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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
Very Good
366 Ratings
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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 366 |  Reviews: 179
Photo of SFLpunk
3.81/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Purchased at Knightly Spirits OBT, Orlando FL last month. 750mL brown glass pry-top champagne bottle. No date.

Pours a deep dark brown with thick creamy dark khaki head that leaves lots of lacing!

Nose is dominated by cocoa-covered-oat flakes. A hint of herbal notes.

Palate is a little tired, hop character is a little aged. Cocoa syrup, toasted bread, some leafy dried hop flavors, and bamboo comes to mind.

A nice brew, but a little tired I think. PLEASE PROVIDE DATES ON BEERS.

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

Poured from a bomber into a pint glass, the beer is a hazy, almost opaque, deep, auburn-brown coloring with a massive, chunky, big bubbled, orange-tinted biege head. The head pours huge, and there is a minimal cascade with the pour while the head settles out. Aromas are strong rye, caramel sweetness, and a slightly toasted note. The beer's scent also has some slight citrus highlights, also. The beer has a wild blend of flavors, including a smooth, roasted coffee bitterness, tart grapefruit highlights, semi-sweet and dark caramel sugary flavors, and a heavy hopping at the end to pull it all together and dry it out. The beer has a bitter and tart aftertaste, including the hops and citrus notes, with a dry and crisp finish. Great blend of flavors and body that transmit this extremely unique beer.

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Photo of AdamBear
3.63/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-dark murky chestnut with A LOT of head that doesn't settle quickly

S-smells a bit like sour milk. i find this to be common among CCB beers that aren't fresh. I personally find it to be a great smell. has a hint of milk chocolate and some oat meal possible. its a good strength

T-comes in with a bitter and sour taste of oatmeal. its a dark roasted flavor that reminds me of coffee. the bitterness sticks to the tongue. there's a good dark roasted after-taste with a slight tartness to it. not finding the "rye" or "india" aspect to it.

M-medium creamy carbonation with a creamy finish

O-well i expected better. its different, definitely not boring, but it isn't an exciting or good different. its drinkable and not bad though. i definitely enjoyed all 750mL of it. its still beats most brown ales brewed by most other breweries, but it doesn't compare to the best brown ales of CCB.

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Photo of cbutova
4.18/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes last night.

A- Dark brown with a massive tan head. Great retention and a nice creamy looking texture to it. Extremely thick and plentiful lacing all around the glass.

S- Pretty much just like the name. Hops are very noticeable, lending nice earthy and slight citrus notes. Brown ale malt brings in some caramel and nutty hints. Slight roast and dark fruit feel.

T- Stronger rye and hops/bitterness in the flavor. Hops give me floral, spicy and earthy notes. Sweet caramel and nutty malt. Bread, dark fruit, yeast, grain and roast as well, a bit jumbled in the actual flavor.

MF- Alcohol warms the palate just a bit but the ABV is well hidden.The body itself is the only letdown in this beer, a bit watery thin. Lower end carbonation with just a bit of silkiness from the oatmeal.

If the mouthfeel were a bit thicker this would be a great beer. I think the flavors are a bit jumbled but they are also nice, and strong.

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Photo of Chico1985
4.13/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml split 3 ways, shared by cbutova, thanks Cam!

Pours plain ol brown, tan head retains nicely at a finger or so and leaves lacing everywhere.

Promising scent. Oats, slight roastiness, nice hop/rye presence, dark fruit.

Taste is great, matches the smell and a bit more. Nice oatmeal up-front, some coffee with cream, light caramel, grassy hops, rye. The hops are kept low key letting the oatmeal/brown ale side shine. Nice silky mouthfeel, a bit on the thin side maybe, medium carbonation. Drinks easy.

I love a good oatmeal feel in a beer and this hit the nail on the head in my opinion, all the flavors in the absurdly long beer name come out great really. A 9% brown ale sits on the line of 'over the top' but this is pulled off nicely, better than their Bolita Brown too.

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Photo of rfgetz
4.03/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark and lightly hazed brown, moderate cap of tan head, gone quickly, leaving spotty lacing. Scent is quite mild, hops are at the front, some spice lingers with dark roasted and nutty malts, light hints of brown sugar and caramel. Taste is a little more aggressive than scent, malts at the forefront - roasty, nutty and blend well with some spice from the rye. Hops are present in quantity, a litte citrusy, combining with some alcohol to produce a little bit of solvent like note. While oatmeal was added, i dont get the creamy bump in body (see Surly Bender), quite dry on the palate. A nice tasting beer which if tweaked correctly could produce a better product.

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Photo of gnemesis
4.42/5  rDev +17.2%
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.

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Photo of mcallister
3.78/5  rDev +0.3%
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.

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
2.96/5  rDev -21.5%
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 -21.2%
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 Kkottonmouthkngz
3.02/5  rDev -19.9%
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 Fluke828
4/5  rDev +6.1%
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.

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Photo of Teleweizen2
3.86/5  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.

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Photo of gskitt
3.95/5  rDev +4.8%
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.

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Photo of claspada
4.03/5  rDev +6.9%
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!

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Photo of BrewCrew2010
2.82/5  rDev -25.2%
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 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.

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Photo of wcintula
3.92/5  rDev +4%
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.

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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.

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Photo of Portertime
4.13/5  rDev +9.5%
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!

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Photo of dstc
3.9/5  rDev +3.4%
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.

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Photo of peabody
3.98/5  rDev +5.6%
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.

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Photo of shand
4.14/5  rDev +9.8%
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.

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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.

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Photo of baconsausage
3.12/5  rDev -17.2%
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.

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Improv (Improvisación) Oatmeal Rye India-Style Brown Ale from Cigar City Brewing
Beer rating: 3.77 out of 5 with 366 ratings
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