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

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Improv (Improvisación) Oatmeal Rye India-Style Brown AleImprov (Improvisación) Oatmeal Rye India-Style Brown Ale

Brewed by:
Cigar City Brewing
Florida, United States

Style: American Brown Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
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

Added by tpd975 on 03-29-2009

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Reviews: 179 | Ratings: 366
Photo of Holmes698
1.27/5  rDev -66.1%
look: 3 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

This beer was just terrible. The color was real nice, but that is about it. It was way over carbonated and tasted sour like spoiled lunch meat mixed with Brett. Pretty sure this was a bottle that was infected or something. I hope this was not the intended carbonation, aroma and taste. Every other beer I've had from Cigar City has been outstanding...not this one.

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Photo of mothman
1.44/5  rDev -61.6%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Pours ¼ finger of fizzy light brown head. Color is a murky caramel brown.

Aroma: Rye, sourness, toasted nuts, tart flavors, and hops. Bad.

Taste: Rye, weedy hops, citrus, oaky. Booze shows. Something is off here. It has BO flavors.

Mouthfeel: Fizzy, spiced. Lighter bodied with a higher amount of carbonation. Ends dry.

Overall, this one isn't very good or it is infected. Not very good and not drinkable any bit. Drainpour.

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Photo of ccastro
1.74/5  rDev -53.6%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

I'm sorry guys but another swing and a miss. Beer aggressively foamed out the bottle immediately on opening, after sitting in the refigerator for two days, so no mistakes on my part there. Immediately i am overwhelmed with tartness on the nose, sour sour sour. This beer is either infected or just plain bad and from reading some of the other reviews it's not just this batch. The sourness overwhelms any good qualities which are there, lying underneath but truly irrelevent. I've had the same problem with the Bolita Brown, as well as the Guava Grove. Cigar City is a great Brewery with great potential but lets get it together guys. Do not put these beers on the shelf when they are clearly sub-par.

Cheers everybody- it's only beer. I expect great things from this brewery but let's please enact some quality control.

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Photo of zoolzoo
1.96/5  rDev -47.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A messy, mish-mash of flavors. Toffee like sweetness, tossed together with stout like roast characteristics. Spiked with bitter hops. Rough around the edges, quite astringent. I dont see any sort of vision for an end product here, more like "hey lets try this". If I brewed this in my basement, I might think it came out sort of neat. For a brewery like CCB to actually release it, Im not sure what to say.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
2.01/5  rDev -46.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Poured a dark cola like brown with good carbonation and a small dirty white head. Nose is sour, funky, cola, smoke, cola. Taste is all over the map and not in a good way either. Cola, funk, smoke, booze, root beer and random other stuff I do not with to drink again. Overcarbonated. How this is a brown ale I do not know. This was very hard to get down and while different is usually good, not on this. Avoid and do not drop the money on this beer.

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Photo of crusian
2.09/5  rDev -44.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5

bottle thanks to my lovely girlfriend coming back from CC brewery, but she picked this bottle up at a local shop for $10. Put the bottle down on the counter, touched the opener to the cap and paused for some reason... got two glasses ( I share with the G'friend). She inquired, "why did you stop?" Just have a funny feeling, as I look at the dent in my ceiling from a different bottle. as the CC brews are bottle fermented, i don't want to take chances. Sure enough, pop the cap and HERE IT COMES! no spills though.
Needless to say, much much head on these... it has been about 5 minutes and I still can not pour more into my glass. this is taking forever!!
Smells like a sour brown. some caramely notes, but not much.
taste... LOTS of carbonation still in this thing. but taste really isn't a word I can use on this beer. there really isn't much there. To be honest, tastes like tonic water... with a hint of caramel malts... wow, I hope this gets better as it gets warmer! Leaves a very acrid taste in my throat... and if feels a bit coated too. I was hoping the oatmeal would give a nice smoothness, adding to the drinkability, and the rye seems like it would have been a nice touch, but this really really didn't work. I need to read some of the other reviews to see if I got a bad bottle maybe? Man, this is not good.

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Photo of billab914
2.31/5  rDev -38.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

750ml bottle into my Bruery tulip. As I opened the bottle it started to gush a little which didn't seem like a good sign. As I poured it into the glass I got mostly foam at first. As it settled it was a dark, murky, caramel brown color. Once the head settled down it was a pretty good looking beer though with some great lacing on the glass as I drank it.

The aroma mixes a sweeter, malty flavor with some bitter, slightly citrusy hoppiness and a musty, tart, sourness. Interesting mix of flavors. I can't imagine the sharp, funkiness is intentional though .

The taste shows a lot of bitterness to it throughout the flavor. I get a citrus rind, hop bitterness mixing with some roasted, burnt flavors. Some of that musty sourness creeps into the flavor as well, especially in the finish. It's not awful, but the flavors just don't work well for me at all.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with carbonation being high. Overall it was an interesting beer, but not a very good one. I'm hoping this isn't the way they intended it to taste, and I also hope I get to try it again sometime.

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Photo of liamt07
2.36/5  rDev -37.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Bottle provided by Jason, 750ml into some tulips. Began to aggressively foam as soon as we popped the top. Not a good start.

Poured dark brown, with some deep red colours when held to the light. Massive light tan coloured head, sticky and lacy, fantastic retention nonetheless. And that's where the fun ended. Nose has some menthol, hops, light sourness and phenolic notes. Infection? Taste confirmed this I thought. Intense rye and oatmeal character, roast with overlying burnt bandaid and phenolic notes. Sourness present with this is unbearable. Medium thin-body, sour and completely unpleasant. We all ruled this a drain pour, signs of infection all around and just generally undrinkable. I'm sure this would've been nice on tap somewhere though!

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
2.39/5  rDev -36.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Appearance: Pours an opaque, dark brown body with a suspiciously tall, compacted, yellowish head.

Smell: Toffee-scented malts with additional hints of toast, citrus, nuts and rye grain are quashed by phenol-soaked work rags forced over my mouth and nose by an unseen assalant. What I hope was an unintentional funkiness is uncomplimentary to the rest of the brew.

Taste: Toasted nuts and toffee with a zip of spicy rye and hint of cocoa. Fruity citrus hop character with ample bitterness. Sadly, all this is lacerated by a voracious funkiness and once the stale, tart fruit, cobwebs, and bandages swiped from a first aid kit start rolling in, they don't roll out. Hard dryness and a continued phenolic fanfare on the finish you need to be sitting down for.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation. Soft mouthfeel from all of the rampant carbonation present.

Drinkability: Unfortunately, a real dud for me, but with all of the home runs they've hit, I can allow a shameful strike out. With enough improvising you're bound to let out some real sour notes.

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Photo of zeff80
2.46/5  rDev -34.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A - Poured out a fairly dark brown color with a thick, tan head of foam that had some good retention. Some lacing.

S - It smelled very malty and of some pine. There were some funky notes, too.

T - Something wasn't right here. The flavor was pretty messy with an odd funkiness and metallic taste. Hoppy bitterness plus tons of malty sweetness couldn't correct the other odd flavors.

M - It was crisp and sharp with a dry finish. A medium-bodied beer.

D - It just didn't taste right. I don't know if the funky flavor is intention. To me it seems they tried to do too much with a unique style.

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Photo of bierguru
2.54/5  rDev -32.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

A -
dark brown cloudy cant really see the carbonation thick off white head hangs really well

S -
all i get is rye hops and a slight alcohol hints

T -
beer is better drank warmish flavors come out a little bit better but still flavors are tough to find
the most potent taste is hops i also get slight oatmeal hints and a big dry coffee taste

M + D -
awful specially as you progress through the beer the hops dries out your mouth and the flavor lingers masking most flavors
the beer howver is full bodied

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Photo of Gfunk720
2.61/5  rDev -30.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A- Deep brownish amber, light tannish head. Head is fairly small, but retains well. Good lacing.

S- Sweet rye. Brown sugar and molassas. I get some hops too, but it smells almost like an old ale. I smell some metal too.

T- Smooth at first, citrus and hoppy flavors come in quick and hard. It's actually a little overwhelming and messy. The aftertaste is a bitter lingering strong hoppy/Black IPA flavor. Has a slightly metally flavor too.

M- A little over carbed and could use a touch more body. This beer is almost confused if it wants to be an IPA or a big brown ale. The bitterness is just too much.

D- It's strong, and pretty hoppy, but doesn't have the malt profile to make it really drinkable. A miss from CCB

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Photo of twiggamortis420
2.68/5  rDev -28.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

750 mL courtesy of fthomasl, thanks Frank! A little gushing upon opening, and pours with waaay too much carbonation. Fades fairly quickly though and leaves some nice lacing.

Nose is a touch tart, brown malts and lots of fruity yeast esters...strawberry, honeydew and raspberry. Meh, not impressed thus far.

Taste is woody and tart. Brettanomyces perhaps? I think so. Oatmeal adds nothing in the way of velvety smoothness and the fruitiness is a bit overpowering. Way too carbonated for my tastes, and swirling does not seem to knock enough out of solution. I didnt really like Maduro, and this one is similar to a certain extent with the rampant yeast esters. A total miss for me.

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Photo of ehammond1
2.75/5  rDev -26.7%
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.

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Photo of beersensei305
2.78/5  rDev -25.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

The beer pours a deep mahogany color with a tan head that disappears quickly with no stickiness around the glass. The smell is of rye, booze, and hop. This is a hopy brew and it really comes out at the end. The hoppiness bite lingers a long time after a a sip along with the flavor of the rye. IF you drink this beer cold you will miss all the complexitiy of this brew. The front of the beer is smooth and has the flavor of mild choclate and oatmeal, the middle is the hops, and rye. This is a smooth beer medium bodied but is dominated by the hops and rye. This brew is ehh, a sipper when it warms up and is full of its potential- but not the greatest.

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Photo of Chaney
2.8/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I got this at the Whole Foods right around the corner from Cigar City.

I poured this into a Cigar City snifter.

A: With a rather quiet pop of the bottle, then a gentle pour, the glass filled up with about 90% beige head and 10% liquid. That's.just.great...

S: Sort of a sour, funky, charred wood quality on the nose. I got that same weirdness from Jose Marti. There's no way in hell I would have tagged this as a brown ale.

T: A bit of sour funkiness on the front end, followed by a shitload of sawdust. Bone-suckingly dry on the finish, and quite a bitter wallop on the end as well. Was that the rye's contribution?

M: Like I stated, very bitter on the finish, and I actually could have used a little more sugar. This was almost an off Aud Bruin. The lacing was sudsy, and over-the-top.

O: I'm not really sure what Cigar City was going for here, but it definitely wasn't aimed at me...

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Photo of BrewCrew2010
2.82/5  rDev -24.8%
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.

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Photo of steve8robin
2.83/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Had many, many Cigar City brews, glad to try another. They're a great brewery. 750ml...

A: Dark murky brow brew with a gigantic 3 inch tan head that fades very slowly. Decent.

S: A little earthy hop bite upfront blended with some oatmeal and rye. Some candi sugars in the middle with not much else. Ok.

T: A bitter mild hop with almost a dishwater taste. A slight boozy rye flavor in the middle. Wow, what a disappointment from a great brewery. Eh.

M: Medium body with a heavy carbonation. Kind of a bittery water finish. Ok.

D: The strange blend of flavors make this harder to get down. Ok.

All in all, this one was a HUGE disappoinment. I love Cigar City and this is a very big disappointment. Over-carbonated, soapy dishwater, earthy hop, that's about it. Don't bother with this one. So many better brews from CC, try Big Sound, Hunahpu or Jai Alai.

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Photo of Florida9
2.88/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A: Fairly translucent and thin shade of dark mahogany brown. Slight haze is noticeable. Forms a good inch or so of foamy light tan head that reduces down to a thick surface coating. Virtually no lacing.

S: This beer has some age on it, but, surprisingly, the hops are still there. Lots of citrus, floral, and orange with notes of wood, caramel, and just a faint hint of tartness.

T: The taste just isn't right. Starts off with a light toffee sweetness, there is a bit of light citrus and a little floral quality. Then it turns rather woody with a light, but somewhat annoying, unpleasant, and out-of-place sourness. Finishes with a dry bitterness.

M: Medium bodied, but feels quite light in the mouth. Medium carbonation. Mild to moderate bitterness.

O: This one is a tough one to drink and its either starting to show an infection or just isn't very good. However, since several of the other reviews are quite similar to mine, I'm going to have to conclude it's the latter.

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
2.96/5  rDev -21.1%
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.

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Photo of harrymel
2.97/5  rDev -20.8%
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.

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Photo of Mora2000
3/5  rDev -20%
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.

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Photo of Kkottonmouthkngz
3.02/5  rDev -19.5%
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.

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Photo of sukwonee
3.06/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Dark brown with one finger head, good amount of lacing. Looks good.

S: Hops... chocolate... caramel malt... odd...
some spice too?

T: Yuck... It's chocolate-y at first, then followed by some spicy rye flavour, followed by oatmeal like consistency feel (I know I am rating taste, but can't help noticing this)... hoppy bitterness... not good... it's really really weird

M: Mouthfeel is good... but the question is, what the hell am I drinking? It's smooth and has oatmeal stout consistency. Alcohol is not detected much.

O: I won't seek for this again. It's definitely unique, but not my cup of tea for sure.

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3.09/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

750mL bottle to snifter. Sampled 10/16/11.

A: Pours a dark auburn-brown, muddy with no opacity, and a beautiful 2 1/2 finger light brown head, compact and foamy - and very long lasting. Sheets of lacing in sedimentary layers.

S & T: Aromas of light roast, bitter chocolate and burnt caramel come forward. Faded hops really stand out and interfere with the rest of the nose. Pine, herbs and resin. Spicy rye is evident as a background note.

M: On the colder side, the mouthfeel comes across a little thin. After warming, the body improves with some much needed sustenance. Creamy texture. Drinks like a 6% brew.

O: I've had this beer fresh a few times so I decided to lay this bottle down and see what a bit of age does. A year later, I regret that decision. Appearance aside, this beer has fallen off in every other department. I'll have to remember to review my next serving since Improvisacion is actually quite a fantastic beer...when fresh.

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Improv (Improvisación) Oatmeal Rye India-Style Brown Ale from Cigar City Brewing
3.75 out of 5 based on 366 ratings.
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