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The Czar - Avery Brewing Company

Not Rated.
The CzarThe Czar

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

1,842 Ratings

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Ratings: 1,842
Reviews: 889
rAvg: 3.94
pDev: 11.42%
Wants: 79
Gots: 270 | FT: 13
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: 1,842 | Reviews: 889
Photo of sevopie
3.67/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Dark, but not quite black. Brown tinges on the edges. The head was rather small, and a golden tan in color.

Smell - Coffee, Roasted malt, dark chocolate, and a touch of bitter, maybe hops.

Taste - A sweet alcohol flavored coffee tone hits you first. The hops are noticable, but not in your face, and the malt almost tastes burnt.

Mouthfeel - Lighter than I was expecting from an Imperial Stout, too light. Carbonation is just about right though.

Drinkability - Doesn't quite sit right to make it easily enjoyable, but it still goes down somewhat well. Needs a little thickening and a little more evening of the alcohol bite, and it would be even better.

Photo of SirEgbert
4.08/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Dark color with some garnet hues around the edges. Not the black impenetrable oil slick of many Russian imperial stouts. Thick off-white/khaki head from a medium strong pour, noticeable bubbles. Settles slowly to a skim coat of froth. No lacing.

Smell: Tart apples and coffee. Black licorice. Esters. Prunes. Subtle moss.

Taste: Dry wood, followed quickly by spice and alcohol heat and espresso. Molasses sweetness gives over to chicory. Missing is the big roasted malt taste I'd expect in this style, though there's a similar organic, earthy taste that is very good in its own right.

Mouthfeel: Thick, big and soft. Dries out considerably on the backend, leaving a not-unpleasant astringent feel. This is not as thick and coating as some Russian imperial stouts, but neither is it as thin as the appearance first suggested.

Drinkability: This is a big beer that goes down surprisingly easy. There is a definite sweetness to this beer, though it is not as pronounced as a barleywine, which has been suggested in other reviews. Certainly not a session beer, but I could see myself pouring another or two after this one.

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

First of all as a lover of all things RIS...this is not an imperial stout...it's appearance, smell, and taste are much more of a barleywine. It has none of the burnt, delicious coffee, dark chocolate complex flavors of an RIS. It has a lot of fruit like flavor and smell consistent much more of a barleywine.
With that in mind as a RIS it's not very good...as more of a barleywine, it's a good beer.
A--almost no head on an aggressive pour of the "bottled in 2003 batch" into a pint glass at McGrath's pub in Hbg, PA. The beer does not appear nearly opaque/dark enough to classify it as an RIS. Rather it's a dark red/amber color.
S--almost all barleywine in character
T--a nice complex, dark fruit flavored character but lacks almost all qualities of an RIS, that I wouldn't have the balls to call it such...as a barleywine, it's a good beer with a slight burnt character and maybe as a strectch a little light chocolate taste, but mostly a lot of nice dark fruit flavor.
M--a very smooth heavy beer. The mouthfeel is heavy and about the only thing regarding this brew that would qualify it as a RIS.
D--again nice on the drinkability, it hides the high ABV well, but would not recommend more than one especially if your pumped for a good RIS. I have a Mestophiles stout waiting at home from Avery and I hope it's more of the RIS I was looking for than that I found in their Czar Imperial...barleywine

Photo of jojox
3.5/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I drank this right after a Stone IRS, so that probably influenced my opinion a bit.

A - Dark Brown/black, but not 100% opaque. 1 Finger head, light color, good retention

s - Wheat? Sugar-sweet - honey?

t - After the stone, it's kinda... light. Astrigent aftertaste. After the Stone, it's really not redeaming. Less flavor, thinner than Stone, and more abv - NO!
Okay, it's 11.7%. In that case it's not bad. A bit sweet. Sweet + some roast + alcohol.

m - okay, low viscosity for what it is I think. maybe it attenuated a bit more than they expected? My bottle says 11.8% but beeradvocate says 12.2%?

D - super alcohol strength.

Photo of Riverwarrior
4.27/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

S = Roasted malts, coffee beans, dark chocolate, and some alcohol hiding in the background.

T = I was expecting to breath fire from the ABV, but this was amazingly balanced. A nice semi-sweet cocoa taste was upfront and roasted coffee bean flavors mingled around the cocoa. The alcohol was truly hidden, but it did emerge a little more after the beer warmed. The finish had a quality, rich cocoa coffee flavor.

MF = Rich, thick, full-bodied, low carbonation. Creamy and smooth.

Overall, this is one big, complex RIS that stands above most others in quality and taste.

Photo of jwinship83
3.81/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Big black body with a small, sparse tan head.

S- Strong odors of roasted malts, chocolate, anise, and a faint smell of booze.

T- Spicy and roasty upfront with a burning alcohol and slightly hoppy aftertaste.

M- Big, thick, and chewy. a little rough going down.

D- Its a monster at 11%ABV. Something ill try again when its a little colder outside. probably not more than one in a sitting, its just too potent.

Photo of flexabull
3.95/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2005 bottle courtesy of Wasatch. Thanks again!

Pours a very dark brown color, (not quite black) with a decent off white head.

Aromas are quite boozy. Some oak, dark fruits, cheeries, and a slightly vegetal like note as well.

Beer has some strong flavors, but is surprisingly smooth. Tastes of dark bakers chocolates, creamy sweet malts, and some spicy and bitter oak notes as well. Finish has an alcohol and hoppy bite.

Mouthfeel is good. Feels a bit to thin for an Imperial Stout, but it's not bad.

All in all, a solid beer. I bet this is a beast of a beer fresh. While the flavors seem a little muted, they are still strong, and the alcohol is still quite present. At is present state this is quite drinkable. Not a top notch beer for the style, but still good, and worth trying.

I'd like to taste this one fresh to compare notes sometime...

Photo of CrellMoset
3.23/5  rDev -18%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On tap at the Midlothian Capital Ale House.

Appearance: Not quite black, but damn close. Some sparking ruby hues do come through at points. A deep tan head recedes fairly slowly and leaves a wall of solid lace in its wake. Attractive.

Aroma: Sweet chocolate, coffee and toffee (which are distinct, despite the way I just presented them), and alcohol is a little too present. Some other roasted astringencies are present, but overall, the smell is a little too mild.

Taste: Lot going on here, but only about half of its good. Let's start with the good: there's a thick, dark breadiness that dominates the malt profile, and it's very nice - sweet in spots, hardy in others, and solid throughout. The aftertaste (and the belch, heh) is actually largely of that wholegrain barley variety. There's some chocolate and toffee, and a few interesting but not out-of-place hop notes - an earthy, not-too-tart citrus kick is present right about mid-sip. I also taste a hint of anise and a few dark fruits (figs, raisins especially). There's a nice competitiveness between the sweetness of the bready malts and fruits and the bitterness of the toasted astringencies and the hops. Now, the bad: there's a few funny astringencies, hot, higher-weight alcohols (though to be fair, they're well-hidden), a few too many burnt-tasting malts/fruits, and that soy sauce-like flavor that I don't quite care for. So the taste's definitely a mixed bag, and I can see how opinions may split widely on this beer.

Mouthfeel: Thick, chewy, but with mild, uneven carbonation. Very full.

Drinkability: Hm. Very high abv (bordering on 13%) and lots of funky notes bring this one down a bit. It's not terribly undrinkable, but it is hot, and you definitely have to be in the mood for it.

Trying to rate to style here, and this is definitely not the best RIS I've ever had (that honor falls to either the Stone RIS or the Abyss, which I will have a review posted of soon). By and large, it's not bad, but it's definitely not my favorite interpretation. If they could find a way to minimize some of those funky tastes and alter the carbonation profile somewhat, it could easily be a much better brew, because all of the constituent parts are there.

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

2004 batch: Bomber. Wonderful nose on this 2k4 version. Rich toffee, chocolate, syrup, coffee, and heavy malt aromas. This stuff smells Divine. Appearance is a almost opaque black with a large size tan head that diminishes slowly over time. Flavor is big toffee notes, malts, coffee, chocolate, and some spices. This 2004 version tastes really good. I think this is aged just right to cut through the up front alcohol bite and makes it a wonderful drink.

Photo of midaszero
3.46/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from bottle into pint glass

A - very dark opaque brown with decent tan head and nice lacing

S - not a very strong smell but hints of chocolate and some coffee

T - first taste caught me slightly off guard. Slight burn not as much as you would expect with the ABV. Sweet and roasted flavor.

M - Thick with mild carbonation

D - Good occasional drink in the winter but otherwise but to strong and dark for regular drinking.

Photo of GreenCard
3.68/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bottle purchased in March 2008 at Whole Foods in Coral Springs, FL...

Appearance: dark mahogany, almost opaque but good clarity, dark tan spongey foam, OK head retention, some lace

Aroma: soy sauce! (or maybe teriyaki?), rum, chocolate cake, molasses, dark corn syrup

Flavor: full malt sweetness with hints of multi-vitamin, soy sauce, 60% cocoa, burnt raisins, and licorice; bourbon whisky, too; finishes semisweet with a roasty aftertaste

Mouthfeel: full body, prickly carbonation, silky, lots of alcohol warmth

Other comments: Very full and potent brew. And as the bottle suggests, well-worth laying a few of these down for a while to see how they develop.

Photo of MisterClean
3.04/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Bottle from tasting at Manderes.

A - Dark brown, nice head, dissipates slow.

S - Yellow grapefruit with grass.

T - Grassiness, grapefruit, caramel, and smoke.

M - High alcohol, otherwise else okay.

D - The alcohol presence was too intense. I also thought this beer missed key aspects of a stout.

Photo of Atron67
4/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

picked this up at brennans a couple months ago, time to sit down and consume this bad boy

A- poured a dark black with an off-white head that was pretty decent and slowly fell over maybe 10 minutes or so, looked like light brown chocolate through the light as i poured it

S- chocolate and roasted characteristics that are really smooth and tastey smelling, smooth roasted characteristics, not overly out there in any direction but seeming pretty balanced

t- when i drank it i first looked up at the ABv and was shocked it was so high, the alcohol is extremely well hidden. the maltiness is the strongest characteristic, the balanced smoothness and roasted flavors are really nice. the finish is smooth and balanced, the hops never really stood out but seemed balanced the whole time

M- smooth creamy, light carbonation, lingering light roasted characteristics on the tongue

D- solid sipper

Photo of Med
3.81/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Bottled in 2003.

A - Wonderful black color, but even with an aggressive pour no head at all and correspondingly no lacing.

S - Toffee, bitter chocolate, a hint of coffee, alcohol is present. Sweet but not overly so. Very pleasant.

T - There's a back and forth going on between a roasted sweet flavor and a bitterness, but a nice balance between the two.A fair amount of dark chocolate and noticeable alcohol warming.

M - Nice full body and coating but not enough carbonation.

D - While there are some flaws, I really like this.

Photo of tedpeer
4.28/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle.

Poured into a chalice.

A - Pours dark brown. Vigorous pour resulted in a huge tan head which settled to a quarter inch. Some lacing. Head all the way to the end.

S - Coffee and chocolate.

T - No bitter aftertaste. Chocolate, slightly sweet.

M - Smooth. Mouth coating. Smooth. Very little carbonation. Did I mention smooth?

D - Very smooth. A little warming from the alcohol, but very well hidden. 2 bombers would do it for me due to the ABV.

Reason for update:

Did a blind tasting of 7 RISs.

Night Tripper, Czar, and Stone RIS tied for First. Siberian Night and Old Rasputin tied for 4th, and Ten FIDY and Expedition tied for 6th. Based on these results I've changed my numbers.

Photo of jayrod20
3.74/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours almost pitch black except for a rich garnet at the thinnest points of the glass. Thick tan head and layers of lace.
Slightly toasty & roasty. Caramel notes. Maybe an alcohol hint.
Toasty... smoky flavor. A dark fruit hint underneath. Slight caramel and a well balancing hoppy bitterness.
Full bodied and well carbonated. Kind of a textured creaminess. Smooth with a touch of heat.
Good one. A very enjoyable sipper.

Photo of bigdeuce
4.07/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Wow this is a huge brew. Chocolate and more chocolate and lots of coffee flavors shine through. Big alcohol, though well hidden. An extreme beer. Nice pillowy creamy head, with some lacing. Smells of nuts and chocolate, oh..I mentioned that previously. Another fine beer from Avery.

Photo of alexgash
4.17/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 oz. bottle, cellar aged for one year. Served at 50 degrees F.

Very dark brown body--not as black as a lot of imperial stouts. Small, tight, khaki cream head. Nose of dark, vinous fruits. Plums, raisins, black cherries, and dark chocolate covered raspberries. Very pleasant aged-vinous-sherry quality. Some vanilla and molasses as well. Faint herbal hop aroma.

Sweet caramel and milk chocolate malts up front. Candyish. Dark fruits are there as well (plums, figs). Dark chocolate bitterness comes on, along with some toffee and coffee. Roasted coffee and herbal hop bitterness increases into the finish. Dries out quite a bit. Warming and a tad boozy. Full bodied with a very smooth, creamy feel. To be sipped, for sure!

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

Appearance: Poured from the 1pint, 6oz bottle into a tulip glass. The beer is a pure black color through which no light shines. It was very difficult to get any sort of head on the beer, but I eventually got two fingers of light tan head on the brew.

Smell: Coffee and light chocolate dominate the nose. There is a slight underlying fruitiness, along with a faint licorice note. Nice and rich, this is a good smelling beer.

Taste: Rich chocolate flavor leading into a soft caramel or toffee note. Slightly balancing hop in the middle along with coffee and cream. The beer finishes with a slightly hoppy and drying character.

Overall a good, rich, and flavorful imperial stout. Recommended, and amazing on tap.

Photo of Derek
4.15/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled in 2007... took me a while to find that, though it's central, right between THE CZAR and IMPERIAL STOUT.

1.104 OG, 70 IBUs, 11.73% abv.

Not exactly to style, but an awesome, eclectic brew... German hops, British yeast & American pride!

A: Black with a tan head, very little retention, some lacing.

S: Alcohol, floral, grassy spiciness, dark bread, molasses, fruity, dark chocolate.

T: As soon as it hit my taste buds I knew the hops were unique (checked the bottle and they're hallertau). It actually has some doppelbock-like flavours, which I adore, but it's little odd for a RIS. Grassy, floral spiciness, pleasant fruitiness from the malt & yeast, chocolaty, dark bread, molasses, modest bitterness, warming alcohol (though you'd never know it was this strong). I dig it, but it's not at all to style.

M: Well-attenuated, moderately-full body is slightly creamy with a little acidity. A light sweetness in the finish, with a slightly drying alcohol.

D: Dangerously drinkable for its weight.

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.

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The Czar from Avery Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 1,842 ratings.