Serve in Snifter, Tulip


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RATINGS: 380   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.71/5   SEASONAL: Special   EST. CALORIES: 270   ABV: 9%
What you have here is an Imperial Dark Rye Ale. Isnít 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 isnít for everyone. In many ways it is more than just a little weird. It certainly doesnít fit easily into any category. 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.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
durhambeer (2500) - Durham, North Carolina, USA - SEP 1, 2009
Odd style, this one. Pours dark brown with reddish tint. Nice little head. Spicy rye and hops on the nose. Citric notes. Nice looking beer and lovely palate. Solid, but not all that.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
Rciesla (5499) - Exit 15W, New Jersey, USA - SEP 1, 2009
Bottle. Wow wow wow was this good shit. Pours a brown body with a tan head. Rich chocolate and woody notes, hints of citrus and oatmeal with a light rye bitterness. Chocolate wood, pine with a hint of smoke. Awesome beer.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
JoeMcPhee (9325) - Toronto, ON, Ontario, CANADA - AUG 31, 2009
Bottle and Rattle N Hum. Deep brown-black beer with a thick sticky tan head. The nose is spicy and fairly hoppy. Sweet citrus and a light spicy hoppiness. The hops begin to come across as a bit chewy, especially as the beer warms, but they do integrate quite nicely with the darker malts in here. Lots of bright pine and spice, especially as the beer starts to warm. Itís not as impressive as the Bolita, but it is a tasty brew nonetheless.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
ditmier (1508) - Boise, Idaho, USA - AUG 31, 2009
2009 Bottle - Thanks dchmela! - Pours our dk brown with a medium beige head...aroma is hoppy, both floral and resiny, with some burnt wood and dark malt...flavour is all over the place, toasty malt, burnt bitter grain, more bitterness from the hops, but the balancing malt was definitly missing from the equation and Iím left wanting...decent beer, just hard to get my head around or classify...

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 17/20
emacgee (4613) - Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA - AUG 30, 2009
Pours a dark copper with ruby highlights and a one finger tan head. The nose is citrusy, sweet, great hop presence on the aroma, fruity, grapefruit rind, good sweet malt balance. Flavor is spicy and mildly astringent with a prominent bitterness. Doesnít have the delicacy of the aroma. Palate is astringent and spicy. Hop bitterness and rye compound a lot here.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 15/20
GAManiac (1944) - Atlanta, Georgia, USA - AUG 29, 2009
750mL bottle courtesy of jdubfl poured into a tulip. Pours dark, dark mahogany out of the bottle and sits almost black in the glass with a big creamy tan head that shows great retention, sticking the sides of the glass all the way down. Not exactly sure how to compare this to a typical IPA... The aroma has an initial citrus hop aroma with mostly juicy oranges and pineapples. Lots of dark roasted malts and some chocolate as well. Faint rye spiciness in the nose though Iím not sure I wouldíve picked it out without knowing it was there. There are tons of things going on the taste and it all seems to come together well. Plenty of citrus hops up front which almost immediately give way to the big dark chocolate malts. The finish is an interesting mix of hop bitterness, rye spiciness and maybe a hint of wood and/or tobacco. The mouthfeel is velvety smooth due to the oatmeal and rye but also prickly with the hops. Full bodied with plenty of carbonation. Another interesting and complex beer from Cigar City. The hops are present but the velvety mouthfeel and balanced taste with bitterness and dark malts are what set this one apart. Good stuff.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 16/20
GT (9982) - Oceanside, California, USA - AUG 26, 2009
UPDATED: AUG 27, 2009 750 mL. Wow this is awesome! Pours a deep, clear ruby with a beautiful, two-finger Bolita-style bright tan head that has excellent retention and leaves incredible lacing. Aroma is- what- that of a DIPA: tons of grapefruit hops, honey, caramel, slight roastiness and mocha. Taste is effervescent and bubbly upfront with a big wallop of grapefruit hops and pine resin followed by rye malt, roasted nuts, bitter chocolate, fresh Dunkiní Donuts coffee. Creamy palate. This could be the fresh dark DIPA. Awesome!

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
daknole (10883) - Scottsdale, Arizona, USA - AUG 24, 2009
Bottle from Knightly Spirits. Pours a brown color with a tan head. Aroma is full of hops, caramel malt, rye notes, nuts and again more hops. Flavor is good but I kind of felt like the rye and hops didnít quite go together like I would have liked. They seem to battle each other a bit. Still a very nice beer, but I think this might be my least favorite CCB to date.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
redlight (2318) - Orlando, Florida, USA - AUG 21, 2009
750 ml bottle @ redlight redlight. Hops on the nose, spicy pine with traces of citrus and big caramel notes on the nose. Pours dark amber brown with a thick tan head. Oh man, the mouthfeel is great, thick silky, chewy beer, with a pronounced hop flavor upfront, piney, big caramel flavor with hints of chocolate and vanilla, thereís a lot going on in this beer, then thereís a nice spiciness in the finish.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
puzzl (3259) - New York, New York, USA - AUG 21, 2009
Bottle from RattleíníHum. This one didnít really work for me. It felt a bit like a Stone beer where, even though they came up with a great idea and have good execution, they just went a bit overboard with the ingredients, where it seems they feel if a beer is not at least 8% and is not aggressively hopped it will not be any good. This is also a Three Floyds/Lagunitas/Sixpoint problem as well, and IMO it really bogs down a lot of brewers that would otherwise have really top notch offerings. Everything starts tasting the same, I guess. Iíve only had four of CCBs brews now but it seems to be the general case; I still look forward to trying more though, especially the cedar and fruit stuff.

Anyway, on to the beer, this one is quite fusels, with some white vinegar notes and a bit of spice. Thickish, evergreen body, kind of rye spicy but rather generic in the way that everything has been mushed together. This pretty much defines American Strong Ale.

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