Sunday, December 7, 2008

Avery The Czar Imperial Stout review

Avery The Czar Imperial StoutI tend to get a little excited every time I get to try an imperial stout and when I saw a bottle of Avery Brewing's The Czar Imperial Stout on my local store shelf I just grinned ear to ear. This time of year I'm very partial to the dark brew and I'll almost never say no to one, particularly from Avery.

The Czar is a strong brew indeed and is clocked at 10.77% ABV. It is also a brew bearing its vintage year. I've started to see more and more big beers marked with a "vintage" year as this may be one that you would consider putting an extra bottle away for a year or two. This review is for their 2008 batch of The Czar.

Appearance: The Czar poured extremely dark, yet there were some dark rusty red highlights on the edges of the glass. This brew was opened cold and poured with a modest tan head. Typically, dark stouts like this can be drank at most any temperature from 45 degrees up to about 60, but it's best to consume it around 55 degrees.

Aroma: Immediately upon pouring, there was a huge aroma of alcohol right up front. Along with the whiff of ABV, there were wonderful scents of chocolate, coffee, black licorice and hops. Let the brew sit in a wide mouth pint glass for several minutes before tasting. As this imperial stout warms, the flavors and aromas really start coming out big time.

Taste and Feel: Wow. There was a very noticeable hop hit in the middle of the taste. I had swirled the brew around in my mouth to get the full sensation. Hops everywhere! This was definitely a newly bottled batch that's for sure. Typically in a big brew like this the hop affect will mellow over time but since this bottle was just born a couple of weeks ago there was still an abundance of hoppiness there. Bitter brew but good. Update: In another bottle tasted a couple years later, the hop hit was not there, instead a huge roasty chocolate malt flavor dominated and the alcohol bit was lessened.

Along with the hops there was a taste of roasted coffee, caramel malts and a bit of sweet molasses. There was also a sense of dark fruits in this beer, perhaps of raisins or currants. This beer didn't give me an initial warming effect right away like other big beers of the style have. It took a good 1/3 of a glass before all of the rich tastes started coming out and numbing down the hop affect.

By the 2nd glass out of this 22oz bomber, the warming affect finally started kicking in. I could really start feeling it. Consuming the entire bottle was the equivalent of 3 regular beers. This brew packed a punch that hit with a delayed reaction. I suggest having this beer close to home or in smaller quantities.

Overall: I've got a soft spot for Imperial Stouts and Avery's The Czar is definitely classified as one of the best in it's class. I'm giving this beer a very big Thumbs Up and a recommendation to stock up a couple of bottles for your beer cellar.

Related articles:
- Avery Ellie's Brown Ale review.
- Avery White Rascal review.
- Avery Salvation review.
- Avery Hog Heaven review.
- Avery Collaboration Not Litigation Ale review.
- Avery The Reverend review.
- Avery The Kaiser Imperial Oktoberfest review.
- Avery Redpoint Ale review.

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