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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 Durge
4.38/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A thick dark brown brew with an out of control foamy head that eventually collapsed to a substantial tan pile of foam with a mess of lacing. The aroma suggests a yeasty evergreen with malty herbal hop hints. The flavor brings buttery root beer with alka seltzer rye. It has nuances of a flemish sour while keeping touch with the malt grain. Solidly medium bodied with mild carbonation and a near creamy feel. Drinkable enough and one of the better tasting brews I’ve had in a while!

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Photo of kylehay2004
4.28/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Thick large tan head with lots of retention and tons of lacing on a dark amber/brown body.

S: lots of coffee, hops, with a grassy/floral and almost bourbon like note.

T: sweet rye and caramel malt to start, finishes with dark chocolate, oak and coffee notes.

M: moderate to high carbonation and medium to full body.

Overall: This one is very complex and very good, plain and simple.

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Photo of Doppelbockulus
3.67/5  rDev -2.1%
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.

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Photo of thagr81us
4.2/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from tap into a sampler imperial pint. Poured a reddish dark brown with a minimal light tan head. Maintained phenomenal lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, oatmeal, rye, dark fruit, and roasted malt. The flavor was of sweet malt, roasted malt, wood, oatmeal, dark fruit, rye, and subtle dark chocolate. It had a medium feel on the palate with medium carbonation. Overall this was a pretty good brew. I had this one awhile back out of the bottle and thought I would revisit it. I wasn't a HUGE fan back then, so let's see how that has changed. The tap was much better in my opinion as it felt a little more balanced than out of the bottle. The aroma was quite pleasant but not otherworldly. The flavor on the otherhand was very nice and kept me going back for sip after sip after sip until there was no more to be had. A really well done and put together brew that I'm glad I got the chance to revisit.

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Photo of Immortale25
4.1/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Saint Somewhere wine-style glass. Label says SEPT 2011.

A- Pours a black color with some brown around the edges that has a 1/2 inch tan head that isn't much for retaining before it becomes an 1/8 inch ring around the edge of the glass and a splatter of bubbles on the surface. Average lacing.

S- Sharp, roasty malts with an overtone of pungent hops in the aroma. Some chocolate and coffee come to mind...and there's the rye buried beneath.

T- Sweet at first, but then the heavy presence of hops and malt come rushing in to subdue that sweetness and replace it with a biting, roasty, almost burnt characteristic. This beer sure does have an identity crisis. It's a heavy brown ale but has the bitterness of a double IPA. Notes of raisin, BBQ'd meats and tobacco.

M- Prickly from the hops, heavy body from the malts. Medium-low carbonation.

O- Pretty intense on all fronts but still manages to keep things within the realm of drinkability.

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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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Photo of wesbrownyeah
4.08/5  rDev +8.8%
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!

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Photo of One2Remeber
4.5/5  rDev +20%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into an over-sized snifter. Reviewing as a hybrid style rather than a traditional brown ale.

A: Thick, dense creamy frothy tan colored head that stays around for a while. Body is black with a dark purple hue in the light. Looks very unique and inviting.

S: Smells like an 'oatmeal cream pie'. Rye always smells 'gummy' to me, like chewy bread. Also picking up a hint of rye spiciness. Heavy aroma of creamy oatmeal is making my mouth water.

T: Oatmeal up front but it is light like a brown ale rather than a stout. Followed by an intense, pungent hop burst of herbal, earthy tones with hints of citrus. Rye spiciness finishes and lingers around. Great transition of flavors. Smokey, roasted malt backbone throughout entire sip.

M: Unique mouth feel, it doesn't remind me of any particular style. It feels light like Maduro, hoppy as Jai Alai and a rye component like Terrapin's Rye Squared.

O: This is a must try. I love Cigar City mostly because they are true to styles and always deliver home runs. It is nice to change it up and show the pallet something new and crazy every once in a while:) This would be great a great buffer between drinking IPAs and going to a stout.

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Photo of beergod1
3.58/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy brown with some dark red highlights and a good sized Foamy tan head that lasted the whole glass. When the cork was popped, It come flowing out of the bottle, all over the table, Hilarious. Aroma is toasted rye and oats, light caramel, chocolate, citrus and a little earthy spice. Flavor is more of the same,toasty rye and oats, chocolate, caramel and a hint of spicy pine on the finish. Very drinkable and tasty. When warmed up, the flavors were much better. It was good, but not 1 of my favorite CCB brews.

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Photo of tdm168
3.51/5  rDev -6.4%
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.

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Photo of JayS2629
3.21/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Murky, dark brown with two finger tan head that fades slowly and leaves great lace.

Underlying roasty aroma with big whiffs of grapefruit and orange zest. Hints of chocolate and spice.

Roast, chocolate, spice, orange peel, and grapefruit. Somewhat clashing and overly roasty with burnt crust and spicy rye notes.

Creamy, thick and vicious.

Overall, strange and clashing. Unbalanced. Definite sipper.

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Photo of wspscott
3.12/5  rDev -16.8%
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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Photo of bishopdc0
3.68/5  rDev -1.9%
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.

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Photo of BuckyFresh
3.92/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to TCHopCraver for bringing this one back from Florida! Enjoyed with TCHopCraver and zoso1967.

Appearance: Pours a burnt orange/brown color with a thin head and lots of fizzy carbonation in the glass. Not much lacing to speak of.

Smell: Kind of a sour, mineral type aroma going on with this one. Some chocolate in the nose, a little basement mustiness, some coconut character, and maybe some oatmeal as well. Getting some piney hops in there too. Some interesting conflicting aromas make for a unique and complex smell.

Taste: Some decent hop punch, with a solid malt backbone and accented by some rye flavor. Good balance to this one; maybe a touch on the sweet side, although the woody presence is a nice counterpoint.

Mouthfeel: A medium fell, with lots of fizzy carbonation. The prevalent bubble action kind of makes the mouthfeel a little out of the ordinary.

Overall: A tasty and interesting take on the style. The rye and hop punch provided some complexity you don't normally see in a brown.

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Photo of Vec2267
3.7/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

L: dark brown with massive tan head, great lacing

S: fruity hops, roast, complex

T: hops fight with the spice from the rye to dominate this beer, roast, chocolate, quite a whirlpool of flavors

F: thick, viscous

O: not sure what this beer is, a brown ale on steroids, but it is intriguing

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Photo of merlin48
4.42/5  rDev +17.9%
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.

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Photo of Retsinis
3.1/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Got this bottle from Half time beverage, and brought to a bottle share.

A: The beer pours a light brown cola color, with a quarter inch of light tan head that settles to just a ring of light creamy lace.

S: Potent scent of rye, medium caramel aroma, and touch of tobacco & cedar.

T: As with the nose, a lot of rye up front, with a medium caramel backbone, and a light sprinkling of tobacco & cedar, finishing with a touch of astringent bitterness. The beer is thinner than expected and it seems that the Rye is more dominant then the oatmeal grain build, so it's a bit thin considering.

M: Light to thin consistency, and light carbonation.

O: Average brown ale, with a medium rye profile. Interesting, but not something I would re-visit.

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Photo of cpetrone84
3.3/5  rDev -12%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown transparent liquid with red hues fighting to shine through, very dark brown head, thick and strong lace. The nose has a touch of sweetness up front, roasty malts and light touch of chocolate, moderate citric hop, light tangy spice to some grain flavors mixed in as well. The flavor is very roasty, faint chocolate, strong sweet hop, citric, light tinge of alcohol, some grain, maybe a touch of spice. Medium body, very smooth, soft carb and a touch oily. Not bad, always some extra sugars lying around in CC and a bit sweet.

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Photo of Swim424
3.6/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

poured into a tall schneider weisse glass

A-deep amber up to light. dark brown away from light. retains small head.

S-smells very sweet. a little nuts. maybe a little chocolate. maybe a little oatmeal.

T-fairly nutty. some oatmeal. maybe a tiny amount of chocolate. hits up front with a dull oatmeal malt flavor and finishes with a stronger hoppier/nuttier flavor that seems to be slightly intensified by the ABV.

MF slightly creamy. not to much. a little aftertaste but not much there.

O-not bad for a brown ale. Not a huge fan of the style. I would recommend this though. overall this is a pretty good beer for the style.

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Photo of CharlieMurphy
3.18/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Dark ruddy red and brown with a nice radiant thin golden tan head that remains frozen in time.

S: Smells very Belgiany, lots of spicy, fruit sweetness. Apples, oranges, grapefruit, clove.

T: Follows the nose, lots of dry apple peels, some pear. Finishes very dry, this is almost reminiscent of something infused with cider.

M: Not bad for the dry finish. Medium to slightly below bemium body. Lower end for carbonation.

O: I doubt this is what they were going for given the title of the beer: I can't detect any oatmeal and I was expecting a darker, less belgian flavored brew, something more akin to DFH indian brown. Not bad aside from being slightly acidic to the GI by the end of the glass.

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Photo of hmf05
3.83/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a nice deep brownish red color and produced a massive four finger creamy tan head. The nose is soy sauce, rye, and hops. I have never quite smelled a brew like this before. A lot of people say they get huge hints of sourness in the nose, but I don't find that to be the case here. There is definitely a mild tartness coming through, but to call this beer sour would be ridiculous (unless of course your bottle is infected). The taste is much more flavorful and complex than the nose indicated. It starts out tasting like a brown ale, but then rye quickly makes its presence. The beer finishes with a long dry bitternes. The mouthfeel is not thin, but not as thick as I had hoped/anticipated. Carbonation is tame. Overall, a very interesting offering from Cigar City. This seems to be hit or miss for most people, but I find it to be pleasing. For 9% abv, I don't taste it at all. In fact, I would have guessed this was a 6% beer. While this is tasty, I would have liked to have seen some more sweetness; this is the only thing missing from making this a great beer. This is not for everyone, but if you are looking for something different, give this one a try.

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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 voteforgoat
4.06/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

FIRST OF ALL, A BIG THANKS TO bryanole27! This was a very generous extra in a trade.

A: brown with gold highlights, mild brown foam.

S: Roasty and for some reason makes me think a bit of yams or pumpkin. I'm really not sure why. Smell is mild.

T: As it warms up, it really opens up and only improves. Roasty notes up front, followed by some caramel and definitively some-tongue curling bitterness. Some spiciness in the finish as well from the rye. Big flavors. There's enough complexity here to keep you guessing and drinking more. Alcohol is very well-hidden. An interesting beer with elements of a stout, a brown ale and an aggressive, Big Foot-style barley wine mixed together.

M: A little bit oily. Mild carbonation feels just right.

O: A very well-made and drinkable beer. Would be happy to drink this regularly if only it was available here.

Brown ales are not a style I would normally seek out, but this is quite delicious and surprising. Considering that Old Foghorn is 8.8% ABV and shares at least a few elements, this beer could even fit in the barley wine category.. so recommended for barley wine fans in general.

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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.

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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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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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