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The Czar - Avery Brewing Company

Not Rated.
The CzarThe Czar

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

903 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 903
Hads: 1,934
Avg: 3.9
pDev: 16.67%
Wants: 86
Gots: 307 | FT: 13
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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of The Czar Alström Bros
Reviews: 903 | Hads: 1,934
Photo of BradC
3.76/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours black with a thin head and little lacing.

Smells of sweet molasses, not much else

Tastes of molasses, some dark chocolate, a little bitter roasted grain

Smooth mouthfeel, alcohol well hidden, but still a sipper.

Overall, decent enough RIS, lacks complexity but good for what it is.

Note: from Oct. 2013 batch

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Photo of draheim
3.97/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle (Batch 10, bottled November 2010) into a snifter. Pours a dark cola brown w/ a 1-finger mocha head that settles to a thin film w/ a collar.

Aroma is dark and roasty, bitter, earthy, nutty. Chocolate, molasses, dark fruit, a hint of alcohol.

Taste is equal parts malty sweet and sharply bitter. More molasses and dark fruit on the palate. Chocolate and caramel.

Mouthfeel is velvety smooth and just sticky enough. Finishes moderately dry.

Overall a solid offering. Perhaps lacks complexity, but it's drinkable and enjoyable.

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Photo of 1000lbgrizzly
3.78/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Black body, no light even around the edges. Given that darkness, it has a surprisingly light-colored tan head, which looks pretty creamy, with excellent retention. Trace sticky lacing.

S: Roasted malt, light vanilla bean, caramel, bitter chocolate near the end. After such an assertive appearance, this is a little tame.

T: Same as the nose, but more potent/expressive. Nothing held back. Nice and dark, smoke on the finish... yet something just isn't right. :(

M: Also strange; only medium-bodied, but smooth. No alcohol burn.

O: A good stout, plenty dark with good depth of flavors. But sadly unremarkable, beyond the hidden ABV. Maybe my expectations were just too high from this renowned brewery.

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Photo of dank203
4.11/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

appearance is black and about a finger of fast leaving head. smell has chocolate cake, coffee, dark chocolate, bit of cherry plum and grape. flavor similar and completely well balanced with spice bite, some dark wine characteristics, palate coating and not too dry, highly drnkable for abv

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Photo of JuicesFlowing
4.14/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a balloon glass.

The beer has a dirty oil black body with an oatmeal flake colored head. The foamy head recedes to a wisp and some bubbles while any lacing eventually disappears.

The aroma is rich. Sweet vanilla hits the nose first, followed by a faint bourbon barrel woodiness. Raisin or dates can be detected in the sweetness as well.

The taste is just as rich as the aroma. More burnt offerings on the palate, though, such as roasted malts, bitter chocolate, and over-roasted coffee. There is some alcoholic bourbon notes in the finish.

The mouthfeel is surprisingly smooth, but very alcoholic and a little warm on the throat.

Overall, a well made sipper with a lot of flavor.

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Photo of buschbeer
3.79/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

1 PINT 6 FL OZ bottle
Served in a snifter
Batch 10 Nov, 2011

A - It is black with about a half inch of tan head.

S - I get a combination of dark chocolate and cocoa.

T - The taste has components of dark chocolate, anise, alcohol, and roasted malt.

M - Full

O - It is not a bad beer. It has held up well. The only thing that is off is a little burnt flavor on the finish, but it is mild. Now I need to try a fresh one sometime.

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Photo of magictacosinus
3.74/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This was one of the many beers poured at the December Albany Taproom bottle share. Whoever brought this, thanks! Poured out of a 22oz bottle into a tulip glass.

Yeah, this is a RIS alright - and it really shows how it's a type of stout all unto itself, in some ways. Extremely blackened, with maybe some brownish streaks at the sides of the glass, but otherwise, this looks half solid from afar. Contains a strong off-khaki head that makes this resemble freshly brewed espresso or some delectable, thickened chocolate beverage of sorts. The head dissipates pretty quickly, but it does leave behind a good ring and some sticky lacing. Definitely a good looking, mouth watering inducing RIS.

Wow, this one sure is sweet though, and I can already tell based off of the aroma at hand. Huge milk chocolate syrup, burnt vanilla, molasses, dark cherries, and raisins, with some noticeable roasted notes way at the back of the beer. Some roasted coffee beans, charred grains, maybe cinnamon? It's difficult to make out, and it's very overpowered by the sugar and intense candied dark fruit character. Caramel and toffee definitely shine through, as well as a slight bitter licorice and pine profile. Overall, though, wow. Looks like it's going to be hedonistic as far as the style goes.

Sweet Jesus! This is extremely sweet, and it's filled with heat as well. While it's definitely complex enough and enjoyable, I was glad after one sip that I was only getting about a few ounces worth. Big notes of semi-dark chocolate syrup, light coffee, molasses, vanilla, burnt maraschino cherries, raisins, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Cloves, pine, and anise are at the back, as are the roasted malty notes that make up the beer, but this is definitely approaching Dark Lord sweetness, only without the soy sauce notes. On the bright side, carbonation is pretty good here, and strong enough that it elevates the roasted nuances hidden somewhere in this beer. Finishes pretty hot, with some silky and full bodied characteristics, but the sugar, combined with the high booze, got to be a little too much over time.

This is by far one of the sweetest RIS offerings I've had to date, and I'm wondering if this was an older bottle or it's simply meant to be this intense. While I don't mind sweetness in a beer, I do like some roasted character and bitterness to off set it a bit. This almost drinks like a port, but it does contain a chocolate character that is strong, pungent, and memorable, to its credit. While it's not my favorite RIS, it's definitely one to check out at least once for what it has to offer.

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Photo of DenverHopHead
3.44/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Poured from a 22oz bottle marked "Batch No. 12 Oct 2013" into an Avery tulip.
Appearance - pours a dark syrup, no light coming through. A thin, mocha head that has great retention, but leaves minimal lace.
Smell - some dark chocolate, mocha, spice and maybe some maple syrup and toffee.
Taste - whoa, this is hot; a big, no nonsense beer. Bold flavors similar to Ten Fidy, but the alcohol is much more present.
Feel - heavy, chewy; definitely a sipper. Finishes too sweet.
Overall - a no doubt about it, big beer! Take your time with this one! Poor value.

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Photo of PeterParker
3.31/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.25

Jet black with a brown head with large bubbles. Fades quickly and leaves lacing.

Very roasted malts, some booze is also present on the nose. Maybe some smoke and/or peat as well?

Takes a second to hit you, but this beer seems to be lacking in flavor. Usual stout tastes, roasted malt, bit of coffee and bittersweet chocolate but you really have to look for it. Nothing is really standing out to me.

This is one viscous stout. Thick and creamy, low carbonation, and a warming aftertaste.

Overall, I must say I'm not too impressed. My expectations were really high for this one. It just doesn't make its presence felt. Unremarkable as far as Russian Imperials go. But I'll take an unremarkable RIS any day of the week. Not bad, just not great.

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Photo of TappaKeggaBrew
3.85/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: Deep, dark, red-brown hue, with hardly any light penetration so that it looks black from arm's length; there's a tiny amount of residue at the bottom of the glass. The head is a fat finger of caramel-colored foam that just sits there (no sign of fading for several minutes). Lacing is fantastic.

S: The aroma wasn't potent at all: mild notes of dark bread, molasses, sherry, and a hint of coffee.

T: Very sweet initially, bordering on cloying, mixed with acrid burnt grain. Dark fruit tanginess shows up, and bitter cocoa as well. Buttery diacetyl comes in late, joined by sweet, rum-like flavors before the spicy, bitter finish takes over and lingers for a long time.

M: Initially smooth and well carbonated, but it yields to the burn of an ABV north of 10%. Finish is slightly dry and spicy.

O: Pretty good, but it doesn't stand up to the top examples of imperial stout (I'd take a Samuel Smith's over this one by Avery any day).

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Photo of uvachief
4.25/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours to a 3 finger foamy head. Dark brown to beat black. Foamy and full in the mouth with tastes of carmel, coffee and perhaps a hint of nutmeg. Goes down smooth and filling. A lot like Founder's Breakfast Ale. Highly recommend. Tasty and smooth. Great drinking stout.

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Photo of BierJager89
4.49/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Black with a mocha head.

S: Dark chocolate, milk chocolate, and medium roast coffee in the nose.

T: Bittersweet dark chocolate, coffee, some plum and molasses.

M: Full bodied and smoothish.

O: Having had this after they stopped distributing to northern California made that pill harder to swallow. However, I believe they've begun to distribute here again. It's an excellent imperial stout.

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Photo of TheRougeBastard
3.41/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured tar black with a nice carmal colored head into a stout glass. First scents were that of cocoa and coffee but you could tell the alcohol was there! However, it really didn't overwhelm the taste, in fact it was extremely well disguised! All in all, this was an extremely enjoyable offering by Avery! My only real critique is to the packaging...please, for the love of God, stop putting the foil over the caps!!! It's a pain to remove, thus delaying the drinking process! That being said, I still enjoyed the Czar!

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Photo of micromaniac129
3.68/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

The appearance is wanting. It pours with the color of as flat cola. It looks thin and watery while pouring. The head was of medium size and had decent retention. The head color was mocha in color.
Most notably in the nose was a bullish alcohol present followed by licorice. There was a very subtle presence of malts, coffee and cocoa.
The taste was deeply roasted with, as in the nose, a huge alcohol presence and some licorice.
Not much going on in the taste.
On the palate was a gritty smoothness.
Overall The czar is okay. On the pour it could look like a stout and not a black ale. The alcohol presence could be toned down and the flavor could be boosted somewhat. It's not bad but with so many Imp. stouts out there is one is in coach.

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Photo of cjgiant
3.9/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

This sat in my fridge a while, finally found an opportunity to open it up. Had it after two other good dark beers (3Beans and GI BCBS), and this fell right in line with them is feel and general enjoyment.

The beer poured a very dark opaque, with edge, tan, foamy bubbles. The smell was not really present, so I downed the rating. I didn't notice a typical malt roastiness I expect to notice. What I got was more of a "typical beer" smell, little bitterness, some breadiness, even.

Luckily, the taste provided what the nose was missing. It starts a little acidic and maybe a little alcohol-tinged, but definitely a taste of roasted malt flavor. This beer doesn't overpower with any flavor, but there's a creamy hazelnut-coffee with cream taste to the smooth flavor. There isn't much bitterness to talk of, the end feel being more coating, with a very slight alcohol burn.

An overall enjoyable beer that lacks a nose and a strong ending to get a higher rating. On the other side, it doesn't do anything wrong, either. I am starting to appreciate (and trying to rate accordingly) beers like this that are solid representations of the profile, even if they aren't a "nectar of the Gods".

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Photo of BeerDawgs
4.11/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A 22oz bomber aged 3 years, as it was bottled in 2010.

A - Pitch black, oil like consistency. Looks thick, creamy with a slight tan head and no lace left on the glass

S - Sweet and boozy, some piny hops show up too.

T - Chocolate, coffee, booze, very sweet, but has a great pine hop taste as well. Well balanced.

M - Full bodied, creamy, and well carbonated

O - About as good as the Russian Imperial Stout can be done.

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Photo of bigpatvoodoodad
3.29/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - pours a nice 3 finger head. Black opaque stout. Great representation of the style.

S - faint smell that is dominated by alcohol.

T - while it does tastes ok, it isn't as chocolatey, smoky or coffee-like compared to other imperial stouts. The dominance of the alcohol is apparent, especially in the aftertaste. Almost a rum-like quality to it.

M - sticky imperial stout. Light carbohydrates. Great example of the style.

O - a decent and drinkable imperial stout. Many other RIS outclass this one on solely taste. The overwhelming alcohol aftertaste is off putting to me. Other RIS, like Courage, manage to balance the RIS high abv, yet don't let the alcohol dominate the taste profile.

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Photo of delta490
3.96/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-poured from a bottle with batch number and mm/yyyy listed. It poured an inky black with a creamy khaki head. Moderate retention but leaves big lacing on the glass.

S-mild notes of dark roast malt and a little alcohol. Not particularly robust for an imperial stout.

T- bottle notes it gets better w/cellaring. Agree. It tastes underdeveloped, and I don't really notice most of the flavors mentioned on the bottle's taste notes. I'll need to grab another bottle to age it and see what happens.

M-full and silky with a little bit of a bite from the hops.

O-not bad but lacking the depth of flavors typical of imperial stouts. Like I said, I want to age it to see what it produces.

After a year-ish of cellaring (Batch #12, Oct. 2013), this beer is hugely improved over its original state. There is a little more dark fruit to the aroma plus a nice roasted malt note. The taste is also better, with more dark fruit, toffee, and noble hops notes building on the nice roasted malt base. Definitely worth buying to cellar.

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Photo of rand
4.13/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

From 22 oz bottle to pint glass

A: The beer is black as night and forms a surprisingly small, coffee-tan head on a medium pour. Tiny patches of lacing are left all over the glass.

S: Coffee and burnt sugar up front. A touch of peppery hops balances, as notes of oak and chocolate can be parsed. Alcohol is nicely masked, I'm not picking up much boozy warmth at all.

T/M: The palate is much more layered and complex than the nose, accentuated by a chewy, velvety complexion. Roasty, with notes of bittersweet chocolate and burnt toast playing against a subtle hop bite. The mouthfeel is incredible, one of the more decadently viscous brews I can remember. The booze does pop up toward the back of the sip, but barely, finishing long and bittersweet.

I'm thoroughly impressed with this brew...I think I tried it a long time ago and was too drunk to remember. And because it's so readily available this time of year I almost ignore it. Not any more, going to be my go-to RIS during the cold months.

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Photo of clayrock81
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Blackish body with one finger head that dies quick with minimal lace. Aroma has some grainy hops to it but is mostly a hodge podge of roasted malts along with some bitter cocoa and toffee, as well as some figs or plum (very minor). Heavy bodied, a little chewy even as there's some breadiness, the hops offer a little dryness and tag with the alcohol for a very dry finish with a little harshness which is a shame. I say that b/c this beer has the requisite sweetness I like the figs (dark fruit), toffee and sticky chocolate notes and a good balance of roasted malts with some coffee elements thrown in so it's not overly sweet. Overall, I liked this beer a lot but just didn't care so much for the finish b/c after awhile it's wearisome.

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Photo of ArrogantB
3.16/5  rDev -19%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Fresh bottle that a friend shared with me, haven't had this one in years. Obvious black color minimal head, looks fine. Aroma had a touch of hops along with roasted malts and booze. Flavors isn't as boozy as I expected but it does have a strong bitterness along with decent roast flavors. Overall I had no problem finishing my glass but its just not as good as a lot of the other offerings out there.

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Photo of Beerquester
4.61/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

I am glad I waited almost a year from the bottled on date (Nov 2012, Batch #11) to try this one. I was very pleasantly surprised when sharing the bottle with friends.

Pours with a rich tan head. Aromas on the chocolatey side. Tried this in a 5 oz sampler glass. As the beer warmed slightly the black currant taste came out really well in aroma and taste, but also the warm alcohol finish came out, but was not too distracting. . Instead my taste buds were enjoying the complexity, and good balance I might add of the black currants, the touch of anise, molasses, and some toffee.

Overall impression, very smooth, with many enjoyable flavors. Clean finish, just a lingering roastiness which I enjoyed.

I will hurry out and try to get more of this one. Well done Avery!

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Photo of BMMillsy
3.91/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours dark brown to black with small beige head. Looks a little light an thin for the style. Aroma is a roasty malt smell with hints of coffee. Smells more like a porter. Great body on thr palate. Thick and chewey. Roasted malt, coffee, chocolate, and some hop bitterness. Nice balance and very creamy. On the bitter side for the style (I like my chocolateyness), but very nicely done.

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Photo of Dope
3.85/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Bottled in 2009, a bit dusty from sitting around my cellar. 10.82% ABV.

A: Jet black pour with a tall and frothy medium brown head. Head fizzes out slowly, leaving almost no lacing.

S: Big cocoa notes initially. Lots of dark fruits follow, primarily figs, raisin and currants I'd say. Lightest hints of sweet chocolate follow and maybe a touch of coffee? Mainly a chocolate-covered dark fruit aroma though.

T: Big and smooth roasted malt character. Sweet sweet milk chocolate up front and throughout the entire beer. Mild dark fruit in the middle, lending that chocolate-covered fruit flavor mentioned earlier. Sweet dark fruits continue into the finish. There is a light ashy flavor coating everything, and maybe just the lightest hint of oxidation in the finish (bottle nearly 5 years old, not stored under perfect conditions).

M: Fairly heavy but smooth.

O: Welp, pretty much a chocolate-covered fruit beer if I'm honest. Tons of smooth chocolate syrup covers everything. Age has certainly integrated the flavors well, they work together nicely. A little oxidation detracts but can't be blamed due to the age. Decent, but not amazing RIS.

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Photo of Chrysostom
3.9/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Here's a beer for a cool day. This is from the 2012 release (11.1% ABV, right in the middle of the range), cellared (at somewhat too cold a temperature) until now. $9 for a 22 ounce bomber.

CONTRARY TO my usual practice and disclaimer, this review is not 100% live. I already drank half the bottle with a meal (less than an hour ago) and took notes on paper while drinking it. I am incorporating an exact letter-for-letter transcript of those hand-written notes in to this review, which is live insofar as I gain any new insights as I'm finishing the second half of the bottle while writing it.

A: (transcribed from notes) "Appearance: Frosty dark chocolate, opaque wit/ [sic] translucent ruby highlights. Small head, larger than [a] fresh [bottle], recedeth [very slowly] to ring and cap, [moderate] thin sheet lacing [with good retention, showing this beer has hops, able to retain a head or lacing of any sort at 11% ABV]."

S: (transcribed from notes) "Smell: Subdued booze, baker's coca [sic]. Very little going on in the nose relative to the bigness of the beer - maybe too cold? An effect of aging or improper storage?"

T: (transcribed from notes) "Taste: Astringent alcohol bite up front, accentuated by spicy hops. Roast[ed] & mild [subdued] dark fruit flavours advance as alcohol & hop bite recedes, but doth not vanish. [Leather and blackstrap molasses become notable upon warming. This is very much like an imperial version of Meantime London Porter. However, hops dominate the flavour to too-great of a degree for a stout, in imbalance with everything else, likely due to the synergistic effect of hop spice and alcohol burn, leading to a full one-point subtraction for this alone.]"

M: (transcribed from notes) "M: Sharp and clean, a rarity for imperial stouts of any IBU or ostensible [level of] hopping. [Very warming in the throat and stomach with little-to-no burn, like good liquor.] "

Drinkability: Moderate; somewhat rich and a bit compromised by the alcoholic bite. I can finish a bomber of this, but would not want a second.

Overall: My numerical ratings do not do this beer justice. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts, even its "overall" rating (which is just one component part of the true "overall-ness"). It is a solid 4 out of 5, maybe higher. This is, as said above, like a Meantime London Porter (one of my all-time favorite porters, up there with Samuel Smith's) done bigger in every way, but retaining the same contours of profile. This is an excellent cold-weather libation, best consumed in moderation (even by alcoholics: switch to something lighter after a bottle of this).

A truly "imperial" ale, this one should bear wearing the purple instead of red.

To style: 72/100 (10 points subtracted due to poor masking of alcohol for style)
To taste: 80/100

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The Czar from Avery Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 903 ratings.