1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

The Czar - Avery Brewing Company

Not Rated.
The CzarThe Czar

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

1,818 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,818
Reviews: 882
rAvg: 3.94
pDev: 11.42%
Wants: 79
Gots: 265 | FT: 11
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
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of The Czar Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,818 | Reviews: 882 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of IBUnit63
4.1/5  rDev +4.1%
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%
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 +0.8%
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

Photo of esch
3.9/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Nice and dark. Hints of ruby peeking through.

S: Roasted malts, definite sweetness and just a touch of smoke.

T: Full of roasted flavors with some competing molasses and dark fruits. The 12% alcohol comes through hugely, making the finish reminiscent of bourbon or dark rum.

M: Mouthfeel is just about perfect. I think it's kept a tad light by the high ABV.

D: This is a very good beer. ABV is way too high for a 22oz serving though.

Photo of AlephNull
3.57/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a dark brown color with 2 fingers of chunky light-brown head that rises slowly.

S - Smells of dark fruity esthers and berries with a strong citrus hops scent.

T - Similar to the nose, the slightly toffee-like malts are enhanced by fruity esthers -- plums and blackberries. The hops dry the finish and the alchohol, while there, isn't too strong.

M - Very heavy body with moderate carbonation. It's a little bit chalky, but not too bad.

D- Not bad -- I think they focused a little too much on making this "imperial" and a little too little on making a nice stout.

Photo of ksbrainard
4.67/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled in 2007

Appearance: Clear and very, very dark brown, practially black. There's a tiny head that's really just a hint of a ring around the edge of the glass. Even that's gone before too long.

Smell: The first thing I think of is motor oil. This is quickly overcome by a big roast smell. There's a hint of metallic, followed by a clean dark chocolate smell. There's somewhat floral and even citrus hop aromas.

Taste: Massively roasty flavors make a sneak attack, jumping out from behind the hops bushes that first greet your mouth. A fiery trail of alcohol trickles down your throat. Bitter coffe flavors punctuate the barley perceptible sweet dark fruity alcohol flavors. This is awesomely HUGE, and leaves a lengthy bitter roast and boozey finish, almost as a taunt, "ready for another sip?"

Mouthfeel: Of course, it is gigantic. But at the same time, the fruits and hops seem to prevent it from being as thick as peanut butter.

Drinkability: I had been scared of this 22-ounce bottle, but now I wish it were bigger. This proved to be the big extreme experience I was hoping for from this beer.

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

22 ounce bomber, approx. $5.99 from Brown Jug Warehouse. (I kinda forget the exact price.) Bottles states 11.73% ABV, 70 IBU, OG 1.104, no dating noticed.

Appearance: super deep brown, mostly opaque, but not black. Light medium brown lacing, limited to light lacing.

Aroma: roasty, plums, prunes, deep fruity esters.

Taste: huge fruity esters, tangy sweetness, lots of roast, and some deep stonefruit. A little thin and not super complex for such a huge beer. Deep in the aftertaste there is distinct smokiness, but it doesn't show up in the main body.

Mouth: Again, somewhat thin. Warm alcohol, but certainly not hot, especially for such a high gravity and high ABV beer.

Overall: Tasty, drinkable, even sort of fun, but not amazing. My ratings are conscious as to each category: it's a little above average in each case, but not much else.

Photo of eberkman
4.32/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours an oozy opaque black with a tan head that reduces to nothing fairly quickly. Not surprising for the style. The smell is a knockout -- a huge wafting of dark-roasted coffee, sweet chocolate and what seemed almost like bourbon. Tastes similar -- dark chocolate, coffee, bourbon and a hugely creamy vanilla. Delicious. But somewhat offset by an overly bitter finish. I like the bitter bite for balance, but it lingers a little too long. Nice, thick, oily, chewy mouthfeel. Drinkability is good for something this powerful, but perhaps a little sweet for more than one. Still, something to savor. A real winner.

Photo of Slynger
3.76/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A deep blackish brown with a subtle ruby-violet highlights at the bottom of my glass. A light and creamy light brown head settles nicely atop. Dark roasted malts and dark chocolate in the nose. A nutty and rum-like alcohol lingers in the background. Not quite as strong of a nose as I would like, but it does have some good qualities to it. Thick and syrupy mouthfeel matches up with some sweet molasses and bittersweet chocolate flavors. Roasted malty nuttiness and rum finish this one out. Overall this one ain't bad; I like the flavor combinations and the nuttiness especially, but it doesn't have enough complexity to hang with the big dogs.

Photo of AKBelgianBeast
3.93/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I remember waaayyy back in the day, this is the first imperial stout I ever had and I thought it was nasty as hell! i have not had one since then. Man has my palate developed!!

The czar pours a thick almost impenetrable black with very little off white head and some slight (very) ruby highlights. Clearly thick and soupy when poured. The nose on this brew is very weak. There is some vanilla and slight chocolate and coffee flavors on the nose and in the first taste. Quite sugary. A decent hop kick at the end but nothing to write home about. The finish is very smooth, and the mouthfeel is quite thick and thats how i like em! nice sugars in here as a residue remains on the lips. A good offering, lacks a bit in taste resonance but is very smooth and the aftertaste does linger. Good beer, Im gonna cellar two of these and see how they are in one and two years. Try it, its pretty good.

Photo of KUpolo
4.77/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

2007 bottling

Poured jet black and very thick. I allowed my glass to warm a bit after the pour from the fridge.

The strong of chocolate and coffee. These flavors become more apparent upon the first taste. There is a good deal of alcohol in it, but it is balanced by very strong flavors from the brew.

Nice carbonation gives it a pleasant mouthfeel. The high alcohol detracts a little from the drinkability score, but this is a fine beer.

I purchased a couple bombers and plan to age a few as I feel that it is going to mature very well.

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

The label indicated that this was bottled in 2006. This is obviously a dark, viscous beer so nothing new there. The head was a nice dark brown and died off about halfway through the session. This one is definately a good beer, but unfortunately there is nothing to distinguish it to make it stand out in the Imperial Stout category. What I mean to say is that it is average compared to other Imperial Stouts, but because it is an Imperial Stout, it is better than your average Pilsner, for example.

One other thing, at 11% I expected to be knocked on my ass. I was not, and I am skeptical to believe it was due to a miraculous increase in my alcohol tolerance.

Photo of Mikeyboxx
4.47/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer was fresh which means I didn't age long. Bought it from a shelf in a highly rotated store in a trendy neighborhood in Brooklyn (Bierkraft)

Popped bottle and poured into my 'Yeti Russian Imperial Stout' glass. Thin dark head that lasts. Nice carbonation. Great nose.

First sip was chewy, roasted barley with dark fruits and hot finish. This beer is enjoyable sip to sip.

If buying this beer (buy two to age one)

Photo of yourefragile
3/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

On tap at Speakeasy in Carrboro, NC served in a snifter

A: Hmm, it looks very very dark brown, but not quite black. Given that I can make this distinction even in crappy light of this bar is surprising. Think, off white/tan head that dissipates pretty quickly, not much lacing. Visually, nothing special
S: Again, nothing remarkable, expected roasted, sweet smells but also strong, also pungent alcohol smell
T: Some chocolate and roasted flavors, actually surprisingly nutty. Then, bam, way too strong punch of alcohol, but I won't hold my rating of the taste down just because of that as over time that should be more tolerable. Still, not the best RIS I've had.
M: Very, very thick and creamy, mouthfeel is great if you ignore the alcohol
D: Ok, here is where I'm going to hold the alcohol against it. Obviously at 12 whatever percent it's going to be present but this is just too fresh and ends up burning the throat and is difficult to finish one glass and couldn't imagine having another immediately after. I'd love to try an older bottle of this but would not try one so fresh again

Photo of Georgiabeer
3.82/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours black with a head that fades to a wispy cap with no real lacing. Toffee aromas, quite sweet, and roasty grains as well as a good bit of alcohol in the nose. Taste is similar. Quite sweet for the style. Sweet up-front, bitter on the finish, but there is an underlying toffee sweetness throughout. Mouthfeel is a little strong and hot. Overall this is big and sweet, I like a little more tannins or hops in mine for balance.

Photo of beersabound
3.08/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2007 bottling. It's jet black but the head is lacking. I know it's 11.73% but it could give some better head than a little fizzle and then splitsville. The aroma has some dark fruit but is restrained. Also, I get some rubbing alcohol which surprises me. The flavor of roasted malts is reserved and the dark fruit and other spices blend in well. The alcohol flavor is present but not unpleasant. The mouthfeel is slick without a lot of lift. Not bad but not the mouth filling experience I love. Overall, it's a decent RIS (better than I could make) but there are others that have more character, flavor and a better overall drinking experience. I'm sure a couple of years would help improve this one too.

Photo of LittleBreeze
3.73/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2007 Release...

Dark wit a creamy tan head.

The smell is pretty standard for a RIS. Chocolate, some dark fruits and molasses.
Being the 2007 release, it is still hot. However, this is a solid beer. Very nice flavors coming out as it warms.

Mouthfeel is good. Drinkability isn't there yet. But lay down a few. Czar ages extremely well.

2003 Release (thanks dmeadows)

Age really makes a difference in all areas. Mouthfeel and Drinkability are outstanding. So smooth. I grabbing a few more to age.

Photo of boogles
4.02/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from bomber into "Tupac 1971-1996" stein. Seemed appropriate.

The beer poured properly for a stout, but the color was way, way too weak for an imperial. The head was a light straw color, the beer a very dark brown. This was a foreshadowing of things to come.

I liked the initial smell, which was typical bitter-sweet stout with a note of magic marker (a good thing).

The taste was good, very bitter with no undesirable chaff, but too weak for an imperial stout.

Some lace, thin head, good carbonation/mouthfeel. I'd like it to be stronger and thicker.

I really like Avery, and hoped for more. Good, but not worth $7/bomber, and not special enough to buy again, even if it were $5.

Photo of BeerDetective
3.43/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I was excited to try this beer, I love a good Imperial Stout/Porter. Anyway, the appearance was a dark black, almost letting no light through the snifter glass it was poured in. The nose was big on licorice, but no real taste of it in the beer, it was more like a thin coffee stout with a good bit of espresso bitterness, but whether that would be different from the bottle I do not know. Overall, a nice beer, but not one I would have again.

Photo of awall422
3.88/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a dark dark brown, almost pure black, but not quite. A tan, creamy head lasted briefly, but left good lacing down the glass.

Aroma is not as strong as i expected, it is sweet and roasty, with hints of alcohol but not the coffee i was expecting. Hints of candy and caramel as it warms a bit.

Sweet, lots of raisins and dates inthe intitial taste. Not as much heat as i was expecting for a strong imperial stout, pretty smooth.

Very thick, almost syrupy feeling in the mouth and down the throat.

Solid drinkability. The sweetness fends off the alcohol nicely.

Not the best Imperial Stout I've ever had, but a nice, warming beer for a cold New England night. Worth trying.

Photo of meatyard
3.75/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The appearance is very dark with a little light coming through at the edges. The head is a light milk chocolate color that falls to a covering.
The smell is chocolate, a light amount of dark dried fruits and a hint of the alcohol.
The taste is a bit more alcohol, some chocolate and a bit of bitterness.
Mouthfeel is medium and a little oily
Drinkability is OK but one is enough.

Not nearly my favorite RIS but it is an interesting take and worth trying, at least for the bitterness factor.

Photo of dfillius
3.76/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass
A: Very dark, not black because there is some reddish hue coming through when held up to the light. A creamy caramel colored head.
S: Says 70 IBUs, I'm not smelling it though. Milk chocolate smell and alcohol and caramel as it warms
T: THERE are the IBUs. Also a warming in the chest due to the alcohol. Delicious, bitter.
M: A little astringent, oily but dry.
D: Too hot for another pint.

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

Yep, it's a dark beer but it let's some light through...you can spot a ruby tint when holding it up to the light. The foam rises to an amount it should. Not too much my any means, but not too little either, It fades fairly quickly but it remnants lace the glass and hold on nicely. It's a scent is that of something creamy and soothing. Toffee and molasses mainly and a subduded flits of alcohol. A mocha thing maybe? Understated but savory.
The creamy thing is right up front in the taste. A mellow roasted sweetness that is very pleasing. Almost a mocha with a dash of toffee and a splash of good bourbon (I'm thinking maybe Knob Creek more than Maker's Mark though). Full bodied not stupid carbonation (and there is a difference between stupid and the wise use of carbonation. Something I have noticed so far with my Avery excursions that they've mastered) that goes down smooth. Slight bit of hops with a muted bitterness because of the overall soothing warmth the brew pull off all the way through it.
After two rounds (The 22 oz. bomber) comes the OOMPH! Here I was sizing it up then then here come the wind up I had forgotten about. 70 IBU's and almost a 12% ABV. When it landed it's punch it's straight between the eyes.

Photo of hwwty4
3.68/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured a 22oz bomber into a Chimay Chalice (3 pours for the bomber). Poured a jet black that let almost no light through. Huge head, almost 2 inches that melted away quickly and left no lacing. Aroma is big on raisins with vanilla and an alcohol-y smell that tingled the back of my nose. Taste is huge. Alcohol big up front but with roasted malts and a bit of dark chocolate coming through, and finishing with the warmth from the alcohol. Mouthfeel is a bit thin. Wish it were a little chewier. Another good offering from Adam Avery’s brewery.

Photo of TheBierBand
4.5/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the 22 oz bomber (bottled in 2006) into a pint glass to form a 1" head of dense/creamy tan foam that lasted forever! The lacing left on the glass was pronounced. The liquid was ebony and opaque except when held to a bright light source, I saw a slight ruby glimmer around the edges. BA says 12.2% abv. Avery says 11.04% abv on bottle.

The aroma was quite good.... I'm not the best at picking up subtleties in aroma... but this one had plenty to offer. Lots of chocolate, toffee and caramel sweetness and a nice fruity background.

Taste: WOW!... this has got a lot going on! Big alcohol presence that warms in the back of your throat. A smokey/malty taste comes through... not as much chocolate/toffee in the taste... the smell is sweeter. A touch of bitterness from the hallertau hops. And... what's that?.... there's more.... kind of a burnt woodsy flavor. I like this stuff!

Mouthfeel: Everything I like in an RIS: Heavy, thick, robust, rich. Carbonation is moderate.... and appropriate.

Drinkability: Right on for an RIS.... I don't think that these are intended for mass consumption or sessioning. The 22 oz bomber left me satisfied. This is a sipper, like most RIS's. The Bier Band recommends THE CZAR from Avery.

The Czar from Avery Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 1,818 ratings.