Czar Brew - Russian Imperial Stout Aged In Oak Bourbon Barrels | Sprecher Brewing Company

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155 Ratings
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Czar Brew - Russian Imperial Stout Aged In Oak Bourbon BarrelsCzar Brew - Russian Imperial Stout Aged In Oak Bourbon Barrels
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Sprecher Brewing Company
Wisconsin, United States
sprecherbrewery.com

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by rallison on 08-05-2007

BEER STATS
Ratings:
155
Reviews:
59
Avg:
3.72
pDev:
14.25%
 
 
Wants:
14
Gots:
24
For Trade:
2
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Ratings: 155 |  Reviews: 59
Photo of GRG1313
3.49/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of jaydoc
3.8/5  rDev +2.2%

Photo of t0rin0
3.75/5  rDev +0.8%

Photo of emerge077
3.11/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Opened this with a few friends, after picking it up in Milwaukee a few weeks ago. Unfortunately it seemed that something had gone awry... definitely oxidized, and developing tart astringent flavors. No date on the label, i'm guessing it was last years batch. No sound when opened. Sprecher should cap these instead of using a swingtop, and wax that if they have to. I think a compromised seal may be the culprit here.

Pours a dark brown, and black in the glass. It doesn't really look thick or viscous, more like a porter almost. The tan foam was scant, dispersing into a frothy ring of bubbles, and a wispy skim across the dark surface.

Aroma had telltale soy and clay notes of oxidation creeping into the sweet vanilla notes of the bourbon barrel.

Sweet and sticky, some vanilla and tart cherry astringency. Fairly light bodied for a barrel-aged RIS. There was a moderate bourbon flavor, and a stout buried in there somewhere, but it was overshadowed by the cherry skin tartness.

No one could finish a glass, but I drank most of mine for the sake of this review.
Will re-review if I can find a vintage dated bottle.

 1,125 characters

Photo of zeff80
4.12/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out an opaque, jet black color with a brown, foamy and bubbly head. It left trails of soapy lace.

S - It smelled of bourbon, vanilla, oak and roasted malt. There was a slight floral aroma.

T - It tasted very sweet and even a little citrusy. The bourbon flavor was mild but present.

M - It was smooth and soft. A medium to full-bodied beer.

D - This is a very nice RIS. It has unique flavors.

 406 characters

Photo of superspak
4.1/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bottle into snifter, bottled on 11/15/2012. Pours pitch black color with a 1-2 finger dense dark tan head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Light spotty lacing clings around the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation retaining the cap. Aromas of big milk/dark chocolate, cocoa, caramel, vanilla, toffee, brown sugar, molasses, coconut, toasted oak, and bourbon; with lighter notes of leather, tobacco, raisin, plum, coffee, smoke, and roast/oak earthiness. Damn nice aromas with great balance and complexity of dark/roasted malt and bourbon barrel notes; with great strength. Taste of big milk/dark chocolate, cocoa, caramel, vanilla, toffee, brown sugar, molasses, coconut, toasted oak, and bourbon; with lighter notes of leather, tobacco, raisin, plum, coffee, smoke, and roast/oak earthiness. Light-moderate roasted bitterness and bourbon/oak spiciness on the finish; with lingering notes of chocolate, cocoa, caramel, vanilla, toffee, brown sugar, molasses, coconut, toasted oak, bourbon, and roast/oak earthiness on the finish for a while. Damn nice complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roasted malt and bourbon barrel flavors; with a great roasted bitter/sweet balance, and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Slightly drying from bitter/spiciness as well. Light-medium carbonation and medium-full body; with a very smooth, creamy/silky, and lightly sticky/chalky mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is very well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish. Overall this is an excellent barrel aged Russian imperial stout! All around great complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roasted malt and bourbon barrel flavors; very smooth and easy to drink for the big ABV. This aged extremely well. Tons of barrel presence with no booziness; and well rounded stout complexity in balance with the barrel notes. A very enjoyable offering.

 1,906 characters

Photo of womencantsail
2.07/5  rDev -44.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Thanks? to Greg for sharing this...

A: The beer pours almost black in color with a finger of tan head.

S: When the first thing you smell is butter, you're rarely in for anything good. Lots of butter, a bit of roast and bourbon, a touch of vanilla, and some sourness. Not sure whether that's vinegar or just too much booze.

T: The flavor is much the same. Heavy on the butter with a more pronounced sourness and even more booze. Light bourbon and vanilla flavors with lots of roast and oak, some coffee is also there.

M: Medium bodied with very low carbonation.

O: This was a nice contribution to the dump bucket.

 617 characters

Photo of TMoney2591
3.66/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in a Dogfish Head shaped pint glass.

There was a "render unto Caesar" joke in my head for this at one point, but I doubt it would've turned out very well. Still, this brew pours a straight black-brown topped by a healthy tan foam. The nose comprises chocolate, roasted malts, oak, cheesy omelets, and molasses. I'm pretty sure that cheesy/eggy smell comes from the barrels, but have no way to prove it. Regardless, it doesn't do the beer any favors. The taste holds notes of roasted malts, oak, vanilla, caramel, dark chocolate, light coffee, and a slight twinge of whiskey. The body is a hefty-ish medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a nearly chewy feel. Overall, a nearly solid big stout, but the slightly off smell and a body that's just a bit too light do not help the drinkability very much here.

 819 characters

Photo of InspectorBob
3.5/5  rDev -5.9%

Photo of WVbeergeek
3.25/5  rDev -12.6%

Photo of imperialking
4.25/5  rDev +14.2%

Photo of jwc215
3.79/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours very dark brown with a thin tan head. Some trailing sticks.

The smell is of chocolate, coffee, oak/bourbon, anise.

The taste of sweet oak/bourbon mixes with chocolate, anise, and mild roasted coffee. Warming dryness in the warming finish.

It hits full-bodied, though carbonation is a bit sharp for the style. Alcohol lingers.

Overall, it's qa rich, enjoyable strong stout with a bourbon/oak character that is blended well. A nice "sipper"!

 449 characters

Photo of 22Blue
3.99/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of feloniousmonk
4/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black as the blackest black, under a creamy, smooth, slathering of cocoa-tanned topping. Classic RIS look.

Rich espresso notes in aroma, molasses, cocoa nibs, ...and the onset of sweet bourbon-y notes, ...more flavors reveal themselves, smoke, char, licorice, they keep coming.

And it's there in spades, on the tongue, full flavored, full-bodied, and surprisingly easy going down. Definite whiskey character now covers the palate, sweet vanilla tones coming in, along with the barrell feel.

Fills and coats the palate more, but not in a overly sticky, intrusive way. Nice, even, well-rounded, balanced, with the whiskey flavor always keeping pace. So tasty, and so easy drinking, with plenty of bourbon-ation trucking on down the line.

 740 characters

Photo of Sweffin
4.21/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of tommy5
3.78/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of fredmugs
3.88/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of jzeilinger
3.9/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Served at room temp. Pours an opaque jet black color with a nice finger or two caramel colored head. You hold this thing to the light and there's nothing going through it, looks like motor oil. Would be best served in a snifter.

Smells of caramel, some toffee notes, vanilla, dark chocolate. This beer does nothing to hide the booze, it's up front and in your face, it smells pretty darn good. Has a little peppery note in the aroma.

The taste really mirrors its aroma. Nice blend of caramel, vanilla, dark chocolate, deep roasted malt, some black licorice, and a very slight touch of coffee bean. But it gets better, there's a huge amount of bourbon flavor in this beer, one of the "booziest" stouts I've had. Regarding the bourbon booze flavor in the Czar: I don't like to mention other brewers in a review but I would say this beer rivals and surpasses the Goose Island Bourbon County Stout and I didn't think that was possible. It's definitely not shy, but in your face and has a very noticeable warming in the throat from the bourbon.

Mouthfeel is surpisingly thin for a massive beer like this and is very smooth. Drinkability is very good but unfortunately the body makes it fall flat on its face and lost points.

The bottle I had was massive - 1L. I'm not sure if this is how the brewer bottles this particular beer, or if I happened to find the man-size version. Definitely need to share with a friend or two unless you want to fall off your chair. I've never heard of the brewery, but I absolutely loved this beer. Definitely worth checking out, I'm going back to buy another bottle or two.

 1,605 characters

Photo of sweemzander
3.9/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A massive 1 Liter resealable pop top dipped in wax bottle poured into a snifter. Winter 2009 release printed on the label.

(A)- Pours a thick pitch black color that produced a great creamed coffee colored tan head with good retention. Lots of lacing left behind as it slowly dissipated.

(S)- A rich roasted profile with caramel and brown sugar with bits of molasses and chocolate.

(T)- Very similar to the smell. A new and bigger raisin character within the roasted profile. Bits of caramel and molasses.

(M)- A good carbonation level and balance. Has a good roasted profile and richness to it. A bit slick mouthfeel with a slight salty component coming through about 1/2 way into the bottle.

(D)- A good stout for sure. I am afraid that this is starting to show signs of going bad due to the signs of that salty soy sauce character, so I am glad I opened this when I did. A solid example of the style and enjoyable. They are still making this, so it is not retired as far as I know. I see the 2010 release in stores

 1,026 characters

Photo of jbaker67
3.75/5  rDev +0.8%

Photo of weeare138
4.32/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Capone's...
Appears a dark brown, nearing black with a dark amber & ruby hue when held to the light. A small, light tan head slowly fades into a mild cap. Scattered streaks of lacing are left around the glass.
Smell is of oak, roasted nuts, vanilla, cocoa, bourbon, and ripe fruit.
Taste is of the aromas with the bourbon being somewhat subdued in the flavors with the dark fruit, brown sugar, and vanilla dominating.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied, mild abv heat, and a bit chewy. Perhaps a tad thin in the finish but not bad, overall.
This faired much better than the bottle sample I had last year and opted not to rate.

 628 characters

Photo of Hohnbaum
3.75/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of barleywinefiend
3.75/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks RJ
Poured a nice black with a light brown head Nose is quite nice, sweet and slightly chocolate.
Taste is nice with cocoa, light coffee, roasted malts with little bourbon.Mouthfeel is a little thin which is surprising as the taste is so rich. it also had a sour, skunked taste on the tail end of this beer. A good RIS but no Old Rasputin.

 346 characters

Photo of rhoadsrage
4/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(Served in a snifter)
A- This beer has a jet black body with a dark molasses tan head that fades to a thin ring pretty quickly.
S- There is a graham aroma with a softer dark roasted note and a softer oaky hint in the finish. As the beer warms the oaky note takes on hints of vanilla and leather.
T- This beer has a big black inky flavor that turns a bit vinous when warm. A soft oaky note in the finish turns more cola like as it warms with a chocolate note and a light boozy note.
M- This beer has a medium-light mouthfeel with a slight astringent hint from the dark roasted grains and a fizz the covers up most of the flavor that might linger.
D- Pretty average when cold but opens up a bit when it warms up. Still bigger flavors would have been nice but the alcohol content was very hidden.

 798 characters

Photo of DeadeyeOTDO
4/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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Czar Brew - Russian Imperial Stout Aged In Oak Bourbon Barrels from Sprecher Brewing Company
3.72 out of 5 based on 155 ratings.
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