The Czar | Avery Brewing Company

very good
2,080 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: 2,080 |  Reviews: 944
Photo of katan
3.88/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz into a pint

A - Pours a deep dark brown color with a few amber highlights. Mocha colored head, about 1/4" in size, slowly breaking down to a film. Little lacing.

S - Strong roasted malts, chocolate. Some yeast breadiness comes through as well as a light amount of american hops.

T - Starts off super malty, chocolate and roast. Mid-stream gets a really strong chocolate note as well as some hopping. A strong yeast note, bready, shows up in the mid-stream. Finishes with the bitter balance. Aftertaste is a combination of retained bitterness and some roasted, almost burnt flavors. Alcohol is not strong on the taste.

M - Very full bodied, thick mouthfeel. Carbonation is light, not very strong on the tongue. Alcohol warmth is very pronounced, very hot.

D - Moderate drinkability. ABV is super strong. Not filling. Seems to fit as an after dinner drink. Not totally palette wrecking.

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Photo of thagr81us
3.67/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served from tap into slender shaker. Poured a deep dark brown almost black with hints of red-brown around the edges when in the light with a half finger tan head. Maintained excellent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, slight roasted malt, caramel, and subtle nutmeg. The flavor was of roasted malt, caramel, slight chocolate, and big alcohol. It had a medium feel on the palate with mild carbonation. Overall this thing was amazingly boozy. I was honestly shocked upon my first sip with the flavor of booze in this one. The aroma did nothing to prepare me for what I was about to experience. It did have a decent flavor and aroma despite the boozy aspect, but it was not awe-inspiring. Wish the alcohol content was a little lower or less intense to allow some other flavors to make their way through.

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Photo of vfgccp
4.55/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Almost black, traces of amber light along the edges.

S - Sweet porridge, condensed milk, touch of alcohol, coffee

T - Bitter dark chocolate and warm milk opening. Bitter hop cameo in the mid profile that's overtaken by dark dried fruits, touch of brown sugar, bitter concord grape. Light coffee and bitter-smoke aftertaste.

M - Smooth with a robust body.

D - Flavors are powerful and might slow you down, but they do a ridiculous job of hiding the alcohol.

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Photo of RickS95
3.88/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

It's good looking. Very dark, not quite black as there are shades of brownish red. The head is decent, a khaki color. Pours thick.

Grapes, toffee and figs fill the nose. A little bit of roasted malt and tree barks comes through as well.

Roasted malts hit the palate first, just before the toffee. I pick up some wine notes as well.

This is a manly beer and it's not smooth like a lot of stouts...but it's an imperial and it means business. There's some bitterness from the hops and a lot of heat in the finish.

Lots of alcohol. The bitterness gives way to more heat from the alcohol. Not sure I could drink more than the 22 ounces in the bottle. It's a good beer, nothing bad about it, it's just intense.

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

Poured into a tulip glass from a 22oz bomber. Bottled in 2008.

A - Pours a nice oily black beer with some slight dark ruby hues. There is a nice .25 inch dense head that is tan in color with some nice tight bubbles and some good sticky lacing. Pretty good retention as well.

S - Aroma of dates, raisins some nice burnt sugar and caramel. There are some slight boozy sweet hints as well. The dark fruit sweetness is delicious. The sweetness is intense and warming. There are some chocolate notes as well as some nice syrup notes.

T & M - Starts off with some nice sweet caramel notes with some dates and raisins. Some slight burnt and roasted notes are mixed in with the great boozy heat and some nice maple syrup and dark fruit hints. The beer tastes pretty much as it smells. There is a nice oily and smooth mouthfeel to this beer with a full complex body. This beer is definitely a sipper with the higher ABV and the strong booze character to it.

D - Good beer and stout. I wish it was a bit less boozy but its still good.

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Photo of smakawhat
3.13/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from the bottle giving off a very dark walnut brown consistency looking a little watery. Large bubbles of a light natural brown color. No lacing.

Faint yeast and some interesting malt characteristic at first, but a strange "funk" quality as well with some molasses. Bizarre nose for an imperial stout. Weak coffee like scent. Not a pleasant nose but intriguing...

Taste manages a very good balanced body, has a licorice/anisette quality like finish. Very good masking of a high ABV content. Pleasant mouthfeel nothing overpowering or overbearing/dominant among the flavors that are presented.

I could have another one, but I am not desiring it...

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Photo of OakedCanuck
2.83/5  rDev -27.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22oz poured into snifter. From notes

This beer pours a very dark black with small brown edging. Tan to brown head that left quickly and minor lacing. It smelled interesting, you get the roasty coffee and chocolate, then some plum/currant/raisin, some hops and then the alcohol (daring you to take a sip). Yes, the alcohol was the main attraction, unfortunately. You do get some of the roastiness you expect but this one is mostly just hot and bitter. Mouthfeel is unbalanced, heavy. Harder one to drink, not the best from Avery.

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Photo of gnemesis
3.58/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

06/14/2010 poured into snifter
Darkness topped off with thick and creamy off-white head. I find roasted malt, slight toffee, vanilla, chocolate, coffee, and... a yeasty smell? The taste follows nicely with some added booze heat. Perhaps some age would mellow this one. Full body and full carbonation. Good not great but worth having again.

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Photo of Chaney
2.85/5  rDev -27.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A: Wow, It poured out like oil, as black as night, and with very little head.... maybe 1/2 finger or so. Very fast disipation.

S: Very faint on the nose, but I still got a bit of chocolate, molasses, a hint of toffee, and unfortunately.... booze.

T: Alcoholic and then some... and I mean, it actually stains your teeth! The dark fruit taste that did exist was immediately put in it's place by pure grain alcohol. That was especially evident on the finish. I think MORE sweetness would have done wonders for this brew... perhaps some honey?

M: Very thick stuff, fairly creamy, but once again, it's overbearingly, nail-bitingly bitter and boozy.

D: Not very. That's a real shame because I respect Avery very much. I had this same problem with the Goose Island "Nightstalker." To my taste, this one doesn't even come close to hitting the mark, especially in the RIS category.

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Photo of HiLLWiLLiam
2.63/5  rDev -32.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

I am most certainly not a stout aficionado, however I do feel I have experienced a few delightful ones in my day. The Czar would NOT BE one of those stout's. Perhaps I did not know what I was getting myself into when I looked at the 11.00% ABV, however that has never bothered me previously. I would compare the taste to sticky motor oil. Maybe I'm a freak. I don't give a shit.

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

I had this on tap at the Flying Saucer in Houston.

A - This beer is a dark brown with a thin creamy head and little carbonation.

S - I get the aroma of brown sugar and some chocolate. Definitely getting the aroma of alcohol of the top.

T - Wow. This has a very complex taste to me. Dark, not to sweet syrupy flavor with warming alcohol and little to no hops. Delicious.

M - Medium mouthfeel, not heavy enough to affect the drinkability.

D - Definitely drinkable accept for the high alcohol content. Not to hoppy to overpower your taste buds and definitely warming as you go.

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Photo of robhunta
4.54/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark black/brown, aromas of dates, sweet. Aromas of currant and molasses. Minimal hops flavors and aromas. Somewhat syrupy mouth-feel, otherwise delicious. Some heat from alcohol feel. Very sweet, a complex beer, will do very well over time. My only issue is drinkability.

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Photo of Gosox8787
4.42/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 2007 Vintage bottle marked at 11.73% ABV and 70 IBUs. Poured into my Portsmouth Brewery tulip glass and served at room temperature.

Appearance: Midnight black in colorwith a slight dark brown head. Not bad retention considering the high ABV.

Aroma: Dark chocolate notes really flourish here. Some toffee and molasses notes are also present with a nice backing of licorice. A little bit of heat is present here too, but its surpirsingly smooth for the ABV.

Taste: The dark chocolate really stands out here. It's not overly bitter as molasses and toffee notes add a muhc needed sweetness. Some nice smoke notes weave there way in and out as well. Some anise and licorice flavors provide a nice contrast in the background as well.

Mouthfeel: Really sharp bit of carbonation here. Almost stings the tongue. Other than that, full bodied and smooth. Maybe even a bit syrupy.

Drinkability: For this ABV, it is incredibly smooth. Definitely nice to sip over an evening and certainly more drinkable than most of the style.

Overall, a really smooth and remarkble stout. The age on this really did wonders for it. All the flavors are pleasant melded together brillantly. As a fan of the style, I'm really impressed.

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Photo of mulder1010
3.3/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22 oz Bomber poured into a pint glass

A-- Poured a dark reddish black and settled black with tints of red at the bottom. Got a massive 3 finger head to start and it settled to just under one finger of light brown sugar colored head.

S-- Toffee, molasses, mocha, candied cherry and some spice. Toffee being the largest smell of the bunch.

T-- Toffee, Molasses, and cane sugar. A bit of floral hop bite and also some licorice.

M-- Starts as mocha and toffee and becomes a lot of sweet licorice. Medium body and carbonation. Hops do not offset the amount of licorice this becomes. Bigger licorice as it gets warmer. Very sweet finish to this.

D-- Well hidden ABV but needs something to offset the sweetness and the licorice. The hops could work well in this but they need to be bigger to cut into the sweetness of it. Too sweet for me. One is fine and should be a 12 oz bottle to make it better as it is now.

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Photo of r0nyn
4.02/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bomber into my DFH snifter. Split with fellow BAs infi and brun. Vintage 2008.

Pours a dark, dark brown that turns opaque in the glass. Dark tan head that dissipates quickly, leaving some spotty, sticky lacing. Pretty light-looking, as I'm used to my RIS's having a bit more viscosity to them. Smell is mostly dark roasted malts with some light milk chocolate and coffee. Alcohol is slightly detectable at the end as a subtle booziness.

Taste has more chocolate and sweet roasted malts to start, giving way to a light toffee and a bit of dark fruit as well. Booziness prevails towards the end, especially as the beer warms, reminding you that it carries a weighty 11% ABV. It's not overpowering, however, so it balances well with the sweet profile. Light bitterness from the coffee flavoring, not too much of a hop presence at all. Mouthfeel is a bit on the lighter side, with a drying finish. Body isn't as heavy as I'm used to from a Russian Imperial Stout. And you'd think a brew with a name like the Czar would at least get that part, right? Still quite smooth, all things considered.

Drinkability is actually very good. Yeah, it's a lighter-than-usual RIS, but the taste and smell are still pleasant and the alcohol is masked very well. I could definitely have quite a bit of this in one sitting. Definitely one of the easiest beers I've ever had to drink.

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

2008 22oz bomber, courtesy of BA r0nyn. From 11/16 notes.

Poured into a Duvel tulip.

A burnt caramel color with substantial amounts of transparency, which creates a thin white head that recedes immediately into a thin cap. No lacing. Smell is overall sweet and malty, all hops and coffee completely eradicated by the two-plus years of age shelf life. Even with all the aging, the 11% ABV still cuts through from initial pour to the later periods of warmth in the glass.

Honestly, the taste was a bit hard for me to determine certain aspects of the stout, due to the wrapping booziness of the alcohol (not as deterring as the fresh Victory SKS I had a couple months ago). I had to let my glass sit and warm a bit to allow for some amplification of some flavors. So after a few minutes, I was able to find "some" milk chocolate sweetness, malt and subtle dark fruit. One notable aspect was the finish, which left an incredible sugary sweetness over my teeth.

Mouthfeel was substantially thin-bodied yet silky. Would've liked it to be a bit more medium-bodied instead. Drinkability was surprisingly easy though. The 11% was still identifiable but was real easy to get through. Not as tasty as other stouts, but still drinkable by all means.

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Photo of brewerburgundy
3.89/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

22oz bottle, Boulevard tulip, bottled in 2009.

An incredibly light 11% RIS is dark root beer garnet. Now we know what they look like. Oh, this one is saved by an incredible head for an 11% RIS. It's the perfect cappuccino shade, the three finger pour has great retention, a half inch at least, and there is goopy lacing.

Delicate roast, light molasses, a wee bit of licorice, Quad-like dark fruits, raisins, port, and finally Turkish coffee. The aromas are quite sweet. As this gets warmer I'm actually getting bourbon stoked by vanilla. And as it gets even warmer we've got cheap vodka.

Quite a sweet beer. The Turkish coffee is prevalent; sugary sweetness, coffee bitterness. The hop flavors are still resiny, nice, sticky, and spicy. Bitterness isn't enough to balance all this sweetness. Moderately dark chocolate, raisins, figs, apart from liquor soaked fruit the alcohol is quite subdued. This beer is achingly close to balance and a much better reputation.

As it is, the north of moderate carbonation keeps the super malty body off the tongue. There aren't any really any problems past the excessive sweetness.

I think this drinks admirably well for 11% and the level of sweetness. I really think this beer is reaching for excellence and that it would take small tweaks to get it there. The problem is that I doubt it will change and this bottle had not chance. It's slipping.

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Photo of bamadog
2.44/5  rDev -37.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Finally picked up a bottle of this after seeing it for a couple of years and reading some reviews on it to determine if it was worth the money. Review is from notes taken on 11/5/2010 and poured from the bottle (bottled in 2007) to a snifter.

Appearance: Pour is dark brown/near black; starts with a one finger creamy tan head that fades quickly to nothing other than a swirly skim on the surface and milky ring; body is entirely opaque;

Smell: Smell is creamy, very smooth and milky, but something seems a bit off... a bit of lactic sourness in there with the smooth creaminess; hints of syrupy chocolate and powdery cocoa; actually a still a mild presence of grassy hops

Taste: Not really all that good actually - I have to wonder if this bottle has turned or is just simply past it's prime... Bit of a sour milky flavor to it with some grassy hops and dirt; definite presence of alcohol and more dirt and cherries.

Mouthfeel: Not quite as thick as I would have hoped; body is of medium weight and the carbonation is smooth and fairly creamy; a thin semi-dry stickiness hangs out for a bit on the roof of the mouth; definite vaporous alcohol hangs on the breath and the belly is definitely left warm.

Drinkability: I won't be looking for it again due to the turned milk aspects in the taste... The weight and ABV would lower it even if it was more palatable; however, if someone else is cracking one that's fresher I'll gladly give it another shot. If I find it deserves a different set of scores, I will gladly amend my rating.

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Photo of scoobybrew
3.78/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - deep dark nearly opaque ruby color with a thick tan ice-cream head that is very well retained

S - rich roasted malt aroma with herbal and floral hops, low raisin-like scent from yeast

T- dark roasted malt at first, but then the hops kick in: strong herbal and floral hop flavor throughout; hop bitterness blends well with roasted malts on finish; raisin-like esters and flavors also noted

M - medium body with moderate carbonation, some alcohol warmth

D - This is a very American take on the RIS style. The hop is very present but the malt is very 'one-dimensional'. The chocolate-like roast character is present, but not as interesting as some RIS that are out there. If you can find it for a decent price, it's worth a try.

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Photo of BarrytheBear
2.48/5  rDev -36.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

2008 bottle that been shuffled through the fridge to the point that the crusty Ruskie on the front demanded I quit insulting the sensibilities of our fine Cold War foes.

Crimson pour with soapy spotty bubbles

Smell is...hold on here. Is this a KGB attempt at mind control? This is a stout. I repeat....this is a stout. Despite the proclamations, I get get a massive face smack of toffee and sweet malt. Someone may also have smashed a Twix bar in here. I'm looking at you, Vlady Putin. Not unpleasant, but also not what I'd expect from a big stout.

Yikes....the confusion continues. Oodles and oodles of malty sweetness and toffee. In the background lurks a small wave of chocolate that get beaten down by the flavors. The leafy hops cut a quick swath across a beer that feels quite disjointed. A defector for sure...a beer without a country, or more appropriately, a style.

Sluggish and syrupy with low level carbonation that keeps this sticky and a bit of a chore.

Looking back at another reviewer here, I'm not alone. Poor as an RIS, but respectable as an English barleywine. Confounding really.

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Photo of mjurney
3.45/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottled in 2009.

Deep black color, can't see through. Small head that disappears really quick, a little dash of lacing.

Very sweet in the nose. I get vanilla, molessas and dark fruit.

Sweet malts up front, I get lots of dark fruit (prune like), some black licorice, a little vanilla. Roasted malts is very subtle, but I get some burnt character.

Body is medium to heavy.

Finish a little rough with warm alcohol aftertaste.

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Photo of claybeer
3.73/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Dark, rich brown that just looks heavy. I can hardly see any light creeping through this one. The head is a creamy chocolate milk color and laces well. The nose is really malty and a bit nutty. Some toffee notes tickle the nose at the end. It is really earthy and tobacco controls all the taste buds on first taste. Then a bitter chocolate and coffee with some caramel that sticks to your lips....Nice! Some alcohol heat hits really late in the depths of your stomach. Too big to be real drinkable but for a sipper it's perfect.

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Photo of jampics2
4.07/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A 22oz bottle poured into a souvenir glass. Enjoyed with Adam Avery at his Adam Avery Experience at the Buckeye Beer Engine during Cleveland Beer Week 2010.

The Czar is the beer in the Dictator series that is perhaps the most feared and the least understood. It's not entirely evil and you can tell when you pour it into a glass. The beer is not completely opaque; instead, some ruby red edges are noted offering a glimpse of fleeting compassion in an otherwise black-hearted tyrant. The body is strong and ready for battle, but the head doesn't seem to be all there, receding from a fluffy brownish tan to just a ring in no time. A bit of lace is noted but quickly flees.

The smell, however, is unique and powerful. The typical roasted malt notes are all accounted for, giving some fudge brownie, molasses, and dark fruit notes. There's also some nuttiness and caramel. The alcohol is well hidden, which is impressive considering there's not a ton of overpowering burned malt or coffee flavors. Just a hint of booze shows that we aren't messing around with a sissy sultan of suds. This beer is a malty mogul ready to attack my taste buds.

Staying true to a classical battle plan, the taste is pretty straightforward after exploring the bouquet and knowing what to expect. My reconnaissance paid off, as I was not throw off guard by the blasts of sweet caramel and molasses, fudge and chocolate, and dark fruit. Some hops also join in on the beat-down, assertive but certainly in proportion to the massive malt. The beer is bitter after so many battles but finishes up sweet with lingering roast, hops and sugar. A touch of alcohol is by no means a missing link in the armor of this absolutist, but it does show more vulnerability than some of the beers I consider to be at the top of this style.

The mouthfeel was a touch disappointing, for it is here that the brute force of this 11% authoritarian ale emerges. The beer has relatively low carbonation and some noticeable syrup. The carbonation tries to fix things with a nice, crisp feeling, but overall the medium to heavy body becomes just a touch too sticky. That being said, it is enjoyable to drink and I expected an 11.03% stout to pack a wallop. This beer has battle scars to prove how many feeble palates it has decimated. Thank god I'm also a veteran of the brown bottle battlefield.

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Photo of Phelps
3.49/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed on tap, served in a goblet at Tops.

A: pervasive, all-encompassing black. A half-finger head of dense, light tan bubbles quickly dissolves, leaving a lingering and very sticky ring along with a rather filmy top layer. Jagged columns of lace grip the sides as I drink.

S: cotton candy, subtle milk chocolate, cocoa nibs, light earthy hops, molasses and some subtle espresso make up the nose, however in a manner that's a little too subdued for my liking.

T: sugar-sweet at first and roasty second, the flavor opens with notes of red wine and cotton candy before evolving to a deep roasted character akin to campfires and beach sand. These malts were burnt to a crisp. Fruity figs and plum sauce roll in at the finish in combination with a highly acrid espresso powder flavor that grips the sides of the tongue. As it warms, it becomes sweeter and less toasty, which isn't necessarily a good thing.

M: velvet smooth, with a medium, massaging carbonation and a creamy medium body.

D: the Czar is a heavy beer, both in ABV and on the palate. Decent in flavor, but not outstanding. One was definitely enough.

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

Pours a dark almost black brown, thick tan head that dissolves into bubbles on the side. Lots of lacing all along the sides.

Very malty with some hints of spicy hops and alcohol.

Initially very fruity and sugary sweet then mellows out to roasted hops, hints of chocolate and coffee. Finish leaves raisins, roasted malts and coffee bitterness.

Medium body, tingling carbonation. Little bit sticky. Some alcohol burn in the throat after swallowing.

Leaves a constant warming feeling in your stomach.

This is a good beer but not exactly what I was expecting. I saw 70 ibu on the bottle and was thinking it would be closer in bitterness to something like old rasputin. I was not expecting sweet and fruity. This is a good change but not exactly true to the style. The sweetness is closer to that of a barley whine rather than a ris.

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The Czar from Avery Brewing Company
3.91 out of 5 based on 2,080 ratings.
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