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: 263 | 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 mynie
4.47/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours light for an RIS--very dark red with a nice little brownwhite head.

Smells of oak chocolate, alcohol, black cherries. Very much like astrong baltic porter, like Perkuno's Hammer (god rest its soul).

Tastes like it smells. Wood and chooclate upfront, moving into big, syrupy roasted malts, the burn of alcoholic yeast, and the delightful sting of tart cherries and ending on a pronounced smoky finish.

Very nicely done.

Photo of dgfair
4.07/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 oz. bottle poured into a snifter. Bottled in 2006.

A - Opaque jet black color with a creamy inch and a half of tan head. It dissipates to a thin layer after a few minutes, but leaves some very nice lacing along the way.

S - Huge roasty coffee with undertones of bittersweet cocoa. A little bit of an underlying sweet cream lactic sweetness. More coffee on the next whiff with an underpinning of some ripe fruit. A very nice and subtly complex RIS.

T - Wow! Extremely sweet up front, very sugary sweet followed by a big rush of dark roasted coffee and and alcoholic tinge behind everything. Coffee, sugar, and alcohol....these three flavors completely dominate and are really the only things I can pick up other than an ever so slight cocoa as it nears room temp. A big, big tasting stout.

M - Very thick and creamy with quite a bit of carbonation to tingle your tongue. Almost a little too carbonated for my liking in a Russian imperial stout.

D - Not extremely drinkable, very sippable. However, a beer this big in flavor and alcohol needs to be sipped to be fully enjoyed. Nice effort at a huge imperial stout from Avery.

Photo of Bierman9
4.11/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled from a 22oz bomber bottle. No freshness dating evident, other than "Bottled in 2006", and the label did also say 11.04% abv, and not the 12+ as noted above. But, what's 1% +/- between friends, eh?

Poured into my Rapscallion chalice, and The Czar is black, black, and, umm, black! A veritable black hole, to say the least. Light may penetrate, but it's gone forever. Nothing visible, even when backlit by a strong light. Head is thin and tight, a fine layer of miniscule beige bubbles, leaving a decent trail of lace in the glass. Aroma was rather subdued, imo, considering the many possible traits of the typical RIS. Has some roastiness, along with bitter choco and a smidge of hoppiness. Mouthfeel is a winner! Full, thick, chewy and smooth. Oh yeah....!!

Flavor just heaps on more bitter, roasty notes. Has a most-flavorful chocolate-malt and espresso start to things. It also gets real mocha-like, and shows fleeting teases of dark fruit, like currants. The flavors linger long and hard, with a highly distinct floral edge nipping at the biers heals while it slowly descends, warmingly, into the belly. The aftertaste displays a little licorice action, too. All in all, a rather tasty Avery offering.


overall: 4.15
appearance: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | mouthfeel: 5 | drinkability: 4.5


Photo of theopholis
4.14/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance- Pours black. There's no other way to put it. Hold it up to the light, and you get just a tinge of the deepest burgundy you ever saw. The head is a very creamy, tan, 1 finger head. Even when poured aggressively. Head has a lot of staying power, and leaves a lot of lace behind.

Aroma Initially, it smelled quite citrusy for a RIP. But as it warms, it smells very yeasty with some coffee, chocolate, and a hint of licorice and molasses.

Taste- WHOA!!! This one has some bite. Tastes like a fairly strong port. Very malty, pretty yeasty. Strong hop presence. Once you get through all of that, you pick up some dark fruit, like over-ripe red plums, some coffee flavors, and some fusil alcohol. I've tasted better RISs, but not many. It's actually getting kinda hard to type after drinking a bit of this excellent brew,

Mouthfeel- Body is just the tiniest bit light for the style, but overall, it's very good. The carbonation level is right on for bringing out the port like qualities, it has a silkiness that is very nice.

Drinkability- If you're into big beers, this one is well worth trying. If not, avoid this one. Me...oh yeah...I'll be buying more of this stuff.

Photo of OutlawJoseyWales
3.7/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

appearance: black, with less than a finger of tan head, poured into an achel glass :shrug:

nose: coffee, chocolate, alcohol

taste: coffee, chocolate, roasted malt, smoked meat, slight hops in the background, boozy alcohol ( a little too much for my taste)

probably an above average imperial stout. after one of these, im ready to go to sleep. would be best enjoyed in the snow by a fire retreating from moscow in 1812, as the alcohol was definitely present and accounted for.

Photo of hellsing3
4.8/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: The Czar pours a gorgeous jet black color with about a half inch of coffee colored head, decent lacing.

S: I smell good amount of port initially, bits of coffee, chocolate, some licorice and sweet molasses.

T: Tastes of port, sweet molasses, slight bits of semi-sweet chocolate, and coffee. There is also small bits of toffee and sweetness from a dark fruit like currant or black cherry and slight amount of alcohol.

M: There is a smooth feel and great balance to this rich RIS. It flows through the mouth with good levels of carbonation and a nice warming feeling from the alcohol after the smooth finish.

D: This is a great beer, easily one of the smoother drinking RIS considering the high alcohol level of 11.04%ABV, Yes!!! If you like big beers go out and buy this beer as soon as possible.

Photo of stevegamburg
3.9/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

It poured black with a decent looking head and smelled as an Imperial Stout should. I did not care for the huge alcohol presence which masked any of the traditional Imperial Stout characteristics. Not to say that I did not enjoy drinking it, but this is not my favorite Imperial Stout.

Photo of bluejacket74
3.61/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle is from 2006, 11.04% ABV. Served in a pint glass, the beer pours dark brown/black with a good sized frothy tan head. Head retention and lacing are both good. It smells like coffee, toffee, and some dark fruit, however the aroma isn't very strong. It tastes like coffee, licorice, molasses and dark fruit, but with some noticable alcohol in the taste too. Not much sweeetness at all. There's also a lingering bitter aftertaste. Mouthfeel is medium/full and creamy. Drinkability is OK, but after a while the alcohol seems to overpower some of the other flavors in the beer. Still not a bad choice, I'd drink it again.

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

Poured from bottle into tumbler at 48 degrees. Beer was really black. poured a big thick brown creamy head that lasted pretty good. taste was roasted burnt coffee dark chocolate. Juan Valdez would drink this and think it is coffee. A bit stong but alcohole did not burn at least. I will buy again.

Photo of atsprings
4.42/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottled in 2005. Poured a very opaque black with a decent tan head that left great lacing on the glass. Aroma was of wonderful dark chocolate and roasted barley. The taste was very heavy on the chocolate and coffee. There was also of course lots the roasted barley taste you would expect in an Imperial Stout. There is far less hoppiness than I remember both in this batch last year and this year's batch, they definitely mellow with age and allow a great mocha flavor to come through. The alcohol is very present at a listed 11.04%, even so, it is not too overpowering, this is a sipping beer. When the 2006 batch first came out, I did a side by side comparison with this batch, and out of the two, I enjoyed the aged beer much better. It is very enjoyable, especially on a cold winter night

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

After a long hiatus from writing down my reviews, here we go, revisiting some beers I did not particularly like when I was starting down the road to beer appreciation.

Appearance: Good luck trying to see through this one - pitch black with a very dark tan head that is surprisingly stable. Leaves a bit of lace on the glass.

Smell: Heavy licorice and sweet kahlua-like aromas, with massive fruity esters reminding me of plums and raisins. Sharp alcohol note along with a tarry roasted malt aroma as it warms, as well as a lot more yeast character - english yeast for sure.

Taste: Heavy chocolate note at the forefront, followed by a black licorice and a healthy dose of spicy hops. Alcohol warms the throat all the way down. Through it all there is a slight metallic twang - I would imagine it is the hop variety. Looking at the bottle, I see they use Hallertau - that will definitely do it, as for some reason my taste buds get that with Geman noble hops. The alcohol flavor gets up to the tolerance threshold by the time I finish the bottle. Hard to discern other flavors as the alcohol overwhelms the majority of them. Roasty dry finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-heavy body with medium carbonation. Not too cloying on the finish.

Drinkability: Not bad, but impy stouts are not meant to be quaffed. It goes down pretty easy, however, and I have no problem finishing the bottle.

Overall, a pretty decent RIS. I think that American hops and a slightly lower OG/ABV would benefit this beer a lot. But that is just my opinion - it is still a good beer.

Photo of NJpadreFan
3.91/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Avery- The Czar

Bottled in 2004

Appearance- Dark black with a thick creamy tan head. heavy lacing throughout.
Smell- Alcohol dominates but hints of cocoa and sweet dried cherries, raisins, and prunes.
Taste- Sweet and creamy. Creamy chocolate with big sugary fruit flavors (plum, cherry, grape)
Mouthfeel- Sweet initially then becoming smooth and creamy, and finally sweetening up again in the end.

Overall- A 2004 Imperial Stout that must have mellowed out over the past 2.5 years. Very good albiet the super sugar flavors. If you have a bottle let it age a bit.

Photo of Kendo
4.01/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

"Bottled in 2005." ABV = 11.03%

A: Poured from a bomber into a Sam Smith's pint glass, yielding a dark black body with a 1-finger frothy tan head that settles pretty slowly to a sticky ring. Looking into the beer, I can see tiny beads of carbonation rise, but only in the top inch or so of the body and only near the outside of the glass. Otherwise you can't see into this beer at all. Decent amount of lacing on the way down.

S: Surprisingly not very strong in the nose, and what's there -- sweet malt, molasses and roasted malt -- is dominated by the alcohol.

T: Sweet up front, with the flavors following the nose: roasted malt, some molasses. In the middle there's black licorice and something fruity -- maybe prunes or raisins. Finishes with an oaky and charcoal dryness, but then the alcohol dominates once again, even more so as it warms and the taste becomes like rum-soaked berries. A decent all-around balance of flavors.

M: Full-bodied and thick, but also somewhat creamy. A slight chalky feel on the roof of the mouth at first seems to detract from the overall creaminess, but this becomes less noticeable as it warms (or maybe I just got used to it).

D: OK. The first half went down pretty easily, but it's a little too heavy and boozy to be quaffable throughout. I suppose that for a brew with an ABV of 11.03%, it's pretty drinkable on balance. I did have to stand up about 2/3 of the way through the bomber, as I thought otherwise I'd fall face down in my glass. You have to pace yourself with a beer of this strength.

Notes: I had this the night after having an Old Rasputin. The Czar just didn't match up to his eccentric advisor. Frankly, I think that extra 2% alcohol made the difference. If this were a tad bit less boozy, it would probably be better balanced in the nose and would be more drinkable.

Edit, 10-22-07: Had a 2+ year old bomber of this (thanks to BA MRMOJORISIN) this past weekend and was duly impressed. This monster ages quite well. In fact, after drinking the Czar we tried a 2007 Stone IRS -- one of my favorites -- and frankly I preferred the aged Czar to the relatively young Stone. The Czar is clearly a candidate for aging. . . .

Photo of goochpunch
2.47/5  rDev -37.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Bottled in 2006. 11.04%

Pours a deep black with ruby hues, a head that looks like a tanned frothed milk, and some splotchy lacing. Nose smells like rubbing alcohol at first, with a punch of Hallertaus coming in next. I get even fainter roasted malt and typical stout aromas. In the flavor, some chocolatey and dried fruit notes come out first, which is then pushed out by some stinging booze mixed with heavy sweentess. Finish is medicinal, herbal, and astringently bitter. I enjoyed the herbal hoppiness is got. Mouthfeel is a little slick, not as thick as I'd hope, and the carbonation, although minimal, is a bit prickly for me. Slow to go. Now I remember why I first started hating this beer several years ago. I just can't take this beer when fresh. I think it needs at least a year to become drinkable.

Photo of rodrot
3.58/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured a dark brown color with a 1/4 inch tan head that left some good lace on the glass. Aroma was malty with some roasted malt and winey notes mixed in. Taste was malty as well with quite a bit of fruity, pruney flavors, notes of molasses, currant and dark chocolate. A very pleasing alcoholic warmth was also noted. Mouthfeel was a little thin however. I expected a thicker, more robust mouthfeel for a beer of this strength. Drinkability was good though. I had no problem finishing a bomber. The beer went down fairly easily considering the 11% abv. My other bottle is going to be layed down for a year or so to see how it changes.

Photo of IntriqKen
4.23/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours deep black that no light penetrates with a full finger tan head that melts to sticky lacing that covers the entire top...thickly.
Aromas are almost pure espresso coffee to me...very little chocolate or anything else.
Flavors are more dark chocolate and dark fruits than the espresso in the aroma. Rich and thick and satisfying.
Aftertaste of rich dark fruits.
Definite alcohol feeling as you try to finish this bomber.
Mouthfeel is creamy and nice.

Photo of wingman14
3.88/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours black with brown edges and a dark tan head that lingers. Smell is sweet, with some spices, floral notes, chocolate, and fruity notes as well. The taste is bold, starts sweet bringing out the spices and different flavors followed by a strong alcohol kick. The aftertaste is mildly bitter calmed by the sweet tones. This one has a medium mouthfeel, the strong alcohol notes would probably scare lighter beer drinkers away. This is a potent RIS, and it doesn't try to hide it. It is a daring beer that is dominated by a few characteristics with many other sitting in the background adding layers to this beer. I couldn't see having more than one or two due to its strength in flavor and ABV, but a good beer none the less. One worth checking out, especially any fan of Russian Imperial Stouts. Enjoy.

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

Bomber bottle.

A- This poured real thick like most good stouts do.
S- some chocolate but mild.
T- The flavor is on the thin side. Not as thick and chewy as some other stouts. It certainly tastes better at slightly below room temperature as opposed to cold. When it was cold, no thanks, as it warmed it has really become more robust.
M- again, a little thin but better warmer.
D- I think this would do well with aging to alleviate the thin edges on the flavor.

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

A - Jet black. Billowy tan head.
S - roasted malts, coffee, a touch of ripe dark fruit, light spicy hops, licorice??.
T - maltier than the aromas indicate. Less hoppy than some RIS, more than others. Not sure the anise works for me. A bit to far towards the licorice flavor for me in the first 3rd of the bottle. Thankfully it mellows out at the halfway point and more of the malt / espresso flavors come forward.
M - full bodied, very warming.
D - Definitely a tasty brew. By the end of 22oz you know you had a strong beer. A bit of a puzzler at first but comes through nicely.

While the label says what it's about and that it gets better with age, I only had one acquired via trade. So, when it's only one and it's fresh or relatively fresh, I choose to drink when the opportunity presents rather than wait for years . This one may improve with age. I might put a couple down in the cellar if it was easy to get.

Photo of mnesporov
3.8/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: A 1 Pint brown bottle with a Bottled in 2006 on it with no freshness date to be found.

Appearance: A beautiful mahogany colored body with a ruby red accent. The head was a dark almond color about two fingers deep and it retained quit well considering the high alcohol content.

Smell: A very chocolaty and roasted nose with hints of berries and apples. The alcohol also pulled through but did not overpower.

Taste: An exceptionally great tasting brew. It started of with a very roasted/burnt chocolate and molasses taste but the bitterness and rich caramel start to takeover the palate as well. The alcohol also is very noticeable in this brew but it blends pretty well.

Mouth-Feel: Surprisingly smooth and creamy with a medium body and a nice fine carbonation.

Drink-Ability: I picked this one up at Brawley’s in Charlotte and I loved it. But I don’t think it was worth the price I paid about 7$

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

22oz bomber purchased at Sams, label states bottled 2003 O.G 1.100, 70 IBU
11.9% ABV. Poured into a nonic, nice creamy off white one finger head with tsunami lacing that disappears (probably my glass wear). I’d say the body is opaque although there are moments it seems like there might be a hint of a ruby shadow. Smell is bold and complex, at first sugary maybe molasses or even blended dark honey up front then as it warms, burnt dry roast coffee, chocolate, black patent malt, dark fruit, rum raisins, maybe a tinge of anise. There is almost a salty smoky character to this it’s subtle and aids in complexity.
The flavor is equally complex, there is bitter, sweet, smoky character all over. Starts with a round sort of elastic rich flavor of bitter earthy chocolate with hints of dirty vanilla sort of a raisiny anise finish. This devil coats your mouth in a nice way. It is strong, meaty, leathery, complexly, subtle and great. It is definitely not wimpy, I can understand if it is too much for some, but it is for sure a treat.

Photo of umustdrink
3.88/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - A very dark black that's completely opaque even when held to light. Fluffy light brown head, retains well. Thick lacing.

S - Rich malts, lots of chocolate, maybe a little coffee and some dark fruity tones.

T - Rich chocolate up front which leads into coffee. Aftertaste is slightly bitter, dark fruits and a light alcohol presence. I sensed about 4 stages to this taste.

M - Very smooth with very little carbonation.

D - Overall I liked this beer a lot but the alcohol was a bit overwhelming and the fruitiness was a bit unexpected for the style. Almost Barleywine characteristics.

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

Appearance: Clear deep amber brown, with ruby highlights. The tan-colored head is small, but retains quite well. The carbonation is slight, and slow-rising. Thin, fine lacing coats the glass walls.

Aroma: Rich coffee and bitter chocolate aroma, with a fairly strong herbal hop presence, as well as notes of sweet alcohol.

Taste: Strong coffee and bitter cocoa notes at the open. The cocoa notes arc to ascendancy midway through the taste. Later, notes of cold coffee appear, and carry the taste to its end and beyond. Late in the taste there are strong herbal hop notes, and a note of warming alcohol. Finishes with a lingering burnt note.

Mouth feel: Smooth, soft, and quite full, with little hint of carbonation.

Drinkability/notes: Overall, it seems a bit shaply hopped at 70 IBUs, but it is hard to find much in the way of faults with this well-made beer.
This is a very competently made example of the style, and moderately priced at $5.99.

Presentation: Packaged in a twenty-two ounce brown glass bomber with a pop-off crown, served in a standard pint tap glass.

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

A: Pours a completely opaque brownish red, with a decent sized dark tan head.

S: Wonderful smells of chocolatey malts, roasted coffee, and caramel.

T: The tastes reflect the smell quite accurately. Starts out with a sweet but strong tasting chocolate flavor that leads ways to a a nice bitter hop flavor melting into what finishes a very smooth caramel flavor, the whole time there is a mellow roasted nut flavor. A beautifully put together beer by Avery kudos to them.

MF: Definitely a full body beer, but there is something missing here and I really can't put my finger on it but it's lacking something to put it over the top, it just doesn't seem to pack the punch that I would really like to see.

D: A very drinkable beer, it's not too high in the alcohol ....and just as I type that I think to myself...gee what is the abv? Much to my chagrin 11.04%, wow it hides the alcohol quite well!!! I'll have to pick this one up again. Although one is probably enough of these! 4.0

Photo of jjayjaye
4.35/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours an opaque black with a finger deep, fairly stiff, dark brown head that fades to a lingering surface sudz with a particular washy light lacing.

S - Smells a timid earthy rich malt and chocolate, but is balanced with hops and more than a hint of the alcohol.

T - Tastes great, very filling. Just the right balance of malt, chocolate, coffee and hops. Not overly roasty.

M - Medium-heavy almost overwhelmingly creamy.

D - I'm very partial to this style. Where did it go? One of my favorites. I find it similar to Yeti in a way...another one of my go-to beers!

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