The Czar | Avery Brewing Company

very good
941 Reviews
The CzarThe Czar

Brewed by:
Avery Brewing Company
Colorado, United States

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.10%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Wildman on 01-05-2003

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 941 | Ratings: 2,072
Photo of BeerBuilder
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours to a pure black color with minimal head. Leaves a ring of light brown around the edges. Nice lacing. The aroma chocolate malt, a bit of caramel, a slight bit of subtle.

The flavor is malty and chocolatey, with some bitter hop flavor. It is very creamy, it is almost like a milk stout.

I'm drinking out of the wrong glass on this one, and I know I am missing alot. It is a very nice beer.

I switch glasses and let it warm a bit and it indeed was much better. I got a bit of smokiness like a rauchbier. It was full in body and easy drinking. It showed a bit of strength, but not the full 11%. Very nice.

 647 characters

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

The Czar
22 oz brown bottle
Bottled in 2005
Served in a wide mouthed snifter

* Enjoyed during 02-12-2006 east coast blizzard *

Pours a magnificant deep and dark black. Pure jet black color with a tan colored head. Beautiful trails of sticky lace decorate the sides of the snifter.

Pleasant nose with strong whiffs of dark chocolate, maple syrup, hops and dairy cream.

Sweet, sugary molasses quality with a rich dark chocolate flavor. Hints of French roast coffee and biting hops. Plums dipped in munson milk chocolate and cherry fruit flavors.

Very complex and mighty enjoyable. The 11.03% ABV is dangerously well hidden behind the combination of flavors. This is the type of beer that will make your palate happy. Recommended.

 747 characters

Photo of BRoss242
4.38/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Poured jet black with a nice thick light brown head which dissipated quickly to a thin film, nice lacing till the end .

S- Dark chocolate, and coffee with a hint of pit fruit, alcohol doesn't come in as strong as I expect for this beer.

T- Lots of bitter dark malt up front with a hint of chocolate and cherries in the after taste. Alcohol not as dominate as some of the other high ABV beers that I have tasted from Avery.

M- Very smooth beer with good carbination, a little bitter in the back but not bad.

D- I could probably drink two of these and even realize the effects,but the next one would probably kill me sort of like a good liquor. With that said I would definitely buy this beer again and I probably suggest it to others as a very good RIS.

 768 characters

Photo of ommegangpbr
3.83/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Notes taken at the Blind Tiger in November '05.
The first thing that came to mind when I tasted this was Ayinger's Celebrator. A thick, dense, malty doppelbock thang going on. Very, very rich with the alcohol being very well concealed in all the rich, sweetness. This belongs in a brandy snifter as a digestif. A slow, sippy dessert. One of the better efforts from Avery, in my experience.

 390 characters

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

22 oz. bomber, bottled in 2005, poured into a tulip.

The Czar starts off with a complex aroma featuring dark fruit, mocha, roast, and alcohol. There's a healthy dose of roasted malt on the palate, with a bitterness derived therefrom that's coupled with enough hop bitterness to keep things in check. At 11.03% ABV, this brew warms the soul a wee bit, but it's not too hot.

As with Double IPAs, the number of quality Imperial/Double Stouts seems to be on the rise, which is good news for us craft brew lovers. While I can think of a few examples of the style that I'd prefer, The Czar stands in as a quality entry from a quality brewery.

 644 characters

Photo of isubsmith
3.9/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Dense, dark black. Lots of creamy brown head which lingered for some time. Lots of lace as well

Nose: Roasted malts. Alcohol. Dark, bitter chocolate. Alcohol. Oh, and lots of alcohol

Taste: Sweeter than expected. Very bitter roasted coffee taste. Dark chocolate. Huge alcohol finish

Mouthfeel: Very creamy. Almost numbing from the alcohol

Drinkability: Well, at 22oz and 11.03% ABV according to my bottle, drinking many of these could make for a short evening. The bitter alcohol finish might be a bit much too. Generally a good beer, but the alcohol is a little too upfront compared to other imperial stouts that hide it pretty well.

 658 characters

Photo of TastyTaste
4.18/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Of course a jet black body, but this one seems particularly dark and opaque, nice cappucino colored head. Very retentive and creamy.

Smell: Dark, rich, boozy, malty and roasted. Excellent.

Taste: Seems a little raw and alcohol driven. I appreciate what a high ABV can do for a beer, but it makes the coffee and roasted malt tones work only in the background. Malty and full, but could defintely use a year or two to develop.

Mouthfeel: Slick and creamy, not very strongly carbonated.

Drinkability: A little age could do this wonders, lay it down for 2 years and I bet it would be great.

 611 characters

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

Appearance - Poured out an opaque black as expected with a moderate head that dissapated over the course of several minutes. There was nice icing throughout all 22ozs. Basically how any stout should look.

Smell - Not as strong as I would have predicted. Did pick up on the alcohol factor, which turned out to be deceptive. Perhaps it was environmental, but I did not pick up much on the scent end of things.

Taste - Did not disappoint. The two prevailing notes were initially the coffee and cholocate that I had expected. When the gentleman stocking shelves at the Whole Foods where I purchased my Czar stated "it tastes like drinking chocolate cake," I expected to be in for a very chocolatey experience, and this "mocha" was evident. The Hallertau were there, but minor. Perhaps my past scotch consumption has numbed out my palate a bit, but the alcohol content of this beer did not seem to overwhelm as one might predict. The overall feeling was that this beer would be best after a meal.

Mouthfeel - Good for this style. Very balanced. Not too viscous not too light.

Drinkability - Suprisingly drinkable given the alcohol content. 22oz. of this stuff and I'm feeling great. Perhaps not the definitive "session" beer, but a great dessert beer.

Ad alto

 1,277 characters

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

22oz bottle poured into a duvel tulip.

Pours pitch black with a nice dense 1-inch dark brown head. As the head falls before taking a sip, it's already lacing the glass nicely.

Didn't expect that smell. Smells like Big League Chew gum, then some dark roasted malt. Maybe some almonds or hazlenuts. Lots of alcohol.

Tasty. Very sweet. Roasted malt, anise and some chocolate and a ton of alcohol. Finishes with a huge warming mouthful of alcohol that makes it taste like a cordial, maybe moreso than any other beer I've had (including the DFH WWS and 120 min, which are both far higher in abv).

Medium bodied. A light cream texture. So warming and even a little numbing from all the alcohol.

I like the beers high in alcohol but I've never had one taste some much like straight booze. I am thoroughly enjoying it, but I think the alcohol might turn some people off. I think that if you drink a bomber of this it's safe to say you won't be drinking too much else. Good stuff.

 989 characters

Photo of EStreet20
4.28/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 ounce bomber bottle poured into a Brooklyn snifter.

A - A nice black color with a bit of visible carbonation in the form of bubbles on the side of the glass. A hard pour'll score you close to an inch of off white head that has nice staying power. A few thin rings of lacing hang onto the sides of the glass between sips.

S - A bit of a chalky lead to some nice chocolate aroma along with some fruits. The malts definitely lead the way on the aroma here.

T - A nice sweet malt lead followed by a bit of an alcohol flavor. The chocolate/coffee flavors present in many imperial stouts are there but subdues a bit. However the taste of black coffee definitely hangs around nicely throughtout the drink. After that a roasty flavor with a bit of hop bitterness follows. A nice balance it struck between all the flavors making for a very nice tasting RIS.

M - Nice and thick, heavy mouthfeel, perfect for a high alcohol, high flavor stout.

D - Definitely one you can't stop sipping on nice and slowly after a long day. Very nice.

 1,041 characters

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

Bottle says, "Bottled 2004 13% By Volume Alcohol."

Pours a headless inky black colored beer that I can just barely pass a little light through on the edges.

Smell is very light and fruity for what it is. Lots of prune and plum aromas here. Lots of spicy aromas on the alcohol vapors pepper, licorice, brown sugar and dark rum. Very tasty scent.

Taste is dark licorice and anise at the beginning. Fair amount of chocolate flavor but the coffee taste is completely gone. Spicy flavors of cinnamon and rum are also in this. There is a very pleasant cookie dough malt after taste to this beer.

Mouthfeel is a little light due to the alcohol content.

Tasty and very drinkable for what this is, a rocket fuel strong RIS! I wonder if they used something like this to orbit Sputnik? Very recommended by me.

 813 characters

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

An exemplary Imperial Stout. Nicholas would be proud?
Obsidian black, pouring thick like Valvoline and roling into a tan and spotty head. Thick and oily, smacking of espresso and anise, black cherries and a little tobacco. Potent, too, but well-hidden.

 253 characters

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

There really are some fantastic imperial stouts out there, and for me, this one definitely has to be included in that group. It's not the very best one I've had, but I wouldn't hesitate to buy this again or recommend it to those who would appreciate this beer style.

Apparently, there are some crimson hues to be spotted in this beer when held up to the light. Well I certainly didn't spot any. With barely any head at all, after the initial pour, my pint glass looked as black as tar.

In terms of taste, I picked up very prominent licorice flavours, which is always going to be worth a lot of points in my model of the Universe, and with the strong ABV and sweetness, this is pretty much a bespoke beer for me.

All in all, Avery good beer!

 749 characters

Photo of russpowell
4.31/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

05 Vintage

Pours Mahogany to black, letting a few tiny shafts of sun light to penetrate the glass as the sun goes down over the Rockies. Impressive 3 finger plus deep fluffy tan head. Great lacing and good head retention

Smell: Maltiness and a hint of alcohol

Taste: Malty chewiness, choclate, hints of licorice. Faint taste of leather, warming spicy alcohol rum-like taste on the finish

MF:Rich and smooth, belies its massive ABV

Very drinkable. I even enjoyed this on a mild Winter's day. Worth seeking out if you like Imperial Stouts/porters

 549 characters

Photo of nickss
3.88/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Opaque.... deep deep dark brown.... almost black....however maybe a bit lighter than I expected from a beer of this style with this abv. However, that being said, the head is a perfect 1" of rocky khaki beauty. Huge amounts of lacing... tis a thing of beauty.

Fragrant sweet notes... not as strong in the nose as I would have expected... barely perceptable alcohol odor.... a bit of coffee.... some hops... not much else.

Extremely bitter.... chocolate really comes out in this one, but along with it, the mocha bitterness. Some burnt malt is perceptable as it warms up. You can definitely taste the alcohol.... this one is not for the faint of heart... not well balanced in my opinion.

The mouthfeel is huge and thing... hardly any carbonation is noticeable.... how a impy stout should be.

The drinkability is impaired by the monster abv and the in-your-face taste. This one will knock you on your ass.... beware =)

 928 characters

Photo of DogFood11
3.32/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

poured into a chalice with an aggressive pour it forms a decent khacki loose head that fades quickly. Not to worry this is over 12% and holding a head for this style, all questions point towards stone. Shhhh. . Lighter in color than your typical oil slick black imperial.

Hops are up front and center in the nose along with a huge alcohol stinger. Oh boy did I make a mistake choosing this as the nightcapper, Lots of beer to hoe and not much life to go. Plumbs get through halfway in and it finishes with a drying chocolate powder.

Big alcohol smacks ya down in this bad boy. Nosehairs are laying down like wilted lettuce. There is a fruity presence almost like a belgian strong dark ale that comes through the ruckus to make this pleasant. Candied at times as well.

Notes: not for me. great style to achieve high marks but this is just OK. Price is right though. try it.

 883 characters

Photo of silver0rlead
4.13/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours a syrupy, opaque black with a thick cocoa head that retains exceptionally well for a 12% brew. The aroma has big chocolate notes, some floral and grassy hops, dark alcohol soaked fruits and some coffee character. The flavor is again big on chocolate, as well as some floral and grassy hops, dark fruits (fig, plum, grape), alcohol and a mildly astringent coffee flavor. The mouthfeel is creamy and smooth, with minimal carbonation and drinkability is good for a beer of this magnitude. This was definately not was i was expecting from avery, it seemed lightly hopped and the alcohol wasnt at all overwhelming, also the chocolate character greatly overwhelmed the roasted astringentness. An interesting and tasty stout from avery, well done.

 746 characters

Photo of Maestro
3.66/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer poured a dark brown to black with a bubbly, tan head. The smell was very sweet, with some chocolate notes. Hops were barely noticeable in the nose. The beer had a smooth malty taste that consisted of chocolate, a bit of coffee, some caramel and molasses, and an all-around sweet taste. That rich, robust roastiness was absent, as well as a real hop presence. The sweetness masked the high abv. Mouthfeel was fine, but there seemed to be a bit thin somehow. Drinkability is good, but watch because it goes down smooth.

This is an interesting take on an imperial stout. I was not prepared for the sweetness and was looking for a few more hops. It isn't bad, just a bit different.

 689 characters

Photo of numenor1
4.34/5  rDev +11%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

2002 bottling. Via my SS Skyhand...

My christmas nightcap.

Pours like black water. Some light comes through the edges, no head at all. This really must be age induced. Smells of soft roast, molasses, chocolate, a mild low lying fruitiness. Wow, very impressive. Very mellow. Upfront loads of utterly smooth chocolate malts, absolutely no abrasivenes, then a nice soft berry twang slowly drying into smooth roast coffee. Everything's interlaced with molasses sweetness and spicy alcohol keeping things in check. Alcohol actually dominates the flavor profile, yet only flavor, outside of that it's nonexistent. A touch of diacetyl Amazingly integrated in it's 3/4th year. The flavors have really gelled and it's quite silky. Low carbonation and full bodied, slinks its way down the gullet. Mellow. There's no alcohol in this. Really...there's not.

 851 characters

Photo of nlmartin
4.05/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the bomber into a wide mouthed goblet.

Appearance: This beer pours a nearly perfect black. There is a slight ruby opaqueness to light. The head was white and thick; however, the head did not last for very long. There is thick lacing left behind on the glass.

Smell: This beer leads with the smell of licorice and little bits of chocolate. There is some coffee present in the smell; however, the beer lacks some of the roastyness that would make it supreme. There is the smell of berries, currant, and raisons dipped in bourbon. Very nice spice complement makes itself known.

Taste: This beer is multifaceted in taste. There is the taste of licorice, currants, berries, spicy hoppy goodness, bourbon, chocolate, coffee. The taste very much lives up to the smell. I just wish there was more roasty to char sorts of flavors here. Perhaps more cellaring would help?

Mouthfeel: This beer is very creamy and full bodied. It is the kind of beer you could almost chew on. Dam near everything I want in a Imperial Stout.

Drinkability: With a bit more roastyness this beer would be supreme. It is a very drinkable and enjoyable beer drinking experience. The alcohol content is high at 11.9% but I think it adds to the beer taste and experience.

 1,262 characters

Photo of rajendra82
4.13/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This 22 oz. bomber, bottled in 2005 by Avery, was picked up at Bullock’s in Marietta, and the beer poured into an oversized wine glass. While pouring the stream looked a little thin and brown, but in the glass it was pure blackness. There seemed to be more of a robust head on this beer than other Imperial Stouts I have sampled. The aroma was a little soft for the style, with chocolate dominating all other smells. It was a rich smell, but lacked the typical roasty punch. Taste was sweet cocoa with hot alcohol flashing across the palette. The hops were very apparent, with a spicy brashness typical of Hallertau. As is typical of young Imperial Stouts, the dark fruits and vinousness were yet to present themselves. All of these complexities are sure to develop with age, and I will have to bury the bomber back in the cellar so that I don’t get tempted and crack it open too soon. Good right now with some dark chocolates. Spectacular results anticipated in a couple of years.

 983 characters

Photo of carln26
4.08/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Deep black in color, this beer is topped with a thick, fluffy tan colored head. There is a lot of citrus hop in the nose, more tangerine than grapefruit. It has some espresso, and a little chocolate on the finish. The taste is very sweet immediately. Chocolate covered cherries explode in your mouth. The espresso I found in the nose is not present in the flavor. Nice bitterness on the finish, the tangerine is there, and really accents the sweetness. Very rich, full mouth feel, with some alcohol warming on the finish. Nice drinkability.

 540 characters

Photo of Oxymoron
4.63/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

The color is a midnight black that keeps its color well. A small amount of dark brown is noticeable around the edges when held to the light. The head retraced to the edge of the glass but remained throughout the sampling. Decent lacing as well.

The smell is not really dominate but still noticeable. A strong aroma of roasted malts are blended well with coffee and chocolate. Some touches of maple and a light tart fruitness. Also some phenol is noticeable as well.

The taste is rich and strongly malty. The malt is complex with good roasted characteristics. Some lighter touches of chocolate and coffee are mixed as well. As the beer warms the smokey flavors becomes more noticeable. The hops are limited but a good earthy quality is noticed as well. The alcohol is hard not to notice but it isn't really phenol or hot. Very good taste.

The body is fantastic and rich. The texture is thick and what I can only describe as chewy. I'm suprised at how easy it is to drink with the high alcohol. This is a super malty beer.

 1,030 characters

Photo of AlexJ
4.3/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Very dark red brown pour, not quite black, but looks black once poured into my Rapscalion goblet. Thick, dense khaki head lasts longer than the other reviews led me to expect. Thin whisps of lace.

Aroma is pure RIS. Chocolate, anise, charred coffee, marshmellows, candied citrus, and dark, ripe fruit. Very inviting and true to style.

Flavor really hits home with big, chunky chocolate cookies, subtle anise, smooth coffee, dark sticky fruit-especially cherry and berries, fire toasted marshmellows, and candied grapefruit and oozing pine sap hops in the finish. This is 11.03%? No trace of trademark boozey heat. Damn this is smooth! Not at all overdone, or overhopped like some of the big Avery brews. This instantly became my favorite (along w/ Hog Heaven) memeber of Avery's strong beers. Why only a score of 88?

Body hovers betweem medium and large. A smooth, creamy, liquified silk texture makes each sip more anticipated than the next.

 951 characters

Photo of benito
3.21/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Avery's end-of-year seasonal came in that impressive looking bomber and poured a deep mahogany with hints of auburn and rootbeer around the edges, left lots of off-tan foam that laced the side of my snifter and
dissipated slowly.

Alcohol, unfortunately, dominates the bouquet which also has hints of tropical fruit and cream--an unlikely set of bedfellows. Fortunately, the taste itself presents something more heavy-handed and complex: a sweet, full-bodied swirl of coconut, currant, java, and carmel with a distinctly bitter aftertaste that lingers well after each sip. I occasionally noticed a strange metallic taste as well as pronounced lines of alcohol that made inconsistent an otherwise exceptional flavor set.

Given its high IBUs and ABV, this is not meant for easy drinking. I'm happy to nurse 22 oz. all night long and be done with it. A worthwhile and challenging heavyweight from Avery.

 907 characters

The Czar from Avery Brewing Company
3.91 out of 5 based on 2,072 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

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