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The Czar - Avery Brewing Company

Not Rated.
The CzarThe Czar

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

1,626 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,626
Reviews: 856
rAvg: 3.93
pDev: 11.7%
Wants: 68
Gots: 205 | FT: 8
Brewed by:
Avery Brewing Company visit their website
Colorado, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  10.57% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: Wildman on 01-05-2003)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,626 | Reviews: 856 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Westsidethreat


4.25/5  rDev +8.1%

2005 Batch: 11.03% ABV

A: Jet black...and thick. Roasted marshmallow head is resting dreamily on the surface of the body after falling from a magnificent mountain. Lots of lace remind the drinker of what once was.

S: Aromas of molasses, gingerbread, Welch's mixed berry juice.

T: Lots of flavors going on. Vanilla/butterscotch coating on the lips like a gloss. Coffee towards the front with toffee, cream, marzipan. Finishes with a rounded black licorice. Alcohol vapors and roasted grains remind you of what you are dealing with.

M: Medium body with good carbonation. Adds substance

D: Very nice HUGE beer. Lots of flavor, lots of character. Finishes clean and nice.

05-27-2006 06:02:41 | More by Westsidethreat
Photo of ColoradoBobs


4.33/5  rDev +10.2%

The 2006 version is listed on the bottle as follows:
Original gravity - 1.104
IBU's - 70
ABV - 11.03% (NOT 12.20%)

Pours a dark dark almost opaque mahogany -- just a hint of red around the edges when held up to the light. The huge head from a moderately vigorous pour fades to a solid lid with loads of sticky thick lacing.

Smell is lots of chocolate and caramel malt, with burned cherries swimming in espresso sweetened with black-strap molasses.

Taste is all roasted chocolate malt and caramel malt up front, with a subtle walnut-and-molasses middle, and a dry bitter finish of metallic hops. As this warms up, the molasses middle expands. Really good taste, and a noticable hoppiness that will make hop-heads appreciate this even more. Well balanced.

Mouthfeel is less thick and sticky than the head and lacing promised, but still quite smooth and rounded.

Drinkability is great for such a big beer. There is very little to no booziness to this: everything is smooth on the edges, even though the edges are very big.

I don't know for sure, and I guess I'm a bit of a novice, but this seems more like an American Double Stout, with its hop boldness and its dry bitter finish, than a RIS, which I would think would be a bit stickier and maltier than this is. But hey, whatever style it is, I love it.

05-26-2006 03:46:57 | More by ColoradoBobs
Photo of badbeer


3.95/5  rDev +0.5%

Poured a deep black with an off white head leaving a pretty nice lacing around the glass. Chocolate, brown sugar, molasses in the smell, small hop presence too. Chocolate upfront, then toffee, then a lingering hop bitterness followed by a roasted coffee finish, pretty nice. Full bodied, low carbonation, just about right. Pretty drinkable, but I don't think I'll have this that often.

05-24-2006 04:58:18 | More by badbeer
Photo of Phyl21ca

Quebec (Canada)

3.33/5  rDev -15.3%

Bottle (2005 – 11%): Poured a deep black (but not completely opaque) color stout with a small foamy head with minimal retention. Aroma of roasted malt is weaker then expected and hops are clearly not the main attraction pint here. Taste is also quite rich with roasted malt and some warm alcohol, which is not really of my liking but could have been worse. Body is above average but not as full as some other big Impy stout. I’m not sure if I had set my expectation too high or if I just don’t get it but surely this is not a beer that I will be seeking again in the near future.

05-19-2006 14:06:29 | More by Phyl21ca
Photo of nvsblman


2.48/5  rDev -36.9%

Pours a dark black with a coffee colored head. Aroma is full of chocolate and coffee. Also a little licorice. Taste is of chocolate, molasses, toast, and bitter hops, followed by a rush of alcohol. Medium bodied. The alcohol overwhelms any other flavor and really makes this pretty unenjoyable. I had higher hopes for this one, but it would have to have some age on it to try again I think.

05-19-2006 03:21:36 | More by nvsblman
Photo of DrJay


2.73/5  rDev -30.5%

Apparently bottled in 2003. The Czar poured a clear ruby/brown and had a short-lived, tan head. Not exactly my idea of what an imperial stout should look like. The aroma had some malt to it, but was more brown sugar and molasses with a little burnt and roast thrown in. And just a hint of nail polish remover. Flavour was mostly sweet and alcohol with a bit of roast and caramel. Low bitterness and hop flavour with some harsh alcohol in the finish. Overall the malt was pretty thin. (Only) medium bodied with carbonation a little on the low side - still, it felt harsh. This seemed more like a high gravity brown ale than imperial stout - not to style in my opinion. Plus, the alcohol was too hot, with not nearly enough malt and hops to balance it. Not impressed.

05-19-2006 01:35:39 | More by DrJay
Photo of froggyfrog


4.5/5  rDev +14.5%

A big bad ass looking bomber bottle flown in from Colorado by my little brother. (Thanks Jonah.)

The label tells the following story:

The beer was bottled in 2005. The OG was 1.104, there are 70 IBUs and 11.03% ABV. It was brewed with "pure Rocky Mountain water, imported malted barley, German Hallertau hops, and English yeast."

Here we go:

The foil wrapped cap pops off with a hiss. Liquid pours from the bomber's neck to quickly fill the bowl of the receiving snifter. The visuals are impressive. The beer itself is a totally opaque black; carbonation bubbles can be witnessed skimming the sides of the glass as they make their way to the liquid's surface. A minimal head the color of light cocoa powder graced the surface for a short time before dissipating and laying naked a serene black pool of beer.

The bouquet promises the sort of experience I've come to expect from a strong, quality, Colorado-brewed ale. Involved in the olfactory storm are scents of vanilla, dank earth, figs, bruised peaches, alcohol, German hops and black malt.

The dominant flavors are molasses and brown sugar mixed with butter. Black licorice rules the finish with a tumble of spicy green hops thrown in the mix. The abundant alcohol, carbonation and zesty hops combine to cause a frisson on the tongue and the tingle lingers, subtly spreading ever so slightly to include the cheeks and roof of the mouth.

This is a full-bodied beer for sure. The alcohol becomes more prevalent in the taste as the beer warms. The standout characteristic of this beer is its complexity in both the smell and taste categories. This beer is a testament to the brewer's skill in the way it exhibits a constantly revolving roulette of aromas and flavors without becoming muddled or confused. And as good as this beer is now, I imagine it would be even more impressive with a few more years under its belt.

05-16-2006 03:42:42 | More by froggyfrog
Photo of AltBock


4.28/5  rDev +8.9%

22oz. bomber bottle with one of the best labels I've seen! Has this Red label with Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, the last Tsar of Russia smack dab in the middle of the label. Behind him is what looks like a family crest, but I don't think it was his. There are two small pictures on the bottom left and right of his picture, but I'm not sure who they are pictures of. There is no back label because all the information is all on the front. There is a bottling date above the main picture of the Tsar and mine is Bottled in 2005. It has 1.104 OG, 70 IBUs, and mine is 11.3% ABV. The cap is covered with silver foil. I can't say enough good things about this cool label!

Appearance: When poured into my Snifter, the beer was a pitch black color and I mean pitch black. There is no light shining through this beer. The head of foam was a bit disappointing. I only got just a small skim of tan colored foam and that even dissipated away fast leaving very little rings and little tan colored lace around the glass.

Smell: The bottle told me to inhale the noble Halleratu hops, spicy and floral. To tell you the truth it smelled like that when I popped the cap, but when I poured it the aroma was totally different. The aroma wasn't too powerful in rich dark chocolate, little sweet caramel, some dark fruits, and some of those Halleratu hops in the background.

Taste: Wow! This beer had a very good taste to it! The bottle said it would have a taste of English toffee, rich mocha, sweet molasses, candied currants, and a hint of anise. What I got instead was plenty of Alcohol up front, then some bitter dark chocolate, little coffee, very little dark fruits, and then it finishes with a not too overpowering taste of bitter Halleratu hops. A very nice complex taste! I've never had anise before, but I don't think any of that was in this beer.

Mouthfeel: Thick, full bodied, and with an aftertaste of bitter hops and alcohol at the end. Not a beer that bothers to hide it's alcohol content.

Drinkability: Overall an excellent beer that I could enjoy again way into the future, due to it's alcohol ABV%. Cool label and cool beer! Liberate The Czar!!

05-15-2006 19:58:00 | More by AltBock
Photo of clabaugh


3.93/5  rDev 0%

Appearance: Opaquely brown, a dark brown, with deep ruby hues. A bubbly head colored a strong tan emerges. The head struggles to retain, and the lacing is weak.

Smell: Quite fruity in the nose, reflecting juicy berries and currants. Floral hops and a pervasive organic smell prevail. Caramel, molasses, and other sweet malts are strongly present.

Taste: Definitely unique. Bitter for sure. The hops fight through the milieu of malts rather boldly. Nonetheless, still rich and doughy, with hints of preserves. Caramel, molasses, and chocolate. Sticky sweet. A very syrupy beer that gets some much needed balance from the hops.

Mouthfeel: Slick and slippery, while fairly smooth. Coats the palate extensively. Fully warming.

Drinkability: Filling and frankly, inebriating. This limits the drinkability. Good taste otherwise. Fairly enjoyable.

05-14-2006 01:07:24 | More by clabaugh
Photo of pbr85

New York

4.28/5  rDev +8.9%

Shared a bomber and poured into a pint glass
A: Pours a dark, dark brown that you can see a little bit of light pass through. Head is about half an inch and is light brown in color.
S: Fruity curants, alcohol, coffee, and chocolate, in that order of strength.
T: Very complex. Fruity alcohol flavors blend with the chocolate in a unique way, creating a taste that jslot (the person i split the bomber with) could only describe as "holy shit."
M: Good mouthfeel, nice and slick on the tongue. One of the better aspects of this beer.
D: There are so many great stouts out there, and its awesome. This is up there with all of those great ones. Highly recommend trying this.

05-13-2006 00:44:10 | More by pbr85
Photo of jslot38


4.28/5  rDev +8.9%

Back to back Russian Imperial Stouts at over 10% each... shaping up to be a good night.

22 oz Bomber Shared amongst the usual friends, clabaugh and pbr85.

Appearance: Black, but not as black as other stouts I've come across in my day. Egg shell head which is top covering with a few holes. Lacing is decent.

Smell: A volumptuous bouquet of roasted and dark malts. Assorted smells linger of coffee, chocolate, toasted nuts, and toffee. A strong smell.

Taste: I was a bit overwhelmed by the taste. Absolutly smashes through the palate with the presence of alcohol leading the way. Quite sweet as well for a stout of this magnitude. Sweetened chocolate, light coffee beans, roasted nuts covered in caramel and toffee. Hops are present as well, but not like Stormking. Just there, lingering without a purpose. As I told my comrades, and they agreed, this may stand as the barley wine of stouts.

Mouthfeel: Very solid feel on the tongue. Good level of carbonation, slicked by the hops (purpose discovered).

Drinkability and Notes: I enjoyed this beer. The warming effect of the alcohol melds nicely with the sweetness of this beer. The malts contain a level of complexity, and I give it points for its uniqueness. Will return to this one again.

05-13-2006 00:40:20 | More by jslot38
Photo of Erdinger2003


3.65/5  rDev -7.1%

Appearance is nothing special, a little lacing with a quickly dissapating head.

Smell: a light coffee stout smell well known to Imperial Russian Stouts. Although it has a slight sweetness to it. A slight sweetness just like dark chocolate.

The first apparant flavor is the hops. After a while the nose brings out a slight coffee and chocolate-almost dark chocolate. The first part of the palate is hops and alcohol, a pepper taste.

Mouthfeel is slightly better than water.

I wouldn't go out of my way, but if it were avaliable fresh I would take advantage of it.

05-01-2006 01:42:35 | More by Erdinger2003
Photo of dfried


3.73/5  rDev -5.1%

This is one heck of a beer. Though I wouldn't say this is the best Imperial Stout I have ever tried, there is just something memorable about this beer. What I liked most about it was its appearance. It forms a decent head that settles into a ring, and provides some decent lacing. When held up to a light you cannot see through the center of the glass, but there is a deep cherry red that you can see around the edges that is very appealing. This is an especially sweet stout, almost even like a barley wine. The roasted flavor of a stout is not apparant though you can tell its in the background. Sweet molasses and black liquorish flavors really dominate this beer's flavor. The alcohol in this really brings the drinkability down. The mouthfeel of the alcohol going down doesn't immediatly let you know how strong it is, but it comes through after a few minutes. Very good beer, and worth a try, but easy to over do.

04-28-2006 18:18:27 | More by dfried
Photo of Viggo

Ontario (Canada)

2.93/5  rDev -25.4%

Pours a dark brown/cola, clear, small tean head that settles to a ring real quick, some retention. Sure as hell doesn't look like an imperial stout. Smell is very sweet, lots of alcohol, molasses, licorice, roast and toffee. Taste is molasses and caramel, slight roast, and alcohol, very sweet. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with medium carbonation, goes down really hot. This was bottled in 2003 and the alcohol is still very apparent, I can only imagine what this is like fresh. Overall a total mess and more like a high gravity brown ale than an imperial stout. I rate it down not only because alcohol is the main flavour but because its absolutely not to style. But thanks for sharing DrJay!

04-23-2006 22:16:14 | More by Viggo
Photo of Dukeofearl


3.68/5  rDev -6.4%

22 oz. bottle purchased at Hollingshead Deli in Orange, CA in late Feb-early March, 2006 for $5.99

Pours a deep brown, much like a coca-cola color as anything. Slightly translucent, with a thin off-white head that doesn't do much.

Aroma is also slightly coke-like, but with much more. Semi-sweet cola aroma with a bit of twang to it (I know, I know, not very descriptive, but it's the best I can do).

Flavor follows through with cream and vanilla and a touch of semi-sweet chocolate. Quite tasty. However, the end is a mad jumble of alcohol-fuel that I do not enjoy in some of these bigger beers. Some hide it so well, and some miss the mark. This one misses wide left.

Mouthfeel full and rich.

Drinkability is actually pretty low, because of the high ABV and the rocket fuel ending. Overall a good beer, worth trying, but this isn't one of my favorites of the style.

04-08-2006 18:51:42 | More by Dukeofearl
Photo of BadBadger

New York

4.03/5  rDev +2.5%

This is a rather good imperial stout. It pours from the bottle a dark, though not black, color. A monster massive tan head forms and stays for awhile. The smell is sweet and roasted, with no hint of the high alcohol content this brew carries inside. The taste is rather sugary sweet, perhaps a little to sweet for my own palate, but not overly off-putting. The mouthfell is semi-thick with no bitterness or alcohol burn. An imperial stout worthy of searching out. Beware the alcohol content, seriously it is not at all noticeable in taste or smell.

04-06-2006 01:19:23 | More by BadBadger
Photo of orfeu

New Mexico

4.35/5  rDev +10.7%

Finally getting around to this...Avery's the Czar is the beer that led me to beeradvocate.com in the first place. Last summer, my family and I moved from Albuquerque to Buffalo, and in the months leading up to the move I acquired a large number of boxes, primarily from liquor stores. A few boxes had contained several beers I'd never heard of before (Great Divide Hercules, Rogue Mocha Porter, Ska Brewing...), including something called The Czar Imperial Stout. So, about a month before leaving town, I headed back to the store to sample a few of these beers. The first one I tried was the Czar, on a hot, July evening. I'd refrigerated the bottle, and it just tasted overwhelming. Big alcohol, big malt, sweet and powerfully bitter. "What the hell is this?" I thought. Being the research-oriented academic geek I am, I headed to the computer. One of the first websites I checked out was beeradvocate.com. I had no idea that a beer could be so challenging, not to mention that there was an entire culture built around the appreciation and advocacy of fine beer. I held on to the second bottle of the Czar I purchased back then, and now I will finally crack it and see how it is the second go 'round.


2004 bottling. "1.107 Original Gravity, 70 IBUs, Alcohol 13% by Vol." Served at cellar temperature on one of the last snowy evenings of the season (fingers crossed!) into a 20-ounce imperial "pint" glass. Black to dark brown with mahogany highlights and a thin but steady beige-to-ecru head. Spicy alchol aromas meld with soft dried figs and cherries, much like a well-made xmas fruitcake. Sweet molasses carries the first flavors of dates, figs, cherries and caramel apples to a smooth but quite apparent alcohol finish. Sugared coffee bittersweetness in the aftertaste. Amazingly complex mouthfeel: Huge, soft, round; oily, but not quite slick -- I think silky is the appropriate descriptor -- chewy, too. Thick body, of course. Bottom line, this beer is one gigantic Russian Imperial Stout. At 13% ABV, it can't help but take a hit on drinkability. In fact, I don't think it could ever earn higher than a 4. Well, I love RISs, so that's what I gave it.

I'm relatively new to being a beer geek (less than a year), but I think I've learned much in that time. Nevertheless, the Czar continues to intimidate the shit out of me. Damn fine, but scary as hell in its sheer size.

04-05-2006 00:23:57 | More by orfeu
Photo of barleyman


3.48/5  rDev -11.5%

Poured from the 22 oz. brown bottle into my straight sided tumbler. Darkish head disappears into very little Brussels lace. Black color allows no light to pass through. Aroma has plums, raisins, malt and a touch of hop. Taste is of plums, raisins, malt, citrus and a bit of barnyard hay. Alcohol sweetness is apparent, and the tongue and mouth is slightly numbed. Mouthfeel is spot on for this type. Drinkability is also correct for this style. You won't drink a 12 pack of this, but you will enjoy the one or two.


04-03-2006 00:15:52 | More by barleyman
Photo of Px2GrafX


3.85/5  rDev -2%

bottled in 2004. pours deep dark black with menacing red highlights in a stein mug. huge cascading 2.5 inch tan head that laces excellently. aroma is sweet with chocolate, raisins and some alcohol. there's a touch of molasses as well. first sip is initially sweet with some chocolate and a vinous grape and raisin flavor. alcohol is apparent and immediately warming. there's a light spicy and grassy hop flavor, but it's hard to find. finishes dry with a nutty, coffee bitterness. alcohol is dominant. the body of this is a little light for the style. tongue prickling alcohol and carbonation. coats your mouth, though, and swallows fairly smoothly. i'm not sure why, but this is fairly drinkable despite the strong alcohol. it can hinder a bit, though. overall, even with almost 2 years age, i find this to be a fairly simple russian imperial. hop flavors and aromas are almost gone, but the age hasn't complicated the malt side as much as i would like. not bad, though. a must try and despite avery's claims that this should be better with age, i'd recommend drinking fresh so you get more hop character.

04-01-2006 03:34:36 | More by Px2GrafX
Photo of sinistermadman


4.1/5  rDev +4.3%

Escapes the 25 oz bottle a deep crimson with light transmitting only on the edges. Minimal head that quickly settles to a fine lacing.

Smell is a plenty - dark fruits, toffee, brown sugar and caramel offer an inviting aroma. Somewhat mild carbonation with a body that does well to coat the palate with it's resinous mouthfeel. Taste is of caramel, toffee, molasses and figs with a velvety almost chocolate tinged exit. Quite complex and it only gets more interesting as it warms. Alcohol rears it's head midway through the drink, but it isn't too intrusive. Quite a tasty offering.

03-31-2006 02:01:37 | More by sinistermadman
Photo of MaltyGoodness


2.58/5  rDev -34.4%

220z. bottle

Pours a suprisingly brown color, a deep dark mahogany. Almost no head forms even with an aggressive pour. Specks of lacing on the glass.

Aroma is very sweet an malty with some roasted malt and coffee aromas. Some hops are also present along with a big boozy aroma.

Taste is cloyingly sweet upfront with some roasted malt and coffee flavors. There is a big bitter hop bite followed by a bunch of booze. Seems very unbalanced and the alcohol is not kept in check.

The body on this beast is big and full, but the carbonation is merely an afterthought.

Eh, I find this to be a rather poor imperial stout. I'm not sure what other people are enjoying about this one.

03-29-2006 02:31:57 | More by MaltyGoodness
Photo of mcowgill


4.13/5  rDev +5.1%

No surprise that Avery pulls out another fine brew. This one pours a dark brown with a reddish tinge to it. The head is small and tan and dissappears quickly leaving nice lacing on the glass. The aroma is molasses and chocolate like. The taste is nice and hoppy with a thick malt backbone. The alcohol is right there but not overbearing for such a strong brew. This is a very thick bodied and carbonated brew. It is surprisingly drinkable given how potent this thing is.

03-28-2006 01:51:40 | More by mcowgill
Photo of sinstaineddemon


2.4/5  rDev -38.9%

Note: BA says 12.2%, bottle says 11.03%

A - pours pitch black out of the bottle, with a thin dark tan head that wells up and dissipates quickly

S - wow, surprising, no chocolate, no coffee, no espresso aromas, just very hoppy with sublte malts aroma, also a sharp sweetness i can't place

T - slight dark chocolate hints, maybe bakers chocolate, alcohol taste, very weak, not impressed, i can mostly taste only alcohol, no subtle flavors

M - too heavy, but smooth

D - low, not very good, i was surprised, i like avery stuff

03-27-2006 15:53:22 | More by sinstaineddemon
Photo of bashiba


4.1/5  rDev +4.3%

Poured a deep dark black with some dark mahogonny highlights. Almost no head to speak of.

Smell is suprisingly mild, a bit of dark fruit smells and dark malts.

Taste while cold is suprisingly mild with hints of burnt malts and some sublte dark fruit flavors. As this beer warms up the flavors really start to shine, you start to get some nice hints of bourban, dark cherry, good charred burnt malts with a decent bit of earthy hops in the finish.

Mouthfeel has that nice high ABV warming with a full body and a good dry finish.

Drinkability is suprisingly good for a beer of this strenght, the alcohol is very subtle especially before the beer warms up a bit.

03-27-2006 02:32:35 | More by bashiba
Photo of Blakaeris


3.98/5  rDev +1.3%

Pours black with slight ruby highlights, head is offwhite and dissipates to a thin ring.

Smell is surprisingly sweet. Dark fruit, hints of chocolate and dark grain. definite alcohol aroma.

Taste is similiar to smell. Dominated by the dark fruit. Subdued hop presence. Finish is crisp and dry.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and slightly chewy.

The flavors blend in this brew as it warms. Definite but not obnoxious alcohol presence, but it is tempered by dark fruit sweetness.

03-27-2006 02:24:32 | More by Blakaeris
The Czar from Avery Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 1,626 ratings.