The Czar | Avery Brewing Company

very good
2,086 Ratings
The CzarThe Czar

Brewed by:
Avery Brewing Company
Colorado, United States

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.10%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Wildman on 01-05-2003

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

For Trade:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,086 |  Reviews: 946
Reviews by Buschyfor3:
Photo of Buschyfor3
4.1/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

2006 vintage bottle. A steal of a find at $7.99 for a 11.04% ABV Russian Imperial Stout with 3 years of age on the bottle. Served in my Sam Adams Perfect Pint glass. Served slightly chilled but I know it will take me some time to work through this bomber so it should warm to room temp nicely.

A: A sluggish, viscous pour produces a rich, deep mahogany brown with some lighter cola highlights around the edges of the glass, but by no means is this beer translucent - definitely opaque through and through. Not the darkest looking RIS I've come across though. Good head on the pour, a creamy, dark khaki/beige top easily a couple finger thick. The initial head dissipates to a sheet of lacing and bubbles that arise near the edges of the glass. Coats the side of the glass with an oily film on each sip... nice.

S: Alot of dark fruits on the nose, with raisins being the most prominent note, and possibly some hints of dried cherries. There is also a licorice note in there as well. Somewhat sugary sweet on the nose - brown sugar and molasses for sure. Not really getting any kind of hop bitterness, and I wouldn't expect any with 3 years of age on the bottle. A slightly salty, soy sauce note sneaks in late, blending in with some of the bready, malt aromas. Not really getting much any booze on the nose, which I hear can be quite prominent on fresh bottles.

T: There is alot going on under the surface here. First sip delivers fruity, raisin-like flavors, followed by dashes of brown sugar and molasses. A bit of dark cocoa gets added to the mix, as well as some black licorice. The initial sweetness is surpassed by the malt background which delivers strong bready flavors along with glimpses of roasted malts and a nutty/buttery note akin to the aftertaste you get from swallowing a spoonful of peanut butter... can't really say I've ever had another beer produce that taste phenomenon but I really like it. A touch of alcohol kicks in near the finish, offering some warming spiciness but it never dominates the flavors on offer. Aftertaste brings out some stale bread flavors and a lingering hint of cocoa and raisins. Flavor profile is quite smooth and layers blend together quite well, probably enhanced by the age on the bottle.

M: Frothy, creamy smooth thanks to some superfine carbonation. Syrupy on the tongue and it coats the mouth. To be honest, I'm pretty impressed with the mouthfeel on this beer... it surprised me. This really feels like velvet on the tongue. I think I have to give this a 5 because this just feels exactly how I imagine a big, imperial stout should feel.

D: 11.04% ABV listed on the label, and while you can feel the booze creeping up as the bottle warms, the alcohol seems kept in check in both the aroma and the flavor profile. I think the aging probably smoothed out the sharp, boozy edges that other reviewers noted from fresh bottles, but the alcohol is still there and you still feel it warming your insides as you go along. One bomber is definitely enough to get you going for a night or to prolong your buzz. This beer is a sipper... and while it is probably one of the easiest-drinking sippers I've had, one bottle is enough to keep my buzz going for the night. A second bomber would be overkill, if not because of the richness of the flavors found in The Czar, it's because the alcohol is so stealthy, even with age. If anything, the fact that the alcohol is felt but not tasted is a testament to how well crafted this beer really is and how it has held up over 3 years.

This is the first Avery offering I've ever tried. I spied a '06 vintage bottle at my local bottle shop, and knowing that they are pretty considerate when it comes to storing bottles properly, I thought "What have I got to lose? A killer price for a 22oz bottle that has been aged 3 years for me.... I'll give it a shot!" I'm really glad I picked up The Czar. Smooth and delivering a nice blend of flavors backed by a delicate and devilishly smooth mouthfeel. Really enjoyed this one. Not sure how a fresh bottle would compare, but with age, this is quite a nice RIS to enjoy. With age, could this compete with some of the best of the best RIS? Perhaps. I think this bottle proves that The Czar is mighty fine with some age on its side. In the overall picture, however, The Czar probably falls just shy of RIS greatness - there are other examples that are better in each of the rating categories. Still, don't let that convince you to pass over this stout... it is worthy of a spin for anyone looking for a solid, enjoyable RIS.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of RoyalT
4.74/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Intro: There is an English thief among us that steals our prose and claims to have a wit all his own. Alas, the poor dolt is folly, for his pint-sized emasculated unimportantness is second only to the sorry desperation of an attention-starved hormone-injected gender-balanced transvestite on the eve of its wedding night trying to distinguish true asexual desires from pornographic fantasies involving John Wayne, Matt Damon, and an offset fence pole in the back of Mrs. Smyth’s tomato garden. In the end, the bum of the beach that is said to be long is a day late and a few x chromosomes short. Onward to better things . . .

Appearance – The ruby cherry blackness in the body signals that this is a significant Stout of substantial proportions. There’s not much of a head, but I guess when you tip the scales over a 10 ABV it’s to be expected.

Smell – “Complex,” doesn’t begin to describe this RIP. The base itself is solid roasted malts. The beverage then takes its cue from the Grand Cru and throws out a plethora of fruity notes. The Rainier cherries, ripe apricots, subtle bananas, and star fruit are soaked in alcohol. This is not day-old gin at 3.99 a fifth from the Stank Ho Stop & Go, this is fine imported East European vodka unbruised from well-water ice and the occasional eight pound Costco olive.

Taste – This is an event of a lifetime. The myriad notes from the nose all migrate downward to the tongue. A promise is a promise, and this Stout is true to its olfactory word.

The roasted malt base is in effect, strong and supportive. The huge fruits come galloping along. There are even a few hop notes to keep things totally interesting. What a treat!

Mouthfeel – Almost full in the mouth with some moderate dryness. There’s a bitter nature to this one that begs to be hit again.

Drinkability – Work, wife and maybe some mild long-term health concerns are the only things keeping me from drinking a bottle of this every night.

 1,970 characters

Photo of oberon
4.1/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours like an oil slick completely black with a mocha colored head that is gone pretty quickly,big buttery aromas almost of butterscotch and dark roast coffee.Typical big Impy stout flavors vanilla spiced rum and some butter along with some unsweetened chocolate with the high alcohol coming thru more as it warms.Incredibly smooth mouthfeel went down to easy for me even in the hot NC weather today.A damn solid impy stout glad I gotta chance to try it thanks to hopped up for the chance.

 489 characters

Photo of Tiernan
4.75/5  rDev +21.5%

Photo of wesbrownyeah
3.61/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Avery Czar Russian Imperial Stout. 10.82% alcohol as stated on bottle.(2009)BD

A- Pours a pitch black fluid that does allow some light to pass on the lower part of my pint glass that glows a firey dark amber. Small quarter inch light tan head falls to a froth leaving rings of lacing.

S- Upfront is a raging alcohol scent that burns the nose with fury. Second is a mild coffee and cocoa. Last is very light sweet molasses and hops.

T- Quick warming effect of a hell of alot of estery alcohol bite. After is a smooth hit of bittering hops followed by coffee and sweet caramel malts. Mouthfeel is creamy after the alcohol burns off its unhidden state. Alittle rough and hot in the mouthfeel department but hell its for drinking.

D- Massive alcohol bomber and i'll remember when a moderate priced stout with more than enough alcohol is wanted and some flavor is recieved.

 872 characters

Photo of SanFranJake
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%

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

From BeerAdvocate Magazine Volume II, Issue I:

Pours a nearly opaque pitch-black, with ruby hues marking the edges and a cascading tan head that crowns to a good two fingers. Aroma is of rich, sticky, deeply ripe fruits--raisins, prunes and figs come to mind--followed by a smooth chocolate note, freshly-milled malts and an alcoholic sherry back. Ultra smooth on the palate: full-bodied, round, viscous and creamy from a lively carbonation. The chewy malt flavors are bold with a strong chocolatey presence, mild espresso, some tangy molasses, deep rooted toffee candy, caramel, honey, golden syrup and an anise-like edge; we're picking up pumpernickel bread, too. Hops are leafy, spicy, even a bit resiny and provide just enough pushback on the malty sweetness. Alcohol is quite warming and hot, producing a bit of a rummy sensation that's both sweet and peppery. Finish is dry, with lingering char notes, faint tobacco and a dusting of malt husks.

The Czar is a bit hot out of the gate, but surprisingly balanced and definitely a must-try for RIS fans. Avery's website notes, "The 2007 Vintage is showing beautiful notes of chocolate right off the bat." They also recommend aging the Czar to allow it to mature, becoming more dense and complex. We agree.

 1,259 characters

Photo of Dmann
3.85/5  rDev -1.5%
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.

 896 characters

Photo of DahWag
4.5/5  rDev +15.1%

Photo of blitz134
3.93/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Opaque black. Small fleeting tan colored head on the pour. Only a quarter inch to start and finished with a dense foam ring around the glass.

I find the aroma really light and have a hard time picking out much. I do pick up dart toasted malts with some signs of heavy roasting. Dark fruits, raisins and plums come forward. Needs more strength for a higher score.

Dark roasted flavors come through again as expected, dark chocolate and some roasted coffee with hints of toffee. Dark fruit presence again, fig and raisin. Alcohol is evident but isn't overbearing and works well...which is a surprise for its strength. I knew this was strong when I first tasted it but I wasn't expecting 12+%.

Mouthfeel is thick, full and slick on the tongue. Coats the mouthwell. This still has some prickly carbonation on the tongue as well.

Good drinkability overall. Decent flavor and a nice mouthfeel. Slightly alcoholic but the flavor profile works with it well. Surprisingly not as warming on the stomach as one would expect with the ABV. Good brew...

 1,051 characters

Photo of sabitu
4/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of bulldogg915
4.75/5  rDev +21.5%

Photo of freshflesh
4.75/5  rDev +21.5%

Photo of SD-Alefan
4.22/5  rDev +7.9%
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.

 316 characters

Photo of DaftPatrick
4/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of warnerry
3.73/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2009 bottle

A - Pours deep brown with a touch of red and two fingers of tan head that has decent retention but leaves no lacing.

S - Smell starts sweet, with toffe, roasted malt, dark chocolate and black licorice. A bit of alcohol in the aroma.

T - Taste also starts sweet and malty, with dark chocolate, roasted malt, anise and dark fruit. Taste starts to dry out a bit bit and adds some bitterness. Some alcohol in the taste as well.

M - Mouthfeel is on the lighter side of full, but still coats the palate.

O - Pretty good RIS. This is one of the first RISs I ever had. In the years since then, I have had many that are better, but this is still a good RIS at a decent price.

 684 characters

Photo of tvenne
4.25/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of dill
3.68/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured at room temperature from a 22 oz bottle into a sampling glass (all that was available).

A - deep brown color with a thick foamy light brown head.

S - not too strong but some coffee notes.

T - a nice balance of coffee and molasses.

M - nice creamy texture. little carbonation.

D - quite easy to drink for a RIS. not quite as tasty as my favorites in this style, but a decent brew nonetheless.

 404 characters

Photo of Beaver13
3.98/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

The Czar poured a deep, dark, opaque black. It had a small brown head that only showed up due to a vigorous pour and went quickly down to a thin lacing and collar. It had a very subtle aroma of sweet malts, with some floral and yeasty and tangy alcoholic tones. It was definitely a thick and chewy beer, with a sweet molasses start and a hoppy finish with a big alcoholic bite that got stronger as the beer warmed. It started off a little over the top, but the more I drank it, the better I liked it.

 500 characters

Photo of alarmclock314
4.25/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22oz bottle, batch #13, dated Oct 2014. The label also lists: 22.8 deg Plato, 55 IBUs, and 8.5% ABV. Pours brownish black with a somewhat small tan head which leaves some good lacing. Smells of slightly floral hops, roasted malt, cocoa, and espresso. Taste follows in the same order; floral, roast, cocoa, and espresso bitterness. Slightly sweet. The carbonation is low-medium and the body is average for the style. Overall, I enjoyed the bold flavors and felt they worked well together.

 494 characters

Photo of SmellsofMahagony
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of 77apm
4.49/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Mindsculptor
5/5  rDev +27.9%
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.

 264 characters

Photo of iemailjack
3.5/5  rDev -10.5%

Photo of megamass
4/5  rDev +2.3%

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The Czar from Avery Brewing Company
3.91 out of 5 based on 2,086 ratings.
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