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The Czar - Avery Brewing Company

Not Rated.
The CzarThe Czar

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

1,685 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,685
Reviews: 861
rAvg: 3.93
pDev: 11.7%
Wants: 71
Gots: 212 | 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: 1,685 | Reviews: 861 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of karst
4.93/5  rDev +25.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Czar is up for its 100th review on this February friday night tasting of 10 brews that covered a wide spectrum of styles.

Three tasters interacting with a 2 year old Imperial Stout ( the line up: Ayinger Celebrator, the Czar, Samiclaus, Arogant Bastard, OFallon Smoked Porter, Goudenband Flanders Red Belgium Ale, Cutthroat Porter, Meuller Pale Ale -Springfield Brewing Co., and last and by FAR least a St. Louis macro - not that one . . . Dirt Cheap Beer) List is reversed with the DCB as a pre-rinser for the various glasses used.

Tan head quickly nods under the influence of 12% ABV chocolate-coffee (from over roasted malt) with dense fruity esters suggesting chocolate coated black cherry injected with alcohol. Low - Hallertau hops get lost in taste of spiced coffe and chocolate. fruit, drying mouth with alcohol and finishing off with soft bitterness. Flavors come on harse in this medium-full bodied RIS.

Surgeon-poet Yury Zhivago struggling to survive the winters of the Russian Revolution was torn between fidelity and passion for two women. The Czar is rough, passionate winter warmer that struggles beyond the Old Imperial wanting passionately to be a revolutionary Black Barleywine.

"May you live as long as you want to and Want to (drink fine beer) as long as you live" - capre diem. - Thanks to Shultzerdugen for bring this Avery giant.

karst, Feb 19, 2005
Photo of oxmasterscream
4.43/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz. bomber.
Poured a deep but clear, dark brown with cherry highlights. No head, barely a ring, as expected with a beer so high in alcohol. Not as opaque as I'd expect from an imperial stout.
The smell, wow. All things sweet, dark and ripe... raisins, plums, prunes, black cherries, chocolate, spice, burnt sugar, blackberry brandy – can you say "da-yamn?" Unbelievable. Exactly how an imperial stout should smell.
Taste was almost identical to its bouquet - All things detected in its smell came through sooner or later while tasting. Heavily sweet and fruity up front with some spicy noble hops intermixed, then some tangy flavors, followed by a clean, bitter-sweet finish. Surprisingly, almost no coffee flavors are present. It's a full-on, eruption of dark fruit in your mouth.
Mouth was a little less than I had hoped it would be. While syrupy with barely any carbonation, it came through just a tad too thin for an imperial stout. It almost felt like a flat cola at times. Luckily, the flavors were so huge that I ended up paying little attention to the lack of thickness in the mouth. ABV is definitely there and warms your stomach from the get-go. Unfortunately, it's so damn good that you end up drinking it way faster than you should and it kicks your ass quickly.
This stuff's smell and taste are downright amazing. If it weren't for some minor appearance and body issues, it would've garnered a much higher score from me. Wicked stuff that should never be passed up.

oxmasterscream, Feb 19, 2005
Photo of Boto
4.22/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz. bomber: 2003 Vintage: This beer pours a dark, opaque brown color. There is a small tan head that formed on mine. First off, I’m suprised that the aroma is a bit weak for an Imperial Stout. It is a nice mixture of chocolate, some fruits, and a candy-bar like hard caramel. The taste is a bit sweet also. There are notes of that candy bar in there, as well as chocolate and roasted malts. The taste lingers nicely on the tongue. Nice. A little different from the normal imperial stout.

Boto, Feb 17, 2005
Photo of Dmann
3.88/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I really wanted to love this beer because it had been hyped up to me so much, but it fell short of the mark in my opinion. The look was definantly not that of an Imperial Stout. The lack of carbonation was a sign but the beer was more of a dark ruby color rather than the pitch black that I am used to. The smell was quite subtle with prunes, malt and alchohol dominating. I was really expecting more from the taste but it was still good. The 13% abv was hidden with great skill and was not overpowering in the flavor, only in the warming effect as it went down. There was a hint of alchohol in the flavor but it was mostly malt sweetness with a touch of dark chocolate and an even smaller touch of coffee in the background. This tastes more like a bock to me rather than a Imperial Stout, IMO. Still a decent beer and one worth cellering just to see what will come of this in the next few years.

Dmann, Feb 16, 2005
Photo of Winter
3.93/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black with a thin tan head that settled to the surface. Cocoa, fig and alcohol on the aroma. Coating, full-bodied mouthfeel. Vinous, husky and grainy front. Licorice and sweet dark molasses introduce themselves. The nearly 13% alcohol doesn't wait long to punch its way through and remind you that this is an Imperial stout. The Czar is smooth and not really oily. Hop bitterness arrives toward the back. Slightly more hoppy than desired. Maybe that's it's American influence. Regardless, though, the taste is right on target for a good Imperial Stout. This was very enjoyable.

Winter, Feb 16, 2005
Photo of ypsifly
3.48/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Pours almost black with a thin, tan head that fades quickly and leaves decent lacing.

Smells sugary with some hints of hop. No real coffee or chocolate odors were detected. Was hoping for a more roasted aroma.

Taste is mostly malt with some hop in the finish. Feels lighter in the mouth than most Imps. Although I would label the mouthfeel as somewhat weak, it does lend to the drinkability of this brew. Not tasting any alcohol helps too.

One of the more drinkable Imperials, but I was hoping for more roasted notes in both taste and smell.

ypsifly, Jan 25, 2005
3.78/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

So this is a fairly dark brown, nearing blackness. Woopty doo, an imperial should be pitch black. The little head can be described as a slight floating froth.
From 9" away I can smell bananas from this beer. Green-ish bananas. When I actually take a whiff, other fruity esters are detectable as well, with only a mild toasted malt aroma.
Quite the interesting flavor. Initially I was shocked by a spiciness but quickly grew accustomed. The candied currant addition noted on the bottle is more pronounced than expected. Not overwhelming, but I figured it might be altogether phantom. This climbs to a borderline cloying level of sweetness but the bitter German hops close out the deal before all is lost. That being said, I think this one could use more hopping to clean things up a bit.
Alcohol is not the problem I thought it might be with this. It is noticed, of course, but only really speaks on a nasal exhale. But, as this warms, that alcohol gets a bit more physical. Other candy sweetnesses show up when this is warmer, especially the toffee aspect.
This seemed somewhat thin in the mouth for an imperial. But, good enough, with an appetizing stickiness I would attribute to toffee and caramel additions. This is not all that carbonated, which I think is probably for the best in this situation. I think high carbonation would make The Czar one jagged mofo. Overalll, not bad. This is definitely one of a kind if nothing else. I have never had anything like it.
Unless you want to be a bit teetery, get a helper to tackle a whole bomber. I didn't, but that's me.

Photo of maltedmilk
3.73/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is one serious beer.

It pours a very dark brown with a very small head which quickly fades.

Smells are of sweet chocolate and coffee.

Tastes are malty , chocolate and pretty strong alcohol .However, it becomes much smoother with each sip.

This is a very strong beer. One bomber of this is enough to get me very mellow.

A great beer for a snowy winter night and a great beer to share with someone you love.

maltedmilk, Jan 23, 2005
Photo of OStrungT
3.88/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours dark brown. The head is tan. The head retention is quite good. The alcohol is apparent in the smell. There is also a smell of carmel as well as licorice. The taste is malty and a little sour. There is a slight hint of molasses. There is something else, but I cant put my finger on it. This beer is quite full bodied. It goes down smooth. This beer might be hard to drink since it is so alcoholic, but give it time, and you might be able to drink a few in one night. This is a good beer, but there are imperial stouts out there that are, IMO, better. Definately worth a try though.

OStrungT, Jan 19, 2005
Photo of BrewMaster
4.35/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pouredf rom the bomber into a tall Arrogant Bastard glass. The color is dark chocolate brown with a tan head on top. The head has mad crazy retention. You can slap it, kick it, curse at it, say things about its momma, but the head is not going away. Very nice. Asit dwindles down the head leaves nice rings around the edge of the glass.

Smell: Very sweet and malty smell. Some roasty notes as well.

Taste: Whoa. This different from other RIS's I've had. First flavor is a sour and bitter roastiness that settles in the middle of my tongue. It's got a very appealing sweetness to the roastiness. It's sharp but not offensive. There is a strong molasses and carmel character to this beer. Also a nice brown sugar note. The malt profile hides under a well done hop bitterness. There is also a nice warmth to the alcohol

Mouthfeel: Clean and sweet on the palate with improving qualities as it warms up.

Drinkability: The flavors come together well and make this a very enoyable beer. At 13% ABV it is something I will enjoy but only sparingly. Well done and well hopped rom Avery.

BrewMaster, Jan 18, 2005
Photo of ncbrewerbun
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A powerful back-in-the-Cold-War Russian kind of stout!

This beer pours out like black ink, with a creamy tan head that lasts long enough to appreciate it.

The aroma is worth the price of the beer. The smells just keep coming at you. There's caramel, candy-like sweetness, huge malt, chocolate, some licorice and as it warms molassas. All this and the alcohol still is evident.

Flavor, as the aroma would suggest, is complex. Toffee, malt, a hint of molassas and again the alcohol.

Overall an experience to be had by those who appreciate an RIS. I'd not attempt to drink a bottle of this on my own.

ncbrewerbun, Jan 12, 2005
Photo of HogHill
4.05/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle, this was bottled in 2004
-- ABV on bottle is 13% -- 70 IBUs -- 1.107 OG --
Paid $7.20 at Colonial Liquours in Acton, MA.
This black beauty left a thin tan head which soon faded to lace around my glass. It smells of dark chocolate and coffee. This is definitely an Imperial on first sip, strong malty presence backed by some hops, which are taken over in the end by the malts and the 13% abv. It seems to have a good balance of carbonation, I like the feel. I don't think I could handle more than one of these, as a previous review mentioned, they should indeed be shared. Avery has done themselves good with this years Czar.

HogHill, Jan 05, 2005
Photo of NEhophead
4.28/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

1pt 6fl oz.

Creamy, chocolate head that fades rather quickly to a few pools of bubbles. Some thin and spotted lacing with good strength. Opaque black in color with a tint of deep red/dark brown.

Dark chocolate, dark cherry, and grape aromas along with a fairly detectable alcohol presence.

Semi-sweet, big roasted maltiness. Chocolate covered cherry; dark chocolate. A large hop bitterness at mid-sip along with fairly high alcohol esters. The aftertaste is dark fruit, dark chocolate, and alcohol.

Full bodied; big on flavor and alcohol. Not chewy but very encompassing on the palate.

Drinkability is tough for this one. This is a huge beer that should be shared IMO. Nonetheless, this is definitely worth a try for anyone who loves this style.

NEhophead, Dec 28, 2004
Photo of Skidz
4.28/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours out a dark, burnt orange brown and sits deep, rich crimson in the glass, showling little signs of light. A large, creamy tan head is formed, leaving a light skim and spotted lacings.

Smells rich and sweet, filled with truckloads of deep roasted grains, coffee and burnt caramel. Thick forests of dark fruity esters cloud the senses, filling your nose with wafts of raisins, dates, prunes and licorice. Brown leafy and toasted wood aromas protrude and are paired with a lifting scent of alcohol that opens up all passages of the nose.

Tastes soft and malty up front with plenty of roasted flavors to soak your toungue in. Cinnamon spiked coffee with a shake of chocolate powder. Raisins and dates squeeze out what little juice they have left over and introduce a dry, wooden core of singed cedar. Alcohol simply warms the mouth and dries the toungue, leaving little flavor. Finish is softly bitter, only accentuated by the drying effects of the alcohol and lingering cedar sap tanginess.

Smooth and creamy in the mouth with light and delicate carbonation. Medium-full in terms of body. I could ask for a little more vicosity, but this isn't bad at all.

Surprisingly easy to handle, well, easy to drink anyways; handling is whole other topic. If I had to guess the ABV, it wouldn't be even close to it's listing. Well built with nice flavors, no real complaints here. I might consider this as a more frequent purchase, especially since I can't get Stone's RIS... :( Nevertheless, this is a fine Ruski, suitable for starting or ending you night (or both). Cheers!

Skidz, Dec 23, 2004
Photo of JohnnyDuvel
4.33/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

This is one serious stout. Balanced more towards malt sweetness as opposed to hops. Dark, thick and strong. ABV is fairly well hidden, but go slow! Reminded me of a less potent WWS, with flavor reminiscent of raisons and the sweetness. Although I wouldn't rate this with the best, Avery makes a good product and I will continue to try their beers.

JohnnyDuvel, Dec 17, 2004
Photo of jdhilt
4.2/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a two-fingered light tan head that quickly fades leaving a little lace. Deep amber almost black color. Nice, beefy full bodied. Sweet roasty coffee/chocolate nose. Starts sweet, almost but not syrupy. Finishes with some alcohol overtones but is easy to drink. 22oz bottle $9 from Drum Hill Liquors Chelmsford, Ma. 2004 bottle - 13% ABV.

jdhilt, Nov 18, 2004
Photo of Dithyramb
3.28/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Presented in the bomber pictured, with foil wrapping. No “born on” or freshness date to speak of. I’ve read in earlier threads that there is sometimes numbers on the label, none on my bottle. Purchased at the Barnyard in the ‘Burnie for $6.99.

It pours a deep, dark and opaque black with an oily consistency. Seems just like melted chocolate. There is a dark tan ring of lacing. No agitation could bring a head to the beer and there is a limited amount of carbonation on the glass itself.
Had a molasses-like pour. Comparatively, the aroma is smoky molasses with some other assorted bitter/burned malt in the background.
I was surprised by how complex, yet not balanced, it is. The first flavors in the taste are definitely brazen and rough, just like those stereotypical Russian characters from the bad early 80’s movies. Bitterness and alcohol rush in and smack your tongue back. A slight twinge as the bitterness assaults the roof of the mouth too. Bitterness was from both the slightly over toasted malts and a bit of hops. However, there is a bit of smoother and sweeter malts mixed in on the backend, as a chocolate mix evens it out a bit. The harsh flavor profile masked the scarily high alcohol quite well.

Scores a definite medium to full mouthfeel and actually better in the mouthfeel category than some other imperials I’ve had. Completely coats your mouth with syrupy consistency. Had a spicy and acidic finish. I don’t think I’ll be having many others. I’ve found the Victory Storm King a much better imperial for those cold winter nights.

Dithyramb, Nov 12, 2004
Photo of blitheringidiot
3.43/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Label Lore: Attractive double duecer brown bottle single label touting redolent Hallertau hops…That and $1.05 gets ya a cup of coffee. Bottled in 2003,adding 70 IBU. 11.9% ABV

Buh-lack opaque countenance under a quickly dissipating head to a slick of microscopic head that clings to a khaki collar ring into me Hennepin tulip. A few swirls erupts a whirlpool of tan, nada mas.

Screaming RIS scents of burnt molasses black cherries, and toasted bread. A bit cold from the fridge. Palatable awl-kee-hawl in the nose.

First Swigs: Rocket fuel awl-kee-hawl presence overrides all flavor aspects. Some toasted burnt malts manage to get through. The trick to AVERY’S Czar is to let it warm a hair from fridge temps. Lip smackin’ goin’ on. Just narrow toasted burnt bread and a hint of dark cherries with black chocolate peeking out.here. How much this will (and needs to) improve with age? The first time ever written that this burns me tum-tum-tummy.

Considering the style, the body is medium. No thick chewiness. Drinkability? My review grows like a James Joyce novel to go along with the marathon sippage.

Last Swigs: Big beer? This is distilled whiskey beer! Calling this a sipper is like saying that Niagara Falls is a leaking lake. This damn near took me all nite to kill. Maybe AVERY is shooting for a RIS that rips the ABV prize away from any other contenders, but compromises the flavor department. Best hopes are that this will settle with a year or two down the road. Despite the focus, a bit out of control in the esters department.

From the site: Behold the stunning crimson hues through the inky blackness. Inhale the noble Hallertau hops, spicy and floral. Savor the flavors redolent of English toffee, rich mocha, sweet molasses, candied currants and a hint of anise. We highly recommend cellaring additional bottles, as the Czar will continue to mature and become denser and more complex with age.

Beer is good. Happy two hour bottle marathon beering.


Flvors rounded out from the same case previously reviewed. A few bottles were left. The baker's chocolate is still there. Hot fussel has calmed a bit, but still there. Roasty cake dough and sugary cocoa.

blitheringidiot, Oct 26, 2004
Photo of walleye
4.25/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured dark brown with a med. size tan head. aroma toffee, roasted nuts, molasses, floral and a hint of yeast, spices, and a hint of alcohol love that alcohol. flavor over roasted nuts, sourness, licorice, malts and a nice taste of alcohol. not to bad another one from avery that I will buy again

walleye, Oct 25, 2004
Photo of sulldaddy
4.1/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This sample came to me via bditty187. Thanks for the hookup! I am sampling a room temp bottle in a snifter. The beer pours a rich dark brown color. A light creamy beige head develops and fades to a surface layer. Aroma is chocolate, plums, raisins, some molassess and brown sugar. Very appealing. First sip reveals, average body with very mild carbonation. Flavor is similar to nose. Ripe Plums, raisins, chocolate and brown sugar come through. There is also a big warming factor as the beer goes down into my belly. Very robust tasty brew. Suffers a little on drinkability due to the intense warming from alcohol. But just expect that and it will be all good. Enjoy!

sulldaddy, Sep 20, 2004
Photo of marc77
3.63/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Virtually black, with brilliantly clear deep crimson hues when held to light. Dense tan, surprisingly steadfast head considering the alcohol concentration. Loose lace remains. Barbed waft of ethanol macerated ground anise and prune hits the nose initially. Mellows a tad, with dark chocolate covered raisin and black licorice ensuing. Swirling releases trace solvent - like, fusel hints. Ragged, yet appetizing aromawise. In flavor upfront is a lingering impression of rum soaked bittersweet chocolate torte. Minty ethanol darts in after a deliberation and complements the stalwart chocolate presence. Earthy, dirty, hop tones arise mid palate along with suggestions of black pepper and fermented dilute molasses. Fruit character is slow to develop in flavor, but eventually augments into a combination of well overripe plum, although there's a softer hint of cherry - esque tartness. Moderate in body at best, with a mouthfeel dangerously skimpy in viscosity. Roasted barley and chocolate character counterintuitively diminish as the beer warms, while hop bitterness augments. Overall this brew gets sharper and drier as it breathes. Finishes with fleeting burnt brownie hints and lingering, enveloping ethanol warmth. A potent and flavorful imperial stout, indeed. Most certainly worthy of cellaring for a long time. The Czar is a a touch boozy in its current state, but is quite tasty nonetheless.

marc77, Sep 19, 2004
Photo of IrishRedRock
3.5/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz, bottled in 2003. Appearance is Coca-Cola like, though appearing richer and headier. The head gives way to a thin ring of lace rather quickly. Aroma is musty and enjoyable, but is unlike that of other Imperials I have enjoyed. Scent reminds me of an old ale, in the like of JW Lees, with fruity notes, prunes, sweet malts, and a mild alcohol undertone.

Flavor yields a mass of dark fruits and burnt, blackened coffee, but it finishes with a potent mess of licorice and alcohol...sambuca, if you will. The alcohol character overpowers just about everything else and takes away from the overall enjoyment and drinkability of this brew. I'd drink it again, because hey, I like beer...though I wouldn't again shell out the coins I paid for this bottle. I like Avery beers, but this one has a long way to go before catching up to many other American-made Imperial Stouts.

IrishRedRock, Sep 09, 2004
Photo of Southernbrew
4.22/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle says "bottled in 2002", I guess I already have an aged bottle.

Pours very dark brown with absolutely no head.

Big roasted chocolate, espresso and rum flavors in the nose. But no strong alcohol smell.

Full bodied, very smooth. The alcohol is still very present but not the entire focus. Rum flavors come in as does a roasted bitter chocolate and coffee. A light sourness comes in as well, but nothing distracting. An aftertaste of rum and bitter chocolate hang around.

A fine imperial stout, even after 2 years. The one drawback is the pronounced alcohol flavor. Most others I've had have hidden it a bit better. Still quite good though.

Southernbrew, Sep 01, 2004
Photo of Gavage
3.98/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black in color. Just a slight surface head that quickly disappears. The aroma was of roasted malt, chocolate, and licorice. The flavor follows the nose as there is a nice balance of the roasted malt, chocolate, licorice, coffee, light bitterness, and alcohol. The alcohol levels are slighlty strong in the flavor though.

The mouthfeel was smooth at the start and finish, with chocolate and alcohol rides the tongue long after swallowing. Not a bad drinking brew.

Gavage, Jul 30, 2004
Photo of RonfromJersey
3.7/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Half a glass of dentable tan foam, settles a bit quick to a smallish Guinness table top, above a black body which shows ruby highlights just along the bottom of the glass. Good lacing.

Aroma, from popping the cap, is overpowered by sweet alcoholic licorice. Can do a bit of sinus clearing.

Licorice drives the taste, along with a sense of alcohol, with a few stray sips of coffee and chocolate hanging on for dear life. Not warming/burning though. Dark fruits abound in the finish, with a background of hops.

Mouthfeel is disappointingly thin. I need something to chew on with an imperial.

Except for the mouthfeel, this is a fine example of the style, though the alcohol could be better masked . Should age well. I had heard mixed things about Avery, but this was overall satisfactory.

RonfromJersey, Jul 25, 2004
The Czar from Avery Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 1,685 ratings.