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The Czar - Avery Brewing Company

Not Rated.
The CzarThe Czar

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

1,787 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,787
Reviews: 880
rAvg: 3.93
pDev: 11.45%
Wants: 71
Gots: 249 | 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:
Beer added by: Wildman on 01-05-2003

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,787 | Reviews: 880 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of mjc410
3.67/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured at fridge temp from the bomber into a Duvel glass. It's black hole dark. Not the least bit of translucency. The head consists of a few large bubbles. I suppose this is to be expected from anything with such an ABV. The nose is beyond sweet, smelling of candied raspberries, followed by light roast, then a vinous smell. Spicy alcohol joins the olfactory chorus as it warms. On tasting, I find it again very sweet, joined by high acidity, which recedes to a chocoate covered espresso bean aftertaste. Sweetness is overdone, even in a 2004 bottle! The mouthfeel is thick, slick and heavy. Coats the mouth, throat, and stomach, the latter two being very much warmed by the alcohol. Overall, drinkability is hurt because the beer is still too "hot." Some parts are so potent that I don't know how many years in the cellar will mellow it. I think I'll buy a few to find out...

Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
4.2/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

1 Pt 6 oz bomber poured (twice) into a wide tulip shaped glass.

Super Dark brown/near black w/ Reddish amber hues. Mocha colored 3" thick head. Active and lively with good lacing later on.

Carmel, licorice, meaty, chocolate maltedness & Toffee.

Rich mocha coffee taste with Dark chocolate and a floral hoppy bite.

Feels Thick, rich, yet lively with great carbonation. Medium body.

A very Fulfilling beer experience.

Photo of akorsak
4.07/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

This is a 650 mL bottle of The Czar that, on a whim, I poured into my Widmer Bros. weizen glass. The stout is near room temp and looks pretty damn good in the glass.

Appearance: The ale is pitch black with a strong head and lace.

Smell: The ale has a very complex aroma of roasted malts, floral hops and chocolate.

Taste: The stout has hints of chocolate and an abv that cannot hide itself. The hop flavor is pleasantly strong and clean.

Mouthfeel: The hops and roasted malts combine to form a strong brew. The abv, despite being very strong, fits well in the style.

Drinkability: This bottle says 13%, so the drinkability is almost nil. Otherwise, the strong flavors (roasts, chocolate, alefruits) are impressive.

Photo of dgallina
3.4/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

1 pint, 6 fluid ounce brown bottle marked "bottled in 2005."

Pours black with brown edges, a half-inch of creamy tan head, slight lacing. Strong dark fruit (raisins, plums), burnt toast, and spicy rum-like alcohol aroma. Biting alcohol sting from the first sip. Mellows with toasted coffee and burnt-bread malts in the center, but the alcohol burn returns quickly and continues all the way down the throat. Medium-thick oily and syrupy body with slow carbonation.

The high ABV is a bit overwhelming overall. Could use some additional balancing malt.

Photo of denjen
4.23/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dennis: There really is nothing quite like a beer strong enough to run a car on. At 13%, this imperial stout should probably not be consumed around any open flames. The aroma doesn't give much away, presenting a calm serene atmosphere. The taste however is something all together. Strong, deep, stouty, and very very alcoholic. For the stout lover this is a dream come true, but anyone else would think they were doing shots of bacardi, certainly the alcohol is more prevailant than other imperial stouts. Amazing and impressive, this is another feather in the cap of Avery, and the only reason to visit Colorado in my opinion.
Jen: HOLY SH*T Batman! I am not quite sure where to start. It has a nice dark rich color that is accompanied with the flavors of a mocha with extra espresso, a mild sweetness of molasses and toffee. It also has the mild spiciness of hops. Just be careful when you exhale (i.e don't have a lite match nearby) because the alcohol content is strong, especially for a stout. Avery yet again hits a home-run!

Photo of HochFliegen
3.9/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a thick black color with redish hues. Nice thick frothy brown head.

Smell had a touch of alcohol to it mixed with the dark malts maybe even doughy, coffee and fig or raisn like.

Taste is very coffee and chocolate like in the start then it turns to a more raisn like bitter fruit flavor with a hint of sweetness in there and a little anise like flavor. This all goes down with the warming of the 12% abv.

Its a medium bodied beer with a good amount of carbonation.
Easy to enjoy but can only enjoy one due to abv.

Photo of briman
3.7/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served from bottle into standard pint glass.

Pours dark brown, almost black, with ruby highlights around the edges when held up to the light. Not completely opaque, but pretty close. Thin brown head, average retention. Some lacing.

Aroma is dark roasted malts, chocolate, & coffee, and a touch of alcohol.

Taste is tough to describe. The roasted malts, and coffee components are there, as well as some dark fruity notes, but it's got a sweetness almost like a mild barleywine. Honestly, the malts seem to take a backseat to the alcohol towards the back and through the finish. The alcohol isn't overpowering at all, but it seems to overshadow everything underneath. Some, but not much hop presence comes through in the aftertaste.

Medium-full body, low carbonation. Clearly evident alcohol warming. I feel like this isn't terribly well balanced, as the dark roast flavors just seem to be muted. The alcohol doesn't dominate by any means, but it's all I taste. I'm a little underwhelmed by this sample, but wondering if another might prove better, so I'll probably try it again.

Photo of ultralarry2006
3.93/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22 oz. bomber that according to the label was "bottled in 2004". Left an espresso-foam-colored two finger head that receded to a surface layer that did hang around until the end, and little, very little spotty lacing. Body was the richest, deepest brown, almost black.

Smell - phenols, esters, and alcohol, with some dark bready malt behind all that.

Taste - like the smell. Dark dried fruits like dates, raisins, and prunes, and some undried dark fruits like cherries and plums. Dark bread, some caramel, and sweet roll, hint of smoke. Quite a bit of alcohol warmth throughout, and especially on the finish.

Mouthfeel - halfway between full and thin, rather fluid ( possibly owing to the ubiquitous alcohol ), low carbonation.

Drinkability - this is good, and very rich. It goes down fairly well, with only occaisional harshness from the hefty abv. Obviously the high abv limits this to one 22 oz. serving per session, and may in fact, be your only serving of anything in that session; this is best enjoyed as a long, slow, all-night-long sipping beverage.

Photo of jasonpeckins32
3.92/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

1 pint 6 oz bottle. No date code. $ 6.99
13% abv 70 IBUs.

Pours a jet black color. Muddy red tones seep through when held to the light. Topped off with a foamy tan layer.

The aroma is of spicy hops, grape juice, and maybe a touch of molasses and anise.

After tasting I realize it is powerfully malted. Alcohol breathes through also. Dark fruits and molasses round out the remainder of the palate. Dark, almost rotten-like fruit flavors, really begin to dominate as I make my way through the bottle. After a minute I'd almost say the aftertaste reminds me of creamed corn.... but that sounds silly.

It holds a heavy (but not overly so) and creamy mouthfeel throughout. Drinkability is good if your in the mood for a slow sipper... or a choker... Might as well sit back and enjoy it!

This one would be a perfect choice to cellar.

Photo of SilentSabre
3.21/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

This performed just as I thought it would. In short: Old Rasputin on a larger scale. I must admit, however, that this didn't have quite the crippling amount of grapefruit-like citrusy hops that Rasputin has, but close. It poured beautifully; jet black with a decent sized khaki head. Thick, sticky lacing covered the edges of the glass. So far, looks wonderful. Just moments after I poured it, however, here it comes. Pine sap. Now, this isn't an overly offensive smell to me, in fact, I enjoy it in the RIGHT STYLES. Hercules DIPA is to die for, for instance. Chocolatey beers, however, need hop varietals from Europe, ie, hops that don't taste like citrus and pine. The smell was fairly nice, but I knew what was to come. I was entirely prepared for the taste, which was a bit chocolately, coffee like, stewed fruit, and grapefuit with pine sap. A far cry from wonderful, to say the least. Mouthfeel was bold and very heavy. This I truly enjoyed. An RIS should make you think for a split second that you have a mouth full of maple syrup; this was an area where this beer did very, very well at, IMO. Drinkability, however, was 3.0 at best. A 22oz bottle of 12.2% this heavy is more than enough. I would probably treat this in the future, the same way I treat Rasputin. Toss it in the cellar for 9 - 15 months and age that grapefruit away!!

Photo of RedHaze
4.12/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled 2003

Pours a very dark, almost jet black, with a thin quarter inch head that recedes quickly to a soapy cap and ring, leaving behind a patchy bit of lacing.

Smell; dark roasted malts, with chocolate and molasses. Some nice hints of coffee, and darks fruits are there, as well as a little alcohol.

Taste; the coffee and chocolate dominate the first few sips, but after that the dark fruits start to come out with some cherries, and prunes, with alittle bit of licorice thrown. There's a definite hop bitterness present, but it isn't overly bitter, with an alcohol presence that's felt but not really tasted.

As a few others have stated in their reviews, the mouthfeel is a bit on the thin side for a double/imperial stout, but still fairly creamy. Drinkabilty is pretty darn good, but I'd definitely only be able to drink just the one, and slowly at that.

Photo of Westsidethreat
4.23/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2005 Batch: 11.03% ABV

A: Jet black...and thick. Roasted marshmallow head is resting dreamily on the surface of the body after falling from a magnificent mountain. Lots of lace remind the drinker of what once was.

S: Aromas of molasses, gingerbread, Welch's mixed berry juice.

T: Lots of flavors going on. Vanilla/butterscotch coating on the lips like a gloss. Coffee towards the front with toffee, cream, marzipan. Finishes with a rounded black licorice. Alcohol vapors and roasted grains remind you of what you are dealing with.

M: Medium body with good carbonation. Adds substance

D: Very nice HUGE beer. Lots of flavor, lots of character. Finishes clean and nice.

Photo of ColoradoBobs
4.32/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The 2006 version is listed on the bottle as follows:
Original gravity - 1.104
IBU's - 70
ABV - 11.03% (NOT 12.20%)

Pours a dark dark almost opaque mahogany -- just a hint of red around the edges when held up to the light. The huge head from a moderately vigorous pour fades to a solid lid with loads of sticky thick lacing.

Smell is lots of chocolate and caramel malt, with burned cherries swimming in espresso sweetened with black-strap molasses.

Taste is all roasted chocolate malt and caramel malt up front, with a subtle walnut-and-molasses middle, and a dry bitter finish of metallic hops. As this warms up, the molasses middle expands. Really good taste, and a noticable hoppiness that will make hop-heads appreciate this even more. Well balanced.

Mouthfeel is less thick and sticky than the head and lacing promised, but still quite smooth and rounded.

Drinkability is great for such a big beer. There is very little to no booziness to this: everything is smooth on the edges, even though the edges are very big.

I don't know for sure, and I guess I'm a bit of a novice, but this seems more like an American Double Stout, with its hop boldness and its dry bitter finish, than a RIS, which I would think would be a bit stickier and maltier than this is. But hey, whatever style it is, I love it.

Photo of badbeer
3.93/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a deep black with an off white head leaving a pretty nice lacing around the glass. Chocolate, brown sugar, molasses in the smell, small hop presence too. Chocolate upfront, then toffee, then a lingering hop bitterness followed by a roasted coffee finish, pretty nice. Full bodied, low carbonation, just about right. Pretty drinkable, but I don't think I'll have this that often.

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.3/5  rDev -16%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle (2005 – 11%): Poured a deep black (but not completely opaque) color stout with a small foamy head with minimal retention. Aroma of roasted malt is weaker then expected and hops are clearly not the main attraction pint here. Taste is also quite rich with roasted malt and some warm alcohol, which is not really of my liking but could have been worse. Body is above average but not as full as some other big Impy stout. I’m not sure if I had set my expectation too high or if I just don’t get it but surely this is not a beer that I will be seeking again in the near future.

Photo of nvsblman
2.55/5  rDev -35.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Pours a dark black with a coffee colored head. Aroma is full of chocolate and coffee. Also a little licorice. Taste is of chocolate, molasses, toast, and bitter hops, followed by a rush of alcohol. Medium bodied. The alcohol overwhelms any other flavor and really makes this pretty unenjoyable. I had higher hopes for this one, but it would have to have some age on it to try again I think.

Photo of DrJay
2.7/5  rDev -31.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Apparently bottled in 2003. The Czar poured a clear ruby/brown and had a short-lived, tan head. Not exactly my idea of what an imperial stout should look like. The aroma had some malt to it, but was more brown sugar and molasses with a little burnt and roast thrown in. And just a hint of nail polish remover. Flavour was mostly sweet and alcohol with a bit of roast and caramel. Low bitterness and hop flavour with some harsh alcohol in the finish. Overall the malt was pretty thin. (Only) medium bodied with carbonation a little on the low side - still, it felt harsh. This seemed more like a high gravity brown ale than imperial stout - not to style in my opinion. Plus, the alcohol was too hot, with not nearly enough malt and hops to balance it. Not impressed.

Photo of froggyfrog
4.52/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A big bad ass looking bomber bottle flown in from Colorado by my little brother. (Thanks Jonah.)

The label tells the following story:

The beer was bottled in 2005. The OG was 1.104, there are 70 IBUs and 11.03% ABV. It was brewed with "pure Rocky Mountain water, imported malted barley, German Hallertau hops, and English yeast."

Here we go:

The foil wrapped cap pops off with a hiss. Liquid pours from the bomber's neck to quickly fill the bowl of the receiving snifter. The visuals are impressive. The beer itself is a totally opaque black; carbonation bubbles can be witnessed skimming the sides of the glass as they make their way to the liquid's surface. A minimal head the color of light cocoa powder graced the surface for a short time before dissipating and laying naked a serene black pool of beer.

The bouquet promises the sort of experience I've come to expect from a strong, quality, Colorado-brewed ale. Involved in the olfactory storm are scents of vanilla, dank earth, figs, bruised peaches, alcohol, German hops and black malt.

The dominant flavors are molasses and brown sugar mixed with butter. Black licorice rules the finish with a tumble of spicy green hops thrown in the mix. The abundant alcohol, carbonation and zesty hops combine to cause a frisson on the tongue and the tingle lingers, subtly spreading ever so slightly to include the cheeks and roof of the mouth.

This is a full-bodied beer for sure. The alcohol becomes more prevalent in the taste as the beer warms. The standout characteristic of this beer is its complexity in both the smell and taste categories. This beer is a testament to the brewer's skill in the way it exhibits a constantly revolving roulette of aromas and flavors without becoming muddled or confused. And as good as this beer is now, I imagine it would be even more impressive with a few more years under its belt.

Photo of AltBock
4.25/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz. bomber bottle with one of the best labels I've seen! Has this Red label with Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, the last Tsar of Russia smack dab in the middle of the label. Behind him is what looks like a family crest, but I don't think it was his. There are two small pictures on the bottom left and right of his picture, but I'm not sure who they are pictures of. There is no back label because all the information is all on the front. There is a bottling date above the main picture of the Tsar and mine is Bottled in 2005. It has 1.104 OG, 70 IBUs, and mine is 11.3% ABV. The cap is covered with silver foil. I can't say enough good things about this cool label!

Appearance: When poured into my Snifter, the beer was a pitch black color and I mean pitch black. There is no light shining through this beer. The head of foam was a bit disappointing. I only got just a small skim of tan colored foam and that even dissipated away fast leaving very little rings and little tan colored lace around the glass.

Smell: The bottle told me to inhale the noble Halleratu hops, spicy and floral. To tell you the truth it smelled like that when I popped the cap, but when I poured it the aroma was totally different. The aroma wasn't too powerful in rich dark chocolate, little sweet caramel, some dark fruits, and some of those Halleratu hops in the background.

Taste: Wow! This beer had a very good taste to it! The bottle said it would have a taste of English toffee, rich mocha, sweet molasses, candied currants, and a hint of anise. What I got instead was plenty of Alcohol up front, then some bitter dark chocolate, little coffee, very little dark fruits, and then it finishes with a not too overpowering taste of bitter Halleratu hops. A very nice complex taste! I've never had anise before, but I don't think any of that was in this beer.

Mouthfeel: Thick, full bodied, and with an aftertaste of bitter hops and alcohol at the end. Not a beer that bothers to hide it's alcohol content.

Drinkability: Overall an excellent beer that I could enjoy again way into the future, due to it's alcohol ABV%. Cool label and cool beer! Liberate The Czar!!

Photo of clabaugh
3.92/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Opaquely brown, a dark brown, with deep ruby hues. A bubbly head colored a strong tan emerges. The head struggles to retain, and the lacing is weak.

Smell: Quite fruity in the nose, reflecting juicy berries and currants. Floral hops and a pervasive organic smell prevail. Caramel, molasses, and other sweet malts are strongly present.

Taste: Definitely unique. Bitter for sure. The hops fight through the milieu of malts rather boldly. Nonetheless, still rich and doughy, with hints of preserves. Caramel, molasses, and chocolate. Sticky sweet. A very syrupy beer that gets some much needed balance from the hops.

Mouthfeel: Slick and slippery, while fairly smooth. Coats the palate extensively. Fully warming.

Drinkability: Filling and frankly, inebriating. This limits the drinkability. Good taste otherwise. Fairly enjoyable.

Photo of pbr85
4.25/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Shared a bomber and poured into a pint glass
A: Pours a dark, dark brown that you can see a little bit of light pass through. Head is about half an inch and is light brown in color.
S: Fruity curants, alcohol, coffee, and chocolate, in that order of strength.
T: Very complex. Fruity alcohol flavors blend with the chocolate in a unique way, creating a taste that jslot (the person i split the bomber with) could only describe as "holy shit."
M: Good mouthfeel, nice and slick on the tongue. One of the better aspects of this beer.
D: There are so many great stouts out there, and its awesome. This is up there with all of those great ones. Highly recommend trying this.

Photo of jslot38
4.27/5  rDev +8.7%
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.

Photo of Erdinger2003
3.62/5  rDev -7.9%
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.

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.

Photo of Viggo
2.94/5  rDev -25.2%
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!

The Czar from Avery Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 1,787 ratings.