Brew Review: The Czar

1 Oct

Brew: The Czar (Batch no. 10, Nov. 2011)

Brewed by:  Avery Brewing Co. (Boulder, CO)

Style:  Russian Imperial Stout (10.57% ABV)

Avery brewing company out of Boulder CO has some fantastic labels and names for their beers.  I am a fan of almost all of their Dictator releases, of which this was/is the first one. The Czar is a great name for a Russian imperial stout since the Czar’s were the rulers of Russia, pre-1917 or before the Bolshevik Revolution.   See, beer can be a history lesson too, it’s good for body and mind, skip that red bull stuff.  Not that I did much research on the label but I am now wondering what Czar they had pictured on the label.  I am guessing it was one of the very last ones since the picture looks like a copy of an actual picture and around the turn of century actual photographs were rare and not much photography happened before that.  Actually picked up two of these bottles so I am drinking this one on Valentine’s Day 2012 and around Valentine’s Day of 2013 I will pop the other bottle to see if it has changed at all.

The Czar poured out black.  Not totally black as there is a faint light that comes through the edges so maybe a really, really deep brown.  OK we can call it a black-brown or something close to that.  There is a light tan head that rises about a half inch above the beer as well.  Overall a solid looking beer, not spectacular, but not displeasing in any way. 

The smell of the brew was big on the roasted malts, a hint of roasted bitterness.  Coffee, caramel and some dark fruit aromas also greeted my nose. The coffee blended into some dark chocolate but that was a very faint notion.  Some hops but there were about 4 months of age on this brew and they had maybe diminished in their power in that time.

The first thing I noted upon tasting this beer was how silky smooth and creamy it was.  Definitely a good thing when it comes to big stouts.  That’s about as impressive as the beer was in the taste.  After the initial taste I really couldn’t pick up on much of anything that jumped out at me.  It seemed like a fairly bland beer when this part came around.  There were faint hints of coffee and chocolate.  The roasted aspects continued.  I might have gotten more of those deep dark fruits like plumbs and raisins but nothing too substantial.   There was an alcoholic finish to the brew, not overpowering and not in any way like taking a shot of anything but you could definitely tell that it was there.

So the brew was OK looking, smelled pretty good and tasted somewhat bland.  In no way was it bad though, it held together very well and I finished the whole bottle without a problem.  I guess I don’t really have one certain thing that I can point out why I wasn’t a fan of this beer but it just came up short on a few things that I was hoping the best for.  Here’s hoping that when I open the 2nd bottle I have it will have improved markedly.

Final Grade: B

3 Responses to “Brew Review: The Czar”

  1. stpjames October 1, 2012 at 4:37 pm #

    Note: after a bit of internet seraching I think the Czar pictured was Nicholas II, reigned from 1894- 1917. Last of the Romanov’s, kind of screwed it up for them with his handling of WWI. Also had to deal with Rasputin, which had to have been gross. Seemed to be kind of an asshole, but then again most of the Czar’s werent exactly the nicest dudes to come from the block.


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