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The Czar - Avery Brewing Company

Not Rated.
The CzarThe Czar

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

1,727 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,727
Reviews: 864
rAvg: 3.94
pDev: 11.68%
Wants: 70
Gots: 218 | 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: 1,727 | Reviews: 864 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Blakaeris
3.98/5  rDev +1%
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.

Photo of sevineyes
2.58/5  rDev -34.5%
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.

Photo of WanderingFool
3.8/5  rDev -3.6%
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.

Photo of BEERchitect
4.25/5  rDev +7.9%
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.

Photo of bigsilky
4.18/5  rDev +6.1%
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.

Photo of edchicma
4/5  rDev +1.5%
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.

Photo of Jredner
3.45/5  rDev -12.4%
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.

Photo of whartontallboy
4.08/5  rDev +3.6%
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.

Photo of crookedhalo
3.83/5  rDev -2.8%
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.

Photo of falloutsnow
4/5  rDev +1.5%
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.

Photo of Vancer
4.6/5  rDev +16.8%
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

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

Pours to a pure black color with minimal head. Leaves a ring of light brown around the edges. Nice lacing. The aroma chocolate malt, a bit of caramel, a slight bit of roastiness...coffee???...very subtle.

The flavor is malty and chocolatey, with some bitter hop flavor. It is very creamy, it is almost like a milk stout.

I'm drinking out of the wrong glass on this one, and I know I am missing alot. It is a very nice beer.

I switch glasses and let it warm a bit and it indeed was much better. I got a bit of smokiness like a rauchbier. It was full in body and easy drinking. It showed a bit of strength, but not the full 11%. Very nice.

Photo of Hibernator
4.55/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

The Czar
22 oz brown bottle
Bottled in 2005
Served in a wide mouthed snifter

* Enjoyed during 02-12-2006 east coast blizzard *

Pours a magnificant deep and dark black. Pure jet black color with a tan colored head. Beautiful trails of sticky lace decorate the sides of the snifter.

Pleasant nose with strong whiffs of dark chocolate, maple syrup, hops and dairy cream.

Sweet, sugary molasses quality with a rich dark chocolate flavor. Hints of French roast coffee and biting hops. Plums dipped in munson milk chocolate and cherry fruit flavors.

Very complex and mighty enjoyable. The 11.03% ABV is dangerously well hidden behind the combination of flavors. This is the type of beer that will make your palate happy. Recommended.

Photo of BRoss242
4.4/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Poured jet black with a nice thick light brown head which dissipated quickly to a thin film, nice lacing till the end .

S- Dark chocolate, and coffee with a hint of pit fruit, alcohol doesn't come in as strong as I expect for this beer.

T- Lots of bitter dark malt up front with a hint of chocolate and cherries in the after taste. Alcohol not as dominate as some of the other high ABV beers that I have tasted from Avery.

M- Very smooth beer with good carbination, a little bitter in the back but not bad.

D- I could probably drink two of these and even realize the effects,but the next one would probably kill me sort of like a good liquor. With that said I would definitely buy this beer again and I probably suggest it to others as a very good RIS.

Photo of ommegangpbr
3.83/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Notes taken at the Blind Tiger in November '05.
The first thing that came to mind when I tasted this was Ayinger's Celebrator. A thick, dense, malty doppelbock thang going on. Very, very rich with the alcohol being very well concealed in all the rich, sweetness. This belongs in a brandy snifter as a digestif. A slow, sippy dessert. One of the better efforts from Avery, in my experience.

Photo of VoodooBrew
4.13/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz. bomber, bottled in 2005, poured into a tulip.

The Czar starts off with a complex aroma featuring dark fruit, mocha, roast, and alcohol. There's a healthy dose of roasted malt on the palate, with a bitterness derived therefrom that's coupled with enough hop bitterness to keep things in check. At 11.03% ABV, this brew warms the soul a wee bit, but it's not too hot.

As with Double IPAs, the number of quality Imperial/Double Stouts seems to be on the rise, which is good news for us craft brew lovers. While I can think of a few examples of the style that I'd prefer, The Czar stands in as a quality entry from a quality brewery.

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

Appearance: Dense, dark black. Lots of creamy brown head which lingered for some time. Lots of lace as well

Nose: Roasted malts. Alcohol. Dark, bitter chocolate. Alcohol. Oh, and lots of alcohol

Taste: Sweeter than expected. Very bitter roasted coffee taste. Dark chocolate. Huge alcohol finish

Mouthfeel: Very creamy. Almost numbing from the alcohol

Drinkability: Well, at 22oz and 11.03% ABV according to my bottle, drinking many of these could make for a short evening. The bitter alcohol finish might be a bit much too. Generally a good beer, but the alcohol is a little too upfront compared to other imperial stouts that hide it pretty well.

Photo of TastyTaste
4.15/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Of course a jet black body, but this one seems particularly dark and opaque, nice cappucino colored head. Very retentive and creamy.

Smell: Dark, rich, boozy, malty and roasted. Excellent.

Taste: Seems a little raw and alcohol driven. I appreciate what a high ABV can do for a beer, but it makes the coffee and roasted malt tones work only in the background. Malty and full, but could defintely use a year or two to develop.

Mouthfeel: Slick and creamy, not very strongly carbonated.

Drinkability: A little age could do this wonders, lay it down for 2 years and I bet it would be great.

Photo of supernaut
3.7/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Poured out an opaque black as expected with a moderate head that dissapated over the course of several minutes. There was nice icing throughout all 22ozs. Basically how any stout should look.

Smell - Not as strong as I would have predicted. Did pick up on the alcohol factor, which turned out to be deceptive. Perhaps it was environmental, but I did not pick up much on the scent end of things.

Taste - Did not disappoint. The two prevailing notes were initially the coffee and cholocate that I had expected. When the gentleman stocking shelves at the Whole Foods where I purchased my Czar stated "it tastes like drinking chocolate cake," I expected to be in for a very chocolatey experience, and this "mocha" was evident. The Hallertau were there, but minor. Perhaps my past scotch consumption has numbed out my palate a bit, but the alcohol content of this beer did not seem to overwhelm as one might predict. The overall feeling was that this beer would be best after a meal.

Mouthfeel - Good for this style. Very balanced. Not too viscous not too light.

Drinkability - Suprisingly drinkable given the alcohol content. 22oz. of this stuff and I'm feeling great. Perhaps not the definitive "session" beer, but a great dessert beer.

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Photo of johnniemarg
4.25/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into a duvel tulip.

Pours pitch black with a nice dense 1-inch dark brown head. As the head falls before taking a sip, it's already lacing the glass nicely.

Didn't expect that smell. Smells like Big League Chew gum, then some dark roasted malt. Maybe some almonds or hazlenuts. Lots of alcohol.

Tasty. Very sweet. Roasted malt, anise and some chocolate and a ton of alcohol. Finishes with a huge warming mouthful of alcohol that makes it taste like a cordial, maybe moreso than any other beer I've had (including the DFH WWS and 120 min, which are both far higher in abv).

Medium bodied. A light cream texture. So warming and even a little numbing from all the alcohol.

I like the beers high in alcohol but I've never had one taste some much like straight booze. I am thoroughly enjoying it, but I think the alcohol might turn some people off. I think that if you drink a bomber of this it's safe to say you won't be drinking too much else. Good stuff.

Photo of EStreet20
4.3/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 ounce bomber bottle poured into a Brooklyn snifter.

A - A nice black color with a bit of visible carbonation in the form of bubbles on the side of the glass. A hard pour'll score you close to an inch of off white head that has nice staying power. A few thin rings of lacing hang onto the sides of the glass between sips.

S - A bit of a chalky lead to some nice chocolate aroma along with some fruits. The malts definitely lead the way on the aroma here.

T - A nice sweet malt lead followed by a bit of an alcohol flavor. The chocolate/coffee flavors present in many imperial stouts are there but subdues a bit. However the taste of black coffee definitely hangs around nicely throughtout the drink. After that a roasty flavor with a bit of hop bitterness follows. A nice balance it struck between all the flavors making for a very nice tasting RIS.

M - Nice and thick, heavy mouthfeel, perfect for a high alcohol, high flavor stout.

D - Definitely one you can't stop sipping on nice and slowly after a long day. Very nice.

Photo of Zorro
4.45/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle says, "Bottled 2004 13% By Volume Alcohol."

Pours a headless inky black colored beer that I can just barely pass a little light through on the edges.

Smell is very light and fruity for what it is. Lots of prune and plum aromas here. Lots of spicy aromas on the alcohol vapors pepper, licorice, brown sugar and dark rum. Very tasty scent.

Taste is dark licorice and anise at the beginning. Fair amount of chocolate flavor but the coffee taste is completely gone. Spicy flavors of cinnamon and rum are also in this. There is a very pleasant cookie dough malt after taste to this beer.

Mouthfeel is a little light due to the alcohol content.

Tasty and very drinkable for what this is, a rocket fuel strong RIS! I wonder if they used something like this to orbit Sputnik? Very recommended by me.

Photo of ThreeDollarDewey
4.38/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

An exemplary Imperial Stout. Nicholas would be proud?
Obsidian black, pouring thick like Valvoline and roling into a tan and spotty head. Thick and oily, smacking of espresso and anise, black cherries and a little tobacco. Potent, too, but well-hidden.

Photo of beerogre
4.03/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

There really are some fantastic imperial stouts out there, and for me, this one definitely has to be included in that group. It's not the very best one I've had, but I wouldn't hesitate to buy this again or recommend it to those who would appreciate this beer style.

Apparently, there are some crimson hues to be spotted in this beer when held up to the light. Well I certainly didn't spot any. With barely any head at all, after the initial pour, my pint glass looked as black as tar.

In terms of taste, I picked up very prominent licorice flavours, which is always going to be worth a lot of points in my model of the Universe, and with the strong ABV and sweetness, this is pretty much a bespoke beer for me.

All in all, Avery good beer!

Photo of russpowell
4.35/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

05 Vintage

Pours Mahogany to black, letting a few tiny shafts of sun light to penetrate the glass as the sun goes down over the Rockies. Impressive 3 finger plus deep fluffy tan head. Great lacing and good head retention

Smell: Maltiness and a hint of alcohol

Taste: Malty chewiness, choclate, hints of licorice. Faint taste of leather, warming spicy alcohol rum-like taste on the finish

MF:Rich and smooth, belies its massive ABV

Very drinkable. I even enjoyed this on a mild Winter's day. Worth seeking out if you like Imperial Stouts/porters

The Czar from Avery Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 1,727 ratings.