Monday, December 5, 2011

Avery Review #6 - Avery The Czar Imperial Stout

Posted by: Tyler Rippeteau

Dec. 5, 2011

Picture courtesy of
In last week’s review of Avery’s DuganA Double IPA I promised to review a few of the more easily obtainable Avery brews, so today, here are my thoughts on The Czar Russian Imperial Stout.  It is currently on tap in the Avery Tap Room and bombers are fairly easy to track down at any bottle shop that the brewery distributes to.

Here’s my take on this 2nd beer from Avery’s “The Dictator Series”:

Location: Avery Tap Room
Cost: $3 – 10 oz. pour
ABV: 11.03%
IBUs: 60
Brewery Location: Boulder, Colorado
Style: Russian Imperial Stout
Average Beer Advocate Rating: B+/3.88 – Very Good
My Beer Advocate Rating: B+/4 – Very Good
Current Number of Reviews on Beer Advocate: 771 (16th most popular RIS on Beer Advocate)
Brewery Description: Avery The Czar
Tapped: November 2011

APPEARANCE:  (4 out of 5) This is a deep black beer, but some ruby red light does show through the very bottom of the glass and near the surface of the beer when held to the light.  A thick, healthy, light brown head rests on top and it is not going anywhere for a while.  The Czar has excellent head retention with a few big bubbles scattered throughout the top of the foam.  As the glass empties a nice, cathedral-like lacing forms as well.

SMELL:  (4 out of 5) Coffee overwhelms the fairly intense nose.  Roasted malts warm the nostrils with each sniff – this beer smells comforting, but at the same time it warns of some of the intense flavors to come, including a touch of hops.

TASTE:  (4 out of 5) There is a lot going on in this beer.  The coffee from the nose is there, and it is strong.  A small dose of chocolate lies just beneath the heavy coffee surface and almost entirely masks the slight alcoholic burn that the 11% ABV produces.  Even deeper down lurks a slightly sour lemon flavor and all of this is rounded out with a nice, hoppy finish.

MOUTHFEEL:  (4 out of 5) The Czar is smooth and dry making it an excellent beer to pair with food.  All that is left on the palate at the end of each sip is a very subtle coffee flavor.  There is no residue left over as there is with some other beers, particularly Russian Imperial Stouts.

OVERALL:  (4 out of 5) The Czar is an excellent early winter stout and a great way to warm up from a cold and snowy Colorado evening.  The complexity of The Czar when fresh is outstanding, but before the season is over, I plan to sock away two or three bottles for a future vertical tasting.  I can only imagine how delicious this beer will be three to five years from now. 

DRAWBACKS:  The Czar suffers from exactly the same problem that the DuganA does – it has a very successful and tasty big brother.  Like the DuganA has the Maharaja, The Czar has The Mephistopheles – a gigantic Imperial Stout that clocks in at over 16% with an incredible amount of flavor.  In its own right, the Czar really is a terrific beer, and it does have some advantages over The “Meph”, like the fact that one of these will not knock you out…it might take two.  The fact is, though, this November stout offering from Avery is still an appetizer for the early December Mephistopheles release. 


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