Dismiss Notice
Get 12 monthly issues of BeerAdvocate magazine and save $5 when you select "auto-renew."

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join our email list →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.

The Czar - Avery Brewing Company

Not Rated.
The CzarThe Czar

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
88
very good

915 Reviews
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 915
Hads: 1,980
Avg: 3.9
pDev: 16.67%
Wants: 91
Gots: 325 | FT: 14
Brewed by:
Avery Brewing Company
Colorado, United States | website

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout | 10.10% 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: 915 | Hads: 1,980
Photo of kojevergas
2.42/5  rDev -37.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.25

Batch no 10. November 2011.

BOTTLE: 1 pint 6 fl oz brown glass with a gold foil-ed over pry-off pressure cap. Served cold into a Guinness goblet and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

Reviewed live as an imperial stout per the label. 10.57% ABV.

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: 1 finger wide. Khaki colour. No lacing sticks to the sides of the glass as the head recedes. Retention is poor - maybe 20 seconds.

BODY: Opaque amber-black. No yeast particulate or hop sediment is visible.

Appears undercarbonated (though this may be from age). Not unique or special for the style, but satisfactory.

AROMA: Raisin, prune, dark malts, dates, grape, and a hint of cherry. Dark malts. Sweet. Fruit dominates.

An obviously aged brew with plenty of depleted sugars.

A decent aroma of average strength. No alcohol or off-notes is/are detectable.

TASTE: Raisin, prune, dark malts, dates, grape, malty sweetness. Raisin and prune dominates. Decidedly Belgian yeast character guides it.

This just plain isn't an imperial stout; it's a Belgian dark ale.

No yeast, alcohol, or off-notes come through.

Fairly balanced. Lacks much complexity/intricacy. There isn't any subtlety here.

TEXTURE: Subtly dry and coarse. Medium-bodied. Overcarbonated. A biteen rough. Uncomfortably astringent. The dryness and coarseness suits the raisin.

Not oily, gushed, hot, boozy, scratchy, or rough.

OVERALL: Downable but underwhelming, and just plain not an imperial stout. It has a Belgian character and lacks sufficient complexity and subtlety. I expected far better.

D+

 1,654 characters

Photo of damndirtyape
3.99/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

No date, 22oz bottle, shared with friends, served in a clear plastic cup.

Appearance: Black, but not pitch black. Mahogany brown at the edges when held up to the light. Thin light tan ring of foam, with some lacing here and there.

Smell: Fruity, light, sugary, cocoa powder.

Taste: Cherry, dark fruits, burnt sugar, light bittersweet chocolate, with a bitter finish of bittersweet chocolate and roasted malt.

Mouthfeel: Light carbonation, sticky, but smooth.

Overall / Drinkability: Very different for a RIS than other styles I’ve had, lighter, but full of flavor. The wider range of flavors and aromas worked for this beer rather than heading towards the extremes of thickness and chocolate/coffee flavors. Quite drinkable and I’ll have to pick up a bottle again to savor all on its own.

 816 characters

Photo of LouZ
3.86/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very smooth. It did not pack the sweet, malty punch that the Maharaja has and was sort of expected given the description, but very drinkable and subtle alcohol for an imperial.

 176 characters

Photo of Bradrey5
4.5/5  rDev +15.4%

A: Small head, mild cloudiness. Light carbonation.
S: A bit of nuttiness, chocolate as well.
T: Light coffee flavor with a little spice. Thick but balanced.
M: Smooth finish, a bit heavy but not no biting aftertaste.
O: Solid imperial, and would def have again, but was rated 99 by the warehouse I visited. Wouldn't rank it so high, but certainly a good strong stout for those looking for a tasty buzz.

 402 characters

Photo of BenwayPHD
4/5  rDev +2.6%

Pours black with brown along the edges and a tan, mocha head. The smell is sweeter than i expected. Less roast than i would think from this style and a good amount of chocolate. Perfect thick mouthfeel. The flavor is very roasty. Coffee and burnt carbon with a perfect amount of hop bitterness. Although this beer is quite delicious, it's not as complex as i was hoping.

 370 characters

Photo of Franziskaner
4.1/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Midnight black with a fingernail of khaki colored head. Sweet aroma of plums and fig while roasted barley takes a backseat. The taste is very much on the sweet end of the spectrum with strong plum notes with raisins and some gentle bitterness from the roasted barley at the back of the palate. The mouth is velvety smooth,oily and viscous.

 342 characters

Photo of pat61
4.5/5  rDev +15.4%

Bottled 11/2011, enjoyed 11/2013.
Pours deep mahogany with some brightness under a thick light tan tinted off-white film that provides rich lace.
Nose: prune, some sherry notes, dried fig, mild roast.
Palate: Big dried fruit soaked in sherry backed by roast malts that suggest light coffee.
Chewy, creamy, warming, luscious, medium low carbonation.

 350 characters

Photo of jzeilinger
4.15/5  rDev +6.4%

In review is Batch #11 from Nov. 2012.

A - Pours pitch black and the color of tar (sounds like "Czar", eh?). A thick cocoa colored creamy head covers the beer and lasts for a long time before forming a THICK creamy ring around the top.

S - Dark cocoa, burnt chocolate, light char, and cream.

T - Has a moderate amount of boozy effervescence underneath shoots up through the sinuses on the first sip. Lots of oak, dark chocolate, some dark sweet chocolate buried way below with a hint of dark fruit.

M - Thick medium to full body, a little slippery, the oak and alcohol combo make for a semi-dry finish.

O - Because of the bottle age, everything has blended rather nicely but the boozy heat can't be ignored. Overall, with two years on this bottle, it's better than the overall rating and a great sipper.

 813 characters

Photo of ONovoMexicano
3.82/5  rDev -2.1%

On tap at The Mayor of Old Town

A- Dark khaki head that dissipates quickly but leaves a layer of lace. Pitch black body. 4

S- Heavy oak aroma, chocolate and sweet malt. A tad of cherry-like aroma or something fruity. 3.8

T- Heavy sweet malts, milk chocolate, vanilla and oak flavors are prominent, before a heavy booze finish with subtle dark chocolate. Hints of baker's chocolate linger on my tongue. I also notice something like tobacco. 3.8

M- Heavy mouthfeel with a bit of booziness, smoothes out mid-palate before a bitter, dry, finish. 3.75

Overall, a good Imperial Stout but not one that really sets itself apart from others or drinks incredibly smoothly. 3.82

 673 characters

Photo of GarthDanielson
4.16/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 vintage. Poured on tap and served in a snifter, the beer is jet black, with subtle ruby highlights, and a dense, foamy, dark tan head. Aromas of coffee and booze forward, with old world fruit sweetness, woody notes, and an underlying coffee bitterness. Beast. Flavors are a blast of rich sweetness on the tongue, with black strap molasses leading the charge, followed by cocoa nibs, bitter coffee, vanilla, oak spice, and a ribbon of booze. Holy hell, this is big! Smooth and velvety in mouth, with a rich, darkly sweet aftertaste of molasses and brown sugar. Slick, smooth finish. Wow...this is a greay beer!

 614 characters

Photo of SebD
4.07/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: It has a nice jet black color to it. It has a nice creamy tan head that dies down moderately slow and leaves some nice lacing.

Smell: The aromas definitely give out hints of roasted malts, chocolate, vanilla, coffee and some dark fruit (mainly raisins).

Taste: Like the aromas, it has a some sweet roasted malts, chocolate, coffee, a slight nuttiness, vanilla and raisins.

Mouthfeel: It has a low carbonation with a nice overall balance and feel.

Drinkability: It's a very smooth drinkable beer accompanied by good flavors and aromas.

 553 characters

Photo of putonyourwalkingshoes
3.58/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

2013 bottle. Found on shelf of a Whole Foods-eque store. Sitting on the shelf. Needed a stout and haven't had this Avery in awhile if ever. One of those Saturday mornings where I opted for a dark beer instead of coffee.

A: Black mocha brown coloring with a light carbonated head that dissipates quickly. Not too thick. Has the color of a porter in my opinion.

S: Real subtle scents. Very unoffending for a high ABV beer. No detection of alcohol. Aside from a slighty malty chocolate muted scent there isn't much there. Almost milk-like at the end. Sweet.

T: Follows through with the nose, pretty easy going stout. Nice malty and nice low hoppy character that I like in stouts. Vanilla but somewhat chalky at the end. Little bit of smoke but this chalkiness blended in. It makes you desire more but for given the price, I'm not too bummed.

M: Kind of unfulfilling for a stout. You get the carbonation but it has this finish that mimics bitter chocolate without sugar. Not thick at all for a high ABV stout. but smooth. No hard esters as noted in the scent and equally detected in the mouthfeel.

O: A decent stout. There is nothing complex here but at the same time it's pretty inoffensive for the alcohol content and would be an excellent beer to introduce to someone who doesn't care for stouts. Its one of those rare stouts that I like less as it warms up. I love Avery especially some of their earlier sours and Uncle Jacobs. I'd pick this up again. It's right on par with the other stouts that I can get for $8. It did sit on the shelf so that could be factored in but not too much.

 1,592 characters

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

 322 characters

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.

 539 characters

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.

 707 characters

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

 289 characters

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.

 696 characters

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.

 434 characters

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.

 2,593 characters

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.

 555 characters

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.

 745 characters

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).

 939 characters

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.

 269 characters

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.

 405 characters

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!

 518 characters

The Czar from Avery Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 915 ratings.