The Czar | Avery Brewing Company

very good
939 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.

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Reviews: 939 | Ratings: 2,068
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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Photo of Kdubzz
3.03/5  rDev -22.5%
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 +6.9%
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 -1%
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 +1.5%
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%
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 +3.8%
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 +9.2%
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 -1.3%
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 -1.3%
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 -14.1%
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 +6.9%
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 +4.6%
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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The Czar from Avery Brewing Company
3.91 out of 5 based on 2,068 ratings.
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