The Czar | Avery Brewing Company

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BA SCORE
88
very good
933 Reviews
The CzarThe Czar
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Avery Brewing Company
Colorado, United States | website

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
933
Ratings:
2,042
Avg:
3.9
pDev:
16.67%
 
 
Wants:
90
Gots:
339
For Trade:
14
User Reviews
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Reviews: 933 | Ratings: 2,042
Photo of bwood06
3.62/5  rDev -7.2%
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 +21.8%
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 -5.9%
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 +26.4%
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, and a bit hot at the end. This could probably use another year to age, and then it would be perfect.

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Photo of Strike00
3.76/5  rDev -3.6%
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 +13.8%
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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Photo of Kdubzz
3.03/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 3

Batch 13, bottled Oct. 2014. Not quite sure why the local liquor store doesn't have the new batch.. Hopefully it's still good.
Bomber poured into a chalice at near room-temperature. It's a beautiful dark, dark brown, close to black but with a peak of color when held to the light. A solid three-quarter inch of khaki head.
Mother of Christ, this thing has a HUGE nose. Heavy, heavy overripe fruit, syrupy sweet; blackberries, currants, prunes. There's a bit of earthiness behind the fruit, tilled soil and soggy leaves. At the very end there's a bit of an alcohol smell, much like one would detect in red wine, merlot or cab. Actually a bit overwhelming to me, which brings the score down a bit, nonetheless it's quite intriguing.
Let's taste it. Definitely some winey sugariness detected up front, turning into more of a light chocolate/breadiness. There are some roasted malts that linger on after the sweetness fades, ending in almost a burnt toast flavor. Almost no hop detected though, which is disappointing given the extreme sweetness of the beer. There's balance here, but not much.
The mouthfeel is pretty much perfect, medium-thick with some prickly carbonation.
Overall: This thing is all over the place. Perhaps it's because I got last year's release that's been sitting in a bottle for 16 months? Maybe more seasoned beer raters can clue me in on how bottle aging affects taste, but either way I have to say I'm disappointed. Far, far too much sweet fruitiness on the nose and in the taste, almost sickly sweet. Not enough of anything else going on. It's hard to finish to be honest.

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Photo of Bonkinishwa
4.18/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Avery Brewing Company - The Czar (Batch 14). 10.1% ABV. 22oz bomber split between two snifters. Bottled 11/15.

Look: Settles a viscous pitch black in the glass, with some faint ruby highlights. Has a fair finger of off white head, which subsides into spotty lacing.

Smell: Licorice, stone fruits, carrants, dark cocoa, roast coffee, and fresh bread.

Feel: Rather light body, and somewhat smooth, with some fair carbonation.

Taste: Stone fruit and carrants dominate here, along with some licorice and bready malt up front, with some hops, caramel, and toffee appearing midway through. Finishes sweet, with some fresh bread notes, however the carrants remain well beyond.

Overall: I fell in love with this before even trying it, because of the name. First time I found one for sale, I bought it without hesitation. This is different from most other Imperial Stouts, due to the addition of carrants and hops, but not necessary being a bad thing. I would love to sip on this while cleaning my Mosin Nagant.

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Photo of do_ob
3.87/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle split between two New Belgium snifters. Batch # 14, bottled November 2015, 10.1% ABV, 55 IBU, 22.8* Plato. Pours a dark, murky brown and settles pitch black in the glass. About 1 finger of vanilla-colored foam initially, which bubbled down to a semi-dense lacing after a couple minutes. Candied sugar, currants, roasted malt, dark, roasty chocolate, and molasses on the nose. Interesting but slightly offputting due to the overpowering currant scent. Sweet molasses, dark, bitter chocolate, bitter hops, caramel, vanilla, red currants, and oak on the taste. Beautifuly complex yet inherently drinkable. Dark fruit notes shine through as it warms on the palate. This is a strange beer, as it starts out very roasty and menacing, but livens up and becomes more hoppy as it warms on the palate. Never had anything quite like this. Good feel, albeit a hair abrasive on the back end. I suspect a little cellar time would straighten that out nicely.

Overall, different but nice. One of the hoppiest imperial stouts i've ever had, to the point where it's almost a borderline imperial black ale. Not all nice things fit snugly into appropriated categories, though. This is a good beer, labels aside. If you like big, bold stouts, you'll like this.

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Photo of DudMan
3.97/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

On draft 2/2/16. Pours dark w little head and no lacing. Slight dark fruit and chocolate smell. Tastes of slight chocolate and licorice with a hint of banana. Nice alcohol burn. A really nice and unique beer.

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Photo of Gajo74
4.38/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

I'm currently enjoying this on tap at Ginger Man, one of my favorite beer places in NYC.
Look- it pours an opaque and nearly jet black but with a slight hint of ruby. Nice thumbnail length creamy tan head. Lovely lacing that sticks to the glass and forms a persistent ring around the glass.
Smell- initially, I detected a nice warm dark bread aroma. More toasted than roasted. Overall it is sweet. Undertones of alcohol, some chocolate or cocoa, licorice and stone fruit, particularly cherry.
Taste and feel- overall it is sweet. Very smooth and creamy. Low carbonation. Full bodied. Sweetness in the finish. A hint of hops bitterness fades in and out. As with the aroma , there is a hint of licorice, chocolate and cherry. I would say that the alcohol flavor is ever present but subtle, yet, about halfway through, a big alcohol warming (err buzz) hits you. Dangerously drinkable for such a high ABV.
Overall- yes!!! This is a good one. I'm enjoying it on a cold snowy day. It hits the spot!

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Photo of SFNC
4.06/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Ice-boundin Cackalacky, nothing like a Russian Imperial Stout to make it through the night.

Look; It's dark brown, more like a cola than some RIS's. The pour was thin with a decent mocha head that stayed then quickly left the arena.
Smell; Smell more like like an English RIS than the typical American. Toffee, molasses, some mocha, not bad but not a strong point.
Taste; follows up on the smell, with more dark fruit tastes. The hops are bitter against the sweet, again more in line with an English RIS. Very tasty, the alcohol is very well hidden. Quite drinkable.
Feel; Like it looks, a tad thin. Dry on the finish. A sweet aftertaste.
Overall; Not a head turner, but till very enjoyable. I'd go back again depending on options.

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Photo of Bouleboubier
4.27/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

(batch no. 14, Nov 2015 - poured into a Chouffe tulip, 22 oz bottle to myself)

L: extremely dark crimson colored liquid... light, heavily-milky coffee colored foam... head doesn't hold high, though a steady thin cap is kept

S: rather mellow scent... some chocolate mint and fresh coffee roast... tiny bit vinous, or cherry... maybe a very faint hint of booze, but not all that 'boozy'... I like how the malt and grain aromas are a bit rough and earthy

T: wow! the balance is lovely... assertive, yet not overly bitter - bitterness and flavor elements from both the hops and the roasted malts ... very tasty lingering coffee, bitter chocolate, and a touch of wine and toffee in the aftertaste... the booze seems way too mellow - really 10%? (maybe 8.5-9.0 on this one)... sort of a molasses-type sweet flavor at its core, but it seems drier than it should be... overall taste, though with fantastic rich depth, seems restrained

F: rich, medium (bordering med-full), silky body that stays dry on its bottom... could almost drink another after this... quiet storm in a glass

O: rather impressed... this, in my mind, is in the vein of a true English-style imperial stout - dynamic malt flavors with just enough hop bitterness to give it edge... I ammm going back to get another bottle or two, though I'm worried this won't age to my liking considering it's already smooth - don't want it to get too malty - a little sour on it might not be bad...

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
3.86/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

On tap at Stoneyard Brewing Company in Brockport, NY.

This one pours a dark deep black, with a small head, and a little bit of lacing.

Smells like molasses, chocolate, honey, and dark fruits.

This is a fairly sweet imperial stout- I'm left wishing for a bit more roasty bitterness or hop bitterness to balance it out. It certainly tastes good- but the molasses tastes leaves the proceedings a little bit syrupy sweet. There's some sweet chocolate, raisins, and figs, with a bit of honey too.

This is medium bodied, a little bit syrupy, with a lower level of carbonation.

This is pretty solid, but not entirely the set of flavors I tend to look for in a RIS. I'd love some more roasted malt here.

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Photo of Czequershuus
3.86/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

This beer pours silky black with a solid mocha head. The aroma leads instantly with coffee and milk chocolate, as we as a strong presences of bubblegum. The flavor has little of the aromatic coffee, leading instead with silky sweet chocolate, bubblegum, toffee and blackstrap molasses cookies. The mouthfeel is very full and rich. Overall this is a nice stout, but one that becomes tiresome rather quickly.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
3.36/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark black. No moon dark, used motor oil, whatever you like cliche wise for a stout description in the appearance. 1/2" of head. This is oily as F.

Aroma was strong alcohol, roast, bitterness.

Damn, this is like all Russian Imperial Stout dark fruit bitterness and roast. Toffee, prunes and raisin with a smidge of metallic bitterness. This one doesn't cover the alcohol, as it warms, it takes on a bitter licorice vibe even harder. Thick viscosity. Milder carbonation. This one is a chore to get through, but if you're all about that old school RIS, hit it up.

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Photo of gmoneyproductions
4.18/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

had this on tap at the brewery in a 10 oz glass
pours brown to black with a decent off white head that faded quickly
smell of chocoate, cocoa and slightly smoky as it warmed up in the glass
taste of smoke and chocolate
feel dry
a very solid higher alcohol stout (10% abv)
very enjoyable

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Photo of cookedw
4.09/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

Had the 2014 and 2015 on tap, and I preferred the aged version's mellowed flavor. I also thought the 2015's slightly higher ABV overwhelmed through the aroma and flavor. But this is a nice perfect winter beer. I love the toasted oatmeal and cocoa notes... Some dark fruit, too. But I think this is one that is better a year later after the heavier boozier notes subside.

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Photo of Vixie
3.98/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a deep black with a small tan head. The head is quick to dissipate, leaving lacing on the top of the beer and the sides of my snifter.

The smell is a bit on the sweet side. Quite a bit of chocolate there, some fruit, and caramel or toffee. Reminds me a bit of the smell of chocolate cake batter.

Starts out with a hit of chocolate. There are also hints of fruit, and maybe a touch of coconut. It has a spicy back end to it, with a good bit of warming.

Feel is a touch on the thin side, although it makes it go down a little easier.

Definitely a dessert beer here. Really reminds me of chocolate cake or chocolate and cherries. It is a bit on the hot side, I do wonder what a year or two of aging would do for it. One of the easier drinking versions of the style.

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Photo of Jjski
4.27/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Rated on a trajectory, as this bottle is at least 3.5 years old. Holds well with a strong alcohol presence, not sweet, but a little oxidized. I should have drank this last year. Found it in the corner of my beer cellar. Very nice flavor profile, and will drink the next one at 2 years. I went through a period in2012 when I bought WAY too much, and didn't drink them. Avery is in my top 10 of high ABV breweries. I would say nothing is bad and everything is at least very good. A beer from 2012 that suffered the same fate was Southern Tier Oat Imperial stout. I have learned since 2012 to let the barleywines ride longer, and get the RIS drank @2 years unless> 13% like World Wide or Mephistopheles. Try Samael's or 5Monks if you want an Avery high octane hammer blows to the frontal lobe.

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Photo of JamesBondGA
3.91/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured a dark chocolate brown with about an inch head that goes away quickly leaving a slight lacing. I get notes of toffee, molasses and chocolate on the nose. Same for the taste except add dark fruit booze on the back end. Overall, enjoyable brew.

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Photo of ryan1788a5
4.3/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle poured into a snifter. Bottle dated November 2012; nearly three years of cellar time upon consumption.

A: Dark brown in color. Tough to tell in low light, but it seems to have a slight haze to it. Coffee colored head retains at a half inch. Wispy, pencil thin lines of lacing.

S: Fudge bars and German chocolate cake pop out immediately. Iced coffee with one cream and mocha undertones. Chocolate covered cherries and raspberries. Just the faintest whiffs of wet paper bag oxidation.

T: Fudge. Dense malt flavors of German chocolate cake wrap the palate in a blanket of decadence. Brownie batter. Iced coffee with cream, mocha. Molasses. Roasty malt backing. Chocolate covered cherry and stone fruit nestled tightly in the middle. Faint earthy hop notes. Alcohol brings a good deal of spicy character. Roasty and chocolatey finish with some lingering alcohol spice.

M: Big, full malt body. Rich, hefty, chewy. Slightly coating like Irish cream. Silky and decadent. Big alcohol warmth. Low carbonation.

O: Holy Jesus is this beer great with some good age on it. I always get nervous with imperial stouts once they get around that 2-3 year mark. In my experience most have already peaked or started to go downhill at that point. I opened this bottle not knowing what to expect, but not only did it hold up, it improved considerably. I don't even know that it has peaked yet. When fresh the alcohol in this beer kicked like a mule, from what I remember. Now it's perfect. Definitely still present, but it has mellowed perfectly so that it now adds to the complexity without overwhelming. The malt flavors have all smoothed and melded together as well, and in the best possible way. Hops have largely faded, but still contribute soft earthy tones. Cellaring is all about trial and error and requires patience, time, and money. In the end it's still a gamble that doesn't always pay off. But man is it rewarding when it does.

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Photo of Electros
4.64/5  rDev +19%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Format: 650 ml Bottle.

Appearance - Black.

Smell - Caramelized sugar, mild hops.

Taste - Chocolate, burnt tobacco, malt, hops.

Mouth-feel - Full-bodied.


Overall - Amazing. Great beer.

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Photo of HopsAreDaMan
3.03/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

22OZ bomber. The date on the bottle is Oct. 2013. Drank it after putting it in the freezer for about 10 mins. (after having it at room temp ~70-75F), so I am guessing it was barely at cellar temp. Decent amount of fizz when opened, poured rich chocolaty brown, with a head that fizzled out relatively quickly; there was a little lacing. It seemed a little better (less harsh) when tried from a small glass that was in freezer (thus lowering the temp of the beer itself). The consistency didn't impress me: when aggressively swilled in the glass, there was little head I was able to induce--as I am able to do with other beers.

The aroma is largely of burnt toast (not my favorite aroma). Clearly some bitterness in the flavor. True, I get some complexity in the flavor, but it's too harsh for me (even keeping in mind that I tend to like a good bang of flavor in my beer).

Overall: a little disappointed, especially as the beer has almost 2 years age on it. It's the first go-around with this particular beer, but I've had a number of other imperial stouts, and this one stands below the rest. However, I have read this beer can handle up to 8 years of being cellared, so I plan to get another bottle and sit on it for a few more years. UPDATE: I bought another bottle, hoping to wait a least another year.

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Photo of Tone
4.25/5  rDev +9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a black color. 1/5 inch head of an off-tan color. Slight retention and decent lacing. Smells of hops, alcohol, sweet malt, slight roasted malt, hint of yeast, slight wood, and a hint of liquor. Fits the style of a Russian Imperial Stout. Mouth feel is sharp and clean, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of strong alcohol, slight hop, strong sweet malt, roasted malt, wood, hint of liquor, hint of hop, and a hint of yeast. Overall, weak appearance, but strong aroma, body, good blend, and complexity, and feel.

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The Czar from Avery Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 933 ratings.
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