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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.
very good

360 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 360
Reviews: 178
rAvg: 3.76
pDev: 15.96%
Wants: 41
Gots: 59 | FT: 2
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: 360 | Reviews: 178 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of gnemesis
4.43/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured an 8oz sample from 750ml bottle into a snifter on 04/20/2011.
Pours dark brown with ruby and black highlights. Head is creamy and tan with good retention and decent lace. This ale smells of brown sugar, caramel, sweet honey malt, faint citrus and a touch of toast. The taste is much the same. Throw in some oat/rye and this is a slightly hoppy big-ass brown. Medium/full bodied and has low/medium carbonation- super smooth. Great beer and a unique style. I can't wait to hunt more and try laying some down for another day.

Photo of mcallister
3.8/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Mahogany to burgundy depending on light with a large fluffy yet light off white head with very thick lace.

Milk chocolate, toffee, mission fig, truffle, earthy, piney esters with a bit of grass. Nothing dominate.

Nice soft palate, black fig, burnt caramel, roasted malts, earthy bitter hops throughout. Chocolate, caramel, truffle, date, raisin, oats, spice. Moderate carbonation. Soft and light on the palate.

Photo of HuskyinPDX
2.93/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

25.4 oz bottle, poured into a Pint Glass.

Appearance - Amber-dark brown pour with a large tan head. Strong retention. No lacing.

Smell - Malts and Oats

Taste - Oats, Malts, Spice, some fruit tones.

Drinkability - medium body, slightly bitter aftertaste.

Photo of harrymel
3.03/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This 'hybrid' beer will be judged based on it being an ABA.

A: Pours a deep black ale which is nearly opaque, but maduro brown when light penetrates. Single finger, peanut head falls to a thick quilt of the same. Decent lacing.

S: Astringent and hoppy. Some coal like dark malts. Coffee and cocoa. Really not impressive here.

T: Strongly dark for the style. Oatmeal obvious offering some of the cream flavors. Hops are more subdued on the tongue than the nose. Good flavor on the beer.

M: Thinner than I had anticipated. Near thin body with medium carbonation. I was able to through a pressure top on the bottle and drink the next night over two sessions and the beer held it's carb well.

O: Well done beer. I think this beer is decent, but not really on the high end of the ABA style. Would drink again, but wouldn't purchase myself likely.

Photo of Kkottonmouthkngz
2.95/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I was definitely excited to try this because of the relatively interesting concept.
Color is a pretty deep brown with black cherry hues hidden underneath. The head blows up fairly quickly with superfine bubbles making up the body, and the only lacing remaining is at the very top of the glass, strange gap in between (irrelevant but notable).
Roasty, bready malts on the nose, decent citrusy hop presence, and a prickling of warm spice. This is probably the strongest point of the brew, going downhill from here.
As much as i enjoyed the combination of malt and hops on the nose, im not a huge fan of how they come together on my palate. The brews creamy beginning gets crushed afterwords by an unpleasant bitterness and watery malt on the back of my tongue. I guess the more i think about it, this is probably how the style would be intended to taste and feel, its just not really for me. Glad i got to try it though, its interesting.

Photo of Fluke828
4/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle poured into a Duvel tulip
No date/freshness info on the bottle
Got this in a BIF from tchaos, thanks Troy!

A-> This baby is dark. A very dark brown color. A gentle, easy pour yields a massive 3 finger head with tons of lace.

S-> Very bready off the bat, Hoppy with some sweet malt as well. Lots going on here....

T-> Taste is very malt forward at first. Has a solid brown ale taste to it with biscuity malts and sweet breads...hops take a backseat and a distant one at that but they are there in some capacity.

M-> Medium-Full bodied but full on taste/flavor, pretty decent carbonation as well.

O-> This beer was quite delicious. Big bodied, especially as it warmed up and very unique. A nice and different take on a brown ale that I thoroughly enjoyed.

Photo of Teleweizen2
3.85/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - pours a deep woody brown almost opaque. has some ruby and slightly purple highlights when backlit.

S - grassy citrus hops are most prominent followed by a nice chocolate aroma. As the ale warms all the cereal grains begin to balance the hops. Lots of bready goodness. Dough. Toast. Some rye spice. And just a touch of fruit esters and caramel.

T - surprisingly dry. Very little malt sweetness but tons of flavor. A little chocolate balanced by a pleasant hop bitterness. A decent about of spicy rye especially in the finish. Some hints of cherry as well possibly from the alcohol content.

M - body is slightly creamy, very slick. Low carbonation. Medium bodied. Not I was expecting a little more considering the addition of oats.

D - a very enjoyable full flavored ale with barely any hint of how strong it truly is. Another win for Cigar City.

Photo of gskitt
3.95/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown, opaque, light mocha colored head, head sticks for a while. Smell is of sweet roasted malts but then the hops is present. Tastes a bit of brown sugar and hops, nice balance between the two. A bit of char on the end but not unpleasant. Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy, overall a very nice offering from Cigar City.

Photo of claspada
4.03/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aromas of hops; mainly pine and citrus, with some spicy rye and light light roasted malts. When you focus in you can get the creamy oatmeal graininess and some brown sugar.
The taste begins creamy and full and roasty like your average full bodied oatmeal stout but the hops join the party quite soon after adding a nice bitter hop presence. I am really surprised I liked this because I hate Black IPAs and most over hopped dark beers, but this was in perfect balance.
Note: Some people have claimed of infection, I have absolutely no trace of any, this is a fairly fresh bottle, I think bottled around X-Mas 2010.
Anyway, the mouthfeel is full bodied and delicious like any good oatmeal stout, but the hop presence adds a nice dry sticky finish which I once again am surprised I like, because I usually do not. I also have to comment on the appearance, which I usually don't because who honestly cares if it tastes good, but the lacing is straight stupid. It leaves a line of thick foam sticky head with every sip.
Overall, wow, I'm quite pleased. Great beer, would be great with food, as a desert beer or as a 10am Breakfast beer. Seek it, make sure it's fresh, and enjoy!

Photo of BrewCrew2010
2.83/5  rDev -24.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A: Pours a dark brown body with garnet highlights. Head is massive and even with a very gentle pours takes most of the glass. Worried about it being infected. The head is slow receding, sticky, and leaves a lot of lace.

S: A lot going on in the nose. Roasted malt aroma with notes of grains, caramel, rye, & earthy hops.

T: Malty upfront with notes of rye and other grains. There's also a lot ofearthy & bittering hops balanced with a slight sweetness.

M: Medium body, too much carbonation, kind of a lean texture.

O: Wasn't a huge fan of this beer. I probably would give it another try if someone gave it to me, but nothing I'm dying to run out and get more of.

Photo of Sammy
3.78/5  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 wcintula
3.9/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured into a tall snifter a deep brown with a light brown head with good lacing. Deep layered aromas of roasted malts, chocolate and coffee-like blend with oatmeal and rye. This was a slow sipper with a different taste at every temperature. Sweeter when cold and then bittered up into a more rye flavor as it warmed with bitter hop taste all through. Pretty full bodied with fair carbonation, no boozy taste, but you know it's a strong one.

Photo of socon67
3.65/5  rDev -2.9%
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 Portertime
4.15/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I have never seen this style and was eager to give it a try. Poured a dark mahogany with a huge cascading head that stayed on top of the beer with a root beer float like quality. Smell of oily hops with a wisp of rye and espresso undetones. Taste was pleasant with a flash of hops that gave ways to dusty chocolate and a continuation of fresh brewed espresso with the rye clamping on to your taste buds long after every sip. What a complxtion of flavor in this brew!

Photo of dstc
3.9/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a fairly clear, ruby brown color with an enormous, thick, frothy tan head. Head falls very slow. Sticky lace.

First thing I notice in the aroma is the hops, rather big hops. Bit of rye and a bit if sweetness there in the nose.

Very interesting flavor from the rye. Hops are sharp as is the bitterness. The backbone of this beer is quite unique, due to the rye I guess. Has some funky tartness to it. Ends very bitter.

Medium bodied to somewhat full in the mouth. Low carbonation.

Not bad, not my favorite Cigar City but worth trying.

Photo of peabody
4/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours out a dirty brown with three fingers of off-white suds. Lacing for sure.
Smell is charred malts and pungent yeast/hops with a hint of alcohol way in the back.
The alcohol is hidden very nicely. Taste is bitter at first then charred malts and caramel.
Very bittersweet.
Mouthfeel is a little sticky but dry is what is happening with this brew.
Drinkability is very good here. This one makes you want another drink to sweeten (albeit for just a very short time) the very bitter aftertaste.

Photo of shand
4.15/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a nonic.

Oh dear god! This beer pours a dirty brown with quite possibly the largest head I've ever seen! The mocha head quickly overtook the sides of my glass and poured all over the table, then the floor, then the kitchen counter as I tried to keep this monster head at bay! The lacing is absolutely full and sticky, and the retention lasts for miles. The smell is extremely busy, it's very hard for me to pinpoint any notes here. Roasted malts? Tropical fruits? Spiky hops? Oatmeal? Rye? Dankness? It's all here. Perhaps a bit too much, but it's good smelling once you wrap your nose around it. The taste is one that progresses in stages for sure. First, the roasted malts are front and center. They're very full, and satisfying. Then, some of the fruits and oatmeal flavors start to work their way into the mix as the malts become more of a background role. Then hops start to overtake the malts, leaving a bitter ending note. There's a lot going on here, and for sure each sip brings out some slightly different aspects. Again, maybe there's a little too much going on here, but it's still an enjoyable brew.

This is a very, very, very highly carbonated beer. It goes down very smoothly, but probably coats the mouth just a little too much. The drinkability is absolutely superb, especially for the ABV. There's not a hint of the 9% alcohol here, which is quite a feat. Another winner from Cigar City, this is a very complex and well-composed beer worth trying by anyone looking for something different.

Photo of lordofthewiens
3.93/5  rDev +4.5%
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 baconsausage
3.15/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours a clean deep brown with little head and fine bubble carbonation. almost no aroma but for a faint dark roast sweetness. tastes like a medium brown with light yet oaty body. hops are a bit faded, but plenty of bitterness remains. oh, and lots of rye, a little rye tartness, and a little of the oatmeal. I would drink this again, but wonder what it is like fresh.

Photo of Gueuzedude
4.13/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased from the Brewery January 2011; Sampled 11 days later
A solid pour into my Lost Abbey Teku glass produces a three-finger thick, nicely browned, dark tan colored head. As the head subsides it leaves a nice amount of lacing on the sides of my glass, though it doesn't have the dense, staying power that would make it perfect, but near perfect is pretty damn good. The beer is a very dark, concentrated, amber-brown color that shows a bright, brilliantly hued (though not perfectly clear), rich ruby color when held up directly to the light. The beer smells thick with fruity, then resinous hops that are backed by supporting notes of caramelized malt and toasted whole grain. Super tropical fruit hop character of lychee, kumquat zest, sweetened hibiscus, amplified ruby red grapefruit juice (think Ocean Spray brand), honey drenched orange blossoms and super ripe tangelo that has been freshly juiced with the zest added are all quite noticeable. This is backed, distantly, by some supporting resionous notes that contribute hints of pine, maybe a suggestion of menthol and even a hint of herbal "hemp" oil. I wasn't expecting the nose of this beer to be so incredibly dominated by fruit leaning hop notes, but I really am enjoying it quite a bit. You wouldn't ever guess how dark this beer is from the nose unless you really, really dig around in it; after you do there is a touch of nuttiness as well as some spicy, toasted whole grain notes that peek through just a touch.

Fairly thick, and definitely viscous as it hits my tongue; you can feel the density of this thing as it clings to the palate after my first sip. A bitter, herbal and pine-like hop character does a good job of cutting through the viscosity in the lingering finish and helps to clear the palate up in anticipation of another sip. This has quite a bit of sweetness to it that accentuates and is accentuated by an aggressive, loud, fruity hop character that is dense with notes of candied kumquats, lychee syrup, Curacao orange zest, ruby red grapefruit, . The malt character from the brown ale does still play a secondary role to the hop flavors, but it is a lot more noticeable than it was in the nose; flavors of roast leaning coffee intermingle with and linger on the palate like the pine and bitter notes towards the finish (and in fact accentuates the bitterness a bit), there is a definite nutty note to this brew, and a really nicely spicy, almost rye-like (wait, I just checked and this does actually have rye in it, so I wasn't imagining it), dark grain character to it. Interestingly enough, after only a bit of time, the body of this beer seems significantly reduced; it still has some heft to it, but it is now not nearly as viscous and the density of this seems much reduced; this now seems to fit into the quaffability region of something like a Double IPA (even if it is still on the high end for that, at least for me (in that I prefer lighter bodied versions).

Both the touch of roast and to a lesser degree the spicy grain character accentuate the sharper, not quite harsh, herbal and bitter hop notes that dominate this beer; it is not enough to really detract from the beer, but it keeps this from being wonderfully integrated. I have yet to really find a dark malt leaning, super hoppy beer that doesn't do this and it has honestly made me think that if you want a really hop focused beer you should not add any dark / roasted leaning grain notes to it. Having said that, this beer definitely is quite tasty, definitely enjoyable and something I would happily drink again; it is just that the hop character would be so much brighter, smoother and well integrated without the roast grain notes (though I wouldn't mind seeing the spicy rye component staying on). In the end this is a fantastic beer that I can't quite help thinking is a bit Bi-polar in character.

Photo of trappistlover
3.68/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(750ml bottle courtesy of drowland!). Pours brown/dark mahogany with ginormous tan head. Nice carbonation and lacing. Aroma of spice (pepper), wood, caramel and pine. Taste has a sweet malt backbone with hop bitterness and a rye bite. Medium bodied with slick mouthfeel. Bitter, spicy finish but its smooth. Nice beer.

Photo of wisrarebeer
3.05/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

$11.99 for a bomber from Ward's in Gainesville.

A: incredibly deep dark brown with copper undertones - great rocky 1 1/2 inch head
S: full, roasted malt with hop spiciness
T: malty up front but intense hop bitterness dominates - some tininess also noticeable from hops and CO2 - unfortunately, too bitter for my taste - needed more balanced from malt - the tininess mellowed out a bit after about an hour (possibly because the CO2 had time to settle down) and the malt came through a bit more
M: good but way too bitter and tinny in beginning
D: too intensely bitter to a fault

Photo of jmdrpi
4.47/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

750mL champagne-sytle capped bottle. no date on the bottle, but I purchased about a year ago, and it's been cellared since.

appears a very cloudy muddy brown color. thick khaki-colored head. tons of lacing. great head retention, as it rides the beer down to the bottom of the glass. aroma is a pleasant mix of rye and hops.

I would say that the world's longest title of "Oatmeal Rye India Brown Ale" is an acurate description because I pick up those flavors. well balanced and blended flavors, very tasty.

mouthfeel is great - very smooth and creamy body. no hint of the 9% abv, super easy to drink the whole bottle.

Photo of phishgator
3.58/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into an inperial pint glass. Hazy, amber, with a LARGE white head. The aroma is of faint hops and almonds. The body is smooth and medium carbonation. The taste is slightly nutty and hoppy. The oatmeal definately smooths this one out. I really don't taste the rye. This is an okay offering from Cigar City not one of their better ones.

Photo of Billolick
3.9/5  rDev +3.7%
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

Improv (Improvisación) Oatmeal Rye India-Style Brown Ale from Cigar City Brewing
85 out of 100 based on 360 ratings.