Jan 1, 2008

Avery's The Czar Imperial Russian Stout

It's the first day of a new year. New plans with the intention of following through on and a new number that I will always find myself correcting when I write a checks for the next couple of weeks. It's been a crazy day. 14 inches of snow dropped on the ground. By noon (ya gotta pace yourself. Show shoveling is one of the biggest heart attack instigators in Michigan winters) our car was dug out the car and cleared a path for sidewalkers. Since it was a heavy snowfall and I'm such a nice guy grandma's and old aunties are calling in need of path clearing and wizz trails. "What's a wizz trail" you ask. Old ladies like to keep little dogs as pets. Little dogs don't tromp through the snow. You let them out in such conditions they just let their bladder splatter on the step or stoop and jet themselves back inside as soon as possible. Let's just say thanks to AWD for helping me build "nature trails" for Yorkies, Shitzus, Dachshunds, Boston Terriers, Pomeranians and Toy Poodles all over this town. 10 stops in all. Oh, All Wheel Drive, I couldn't do it without you. Hope them damn pooches appreciate it.
After all this work the thought of a big hearty stout was on my mind. It's the first day of the year and did more good deed in the last 4 hours then most of the jerkoff's in this town do in a year. I passed by the store that was open on the holiday and would have such a request in stock I skidded past when I tried to slow down before their drive way. The ABS stuttering like mad sending a jolt through my leg and into my spine. I was within the driving on snowy road basics so I took it as a sign to just get on home and enjoy that pot-roast that's been stewing in the oven. After dinner the snowfall has subsided and a friend called and ask me if I could help get his car of a snow drift. He lives right by the store I overshot earlier in the day. We made a deal. Hey, there's a time when good deeds need to be rewarded, right? And what a perfect evening to try something a bit more "royal", huh?
I just started dipping my nose and tastebuds into the Avery brands the last couple of months and so far so good. Their stout was pretty damn fine and decided to turn it up a notch with this, their Imperial Russian Stout. This is only my second foray into these type of stout and, after the first one I tried, Victory's Storm King (it's a Russian imperial stout, right?), I was expecting something a bit rowdy. The Storm King's had this bold ass attitude like "You wanna see stout? I'll show you a stout" challenging all comers by being the stoutiest of stouts around. Like I already said, I haven't delved into the imperials much yet, but Victory held the championship belt based off those qualities and bravado. It had a personality that can't be denied.
The Czar isn't about that kind of chest thumping. He's a gentle giant with all kinds of classy prowess. Yep, it's a dark beer but it let's some light through...you can spot a ruby tint when holding it up to the light. The foam rises to an amount it should. Not too much my any means, but not too little either, It fades fairly quickly but it remnants lace the glass and hold on nicely. It's a scent is that of something creamy and soothing. Toffee and molasses mainly and a subdued flits of alcohol. A mocha thing maybe? Understated but savory.
The creamy thing is right up front in the taste. A mellow roasted sweetness that is very pleasing. Almost a mocha with a dash of toffee and a splash of good bourbon (I'm thinking maybe Knob Creek more than Maker's Mark though). Full bodied not stupid carbonation (and there is a difference between stupid and the wise use of carbonation. Something I have noticed so far with my Avery excursions that they've mastered) that goes down smooth. Slight bit of hops with a muted bitterness because of the overall soothing warmth the brew pull off all the way through it.
After two rounds (I bought a 22 oz. bomber) comes the OOMPH! Here I was sizing it up then then here come the wind up I had forgotten about. 70 IBU's and almost a 12% ABV. When it landed it's punch it's straight between the eyes. Will there's be a rematch? Hell yes! Maybe a sparring partner even if not before the end of this season the next one for sure.

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