Improv (Improvisación) Oatmeal Rye India-Style Brown Ale - Cigar City Brewing

Not Rated.
Improv (Improvisación) Oatmeal Rye India-Style Brown AleImprov (Improvisación) Oatmeal Rye India-Style Brown Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
85
very good

362 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 362
Reviews: 179
rAvg: 3.77
pDev: 15.65%
Wants: 40
Gots: 59 | FT: 3
Brewed by:
Cigar City Brewing visit their website
Florida, United States

Style | ABV
American Brown Ale |  9.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: tpd975 on 03-29-2009

What you have here is an Oatmeal Rye India-style Brown Ale. Now you might be thinking oatmeal, rye, brown ale, India-style; isn’t that a lot to be going on in just one beer? Well yes, it is. But that is the point. Layers. Flavor elements building on and playing off of preceding elements, like a building wave; a growing crescendum of taste bud temptation; a wall of sound expressed through flavor and channeled toward your mouth. This beer isn’t for everyone. In many ways it is more than just a little weird. It certainly doesn’t fit easily into any category. It isn’t a brown ale, not just a brown ale anyway. It certainly isn’t an IPA. Calling it a rye beer would be selling it way short. In the spirit of all great things that are conceived in the moment, but perfected through passionate repetition it started life as an improvisation and grew from there. And it might not be for you. But if the thought of big spicy rye notes, a wallop of a hop punch, multitudinous layers of caramel, sweet malt and a respectable balancing gravity sound intriguing then you might want to wing it and give Improv a try.

60 IBU
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 362 | Reviews: 179
Reviews by AKBelgianBeast:
Photo of AKBelgianBeast
4.03/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Beerlando for this and all the other good cigar city stuff he sent my way.

Had some of this about two weeks ago but it was a ways down in the lineup. excited to try it with a fresher palate.

Pours a viscous looking hazy brown with ruby highlights around the glass and a monsterous tan ice cream head that retains very well and leaves excellent lacing.

Nose is pretty balanced. The rye presence comes out, but not with authority, the hops however, are quite apparent with piney metallic notes. The malt profile smells like it will be prominent but im not sure if it will stand up to the hops yet. Quite a complex nose.

Hmmm. Definitely an interesting beer. Definitely a hop centered beer. The malt profile honestly does not remind me of a brown ale in the least. I would really like more roastiness here, but the rye is definitely there. The oatmeal adds a touch of slickness, and the rye is noticeable but not blatant. This is definitely a hop centered beer. The hop profile starts early, is quite bitter, and lasts throughout, drying out the finish, and lingering on afterwards. There is a citrus aspect to the hop profile, but not in a west coast sense like it is usually described. Less like grapefruit juice and more like grapefruit rind. Aftertaste has a metallic kind of flavor that reminds me of a big IPA thats lost its hop resin flavor, and only retains its bitterness. That sounds bad but i don't mean it to.

Mouthfeel is right about where it should be. The viscosity is what you would expect, about like a DIPA, maybe a touch thinner. Carbonation is ideal.

Drinkability is quite solid for the abv, and if your a fan of hops i could see putting down two of these. If you are adversely affected by bitterness, you would not be able to at all.

Overall an interesting beer, but less complex than i was expecting. Really just a hoppy dark rye IPA. Pretty much what the label says, but the malt profile just doesn't *seem* brown aleish. This is definitely for the IPA fan as opposed to those expecting a brown ale, i guess, is what im trying to say. Interesting, but not quite as interesting as i was hoping for. A good beer, but not up to cigar city's usual high standards.

More User Reviews:
Photo of wesbrownyeah
4.08/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Improv Oatmeal Rye India-Style Brown Ale 9% alcohol by Cigar City Brewing. Poured from 25.4 oz. bottle to pint glass.

A- Pours a murky brown fluid that only allows little to no light to pass through it. Bountiful fluffy tan head hold half an inch the whole beer.

S- Rich caramel malts and toasted rye come to mind on the nose with decent citrusy notes of hops as well.

T-M- Taste is bold malted rye with sharp bites of grassy hops upfront. Aftermath is a sweet chocolatey yeastlike flavor tingling the tongue.
Mouthfeel is creamy with vigorous carbonation dancing over the taste buds falling nicely with the all around flavor.

Overall this beer is drinkable, strong, full of flavor , and well worthy of a thumbs up... cheers!

Photo of lordofthewiens
3.93/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A 750ml bottle poured into a Cigar City snifter (on vacation; this was the best available beer glass).
The beer was a very dark brown with red highlights. Thick, thick cocoa head. Abundant lace.
Lots going on in the aroma, without any one thing standing out. Roasted malt, cereal, fruit, earthy hops.
Mostly a dark coffee/espresso taste. Some sweet chocolate. Oatmeal/cereal. Late herbal hops. Didn't notice the rye.
Rich and full-bodied.
A busy beer. My least favorite of all the different Cigar City beers I tried, but still quite good.

Photo of bishopdc0
3.68/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Blitzstyle for the trade.

Split the bottle with my wife. Poured into our respective glasses a dark brown. In the glass the beer is black with a big head. The head is creamy white and tan and laces very nicely.

The aroma is nice starts as a brown, creamy malt sweet. depths is brought by the hops adding a spicy end to the beer. Alcohol comes in the end to mix it all together.

The taste on this beer is as the bottle describes, complex. The taste starts malty, before it is cloying roasted flavors come in. The silky malts stay and the rye remains. Whether it is the rye or the hops the end is bitter but the finish is clean.

The taste alone isn't that special but mixed with the aroma hops it fix very nicely.

Photo of merlin48
4.42/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle thanks to mntlover. Initial pour is 50% foam. Dark brown body supports a large head that becomes pitted and rocky. Lavish lacing.

Aroma is bold and inviting. Pine, tart grapefruit, molasses, roasted coffee, spicy rye, and hints of earthiness and tropicals, all combine for quite a sensory challenge.

Mouthfeel is medium full bodied with moderate carbonation and a pleasant oatmeal silkiness.

Taste s deep, rich, and complex. Solid hops array contributes a meld of pine, citrus, and earthiness which is nicely edged by the herbal and spicy rye component. A hint of brown sugar adds even more complexity. Dark toasted and roasty malt notes work to give a balance. An underlying oatmeal smoothness supports a lot of playful mingling of all that is going on here. No hint of the 9% abv alcohol.

Really amazing that so many flavors and facets come together so well. This one is not for everybody by looking at the ratings but if you like it you really like it a lot. I certainly did.

Photo of Billolick
3.88/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

$13.99 for the bomber @ DeCicco's in Ardsley, NY. No freshness info offered.

Pours dark brown, mocha head, nice fine sheeting and respectable delicate and scattered lacing.

Dark grains, some rye and whisky noted on the nose.

Tasty brew, infused with noticable rye, dark sweet malts and more lite whisky. Gritty and drying hops come in late.

Moderate carbonation, decent mouthfeel. Nice robust winter sipper. Worth a try

Photo of Mora2000
3/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to Exiled for sharing this bottle.

The beer opens with a huge pop and immediately starts gushing out the top. Something smells sour. This is not looking good.

The beer pours dark brown with a huge tan head that takes up most of the glass. This is definitely a bad bottle. The aroma is tart dark fruit. The flavor is rye with some dark malts, oak, smoke and quite a bit of tartness. Thick mouthfeel and low carbonation, despite having the huge head. I guess that is the infection that caused the huge head. Disappointing overall since I was really looking forward to this one.

Photo of kingcrowing
3.76/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap poured into a tulip.

Pours a very dark black with a nice small white head. That quickly fades nose is sweet, oatmeal and chocolate so very rich. And crisp.

Taste is sweet and creamy, rich and chocolate with a bit of a toffee note on the finish. Mothfeel is big and creamy with a nice smooth finish. Overall its very good.

Photo of pat61
4.25/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Brilliant deep chestnut under a 3” lightly tan tinted foam cap that mounds up over the rim of the glass and produces thick clumps opf lace. Smell: Rich malt spice from the rye and oats, some roast. Taste: Spicy grain, an underlying malt sweetness, cardamom, and faint caramel notes. Finishes with alcoholic warming and bitter chocolate, some astringency and a dash of hops. Mouthfeel: Above average carbonation that has a little bite to it. The body is medium full with a little slickness.

Photo of ehammond1
2.75/5  rDev -27.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Bottle (2012)

Acquired via trade
Thanks, DSho!

Murky brown with a small light brown head that leaves spots down the glass. Unspectacular though appropriate.

A somewhat spicy aroma for a brown brown ale, with a hint of sweetness, and floral hop character.

An unbalanced, strange brown ale, with floral hops and rye flavors not balancing all too well with the bready malt. This is also quite bitter for a brown ale.

Medium bodied with moderate to high carbonation.

I didn't particularly care for this beer. There's simply too much going on here without adding complexity or being all that tasty. Fail.

Photo of boatshoes
4.03/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Received this as an extra in my second great trade with Bucwild. Thanks and hope you're enjoying your brews too!

Appearance- This beer pours a really nice shade of dark amber, bordering on brown. A mild pour yielded a huge lightly tan head of about three fingers that stuck around after dying down to about half a finger. Lots of lacing down the side of the glass and just looked very tasty overall. This is one of those beers that reminds me why appearance is 20 percent of the overall score.

Smell- Lots of piney hops backed up by a sweet caramel and spicy scent in the nose. Dominated primarily by the resin smell of the hops. Quite nice and rounded out, and the spiciness makes it a touch complex.

Taste- I'm going to be outfront and say I'm not overly sure how to describe all the tastes in this beer because it is an unusual take on the style and I'm not overly experienced with rye either. However, the beer started right out front with a hop punch that was heavy on the resiny/piney side, less so on the citrus. Mixed in with this was an unusual spiciness, which I'm going to have to take for the rye. It almost reminded me of cinnamon in some ways. This spiciness is complemented by a strong, sweet malt background that rounds out the beer and makes it sweeter IPA. Quite interesting.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- This beer was rather sweet but carbonation was really spot on. The combination of spice and hop bitterness was a winner for me and I finished the entire 750ml by myself, which is pretty unusual for me. A good sign in a beer...

Overall, unusual, as was the humidor series Jai Alai that I had recently as well. However, both have been great, if a bit on the sweet side, and I'm enjoying Cigar City so far.

Photo of TKEbeerman
3.7/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into my pint glass, this brew pour a muddy opaque brown. The super large head is the most impressive part of the appearance...refusing to die.

S: The aroma consists of notes of brown sugar, roasted malt, and a little pine and citrus.

T: I've had a few brown ales that have been blowing me away (Including Maduro brown from CCB). Reviewing this as a brown is deceiving, but I review against the style. This beer breaks the bounds of style. Fresh, there is a hop presence that is at lead 4X the norm for the style. Brown sugar and roasted malt are present, but I would prefer were on the forefront.

MF: Mouthfeel is excellent. Creamy, smooth, a little over carbonated, but awesome.

D: Drinkability is not bad, but can improve.

Photo of glid02
4.35/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle purchased from Liquor Loft in Tallahassee, FL.

Pours a slightly hazy brown color with a half-finger tan head. The head recedes into a thin layer on top leaving decent lacing.

Smells of grainy caramel malts with hints of toastiness and spicy rye. Also present are solid amounts of herbal and earthy hop aromas.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Moderately dry caramel and toasted malt flavors with slight hints of roastiness kick things off. Joining in shortly thereafter are solid amounts of herbal hop flavors. Midway through the sip the herbal hops fade out a bit and more bitter earthy hops work their way into things. Hints of rye spiciness come into play near the end of the sip before giving way to a solidly bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is very good. It's got a nice thickness with grainy carbonation.

Drinkability is also very good. I finished my glass quickly and could easily have a few more.

Overall I had some stories of infection in last year's batch but that was 100% not a problem with this year's. Another well done brown ale from CCB which along with their porters I don't believe I've had anything even approaching sub par from them. Worth a shot.

Photo of Brenden
4.08/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I got this one in a great trade with RomaniIteDomum. Many thanks to him...

This is a rich deep brown brew that pours a beautiful head. It sits like a sturdy, thick, rocky pillow at a few fingers for some time before it breaks down to a thick foam, and a patchy curtain of lacing is left in its wake.
Malts are strongest in the aroma, and a strong hops presence evidences itself as well. There's a sweetness and a sort of woody / earthy aroma as well.
The taste is as one would expect with perhaps a stronger bitterness. Each mouthful starts off malty with a little sweetness underneath and gives way to the raw hops bitterness on the back of the tongue. A gentle spice nips and an earthy / nutty/ grainy singular presence is indicative of the rye, which perhaps also contributes to the gentle nip of an underlying spiciness. A woody presence is in the flavor as well, and a lingering dry finish lends itself to an herbal taste from the hops.
This is a fairly thick, rich brew with a creamy feel with just a little crispness in a light carbonation. The body is medium to full.
This is just another tasty one from a good brewery.

Photo of Sammy
3.79/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Rattle 'n' Hum Cigar City event. Hoppy aroma. Dark colour, some lacing. Imperial brown ale, lots of hop, above average mouthfeel boosted by oats. Citrus taste, some roast, chocolate malts. Decent drinkability.
Had again in bottle 5 months later and it was funky, thick, smokey, spicy.
Had again 2.5 years later and had a good balance, thanks Peter.

Photo of tdm168
3.51/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to jtd1969 for bringing this back from Florida.

Pours a very dark brown with little head. The nose is odd. There are faint oatmeal and butterscotch notes but mostly must and wet dog. Not very appetizing. The taste is caramel, faint rye, and faint hops up front with a rich roasted, chocolate malt in the finish as well as some faint alcohol esters. The flavor is rather complex and actually does change throughout the sip. The mouthfeel is crisp up front but smooths out and has a rich, medium body.

This is a solid brown ale. The nose threw me off, and I wasn't very excited to proceed but I'm glad I did. The flavor was solid and rather complex. Overall, a decent beer.

Photo of socon67
3.67/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This pours deep brown with low carbonation and plenty of lacing. Smells quite sweet and a wild smell of rye. The taste is qutie the same; sweet and a finish of rye. It is also malty and although interesting, not a favorite. Quite smooth and very drinkable. This is not my favorite CCB variety, but is a decent brown ale and the rye makes it different from most.

Photo of cjgator3
4.11/5  rDev +9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750ml bottle

A- Poured into a snifter.Pours a dark brown color with a light tan colored head.

S- The aroma is sweet malt and hops. I'm also picking up on some wood in the aroma as well. Good, but a little on the faint side.

T- The taste starts out with a lot of sweet malt and just a hint of spiciness presumably from the rye. The finish creates te perfect amount of bitterness from the hops to balance this one out. 

M- The texture of the mouthfeel is unbelievable, they hit the nail on the head in this department. Medium bodied with a perfect amount of carbonation.

D- Overall, this is another fantastic brew from Cigar City. These guys fail to disappoint! Keep the good beer coming! Highy recommended!

Photo of mikey711
4.2/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got recently in a trade with Dstructo.

A: Very dark brown with only trace amounts of sunlight able to get through it. It left a large foamy head, actually a bit more than I would have liked.

S: Floral, slightly citrus hop aromas as well as some spice from rye and sweetness from the oatmeal. There is alot of stuff going on and I like them all alot. The only deterant is the soapy smell

T: It starts out very hoppy, slightly soapy, before transiting to a very tasty brown ale. There is only a hint of rye. A very interesting balance between hoppy and sweetness.

M: A bit dry and chalky and the body could be a bit fuller.

D: A very good brew and I am not a big fan soapiness from the hops, otherwise this is great

Photo of RomaniIteDomum
4.15/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was a great pour from the bottle into my Cigar City pint glass. The beer was very dark with a large, fluffy, tan head. The head took a while to go down and leaves lacing like there's no tomorrow.

Upon first sniff I was hit with a nice dose of hops. Not overpowering, but a bit surprising tho the nose of a malt guy looking at a dark beer.

Likewise, the taste was pretty hoppy. It wasn't like a mushroom cloud of hops, perhaps even short of a Michael Bay directed hopera, but it was fairly intense, to me at least, and well-balanced. Eventually the hops and malts paired quite nicely with a crisp finish.

The feeling of the bubbles matches the bite of the hops nicely. It gives a physical sensation to associate with the hop flavor.

I think it is fair to reiterate that IPAs aren't reall my thing, but Cigar City manages to make some I can actually finish. This is no exception. I doubt I could drink another one today, but I could picture a reserved space in my fridge.

Photo of Doppelbockulus
3.67/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is the 2010 release, a little over a year old.

This is a very hazy brown with explosive head. I opened the cap carefully and it immediately overflowed on the counter.

Smells like coffee, sour apple cider, and desert spices.

Taste is a little tart after cellaring, the rye comes through as well as a descent hop character. Tastes like sour wood and earth.

Mouth is fairly comfortable, medium carbonation, light dry character, mostly wet.

Photo of nickd717
3.85/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle shared by mfielden on BA - thanks Mark! This was the least impressive of the four CCB beers we had, but still pretty damn solid.

A - Dark brown color with a lasting tan head.

S - Aroma is wood, nuts, citrusy hops, and spicy rye.

T - Flavor is cedar, rye, chocolate, roast, smoke, and citrus/pine hops.

M - Palate medium with some oatmeal smoothness but a tiny astringent.

D - Average-plus.

Photo of Kegatron
4.15/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle into a pint glass. Thanks go to Ffej for sharing this one.

Pours a deep unfiltered brown in the glass, with 1 1/2 fingers of foamy light mocha head. Very robust retention here, leaving back a good bit of heavy sticky lacing. The aroma is floral and even a bit piney, with some earthy green citric tones and the bready spiciness of the rye really coming out strong. Some sweeter caramel malt notes ride along the back.

The taste is sharp with hop resins and fairly spicy overall in the mouth, while a deep tang of bread, caramel, and earthy citrus that does it's best to try and keep this on the sweeter side of the profile. Very spicy and dry finish on this, which isn't too surprising. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, with a good bit of sharpness to the carbonation up front but then definitely gets more bubbly and creamy towards the back of the swallow. And wow, I'm not really getting too much alcohol here at all for a 9% beer. I was actually quite shocked when I saw the ABV on here, as this definitely felt more like it was in the 6-7% range. Very impressive feel on this.

Another nicely done brew here from Cigar City, with the rye and hops complimenting each other well, while the alcohol content of this was hidden most impressively. I wouldn't hesitate to check this out again down the line.

Photo of hdelavega
3.15/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a murky brown that yields a two finger head of tightly compacted light tan bubbles.
It's a little tricky picking out the different notes in the nose of this beer, I do get a little rye and some sweet smells but I can't put my finger on them.
First sip all I can notice is a masive amount of carbonation, with a little bit of bitterness on the finish. I get just a little bit of oatmeal and rye but the zippy carbonation is really in the way. The alcohol is pretty well masked for being 9%.
Overall it's not bad but it's nothing speacial.

Photo of wspscott
3.12/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

750ml bottle in pint glass
Date: Dec 2011 ONESIX

A: Hazy dark brown with a thin tan head which disappears almost immediately and leaves no lace.
S: A hint of roast along with a trace of citrus hops.
T: Light roast and chocolate malts combined with a large amount of hops that seem to be new american hops with lots of citrus fruitiness (i.e. amarillo or citra). Flavorwise, it sort of works, but something is missing or needs to be missing (i.e. subtracted), somewhat confused on the tongue. No hint of alcohol.
M: The dryness from the rye and the creaminess from the oatmeal seem to be clashing here. The mouthfeel is very odd, not thin by any stretch but not full either. The hops and grains seem to combine into something on the astringent side. The carbonation doesn't stand out at all.
O: Not a bad beer, well made, but not well constructed from a recipe point of view. An interesting improvisation, but the world would not have suffered if it had not occurred, not memorable. Possibly worth trying, but I would not seek it out, and I would not purchase again.

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Improv (Improvisación) Oatmeal Rye India-Style Brown Ale from Cigar City Brewing
85 out of 100 based on 362 ratings.