The Czar | Avery Brewing Company

BA SCORE
88
very good
2,083 Ratings
The CzarThe Czar
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Avery Brewing Company
Colorado, United States
averybrewing.com

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.

BEER STATS
Ratings:
2,083
Reviews:
946
Avg:
3.91
pDev:
11.25%
 
 
Wants:
92
Gots:
357
For Trade:
15
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,083 |  Reviews: 946
Photo of aorloski
3.7/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2009 Vintage

Appearance - Pours a very black viscous motor oil look. Very little light khaki head that disappears quickly, alcohol sticks to the glass all the way down, little carbonation.

Smell - Chocolate and cocoa nibs are the dominant flavors with a pretty potent alcohol punch in the background.

Taste - Pretty true to the style, not a lot of bitter dark chocolates as I'm assuming most of the hop bite has withered down in the 2 years in the bottle. For me it becomes a little noted and falls a little flat. Nothing too overly complex here, a very straight forward imperial stout. I have not had a fresh bottle to compare it to. Chocolate, big roasted malts and alcohol burn are the biggest flavors here. Maybe a few more years will make this one less hot.

Overall - A decent, true to the style imperial stout. Nothing really knocked my socks off here, nothing too complex but a great sipper.

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Photo of dmfrench
3.65/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Oversweet but flavorful RIS.
___

A: Opaque black body topped with a two finger somewhat persistent tight beige head.

S: A cute, sweet nose of powdery cocoa, cinnamon spice, brow sugar, cream, dark fruit, and enough bitter hops to balance it all out.

T: Very sweet up front, too sweet really, but fades to bitter burnt chocolate malt on the finish. Also present are cinnamon and spices and a good helping of prune. Even if it wasn't so cloying, it still wouldn't make the top lists.

M: Full, creamy, grainy, drying finish

O: Fun, almost a confection for the nose, but really too sweet.

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Photo of plfahey
4.07/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 oz. bottle (2010 vintage) poured into a tulip glass.

Appearance-Black with just the faintest sparkle of ruby highlight when held to the light. Appears to be moderately clear, though nearly impermeable to light. Moderate brown head with decent retention.

Aroma-Intoxicating chocolate-flourless chocolate torte, fudge brownie, bittersweet cocoa, and a sort of dry roasted malt note. Big, perfumy alcohol and chocolate liqueur is present as well. Background dark fruits of plum and prune. Not a very pronounced hop presence here and not much dark or acrid roast character-certainly not pushing far into the espresso or coffee spectrum. Rich, boozy, and enticing-just the way it should be.

Flavor-Fruity, chocolatey, and boozy. Plum, prune, and grape up front, with chocolate cake and roasted, bready, and toasted malt notes in the mid palate. Just a touch of caramel and chewy molasses give way to some moderate, sticky, resiny, green hop flavors and moderate hop bitterness before a wallop of alcohol kicks in, bringing notes of perfumy pepper. As the finish expands on the palate, some light espresso notes show through in the aftertaste. Alcohol is relatively smooth, but still a little hot and a little rough around the edges-this one could probably benefit from another year or two.

Mouthfeel-Slightly more than medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Alcohol goes beyond warming and becomes a bit hot.

Not bad at all-a pretty strong Imperial Stout, although it lacks some of the coffee/dark roast flavors that I might expect. That said, the flavor profile is still quite good, I just think it could use a bit more time to soften the alcohol edges. Not too shabby, and pretty darn drinkable for a RIS of this heft.

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Photo of amidabha
4.45/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2007 vintage

a vigorous pour gave me a minimal light tan head that dissipated quickly with a decent amount of lacing. this is a deep espresso brew with low carbonation and a wonderful rich smell.

this has aged wonderfully over the years, i drink this on a regular basis and aging it makes it better. the sweetness and creaminess is minimal compared to a fresh bottle. the fruit notes pop out a lot more and it hides almost any alcohol bite that was once there.

glad i have six more of this year left in the basement since this is one of my top favorite stouts. thanks avery.

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Photo of Tucquan
3.91/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on 2012-02-14 in Normal, IL. This is batch number 10, bottled in November, 2011

A - Dark brown-black with hints of light coming in at the edges of the glass. 2-finger tan head that drops to 1/2-finger pretty quickly. Decent lacing.

S - Dried figs and plums, dark roasted grain, alcohol, anise. Not real strong or knock-your-socks-off great but enjoyable.

T - Lots of flavors. There's a hop-forwards aspect to this brew that yields to a sweet and acrid roasted grain with dark roast coffee and a touch of milk chocolate. The dried fruits make an appearance and continue into the aftertaste, assisted by the roasted malt/coffee/chocolate flavor and bitterness. The alcohol is evident but not overpowering. I like the flavors better this time around.

M - Medium body and light carbonation. Smooth are reasonably creamy with a prickly edge to it. Not milkshake thick.

O - I raised my rating .5 in appearance, which you can see below. It still doesn't rise to the top of the Russian Imperial Stouts on my list, but it's in the next tier. I'd be glad to see this in my glass whenever . . .

Original review on 2011-10-01 in Columbia, PA

A - Black as can be with a dark tan, 1/2-finger head with mild lacing. 3.5

S - Coffee, dark fruits, chocolate. Not overly strong but enticing. 3.5

T - Initially, lots of chocolate, some coffee, molasses and anise plus a pretty good amount of hop spice and resin. The bitterness comes both from the hops and the dark roasted grain like very well toasted dark bread. The alcohol is certainly apparent and you can tell you're drinking a high ABV brew. 4.0

M - Initial impression is creamy and full-bodied but this gives way to a surprisingly mostly-dry finish. 4.0

O - I enjoyed this brew. While I wouldn't rate it as high as some other Imperial Stouts, I would seek it out again. 4.0

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Photo of Pahn
4.1/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle into Duvel tulip. Bottled 2009. Unlike website info, bottle lists specs: IBU:70, OG:1.104 and ABV: 10.82%, so FG: around 1.02.

Appearance: Free pour yields a one inch frothy tan head that crackles audibly and dissipates slowly. Pours a solid black with red brown highlights. Leaves spots and arches of lacing.

Smell: Chocolate and dark fruit explode out of the bottle when I open it. In the glass, the same notes are present along with toffee, banana bread, and a slight herbal hop presence. Lots going on here; plum, molasses, well-developed maltiness.

There's many notes, and they're all beautiful, but the score stops at a 4.0 since the magnitude of the smell diminishes somewhat quickly. Worth sticking your nose in the glass and getting as much aroma as you can though.

Taste: Follows nose--which is a very good thing (I was worried all the complexity would be in the smell). Explosion of flavor up front: toffee, deep aged Mephistopheles'-reminiscent pale malt, and dark fruit, leading to punch of hop bitterness and carbonation. Next sip brings some cherry and woody flavors up front, that same bitter punch, and then more banana bread, toffee, and roasted malt in the finish.

This is a great Russian Imperial Stout, packed with malt flavor. Delicious as it is, it lacks the finesse of even better RISs like The Abyss and Founders Imperial Stout, but in terms of boldness and complexity, it stands with them both. Also, while it doesn't fully come together enough to push into that higher tier of RISs, it's devoid of outright flaws.

The main strengths of the flavor are its complexity and the goodness of each individual note (can't ask for much more than that). These roasted malt, banana bread, chocolate, coffee, vanilla, and deep pale malt flavors are why you buy a beer like this, and The Czar delivers them in abundance.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied, not really creamy or juicy. Lively carbonation that helps the flavor. Slightly dry and hot finish.

Overall: While this beer contains more flavors than I can name, it just misses the mark relative to the giants like Parabola (or the "out there, but so delicious it's worth it" beers like Avery's own Mephistopheles' Stout). It lacks something of a wow-factor (especially in the mouthfeel), as well as a sort of well-put-togetherness and unity that i called 'finesse' above (not easy to name something like this).

That said, I really love the straight ahead, sort of "workman-like" aspect of this beer. Whatever it's not, it gets the job done, and does it well. The hop bitterness and carbonation keep the flavor punchy, while the heat and aggressive roasted malt kind of force you to sip and savor the beer, which itself allows you to take in all these beautiful flavors they got out of fermenting so much malt. This is a RIS done really well.

Extra praise for being so cellarable. Malt flavors like this (particularly that toffee-like, "we used tons and tons of 2-row" note) just get more profound and delicious with time.

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Photo of bayougutter
4.32/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 edition poured to a snifter produced a small tan head that quickly dissipated to at thin sheet, decent lacing.

Smell is coffee and chocalate with leather, tobacco, toffee, molassas, and dark fruits. A lot happening hear, hope the taste is as good.

Taste didn't disappoint, WOW. Like the aroma there is a lot going on. Coffee, chocolate, toffee, caramel, and dates are the main characters with still an interesting leather and tobacco thing happening. A tad on the sweet side but not too much. Maybe a little booze on the finish but just a touch which I liked.

Mouthfeel is full, thick, and creamy, just how it should be.

Overall this is a nice one, complex, creamy, and yummy. This is a must try. If you haven't tried it yet, put it on your list as it is worthy.

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Photo of harrymel
3.5/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled 2009, by my estimation, just under 2 years old.

A: Pours a dark brown ale with under a single finger of toasted coconut foam which falls rather quickly to a sheet of the same. Spotty lacing at best.

S: Molasses, dark malts, leather and cocoa. Dig it.

T: Anise, molasses and mocha malts. Plenty of sweet toffee malty goodness. This beer enjoyed its time in the glass.

M: Heavy body with light carb, this beer comes together well. Leaves a nice thick coat on the palate.

O: This is a solid beer. Although I can't speak for the beer fresh, I can say this stuff is nice with a couple annuals under it.

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Photo of billab914
3.88/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2009 vintage poured from a 22oz bottle into my Dogfish snifter. It poured black in color with a thin tan head covering the beer and clinging to the edges of the glass.

The aroma shows more of a sweeter, caramel, malty flavor to it. I get some roasty, chocolaty flavors sprinkled in as well.

The taste starts out with more of a malty, sweeter profile to it. Pretty quickly I start to get some very rich, dark chocolate, roasted flavors that last well through the finish. The roasty, bitter flavors are very nice and help give some of the malty sweetness some balance.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied for the style and carbonation is moderate. Overall it was a very good beer of the style, and one that has aged nicely. It had a great mix of sweet and malty and dark chocolate, roasty flavors. Very solid imperial stout overall.

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Photo of kcopelan002
3.2/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Served in a pint glass. This is a thick pour into the glass. The apperance dark with a foamy tan head. The smell is sweet. Its taste is sweeter than a normal stout. There are hints of chocolate. There is medium carbonation. Overall this beer was ok. For some reason this bottle did not live up to the first time I tried this beer.

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Photo of antlerwrestler19
3.11/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2010 bomber poured into New Belgium globe. Deep dark brown when held to light otherwise looks black - one finger toffee colored head that falls rather quickly leaving a ring of foam remaining atop the beer - small amount of thin wispy lacing. Smells of burnt caramel, dark chocolate, dark roast coffee, spicy and boozy as well. The taste is kinda funky, very spicy, black licorice, burnt chocolate and caramel. Mouthfeel is smooth medium bodied with a bit of a burn from the abv. - not intolerable though. I saw this bottle at a local Cubby's gas station/market store and I've passed it up the last couple times but I had just cashed a check I went ahead and snagged it up. I'm not really diggin' it, reason being: I'm not a fan of black licorice and this stout is really strong in that flavor IMO. I'll probably stop back in and snatch another up to set aside and revisit in the future to see if it mellows out.

Enjoy!

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Photo of brotherloco
3.61/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz Bomber. Bottled in 2010. 11.69% ABV

Poured into tulip. Deep dark brown, light only penetrates a few millimeters. Beige head bubbles away to a ring. Chunk or two of lacing.

Aroma of roasted coffee, chocolate, toffee. A touch of red wine vinegar, black licorice, and alcohol. Not overly impressed with the blend.

Taste is assertive and direct. Sweetness followed by mouth filling roastiness. The chocolate malt from the nose is there, along with some raisins. Although it's integrated into the initial flavor, serious alcohol heat emerges in the aftertaste, not surprising given this one is close to 12%. Taste is at least better balanced than the nose for sure.

A fairly medium-full body with medium-low carbonation. There's some stickiness there. Works ok for the style.

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Photo of ckollias
4.35/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed this 22oz bomber out of a large snifter glass.

A: Dark black with trace amber highlights and a thin dark brown ½-finger head that quickly dissipates and leaves a wispy lace. The lace leaves a small trail down the glass.

S: A very sweet, caramel, and chocolate aroma fills the nose. Roasted malts and cocoa powder overtones and hints of

T: Dark rich ale with a generous sweetness and a roasted malt bitterness. Strong chocolate and caramel overtones, with a nice malt background. Spicy hops mellow out the malt sweetness. A very smooth sweet brew.

M: Very strong and boozy. Full body and medium carbonation

O: Great imperial stout. A nice sipping beer @ 11 % alcohol by volume.

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

Poured obsidian black with garnet red highlights around the edges of the opaque body, these only appearing when held up to a very bright light. About an inch of mocha foam.

Smell is richly coffeehouse with semi-sweet mocha, espresso, and toasted malts, with layers of dark fruits, raisins and a hint of alcohol.

Taste follows the aroma, semi-sweet chocolate, anise, french roast coffee, caramelly. A pleasant spicy-resin hoppiness/espresso bitterness hints at the edge of the tongue throughout the presentation that gives the Czar a spicy/sweet wonderfully balanced tone.

Overall it's smooth, creamy, complex, rich and very thoroughly enjoyable.

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Photo of Arenbeer
4.42/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle into a goblet glass

Bottled In 2007 - Drank Summer 2011

%11.73 ABV

A- Pours a really dark reddish brown that appears pretty black and on top is a 1finger light brown head that sticks around. Slight splotchy lacing on the glass but really nice legs on the side of the glass.

S- Really strong dark fruits pretty much dominate the aroma. Rum soaked raisins, figs, plums, you name it. Also has a slight anise character in there as well, which normally I wouldn't be a fan of but it blends really nicely overall. Burnt sugars , toffee and molasses come through on top of a very faded hop spice that's semi floral or earthy. Also getting notes of fresh leather and wet tobacco in a strange way. If you give it a swirl the alcohol come right up out of the glass and stings the nose but in a very inviting way.

T- Thankfully it tastes just like the aroma but better. Up front you get the sweetness from the sugars, toffee, caramel, and dark fruit. After it goes down your left with new flavors that were hidden nicely and undetectable in the aroma. First the hops create a solid tongue numbing bitterness that's quickly followed by unsweetened dry dark chocolate and burnt coffee. A pleasant surprise the nose didn't give up for me. I though this beer was for sure going to be a overly sweet dark fruit explosion but the taste really balanced out nicely. Definitely some alcohol or booze in the finish as well, especially as it warms up but was expected for %11.

M- Full bodied with moderate to little carbonation and a nice bitter finish.

Overall this a pretty damn good imperial stout that I would recommend to anyone. I also highly recommend aging this beer from reading reviews of it fresh and getting the opportunity to try it almost 5 years old. It's super mellowed out and highly complex but super balanced. They knew what they were doing with this one.

SkÅL!

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Photo of ksimons
4.15/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottled in 2009, enjoyed in 2011
A-almost black, with just a hint of ruby when held up to the light. Head is light tan and sticks to the glass

S-roasted bitter coffee and malt, bittersweet chocolate, and dark fruit

T-taste is very smooth and creamy, rich malt, light roasted coffee gives way to a decent amount of hop bitterness, bittersweet chocolate and dark fruit give the beer some sweetness.

M-creamy, smooth, medium body, very light carbonation, alcohol warming present

Overall this is a really good RIS and I wonder what aging it even more would do for it. Much more bitter than other RIS, gives it a different taste than most

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Photo of awmiller
4.83/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Oh yeah… another one to add to the AW Beer Hall of Fame!!! This brew pours up a rich black body sporting a rich tan creamy head that stays with the brew for quite some time leaving some nice lacing on the glass while the brew is being enjoyed. One’s sense of smell is flooded with chocolate, roasted hazelnuts and something along the lines of warm snicker-doodle or warm gingerbread cookies. The flavor of this beer is very complex and yet very, very enjoyable. I can’t even find the right words to adequately describe the flavors noted in this brews; but they are all well-balanced and very much to be savored slowly! The body is just how I like a good stout to be; thick, rich and almost chewy!

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Photo of funkel81
3.66/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2009 bottle poured into DFH tulip

poors with very small head. very dark brown and redish hue when held up to the light! very nice.

smell is weak, a bit roasty

mild carbonation, tastes very nice, very roasty. almost like a very string brown ale...

i think, from what others have said, the 2 years of age since bottling has taken away from the alcohol bite since it's 11% but not all that noticeable. i'm halfway through right now and am already starting to feel it. sweet.

i like it, going to age my other bottle for a couple more years and see what happens!

i'd buy it again

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Photo of Knapp85
3.7/5  rDev -5.4%
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 EgadBananas
3.87/5  rDev -1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2010 vintage, courtesy of mnbearsfan.

Pretty typical appearance. Pretty much black, medium tan head.

At first, the aroma and taste were pretty harsh. I actually likened my experience to a bit of a less harsh Mephistopheles Stout, which for me, was so boozy I was nearly undrinkable. Czar was reminiscent of that: rather boozy, ripe with booze-soaked dark fruits. The second pour however, was not as harsh. Booze was there, but more of a side note. Lot's more chocolate and big roasted notes, some bitterness, maybe coffee. Very pleasant and enjoyable after trudging through the first half. Maybe it's bottle conditioned and I got the more rawer first half.

In any respect, the feel was rather full and chewy. Low/no carbonation, slick and creamy.

Nice enjoyable RIS in the end. I think I'd like to get another bottle and sit on it for a few years cuz I think this would be an excellent brew to age for as long as you can.

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Photo of jrenihan
4.59/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Black with a thin tan head. Surprise, surprise, it's a stout!

The smell is just unbelievable. Very potent, full of chocolate, booze, dark fruit and port. Very strong smell, and very nice. There is just so much happening in the nose.

Taste is not quite as good as the scent, but is still really great. Lots of chocolate, cherry, current and booze. Actually a very boozy beer, but I find that it really works in its favour. Quite a dry finish, with a slight bitterness. Really really good.

Moderate carbonation, and full bodied. An interesting consistency to the beer: fluid but a little bit sticky.

Overall, I thought this was just a terrific stout. Very strong, but so easy to finish the whole (large) bottle. Very flavourful. Highly recommended, though you have to like your beers to be on the boozy side.

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Photo of Wadsey
2.15/5  rDev -45%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

The Czar, bottled 2008

Served in a New Belgium globe glass. 

A: Pours deep brown with light brown head that settles down to a thin, foamy skim. 

S: Crystal malts dominate nose with notes of raisins, brown sugar and some caramel. Additional aromas include earth, tea, cardboard, and faded hops. 

T: Brown sugar and raisins lead off. Some caramel, as in nose.  A few unfortunate characteristics follow: high bitterness, solvent/alcohol, oxidation, and a metallic note. The taste of the beer is paradoxically thin and muddled. Finish is bitterness riding over raisins. 

M: Medium-heavy body and Medium carbonation. Thin but sticky. 

O: The Czar leaves me scratching me head, albeit figuratively. It is not a Russian Imperial Stout...more like a Strong Ale with an American Barleywine twist. No matter, I find the beer to be muddled and not terribly enjoyable or drinkable. I will not revisit.

Thanks to strangebrew321 for the opportunity.

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Photo of DucksFan16
3.88/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz. bottle. Pours a dark off-black color, with a little reddish hint, and a nice tan head. Aroma of dark fruits, molasses, brown sugar, and chocolate. Flavor of chocolate, brown sugar, roasted malts, and molasses. These flavors come through the finish as well. A little bit too sweet for my taste.

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Photo of gdrydenc
4.41/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured out of a 22oz bottle dated 2009 into a tulip.

A - Pours, as they said on the bottle, inky black. However, I don't see the crimson hues that they claim break through. However, I do see (in the bright light) a hint of brown. It poured with about 1/2" of dark brown head that disappears quickly.

S - Smell is a little bit weak for such a thick black stout with such a high alcohol content. The dark malts and cocoa are present, though.

T - Well, the taste definitely makes up for the slightly lacking smell. The alcohol burn is sure there, but it doesn't detract at all. The roasted malts are great, there's a lot of cocoa tastes. There's a bit of sweetness that I wouldn't have expected, and it adds a bit of milkiness to the chocolate taste.

M - There's not a lot of carbonation to it, but that doesn't surprise me, given the lack of head initially. There's no real bitterness in the finish, which I would have expected. Additionally, the finish is less hot than I would have expected.

Overall, this is a great beer. It's a couple years old now, and I'm sure that the time has done it well, and will continue to improve it with time.

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Photo of vette2006c5r
4.26/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer poured a balck color witha nice creamy lacey head, that wasnt to large. The smell is a bit weak, a bit of oats. The taste is full of oats and cofee, no alchool taste is present. Good strong flavor stays on the palette. Overall a very good stout, very strong.

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The Czar from Avery Brewing Company
3.91 out of 5 based on 2,083 ratings.
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