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The Czar - Avery Brewing Company

Not Rated.
The CzarThe Czar

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

1,790 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,790
Reviews: 880
rAvg: 3.93
pDev: 11.45%
Wants: 71
Gots: 250 | 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: 1,790 | Reviews: 880 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of bluegrassbrew
3.98/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle into a snifter.

Pours a oily black with a quickly dropping tan head. Leaves some decent lace.

Smell is initially nothing but alcohol. Later some toffee and just a hint of chocolate develop.

Taste is again heat from the start. Begins to grow in complexity with warming. Some hints of dark chocolate and an espresso edge surround some twinges of fruitiness. Hops are noticable but just balancing enough.

Silky smooth mouthfeel. Perhaps not as full and rich as some of my favorites in the style but very good none the less.

Overall, this is a nice beer. For me there is just a bit too much noticable alcohol for it to be in my regular rotation. Still a very tasty beer. Haven't gone wrong with an Avery brew yet.

Photo of FleeVT
4.4/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

1 pt. 6 FlOz. bottle.

A: Inky, coffee black, with almost no light penetration. The head poured a thick light brown and dissipated to a thin layer over the whole beer.
S: Sweet, extremely sweet, up front, fading to a a chocolaty, dark malty finish. A fair amount of alcohol on the nose.
T: Low carbonation, high alcohol. This one really warms the throat and chest. As with the nose, you pickup the chocolate sweetness and malt blend; excellent balance with the higher alcohol content.
M: Surprisingly light, for an RIS. A slight creaminess in texture.
D: Excellent beer. I wouldn't drink 3 in a row, but this is at the top of my list for a nightcap.

Photo of pmcadamis
4.97/5  rDev +26.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - Tar black with a slowly developing brown cream head. The foam looks like whipped chocolate milk, and I want to eat it with a spoon. Lots of creamy lace is left around my snifter, and the two finger head falls to a fat collar and a little haze on top of the brew. This brew shows the slightest hints of brown around the edges when held directly to the light.

S - Dark bitter chocolate, milk chocolate, caramel filled chocolates, double chocolate chip ice cream. In fact, this smells like about every kind of assorted chocolates that you might find in Gump's proverbial box. Profound walnut notes are there along with cream cheese and chocolate flavored graham crackers. This is one of the most outstanding noses that I've ever encountered. A big ole five for smells here!

T - The flavors have all the chocolate complexity from the nose, and bring a big smoky woodfire element in to the mix. The charcoal, smoke, campfires, and wet lumber notes are part of what I'm experiencing during retro olfaction (breathing out of your nose after you swallow). There is an astonishing amount of sugar in this beer, but it's expertly balanced with smoky roasted notes, bitter and tangy hops, and a good alcohol burn. Outstanding.

M - This is as full bodied as a bevy of full figured beauties on a cupcake binge. Ridiculously sugary like cake batter, but it's never too much to handle since the massive hops and astringent alcohol keep things in check.

D - A simply outstanding beer. One could discount this for the amazingly high alcohol content, but for me dinkability refers to my overall enjoyment and opinion of the beer. I'm sure there are threads on this site devoted to discussing the definition of drinkability, and for some it means sessionable low alcohol content. But I rarely drink more than two beers in one sitting, and I'd rather have one bomber of this than three other weaker brews. This is one of the best beers that I've ever had. No shit.

Photo of zeff80
4.58/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My 700th Review..but not 700th beer.

2006 Edition

A - Poured out a jet black color with a foamy, creamy-smooth, caramel-colored head. It left sticky rings of lace down the entire glass.

S - It smelled of caramel, roasted malt and floral hops.

T - It tasted of spicy bitter hops. It was overpoweringly malty. Nice chocolate tastes. Also, some alcohol in the taste.

M - It was very smooth and creamy with a warm alcohol presence. It was medium to heavy-bodied.

D - This is simply outastanding. I wonder how it might taste after more aging.

Photo of manleyphoto
3.93/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The Czar Russian Imperial Stout, Avery Brewing Company, Boulder Colorado.
11.04% ABV. $7.99 for a 22oz. bomber bottle at Grape and Gourmet in Virginia Beach.

Don't let the name fool you, this Russian Imperial Stout is American through and through. Originally brewed in the 19th century to woo the palates of the royal court of Czarist Russia, Russian Imperial stouts developed their unique style out of necessity. These beers are big. They are rich, black flavor bombs, with heavy malt bodies and a high alcohol content designed to weather the trip into a Moscow winter.
Avery's The Czar embraces the theme and runs head on into the chilly Siberian winter. The Czar has a massive malt flavor bundled up with sweetish licorice and bitter chocolate with just enough bitter coffee bean taste and hop sharpness to make it interesting. This big boozy beer is not a toy. The Czar is more for sipping fireside than slamming pool side, but it's a nice treat, good enough to make Nicholas and Anastasia say Na Zdorov'ye!

Photo of oakbluff
3.2/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a dark ebony. Mininal head but pretty good lacing. Nose- dark chocolate and black licorice. Taste- very fruity and boozy. Quite sugary. Not much roast for a big this size. More molasses than anything. Hot on the finish. Body is less thick than expected.

Photo of Murchmac
4.1/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a good beer. Would love to see how it ages. But right now, its good.

Pours a black, dark, dark, brown. Like a russian black leopard hat.

Smells wonderful, some alcohol smell to it, sweet dark malts, licorice smell to it.

Taste is complex, sweet dark chocolate, roasted. Will age well.

Kind've a hot aftertaste, let it mellow. Will be fantastic.

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

Nice initial pour, but the head drops to a minimal level. Pretty good lace on the glass. Dark mahogany, but light does pass through on the edge.

OK, this is an odd smell to report: beef barley soup from campbells. I do not get any of the usual darker malt aromas.

A thin beer for an Imperial Stout. It is creamy (with lactose sweetness) and has some chocolate flavor. The hop takes over in the swallow, which I find appealing.

What an odd beer, the smells and flavors are so unusual. It is not unappealing, but it is very different from my expectations.

Photo of sacfly
3.38/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle, Bottled in 2007 on front label.
Pours a dark brown with red highlights. Not opaque. Dense head of small dark tan bubbles. Aroma is grainy with a light burnt quality. First sip yields more of this burnt grain quality with a bit of the Hallertau spiciness coming through, especially in the aftertaste. As it warms, I get a yeasty aftertaste. Rather light bodied and smooth for what I expected. Nothing too interesting. Even though the bottle lists a bunch of interesting descriptors, I didn't get much of what they describe. But very easy to drink- I would never guess at the ABV. Alcohol is very much hidden and is only hinted at long into the aftertaste.

Photo of Halcyondays
4.09/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at the Beachwood BBQ in Seal Beach, CA,

A: Pours black, with a firm off-white head, with good retention and good lacing.

S: Somewhat lacking, though I smelled roasted malts, coffee.

T: Taste is quite good, delicious milk chocolate combines with a light coffee and mocha note to create a great flavour.

M: Smooth, almost fluffy, very creamy.

D: A great easy-drinking Russian Imperial Stout if you could call it that, one of the best RIS's I've had in a while.

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

Had this on tap at mad mex. Poured a dark brown almost black color with a frothy, creamy head sitting on top less then half an inch of light brown colored leaving just a hint of lacing and mostly diminishing at the very top. One swirl and the head comes right back into the glass like magic. Smell is sweet doughy, biscuity malt with a pinch of hops. Taste is chocolaty with burnt molasses and a hint of dried berries at the aftertaste. Mouth feel is very silky smooth. This was a great dessert beer.

Photo of cichief
4.03/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased a 22oz. bottle almost a year ago, been cellaring it since. Bottle labeled "Bottled in 2006".

A- Pours a deep jet black, with a nice brown head.

S- Smells of sweet malt and rock candy, very inviting.

T- Lots of licorice and coffee, sweet with a nice dry finish.

M- Smooth, like velvet, slightest hint of the alcohol present, full bodied.

D- A very good example of a RIS, almost great!

Photo of jbmorch
4.59/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This went on tap at O'Brien's on the same day the BA magazine with the Czar review was delivered to the pub.

The rim of my glass is sticky like there was honey all over it. When I stick my nose in, it could be molasses that I'm smelling - maybe molasses with fennel soaking in it. The head was a dark, smoky shade of off-white, but it disappeared too quickly. The color is beautiful... now that I'm down to about a finger left in the glass I can see the bottom, barely, through a reddish-brown window.

The first sip is almost too much, and your first thought is "there is no way I can drink a pint of this." Then, now that your tongue has been warned, the second sip goes down very smoothly and reminds you of the time you went to the party hungry and shoved a handful from the dried fruit plate in your mouth and then washed it down with a whiskey and coke. The third sip hits a calibrated tongue and you are ready to drink this beer, slowly, all night long.

Photo of jwc215
3.4/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22 oz. bottle - Bottled in 2007 - poured into a snifter glass:

Pours pitch black with a thin patch that becomes a ring. Minimal spotted lacing sticks.

The smell is of burnt coffee with some chocolate. Floral/fruity notes linger in the background.

The taste is alcohol dominated - almost masking the toffee, roasted coffee and chocolate. Floral, somewhat fruity hop bitterness almost overtakes the maltiness. Some licorice comes through as it progresses.

Medium-to-full bodied with a syrupy stickiness. Some astringency.

A slow-sipper - alcohol and thickishness assure this. Overall - well - it's a great style, and this hits on the key aspects. But, overall, it is overdone with alcohol prominence, a burnt characteristic and bitterness masking some of the malt complexities. Fine on its own, but doesn't stand up to others that I've enjoyed of this style.

Photo of bigeyedfish
3.38/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22oz foil-capped bottle poured into the Ommegang Rare Vos tumbler. Bottled in 2007 written on the bottle, along with the alcohol (11.73%/volume) the IBU's (70) and Original Gravity (1.104), along with a little information about the beer.

Really dark black body with a little bit of caramel-brown three-quarters of a finger of head that quickly dissipates into a thin sheen with most of the remaining head on the outer rim of the glass. Some lacing, but it is quick to slide down the side of the glass.

Really interesting aroma package. Not much coffee/chocolate aromas to speak of, which seems to be the stock flavor profile of a lot of russian imperials. A pretty under-whelming smell of chocolate malt and alcohol, with, believe it or not, a little hint of tobacco. Which is totally unexpected.

Almost a sweet stout, which is, like the flavor profile, nothing if not interesting; it's almost like this is an Imperial Milk Stout. Some anise-like components, along with some cocoa-power/cinnamon spice-like elements. It's a spicy stout, that is for sure, and yet very sweet at the same time. It's confusing almost. Really pronounced caramel flavor, almost at a point of being offensive. There's a lot of over-sweetness that you find in Starbuck's frapuccino's and drinks of the like. It absolutely becomes more flavorful as it warms; I'm almost at the point of saying this is not a good thing. The Frapuccino seems even more valid now; where one over sweetens to cover up for a often-off-putting flavor (coffee) the other does the same thing to cover up for an equally often-off-putting flavor (alcohol).

It's a really really smooth beer. That's the good. The bad is that it's so overly sweet and spicy it actually becomes a beer that is a challenge to drink. It borders on being uncomfortable.

Drinkability? See you in a couple years.

Photo of goRideYourBike
4.1/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Max's Taphouse

a= not quite black dark, with brown edges
s= stings the nostrils, hot, sugar
t= stings the throat, dark dark berries, just like raspberry filling in one of those round shortbread cookies. little bit o chocolate.
m= gooey and thick. booze infused home made jam.
d= found this to be much different than deuce deuce oz. bomber- sweeter, dark fruitier, chocolate-ier. will revisit some '06 bottles I have to compare but right now prefer it on tap.

Photo of SargeC
4.29/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Black with a fizzy tan head. The brew had some visible carbonation.

Smell: Roast malt, molasses, coffee, toffee, berries and alcohol.

Taste: Sweet malt and fruit with hints of chocolate. An interesting wave of bitterness finishes this brew off.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied brew. Smooth waxy and syrupy. Slightly acidic after the sweet qualities disappear.

Drinkablity: Solid and enjoyable Russian Imperial Stout. Reasonably priced too.

Photo of dnichols
4.04/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

I shared samples (about 5 ounces) from a couple of bottles with co-workers after work today from 22 ounce capped bottles.

A: It poured a dark thick black body with a shiny, sticky chocolate head consisting of large and medium sized bubbles. The head was robust and easily regenerated and although it fell fast it supported a nice lacing that lingered before pouring back into the brew.

S: The aroma was dominated by mollassas and dark sweet ripe fruits with hints of chocolate and coffee.

T: It tasted of roasted sweet malts flavored with dark bakers chocolate and burt molassass. The back end was lightly bittered and tasted of deep coco and expressso. It finished dry and warm.

M: Chewey and full bodied with a sweet malty front, biting expresso back and clean warm finish. This is a sweet bomb with spikes of bakers chocolate, expresso and alochol.

D: One and done. Its packed with body, sweetness and alcohol. Too much for a session beer but just right for a nice stout treat.

Photo of ColForbinBC
4.05/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into a tulip pint, bottled in 2007

A very easy pour yielded a huge root beer float like head, which sat on top of a used motor oil colored body. I think I might see some ruby red colored highlights, but it just might be the reflection of my orange Mets shirt in the glass. The head faded before my first sip and left no lacing.

Unique smell going on here. Smells of smoke, wood, alcohol, raisins, and bittersweet chocolate roasted malts.

The cool roasted chocolate malts hit first and lend way to raisins and dark fruit. Very evenly mannered and then the alcohol takes over and digs deep.

Very cool and smooth on the tongue.

Come on, its an 11+% RIS, it's a definite sipper.

This is a well-rounded beer of its style. It does some things that I like, but not enough to really put it over the top. A very nice offering, not the best, but very nice nonetheless.

Photo of jbphoto88
3.56/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark motor oil looking beer. A nice brown head that has some nice creaminess and is slow to fade. It leaves light rings on the glass as you drink.

Smells like sweet currants, molasses and smooth dark chocolates.

Taste is of sweet candied dried fruits and alcohol.

I know this is a high ABV beer but the flavors just haven't come together yet. Printed on the bottle Avery says the beer is ready to drink now but would better develop with some cellaring. I agree with everything except the beer being ready now. I wish they held onto this a little more at the brewery before releasing it to the public. Its not ready yet.

Photo of srandycarter
3.92/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Almost impenetrable dark brown with red hue. Nice conservative head leaves quickly. Very thin, small bubble lacing. Not much.

S- Dark Chocolate dominates, roasted malt and coffee. Dark fruit notes as well.

T - Biggest flavor is bitter dark chocolate with cooked dark fruit, bittering nicely at finish.

M - Low carb works with this beer. Very coating, medium to heavy body.

D- One bomber is enough for anyone before you need a break.

Photo of drseamus
4.4/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to dmeadows for sharing this bottle of 2003 vintage.

A: It pours dark black but light actually gets through at the sides lighting it up ruby colored.

S: Pretty sweet aroma, almost more like an old ale than a RIS. A good helping of raisin in there and a bunch of caramel.

T: Damn good. Candy sweetness with raisins. Again, almost more of an old ale but very tasty. There is some detectable alcohol but still pretty smooth.

M: Very smooth. The age on this bottle has done wonders. Somewhere between medium and heavy bodied.

D: Very smooth, very mellow. Great sipping beer. Almost won the night versus Darkness, Stone IRS, and Siberian Night.

Photo of IBUnit63
4.1/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Deep dark chocolate/dark roast coffee color. Heads up decently. Aroma of chocolatey/coffee malt is a little too subtle for my taste - minimal hop character. Taste is typical for style - nice blend of heavy alcohol with deep dark roasted malt with hops in the distant background. Easily palatable - maybe more than the average bear, but overall fairly typical (which isn't a bad thing). Very well done but no significant standout here.

Photo of aerozeppl
4.53/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2003 Bottle courtesy of dmeadows. Thanks for sharing a great bottle.

A: Super dark brown with minimal head.

S: Raisins and dates. Some generic dark fruit mixed in there as well. Wonderful smell.

T: The best way I can describe this is smooth. We sampled quite a few other RIS this night and this one stood out.

M: Very mellow for the style. The age on this bottle really did wonders.

D: In a word smooth. I have had this beer fresh and it is nothing compared to this. If I was not already aging beer I would begin based on this tasting alone. Avery beers tend to be very rough when fresh. This tasting showed me what they can become given a little time. This was my favorite in a tasting that featured Darkness, Stone RIS, and Siberian Night.

Photo of ruckzuck
3.97/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed on tap several times this weekend.

A - dark, hints of red shining through at the pub, off-white head

S - Roasted malts, chocolate, hops

T - again roasted malts, sugary, alcohol really comes through

M - full body, nice carbonation

D - a really enjoyable beer, but really strong and sweet. Having a small glass of this at the pub is the way to go. I couldn't imagine drinking 22 oz! Give it a shot on tap or share a bottle with someone else

The Czar from Avery Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 1,790 ratings.