The Czar
Avery Brewing Company

The CzarThe Czar
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Style:
Stout - Russian Imperial
ABV:
10.1%
Score:
89
Avg:
3.97 | pDev: 11.08%
Reviews:
953
Ratings:
2,104
From:
Avery Brewing Company
 
Colorado, United States
Avail:
Retired (no longer brewed)
Wants
  91
Gots
  356
SCORE
89
Very Good
The CzarThe Czar
Notes:
Reviews: 953 | Ratings: 2,104 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by MaximalC:
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MaximalC from Illinois

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.

Feb 26, 2017
More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
oberon from North Carolina

4.1/5  rDev +3.3%
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.

Jun 06, 2005
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RoyalT from Ohio

4.74/5  rDev +19.4%
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.

Feb 20, 2004
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3.75/5  rDev -5.5%

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Jan 29, 2013
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Kevinpitts from Illinois

3.75/5  rDev -5.5%

Dec 13, 2014
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PorterLambic from Florida

4.1/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours out from the bomber bottle black with a small, dark brown head.
Smell is roasted malt, vanilla and nut.
Taste is similar with roasted malt, vanilla, oak, peat and very light hops.
A rich, full-bodied brew. Very light effervescence and a dry finish. Another very good brew from the folks at Avery. Thanks.

Sep 21, 2010
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I2uss from Minnesota

4/5  rDev +0.8%

Nov 18, 2011
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JordanC from California

2.83/5  rDev -28.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

It was a dark brown color, not as black as other RIS beers, but looked inviting

The smell was heavy with alcohol, the sour mash smell really stood out.

Taste was just like the smell, heavy on the alcohol. Some molasses and chocolate overtones

Not as thick as I would have liked and again the alcohol dominates

Average is a good way to describe it. Not a bad beer, but on the low end as far as RIS beers go, probably would not purchase again

May 15, 2008
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RiverCityBrews from Kansas

4.25/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Apperance - One finger head in an 8 oz snifter. Head Retention is long lasting. Once poured, this beer boasts robust crimson waves snaking around in an inky darkness. Note: Other than head, this is partly the brewers description but I found it very accurate.

Smell - Malty and slightly biscuity. The Belgian Candy Sugar Avery uses adds a swirling ice cream cone goodness to the dense dark cloud.

Taste - Rich and full. Hits the tongue with what can be described as an onslaught of high quality ingredients from one end to the other, without any degree of insult. The above mentioned Belgian Candy Sugar holds the ingredients together and smooths the strong malts. The malts are powerful but graceful.

Mouthfeel - A truly well balanced mouthfeel. No swish or foam. Just the right amount of stick. Almost feels like it's rolling along your mouth instead of sticking.

Drinkablitiy - The mouth and taste part of drinkability are not a problem. For one, I could (and have) drink just this beer all night. The only problem one might come across is if they are not used to thick beers it may be a little heavy on the stomach after 440z or so.

Mar 21, 2010
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BierBliss from New Hampshire

3.5/5  rDev -11.8%

Jan 13, 2012
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Dirty25 from Germany

3/5  rDev -24.4%

Apr 02, 2014
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npdevil27 from Massachusetts

4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Jun 06, 2018
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kenstogie from New York

4.25/5  rDev +7.1%

Aug 16, 2014
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BuckeyeNation from Iowa

4.3/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottled in 2003. Simple black with surprisingly generous ruby-gold highlights along the bottom edge of the glass. The beer isn't quite the all-encompassing, glass-crowding black hole that I was anticipating. The golden brown sugar colored cap is more bubbly than thick and rich, but still manages to deflate slowly and to leave a thick collar of crust.

While the nose is dark and rich, it lacks the nasal mucosa ripping pungency that the best of this style possess. The aroma consists of uber-roasted black malt, darkest fruit (raisin paste, prunes) and molasses. It isn't all that deep or broad. The flavor better be more forthcoming or I won't be so kind.

Thankfully, it is. The Czar is tremendously well-mannered, while still delivering potent, taste bud saturating dark malty goodness. Although the mouthfeel could be thicker and richer, the flavor is out of this world. Bittersweet chocolate, blackstrap molasses and anise are the principal elements. Hints of sooty smoke are present as well, while coffee is a no-show.

I didn't mean to overlook the dark fruit and still kickin' hops. One need only look beneath the massive maltiness and those flavors are there for the appreciating. The fact that spicy Hallertau still make an impact speaks to the quantity that must have been present at the time of bottling. The ABV is listed as 12.2% above and 11.9% on this bottle of '03. Either way, it doesn't taste like it. Age, no doubt, has helped.

I could tell by the black cherry color of the beer as it was poured and by the considerable highlights in the glass that The Czar wouldn't feel like heavy cream in the mouth. I think it would be a better beer with more heft, but it's so silky smooth that I don't mind all that much. Actually, the mouthfeel tempts one to gulp rather than sip. Given the stealth ABV, that's a recipe for total body numbing (I speak from firsthand experience, time to slow down).

The Czar is one of Avery's finest big beer creations and is a more than respectable Russian Imperial Stout. A bigger, more luxurious mouthfeel would have increased my enjoyment since it would have allowed the tremendously deep flavor profile to linger all the longer. I didn't taste it fresh, but I can't help but believe that the two years of rest were two years well spent. Thanks to prAna for the penultimate beer from the first trade that I ever made.

Nov 14, 2005
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ncketchum from Wisconsin

3.96/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Batch No. 10, Nov. 2011

Cellar temp, imperial pint glass

A - pours dark brown, not thick as I'd expect an imperial stout. Fluffy light brown head, fades to leave a nice lacing

S - aroma is chocolate, oak, malt, some alcohol on the nose

T - heavy on the roasted malt and coffee, little bit of dark cherries, good amount of bitterness of hops

M - very smooth initially, lingering burn of alcohol in the end

O - this is a pretty nice big stout. Not spectacular, but solid nonetheless

Mar 30, 2013
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Med from Pennsylvania

3.81/5  rDev -4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Bottled in 2003.

A - Wonderful black color, but even with an aggressive pour no head at all and correspondingly no lacing.

S - Toffee, bitter chocolate, a hint of coffee, alcohol is present. Sweet but not overly so. Very pleasant.

T - There's a back and forth going on between a roasted sweet flavor and a bitterness, but a nice balance between the two.A fair amount of dark chocolate and noticeable alcohol warming.

M - Nice full body and coating but not enough carbonation.

D - While there are some flaws, I really like this.

Jun 08, 2008
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MrStark from North Carolina

4.3/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bomber(bottled in 2008) into a snifter glass.

Appearance is opaque black with a bit of red around the edges and a frothy tan colored head that settles into a thin film.

Smell is of roasted malt with hints of coffee and a little bit of chocolate as well. A bit of hops in the end but overall a fairly light and sweet aroma.

Taste is fairly chocolaty up front with some dark fruit and coffee as well. The alcohol makes itself known giving a nice warming bite and a slight bitterness to the finish. A pretty well balanced flavor.

Mouthfeel is full bodied and smooth that feels pretty creamy on the tongue. A mild amount of carbonation and a pleasant burn from the alcohol. Very nice!

Drinkability is good. It goes down fairly easy for the alcohol but I don't think I'd want is as a session beer. Better to have it now and then and take your time with it. I would certainly like to have it again and I'd like to see how it would be with a little more age on it as well.

Dec 02, 2009
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antlerwrestler19 from Nebraska

3.11/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2010 bomber poured into New Belgium globe. Deep dark brown when held to light otherwise looks black - one finger toffee colored head that falls rather quickly leaving a ring of foam remaining atop the beer - small amount of thin wispy lacing. Smells of burnt caramel, dark chocolate, dark roast coffee, spicy and boozy as well. The taste is kinda funky, very spicy, black licorice, burnt chocolate and caramel. Mouthfeel is smooth medium bodied with a bit of a burn from the abv. - not intolerable though. I saw this bottle at a local Cubby's gas station/market store and I've passed it up the last couple times but I had just cashed a check I went ahead and snagged it up. I'm not really diggin' it, reason being: I'm not a fan of black licorice and this stout is really strong in that flavor IMO. I'll probably stop back in and snatch another up to set aside and revisit in the future to see if it mellows out.

Enjoy!

Aug 15, 2011
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mscudder from Georgia

4.05/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Grabbed from HopCity and poored into a Duvel tulip. Batch No. 10, November 2011

A - Dark but not the darkest I've have ever seen, viscous, minimal brown head with poor lacing.

S -Caramal, dark fruits, light chocolate, faint notes of alcohol and a bit of coffee.

T - Lots of roasted malts, sweet flavors deriving from chocolates and vanilla. Towards the end I am getting some lighter herbal notes which aid in the progression. Very good!

M - Thick and warm with a clear presence of alcohol, yet it does not leave a "burn" of any kind. This has a great body, and excellent low carbonation to compliment the taste.

O - I picked this up after being blown away by the Maharaja. Needless to say, this is a fine RIS, but I believe I have had better. The high ABV is noticeable and I must recommend a DD if you are throwing one of these down out at the pub! If you see this on your store shelf and you are a fan of RIS then I recommend picking this up, otherwise I believe there are better alternatives.

Feb 17, 2012
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BrewmanCapote from Illinois

4.25/5  rDev +7.1%

Jun 25, 2013
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Stevebeergeek from North Carolina

3.75/5  rDev -5.5%

Sep 25, 2014
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Sammy from Canada (ON)

3.6/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This is contra the herd, but I left most of this bottle for cooking. There was an overpowering bittersweetness that left this not very drinkable for me. Yes, beautiful black. Aroma of sweet molasses and maybe fig and dates and other fruit. And while masked, alcohol way too much.

A bomber 18 months later, and yes, I left the majority to cooking. very smooth and syruppy bittersweet. Improved rating, but not the pentultimate.

Three years later and good, brandyish. One of Avery's best still not the greatest imperial stout.
six years later and hangs in rgere, an aged version for 7 years and not so drinkable, but barleywinish.

Jul 18, 2004
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MuenchenerKindl from Germany

4.35/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle dated 2004 into a small snifter. This brew is dark and opaque, just a bit of brown around the edges. The Head is small, 1 finger, tan and fluffy, it leaves some lace.

The smell is very pleasent, dark roasty aroma with the curious presents of vanilla. Also lots of chocolate and some coffee, all bound by a warm alcohol presents. The Keller did a wonderful job on this one.

The taste is excellent, a very fine brew dark roasty but not over burnt, chocolate, coffee, notes of vanilla, and a hint of molasses. Very well balanced I really am enjoying this one.

The mouthfeel is great. This really is how these brews should be, warm smooth tasty and pleasant.

The drinkability is very good but sipping make more sense, it make the pleasure last longer and keeps the senses sharp.

Oh what a great treat this was.

Prosit und Zum Wohl. MK

Mar 24, 2007
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cvstrickland from North Carolina

4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a 2007-bottled 22-ouncer into a seidel;

This brew is damned near black--virtually opaque with a cranberry tinge only at the extreme edges of the glass... like used motor oil, with India ink in it; a 1.5 finger head diminishes slowly to a tightly-bubbled, fat-ringed sheet of creamy khaki foam that leaves some nice lacing at the sip lines.

Smell is surprising; predominantly flowery, maybe even a little fruity, with some spicy dark chocolate, sweet toffee, and notes of lightly-roasted coffee.

Taste is true to smell, and then some... sweet with flowery hops,bitter chocolate; plus a tinge of fruity tartness appearing briefly in the background, just before a whiff of sweet alcohol, plus an afterthought of dark roastiness.

Smooth and creamy mouthfeel, pleasantly-light carbonation. Significant warming effect in the gullet.

This is unlike any other RIS I've ever enjoyed...seemed more like a barleywine almost... Though I personally claim to prefer the dark, roasty, smoky stouts, this predominantly sweet, herbal, aromatic brew was easy to drink and very pretty to look at. Good stuff. Potent.

Mar 26, 2008
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mikel52588 from New York

3.98/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Dec 28, 2015
The Czar from Avery Brewing Company
Beer rating: 89 out of 100 with 2104 ratings