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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: 253 | 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 beavers
2.73/5  rDev -30.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Never tried the Czar before and have had this in the fridge for almost a couple months now. Label reads "Bottled in 2007" and this was poured into a snifter. Poured a deep black with a good tan 1.5 finger head. Head would descend, and would build right back up with an invigorating swirl. Smell was a little less potent than other RISs I've tasted. Light toffee, vanilla bean, coffee, chocolate notes, with a more prominent nutty aroma. Alcohol is already showing off big time here. Taste confirms the aroma notes, but the alcohol bites down really hard in the end and makes it difficult to really catch on to any subtleties. The hops add a bitterness that is attempting to hide the alcohol, but is doing a poor job. I'm really not getting any considerable dark fruit notes because of the alcohol kill. Its a no-brainer that I should have laid this puppy down for a while (1, but more like 2 years). I honestly couldn't finish the entire 22 which I normally can of most RISs.

Photo of soulgrowl
3.88/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Massive and massively stalwart head, coffee-tinged beige-blush in color with excellent retention despite a clear volatility. Body is light-trappingly black with just a slight hint of root beer brown.

Smell: Roasted nuts are huge, as are leafy-citric hops. Rich dark chocolate is quite strong as well, with an edge of espresso and Cointreau. There's also something rather fruit soda-like about it... like strawberry Crush. Odd, but nice.

Taste: Briskly alcoholic, predominantly spicy couched in a soft, malty base. Lots of zippy tequila-like alcohol spiked with lemony lupulic acid with a heavy shadow of pumpernickel bread, chocolate syrup, and dark rum. Malty as hell, yet somehow not very rich - I think the alcohol and hop presence is a bit intrusive here. Maybe this one should be cellared for a while?

Mouthfeel: Soft and chewy with fine carbonation and a big, viscous body. The alcohol certainly fires things up, however. Thick and heavy yet hot and lively. If the carbonation weren't as subdued as it is, this beer would be a fiery, abrasive mess. A very skilled balancing act.

Drinkability: This is a fairly good imperial stout, though I must say the malt flavors, while thick and sweet, don't quite match the alcohol and hop flavors in terms of impact. That said, it's still remarkably drinkable for its strength - be careful with it.

Photo of jim102864
3.46/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Another good effort by Avery but a slightly less impressive performance vs some of their other styles.

Poured from a bomber into my nonic glass. Realizing it was too cold, I let it rest for several minutes before tasting it. The pour revealed a dark black appearance and no head whatsoever.

The nose was unfortunately too mild. Some hints of burnt coffee grounds but not much else beyond that. Somewhat dissappointing.

The taste followed the nose in that it was suprisingly uninspired. Burnt coffee and perhaps a hint of chocolate but otherwise a somewhat thin experience. Very unusual for an Avery product.

The mouthfeel was also thinnish with mild alcohol burn and burnt coffee in the finish.

Not an overly exciting brew for such an aggessive style. I expect more from Avery. Not a disaster and I certainly will give it another try if offered one in the future. As always, a great looking label but not much in the bottle itself. I'd certainly love to try it on tap.

Photo of zdk9
4.25/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours out a murky black, with a half finger of cocoa colored head. Not much lacing, but enough to remind me of the head as the beer wanes down.

S- Sweet milk chocolate, and coffee lattes.

T- Sweet and milky, I would almost put this one in the milk stout catagory. There is also some coffee tones, but not at all astringent or harsh in the way coffee often comes across in beer. Some light citrusy tones, like lemons towards the back. Great taste that I'm really enjoying.

M- Smooth and creamy, there isn't much more to say about it.

D- A wonderful stout that I look forward to having again.

Photo of largadeer
3.67/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2007 bottle.

Appearance - Dark and opaque with amber highlights; not quite the pitch black that I've come to expect from Russian Imperial Stouts. Starts with about an inch of tan-colored head that disappears too quickly.

Smell - Sweet roasted malts, espresso, a bit of woodsmoke, floral hoppiness.

Taste - Molasses, anise, a bit of cocoa. Good balance of sweet and bitter flavors. Finishes with a smooth and mild roasted bitterness. The nearly 12% ABV is nicely concealed.

Mouthfeel - On the heavier side of medium-bodied; soft effervescence. Not especially thick or coating for a Russian Imperial stout.

Notes - A good, but not great, Russian Imperial stout. Worth trying.

Photo of clemsonbrewer
4.23/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pitch black liquid as expected. Nice tan head. Takes its time dissipating and leaves thin sticky lacing. Huge alcohol nose. A little bit of coffee but mostly alcohol. Light coffee taste. Some nice mild carbonation and a little chewy. Smooth malty feel and a little hoppiness but a while after you've swallowed. A nice relaxing brew. Great for a day of sitting around drinking fine brew.

Photo of CWiggins
4.2/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2007's The Czar arrived in the Durham area this week, and I just couldn't pass up the first bomber to be found. This year's version weighs in at 11.73% ABV, a bit higher than last year (11.04%). It pours a near black into a tall pint glass, with a dark tan, foamy, two-finger head. A deep inhalation reveals scents of bittersweet chocolate and espresso, and dark, slightly sweet malts. The flavor is just overflowing with rich coffee and dark cacao accents, and the dark malts shine forth with great complexity and less sweetness. It's great to really indulge in a single mouthful of this brew and enjoy the flavors for some time. The finish focuses on coffee flavors, but a little hoppy bitterness sneaks through to balance the malts.

Photo of Gehrig
4.5/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Splendid Imperial Stout from the magnificent Avery. This poured two solid fingers of frothy, light khaki head atop a deep black body. Many scents confront the nose--caramel as bold as anything, mocha, molasses, and a hint of roasted chocolate--and the taste is magnificently complex. In addition to those aromas mentioned, I noticed an anise flavor accompanying a moderate hoppy bitterness that was initially off-putting, but overall pleasantly tolerable. The high ABV (11.79% in its most recent incarnation) becomes apparent about 1/3 of the way through, but the rich flavors and smooth texture make for smooth sailing nonetheless. A very delicious beer worth the time. I spent mine with The Czar listening to a hockey game via the Internet by the fire. Terrific.

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

2006 bottle
Poured into a standard pint glass.

Appearance- Solid black with a tan head that dies off quickly. Ample lacing and legs until tuesday on this beer.

Smell- Smoke and black licorice, dark malt, oysters? A salty meaty scent that I can't quite place.

Taste- Licorice, black patent malt, lingering hop in the finish, amazingly balanced. A hint of chocolate and smoke continue to linger in the finish.

Mouthfeel- Medium-full bodied with plenty of carbonation. Moderate alcohol warmth, but not so much that it gets noticed. Slightly creamy but lingering with a nearly cloying mouthfeel.

Drinkability- This is an immensely pleasurable imperial stout good for sipping or chugging down depending on your levels of alcoholism. The smoke and saltiness was entirely unexpected and very different from the tap. Still it was welcome and delicious. Excellence from Avery brewing.

Photo of rye726
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle of the 2007 offering.

The color is a dark brown but not quite as black as most RIS. It has a nice a beige head that quickly tappers away. The aroma was very malty and sweet acompanied by an unfamiliar hop essence. The taste is of dark roasted malts and a noticeable alcohol character. A medium to light body creates a mouthfeel that takes away from the drinkability a bit. Overall, a decent vintage, but not as complex as some years past.

Speaking of years past, the '03 and '04 are probably 4.8 beers right now.

Photo of budgood1
3.64/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

pours out of the 22 oz. bomber an opaque blackish/brown. crimson hues when held to the light. big frothy tan head holds itself high and sticks. festive lace. looks damn perfect. fusel alcohol, vanilla, toffee, cocoa, caramel, black liqourice, and some floral hops in the nose. taste follows suit, but with a bit more alcohol bite. more ripe red fruit, some raisin and fig notes, a dose of yeast, some molasses and a big flowery hop presence. the hallertau really provides some unique flavour and bitterness not found in most huge RIS offerings domestically. pretty interesting. the body is ample and fullfigured. the mouthfeel velvety smooth...silky...sleek...and seductive...perfect yet again. finishes sweet and hoppy. tasty and warming. young and hot.

an RIS with the perfect looks and sexy mouthfeel. but in the end a bit too hot for it's own good and lacking a bit in character and substance. some maturity and age may well improve this bombshell of a beer. only time will tell.

BTW 2006 vintage.

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

A - so dark in color and a oatmeal brown head that eventually dissipates with a bit of lace left behind. Looks like a light beer and not thick or heavy.

S - Malty, chocolate, caramel, toffee... lots of wonderful sweet things, but in a light tone. Sweet berry smell as well. The smell just says "fun"!

T - Sweet with chocolate and caramel. Some boozy taste, but not overly offensive.

M - Light and you can feel the alcohol roll off your breath. Some dryness in the aftertaste. The flavor doesn't hang with you long, but the dry berry feel is still there, kinda like a dry wine.

D - This is a very different beer than my usual drink. The bit of boozy taste and feel does keep you from drinking this quickly. the over all taste and smell is so enjoyable tho and makes this really nice to drink. I would have another if the mood was right.

Photo of timbro81
4.7/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow! Light will not pierce the glass with this beer, nice. A good head that that eventually left a slight ring of foam. Smelled of dark roasted delights (port, chocolate, dark malts, dark Belgium candies) slight smokiness, and alcohol. Very silky mouthfeel. Light sweetness balanced with bitter chocolate (probably from the hops which dominate the aftertaste). Becomes much smoother and chocolatier when it opens up. Hides the 11.73% very well. Highly recommended.

Photo of brantadid
3.46/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured black with a two finger tan head that diminished quickly. Fantastic lacing.

Smelled of toasted malts and alcohol. Some faint chocolate hints and very slight hops. As the beer warmed a bit more, some faint berry notes came through.

Tasted of burnt malt. Some cocao on the mid palate and followed by a slight hoppy bitterness. Lots of alcohol in the taste. This beer doesn't mask the alcohol well.

Lower carbonation and a rather heavy mouthfeel. Slightly syrupy.

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

2006 vintage, 11.04% abv. Pours black with a small medium tan head that recedes to a ring. Nice roastiness in the aroma, along with a good amount of chocolate, alcohol, and some piney hoppiness. Taste follows with some decent chocolate flavor that becomes more noticeable as it warms followed by a huge crushing grassy and slightly piney hoppiness. Mouthfeel is average, at first comes across a little thin but as it warms to room temp becomes a little fuller feeling, medium in body, but still on the thin side for my preference. Biting hops mix with some evidence of the abv in the bitter and drying finish. This beer seems massively hopped, I enjoy some of the nice chocolate flavor that is there before the hops set in and look forward to letting a few of these sit for 5 years and see how they have developed.

Photo of morimech
4.15/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. bomber- 2006 vintage

Pours a nice black, well almost black, with a nice thick tan head that hangs around forever. Just like a stout should act. Lacing is left at every sip on the glass.

The smell was mostly alcohol until I let it warm up to the proper temperature. Then it emits this wonderful aroma of chocolate malt, raisins, and a delicate hop scent. The alcohol is still there in the background.

The flavors are toffee, bitter chocolate, and dark fruit. The hops are hidden by the alcohol until the beer warms. You can feel the alcohol as it leaves your mouth down the throat. Warm almost hot. After one drink of this you know you tackled an Imperial. A sipper for sure. The Czar feels creamy and smooth, medium body, with just the right amount of carbonation. Mouthfeel is probably the best of the stouts I have sampled. The alcohol in the taste doesn't really make it that easy to drink. I will be sipping on this beer for awhile tonight.

Photo of adams82
4.2/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2004 Vintage. 13% ABV.

Pours black with ruby hightlights, big rocky tan head, excellent lacing. Smells of dried fruit, raisins stand out, sweet, and a light hop aroma. Tastes very good and very complex. Tastes failry sweet and sugary, syrupy even with a very smooth flavour of dark roasted malts, coffee, semi-sweet chocolate, toffee, caramel, vanilla, black licorice and dried dark fruits with a semi bitter noble hop finish. The label says 70 IBUs, and it is apparent that the hoppiness has died down quite a bit since bottling 3 years ago. This is VERY smooth and very easy to drink. Age has been well to this beast, as it is very drinkable and the alcohol is no where to be found.

Hats off to Avery. The only other bomber of theirs that I've tried was the Maharaja DIPA and I've had it fresh and aged and like both, but this is just killer. A great offering that has aged very well!

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

It pours a deep, dark brown, but nope, it's not black, and shims of ruby rim the margins. A thin finger of tan head runs downhill fast. A terrain of lacing gives in to gravity and sinks slowly.

In the aroma, roasted malt totes raisins, chocolate, coffee, and molasses. A twitch of toffee jiggles a nicely poignant pepper and pine hope note. Alcohol is loud and proud but mostly well-behaved.

Upon sipping, earthy roasted malt is molasses and brown sugar sweet, and lays open veins of dark chocolate, black coffee, dates, and long-baked bread. A mellow but dry hop bitterness slinks along. The alcohol, here, is brash and hot, wrapping a searing vice around the back of the neck and head. Sweet malt and dough make a residual play before a crisp bitterness plants a clean, ripe apple crispness on the finish. It's a touch raw, maybe, but it has an enticing character.

Between medium and full bodied, there's a syrupy flow that slides away gracefully.

It's not overly complex, as are many of the style it seems, and it's not so much blended as capably pieced together. It has a pleasing flavor that stands up well to the heavy-duty, longball ABV, so despite a feverish warmth, it drinks well. For those times when only one bomber will fit into the schedule, this is a nice, imperial way to go, tovarish.

Photo of chefboy812
4.24/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

First I would like to tip my hat to my local beer guy; I just bought the bottle this week 10/14, and it was from a 2006 bottling! This definately cools down the booziness that I perceive from the fresh bottles. Whole Foods in Arlington, VA

I poured it into a clean room-temperature american pint glass. It was a deep mahogany with the slightest red hugh. almost no light passes through it. It makes a light mocha head that rises far above the rim of the glass but does not spill over the side. it sticks around for most of beer leaving a ring at every sip mark.

A light roasty aroma is preasent, but overtoned by a hoppiness that promises a ride later on.

on first sip a huge roasty profile comes on with a huge bitter coffee note that fade to a molassas flavor with raisens and madeira coming in and out of focus. a direct attribution to it's age. when it is fresh the raisen and madeira isn't preasent; it comes from a hot alcohol rum flavor. There are slight honey and vanilla notes preasant as well. I like that there is a bigger than usual hop profile for a stout. Good job on that as usual Avery! fruity with a spicy pine finish that adds astringency to the sweet malt linger. the hops are more pronounced and finish a bit out of balance in the fresh version.

A definate to drink slowly with a friend at 12% + alcohol, and let the last 1/2 warm to room temperature, you will be greatly rewarded!

this is a great exhample of how aging some beers improve thir overall enjoyment. be patient it is soo worth it.

Photo of OWSLEY069
3.83/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a black color with a caramel colored tan head. Aromas of coffee, roasted malt, small amount of alcohol. In the taste, a roasty malt sweetness with a decent alcohol taste. A smooth mellow mouthfeel and a coffee/ chocolate aftertaste. Nice malt, with a nice presence of alcohol, light mouthfeel, easy to drink and tasty.

Photo of cabsandking
3.65/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled 2006 (11.04 ABV)

Straight black with a tan head fading quickly to a thin lace. Aromas of dark fruits, prune, burnt sugar, and hot alcohol esters. Buttery caramel and vanilla were the first flavors detected which kind of shocking after the nose but very welcomed. A hot alcohol burn is quickly noticed and maybe a little much. Burnt sugars and heavy roasted malts become the dominant flavors with espresso and cocoa powder tones developing through the middle and a big chalky dryness and bittering hops perceived at the end. The finish shows a little tartness that is matched by drying burnt malt and chary, espresso notes. Descent mouthfeel, smooth with some creamy carbonation. Overall a bit too alcohol hot and chary.

Photo of CharlieMopps
4.07/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Vintage 2006

A: Pours an ominous, oil-like black that produces a massive khaki colored head that likes to stick around and cling to the sides. A thick web of lacing hangs on all around as the head recedes.

S: Lots of roasted malt character, as expected. Sweet and toffee-like aroma also asserts itself from the malt. Hop profile is also notable, imparting a "floral and spicy" scent, as the label indicates.

T: Toffee flavor comes to forefront immediately, and seems to be the dominant flavor in the malt profile. Still, that good old roasty taste is present, as always. Middle to finish is hopped subtly, but the spiciness combines and cuts through with the alcohol in the end. Both are rather noticeable, but not egregious or detrimental to the taste. Aftertaste is a thick, malty syrup that trails down the throat.

M: Carbonation is ample and mouthfeel is rather creamy, with the sharp kick of alcohol and the thick malty syrup feel contributing to the texture as well.

D: High abv obviously, as the imperial name suggests, with the alcohol being detectable. Regardless, this isn't as bad as others of its style because its flavor presence is kept in check. A solid RIS, in my opinion, definitely well above average, but doesn't quite reach the status of excellence. Still, a must for RIS fans.

Photo of GClarkage
4.82/5  rDev +22.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

09/16/07- Purchased at Sun Devil Liquors in Mesa, AZ.

Presentation- 22oz bottle, vintage 2004 (13% abv). Poured into my Duvel tulip.

Appearance- Medium black in color. Not jet black, but dark enough where you can only see through a touch. 3/4 inch off brownish-white head upon pour which settles at a slight brown rim. Light spotty lace with a few streaks.

Smell- Licorice, chocolate liquor, deep roasted malt and a light coffee bean notes underneath the alcohol scent. Only regret is that you have to go to the scent instead of it coming to you.

Taste- Drank the first half of this at cellar temp (mid 50's). First sip was full of flavor and very creamy and almost syrupy and chewy. Fairly high roasted caramel malt with a mix of dark and milk chocolate flavor. Kind of like a white russian taste with a mix of coffee beans. Beer is nicely hopped..not super hopped, but just enough to give it a light edge. Notes of licorice, dark fruits (plums) and vanilla come through at the back of the throat. Reminds me of a cross between an IRS and a English style barleywine.

Mouthfeel- Creamy, chewy and viscous. Light, but sharp carbonation. Very mouthcoating. Hop bitterness comes through just a touch in the aftertaste as the beer warms to room temp.

Drinkability- Exceptional beer! Almost a meal in itself. One of the best per style that I have ever had. Really on a different level than Stone or Speedway. Each of those have their own different high points as this one also does. A steal at the $6.99 price tag which I bought it for. Will seek out several more of these if I can find any. Highest recommendation here!!

Photo of dogger6253
4.53/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Strong head, mocha colored on top of motor oil, or at least that's what this beer's body looks like - black and viscous, man it looks delicious. The head drops in size after awhile, but stays pretty thick and leaves its fair share of lacing around the edge of the glass.

The aroma is very potent, very pleasant as well. A lot comes at you right away, so at first it's hard to pull out specific scents, but after focusing, you can easily smell chocolate, toffee, plum and alcohol. The alcohol is a little overpowering, and sort of burns my eyes if I lean in too far. Maybe a little coffee in the aroma, but not much. I could just be imagining it too... There's a lot of roasted character going on in here too.

The taste of this beer is incredible. The first flavor I get is a bitter chocolate, not exactly like straight up unsweetened, but closer to dark chocolate IMO. Next up would be a most glorious roasted malt, charcoal black. A touch of hops enter making way for more sweet and fruity flavors afterward: caramel, plums, dates, toffee, and a bit of licorice.

The mouthfeel is sort of hard to describe, it's very creamy, but extremely smooth. The taste lingers forever though, it's quite nice. Alcohol kind of burns, but it's extremely subtle and adds overall to the character of the beer. As for drinkability, I find the alcohol already starting to hit and I have a decent amount left to drink, so I wouldn't rank this as the most drinkable of beers, but I think that's kind of a trait of the style. Aside from massive alcohol content, the beer is overall one of the best of its kind I've ever had the pleasure of tasting. I know that I'll be getting more of this and I would suggest anyone try it. If you're a fan of RIS, this is a must. It's just so good, simply.

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

(2005 Batch)

Appearance: Pours a black body with ruby-hued edges and a hefty beige head.

Smell: Chocolate malt, caramel, anise, and even a little Madeira. Lesser notes of dried fruits and soy sauce.

Taste: Starts sweet, with flavors of chocolate and caramel. Madeira wine and licorice candy. There's a slight hop bite to it, but it's pretty muddled underneath the malts. Sweet, alcoholic finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation. Slight stickiness on the palate. Very warming.

Drinkability: It's fine, sure, but could benefit from a fuller, body-building malts and added roastiness to help quell the glaring alcohol.

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