The Czar | Avery Brewing Company

very good
2,086 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.

For Trade:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,086 |  Reviews: 946
Photo of Kirch
4.5/5  rDev +15.1%

Photo of Lee45102
3.5/5  rDev -10.5%

Photo of StoutHunter
2.81/5  rDev -28.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I picked up a bottle of Avery's The Czar a couple days ago for $7.49 at The Lager Mill. I was looking for a strong RIS and since I have had pretty good luck with Avery lately I decided to give The Czar a try, so lets see how it goes. 2011 Vintage. Poured from a brown 22oz foiled bottle into a snifter.

A= The label looks good with a fitting picture of an old school Russian guy. It poured a very dark brown color that was right on the edge of being black with a finger and half worth of light tan head that died down to a thin layer that left a little bit of lacing. It looks on par for an RIS.

S- The aroma is sweet and boozy which makes for a smell that is similar to a fine liquor. It starts off with some dark roasted malts that are pretty sweet and impart a slight coffee and chocolate aroma. Next comes some molasses and maple syrup along with a little bit of vanilla. The booze is pretty apparent in the aroma and sticks out all the way through. I could go for more roasty RIS aromas and less booze.

T- This isn't your typical tasting RIS. It starts off with some dark roasted malts that have a high amount of medium sweetness and when mixed with the hops they have a pretty earthy and herbal flavor that is followed by a sweet cough medicine like flavor then comes some dark fruits, mainly plums and raisins. I do pick up some coffee and chocolate flavors but they are pretty light and the booze isn't as strong as it was in the aroma but it is still pretty noticeable. I also pick up some molasses and anise. The finish has a high amount of medium bitterness with a metallic and medicinal like aftertaste. This tastes like a combination of a Barleywine and a Stout, not sure how I feel about it.

M= Somewhat sticky, not that smooth, thick, full bodied, and it had a medium amount of carbonation.

Overall I thought that this was a pretty average RIS, I was expecting a strong and roasty RIS and what I got was more like the combination of an RIS and Barleywine, more Barleywine like flavors came through in the taste then RIS flavors and that was a little disappointing but it made for a unique tasting and liquor like beer. This beer doesn't have good drinkability, between the high sweetness, booze, and bitterness I was glad the bottle was split three ways, taking out the whole thing might become a chore after the second glass. What I liked most about this beer was the mouthfeel, it was just what and RIS should be like. What I liked least about this beer was the heavy Barleywine like presence, I like my RIS's roasty and robust and it seems like a lot of Barleywine flavors drowned out that roastyness and the booze could have been hidden better. I don't think I would buy this beer again, it just isn't what I think of when I want a nice RIS. This may be worth a try to see where you stand on a hybrid of a Barleywine and RIS, but the I don't think the aroma and flavor are anything to brag about. In the end it was nice to try but it really isn't my kind of beer, I would have much preferred a more straightforward and traditional RIS. Avery really tried something different with this beer and when it came together it's a little all over the place, so far my least favorite brew from them and not a very note worthy RIS.

 3,246 characters

Photo of TheBrewo
4.06/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

We crack the top on this 2008 vintage and pour an oily brew. It’s color is chocolate brown, like a tootsie roll, showing lighter hues around the edges. The head is half a finger high and whitish in color. It recedes quickly, leaving little lacing. Carbonation is light, with the bubbles rising slowly through this syrupy brew. No sediment or haze is noted. The aroma bursts with stinging chocolate and molasses. There is mocha coffee bitterness sitting between deeply roasted and caramel malts. The latter are chalky and drying. There is berry fruitiness of dried strawberries, black cherries, and figs. With warmth comes fusel alcohol with soy sauce saltiness. As we sip, we are met by big booze, chalky and drying malts, and bright bitterness of raw chocolate. There is the faintest hop sweetness, which is resiny and piney. Through the middle there is a calming sweetness of milk, with light lactics. This is transient as strong espresso coffee beans and a stark roast of wood crash in. There is a little wet musk and moss here as well. We finish on a bright chemically note that reminds us of medication or bittering Tylenol. This actually functions to effectively cut the sweetness set up earlier, which is, as this point, reminding us of a tootsie roll candy, surprisingly. The aftertaste breathes with puckering, wet grain, a fishy saltiness, and bittering chocolate. There are also Band-Aid phenols, and a final wash of dirty malts and booze. The body is medium to full and the carbonation is medium to high. There is sticky slurp and nice cream, with a hearty froth to each sip. The massive abv lends with its big warming quality, but this is well hidden throughout most of the taste. This is a definite sipper.

Overall, the best thing about this brew is the rich and chocolate aromas. The fruit inclusions are also nice, in both the taste and aroma. The look could have been a bit stronger, and the hops advertised are not as present as they could have been, but then again this beer has been aging for three years, so it’s to be expected to some extent.

 2,069 characters

Photo of TexAggie011
3.5/5  rDev -10.5%

Photo of Thingus
3.51/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 bottling into tulip, live tasting...

Appearance; pours a wonderful jet black, I couldn't get any head to form, minimal ring of medium brown bubbles that dissipate quickly... No lacing whatsoever.

Smell; struck me as sort of odd, rather than the roasty, malty coffee, chocolate aromas I was expecting, Im getting tons of olive, both green and black and not much else at all...

Taste; jumped right in with black and green olives, had an interlude of cocoa and chocolate, coffee and malt before switch right back to olives... Not entirely sure what caused that, and not a bad flavor but not something I'd expect for the style...

Mouthfeel; fairly thick and quite smooth but certainly not chewy or as viscous or syrupy as I'd like...

Overall; definitely not a terrible beer but I am fairly certain I wouldn't drink this one again unfortunately... I'm a huge fan of the IRS style and in the flavor department it just isn't doing it for me unfortunately...

 962 characters

Photo of xpdrinker
2.59/5  rDev -33.8%
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.

 1,436 characters

Photo of jophish17
1.5/5  rDev -61.6%

Photo of gtermi
3.95/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a very dark brown with a thick tan head that leaves a lot of lacing on the glass.

S: The smell is very nice. I get a little burn on the nose from alcohol. There is a lot of different things going on with the smell of this beer. It is very strong with roasted malt, some slight liquorice and even a little sweetness. Very nice indeed.

T: First thing that hits my palate is chocolate and roasted coffee, later it leads to the roasted malt.

M: The mouthfeel isnt anything extrodinary, but its above average. It has a nice amount of crispness that tingles on the tonuges and tingles down the throat.

O: This is a very solid beer. It didnt blow me away and for sure not the best Imperial Stout I have ever had, but it deserves credit for being a solid beer.

 768 characters

Photo of smithmd4
4/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of haazer
4.2/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at The Craft Ale House.

A- The brew is pitch black with a very thick consistency. A thin mocha head is produced from a tilted pour, but it makes for a nice cap that lasts for some time.

S- Strong aroma of cream and vanilla extract. Heavy amounts of dark roast coffee suggesting burnt malt. A good bit of molasses also.

T- Coffee upfront, followed by lots of molasses. Theres a hint of dark fruits in the background. The malt is so burnt that this has some bitterness to it. A nice warming, and some heat from the booze. Also the smallest amount of vanilla.

M- Full bodied with medium carbonation. Thick and almost chewy in the mouth. This is how all stout's should be.

O- Delicious RIS. Big and bold, complex flavors that can be picked out but challenge the palate. This stout is somewhat underrated in my opinion.

 827 characters

Photo of bigfnjoe
4/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of nmbr0ne
3.3/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into snifter from 22oz bottle.

Appearance: Black with not a lot of head that dissipates into a pattern of rings on the top of the glass. Lots of lacing around the glass.

Smell: Very boozy. Hints of maple syrup and not a lot of coffee notes, and the slightest bit of chocolate.

Taste: Really sweet with weak chocolate flavors. Bitter finish that ends with a metallic aftertaste that gradually increased with more sips.

Mouthfeel: Medium to thick-bodied beer. Low carbonation. Results in a really warming effect after each sip from the alcohol content.

Overall: One of the Russian Imperial Stouts that I have enjoyed the least. The metallic aftertaste was too overwhelming for me to really enjoy it.

 711 characters

Photo of rpaul2012
3.5/5  rDev -10.5%

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.33/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. bottle poured into a snifter. 11.69% ABV according to the label.

Appearance - Not quite black as it pours. Slightly translucent dark brown. Off-white head that doesn't last long. Clings to the glass as I swirl it around.

Smell - Booze and more booze. Burns my nostrils to smell it. Roasted chocolate behind it, but really it's just booze.

Taste - Sweet up front, but certainly not cloying. Chocolate malts behind it and a strong bitterness from the hops. It finishes with a long bitter and metallic aftertaste. The alcohol isn't as apparent in the flavor, but it has a decent warming feeling.

Mouthfeel - The bitterness, metallic aftertaste, and booze combine to make this one a tough drink. It's not really that heavy, but those off-flavors are overwhelming after a while.

Overall - The flavors aren't bad, but those sensations are. Not something I'd buy again.

 874 characters

Photo of animal69
4/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of ububru
3/5  rDev -23.3%

Photo of Whadawookie
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I remembered thinking this beer was too sweet the first time I tried it. Now that I have the malt-itch, I thought I should give it another go. I am definitely a bigger fan of it this time around.

Very dark, but with an amber or brownish tint to it. The tan head settles down to a thin film. I get malts and yeast along with some raisin in the nose. Very strong smelling, no surprise with the abv nearing 12%.

The taste has a dominant maltiness that is well balanced by a strong hop presence. Some sort of hearty winter breadiness is hiding somewhere in the sludge.

This is a very thick beer. Not my favorite imperial stout, I would be more inclined towards a less malty one that had a bit more hops, but still it's a fine brew all the same. I used to be able to buy a bomber for less than 5 dollars. I wish I would have bought a case to experiment with aging this sucker.

 876 characters

Photo of wvsabbath
3.85/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving Type - 22oz bottle

Appearance - Black with Traces of brown and tan. Not much head or lacing.

Smell - Malts, Hops, fruity, herbal aroma. Cough medicine? Some nut, brown sugar, maybe chocolate. Odd smell.

Taste - Much like the flavor this is different. Hops and malts mixed with a herbal flavor. Taste is sweet, plum, cocoa and anise is more then just a touch. Molasses and some coffee comes in at the end with a steady alcohol warmth in each drink.

Mouthfeel - Its rather smooth and easy to drink for being such a big beer. Tounge gets the malts and sweet fruits. Palette Gets alot of cocoa, coffee and remaining hops. Aftertaste is sweet, lemonish and malty.

Overall - Different, The sweetness realy makes it feel like a strong ale or even a barley wine, not so much a ris. ITs very easy to drink, the alcohol gets masked from all the sweetnessand anise. Pretty good, a twist on ris. If your looking for the standard coffee/roasted malt taste, then this isnt for you.

 980 characters

Photo of savagepm
4/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of Sinewave
4.5/5  rDev +15.1%

Photo of Atlas1
3.3/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I've been on a big stout kick lately and The Czar is one that I'd not tried before. I like the new label more than the old one, for what it's worth.

Poured into a snifter, there was much less head then expected. Dark brownish in color with a thin head, but unimpressive in overall appearance. The nose is fruitier than most imperial stouts. I detect odd notes of dark fruit, but the aroma is also very boozy and the smell of alcohol is very noticeable here. This beer doesn't quite taste like most imperial stouts I've had. Slightly fruitier than most stouts, but also lacking in the levels of complexity I've become accustomed to with the style. Very thin mouthfeel as well.

Sadly, I come away very unimpressed by this beer. It's big, but in thin boozy sort of way. It lacks the thickness I prefer in a stout, but it also misses out on the subtle layers of flavor and complexity that make the style so unique to me. I probably won't be revisiting the Czar anytime soon.

 972 characters

Photo of arcticstout
4.23/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle - batch 10 - nov. 2011

A: Very dark, midnight black. Decent dark tan head which foams up nicely. Good amount of lacing left behind on glass.

S: Interesting herbal, fruity smell with definite malt and hop notes.

T: Molasses, malt, dark fruits, and pepper, with interesting licorice-like undertones. Very intriguing beer, not your normal stout.

M: Nice mouthfeel, great carbonation, followed by a strong alcoholic punch. Really warmed me up!

O: A very good beer. Not your normal stout, but I don't think that's what they intended. Very unique, like most of Avery's brews. But overall a very delicious brew indeed. If you like strong, powerful stouts with a lot of character you will love this beer.

 714 characters

Photo of DrDemento456
3.6/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Batch 10 ABV 10.57%

A - Pours a respected pitch black in color beer with a minimal layer of head which is dark mocha in color. A quick swirl does bring some foam so it is definitely carbonated.

S - Very strange from the nose of the bottle I get a typical sweet RIS but in the glass it in fact does smell herbal and bittering with hops. Nothing else really stands out.

T - Wow what a strange RIS. Sweet at first but quickly to bitter but not very cloying. The herbal smell I guess is molasses which I am not too fond of but it kind of works in this. Mild notes of chocolate and coffee that become more balanced as it warms but damn is the molasses dominant in this Imperial Stout!

M - Medium to heavy it's really not the thickest stout but it really is OK by me. Any thicker and it would be hard to drink (syrup like) If anything it does mask the ABV very well!

Overall I guess I like it in the same sense as the other Imperials of the series (Oktoberfest and DIPA) that they are good and DIFFERENT but not work seeking out again (maybe the Maharaja or Dugana)

 1,064 characters

Photo of dougrb75
3/5  rDev -23.3%

The Czar from Avery Brewing Company
3.91 out of 5 based on 2,086 ratings.
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