The Czar
Avery Brewing Company

The CzarThe Czar
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Russian Imperial Stout
3.97 | pDev: 11.08%
Avery Brewing Company
Colorado, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
The CzarThe Czar
Reviews: 950 | Ratings: 2,101 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of mothmanscott
4.19/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

From notes 9/3/13: This was from Supremely Limited Batch Number 11. Pours a deep brown bordering on black with swirling particulates. The pour produces 3 fingers of frothy, somewhat lasting, mocha head that leaves a wash of speckled, webby lacing. Aroma is chocolate fudge, dark roast, nuts, spice and floral with a faint hint of oaky vanilla (even though it says nothing of being barrel aged). Taste is extra rich dark chocolate fudge and vanilla ice cream cake, hints of caramel, toffee, molasses, a little dark fruit and and anise. A little peppery in the finish with bitterness, anise, light smoke, burnt coffee and chocolate in the aftertaste. Mouthfeel is heavy bodied, low carbonation, creamy, silky and smooth. My goodness what a dessert beer!

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Photo of Beergirl93
4.7/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Bottle dated oct 2014, batch 13.
Love this stuff, came out for a special event. Excellent flavor, slightly mellowed, still sweet, tons of flavor. Lots of malt and sweetness. Glad to have waited on this one.

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Photo of ajm5108
3.96/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pretty sweet for a Russian style stout - some chocolate, candi sugar, black licorice along with some charred oak and tobacco, nice balance between smokey and sweet

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Photo of maximum12
3.73/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Avery – one of my first gateway breweries waaaaay back in the day. Sad to see this one go. 22 oz. bottle, my last, split with my wife, batch #14 dated November 2015.

The pour is black, though not as dark as the current batch of crazy ass, liver-banging, tasty-as-breast-milk-in-May batch of Avery stouts. Smells like dark chocolate, dark malts, dark roast.

The Czar – somebody ought to send a case of this to the Donald. Except he’d probably flip it. To the Philippine President. Opens up with a deep sweetness that gets into my gums. The mid-section brings molasses infused with dark fruits, tarred leather, licorice. Supremely smooth & rich: I feel like I should run upstairs & grab my silk bathrobe, fake pipe, & furred slippers. No alcohol; goes down like Megan Rain. Or so I see.

Once a very good beer, always a very good beer. Avery knows how to use the malts to build a big stout, & this is no exception.

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Photo of Mindsculptor
5/5  rDev +25.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Best RIS I've ever had. Avery, why do you have to be poor and discontinue your excellent but expensive to make beers?

Note: This review is transcribed from Untappd. I got to try Darkstar November after this, and well... This is now my 2nd favorite Imperial Stout.

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Photo of BladesOfBarley
4.36/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Im back again, ye boozers and beer nerds! It has been a while (work is a demanding whore, so check me out on Untapped; BladesOfBarley) so Im cracking a beer I've been saving for a long time now, Avery's The Czar, a Russian Imperial Stout, Batch No.14 Nov 2015. I love nothing more than a good vintage beer, and this one really takes the cake.

The moment you crack this bad boy, aromas of dark chocolate, vanilla and brown sugar fill the air, matching the almost pitch black depth of color. Lacing is thick, but fades with time. What this beer has though, is one thing that many stouts of this strength seem to lack; balance. This beer not only coats the tongue, but it lingers beautifully. Dark fruits, chocolates, vanilla, and the slightest hint of wood (I know, this is not BA).

Beers of this style and this strength definitely benefit from some time in your basement, cellar, or patch of woods (DFH fans know the reference), and this is an excellent cellar dweller. While this batch/year is drinking well now, I can see it improving with a few more years on it. You see this vintage or have the chance to try it, go for it. A true stout lovers dream.

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Photo of Dewsby
4.7/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

I snagged a bottle when I heard it was going to be discontinued. This batch was from Oct 2014, so it has rested for a good three years before I cracked it open.

L: Little light penetration. A lovely, oily black that rolls in slow waves when jostled around. The head was an inviting tan color, but the retention was not nearly as long as I would have hoped. Decent lacing.

S: The smell is outstanding. Intense roastiness, dark fruit, caramels, chocolates, and Belgian candies can be detected on the nose. Hardly any booze can be detected on a whiff. The only gripe I have with the nose is I would like it to be even stronger, the combination and balance is intoxicating, but I wish it was also overwhelming.

T: Everything present in the aroma is also well represented on the palate. The addition of a distinct coffee note was a pleasant surprise since I did not detect too much on the nose. The taste lingers for quite some time, and there are no off-putting grass like or acrid bittering flavors to taint this lovely profile.

F: The mouthfeel is your standard RIS expectation. It is quite oily as one's eyes can easily detect, with a low medium carbonation. It is a pleasure to sip on.

O: This is a fantastic representation of the style. I would have snagged another a while back if I knew it was going to be this pleasant, especially at its typical price point. What a shame it is no longer being produced. Maybe 3 years aging did it some drastic good, and fresh it was a bit green, but either way, I am glad I was able to experience it.

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

Didn't think too much of this beer when I first bought a bottle, but then I later saw one on the shelf that was already aged three years. Big change of scenery.

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Photo of MaximalC
4.12/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

*Bottle dated Nov. 2015

Pours seal brown with only the barest skim of khaki frogspawn. Dark, earthy aroma smells of molasses, peanut brittle, and peat, with a hint of spicy hops and even some char.

The taste features molasses and toffee up front, well-balanced by the same zesty noble hops suggested by the nose. The back end takes on a fruitier character, with dates and currants moving to the fore. Warming reveals notes of anise and char. Alcohol delivers a pleasant, sophisticated warmth in the finish. Surprisingly heavy body and negligible carbonation deliver a hefty, slightly oily, sticky mouthfeel that's noticeable from the first sip.

Overall, this is a full, complex, and drinkable RIS that delivers on multiple flavor facets of the style at once. Whether you like your stout sweet, roasty, or even fruity, there's something here for everyone.

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Photo of PaulElk
5/5  rDev +25.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Tons of flavors from roasty to sweet. Heckuva head from a forceful pour. Delicious in every way. Batch No. 14 from Nov. 2015. Glad I have another one to age

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Photo of BWood
4.51/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow! First off, I'm a huge Avery fan. But this beer is great. Might be my favorite non ba stout. I'll put this up with 1050 all day. Nice head. Extremely soft and creamy mouth feel. And a superbly balanced taste. Malt and rich chocolate.

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Photo of TreyIsWilson
3.88/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A - Pours jet black with a thin tan head. Light soapy lacing.

S - Aroma is roasted malts, dark chocolate and black licorice.

T - The taste follws the aroma with dark chocolate, black licorice, coffee and roasted malts.

M - Full bodied with low carbonation. Soft creamy mouthfeel with sticky dry finish.

O - Nice Russian Imperial Stout. The flavors are big and balanced. Very enjoyable especially for the price.

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Photo of dcscientist
4.19/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Man, I'm sad they are retiring this beer. I finally got my hands on one and that may have been the only one I'll get. This was a very good Russian Imperial Stout, though surprisingly a little lower ABV than you'd expect from an Avery small-batch bomber beer. Really dark, full-bodied, and great on a cold night...just as you'd want it if you lived in Russia.

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Photo of superspak
4.23/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle into snifter, bottled on 12/10/2015. Pours opaque dark brown/black color with a 1-2 finger dense and rocky light khaki head with great retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lasts. Nice dense soapy lacing clings on the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation retaining the cap. Fantastic appearance. Aromas of big milk/dark chocolate, cocoa, caramel, toffee, molasses, vanilla, toasted dark bread, and nuttiness; with lighter notes of coffee, raisin, fig, date, licorice, char, herbal, and roast/toasted earthiness. Damn nice aromas with great balance and complexity of dark/roast/bready malt and light-moderate fruity yeast/earthy hop notes; with great strength. Taste of big milk/dark chocolate, cocoa, caramel, toffee, molasses, vanilla, toasted dark bread, and nuttiness; with lighter notes of coffee, raisin, fig, date, licorice, char, herbal, and roast/toasted earthiness. Light-moderate roast and herbal/spicy hop bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of milk/dark chocolate, cocoa, caramel, toffee, molasses, vanilla, toasted dark bread, nuttiness, dark fruit, herbal, and roast/toasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Fantastic complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roast/bready malt and light-moderate fruity yeast/earthy hop flavors; with a great malt/hop bitter/sweet balance, and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Slight dryness from hop/roast bitterness as well. Light-medium carbonation and medium-full body; with a very smooth, creamy, lightly slick/silky, and slightly chalky balanced mouthfeel that is great. Minimal warming alcohol. Overall this is an outstanding Russian imperial stout. All around awesome complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roast/bready malt and light-moderate fruity yeast/earthy hop flavors; very smooth and dangerously easy to drink for the ABV. This is not nearly as roasty or dense as others in the style; but still has awesome malt complexity, in combination with fruity yeast and earthy hop flavors. A highly enjoyable offering.

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Photo of SD-Alefan
4.22/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours an opaque black with a tan head that fades fast an leaves lots of lace. The aroma is chocolate and roast with scents of char, dark fruit, milk chocolate and cocoa. Big roasty notes lead the flavor: dark chocolate and coffee. Dark fruit, and char follow. Slightly boozy. Mouthfeel is medium, creamy and smooth.

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Photo of HopHunter19
4.15/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - nice off white head that sticks on a dark black/brown beer
S - big roasty, coffee, vanilla, milk chocolate, oatmeal, little bit of toasted marshmallow
T - again big roasty, coffee, dark chocolate/cocoa, milk chocolate, vanilla
M - heavy, alcohol covered, aftertaste is roasty malts, chocolate
O - great beer. Better with some age.

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Photo of GStone899
3.81/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bought this at Casanova liquors in Hudson Wisconsin in May 2016.

Has a very robust toffee flavor followed by a nice smokey char flavor. Mild char but balances well with the toffee. Has a real buttery aftertaste that is quite pleasant. Like a lot of complex stouts this one tastes better as it warms.

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Photo of justinp444
4.24/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a tulip OCT 2014 batch drank on 6/11/16, it has a black body and a inch and a quarter thick beige head of fine foam. Smell of roasted malt, chocolate, lots of a bread-y yeast, vanilla, caramel. and some slight toffee. Taste is Burnt sugar, roasted malt, bitter chocolate, coffee, vanilla, bread-y malt, caramel, and some slight cinnamon. Mouth feel is full, body is moderate, and a light to moderate carbonation.

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Photo of JJKBeerLvr
4.68/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Sampled June 2016 from bottle in pint glass.

Appearance: Very dark color, dark tan head that quickly disappeared. I would have liked the head to last longer.

Smell: Sweet with strong toasted coffee aromas, also some hops, more hops than most stouts.

Taste: Full-bodied with great balance of malt and hops. Dominated by roasted coffee, but with a nice bitterness and kick from the hops. There is also a sweet flavor like molasses. The strong alcohol adds to the flavors as well. Taste starts sweet with malts, then comes the roasted coffee flavors, and then bitterness from the hops. Overall a great combination and a great taste.

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied, but very smooth.

Overall: Nice imperial stout. Best if you enjoy a combination strong malts and bitterness from the hops. Great aftertaste of hops, more than I get from other stouts. I love the hoppy aftertaste that I typically only get from an IPA. I will buy this again.

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Photo of omahawk
3.71/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance is dark almost black with a hint of red tint. Little carbonation and small head that diminished quickly. Taste is slightly boozy, balanced to the sweet side with some caramel and dark malt notes. My preference would be for more hop buttering and roast character. This is a solid, albeit not my favorite big stout,

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Photo of TH28
3.75/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

750ml bottle. Oct 2014 bottle date. Appearance: Black, opaque, with a light khaki head that dissipates quickly. Aroma: Plum and dark cherry fruitiness is quite strong, with dark chocolate and a light roast. Taste: A sharp dark roasty malt, with a touch of wood and cherry. Bitterness is on the lower end of the style. Mouthfeel: Medium body with low carbonation. Alcohol is noticeable and accentuates the astringency of the roast Finish: Leaves a touch of roast and a slight oxidized malt. Overall: A decent but not spectacular imperial stout. Aroma has a nice cherry character to counter the roast. Taste comes off as a bit harsh, especially for a beer with 18 mths on it at 8.5 ABV, as the alcohol and roast come off a little astringent.

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Photo of breadwinner
3.77/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Sharp/acrid nose, a little black marker-y, clearly lots of acidic roasted malt in there. Palate was smoother, more chocolate-forward. It's fine. It's a RIS. It'll do the job, if that's what you're going for. But I wouldn't bother with this when stuff like Expo, Stone IRS, etc. are readily available.

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Photo of Thankin_Hank
4.06/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter from a 22 oz magnum.
Updated to include the last of the Czar that remains in the keg. 5/20/2017 at Ron's Corner Tavern. Another excellent brew from Avery now gone into retirement.

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Photo of Ozzylizard
3.79/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

$ 7.19/bomber (discounted from $ 7.99) ($ 0.328/oz) at Oppermann’s in Saginaw, MI
Batch No. 13 Oct 2014 at 42 degrees into a hand washed and dried JK snifter, allowed to warm to 50 degrees
Aroma weak, roasted malt and licorice, barely noticeable at the end
Head average (three cm, aggressive pour), light brown, creamy with rocks, diminishing to irregular two to eight frothy ring and partial layer
Lacing fair – irregular torn curtains of tiny bubbles
Body dark brown/black, opaque
Flavor very strong licorice, sweet and sticky, faint roasted malt; no hops, no alcohol, no diacetyl
Palate medium to full, creamy, lively carbonation

Appearance 3.75, Aroma 3.5, Flavor 4, Palate 3.75, Overall 3.75

EDIT: This is 8.5%, not the 10.1% listed above.

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Photo of CHickman
4.04/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottled Nov. 2015, Batch No. 14: pours pitch black color with a foamy 1-2 finger creamy tan head that dissipated slowly, leaving very good spotty lacing and rings as it went down.

Smells of dark chocolate, burnt coffee grinds, caramel, bakers chocolate, piney hops, spruce tips, peat moss, roasted malts, cocoa powder, faint vanilla and toasted oats. Some booze cuts through the sweetness, but this is a deep, rich chocolate malt bomb here in this glass. Basic and complex with a lot of chocolate and malts hitting from all directions. Not much fruit in the nose, but the hops integrate well with all the chocolate and roasty elements.

Tastes spicy up front with pepper and what seems like booze starting things off before settling down and allowing the rich sweet chocolate varieties wash over the palate. It's a mix of dark chocolate, vanilla, peat moss, burnt coffee grinds, molasses, toffee, cocoa powder, charred wood, anise or black licorice, piney hops, orange peel, peppery spices, roasted malts, dry floral hops, hot fudge and earthy notes. Some brown sugar and other chocolate candy mixes in, like a Twix, then slides down with oats, more chocolate sweetness and a lot of malty complexities. This definitely gets better as it warms, allowing the strong malt base to mingle with the hops and cover the ABV quite well and seeming more mellow as time passes.

It comes off a little hot at first, but calms down and gets smoother with each sip. Mouthfeel is creamy and slick for such a dense, chewy brew; mild carbonation, a sturdy thick feel and a nice sweet aftertaste that has a slight bitterness which calms the malty sweetness. Overall a solid beer that's a really nice RIS.

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The Czar from Avery Brewing Company
Beer rating: 89 out of 100 with 2101 ratings