very aromatic and inviting.

I'm beginning to detect sweeter tones coming from the beer. All sorts of dark fruits that have been marked down in the supermarket for being past expiration. It's the deep, thick, alcoholic smell that comes from a plum when it is so ripe that it has begun to wrinkle and almost bursts with juice when handled. Wow.

Taste: Very thick and wonderful taste. Harsh oak, crumbly dark chocolate, and 3:00 a.m. wake-up coffee that seems to pour out in the consistency of melted chocolate. Very thick roasted flavor in every sip. Would have an almost perfect taste, but I feel the flavor leaves the tongue a bit quick. But, hold on, I'm talking "just barely." It pretty much makes up for it by the hard-hitting hops that immediately hit you as a surprise after swallowing, complemented by the thick malt. I just wish they would hang around for another second.

Baker's chocolate is starting to kick into gear, now. It remains with the aftertaste. Perhaps I spoke too soon about the lack of aftertaste. This is very nice. It leaves me with a bitter and malty taste in my mouth for half a minute, not letting me forget who is in charge.

Wow, this stuff is truly intended for royalty. I'm impressed with it overall. This is something I would want to drink at my wedding from a bejeweled goblet. I would say that I'm fairly new to Russian Imperial Stouts, but beers like this and Oak Aged Yeti would immediately convert me. If only this stuff was on tap where I lived.

Mouthfeel: Almost sticks to my upper lip like gravy. I feel like this beer is coating the entire inside of my mouth, tongue, and throat like cough syrup. That is, if they made cough syrup laden with the most marvelous grouping of ingredients. This feels like it's some wizard's elixir permeating all my digestive membranes on the way down to my stomach. Wow, this is thick and delicious. It is like a hearty three-course meal. It swallows like split pea soup mixed with sawdust and molasses. It feels great and nourishing.

Drinkability: This beer feels very warm and nourishing as it accumulates in my belly. I'm not sure I would be willing to drink 2 one pint six ounce bottles of this imperial stout. It is quite strong and flavorful. I would love to experience this flavor over and over, but it is definitely mighty. This is so thick, juicy, and hearty. The last bit I didn't want to finish. I just watched it as I rolled the glass-bottom in circles and the thick beer reluctantly rolled against the corners. The consistency is so magnificent. This is a beer that has to be tasted and witnessed.

Photo of irishkyle21
3.71/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The Czar pours with a little less than two fingers of off white head. Holds up nicely and leaves behind lots of lacing. The color is almost black.

The smell and taste just weren't up there with some of the other Imperials I have had the chance to try. I had a hard time with the nose but I did get earthy hops, alcohol and molasses.

The taste is a little unbalanced (IMO). I found the bitterness was not kept in check and overpowerd the malt. It still is a good beer and has a great alcohol and molasses taste.

Photo of erosier
3.9/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a jet black with a very tall but medium bodied tan head that takes a long time to settle and laces the glass very well on the way down. It has a very deep roasted malt aroma with some chocolate, caramel, and some dark fruit aroma. The taste is good too. Really deep roasted malts, some caramel, chocolate, and then some dark fruity flavor. It has a very nice rich and smooth mouthfeel that makes it a very drinkable beer. Its one drawback is how alcoholic it is, but it gives it a very warming feeling. I could probably have more than 1 of these in a session, but probably no more than 2 of these 22oz bombers.

Photo of MSchae1017
4.03/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the 22oz bomber into a nonic glass. Vintage 2006

Black with hints of amber letting light through easier than expected. Creamy head that lingers forever leaving massive amounts of lace. Chocolate, and subtle coffee aromas with a fruity malt character. Grainy flavor with more chocolate and fruit. A rather sweet beer; the hops taking a backseat in this show. Warming alcohol presence. Creamy mouthfeel, subtle carbonation. A nice warming imperial stout. Could use a bit more roast character.

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

Poured a 2007-bottled 22-ouncer into a seidel;

This brew is damned near black--virtually opaque with a cranberry tinge only at the extreme edges of the glass... like used motor oil, with India ink in it; a 1.5 finger head diminishes slowly to a tightly-bubbled, fat-ringed sheet of creamy khaki foam that leaves some nice lacing at the sip lines.

Smell is surprising; predominantly flowery, maybe even a little fruity, with some spicy dark chocolate, sweet toffee, and notes of lightly-roasted coffee.

Taste is true to smell, and then some... sweet with flowery hops,bitter chocolate; plus a tinge of fruity tartness appearing briefly in the background, just before a whiff of sweet alcohol, plus an afterthought of dark roastiness.

Smooth and creamy mouthfeel, pleasantly-light carbonation. Significant warming effect in the gullet.

This is unlike any other RIS I've ever enjoyed...seemed more like a barleywine almost... Though I personally claim to prefer the dark, roasty, smoky stouts, this predominantly sweet, herbal, aromatic brew was easy to drink and very pretty to look at. Good stuff. Potent.

Photo of mithrascruor
3.63/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 oz. bottle poured into a mug.

Appearance: Pours a black color with a giant, dense dark tan head.

Smell: Has a dank floral aroma; very unusual. Actually an enjoyable smell, but quite atypical for this type of beer.

Taste: Lots of chocolate, moderate florals, and a bit of nuts and butterscotch. Bitter aftertaste with a bit of alcohol.

Mouthfeel: Smooth with very light tingly carbonation. Rather viscous, but more medium-bodied.

Drinkability: Despite the strong ABV, it's actually quite drinkable taste-wise.

A bit of a disappointment for this style. Basically it's a nice beer, but hardly a Russian Imperial Stout. I'll probably have it again sometime, but not when I'm in the mood for this style of beer.

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

'04 bottle Shared at an imp. stout tasting.
Pours black, with a smell of raw dough, butterscotch and a tiny, tiny hint of alcohol. Taste is similar and gooey, creamy and sweet, with some light heat coming in as it warms, but for 13% as it was this year, it was extremely drinkable and nicely hidden. This was a nicely aged imperial stout

Photo of charlzm
3.29/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Consumed 03/20/08.

Pours a deep, nearly-impenetrable dark brown. A somewhat foamy tan head almost four fingers high springs up with little encouragement. it dies down after a few sips and minutes to a slightly thicker than usual foamy skin.

Aromas: odd, but I'm not getting much. Sort of a cheddar cheese scent, maybe... Definitely grapes. The expected aromas of roasted malt, chocolate and/or coffee are absent.

Mouthfeel is a little chewy, but again, my expectations were confounded. I was waiting for a velvety smooth beer and got a brew much thinner than I had hoped.

Flavor is dominated by alcohol, which burns then warms on the finish. Some dark roasted malt flavor here and bitterness (whether from burnt malt or hops, I do not know). A bit of coffee/dark chocolate. Effervescent on the tongue. Pitted fruit flavor in the background.

No doubt this is a big, accomplished beer, but I don't find myself as crazy for it as I thought I would be.

Photo of joekfsu
3.58/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle. Pours black with some hints of ruby when held to bright light with 2 cm dark tan head that is mostly lasting. Aroma of chocolate and alcohol. Initial flavor was mostly chocolate (sweet) with hints of coffee and malt. Flavor ended more balanced with chocolate, hops, alcohol and a hint of anise. Medium body, some lacing, alcohol noted, and lasting aftertaste. Drinkable if shared, seems like they really enjoy jamming the alcohol down your throat on this one.

Photo of OKCNittany
3.72/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: Poured a 1" dark tan head that fell to a cloud and left a little lacing on the sides of the glass. Black body.

S: Rich mocha aroma. Notes of lcohol and dark fruit were noticable at times (especially after it warmed), but the chocolate was huge throughout.

T: Chocolate (both sweet and dark), some molasses, and dark fruits were present. Unfortunately as it warmed, the alcohol took over & started to overwhelm the other flavors.

M: Near full body with low carbonation. Very smooth until the slight alcohol burn at the end. In addition to the slight burn, the finish was sticky & chocolatey.

D: Darn tasty beer with a great nose - but there was too much of an alcohol presence, especially during the 2nd half of the 22 ounce bottle.

Photo of Avryle
4.5/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Finally found my notes from an RIS/Barleywine tasting session in January 2008 (Kudos to dmeadows for bringing this one)

**2003 Bottle**

A- Cocoa brown with minimal head. Some light coming through around the edges of the glass.

S- Raisins, dates & all that ubiquitous "dark fruit" Smells perfectly lovely.

T- Smooth. Age has mellowed the flavors and booziness of this brew. I've the Czar when it was hot and wouldn't recommend it, but with a few years on it, Nice. It was paired with 60% dark chocolate which complimented it nicely and helped bring more sublte flavors forward.

M- Again, the age on this bottle benefitted it greatly. The lingering mouthfeel was so pleasant & smooth. Coats the inside of your mouth and doesn't make you feel like you can breath fire.

D- This one went up against Darkness, aged Stone RIS, and Siberian Night in a tasting and was able to hold its own.

Photo of ccrida
3.45/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Served in a small nonic on draught at Avery's tasting room, The Czar is a dark garnet with a small ivory head that leaves heavy lace.

Smell is boozy, with coco, coffee and a light roast.

Taste is rich and very boozy - this is a hot one. Mainly bittersweet chocolate and just a bit of roast, the alcohol is the main dimension here....I let it sit for a while, even at room temp it failed to open up much. Probably one of the few Avery brews that is not better fresh on draught at the brewpub then in an older bottle. To bad I rarely see this in bottles by me!

Mouthfeel is nice, super creamy, not to thick, dried and thinned by the high ABV.

Drinkability is not to good right now, lacking complexity and much to hot. I'm sure it ages well, but that's not what I'm reviewing...

The Czar from Avery Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 1,822 ratings.