The Czar | Avery Brewing Company

very good
941 Reviews
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:
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Reviews: 941 | Ratings: 2,071
Photo of PaulElk
5/5  rDev +27.9%
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 pmcadamis
4.97/5  rDev +27.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - Tar black with a slowly developing brown cream head. The foam looks like whipped chocolate milk, and I want to eat it with a spoon. Lots of creamy lace is left around my snifter, and the two finger head falls to a fat collar and a little haze on top of the brew. This brew shows the slightest hints of brown around the edges when held directly to the light.

S - Dark bitter chocolate, milk chocolate, caramel filled chocolates, double chocolate chip ice cream. In fact, this smells like about every kind of assorted chocolates that you might find in Gump's proverbial box. Profound walnut notes are there along with cream cheese and chocolate flavored graham crackers. This is one of the most outstanding noses that I've ever encountered. A big ole five for smells here!

T - The flavors have all the chocolate complexity from the nose, and bring a big smoky woodfire element in to the mix. The charcoal, smoke, campfires, and wet lumber notes are part of what I'm experiencing during retro olfaction (breathing out of your nose after you swallow). There is an astonishing amount of sugar in this beer, but it's expertly balanced with smoky roasted notes, bitter and tangy hops, and a good alcohol burn. Outstanding.

M - This is as full bodied as a bevy of full figured beauties on a cupcake binge. Ridiculously sugary like cake batter, but it's never too much to handle since the massive hops and astringent alcohol keep things in check.

D - A simply outstanding beer. One could discount this for the amazingly high alcohol content, but for me dinkability refers to my overall enjoyment and opinion of the beer. I'm sure there are threads on this site devoted to discussing the definition of drinkability, and for some it means sessionable low alcohol content. But I rarely drink more than two beers in one sitting, and I'd rather have one bomber of this than three other weaker brews. This is one of the best beers that I've ever had. No shit.

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Photo of Sephiroth
4.97/5  rDev +27.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottled in 2003: The label claims an ABV of 11.9%. The beer is not quite black, and has an almost white head. The aroma has a nice chocolate profile, with dark fruits, and a roastiness that comes with room temperature. Anise, and molasses too.

This is phenomenal. Raisins, figs, sweet molasses, anise, and chocolate, all blended beyond belief. Roasted malt backs it all up. Mouthfeel is smooth, and still carbonated. This has aged well, and just adds to the case for ageing big stouts.

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Photo of Cthulhusquid
4.93/5  rDev +26.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Aged for at least a year by the store I bought it from.

Look: Poured a two finger mocha head, with a jet black body that absolutely no light gets through.

Smell: Boozy dark fruits and milk chocolate, vanilla, and molasses. Almost like a truffle.

Taste: Dark fruits, chocolate fudge, smoked wood, caramel, vanilla, and a note of coffee. Aftertaste of roasted nuts.

Feel: Medium-low carbonation, medium-full body, somewhat sweet, slight alcohol bite.

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Photo of karst
4.92/5  rDev +25.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Czar is up for its 100th review on this February friday night tasting of 10 brews that covered a wide spectrum of styles.

Three tasters interacting with a 2 year old Imperial Stout ( the line up: Ayinger Celebrator, the Czar, Samiclaus, Arogant Bastard, OFallon Smoked Porter, Goudenband Flanders Red Belgium Ale, Cutthroat Porter, Meuller Pale Ale -Springfield Brewing Co., and last and by FAR least a St. Louis macro - not that one . . . Dirt Cheap Beer) List is reversed with the DCB as a pre-rinser for the various glasses used.

Tan head quickly nods under the influence of 12% ABV chocolate-coffee (from over roasted malt) with dense fruity esters suggesting chocolate coated black cherry injected with alcohol. Low - Hallertau hops get lost in taste of spiced coffe and chocolate. fruit, drying mouth with alcohol and finishing off with soft bitterness. Flavors come on harse in this medium-full bodied RIS.

Surgeon-poet Yury Zhivago struggling to survive the winters of the Russian Revolution was torn between fidelity and passion for two women. The Czar is rough, passionate winter warmer that struggles beyond the Old Imperial wanting passionately to be a revolutionary Black Barleywine.

"May you live as long as you want to and Want to (drink fine beer) as long as you live" - capre diem. - Thanks to Shultzerdugen for bring this Avery giant.

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Photo of Jeffreysan
4.91/5  rDev +25.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

22 oz bottle, poured into a goblet

Appearance: Pours a beautiful, completely opaque, pitch-black color, with a half of a finger of oatmeal-colored head that quickly dissolved away into a thin lacing of foam that completely covered the top of the beer.

Aroma: Very aromatic with strong notes of rich, earthy, bready, roasted malt, which imparted aromas of freshly toasted dark bread, freshly roasted coffee beans, dark chocolate, a touch of licorice, lots of brown sugar and a touch of lactose. Inviting and delicious!

Taste: Wow! Absolutely delicious! Strong flavors of rich, earthy, bready, roasted malt up front, imparting notes of espresso, dark chocolate, a touch of licorice, followed by lots of brown sugar and dark molasses-like sweetness. At the finish, there is just a hint of slightly bitter hops, a kiss really. This is a delicious stout!

Mouthfeel: Chewy and extremely smooth and creamy, as there is no carbonation what-so-ever and a lactose-like, creaminess. With an ABV of 8.5%, there is just a slight hint of alcohol warmth on the palate.

Overall: This is a spectacular Russian Imperial Stout! Earthy, rich, complex, roasty, malty, slightly sweet, and absolutely delicious! The Czar is one of the best non-barrel-aged stouts I’ve had, certainly up there with Avery’s Out of Bounds Stout, Dogfish Head’s World Wide Stout, Evil Twin’s Love You with My Stout, Sierra Nevada’s Stout, Founders’ Imperial Stout, Great Lakes’ Blackout Stout, Oskar Blues Ten-Fiddy, etc. Another stellar beer from Avery! I love this brewery!

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Photo of wildvikes
4.85/5  rDev +24%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A very good example of an Imperial Stout. No need to go into extreme details. If it had poured green or smelled like sauerkraut, I would have scored it lower than I did.

Review must be over 250 characters and less than 5,000. Apparently we shouldn't be snobs, but shouldn't not be snobs, either.

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Photo of awmiller
4.83/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Oh yeah… another one to add to the AW Beer Hall of Fame!!! This brew pours up a rich black body sporting a rich tan creamy head that stays with the brew for quite some time leaving some nice lacing on the glass while the brew is being enjoyed. One’s sense of smell is flooded with chocolate, roasted hazelnuts and something along the lines of warm snicker-doodle or warm gingerbread cookies. The flavor of this beer is very complex and yet very, very enjoyable. I can’t even find the right words to adequately describe the flavors noted in this brews; but they are all well-balanced and very much to be savored slowly! The body is just how I like a good stout to be; thick, rich and almost chewy!

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Photo of GClarkage
4.82/5  rDev +23.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

09/16/07- Purchased at Sun Devil Liquors in Mesa, AZ.

Presentation- 22oz bottle, vintage 2004 (13% abv). Poured into my Duvel tulip.

Appearance- Medium black in color. Not jet black, but dark enough where you can only see through a touch. 3/4 inch off brownish-white head upon pour which settles at a slight brown rim. Light spotty lace with a few streaks.

Smell- Licorice, chocolate liquor, deep roasted malt and a light coffee bean notes underneath the alcohol scent. Only regret is that you have to go to the scent instead of it coming to you.

Taste- Drank the first half of this at cellar temp (mid 50's). First sip was full of flavor and very creamy and almost syrupy and chewy. Fairly high roasted caramel malt with a mix of dark and milk chocolate flavor. Kind of like a white russian taste with a mix of coffee beans. Beer is nicely hopped..not super hopped, but just enough to give it a light edge. Notes of licorice, dark fruits (plums) and vanilla come through at the back of the throat. Reminds me of a cross between an IRS and a English style barleywine.

Mouthfeel- Creamy, chewy and viscous. Light, but sharp carbonation. Very mouthcoating. Hop bitterness comes through just a touch in the aftertaste as the beer warms to room temp.

Drinkability- Exceptional beer! Almost a meal in itself. One of the best per style that I have ever had. Really on a different level than Stone or Speedway. Each of those have their own different high points as this one also does. A steal at the $6.99 price tag which I bought it for. Will seek out several more of these if I can find any. Highest recommendation here!!

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Photo of hellsing3
4.8/5  rDev +22.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: The Czar pours a gorgeous jet black color with about a half inch of coffee colored head, decent lacing.

S: I smell good amount of port initially, bits of coffee, chocolate, some licorice and sweet molasses.

T: Tastes of port, sweet molasses, slight bits of semi-sweet chocolate, and coffee. There is also small bits of toffee and sweetness from a dark fruit like currant or black cherry and slight amount of alcohol.

M: There is a smooth feel and great balance to this rich RIS. It flows through the mouth with good levels of carbonation and a nice warming feeling from the alcohol after the smooth finish.

D: This is a great beer, easily one of the smoother drinking RIS considering the high alcohol level of 11.04%ABV, Yes!!! If you like big beers go out and buy this beer as soon as possible.

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Photo of WhiteOak
4.8/5  rDev +22.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2007 Avery "The Czar" Russian Imperial Stout

G- Riedel 6416/07

A- Black-brown with red brown edge. Fine foamy head, quickly settles.

S- Suductive aromas of German chocolate cake, dates, chocolate covered raisins, café au lait, cola nut, and the black currants of a smoky Côte-Rôtie.

T- Round, full, complex flavors of sweet malt, chocolate cake, café au lait, toffee. Delicious dates and dark fruits, chocolate raisins, molasses. Touch of star anise. The epitome of restraint with the Hallerau hops, which are perfectly integrated without being overbearing. Long, delicious, lingering finish of sweet malt and chocolate covered raisins.

M- A velvet fine, alluring, creamy stout. Ideal CO2.

D- Drinkability is inviting and simply addictive. ABV masked.

Serving- Bomber

Comments: This brew is big, gorgeous, and sweetly malty. It has no sharp corners. Its bones are solid, but its flesh is curvaceous and full-bodied, perfectly proportioned, and a joy to savor. I love this beer. The Czar shows that Avery has mastered the (sometimes lost) art of roasting a malt without destroying it, leaving intact the wonderful sweet complexities that would be obliterated by a few more degrees. There is valid discussion that The Czar is unlike other RIS's, and this is an accurate observation. I have based my review upon how this beer presents itself to me, not strictly what it is labelled as. I enjoy this beer, and I am hard-pressed to think of a way it could be improved upon. I am keeping a small stock of this beer to enjoy and entertain others with.

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Photo of Morris729
4.8/5  rDev +22.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

1.100 Original Gravity, 70 IBUs, ABV 11.9%
Pours ink black in color with just a trace amount of ruby hues and a thick tan-colored head that eventually fades into a collar of lace. My rating of the appearance is based solely on the beer itself, though I’m tempted to award bonus points for the very cool bottle. Nose is toffee, semi-sweet dark chocolate, and some faint aromas of floral hops. Full-bodied and quite smooth with a slightly syrupy texture that coats the tongue and the back of the mouth with each sip. Taste begins with notes of molasses, candied dark fruit, and mocha followed by notes of smoky charcoal, rum-soaked raisins, and warming alcohol. A very rich and very enjoyable imperial stout. I’m definitely going to buy a few more of these to lie down for a year or two.

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Photo of jtw5877
4.8/5  rDev +22.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a murky blackish garnet hue, with a tannish white head. Utterly smoooth. A big malty chocolate, coffee, toffee, caramel whap across the face. This stuff hides its ABV better than Iraq hides it's missles. I love this stuff, big, black, powerful, and smooth. The Shaft of Imperial Stouts.

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Photo of mzwolinski
4.79/5  rDev +22.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Boo-yah. This is a beer! I'd had a few others from Avery when I sampled this and so had high hopes even before I saw the label. And you can just tell from the care they put into designing the label that they're pretty proud of this beer -- mine was the 2002 edition. Pours jet black, with only the scantest traces of a dark tan head lining the edge of the glass. But hey, at 12.2% ABV, who can blame 'em. Pour little cabron dioxide bubbles are probably too drunk to find their way to the surface. Aroma is huge, enveloping, overpowering and rich. Coffee, chocolate, and a cherryish/licorice like dark sweetness. Terrific! The beer feels great too, oily, very smooth and full-bodied. Sweet molasses dominates the first part of the taste, with the malt developing a toffee-like toastiness mid-palate. Alcohol spiciness comes through at the end, tingly and peppery, though you'd never guess 12.2% (did I mention it's 12.2% ABV) from the taste. Hallertau hops lend a pleasant though very understated herbal character to the finish, and a nice balance. Chocolate overtones becomes more noticeable as the beer warms. This is an ass-kicker of a beer, but I'll take a beating from it any chance I get.

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Photo of Domingo
4.77/5  rDev +22%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I find myself drinking this quite a bit when it's in season.
Comes a very dark brown/black color. Forms a moderate to dark brown head. The beer coats the glass and if you spill even a drop, it's insanely sticky and dense. Always a good sign for an RIS.
The smell is of molasses, chocolate, liquorice, and fennel seeds.
This is a malt bomb like few others. Lots of dried fruits intermingling with the molasses and cocoa flavors. Depth is actually nearly unlimited. Every sip gives you a few new flavors to consider.
As I mentioned earlier, this stuff is super thick and super sticky. That can probably be good or bad depending on your perspective. It makes this pretty limited as a starter or warm weather brew, but it packs a TON of flavor as a result.
This is just plain great. Not too many imperial stouts have the flavor depth that this one does. Drinkability takes a tiny hit, but that's just the nature of this beast.
Avery's moving up my list of favorite US brewers. As long as you don't mind something that's over the top, they're near the top of the heap.

NOTE: This also makes for a wonderful aged offering. The Denver Bull and Bush offers 2003 bombers of this brew on occasion. The stickiness decreases a bit and the chocolate and liquorice are amped up a bit.. Give it a try if you can. It's not better or worse, but just a little different.

Later Edit: In recent months/years this has grown to become my favorite RIS over the likes of Yeti and Stone. Personally I just think the level of overall depth and the total lack of heat lean in this direction.

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Photo of capn
4.77/5  rDev +22%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

For those of you who really enjoy an imperial stout, this is a great one. I recently had the opportunity to try THE CZAR Imperial Stout from the Avery Brewing Company. Right away you can see the pitch-black color which develops into a nice, thick brown head. Even when held up to a light, this brew could not be seen through. It has a very pleasant and complex nose with several different notes, some obvious, others you have to hunt for. I spent several minutes just enjoying the aroma. The central aroma that I detected was what I think is sweet molasses. The first sip did not disappoint, the flavor was complex and pleasant. Be advised, this a strong one, expect to feel a slight euphoria after drinking this one.

I wish you Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.
The Cap'n

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Photo of KUpolo
4.77/5  rDev +22%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

2007 bottling

Poured jet black and very thick. I allowed my glass to warm a bit after the pour from the fridge.

The strong of chocolate and coffee. These flavors become more apparent upon the first taste. There is a good deal of alcohol in it, but it is balanced by very strong flavors from the brew.

Nice carbonation gives it a pleasant mouthfeel. The high alcohol detracts a little from the drinkability score, but this is a fine beer.

I purchased a couple bombers and plan to age a few as I feel that it is going to mature very well.

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Photo of Brandt
4.75/5  rDev +21.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

this beer poured out a jet black with faint burgundy hues and a rich tan head

the smell of this beer is amazing, you get a rich plum/date aroma in the beer as well as the inevitable alcohol on account of the ABV. there are also notes of chocolate and even jsut a bit of fig.

the taste is the culmination of this brew. this is hands down one of, if not the, best imperial stouts i've had. there is booze in the forefront as expected but such other rich dark fruit flavors like fig as well as the anise/liquorice undertones. in the very back of the flavor profile set a touch of chocolate that jsut rounds it out perfectly.

this beer finishes huge, bold full body and leaves you mouth coated with its glory. this is such a great beer and i can't think of a better example of russian imperial than this one, just a great beer!!

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Photo of happenstance
4.75/5  rDev +21.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

My absolute favorite beer. Should be available nation-wide, year-long.

L: Pours thick. Black. Opaque. Nothing gets through, and I love it. (Nice brown-tan head.)

S: Again, can't say I love it enough. Heady. Makes my eyes roll back in my head as I raise it to my mouth. Chocolate (molasses?). Love it, love it, love it. Heavy aroma.

T: My absolute favorite beer. Taste sends me to heaven. Thick. Heavy. Nice after-taste just keeps reminding one of what you just drank. Afterbite is good. "Old Rasputin" pales in comparison.

F: Again: "thick." Not weak like many beers. Honestly makes you want to pick up the glass and drink more. Heady. (Some might say this doesn't belong in this part of the review, but: "heavy aroma" still applies to its feel.)

Overall: my favorite beer, and can't get enough. I aged several bottles for three years in the dark. Taste increases with age. I wish it was available year-round.

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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.

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Photo of sideshowrob
4.73/5  rDev +21%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Tis the season for Russian Imperial Stouts. This one is at the top of the long list of such brews I've had of late. This beer is smooth. It hides the 12%+ Abv like a stealth fighter. Molasses notes are very prominent in the brew, sweet, but not candy-like. Very dark brew. Tiny taste of currants, approaching a barley wine in overall complexity. Excellent brew, one to stock the closet AND beerfridge with.

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Photo of peppermo
4.72/5  rDev +20.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bomber poured into a Duvel glass.

Poured rich with a solid head.

My wife tried the 1st sip and I could tell that she loved it without saying a word. I probably drank this too fast but I was sad when it was finished. The last bit was as good as the 1st.

I could drink this often

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Photo of francisweizen
4.7/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This brew is definately a good example of this style! The label is awesome with a pic of the czar on it, mine says: "brewed in 2003". This glugs out of the bootle a deep, dark, opaque black colour with some ruby/crismon edges, and a heavy head of tan foam. The head quickly dies, as the bubbles try and make their way to the surface. The aromas are substantial and remind me of Stones excellent version. I smell currants, booze, spicy hops, and deep roasted malts, chocolate, caramel, some lactic notes, and some other dark fruit notes as well. The taste is also exceptional. A creamy blend of booze, dark roasted malts, caramel, chocolate, coffee, currants, dark fruits, and alcohol. The mouthfeel is thick, creamy, smooth, and never really borders on cloying. The drinkability is absolutley excellent for a beer of 12%abv as well. Recommended. This is probably Averys best brew!

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Photo of timbro81
4.7/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow! Light will not pierce the glass with this beer, nice. A good head that that eventually left a slight ring of foam. Smelled of dark roasted delights (port, chocolate, dark malts, dark Belgium candies) slight smokiness, and alcohol. Very silky mouthfeel. Light sweetness balanced with bitter chocolate (probably from the hops which dominate the aftertaste). Becomes much smoother and chocolatier when it opens up. Hides the 11.73% very well. Highly recommended.

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Photo of kbub6f
4.68/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

One of the few big imperial stouts that I can get locally. The Czar has a light tan, bubbly head that disappears fairly quickly to a thin film. The beer below is deep black with nice, dark red highlights. The nose is a little disappointingly faint, but there's some toffee and chocolate. The front is a dark hoppy with some fruit and bitter chocolate. The fruit develops through the middle. It's almost apple-like... an impression that only intensifies with temperature. There's also a good dose of tangy toffee in the thick, malty body. The finish is very bitter with considerable alcohol bite. This is very good. The hops are more pronounced than the big, intense malt-monster imperials. The malt here is more toffee-like. Almost British toffeeness. I wonder if that alcohol would tame if you left it for a year or so....

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The Czar from Avery Brewing Company
3.91 out of 5 based on 2,071 ratings.
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