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The Czar - Avery Brewing Company

Not Rated.
The CzarThe Czar

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

1,666 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,666
Reviews: 859
rAvg: 3.93
pDev: 11.7%
Wants: 70
Gots: 210 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: Wildman on 01-05-2003)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,666 | Reviews: 859 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jslot38
4.28/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

jslot38, May 13, 2006
Photo of Erdinger2003
3.65/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

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.

Erdinger2003, May 01, 2006
Photo of dfried
3.73/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

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.

dfried, Apr 28, 2006
Photo of Viggo
2.93/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

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!

Viggo, Apr 23, 2006
Photo of Dukeofearl
3.68/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

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.

Dukeofearl, Apr 08, 2006
Photo of BadBadger
4.03/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

BadBadger, Apr 06, 2006
Photo of orfeu
4.35/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

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.

orfeu, Apr 05, 2006
Photo of barleyman
3.48/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.


barleyman, Apr 03, 2006
Photo of Px2GrafX
3.85/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

Px2GrafX, Apr 01, 2006
Photo of sinistermadman
4.1/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

sinistermadman, Mar 31, 2006
Photo of MaltyGoodness
2.58/5  rDev -34.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

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.

MaltyGoodness, Mar 29, 2006
Photo of mcowgill
4.13/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

mcowgill, Mar 28, 2006
Photo of sinstaineddemon
2.4/5  rDev -38.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

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

sinstaineddemon, Mar 27, 2006
Photo of bashiba
4.1/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

bashiba, Mar 27, 2006
Photo of Blakaeris
3.98/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

Blakaeris, Mar 27, 2006
Photo of sevineyes
2.58/5  rDev -34.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Poured from a brown bottle with a red foil label featuring what I would assume are some pictures of czars.

A: Black. No light seems to come through this one. Poured with a tan head that dissipated quickly.

S: Smoky, Smell some alcohol presence. Almost get some soy sauce hints.

T: Sweet and alcohol up front with a big hit. The taste seems dominated by the alcohol presence. Finishes with some evaporation and caramel. After the alcohol subsides I get some chocolate and even some floral hops. Where were these tastes earlier? Too little too late.

M: Seems overcarbonated. Very much alcohol evaporation.

Overall: Man, not at all what I was expecting. the alcohol railroads the smell and the flavor. Not like there's no flavor present, but it's taking a back seat to the alcohol presence. Simply doesn't bring it. If you're going to walk the walk you should be able to talk the talk.

sevineyes, Mar 26, 2006
Photo of WanderingFool
3.8/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The Czar pours a deep black color with a hint of brown around the edges and a small tan head on top. The foam fades quickly leaving behind a good amount of lace on the side of the glass. A faint roasted malt aroma with notes of molasses, nuts and alcohol hovers over the beer.

Each sip of this medium bodied beer is smooth on the palate with a mild carbonated fizz on the tip of the tongue. The flavor is mainly roasted malt with some nuts, coco, molasses and alcohol mixed in. It finishes with a mild bitterness leaving behind some roasted malt flavor.

Even though the 12% alcohol can be tasted it does not dominate the flavor. The balanced flavor makes this a rather easy drinking beer.

WanderingFool, Mar 12, 2006
Photo of BEERchitect
4.25/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A serious punch in the mouth! Though it's been over a year since I last tried this beer, it's still as aggressive as ever. Almost black with a light crimson window of color. Smells as stout as would ever be expected with a few fruity accents. Tastes very thick and very rich of molassas, licorice, grapes, roastiness, charcoal, chocolate, espresso, and bourbon. All rolled into an assertive, over-the-top stout. Starts out smooth and alcoholicly hot / sweet into an aggressively roasted / hopped finish. A lot of complexity, softened by the sweetness, but mean with its alcohol and roastedness. Reminds me a lot of Bourbon County Stout by Goose Island, just not as melded--not yet.

BEERchitect, Mar 05, 2006
Photo of bigsilky
4.18/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Current vintage, 22oz. bottle, clean snifter. Most Imp. stouts balance the huge maltiness out with hoppiness or roasted malt. This beer seems to balance it out with alcohol. The malt on entry is strong and classic, this soothes out to a smooth caramel malt and medium bodied hops fence with the sweetness and alcoholic flatness. This is certainly a sipper, and will definantly give the warming element that I enjoy so much. I really should have had another head on this one though, it took me around an hour and a half to drink the whole bottle and I felt a little full.

I think that with a little bit of age the abv. will mellow and and the elements will all come together. I have three bottles in the cellar and I'm looking forward to next winter.

If you are not familiar with the the "Dictator Series" from Avery, check em out, the Kaiser is particularly excellent.

bigsilky, Mar 03, 2006
Photo of edchicma
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Almost black in appearance with very little head. Smell is a nice sweet malt which transfers to the taste with a rich quality. Alcohol is there, but not overpowering. Mouthfeel has a nice chewy quality, yet it is smooth and dry in the finish. Very nice drinkability for such a high abv.

edchicma, Mar 03, 2006
Photo of Jredner
3.45/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Chocolate, black licorice and a lot of raosted malt. Poured deep gloppy dark brown with a fast fading head. Molasses, raisin, chocolate and coffe all mingle together with a pervasive bitterness that stays through to the end. Better than average beer in looks and feel, but the flavor is not very cohesive due to out of balance bitterness.

Jredner, Feb 26, 2006
Photo of whartontallboy
4.08/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle dated 2004.

Pours out jet-black with a thin brown head that fades quickly and doesn't leave much lace.

Smell is roasted malt, chocolate, and alcohol. Even at two-ish years old, this one's still a little hot on the nose.

Flavor is roasted malts, rich chocolate, a hint of what was probably once a big hoppy bite, some dark fruits, and a bit of alcohol. Fusel alcohol, cocoa powder, and roasted malts all linger on the tongue. Mouthfeel is slick and full. Even though the alcohol sneaks in around the edges, you never get the impression that it's a 12% monster.

Overall: For the price (5 bucks a bomber), this is a solid buy. It's not a front-line, untouchable stout, but it's a solid experimental-strength outing.

whartontallboy, Feb 26, 2006
Photo of crookedhalo
3.83/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. bottle; served @ 60°F. Pours a nice opaque deepest brown color with a fizzy, light tan colored head that is rather short-lived, but subsides into a thin collar that hugs the glass. Healthy dosage of roasted malts, faint suggestions of prune and bakers' chocolate. Light, vinous hoppiness; but overtaken by roastiness and fusel alcohols. Warming to the mouth and gullet, it maintains an overall sweetness, with fleeting glimpses of hops to counterbalance. Some wine-like properties show up, but nothing distracting. Overall, it's a solid Imperial stout, not my personal favorite, though.

crookedhalo, Feb 25, 2006
Photo of falloutsnow
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The bottle opens with a satisfying gaseous release, a hard pour producing a thick, dark tan head that rises to a height of 1cm. The creamy head quickly sinks into a thin ring of tan bubbles around the perimeter of the glass. Impenetrably dark body with deep, reddish-brown highlights, impossible to tell what level of carbonation is in this beast.
S: Main aroma profile dominated by roasted, smoky maltiness with yeasty diacetyl/phenolic scents. Flecks of chocolate and coffee make their way in as the smell decays, eventually leaving alcohol pungency as the only reminder of the experience.
T: Powerfully rich taste aspects, mainly spiralling around smoked malt, stewed prunes, and maple syrup. As the beer moves to the back of the mouth, it develops a somewhat spicy character, due to well-balanced use of hops and carbonation. Slight alcohol astringent characteristics throughout.
M: The beer has a medium body, somewhat surprising for the style and richness or deepness of all other aspects. Moderate carbonation that works well with the overall aspects of the beer, for it entices the drinker to take the liquid in at the appropriate speed: not too fast or slow.
D: A superbly well-balanced imperial stout, all the characteristics mesh well for an exceptional beer. The alcohol content is well-hidden in the smell and taste, but the body feels it nonetheless and the strength makes it difficult to enjoy the entire bottle without developing some sort of sense-influencing haze, at least for us lightweights.

falloutsnow, Feb 25, 2006
Photo of Vancer
4.6/5  rDev +17%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

OK – let’s get it going with the Czar, luv the big stouts. Good start; blackish brew with respectable ivory head, although a tad wimpy. Notes of pine and floral in the aroma.

Wow, quite the quaff; lots of sweet malt, molasses, anise, with hints of coffee. Possible on too sweet side, could use a smidgen more hops for stout balance. Leaves a long lasting finish, very satisfying frosty.

Body is big and bold, no argument there. This is a solid winter brew, or maybe on the deck on a cool spring day. Glad this comes in a bomber, just the right amount. Remarkably smooth brew

Vancer, Feb 20, 2006
The Czar from Avery Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 1,666 ratings.