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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Ratings: 366 |  Reviews: 179
Photo of ffejherb
3.58/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle on 2/13/10.

A - Emerged from the bottle as a muddy reddish brown liquid with some chunky, bottom-dwelling yeast particulates and a billowy tan crown of foam that eventually built a fortress of thick lace all around the glass.

S - Initial aroma combines earthy, herbal and woody hop notes with a hint of chocolate and flaked oat malt. Also, a slight waft of citrus fruit appears in the background.

T - Quite a bitter herbal and earthy hop character at the forefront, along with a prominent spicy rye character that bolsters the dry bitterness to another level. Dark roasted malt complements the rye and herbal hop quality nicely.

M - Medium bodied and moderately carbonated, resulting in a prickly sensation on the tongue. Texture is quite lively and frothy. Finishes with moderate alcohol warmth and a dry, fairly harsh bitterness on the palate.

D - Pretty good (and certainly interesting) beer overall, but definitely not one of my favorite Cigar City beers. I think the flavor gets a bit lost due to all of the ingredients. Too many cooks in the kitchen, perhaps?

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Photo of pecokid
3.63/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Dark Amber appearance. Nicely Carbonated. Tan head that lingered well. I'm a little congested so my rating on smell my be off. Complex flavor profile. Tobacco, roast malt, dry hoppy finish. Mouthfeel nicely thin and well carbonated. Drinkability, one 750 ml bottle is enough for one person. The complexx flavors in this one do not overwhelm the palate but may knock back drinkability by a half point.

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Photo of ktrillionaire
4.62/5  rDev +23.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I am not just rooting for the home team when i say that this beer is a phenomenally interesting and satisfying brew; it is off the hook, no doubt.

A - very dark translucent brown with a nice off-white head and some lacing

S - It smells way crazy; I detect a tart Belgian sour-lemon aroma coupled with a rye-influenced malt and a grapefruity hop. Not all of these aromas are represented in the flavor. The tart Belgian aroma is not accompanied by a corresponding taste in any significant measure, for example.

T - Such a complex flavor profile; sweet rye and pumpernickel flavors initially, followed by intense grapefruit impression, finishing with a strange duality: on one hand, it is bitterly sour and pickly-astringent, and on the other hand, it is sweetly roasty, nutty and chocolate-y. Overall, this is a great tasting "Brown Ale"; I would say this beer is more unclassifiable, or like a Belgian dark something or other...

M - Well-carbonated, full-bodied. The flavors last for a tremendously long time in your mouth; to the point that it is an experience usually only found in fine wines.

D - It is a taste sensation; highly recommended.

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Photo of GbVDave
4.18/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750ml bottle into two St. Bernardus goblets. Thanks to HeatherAnn for the assist! Extra special thanks to corby112 for this from our recent trade!

A: Pours a dirty river water brown. Capping that is 1 1/2 fingers of dark khaki colored head that managed to stick around 'till almost the very end. Lace was plentiful and extremely sticky.

S: Malted milk balls, vanilla, rye, fudge, and bitter dark chocolate. Quirky and delicious.

T: See above. Loads of different flavors of chocolate and spicy/tangy rye.

M: Slightly sweet with waves of spicy rye and earthy hops.

D: This was excellent! We both love Rye Beers and we practically raced through our glasses of this. Fantastic!

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Photo of DIM
3.8/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Wow, what a mouth full of a name. Sounds like this could be messy...

a: This was a clear, dark yet bright ruby tinted amber color. It poured with a large, thick, chunky, and sticky tan colored head.

s: Hop aromas of zesty citrus and pineapple with a hint of pine share center stage with rye tainted sweet toffee and caramel. In the backrouind I found some brown sugar, bubblegum, and just a trace of warmth.

t: This is difficult to describe, but there is quite a disconnect from the smell. The bright, zesty fruits aren't here in any substational way, while the spicy rye is much more noticeable. I found sweet, juicy caramel, some sugary pineapple, and unfortunately some plastic flavors at the very end. The latter was faint but distracting.

m: Long lived, gently fizzy carbonation. Decent body, but I expected a little more heft from the rye and oatmeal.

d: I've been a big fan of the few offerings I've tried from CC so far, but this wasn't quite what I hoped it would be. What it is a very good dark, rye DIPA. Tasty for sure, but based on the name, I expected something unique.

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Photo of cassanoj
4.15/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

What a strange and complex beer. No idea what to classify it as. The name certainly doesn't make it any easier.

Poured dark ruby red into a nonic glass. Lacey light brown head with lacing up the wazoo.

Smells like a lot of stuff. Roasted almonds, fig, oats, bread. Really earthy aroma. A touch of hops. Blueberries?

Taste is so freaking complex. Bitter with hints of cherries, fig, citrus, oaky maltiness, roasted nuts, oats, spicey rye. The taste just goes so deep.

Mouth is full, bitter and complex. A bit prickly.

I was just amazed by the complexity of this beer. It was drinkable simply because it was so damn interesting. I just can't wrap my head around this one. All I can say is...solid.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.83/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a cloudy deep brown color ale with a huge light brown color head with good retention and some good lacing. Aroma of strong grassy and earthy hops are mix with some rye malt. Taste is a somewhat unique mix between loads of rye malt with loads of grassy and earthy hops and a medium bitter finish. Body is quite full with limited filtration and great carbonation with no apparent alcohol. Not sure I would drink this on a regular basis but a very interesting experiment nonetheless.

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Photo of AndyTheGray
3.74/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Bought a 25.4 oz bottle of this today from Total Wine. I've always liked rye beers so I figured I'd give this one a try despite the ten dollar price tag.

A: It poured a nice dark brown into my DFH pint glass, with a huge, lumpy tan head. The beer is opaque, probably due to the bottle conditioning. It left thick lacing on the glass that stayed for the duration. A very inviting looking brew.

S: The smell caught me off guard, not at all like your typical ASA or rye beer. It smells fruity sweet and alcoholic.

T: The taste is initially fairly sweet, with hints of dark fruit. You can definitely taste the rye and the oatmeal in there, also a spiciness that reminds me of some Belgian beers I've had. A hint of hop bitterness lingers in the finish.

M: The mouthfeel is creamy and a bit sticky, with a good amount of carbonation. The oatmeal addition gives this beer a thickness not usually found in this style. Very nice and unique.

D: One was definitely enough for me, although it went down pretty easy.

Overall this is an interesting beer, worth a try if you can afford to. The style is almost unclassifiable, it really doesn't taste much like any other beer I've had, although it has elements of many. It tastes good but I wouldn't want to drink it every day; thats probably why its a limited release.

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Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.73/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed on 09/07/2009. Bottle. Pours a dark brown with a thick tan head. Aroma of citrus, pine, oak/cedar, roasted malt. Flavor of lots of oak/cedar/wood with pine and citrusy hops as well as roasty malt and some chocolatey notes. Nice and drinkable. An enjoyable ASA.

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Photo of tmoneyba
4.42/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle at Cock & Bull Pub. Poured a hazy brown color with an average frothy brown head that mostly lasted with good lacing. Moderate to heavy toasted malt, nuts and earthy aroma. Medium body with a smooth texture and flat carbonation. Medium to heavy earthy sweet flavor with a medium to heavy bittersweet finish of moderate to long duration. This is another standout brew.

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Photo of Pudge43
4.12/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle acquired in a trade with BeerLovinGrl, thanks Chrissy. This was split with my brother (BA WKCYR4).Poured into tulip glass, color is dark brown with some lighter hues near the bottom of the glass. Approximately a one inch off white head sits on top op this. Nice aroma consisting of piney hops, floral accents, roastiness, and possibly some light brown sugar. Hop flavor at the beginning, roasted malt in the middle and the oatmeal/rye comes in late. Complex, hoppy mouthfeel, and a litle thick. The 9% ABV is pretty well hiddden. This one was a little strange and hard to figure out but I would definitely recommend this to anyone.

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Photo of John_M
4.03/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a solid, deep brown color with an impressive thick creamy head. There is very good head retention in this beer and plenty of sticky lacing all around. The nose in this beer is pretty interesting, with plenty of brown sugar, molasses, and some noticeable perfumy spicey hops. I should add that the rye aroma in this beer is also very pronounced. On the palate this beer is pretty delicious, with a considerable amount of flavor. Initially I get some moderately sweet brown sugar, chocolate and rye, but with the beer finishing on a dry, hoppy note. Very nice. Mouthfeel is pretty full, but not the least bit heavy. Drinkability is likewise pretty good, with the alcohol well disguised in this 9% beer.

This is a pretty solid beer, even if it has a bit more rye flavor then I really like. Nevertheless, this is an impressive, well made beer.

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Photo of brentk56
4.45/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a muddy coffee color (as if just a touch of cream had been added to the cup) with a buoyant head that sheets the glass

Smell: Pithy bitterness dominates the aroma, but underneath are hints of brown bread, oats and almonds

Taste: Starts out either with a brown sugar, chocolate, oat and nut character or with a very bitter, spicy and pithy element that tingles on the tongue - with each sip I get alternating sensations, though by mid-palate, all of these flavors clearly come through; after the swallow, the spicy rye flavors are clearly dominant, along with the oatmeal and brown sugar to keep things in balance

Mouthfeel: Full bodied and prickly, with moderate to high carbonation

Drinkability: I cannot recall a more enigmatic beer - this one is like a chameleon, with each sip it changes its flavor profile

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Photo of drink1121
4.38/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Poured from a 25.9 oz. bottle that was not corked and caged, but capped. Pours a very dark brown with a 3 finger head. Decent head retention all the way down with good lacing

S- Spicey. Medium hops with a good malt back bone. Light dark fruits. maybe some plum.

T- Not your average brown ale. Like the smell, pretty spicey Typical rye malt taste. Get a little carmel and toasted malts. Fair amount of hops, but stll wel balanced. Bittering hops at the end.

M - Good mouthfeel. Nice carbonation, with slight creamy feel. Again, slight.

D- I really like this beer. Its a little high in alcohol to have a lot, but the alcohol is well hidden for sure.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.65/5  rDev +24%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer was really quite the enigma for me. I was not really sure what to make of it and it took the whole session for me to really figure it out. Served chilled and poured into a pint glass, this one was consumed on 10/27/2009.

Rich dark brown pour, just menacing looking with a huge tan head that just towered over the top of the glass. Fading slowly it left behind tons of side glass lacing and a huge amount of spider like webs. Aroma was sweet and spicy at the same time. Notes of rye, brown sugar, molasses like touches and hints of coffee are all coming through very clearly. Each sip now seem to get a bit more complex then the one before it, really very well done here. Rich chocolate notes blending well now with huge malts and a touch of rye that are just fantastic. Light suagry finish with a touch of hops in the back, just enough to push it over the edge for me. ABV is very well hidden and had no issues at all with polishing this one off.

Overall this was very, very solid. Not really sure what style it fits into but it was soo damn good. I was very impressed here.

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Photo of mikey711
4.2/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got recently in a trade with Dstructo.

A: Very dark brown with only trace amounts of sunlight able to get through it. It left a large foamy head, actually a bit more than I would have liked.

S: Floral, slightly citrus hop aromas as well as some spice from rye and sweetness from the oatmeal. There is alot of stuff going on and I like them all alot. The only deterant is the soapy smell

T: It starts out very hoppy, slightly soapy, before transiting to a very tasty brown ale. There is only a hint of rye. A very interesting balance between hoppy and sweetness.

M: A bit dry and chalky and the body could be a bit fuller.

D: A very good brew and I am not a big fan soapiness from the hops, otherwise this is great

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Photo of Bitterbill
3.56/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Resubmitted from tasting of Oct 25th, 2009

750ml capped bottle courtesy of NutBrown. Thanks Alan!

A very nice dark reddish brown colour with about a half inch of offwhite foam. Not much foam at all but it made for some nice lacing.(subsequent pours and the foam was great and had good lasting power)

Taking a few whiffs and I get a spicy nose first with a really spicy character, followed by a musty hoppy note and some alcohol peeking through. There's definitely some bitterness here as well.

The taste has that rye and more graininess, a really spicy flavour that I can't put my finger on, some malt sweetness and a big bold hop bitterness that, at times, dominates but most of time makes for a nice balance. Some alcohol is there but the full 9% doesn't rear its ugly head.

More sips in and the rye continues to shine and is actually bolder than many brews I've tried with "rye" in the name. That's cool. The intensity of the hop bitterness grows as the session goes on and the balance has now become a balancing act and yeah, I know India-Style is in the name and I expected to find this hoppier than your typical Brown Ale but it is starting to wear on me. Sips are coming way slower than when I started off. That's not so cool but this beer is what it is. Big. Bold. Flavourful. Anything but boring so I can't complain too much.

It is very close to full bodied with a desirably lowish level of carbonation. A very good mouthfeel.

Drinkability? The session is going very slowly but it's not because of the abv, as I think it's hidden quite well. It's just a bit too bitter for my liking but I'm glad as hell to have had a chance to try it. Thanks again, Alan!

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Photo of Gmann
4.08/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Out of a 750ml capped bottle. Pours a very deep brown color with a huge creamy tan head that slowly dissipated into a huge puffy cap. The aroma is a nice mix of citrus hops and lightly roasted malt. The spicy rye comes through as well. The citrus hops hit first but are quickly matched by the lovely malt flavor. A smooth flavor from the oats followed by the spicy/sour rye. This brew really highlights the hops, rye and oat. The feel is a moderate to full body with a good amount of carbonation to cut through the malt. Good mix of sweet, spicy, and bitter. Finishes a tad sticky with a hoppy bitter bite. ABV seems well hidden. A very tasty american brown ale. Good hop and malt profile.

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Photo of Brenden
4.08/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I got this one in a great trade with RomaniIteDomum. Many thanks to him...

This is a rich deep brown brew that pours a beautiful head. It sits like a sturdy, thick, rocky pillow at a few fingers for some time before it breaks down to a thick foam, and a patchy curtain of lacing is left in its wake.
Malts are strongest in the aroma, and a strong hops presence evidences itself as well. There's a sweetness and a sort of woody / earthy aroma as well.
The taste is as one would expect with perhaps a stronger bitterness. Each mouthful starts off malty with a little sweetness underneath and gives way to the raw hops bitterness on the back of the tongue. A gentle spice nips and an earthy / nutty/ grainy singular presence is indicative of the rye, which perhaps also contributes to the gentle nip of an underlying spiciness. A woody presence is in the flavor as well, and a lingering dry finish lends itself to an herbal taste from the hops.
This is a fairly thick, rich brew with a creamy feel with just a little crispness in a light carbonation. The body is medium to full.
This is just another tasty one from a good brewery.

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Photo of cjgator3
4.11/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750ml bottle

A- Poured into a snifter.Pours a dark brown color with a light tan colored head.

S- The aroma is sweet malt and hops. I'm also picking up on some wood in the aroma as well. Good, but a little on the faint side.

T- The taste starts out with a lot of sweet malt and just a hint of spiciness presumably from the rye. The finish creates te perfect amount of bitterness from the hops to balance this one out. 

M- The texture of the mouthfeel is unbelievable, they hit the nail on the head in this department. Medium bodied with a perfect amount of carbonation.

D- Overall, this is another fantastic brew from Cigar City. These guys fail to disappoint! Keep the good beer coming! Highy recommended!

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Photo of mullenite
4.03/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer may have the longest name of any beer I've ever had... the bottle art is also one of the coolest. I would wear this on a shirt.

Pours a very dark brown, near black with a tall, thick beige head that is going nowhere fast. This head is thick and is leaving a solid lacing on the glass. It's a thing of beauty.

Now that I can finally start to see the beer maybe I can get a good sense of the smell. Sniffing with the head on the only way I would describe it is... unique... I'm not quite sure what an Oatmeal Rye India Brown Ale should smell like so bear with me.

Okay, let say you take a really great DIPA and pour it in to an stout... that is what you get. Lots of rich chocolate, lots of piney hops and touch of citrus as well. I don't really get a whole lot of the rye in the nose which is a little disappointing but on the whole this beer smells good.

The taste is complex. Rye, chocolate, hops, alcohol, hops. It actually seems as though the taste of the hops is bringing out more of the alcohol flavor. Very rich beer with a lot going on.

Big thick mouthfeel, very creamy and viscous. Almost feels like a nitro beer but with more (and much sharper) carbonation.

This beer is good but it's a sipper for sure. Not a real easy drinker.

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Photo of boatshoes
4.03/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Received this as an extra in my second great trade with Bucwild. Thanks and hope you're enjoying your brews too!

Appearance- This beer pours a really nice shade of dark amber, bordering on brown. A mild pour yielded a huge lightly tan head of about three fingers that stuck around after dying down to about half a finger. Lots of lacing down the side of the glass and just looked very tasty overall. This is one of those beers that reminds me why appearance is 20 percent of the overall score.

Smell- Lots of piney hops backed up by a sweet caramel and spicy scent in the nose. Dominated primarily by the resin smell of the hops. Quite nice and rounded out, and the spiciness makes it a touch complex.

Taste- I'm going to be outfront and say I'm not overly sure how to describe all the tastes in this beer because it is an unusual take on the style and I'm not overly experienced with rye either. However, the beer started right out front with a hop punch that was heavy on the resiny/piney side, less so on the citrus. Mixed in with this was an unusual spiciness, which I'm going to have to take for the rye. It almost reminded me of cinnamon in some ways. This spiciness is complemented by a strong, sweet malt background that rounds out the beer and makes it sweeter IPA. Quite interesting.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- This beer was rather sweet but carbonation was really spot on. The combination of spice and hop bitterness was a winner for me and I finished the entire 750ml by myself, which is pretty unusual for me. A good sign in a beer...

Overall, unusual, as was the humidor series Jai Alai that I had recently as well. However, both have been great, if a bit on the sweet side, and I'm enjoying Cigar City so far.

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Photo of nickfl
4/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - One finger of light tan foam on top of an opaque, dark brown body. The head settles quickly and leaves moderate lace.

S - Velvety pine hops with spicy rye and some cloves.

T - Sweet rye and toasted malt up front. Moderately strong pine hops and brown sugar notes. The hops come out more towards the end with a spicy flavor and stronger bitterness. Lots of grapefruit and brown sugar in the finish.

M - Medium-thick body, moderate carbonation, and a slightly dry finish.

D - Very aggressive, sugary malt and dark, spicy hops make for a robust, heavy beer that borders on barleywine territory. It is relatively well balanced, but the malt is kind of muddy. A more aromatic, fruity hop presence might help lift it off the palate in the finish.

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Photo of thryn
4.11/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is a lovely beer. It pours a deep reddish-brown, nearly opaque in my goblet. An ample, creamy, buff-colored head has good staying power and leaves a coating of creamy lace behind. Simply beautiful.

There is some definite sourness in the nose, as well as rich chocolate. Very nice.

A yummy brew, for certain! The rye adds some intriguing sour and tartness; the dark malt gives it a chocolatey underpinning, and the piney hops come forward at the end.

Fantastic body, slick and creamy with moderate heft.

Drinks like a charm. If this is going to be an occasional offering, I'll snap it up when I see it for certain.

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Photo of aubuc1
4.44/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle poured in to a snifter.

Pours a dark brown/black with a big clingy tan.

Smell is a sweet citrusy hop with pineapple. In the back is a a rich brown ale. Two distinct smells.

Taste is a bright hop pop then followed by a roasty smooth brown ale and dry finish.

Good mouthfeel and excellent drinkability with some bitterness lingering. I wasn't sure what to expect, but I should not have doubted this brewery. This is an excellent beer.

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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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