The Czar | Avery Brewing Company

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The CzarThe Czar
Very Good
2,097 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.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,097 |  Reviews: 948
Photo of McHalesOnMain
1/5  rDev -74.7%

Photo of jophish17
1.5/5  rDev -62%

Photo of Jeffo
1.77/5  rDev -55.2%
look: 1.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Bottle courtesy of belgbeerdrinker. Thanks for the killer trade man!

Bomber into snifter.
Bottled in 2009

APPEARANCE: Pours really, really light and transparent. Produces a one finger, medium looking, off-white head with decent retention. Black body and no carbonation evident. Head fades to a slight wisp and ring. A ring remains until the end but leaves no lacing down the glass. Way too transparent and thin, and the head is far too light. Doesn't look like an imperial stout.

SMELL: Roasted malts, toffee, dark fruits, raisins perhaps, and some earthy aromas. Medium strength nose, and very different than what an imperial stout is supposed to be.

TASTE: What the hell? Way off base. A touch of roasted malt, but then lots of toffee, caramel, nuts and dark fruit. Some spicy alcohol shows through after the swallow. This RIS is having an identity crisis. A bold and lingering aftertaste is full of toffee, caramel, nuts, and spicy boozy notes. A touch of bitter hops make an appearance, but this is way more about the sweetness and booze. None of the coffee or molasses flavors it'd advertised. A decent barleywine, but a farce of an imperial stout.

PALATE: Medium body and carbonation, relatively light on the palate, and only semi-creamy. Goes down with a bit of a burn after the swallow, and finishes slightly dry on the palate. Fine.

OVERALL: Not impressed whatsoever. How does this get a B+ on here? Unbelievable. There is almost nothing stout about this imperial stout. As far as I can tell, Avery brewed a perfectly fine English barleywine, then got the labeling screwed up somehow. On the other hand, the ingredients did list flavors of English toffee and spices on the RIS label, so maybe the taste profiles got mixed up in the handbook? Regardless, at best this is an American Strong Ale with a touch of roasted malt thrown in for giggles, but to call this an imperial stout is not only a huge stretch, it's a, well, yes, a huge stretch. If this had been called "The King Barleywine" I would have known to steer clear. As an imperial stout, however, this one isn't even close. If you're looking for a big, roasted, chocolatey, Imperial Stout, avoid this one at all costs. Drain got half the bottle.

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Photo of trytoketchup
2/5  rDev -49.4%

Photo of caskstrength
2.03/5  rDev -48.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

from a bomber.

Had fairly high hopes for this one. I'm currently on a RIS binge, sampling stuff all over the place. Heard a few good things about this one, fairly easy to find, so gave it a go.

not impressed.

pours almost more red than black. Good carbonation, which I appreciate.

smell is underwhelming. Not much stout character at all. Alcohol even on the nose.

taste is boozy, sweet, simple. minimal complexity to this beer. Some of the traditional RIS flavors try to break through the alcohol and hops, but fail. Is this really marketed as an RIS? Barleywine maybe?

Hard to drink. strong, sweet, sharp hops.

not recommended. Lots of other stuff to drink if you're looking for an Imperial Stout that's worth your palate.

Didn't meet any expectations at all.

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Photo of PDXHops
2.05/5  rDev -48.1%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

On tap in a shaker pint. A shade or 2 beyond cola brown. Minimal head, poor retention. A bit of lace is teased but mostly drips back in.

A bit of roasted malt in the nose, but the dominant aroma is brown sugar. Unsurprisingly, roasted flavors take a backseat (perhaps as far back as the trunk; this is a very sweet beer). Somef earthy bitterness puts up a bit of a fight in stead of the retreating roast, but the sweetness is thisclose to overpowering. This sweetness isn't even of chocolate; it's mainly brown sugar and molasses. Moderate thickness. A touch of char in the finish, but really lacking in roasted and chocolate flavors to round out the flavor profile. Not something I'd recommend or try again.

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Photo of Wadsey
2.15/5  rDev -45.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

The Czar, bottled 2008

Served in a New Belgium globe glass. 

A: Pours deep brown with light brown head that settles down to a thin, foamy skim. 

S: Crystal malts dominate nose with notes of raisins, brown sugar and some caramel. Additional aromas include earth, tea, cardboard, and faded hops. 

T: Brown sugar and raisins lead off. Some caramel, as in nose.  A few unfortunate characteristics follow: high bitterness, solvent/alcohol, oxidation, and a metallic note. The taste of the beer is paradoxically thin and muddled. Finish is bitterness riding over raisins. 

M: Medium-heavy body and Medium carbonation. Thin but sticky. 

O: The Czar leaves me scratching me head, albeit figuratively. It is not a Russian Imperial Stout...more like a Strong Ale with an American Barleywine twist. No matter, I find the beer to be muddled and not terribly enjoyable or drinkable. I will not revisit.

Thanks to strangebrew321 for the opportunity.

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Photo of sirdrinkwell
2.38/5  rDev -39.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

a: nice mahogany-to-black with a nice thick tan head...

s: very underwhelming and yeasty, there is also a dry and unimpressive fruity character here as well...

t: bread, malt, oats. this tastes more like a barley wine than an imperial stout. i can scarecely detect any chocolate or coffee character in here at all...if i were rating this on its own merits it might get more than 2.0 in the taste department but as a Russian Imperial Stout this is six thumbs down all the way because it is definitely a failure in what it purports to be.

m: rich carbonation, little aftertaste (which is something to be thankful for giving the taste)

d: hopefully this IS better upon cellaring because what you get up front isn't very impressive to me. unfortunately, i am sufficiently unimpressed that i will probably not bother to buy another bottle to test the theory...


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Photo of Vierenner
2.4/5  rDev -39.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

High expectations ... underwhelmed. Take prune juice, throw in bitterness and carbonation, and you get this beer. The bitterness is unusual too ... not like typical hop bitterness ... it lingers in a different, pungent sort of way. The first second or so after a sip tastes nice but then it goes downhill from there.

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Photo of kojevergas
2.42/5  rDev -38.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.25

Batch no 10. November 2011.

BOTTLE: 1 pint 6 fl oz brown glass with a gold foil-ed over pry-off pressure cap. Served cold into a Guinness goblet and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

Reviewed live as an imperial stout per the label. 10.57% ABV.

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: 1 finger wide. Khaki colour. No lacing sticks to the sides of the glass as the head recedes. Retention is poor - maybe 20 seconds.

BODY: Opaque amber-black. No yeast particulate or hop sediment is visible.

Appears undercarbonated (though this may be from age). Not unique or special for the style, but satisfactory.

AROMA: Raisin, prune, dark malts, dates, grape, and a hint of cherry. Dark malts. Sweet. Fruit dominates.

An obviously aged brew with plenty of depleted sugars.

A decent aroma of average strength. No alcohol or off-notes is/are detectable.

TASTE: Raisin, prune, dark malts, dates, grape, malty sweetness. Raisin and prune dominates. Decidedly Belgian yeast character guides it.

This just plain isn't an imperial stout; it's a Belgian dark ale.

No yeast, alcohol, or off-notes come through.

Fairly balanced. Lacks much complexity/intricacy. There isn't any subtlety here.

TEXTURE: Subtly dry and coarse. Medium-bodied. Overcarbonated. A biteen rough. Uncomfortably astringent. The dryness and coarseness suits the raisin.

Not oily, gushed, hot, boozy, scratchy, or rough.

OVERALL: Downable but underwhelming, and just plain not an imperial stout. It has a Belgian character and lacks sufficient complexity and subtlety. I expected far better.


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Photo of bamadog
2.44/5  rDev -38.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Finally picked up a bottle of this after seeing it for a couple of years and reading some reviews on it to determine if it was worth the money. Review is from notes taken on 11/5/2010 and poured from the bottle (bottled in 2007) to a snifter.

Appearance: Pour is dark brown/near black; starts with a one finger creamy tan head that fades quickly to nothing other than a swirly skim on the surface and milky ring; body is entirely opaque;

Smell: Smell is creamy, very smooth and milky, but something seems a bit off... a bit of lactic sourness in there with the smooth creaminess; hints of syrupy chocolate and powdery cocoa; actually a still a mild presence of grassy hops

Taste: Not really all that good actually - I have to wonder if this bottle has turned or is just simply past it's prime... Bit of a sour milky flavor to it with some grassy hops and dirt; definite presence of alcohol and more dirt and cherries.

Mouthfeel: Not quite as thick as I would have hoped; body is of medium weight and the carbonation is smooth and fairly creamy; a thin semi-dry stickiness hangs out for a bit on the roof of the mouth; definite vaporous alcohol hangs on the breath and the belly is definitely left warm.

Drinkability: I won't be looking for it again due to the turned milk aspects in the taste... The weight and ABV would lower it even if it was more palatable; however, if someone else is cracking one that's fresher I'll gladly give it another shot. If I find it deserves a different set of scores, I will gladly amend my rating.

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Photo of sinstaineddemon
2.44/5  rDev -38.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Note: BA says 12.2%, bottle says 11.03%

A - pours pitch black out of the bottle, with a thin dark tan head that wells up and dissipates quickly

S - wow, surprising, no chocolate, no coffee, no espresso aromas, just very hoppy with sublte malts aroma, also a sharp sweetness i can't place

T - slight dark chocolate hints, maybe bakers chocolate, alcohol taste, very weak, not impressed, i can mostly taste only alcohol, no subtle flavors

M - too heavy, but smooth

D - low, not very good, i was surprised, i like avery stuff

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Photo of goochpunch
2.47/5  rDev -37.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Bottled in 2006. 11.04%

Pours a deep black with ruby hues, a head that looks like a tanned frothed milk, and some splotchy lacing. Nose smells like rubbing alcohol at first, with a punch of Hallertaus coming in next. I get even fainter roasted malt and typical stout aromas. In the flavor, some chocolatey and dried fruit notes come out first, which is then pushed out by some stinging booze mixed with heavy sweentess. Finish is medicinal, herbal, and astringently bitter. I enjoyed the herbal hoppiness is got. Mouthfeel is a little slick, not as thick as I'd hope, and the carbonation, although minimal, is a bit prickly for me. Slow to go. Now I remember why I first started hating this beer several years ago. I just can't take this beer when fresh. I think it needs at least a year to become drinkable.

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Photo of BarrytheBear
2.48/5  rDev -37.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

2008 bottle that been shuffled through the fridge to the point that the crusty Ruskie on the front demanded I quit insulting the sensibilities of our fine Cold War foes.

Crimson pour with soapy spotty bubbles

Smell is...hold on here. Is this a KGB attempt at mind control? This is a stout. I repeat....this is a stout. Despite the proclamations, I get get a massive face smack of toffee and sweet malt. Someone may also have smashed a Twix bar in here. I'm looking at you, Vlady Putin. Not unpleasant, but also not what I'd expect from a big stout.

Yikes....the confusion continues. Oodles and oodles of malty sweetness and toffee. In the background lurks a small wave of chocolate that get beaten down by the flavors. The leafy hops cut a quick swath across a beer that feels quite disjointed. A defector for sure...a beer without a country, or more appropriately, a style.

Sluggish and syrupy with low level carbonation that keeps this sticky and a bit of a chore.

Looking back at another reviewer here, I'm not alone. Poor as an RIS, but respectable as an English barleywine. Confounding really.

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Photo of NonicPanic
2.5/5  rDev -36.7%

Photo of redlegacy
2.5/5  rDev -36.7%

Photo of josephwa
2.51/5  rDev -36.5%
look: 5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Purchased a bomber just after the release date.

A - dark brown with lovely thick head. Stays well carbonated through drinking process.

S - skunky stench on the nose. Almost smells spoiled. I get a little brown ale scent from this one.

T - decent taste but lacking depth of flavor. Not what I'm going for with a Russian imperial stout. Aftertaste is bothersome. I do get some coffee and roasty taste further down the bottle though.

M - well carbonated feel. Alcohol burn isn't noticeable at all.

O - overall was very disappointed considering Avery's great brew lineup. Would not recommend this beer.

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Photo of sweemzander
2.53/5  rDev -35.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

22oz. bottle poured into a snifter. No bottled date, but it does just say: bottled in 2008.

(A)- Pours a seriously dark black color that produced no head whatsoever; just some gray bubbles.

(S)- Mountains of toffee, brown sugar, & raisins. Seriously sweet smelling. Some dried figs in there too.

(T)- Exactly like the smell predicted. The toffee & raisins take over where the roasted malts would be. Rather sweet & finishes with those dried figs.

(M)- A good carbonation level for the style. Funky though; very little of this reminds me of a stout, but more like an old ale. Fairly hot and boozy. Where are the roasted nuances? Not much of an RIS.

(D)- This is a confusing beer. This definitely does nothing for me in regards to being an RIS. I dont know if the aging process just changed this too much or if it was initially made in this way. Whatever the case may be, I am not a fan.

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Photo of nvsblman
2.55/5  rDev -35.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Pours a dark black with a coffee colored head. Aroma is full of chocolate and coffee. Also a little licorice. Taste is of chocolate, molasses, toast, and bitter hops, followed by a rush of alcohol. Medium bodied. The alcohol overwhelms any other flavor and really makes this pretty unenjoyable. I had higher hopes for this one, but it would have to have some age on it to try again I think.

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Photo of diomz88
2.57/5  rDev -34.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

A - jet black, creamy looking, thick tan head, recedes slowly with minimal lacing.
S - dark chocolate, coffee, great aroma. roasted malts.
T - too much alcohol right away. minimal amount of chocolates and coffee flavor. too sweet. there's hoppy bitterness but not alot. compared to the other russian imperial stouts, this has less hops in it.
M - full bodied, thick, creamy, not as I expected. had a bad aftertaste with this one.
D - not drinkable for me, doesn't taste like beer for me. maybe others might appreciate this brew but not me. Hopefully it was only a bad batch from Avery.

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Photo of MaltyGoodness
2.58/5  rDev -34.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

220z. bottle

Pours a suprisingly brown color, a deep dark mahogany. Almost no head forms even with an aggressive pour. Specks of lacing on the glass.

Aroma is very sweet an malty with some roasted malt and coffee aromas. Some hops are also present along with a big boozy aroma.

Taste is cloyingly sweet upfront with some roasted malt and coffee flavors. There is a big bitter hop bite followed by a bunch of booze. Seems very unbalanced and the alcohol is not kept in check.

The body on this beast is big and full, but the carbonation is merely an afterthought.

Eh, I find this to be a rather poor imperial stout. I'm not sure what other people are enjoying about this one.

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Photo of xpdrinker
2.59/5  rDev -34.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

22oz bottle poured into Libbey stout/porter glass. Batch #10, November 2011. Purchased at Total Wine & More 12-23-11.

A- Dark brown during the pour but settles black, not opaque. Viscosity appears thin. Tan inch-thick head settles into a thin film with fat bubbles scattered throughout. Plenty of lacing.

S- Nose is hard to accurately discern thanks to my mother-in-law cooking in the next room (ie: burning something). Picking up a candy-like aroma, like sweet paint thinner. Rum and raisin come through. Not picking up any roast coffee or other trademark stout aromas.

T- Christ, this is a sweet mess. Tastes like a 50/50 blend of stout and barleywine. The molasses, candied currants and hint of anise that are mentioned on the label are at the forefront (and just about everywhere else). The sweetness is just way more than I was expecting. Aftertaste shows hints of dried strawberry astronaut ice cream and artificial grape.

M- Body is spot-on for my preference in stouts - thick, viscous, coats the mouth. Medium-low carbonation. A bit sticky.

O- It looks great, doesn't smell like very much, but tastes like a candied kick in the mouth. Sweetness is overbearing. The mouthfeel is just about right but I don't think I can finish this bottle. Big disappointment. Stupid gold foil over the cap and upper neck of the bottle makes me wonder what that adds to the overall cost of the bottle and annoys me every time I look at it.

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Photo of biglite351
2.59/5  rDev -34.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A - nice and dark with only slight red around the edges. Tall lacing tan foam.

S - smells a bit like a doppelbock. Very mild.

T - I don't think that this tastes much like an Imperial Stout to be honest. I would have guessed that this was a barrel aged stout. It seems to have a bit of a bourbon taste to it. There is also an alcohol burn in the top of the throat.

M - no real coating but not watery. Mild alcohol burn in the throat.

D - not my bag.

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Photo of HiLLWiLLiam
2.63/5  rDev -33.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

I am most certainly not a stout aficionado, however I do feel I have experienced a few delightful ones in my day. The Czar would NOT BE one of those stout's. Perhaps I did not know what I was getting myself into when I looked at the 11.00% ABV, however that has never bothered me previously. I would compare the taste to sticky motor oil. Maybe I'm a freak. I don't give a shit.

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Photo of mrasskicktastic
2.63/5  rDev -33.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

A - Very dark brown with a ruby tint. A small head that is short lived. Only a few isolated specks create the lacing.

S - Heavy, sweet dark fruits. Dates, tons of molasses and figs with a touch of coffee.

T - Actually not as sweet as I would have thought. It has a bit of dark malt in the foretaste with an extremely bland bitter finish. There is a lot of alcohol too.

M - Thin, smooth, seems refreshing, butt the alcohol dries you up quickly.

D - Pretty awful, but I can finish it. It is booze and bitterness. Not much character, I like the smell, that is all. I'll pass on the Czar in the future. IMO, one of Avery's worst.

D -

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The Czar from Avery Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.95 out of 5 with 2,097 ratings