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: 2,074
Photo of MaximalC
4.12/5  rDev +5.4%
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 +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 BWood
4.51/5  rDev +15.3%
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 -0.8%
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 +7.2%
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 +8.2%
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 +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.

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Photo of HopHunter19
4.15/5  rDev +6.1%
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 -2.6%
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 +8.4%
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 +19.7%
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 -5.1%
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 -4.1%
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 -3.6%
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 Ozzylizard
3.79/5  rDev -3.1%
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 +3.3%
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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Photo of MacMalt
4.02/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottled in 2014. Poured into a stout glass. It pours a dark mahogany - nearly black - with a creamy light tan head and lacing. It smells of roasted malt, dark chocolate, vanilla, and oak. The taste features mocha, cocoa powder, dark fruit, and a hint of molasses. It has an earthy, rich flavor. There is a slight bitterness at the finish. For a stout, it's rather thin in body but with a moderate ABV of 8.5% it is extremely drinkable. Overall, it is a good RIS that touches all the bases but it isn't in the top tier with the likes of Parabola, Ten Fidy, Narwhal, and Bell's Expedition.

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Photo of q33jeff
3.81/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle to snifter.
LOOK: dark black, light tan head.
AROMA: heavy malt, barley, not necessarily toasty.
TASTE: chocolate, beef stew, aftertaste has some dark fruit, red wine.
FEEL: thick, meaty, light carbonation, touch of creamyness.

Lacking a little something, but a good beer nonetheless.

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Photo of Zoomslowik
3.92/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L- black pour with a thin, tan head. Little lacing.

S- chocolate and roasted malt.

T- more chocolate, carmel, a little dark fruit. Some booze on the finish.

F- creamy, between a medium and heavy body.

O- good, but not mind-blowing.

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Photo of bwood06
3.62/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle into a tulip glass

A - Moderate pour produces a 2 finge head that is dark khaki in color and is frothy in appearance. Head dissipates very slowly. Carbonation is moderate to significant based on the amount of bubbles clinging to the sides of the glass and those that rise quickly towards the surface. 4/5

S - Aromas are primarily earthy. Notes of espresso, dark chocolate, oak, herbal hops, and sorghum are the primary aromas with bits of dark toasted bread toffee. A bit of savory roast and vanilla is apparent but mainly as a severe undertone. 3.75/5

T - Toffee and just a slight hint of caramel hit the palate off the bat. These transition quickly to a leathery taste with a bit of peat moss and vanilla. Just a hint of dark chocolate helps to balance things out but the overly earthy notes remain. Espresso bitterness and quite a bit of musty hay linger on the palate for quite some time. 3.5/5

M - Very little in the way of carbonation tickle. Smooth and creamy throughout the entire sip. Heavy in body. Leaves the mouth very wet. 3.75/5

O - Somewhat underwhelming, especially considering the abv. Very earthy and little in the way of sweetness to balance it out. Mouthfeel and aroma are the highlights here with the taste being the underwhelming bit. 3.5/5

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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 Pray_For_Mojo
3.67/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served on draft at Avery brewery.

Appearance: the appearance is more on part with a black IPA. Transparent with a light tan head that fades to only a lacing.

Aroma: absent of aroma: bland.

Flavor: roasty and sweet with burnt sugar notes, but no one standout flavor. Generic, underwhelming.

Mouthfeel: chewy - the body is where it should be: snifter weight.

Overall: this is a beer to be skipped in favor of other Avery offerings. Really lacking in very area. This beer does not shine in any one area.

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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 Strike00
3.76/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

L: pours black with a brown, tan head.
S: smells sweet with a touch of sour and Alcohol. Not you roast smell you usually get with RIS.
T: This almost has that oak aged taste. I'm kind of liking it. Many layers of flavors from the sweetness, to the slight sour, to the roast and alcohol.
F: Very smooth, slightly thin body for a RIS.

O: pretty good. Quite different from other imperial stouts I have tried. I don't know if I would buy a bomber of this again but I'm glad I tried it.

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Photo of GreatStoutman
4.44/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

On draft

Look is thick and black, no light getting through. Tan head dissipates to nothing but a pencil thin ring that persists.

Smell of dark fruit and some cocoa. Slight booziness detectable as it warms.

Taste is sweet and malty with rich dark fruits carrying the middle and some sweet breadiness at the close. Lots of layers here and a really unique mix for a RIS.

Feel is medium with relatively high carbonation, kind of dry at the finish with bitterness and remnants of fruit lingering.

Overall, this is much different than many of the RIS I've grown to like, but thats not a bad thing. I'll definitely be grabbing some bottles to see what happens when this ages.

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The Czar from Avery Brewing Company
3.91 out of 5 based on 2,074 ratings.
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