Friday, February 22, 2013

Avery The Czar Imperial Stout

Type: Imperial Stout
Origin: Boulder, CO
Price: $7.99/22oz
ABV: 11.1%
NSP: 9.03

One thing for which we've never fully given Avery credit around here- they really don't fuck around with their ABVs.  If you check out the full roster of Avery reviews we've done- not a single one's under 8.1%, and we haven't even touched their crushing Demons of Ale line, which top off around 17% (I've got a special release in the cellar that hits even harder than that).  This one's sort of in the middle of their range, which is a both frightening and admirable.

The first thing I notice from the smell is that it seems remarkably light. There's some nice roasty scents and a pretty good amount of toffee and chocolate, plus a light hop florality.  But you know what?  I'm surprised, because I expected the nose to beat me about the head, especially since the bottle calls it a "tyrannical monster".  It seems like that's wrong on two counts, because it smells not all that unlike a brown ale.

Well, the nose is a bit of a red herring, I guess, because the flavor is a hell of a lot more powerful than some gimpy little brown ale.  There's alcohol all over it, but that's not really surprising.  And as I've said before, in an imperial stout, a hefty booze punch is usually a welcome flavor accent rather than a detriment (if for no other reason than it provides a warning shot across the bow).  In this case, though, I'm having a bit of trouble tracking down a lot of notable complexity beyond the alcohol.  I mean, there's the expected roasty flavors with toffee and chocolate, and some interesting nuttiness in the finish.  But after about a half a glass, the alcohol made up about 80% of what I could manage to taste.  And after a full glass, my drunkenness had outpaced my palate.  I just ended up tasting chocolatey booze.  Not that I minded it.  I was just too buzzed to care anymore.  Go Avery!

Wow, that review derailed fast.  Maybe I should've had a sandwich before I drank that one.

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