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The Czar - Avery Brewing Company

Not Rated.
The CzarThe Czar

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

1,688 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,688
Reviews: 861
rAvg: 3.93
pDev: 11.7%
Wants: 71
Gots: 212 | FT: 10
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: 1,688 | Reviews: 861 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.33/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottled in 2003. Simple black with surprisingly generous ruby-gold highlights along the bottom edge of the glass. The beer isn't quite the all-encompassing, glass-crowding black hole that I was anticipating. The golden brown sugar colored cap is more bubbly than thick and rich, but still manages to deflate slowly and to leave a thick collar of crust.

While the nose is dark and rich, it lacks the nasal mucosa ripping pungency that the best of this style possess. The aroma consists of uber-roasted black malt, darkest fruit (raisin paste, prunes) and molasses. It isn't all that deep or broad. The flavor better be more forthcoming or I won't be so kind.

Thankfully, it is. The Czar is tremendously well-mannered, while still delivering potent, taste bud saturating dark malty goodness. Although the mouthfeel could be thicker and richer, the flavor is out of this world. Bittersweet chocolate, blackstrap molasses and anise are the principal elements. Hints of sooty smoke are present as well, while coffee is a no-show.

I didn't mean to overlook the dark fruit and still kickin' hops. One need only look beneath the massive maltiness and those flavors are there for the appreciating. The fact that spicy Hallertau still make an impact speaks to the quantity that must have been present at the time of bottling. The ABV is listed as 12.2% above and 11.9% on this bottle of '03. Either way, it doesn't taste like it. Age, no doubt, has helped.

I could tell by the black cherry color of the beer as it was poured and by the considerable highlights in the glass that The Czar wouldn't feel like heavy cream in the mouth. I think it would be a better beer with more heft, but it's so silky smooth that I don't mind all that much. Actually, the mouthfeel tempts one to gulp rather than sip. Given the stealth ABV, that's a recipe for total body numbing (I speak from firsthand experience, time to slow down).

The Czar is one of Avery's finest big beer creations and is a more than respectable Russian Imperial Stout. A bigger, more luxurious mouthfeel would have increased my enjoyment since it would have allowed the tremendously deep flavor profile to linger all the longer. I didn't taste it fresh, but I can't help but believe that the two years of rest were two years well spent. Thanks to prAna for the penultimate beer from the first trade that I ever made.

BuckeyeNation, Nov 14, 2005
Photo of neonbrown82
4.22/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

This is one bigass stout. This is the 2003 vintage, obtained from Liquid Solutions. The viscous black liquid pours like sludge from the bottle with absolutely no head. The beer is completely opaque, so no carbonation can be seen, though it doesn't seem to be present. Coats the glass with an oil-like film when swirled.

Smells very vinuous with a generous roast quality. Has a bit of a grassy bouqet that blends well with the astringent ethanol aroma. Quite earthy with some nutty and fruity smells. Also seems to be a lot of molasses.

The taste has a good range of flavors. Starts off with a sweet chocolate flavor until the smokey roasted malt character begins to overtake, followed soon by all of the earthy flavors and fruits and hops. The finish has a strong alcohol flavor along with a hell of a bitterness and roasted chocolate flavor.

The mouthfeel is VERY thick and chewy. Quite possibly one of the biggest mouthfeels I've ever experienced. The finish is quite astringent, but it doesn't detract much from the awesome body of this beer.

Drinkability is not great. I couldn't drink much more than a single bomber of this. On top of that, it is very unbalanced despite its other great qualities. I am also keeping in mind that this beer has likely mellowed out over the years since its 2003 bottling, so I could only imagine how overwhelming this must be fresh. I will probably try this again in the future, but only if I find it at a store and can't find anything else I'd rather take home with me.

neonbrown82, Oct 24, 2005
Photo of Sephiroth
4.97/5  rDev +26.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottled in 2003: The label claims an ABV of 11.9%. The beer is not quite black, and has an almost white head. The aroma has a nice chocolate profile, with dark fruits, and a roastiness that comes with room temperature. Anise, and molasses too.

This is phenomenal. Raisins, figs, sweet molasses, anise, and chocolate, all blended beyond belief. Roasted malt backs it all up. Mouthfeel is smooth, and still carbonated. This has aged well, and just adds to the case for ageing big stouts.

Sephiroth, Oct 24, 2005
Photo of kmpitz2
4.15/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a jet black color with a very small head that falls to a patchy coat and light ring around the top. Nose is bog chocolate and dark fruits. No alcohol puffs. Flavor is strong, domnated with a figgy sweetness with chocolate notes hiding behind it in the background. Very well blended and very little hop to be found. Feel is thick with a small carbonation. Absolutely no hint of the 12%. I'd like to see a touch more roasted character in there, but otherwise this is a solid beer.

kmpitz2, Oct 24, 2005
Photo of PSUDREW
3.38/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

hmmm... I dunno about this brew. I like it, but I don't. hard to make up my mind...

Pours a nice pitch color, little bit of a tan head, but, overall, rather oily. Head dissapates quickly, and little to no frothing. Extremely fruity nose. the ABV is present

Over all, it is an OK brew. Has some nice roasted qualities, but a bit too malted. And the aclhol is very present in the taste. Yet it is still enjoyable, and still drinkable, this brew is very much a toss up. Enjoy it if you can find it, and let me know what you think

PSUDREW, Oct 17, 2005
Photo of phishgator
4.65/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Let me preface this review with the fact that I love Imperial Stouts. The pour was into a snifter and the head was minimal, as expected. The taste was a wash over of dark bitter choclate and roasted expresso beans. The smell was much of the same. Now the mouthfeel was what I found to be the most impressive part. It wasn't thin, but it wasn't complete mealful with every sip. The alcohol was hidden very well. I had been aging this one for over a year and it showed some true life in doing so. Highly recommended!

phishgator, Sep 17, 2005
Photo of SkeeterHawk
4.08/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: An aggressive pour gives me about an eighth inch of tan foam that lasts a minute or so. The beer itself is the epitome of opaque...I can't see even through the thinnest part of my stein.

Aroma: A good bit of roast and toast in the aroma at first pour. I don't really notice much hops...I'd say the alcohol is a bigger player than the hops is.

Taste: Lots of toasty malts with some roast to get you going in the beginning. Meanwhile there is some intense bittering coming in to try and balance things out. The bittering hops finally loses dramatically to the alcohol that comes in to clean up and sterilize your palate. No carbonation is noticeable, so the beer comes across as syrupy and heavy...which it is.

Opinion: I am a member of the Kuykendahl Gran Brewers, and the leader of our club is "The Czar". This beer has had special meaning with our club since it's release. It's a damn good thing that it is so tasty! I've never been able to lay this beer down for a couple years, but I imagine that it would be a really complex beer. I would definitely recommend this one!

SkeeterHawk, Aug 22, 2005
Photo of SupaCelt
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Abyssmal brown with a solid finger of tan heading off the pour. Continuous rings of lacing proliferate as the level drops in the glass.
Carbonation is invisible due to burzum.

The nose is strangely fruity. That particular scent is not what I am accustomed to pulling in with such a beer as this. Sharply fruity at that. There are no detectable traces of coffee tones and barely a hint of chocolate impression either. This is unique in my estimation. This particular sample was bottled in 2003. Perhaps the other components have deteriorated at this point. Nonetheless, the nose is pleasant. Just not very imperially stouterous.

The tastes follow the nose. The typical mainstays of stoutdom are seemingly absent and other flavors enter the spotlight. There is a nice creaminess to the thing and a fair amount of bittering. The usual Avery house flavor is evident as well. I am hard pressed to identify what this tastes like. It is nearly like a Belgian strong dark with cream and no spice. Dark fruits and vinous qualities abound, all the while the lingering stout milkiness and hop bitterness say this is a stout. Alcohol feel envelopes my breath and causes warmth of my gut. It is quite astonishing what time can do to a bottle of beer. This is something that defies stylization at this moment. It is utterly nice to drink, therefore I must rate the flavor as good, yet this is most likely a far cry from what it tasted like at birth. Another case of wishing I had tasted this earlier versus this is pretty fine right now. At any rate, this is no longer like a typical imperial stout.

Mouthfeel is almost a bit thin for the style, but holds up the downscaled flavors well.

Drinkability is good all things considered. This is not what you are going to expect. Guaranteed. But, if you are adaptable and happy to try new things this will be a pleasant journey for you.

SupaCelt, Aug 20, 2005
Photo of IceAce
3.78/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 Oz NR bottled in 2004 - OG 1.107 - 70 IBU's - 13% ABV

Transluscent black body with tinges of ruby when held to strong light. An aggressive pour netted two fingers of creany desert tan foam with excellent staying power.

The nose reminds one of an English Stout...rich earthy malt dominates with a backdrop of candied fruits, yeast, and alcohol.

This brew starts strong with alcohol stinging the inside of the cheeks. It finishes even stronger, with the final fade being that of ethanol. In between this sometimes thin Impy Stout shows traces of plum and earthy roasted malt...but it always seems to come back to the alcohol which seemingly refuses to even engage in a simple game of Hide & Seek.

IceAce, Aug 12, 2005
Photo of kegerator
3.93/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

pours out black with ruby tones when held to the light. A 1 inch head appears that is off white/tan. It deos not stick around too long and leaves no real lacing to speak of.
smell is dark roasted malts, chocolate with hints of coffee and alcohol.
i served it cool and at first the taste was strange. it was alcohol and not much more. it felt thin in the mouth and burned all the way into the pit of my stomach, but as it warmed all the beautiful flavors started coming through. Roasted malts and burnt sugars were the major flavors with hints of bitter hops in the background.
mouthfeel was still on the thin side for an imperial.

kegerator, Jul 27, 2005
Photo of NeroFiddled
4.5/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From a bottle that reads "Bottled in 2002.... 1.100 Original Gravity... 70 IBUs... Alcohol 12.2% by Vol." Cellared for nearly 3 years.

With a little coaxing, a short but creamy head of light tan can be brought up over it's very dark, ruby accented mahogany body. The head retention is limited, but that's to be expected in any beer with over 12% alcohol by volume.

The nose is fruity (berries, juicy apples), caramelish, lightly chocolatey, and toasty, with a clear note of alcohol as well.

In the mouth it's surpringly smooth and lightly creamy with a dextrinous, medium body and very fine-bubbled, restrained carbonation (or was some lost during cellaring?).

The flavor is exceptionally caramelish, backed by chocolate, and accented by berry-like fruitiness. There's not much roastiness here...? It's backed by a solid bitterness; and a clear note of alcohol helps to dry it as well. Rich notes or caramel; soft milk chocolate; nuttiness; and a subtle note of mocha java linger in the finish with a forceful spritz of warming alcohol.

Overall, it's a bit "rummy", with good notes of caramel but too much warming alcohol. It's not as rich, malty, or roasty as most examples, but that gives it a unique character that's intriguing.

NeroFiddled, Jul 19, 2005
Photo of WesWes
4.25/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a deep dark black color with a thick frothy tan/brown head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a rich, malty scent that boasts of black, chocolate, and roasted malts. It is earthy with a warm feel. The taste is awesome. It has an intensely rich and warm flavor. It is thick with black malts. It goes down slow and smooth with a warm, earthy finish. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a tremendous beer. It is full of flavor and excellent aroma; a good drinker.

WesWes, Jul 02, 2005
Photo of oberon
4.1/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours like an oil slick completely black with a mocha colored head that is gone pretty quickly,big buttery aromas almost of butterscotch and dark roast coffee.Typical big Impy stout flavors vanilla spiced rum and some butter along with some unsweetened chocolate with the high alcohol coming thru more as it warms.Incredibly smooth mouthfeel went down to easy for me even in the hot NC weather today.A damn solid impy stout glad I gotta chance to try it thanks to hopped up for the chance.

oberon, Jun 06, 2005
Photo of mntlover
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a black with a small tan head that falls quick. When held to the light I get deep red highlights.

Aroma is heavy roasted malt mostly coffee flavors but some light chocolate and fruit are in there also mixed with citrus hops.

Taste is like the aroma big on roasted malt mostly coffee in flavor though with some light chocolate and fruit mixed. There is a noticable alcohol presence in this stout the citrus hops hitch a ride on it. Overall not as complex or tasty as the better Russian Imperial Stouts but still good.

Mouthfeel is good almost full bodied not really creamy but almost.

Drinkability is good also just a touch to much alcohol in the flavor to get a better rating.

mntlover, Jun 06, 2005
Photo of fizzyfred
3.8/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep dark color with a very slight head that faded pretty quickly. Smells of burnt and roast with a hint of chocolate. The flavor is complex with a definite alcohol taste dominating. Lots of roast and chocolate malt flavor. Its not too thick, maybe medium body. Its definitely tasty but a bit too much alcohol flavor and "warmess" for my taste.

fizzyfred, May 23, 2005
Photo of beerceller99
4.1/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2003 bottling from the cellar.
Pours black with a light brown head. Strong nutty, slight chocolate smell. The head fades quickly to sheen.
Light-medium bodied ; swishes smoothly about the mouth.
Strong, dark, almost burnt malt dark chocolate pudding flavor with a boozy alcohol taste to finish.

This beer tastes better closer to room temperature.

A good stout but a little on the thin side for such a big beer.

beerceller99, May 06, 2005
Photo of brentk56
4.05/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Dark espresso color with a modest head and a reasonable bit of lacing

Smell: Lots of dark fruit, chocolate and alcohol on the nose

Taste: Lovely dark fruit and bitter chocolate profile up front with a hoppy character developing by mid-palate; the finish is rich and chocolatey; the alcohol makes its presence felt early, but after the swallow, as the brew warms up, a complex dark fruit aftertaste is a pleasant surprise

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with modest carbonation

Drinkability: Wonderful flavor but a bit too alcoholic

brentk56, Apr 24, 2005
Photo of guinnessman
3.5/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I was quite excited to try this imperial stout because I'm a big fan of them. I poured this one into a mug and examined a decent head of a tan color and a dark hue. I smelled aroma of chocolate smoked malt, raisons, and apricot. The taste was sweet at first then became very bitter sweet chocolate, while next I took note of the smoked malts that were less noticeable to my palate then my nose. I also picked out a bit of lingering coffee taste. The beer finishes with a deeply warming alcohol taste (similar to that of vodka) that gives a great addition to the character of this beer.

guinnessman, Apr 12, 2005
Photo of Shaw
4.43/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Super black with a dense, very short head that vanishes. It smells of roasted malt, bread, alcohol and coffee. I also note a tiny funky smell right before taking a sip. The label implies that anise and other ingredients may have been added, so I'll attribute this smell to them.

The taste is strong, as expected. The biggest flavors I'm noting are roasted malt notes and alcohol. At 13 percent ABV (according to the bottle) the alcohol flavor should not be surprising. I also like the creamy taste. Yum. Not as extreme as some other Imperial Stouts, this beer goes for more balance. In fact, it is probably a little on the sweeter side than most of this style.

I love this beer's mouthfeel. I think this is probably the first beer I've given a 5 in that category. It is wonderfully silky and smooth. The high ABV gives it a light weight. This practically floats in my mouth.

This is an excellent Russian Imperial Stout. Enjoy it in moderation, which may be tough considering it comes in 22 oz. bottles. I got pretty snookered by this beer. Sharing is recommended.

Shaw, Apr 11, 2005
Photo of GreenWBush
3.48/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Blackened ruby with transparent highlights; greyish brown slowly cascading head. A few sandy lines of lace.

Roasty hops jump to the nasal forefront. A crazy interpolation of Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout with its leathery yeast profile. No coffee or chocolate until almost warm.

Surprisingly, this is one thin beer for its strength and hop quotient. This lack of chewiness allows a few off, candy-like flavors to come through.

Even with this beer's major alcohol and congealingly acrid roastiness, there's just not enough depth of balance (or complete overkill) to keep me that interested to pay almost $10 a bomber. Went very well with pizza.

GreenWBush, Apr 02, 2005
Photo of Gagnonsux
4.25/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My bottle states that the ABV is 13%, BA lists it as 12.2%. Slight recipe change? Czar's color is almost black with a ruby hue when looked at against the light. Head is slightly below average height and is tan, and creamy. The aroma is of dark, mildly bitter chocolates with a touch of alcohol smell. Czar's taste is rich to say the very least. Flavors include dark somewhat bitter chocolates, mild coffee, light alcohol, and some butteriness. This is very complex and full-flavored. A strong warming effect is quickly noted. This is a beer I'll definently be picking up again, imperial and double stouts have become one of my favorite styles.

Gagnonsux, Mar 22, 2005
Photo of noclue
4.5/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Serving type: 22oz. bottle served in a wide-bowled tulip.

Appearance: Jet black opaque. Small light brown head that faded quickly, leaving a beautiful lacing on my glass.

Smell: Enticing chocolate and roasted malt aroma makes you want to get right to the punch.

Taste: smooth and chocolatey up front, then comes the phenolic bite. The high alcohol content is very present in the long, pleasant finish.

Mouthfeel: Not as much body as I'd expect from such a wholesome stout. This one definately tingles the palate for along time!

Drinkability/Overall: Though very enjoyable, One bottle of this beast will probably suit me. Another great one from Avery!

noclue, Mar 11, 2005
Photo of GCBrewingCo
3.85/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer poured into the glass black yet translucent, the head rose tall, but fell like a rock and then laced the glass.

The aroma was fruity with vinous to almost cidery esters. Also some chocolate and coffee existed in the aroma along with caramel and a strong alcohol presence.

The flavor was chocolate and coffee and caramel. The malt was prevalent and ruled the flavors. Alcohol in the flavor was noticeable and strong. The fruity esters were present as well along with some dark fruits. The vinous and cidery aromas did not translate into the flavor.

The finish was roasty with lasting coffee and chocolate along with alcohol burn long into the aftertaste. The body was full, slick, and viscous, but actually could have been just a smidge bigger for a stout.

22 ounce bottle, bottle marked as 11.9% ABV. The cidery aromas were most likely a result of the high alcohol level of this brew. The flavor was much more impressive than the aroma.

GCBrewingCo, Mar 07, 2005
Photo of Truh
3.7/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Was thrown down a well and covered in lime with this one on 11/18/2004. 1 pt. 6 fl. oz. bomber poured twice in a shaker glass.

Fine, thin initial candied yam cream of head with kaleidoscopic bubbling craters at edges. Held right up next to a light there are hints of deep, blood red tinges in the black, but core remains impenetrable. Treacly, currant cake sweetness to nose with scorched sugar, black licorice, and wind-swept now-darkened woods. Sweet crank of caramel and English toffee at start, alcohol lightening bolts to the medulla oblongata, and roasted characters of bonfire charred driftwood. Coolly calming vicissitude.

Truh, Mar 05, 2005
Photo of mgdeth
4.3/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Black with garnet highlights. Huge tan head with good beer lace.

Smell - The first thing that reaches the nose is a whiff of alcohol. Then I pick up a plum or raisin/prune smell. The smell is not a strong as I would expect from such a big beer.

Taste - 13% alcohol is right. The alcohol hits sort of mid-palate, but not until you pick up a good raisin/prune flavor. There is also a burnt flavor (not strong), and this might be better described as molasses. Hop bitterness does not jump out at me, but it lingers in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - Very thick body. Even a bit sticky. The body is what I hope for in a big beer like this.

Drinkability - Highly drinkable, despite the huge flavor. It is just so inviting, I keep wanting more of it.

Comments - The Czar does not disappoint. This is really awesome stuff, and an imperial stout drinker's dream come true.

mgdeth, Feb 25, 2005
The Czar from Avery Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 1,688 ratings.