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 CooperEllis
3.43/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750ml into 6oz tasting glass.

The pour has no head, no lacing and minimal bubbles. The color flames. Dark brown at the center fans to reddish brown at the edges.

Aroma is notable with the rye evident. Malt in the front, a bit of hops kicking in at the end.

Flavor is mild. Brown ale's with this flavor profile are not what I was looking for going in, but this is a nice blend of flavors. The rye is there, I do not taste the oatmeal but the hops, rye and malt are blended together well.

A bit light, carb seems low but in general keeping with expectation.

Enjoyable, with a bit of off aftertaste that may be attributed to the rye.


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Photo of TCgoalie
4.02/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Review from 12/15/10

The pour is a hazy reddish brown with viscous in appearance. Not much head and thus not much in terms of lacing.

I've always wondered what the plastic-like smell I detect in beers and I think I've discovered that it is oatmeal. I will now be able to place it. Moving on, there are hints of oatmeal, spicy rye, chocolate, and oak. It smells good, I would like the smells to be amped up a bit...but this is pretty good.

A bit of cloudy malt confusion starts the flavor and leads to some brown sugar. The staple; woody, CCB flavor kicks in while some spicy rye bitterness levels the beer. Some oatmeal overtones are present in the malt profile. Overall, this is well balanced.

I like this beer but the moutfeel doesn't do anything special. There is plenty of carbonation which detracts from the profile a bit, especially considering the style. I am getting a medium feel, but not a whole lot else.

To kick the score up a bit, I have to give this a good last grade. It is a really solid brown ale which is not represented very well from my previous ratings. I would drink this again.

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Photo of steve8robin
2.83/5  rDev -24.9%
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 glid02
4.35/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle purchased from Liquor Loft in Tallahassee, FL.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo of ryanonline
3.9/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

dark brown, with some very present yeasty haze and a huge tan head. cant really see it but i guarantee there is great lacing.

nutty and slightly smokey with some nice bitter hoppy aromas as well as a lightly sweet backbone.

slight cocoa flavor and a thorough nuttiness to it, with plenty of earthy bitter hops, as well as an interesting fruitiness to it through the background.

clean and crispy mouthfeel with a lot of residual sweetness, medium bodied and very foamy, has a long lasting sweet finish.

a bit foamy and sweet with a finish that lasts a long time and coats the mouth, leaves this beer a little less drinkable than most.

cigar city makes some really good bottle conditioned ales, and i really enjoyed this one but its jusst not really my cup of tea, it tries to be a bit to many things at once.

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Photo of srhoadsy
3.35/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a very dark chocolate brown with a thick tan head that lingers. Initial aroma is malt and bitter coffee and dark fruit, progressing to a strong hoppy scent. Overall taste is very hoppy with lingering tastes of the afforementioned hops and coffee and a mild alcohol taste. Good heavy, rich mouthfeel with decent carbonation. All in all not a bad beer but not as impressed as I've been with other offerings from Cigar City.

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Photo of bierguru
2.54/5  rDev -32.6%
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 beersensei305
2.78/5  rDev -26.3%
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 Avagadro
3.38/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Deep mahogany in color, and impervious to light, Improvisacion boasts a cream colored head. This frothy foam leaves rings around the glass, marking your progress.

S: Bouquet is well presented, but rather simple in composition. I was anticipating deep malty notes, but all I get is Pacific northwest hops.

T: Again, I was hoping for something resembling a malty brew here, but all I get is a heaping pile of hops. I would have loved to see a bit of both malt and hop, but I am left disappointed.

M: Medium-to-full in body, with a healthy dose of tingling carbonation.

D: I feel that this beer had many more layers of flavor that were unintentionally smothered by a heavy hand with the hops. Why go through the effort of adding rye and roasted malts only to cover them up? Good try CCB, but this will not join the immaculate ranks of some of your other brews.

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Photo of Lerxst
3.51/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A-Moderate pour produces a rocky three finger head that has excellent retention and leaves copious amounts of sticky lace. Pours a dark brown. Great looking beer.

S-Earthy hops and roasted malt, a hint of nuttiness and smoke. Not terribly complex, but interesting. I wouldn't say the nose is particularly enticing, but it is interesting.

T-Bitter earthy hops bite first and linger throughout. They overpower the roasty malt that is there, but gets a bit pummeled by the hops. The slight nuttiness/smokiness from the nose is there, but again, gets pummeled by the hops (what? I'm complaining about hops? Whats wrong with me???). Slight funk/sour aspect comes through in the back.

M-Medium body, crisp carb bite, yet still a bit creamy, slick and oily.

D-This one is a sipper for me and one is certainly enough.

This is a style bending roller coaster ride that left my (underdeveloped?) palate and senses muddled and confused. It certainly is not a bad beer, just not one I would seek out again. I absolutely love CCB and the excellent beer they put out, but I think I'd rather have a Maduro or Bolita rather than this one if I'm in the mood for a brown.

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

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

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

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

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

D: Drinkability is not bad, but can improve.

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Photo of WeisGuy
3.5/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

750ml bottle into a Dupont Saison glass.

Be prepared (luckily I was), this one is a gusher. Pours a turbid, ruddy brown color with a huge tan head. Head retention is great, as is the lacing. I'd give this a little more credit on appearance if the head wasn't caused in part by the obvious infection. The smell is reminiscent of an oud bruin, as this brown has a bit of a sour component. Sweet malt and spice are also evident. The taste is fairly sour with a considerable hop presence. There is a nice rye flavor that really comes through and the alcohol is well-hidden. If you have any of these bottles, I'd say drink them now, because the infection is there but it isn't all that unpleasant currently. The beer is too light-bodied for my liking and the carbonation is too high, but there is a nice dryness. Not very drinkable, but the flavors are moderately interesting and the alcohol is well-hidden. Overall, I'd like to give this beer another shot when the release it next time to see what it truly can be without the QC issues. That said, even with the infection, it's fairly enjoyable and has some very nice aspects to it.

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Photo of crusian
2.09/5  rDev -44.6%
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 ChainGangGuy
2.39/5  rDev -36.6%
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 Mora2000
3/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to Exiled for sharing this bottle.

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

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

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

Thanks goes out to cyrusthepup for the brew.

750ml Bottle

Poured into a chalice a deep brown color, nice carbonation, very nice creamy three-finger tan head, with lots of thick/creamy sticky lacing and small islands left behind. The nose is malty, with some yeast notes, licorice, chocolate, toffee, slight citrus. The taste is sweet, malty, yeasty, with some licorice, chocolate/toffee, and some slight citrus notes, there is some funkyness going on with this brew. Medium body, the finish is slightly dry/bitter. The ABV is hidden very well. Drinkable, a tasty, but different brew, worth checking out.

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Photo of zeff80
2.46/5  rDev -34.7%
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 Ineedabeerhere
3.46/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Another one sent to me by Greg! Thanks! Had this on 3.26, from notes.

Pours a deep chestnut brown with a small light tannish foam, but leaves great lace. Nice appearance.

Aroma opens up with a general sweetness in the form of burnt sugar. Rye is there contributing a spice note, I feel in a greater capacity than in the taste. Some darker aromas of roast and a little chocolate. The taste follows with some bitter roast, nothing too distinctive or assertive about it. Roasted nuts and a kiss of rye spice. Alcohol well integrated. Hmm, with some of my favorite adjuncts (brown sugar, rye, oatmeal), I thought I would've liked this a lot more. The oats contribute to the mouthfeel, good substance with a low-medium carbonation. It's ok but I can't say I would throw down $12+ on a bottle again.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
2.01/5  rDev -46.7%
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 jeffthecheff
3.49/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown color with a yellowish brown colored head in my tulip. It's close to being black in color. Lacing is good.

Upon smelling, I immediately thought of a factory. This is a very distinct smell that makes me think of copper and plastic. After it warms, this smell dies down and lets an almond, nutty aroma come through as well as dark bread.

The taste has a smooth sweetness up front. Nutty flavor with a bit of roast on the finish. The pumpernickel bread character is coming through again as well. It tastes nice, but I noticed a slight plastic aftertaste. I'm guessing this is coming from the same flaw that caused the factory smell.

The mouthfeel is full and creamy and is probably the best part of the beer. It has a substantial feel to it, actually feeling bigger than 9% abv without tasting it.

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Photo of indiapaleale
4.12/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

something about this brew really reminded me of a homebrew I did a few years back. It was a rye-PA that had so many similar characteristics...anyways...

Pour was extremely vigorous. I popped the cap and it foamed for a few minutes which made me think it was a goner. Once I poured it, it setlled as a nice darkish amber brown color with a foamy head.

Aroma was very citrusy and hoppy with a syrupy sweet smell as well. Very hoppy and inviting.

Tastes spicy, dry, bitter, floral, grapefruity and piney. There are a lot of sweet malty flavors meshing with a good deal of tropical fruit flavors from the hops along with the kick of dry spiciness from the hops.

Very good beer. Personally I think I'd like it more without the rye but that is just me.

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Photo of BearsOnAcid
3.96/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I have been setting this beer aside for 5 months. I just didn't get around to drinking it for some reason.

Brown liquid with a huge rising iced coffee colored head. I can tell this beer had a healthy dose of hops when it was young because the head grew so much.

Smell was predominately rye. Subtly reminded me of children's vitamins. Underneath was a nutty, chocolate malt aroma.

Taste was also predominately rye. Smooth flavor that sets into a crisp brown ale and a hearty mouthfeel. Hops are a bit absent from flavor since this has a slight age on it. From what I can pick up from the hopping, it reminds me of Jai Alai.

Alcohol is never present. This is an improvised brew that has been executed very well. In working on recipes for homebrewing people make you think that throwing everything into the beer along with the kitchen sink doesn't really work. This beer proves that you can make it work and the outcome is beautiful.

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo of PDXHops
3.68/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to bobby8405 for this 750 ml bottle, poured into a Duvel tulip.

A murky dark reddish brown body is capped by a massive 3+ finger frothy cream colored head. Excellent retention and great lacing from top to bottom.

Quite an interesting bouquet. Lemon zest, fresh squeezed grapefruit and rye are dominant, but there's wet cedar and a bit of chocolate sweetness if you go looking for them.

A complex sipper, revealing many layers of flavor as it warms up. A bit of brown sugar/bitter chocolate sweetness up front yields to spicy rye, sour lemon and a somewhat funky woodsiness. A bit of butter in there. It becomes quite dry at the finish, allowing an earthy bitterness and a soured wood combo to shine. The alcohol is well disguised. Tasty, although at times the flavors don't all seem to gel. A bit of palate fatigue kicks in after a glass or so.

Overall impression: Not a beer that easily fits into a style designation, but it's enjoyable for sure. The appearance rating inflates the score for this one.

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Photo of saccro
4.26/5  rDev +13%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A real mouthful to say, but tasty. Couldn't take the time to take good notes of this one:

A - fairly dark. Brown ale? eh...dark brown. Tan/creamy head that's lasting. Crazy lacing.

S - not locked-in on rye flavors, but found it to be fairly chocolaty/roasty. Hops are noticeable.

T - tastes great. fairly bitter. roasted flavors like a stout.

M - moderate carbonation. fairly thick and smooth.

D - very clean and drinkable.

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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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