The Czar | Avery Brewing Company

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The CzarThe Czar
Very Good
2,099 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: 2,099 |  Reviews: 948
Photo of Sammy
3.6/5  rDev -8.9%
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.

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Photo of kylehay2004
3.92/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of jaydoc
3.75/5  rDev -5.1%

Photo of acurtis
3.5/5  rDev -11.4%

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.92/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

My bottle says 11.69% ABV.

Pours an opaque black with a very small 1/2 inch tan head that fades to a film around the edges of the top of the beer. Very little lacing with small dots here and there on the glass. Smell is of milk, toffee, candied fruits, and slight alcohol. Taste is of toffee, candied fruits, and roasted malt/coffee on the finish. There is a definite strong alcohol burn in the back of the throat with each sip. Low carbonation makes for a thick and chewy mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good RIS but the alcohol burn on this one takes away from the score.

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Photo of Texasfan549
4.25/5  rDev +7.6%

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.12/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

this is a cellared version, 2010 vintage, bottle says 11.69% abv. pours an espresso black with a pretty good head for an aged beer. smells really really strong, like smelling salts intense, with notes of black licorice, dark chocolate, and toffee. taste is huge as well, about as imperial as a stout can get. really strong alcohol punch, especially as it warms, like taking a shot. really nice bouquet of flavors happening here, even a noticable spice hint. mouthfeel is thick and sludgy, even for the genre. really syrupy and sweet, leaves a layer on the tongue and teeth. usually that would repulse me, but this is a nearly 2 year old imperial stout, its supposed to be gnawed on. overall a wicked brew, the biggest ive had from avery, although now i want to try the mephistopheles! also would be keen to try a fresh one, and see how much the aging process changed the beverage. not an everyday drink for sure, but a heck of a nice treat

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Photo of kjkinsey
4/5  rDev +1.3%

Photo of GRG1313
4.3/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Stuffed Sandwich. Very dark black with big assertive coffee/toffee and fruit nose.

Well balanced flavors of espresso, carmel and toffee with lots of sweet fruit and undertones and back palate of bitter chocolate.

Finishes with light hops and a bit sweet (a pleasant thing). A lovely drinking beer.

Then, decided to compare it to Czar in a bottle - side by side which was great fun.

Bottle poured same color but with a big thick tan head. Nose of toffee and carmel was more assertive than that on draft and also had a bit of a pineapple character to the nose.

Bottle had a creamy mouth feel with bold chocolate and carmel flavors that finished to a hop bitterness. Complex flavors an character.

Czar on draft appeared to be a bit more fruity and a bit sweeter than that in the bottle.

Both, draft and bottle were very nice and one of the "better" Russian Imperial Stouts. (Note, both draft and bottle were 2008).

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Photo of spycow
3.75/5  rDev -5.1%

Photo of Knapp85
3.7/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This was a little disappointing. I expected something much beer here but it didn't happen. This beer poured out as a pitch black oil thick liquid. The head was minimal and not very attractive in my opinion. The smell of the beer was heavily roasted and had a slight sweetness mixed in with the burnt aromas. The taste of the beer give off a big boozy chocolate flavor with some molasses and dark fruits in the mix. The mouthfeel wasn't overly complex, it was heavy but had no real carbonation to it. Overall I found this beer to be a bit on the flat which was a bummer.

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Photo of djrn2
4/5  rDev +1.3%

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
3.75/5  rDev -5.1%

Photo of nmann08
4.5/5  rDev +13.9%

Photo of Taphouse_Traveler
4.25/5  rDev +7.6%

Photo of metter98
3.9/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is jet black in color. It poured with a thin tan head that has very good retention properties and hardly died down, leaving some lacing running down the sides of the glass.
S: Aromas of licorice stand out in the nose.
T: The taste has flavors of roasted malts and licorice along with and a light amount of bitterness. There are some hints of alcohol in the finish.
M: It feels rather full-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation. There is a bit of alcohol warming in the finish along with some roastiness.
O: Although this beer is quite strong, it's not too difficult to drink because the alcohol flavors are not too prevalent and do not really detract from the taste.

Note: Batch No. 10, November 2011 vintage

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Photo of t0rin0
4/5  rDev +1.3%

Photo of biboergosum
3.69/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

22oz, gold foil capped bottle, October 2014 version, @8.5% ABV - a surprise find in one of the better grocery stores in Ponderay, Idaho, after my having tried to secure it on two separate trips to Colorado the past two autumns for you-know-what. Will wonders never cease?

This beer pours a fairly solid black, but for the prominent red cola basal highlights, visible even sans backlighting, and one skimpy finger of weakly puffy, loosely foamy, and mostly bubbly beige head, which leaves some minor instances of mitochondrial lace around the glass as it quickly blows off.

It smells of sharp black licorice, bittersweet chocolate, indistinct black and red orchard fruit, a lesser roasted caramel malt sweetness, free-range reduced dark sugars, and a sidling, almost metallic booziness. The taste is grainy, bready caramel malt, medium-sweet cocoa powder, thinned-out molasses, a lessened earthy anise essence, still muddled dark berry fruit, pretty tame citrus and pine resin bitters, and a weirdly hovering and brashly young-seeming alcohol measure.

The bubbles are mostly absent in their otherwise shadowy and frothy support effort for the cause, the body a wavering medium weight for the purported style, and generally smooth, even with you-know-who lurking about. It finishes semi-sweet, the cocoa, licorice, and caramel tentatively agreeing to work together to iron out the lingering wrinkles.

While I'm glad that I've finally completed the Dictator Series from Avery, it feels like I've somehow been cheated, what with the barely up-there ABV (on paper, yet strangely not in real life), and the overall lower than usual fullness of being that one might expect from an American, nay, a Boulder-located brewer of an RIS! A bit disappointing, but really not, ya know?

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.23/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A serious punch in the mouth! Though it's been over a year since I last tried this beer, it's still as aggressive as ever. Almost black with a light crimson window of color. Smells as stout as would ever be expected with a few fruity accents. Tastes very thick and very rich of molassas, licorice, grapes, roastiness, charcoal, chocolate, espresso, and bourbon. All rolled into an assertive, over-the-top stout. Starts out smooth and alcoholicly hot / sweet into an aggressively roasted / hopped finish. A lot of complexity, softened by the sweetness, but mean with its alcohol and roastedness. Reminds me a lot of Bourbon County Stout by Goose Island, just not as melded--not yet.

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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 oline73
4/5  rDev +1.3%

Photo of WillieThreebiers
4/5  rDev +1.3%

Photo of superspak
4.23/5  rDev +7.1%
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 zeff80
4.38/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My 700th Review..but not 700th beer.

2006 Edition

A - Poured out a jet black color with a foamy, creamy-smooth, caramel-colored head. It left sticky rings of lace down the entire glass.

S - It smelled of caramel, roasted malt and floral hops.

T - It tasted of spicy bitter hops. It was overpoweringly malty. Nice chocolate tastes. Also, some alcohol in the taste.

M - It was very smooth and creamy with a warm alcohol presence. It was medium to heavy-bodied.

D - This is simply outastanding. I wonder how it might taste after more aging.

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Photo of brentk56
4.05/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Dark espresso color with a modest head and a reasonable bit of lacing

Smell: Lots of dark fruit, chocolate and alcohol on the nose

Taste: Lovely dark fruit and bitter chocolate profile up front with a hoppy character developing by mid-palate; the finish is rich and chocolatey; the alcohol makes its presence felt early, but after the swallow, as the brew warms up, a complex dark fruit aftertaste is a pleasant surprise

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with modest carbonation

Drinkability: Wonderful flavor but a bit too alcoholic

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The Czar from Avery Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.95 out of 5 with 2,099 ratings