Friday, February 13, 2009

Review: The Czar Imperial Stout (Avery)

Enter The Czar, an oppressive imperial stout from Avery Brewing Co. in Boulder.

The Czar is brewed with plentiful Hallertau hops, English yeast and imported malted barley.

This beer’s massive profile (11.7 percent ABV, 70 IBUs) puts it in league with The Abyss (11 percent ABV, 65 IBUs), a stout from Deschutes Brewery in Oregon that is among the best beers ever to have passed Soggy Coaster’s lips.

Soggy Coaster found a 22-oz. bottle of The Czar at Liquor World for $6.79. Star Liquors also stocks it.

The Czar pours an inky black. A small head recedes quickly. This beer’s aroma asserts itself before the first taste. A lot of coffee and something toasted dominate the smell.

At first taste, one notices The Czar’s carbonation, much more present than in other imperial stouts. The coffee taste jumps to the front, followed by a little hop bitterness at finish. The hops seem to outweigh the malt.

The last sip tastes much as the first. This beer lacks the complexity to develop different flavors during the course of a session. A nice red tinge does develop, however.

Soggy Coaster found this beer to be disappointing. Imperial stouts should be fantastic. They should be complex, flavorful and decadent. Given Avery’s successes with other beers, The Czar’s substantial price and Soggy Coaster’s personal inclination toward imperial stouts, he expected to be wowed. He was not.

The brewery promises complexity comes to The Czar with age. Yet some of us don’t want to age our beers. Some of us want to drink them. Other imperial stouts are born with more complexity than The Czar would accrue after years stowed away in a cellar.

Judged by the standards of all beer styles, The Czar is still impressive. But it would not take the imperial stout slot on Soggy Coaster’s brewing all-star team. B+


  1. I could drink Imperial Stouts the rest of my life and probably never get tired of them. At least in the hot hot summer one might think about a lighter brew, but when it's below 70 degrees - it's stout time. I enjoyed The Czar as well a few months back. Darn good representation.

  2. Coasterdude, I agree with your knowledge much of the time. That said, the Czar didn't cut it. I found it to be one of the worst beers I'd ever tasted, and I like stouts. Then again, Lady F's put Silverton's stout on tap shortly after the Czar kicked. I found the Silverton beer to taste of ass with foam farted on. Thinking my taste buds were soured by bad wings or something, I retried the Silverton two or three more times. Trust me, it sucks. Then again, Silverton ain't quite the craft brewer that Avery is. I give the Czar a generous "C" grade. Then again, I'm all hopped up on Modus Hoperandi right now, looking forward to tomorrow's official release party, yet still buzzed by 36 ounces of Ska's latest.

  3. Top Shelf I am the owner of the Silverton Brewery. I invite you to come to Silverton and try a fresh batch of our Coal Bank Imperial Stout to see if you still think so poorly of it. I think our stout is a damn fine beer but who knows, there may have been a problem with the keg that Falconbergs got. If you still think it's crap after trying it our place then fine. All I'm saying is give us a chance to prove that we make some really good beer.

  4. I would like to add to this, however it may a little late at this point. As a former bartender at Falconbergs I must defend Silverton's stout! The keg sat in our back room for over a month before we tapped into that Imperial Stout. As a very seasoned beer drinker I know that beer can NOT sit in a backroom for this length of time before going sour! I say shame on Falconberg's !!

  5. I wonder that Soggy Coaster found a 22-oz. bottle of The Czar at Liquor World for $6.79. Only online research paper writer services can be of use in this case!