The Czar | Avery Brewing Company

very good
2,083 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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,083 |  Reviews: 946
Photo of Tomdee74
3.06/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Totally don't mean to bash this beer. i was a little excited to try it.. maybe the bottle was just too fresh (says bottled in 2008) as it was too much alcohol..

A - Poured into a tulip glass it is a thick stout.. it has a nice dark color.. decent head that hangs around a bit before dissipating.

S - Was not impressed with the smell. This is where the high abv first jumps out at you. smells very strong..

T - Again not impressed with the taste as it is a little too much taste of alcohol. i tasted this on the heels of a NEBCo Imperial Stout Trooper and it kinda put this to shame..

M - It is thick but not something i enjoy swooshing around in mouth.. the abv is not well hidden...

D - My friends and i actually took a few sips of this and then had to drainpour it... i'm sure if you like fresh (even bottled in 2008???) stouts that are high in alcohol and have that taste then this is for you!! there are some people who do like that, but it is just not my cup of tea.. i don't want to bash this. it is not a terrible beer... but in the world of stouts i think there are some far better ones out there.. but not a failure at all... i know some people would truly enjoy this and cheers to them!

 1,204 characters

Photo of mcdevster
2.94/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

avery's russian imperial is a huge beer. it is truly an experience..
the smell is not nearly as malty and robust as i expected - very yeasty and hoppy.. the roasted qualities are in the background.. there is some dried dark fruit.. interesting but not totally convincing..
the taste is a total overload of the senses.. beg for mercy.. chocolate syrup, bitter black currant, dry yeast.. sweet bitter culmination in the finish.. all great flavors but together really too much..
the mouthfeel and drinkablility are slightly low.. don't get me wrong there are many delightful complex flavors going on.. but this is hard to drink.. at least for me. this is not my cup of tea but interesting none the less. I guess i prefer a more english rendering of the style.. the hops are just too much. it tastes like its trying to be an ipa, a stout, and a belgian all at the same time.. it is ambitious but not a symphonic combination.. worth a try but a heavy syrupy flavor blast.. with a lot of abv.

 987 characters

Photo of beerhan
3.46/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I went out to eat and had ordered a czar on draft. My waitress asked if I wanted a tall or short. Me still in my starbucks mindset said tall thinking that was 12 oz. Two minutes later I receive a 20 oz czar. I think this beer is more of a man than I am. A completely black glass with little head and a dark chocolatety flavor. Does not go well with mexican food as that was what was served at the restaurant. Overall this is a good stout but I think this would be delicious if it were aged for a couple years because be it smoothe it was a very hard to drink beer with a meal. I reccomend buying two bottles if you get the chance, drink one and age the other.

 659 characters

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

Poured from 22oz brown bomber into an oversized clear wineglass. Brewed in 2009 on front label. Purchased at Market Street Wineshop (Charlottesville, VA) for $7.50.

A: Not quite black with ruby edges and solid 1-finger of quickly dissipating french vanilla head. A few thin streamers of lace line the top of the pour.

S: Big aromas of molasses, chocolate, and dark malts with some figgy character smacks into citrus, floral hops and an alcohol singe of the nostrils.

T: Not overly complex but very malty with raisin and fig fruitiness, chocolate, molasses, and light acrid burned flavor. Hops are more than windowdressing adding some citrus and floral into the mix. Alcohol is very prominent and detracts a bit from theoverall package. It comes off as big but plain, especially when put up against the top performers for the style.

M: The body is underwhelming and not much more than medium with a lot of carbonation which makes it fizzy rather than creamy. Aftertaste is dark fruity with floral hops.

D: Not a bad RIS, but there are a lot better. I have 3 more in the cellar, so I'm hoping the alcohol subsides and some more malt complexity comes through.

11/14/12 -- 3 year old cellared bottle
This beer has really come around is very enjoyable. It doesn't have the intensity of some of the big-time RIS (Bells Exp Stout, GD Yeti, Stone IRS), but it is very smooth and enjoyable with more sweet fruity flavors but plenty of fudgy chocolate and the acrid and alcohol components have calmed substantially. Very enjoyable and I will probably pull out another one necxt month when family visits for the holidays. Bumped up taste, feel, and overall scores accordingly.

 1,671 characters

Photo of wildvikes
4.85/5  rDev +24%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A very good example of an Imperial Stout. No need to go into extreme details. If it had poured green or smelled like sauerkraut, I would have scored it lower than I did.

Review must be over 250 characters and less than 5,000. Apparently we shouldn't be snobs, but shouldn't not be snobs, either.

 296 characters

Photo of stbfan
3.86/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours thick, black, with a nice tan head. Red hues to light, nice looking beer.smells like dark malts.tastes like dark coffee with a slight bitterness.not too overpowering, despit the 11.7% abv. Warms the stomach nicely. Pretty awesome brew with dangerous good drinkability.

 274 characters

Photo of rhoadsrage
4.64/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

(Served in a snifter) bottled in 2008 in small print on bottle
A- This beer pours a jet black body with a thick oatmeal tan head. A few tiny bubbles stick to the base of the glass but otherwise to dense to see carbonation.
S- The wonderful full dark prunes and brown sugar have a perfume quality to it with some black roasted malt that blends together. There are caramel malt notes that come out when the beer opens up.
T- This beer has a slight sweetness to a soft bitter black malt flavor with molasses qualities and caramel sweetness underneath that comes through as the beer warms a bit. The finish has a green hop bite that blends with a slight inky bite roasted quality. The hops take on more of a slightly pithy, spicy quality to them.
M- This beer has a medium-full mouthfeel with a slight slippery texture and no alcohol heat until the last few sips, but that blends well with roasted malt finish.
D-This beer is a rich wonderful flavor and aroma that I just can't stop sniffing all that depth. It has some nice barley wine qualities with big stout flavors woven in. As it opens up it turns more inky but still keeps a good balance of sweet and bitterness.

 1,170 characters

Photo of mugglesandhops
3.77/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into snifter (night before leaving for CA) Shared with Al and Biff

Pours an opaque black body with a solid tan head that fades quickly to a film on top of the beer. Smells roasty, some chocolate, some coffee, maybe a little dark fruit. Taste chocolatey and like coffee as well fairly hot for %11-ish. Velvety on the pallete.

 344 characters

Photo of Lerxst
3.92/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A-Pours a very dark brown, not quite black, with a 1/4" beige head that fades quickly but leaves decent lacing.

S-Dark fruit is most prominent, a bit of booze, some roasted malt and chocolate too. Smells good.

T-Sweeter than expected, but it works. Kind of a chocolate cherry thing going on that I'm liking. Some dark roasted malt, a bit of black licorice too.

M-A bit thinner than expected for the style, but still on the heavy side of medium. Carb level is a bit elevated for the style, but it seems to work. Even though the body is a bit thin and the carb level is higher than expected, it still retains a somewhat creamy and coating mouthfeel.

D-A fairly easy drinking RIS. Finishing a bomber was no problem.

Overall, a solid stout. I wouldn't think, "Man, I gotta have that again." But I certainly wouldn't turn it down.

 830 characters

Photo of biglite351
2.59/5  rDev -33.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A - nice and dark with only slight red around the edges. Tall lacing tan foam.

S - smells a bit like a doppelbock. Very mild.

T - I don't think that this tastes much like an Imperial Stout to be honest. I would have guessed that this was a barrel aged stout. It seems to have a bit of a bourbon taste to it. There is also an alcohol burn in the top of the throat.

M - no real coating but not watery. Mild alcohol burn in the throat.

D - not my bag.

 453 characters

4.38/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Deep blackened Mahogany with Raspberry highlights, near opaque, but you can see some light through it. Foamy tan head with nice laces.

Roasted chocolate. some dark fruit. Earthy and woody. a bit of booze.

Deep roasty bittersweet chocolate and molasses. dark fruit. Floral and resinous spicy hops that provide a nice bitterness that round out this burly brew. Alcohol is integrated very well. doesnt taste like 11%, but theres a nice warming.

Thick (but not as thick as many RISs), sticky, hearty, rich, and smooth. Full bodied.

Great big sticky drinkable imp stout (for 11%). Very tasty and complex.

 604 characters

Photo of caddybuyer
4.25/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz bomber into a tulip glass. I'm not seeing any date on this, but this has been cellered by me for about...oh...a week?, so lets call it a 2010.

A-Black with a creamy medium tan head that settles rapidly. Nice look, but nothing remarkable. Tip the glass for some ruby highlights.

S-Heady roasted mocha, bakers chocolate, some dark fruits in the background with almost a spicy soy sauce note.

T-Savory creaminess abounds with anise very much leading the charge into a full bodied mocha midrange followed by a peppery astringent finish. Boxed around the palate, the dark fruits make themselves present as does the warming alcohol, but not nearly as much as would be expected. I love the style, and I really love this beer.

M-See above, creamy, well balanced, full mouthfeel. A very nice effort.

D-Dangerously drinkable. I haven't met an Avery beer I didn't like, especially among their big beers, and this one is an outstanding effort that tastes just great young....I can only imagine how wonderful this will be with some age.

 1,049 characters

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

Bottled 2009. Pours dark in the glass with some toffee head. It does let some light through throughout the beer, seems a little lighter than some other RISs. Big whiffs of dark fruits, some booze and roast. I was a bit surprised by the lack of chocolate and dark roast that I've experienced in other RISs. The dark fruit and molasses were very evident and the alcohol got really hot as this warmed and as such I kept away from open flames. Felt nice and syrupy with moderate carbonation and left a sticky sweet aftertaste. Overall a good big beer but not quite what I expected. The heat may subside but was a little too, burny?, right now. Also, priced a little higher than I would have liked.

 693 characters

Photo of peedee
4.13/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

09 bomber poured into pint glass.

A- Pours a nice back with a little hint of red at the bottom when held into light. A light mocha brown head.

S- Light cherry and chocolate smell. The alcohol is lightly noticeable.

T- A sweet cherry with a ending of chocolate malt. The alcohol shows up in the finish slightly.

M- Smooth, not as much warmth as I was expecting from the alcohol.

D- This beer went down easily. The alcohol is there but not enough to hinder the experience.

 475 characters

Photo of Evil_Pidde
4.43/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Today I'm celebrating my first year as a BA. I thought I'd celebrate with a nice strong Stout.

The 65 cl brown long-necked bottle's got a red picture of Nicholas II, the last Czar of Russia. It looks really nice and exclusive.

A: The pour is pitch black with a thick medium-large beige head that takes quite some time to dissipate, leaving nice lacings.

S: Chocolate and light roasted malt (caramell?). Hoppy in a nice way, both floral and bitter.

T: Rich syrupy sweet light roasted caramell malt. Chocolate, coffee and sweet dark dried fruits. Then there's licorice and vanilla and some bitterness as well.

M: Full body and mild carbonation in great balance. A warmth spreads from the high ABV, but still very nice. Aftertaste is long and holds a great balance of sweet and bitter.

D: This is a great beer. Buy it, enjoy it while thinking of what Benjamin Franklin said: "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy".

 947 characters

Photo of WeedKing4
4.1/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bomber bottle pours a dark black with lots of light caramal foam forming in the glass. The taste is of dark fruit with a hint of chocolate and black licorice. Its pretty smooth overall and quite easy to drink for the higher abv%. Not a bad stout overall, and glad I got to try this one.

 286 characters

Photo of clickpush
2.91/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pour 22oz bottle to wide mouth glass. Hearty pour yield half finger of tan head. Coffee colored body. Head reduces to a thin cap of lacing and intermittent ring around the surface.

Aroma is on the lighter side. A bit of oxidation. Some roast malts, acetic... a bit doughy. Hope it tastes better than it smells.

Smooth and creamy mouth. Sweet, a bit syrupy. Flavor is thin. Finish is roasty. Some vegetal notes... peas??


 427 characters

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

Poured from 08 bottle into pint glass

Appearance-Pours a rich charcoal black with maybe the slightest tinges of red around the edges, a nice mocha head raises and slowly dissipates.

Aroma-Cherries and dark fruit, maybe plums, followed by rich caramelized and somewhat chocolaty malt. Ends with a note of alcohol. It may just be me but the fruity cherry smell, smells a little bready to me almost like a piece of cherry cake.

Taste-Follows the nose but with the cherry and dark fruit flavors taking a backseat to the malt character which dominates the finish with toasty and chocolaty flavors that mingle with a slight hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel-Lush, but somewhat thin for an Imperial Stout, however, it still possesses that nice silky smoothness.

Drinkability-For such a big beer, this is pretty drinkable and goes down rather easy.

 837 characters

Photo of popery
4.34/5  rDev +11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle, home. 2008 batch. I should really try this beer fresh in the interest of writing harsh reviews. Aged, this beer is quite good. Pours a deep brandy brown with a small head that fades quickly. The aroma is brandy, raisins, plums, brown sugar, molasses, caramel, warm alcohol and a faint herbaceous note that may be the last gasp of the faded hops. The flavor is all wonderfully sweet aged malt. Feel is smooth and rich. This is a good beer to sip slowly out of a small brandy glass. Wonderful stuff.

 505 characters

Photo of Duhast500
3.97/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz. bottle into a stemmed glass.

The color is a pitch black with two fingers of light brown head and some nice lacing.

The smell is pretty roasty with a bit of a tootsie roll flavor. Some sweet malt flavors and a touch or two of bitterness.

The taste is pretty sweet at first. The sugary sweet flavor surprised me and was expecting a bit of a bitter flavor to take over but a chocolate flavor hits at the end and is really nice. It has a bit of a black licroice flavor as well.

The feel of this beer is a little creamy and goes down really well. It is a bit strong so I took my time with this beer. It has a nice medium body.

 645 characters

Photo of RiverCityBrews
4.25/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Apperance - One finger head in an 8 oz snifter. Head Retention is long lasting. Once poured, this beer boasts robust crimson waves snaking around in an inky darkness. Note: Other than head, this is partly the brewers description but I found it very accurate.

Smell - Malty and slightly biscuity. The Belgian Candy Sugar Avery uses adds a swirling ice cream cone goodness to the dense dark cloud.

Taste - Rich and full. Hits the tongue with what can be described as an onslaught of high quality ingredients from one end to the other, without any degree of insult. The above mentioned Belgian Candy Sugar holds the ingredients together and smooths the strong malts. The malts are powerful but graceful.

Mouthfeel - A truly well balanced mouthfeel. No swish or foam. Just the right amount of stick. Almost feels like it's rolling along your mouth instead of sticking.

Drinkablitiy - The mouth and taste part of drinkability are not a problem. For one, I could (and have) drink just this beer all night. The only problem one might come across is if they are not used to thick beers it may be a little heavy on the stomach after 440z or so.

 1,142 characters

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

Avery Czar Russian Imperial Stout. 10.82% alcohol as stated on bottle.(2009)BD

A- Pours a pitch black fluid that does allow some light to pass on the lower part of my pint glass that glows a firey dark amber. Small quarter inch light tan head falls to a froth leaving rings of lacing.

S- Upfront is a raging alcohol scent that burns the nose with fury. Second is a mild coffee and cocoa. Last is very light sweet molasses and hops.

T- Quick warming effect of a hell of alot of estery alcohol bite. After is a smooth hit of bittering hops followed by coffee and sweet caramel malts. Mouthfeel is creamy after the alcohol burns off its unhidden state. Alittle rough and hot in the mouthfeel department but hell its for drinking.

D- Massive alcohol bomber and i'll remember when a moderate priced stout with more than enough alcohol is wanted and some flavor is recieved.

 872 characters

Photo of flagmantho
4.03/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a tulip. My bottle is labeled as being 10.82% ABV rather than the above-listed 11.03%.

Appearance: entirely black but for a very slight crimson tinge when held up to the light. Two fingers of dark tan, compact foam which stick tenaciously to the glass. A bit of a monster ... it looks fantastic.

Smell: rich coffee and toffee aromas. There are also hints of chocolate and caramel. It has a highly dessert-like aroma and not a little sweetness. Smells quite nice.

Taste: the sweetness really comes through here. Big malt flavors of chocolate, toffee and caramel. Alcohol is prominent and lends a lot of dark fruity flavors; lots of plum in this one. A basic but tasty RIS.

Mouthfeel: thick body with a syrupy consistency. There is plenty of substance here to coat your mouth and let you enjoy all the flavors. Quite nice.

Drinkability: a very tasty, solid RIS. High alcohol, but the flavors and aromas keep me coming back for more.

 966 characters

Photo of Parrotbeak
2.98/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Very deep mahogany, with no head, save some swirly off-white patches.
Smell is dark chocolate and malts, with hops coming through. More roasty malts, a little toffee, with a bit of vanilla. Alcohol is quite noticeable. Not bad overall, but it doesn't quite work.
Taste is hops and chocolatey malts. As with the smell, the malts become roasty halfway through. A bitter, hoppy wave comes in, swelling at the finish. Alcohol is slightly assertive. Again, just doesn't quite work for me.
Mouthfeel is fairly flat and heavy, though there is a little bit of carbonation. A lot of heat from the alcohol.
Not that drinkable. I know this one is meant to be a sipper, but still, this one is a bit off-putting to me. I find myself anticipating the finish of each successive sip with an increased level of trepidation. I shall finish this bottle, but I don't think it'll be that easy.

 872 characters

Photo of Luff
3.86/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2008 22oz bottle

A: Black, small cream colored head.

S: Caramel and roasted malts, dark fruit.

T: Similar to smell, caramel and roasted malts, chocolate, dark fruit, slight warming alcohol, a little bitterness.

M: Viscous, lightly carbonated.

D: Great very tasty, not to sweet or overly alcoholic, seems well balanced. At 10.77% might be hard to drink a whole 22oz for some.

 379 characters

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

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.