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

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

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

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

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Photo of hdelavega
3.15/5  rDev -16%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a murky brown that yields a two finger head of tightly compacted light tan bubbles.
It's a little tricky picking out the different notes in the nose of this beer, I do get a little rye and some sweet smells but I can't put my finger on them.
First sip all I can notice is a masive amount of carbonation, with a little bit of bitterness on the finish. I get just a little bit of oatmeal and rye but the zippy carbonation is really in the way. The alcohol is pretty well masked for being 9%.
Overall it's not bad but it's nothing speacial.

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Photo of TheFightfan1
3.95/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Murky brown in color. Thick, luscious light brown heading with an awesome covering that sticks around the entire time. Great lacing for a 9% ABV.

Nice aroma's pulling through here. Heavily toasted in malt here with a big lactic cocoa finish.

Very unique. Starts of with a zing of spicey rye a little funky tasting. The heavier powdered cocoa kind shifts thing's into another gear and does finish with a little heat.

Mouth is full bodied,smooth but kind chunky (oatmeal chunks left behind). Nice carbonation in no way flat for a heavier beer.

Wow. What an odd beer. Very unique and shows alot of creativity and most importanant it's good.

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Photo of jsanford
3.55/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle poured into a CCB Snifter.

Poured a dark mahogany-red with a thin ivory haze. Big aromas of spicy rye, sweet malt, and piney hops. Taste follows the nose closely, lots of spicy rye with strong piney, floral hops. Mouthfeel is smooth, with a medium-full body and decent carbonation. A good beer, overall, and the rye/oatmeal combination shakes things up a bit, but not something I'll remember for any amount of time.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From 750mL to Guinness pint glass on 8/18/11
*From notes

A: Murky and dirty brown. A good pour yields a huge 3.5 finger head and top notch lacing.

S: Sweet like a barleywine. Musty. Seeded rye bread.

T: Very sweet rye barley. I've got a feeling that this particular bottle is past it's prime. Decent char on the finish.

M: Just ok here. For a brown it's pretty solid. For CCB standards though, it's sub-par.

O: Cigar City's Impov Rye is a decent attempt at a rye brown. I think that this is probably a much more enjoyable experience when fresh, so I'll withhold my final judgement until I have it again.

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Photo of adam42381
4.15/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a Cigar City snifter.

Appearance: Pours a very dark mahogany brown with cherry highlights and a 1-2 finger light tan colored creamy head. Excellent head retention and lacing.

Smell: Sweet floral hops, pineapple, sweet caramel malt and a touch of roasted malt in the background.

Taste: Rye spiciness with a touch of pineapple up front followed by lemon zest in the middle before ending with toasted malt, more hoppy bitterness and just a touch of phenols at the finish. Aftertaste is a mixture of lemon zest and burnt toast. Well-balanced and the alcohol is well-hidden. I really like the mild spiciness that the rye imparts to the overall flavor of the beer.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied with a good amount of carbonation. Goes down smooth.

Drinkability: Good drinkability. Polishing off the entire 750ml bottle by myself this evening won't be a problem (except potentially to my sobriety).

Overall: Very good beer overall. So far I've really loved the "brown ales" that Cigar City has put up and, while this one isn't near the top of my list, it's still very good. If you can still find a bottle, give it a shot.

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

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

I poured this into a Cigar City snifter.

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo of mntlover
4.27/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep reddish brown that sports a big brown head that falls slowly to a cap and laces well.

Aroma is wonderful malt caramel, molasses hints of toffee and coffee. Some rye noted that mingle with citrus hops underneath the malt floral and spicy also. Very inviting aroma.

Taste is wow roasted malts hit right away coffee like roasted malts good dose of molasses and toffee. Gives way to spicy rye that holds some citrus hops, seems like lots of rye notes in the finish.

Mouthfeel is nice big medium smooth no doubt aided by the oatmeal, carbonation level is medium.

Drinkability is good very enjoyable brew.

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Photo of Knapp85
4/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ordered a bottle of this to split with a friend at the Tap and Table before it closed up. This beer poured out as a deep brown color with a creamy tan colored head on top. The smell of the beer was mild yet had some little pops of spice that filled the nose. Lots of roasted aromas too. The taste of the beer was roasted with an interesting amount of spicy rye and citrusy hops. There was a lot going on in this brew, it's hard to pin point specifics really but I found it to be a very neat beer. The mouthfeel was on the heavy side, thick and rich leaving a coating in the mouth for a bit. Overall I thought this beer was very good and would enjoy having it again one day.

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Photo of brystmar
3.77/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: thick and brown with minimal, creamy head. Average lace.

S: rye and hops foremost. Sweet malts, oatmeal, and booze round things out.

T: Lots going on here as the taste follows the nose; hops and rye. Slightly acidic as hints of roasty malt and toffee show themselves before the boozy, bitter warmth ends the drink.

M: surprisingly medium-bodied (despite the oatmeal) but still creamy; slightly more carbonation than I think is necessary.

D: a lilttle above average for a 9%. Solid amounts of alcohol warm the throat as you swallow, but nothing prohibitive. A solid take on a unique style.

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

Reviewed from notes: Had pulled out for a tasting that I was originally invited to, but there seemed to be a change of plans. So back to the review.

Appearance: Ruby orange / red brown with 2 finger tan head

smell: rye, oatmeal, caramel, malts, spice,

taste: rye, oatmeal, malts,

mouthfeel: mild carbonation, medium body,

overall: this was a great beer. only thing I would do would be add some Chocolate to the mix. Can't go wrong with a oatmeal chocolate chip cookie. hope to have this one again.


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Photo of SFLpunk
3.81/5  rDev +1.6%
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 +7.5%
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 -3.2%
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 +11.5%
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 +10.1%
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 +7.5%
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 +17.9%
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 +0.8%
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 -21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

25.4 oz bottle, poured into a Pint Glass.

Appearance - Amber-dark brown pour with a large tan head. Strong retention. No lacing.

Smell - Malts and Oats

Taste - Oats, Malts, Spice, some fruit tones.

Drinkability - medium body, slightly bitter aftertaste.

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Photo of harrymel
2.97/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This 'hybrid' beer will be judged based on it being an ABA.

A: Pours a deep black ale which is nearly opaque, but maduro brown when light penetrates. Single finger, peanut head falls to a thick quilt of the same. Decent lacing.

S: Astringent and hoppy. Some coal like dark malts. Coffee and cocoa. Really not impressive here.

T: Strongly dark for the style. Oatmeal obvious offering some of the cream flavors. Hops are more subdued on the tongue than the nose. Good flavor on the beer.

M: Thinner than I had anticipated. Near thin body with medium carbonation. I was able to through a pressure top on the bottle and drink the next night over two sessions and the beer held it's carb well.

O: Well done beer. I think this beer is decent, but not really on the high end of the ABA style. Would drink again, but wouldn't purchase myself likely.

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Photo of Kkottonmouthkngz
3.02/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I was definitely excited to try this because of the relatively interesting concept.
Color is a pretty deep brown with black cherry hues hidden underneath. The head blows up fairly quickly with superfine bubbles making up the body, and the only lacing remaining is at the very top of the glass, strange gap in between (irrelevant but notable).
Roasty, bready malts on the nose, decent citrusy hop presence, and a prickling of warm spice. This is probably the strongest point of the brew, going downhill from here.
As much as i enjoyed the combination of malt and hops on the nose, im not a huge fan of how they come together on my palate. The brews creamy beginning gets crushed afterwords by an unpleasant bitterness and watery malt on the back of my tongue. I guess the more i think about it, this is probably how the style would be intended to taste and feel, its just not really for me. Glad i got to try it though, its interesting.

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Photo of Fluke828
4/5  rDev +6.7%
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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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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