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Big Sound Scotch Ale - Cigar City Brewing

Not Rated.
Big Sound Scotch AleBig Sound Scotch Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
91
outstanding

190 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 190
Hads: 643
rAvg: 4.11
pDev: 9.25%
Wants: 185
Gots: 167 | FT: 14
Brewed by:
Cigar City Brewing visit their website
Florida, United States

Style | ABV
Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy |  8.50% ABV

Availability: Spring

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: cjgator3 on 12-05-2008

Big Sound Scotch Ale is dedicated to our good buddy Gino, the most Punk Rock Bagpiper you will ever meet, and the rest of the men and women of the Tampa Bay Pipes and Drums. Brown in color, Big Sound has huge notes of dark sweet toffee with underlying mild notes of coffee in the aroma. The flavor starts with a slight note of cherry and then opens into a goliath of malt character with notes of dark sweet toffee, coffee and mild notes of toasted bread in the finish. Big Sound Scotch Ale pairs well with Haggis, Highland Games, Huge Heads, Enormous pillows and of course Bagpipe Music.

40 IBU
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 190 | Hads: 643
Photo of AltBock
4.03/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle with a big glossy wrap around label. The main picture on the label is a lonesome bagpipe sitting on a club stage with the drums and amps in the background. This is not your run of the mill Scottish bagpipes, this is a punk rock set of bagpipes. It has stickers from all of your punk rock bands like the "Remanes," "NOPX," and "Black" with a flag underneath it. I understand perfectly. They didn't want to get sued by the real bands. To the right is the mandatory US information and to the left is a nice long paragraph that talks about the story behind the name, the beer itself, and all the Scottish things this beer pairs with. Great looking label, but what's missing is a vintage year, best before date, or batch number. Something that says, "I was brewed on this date."

Appearance: I didn't feel like pouring this beer into any special glass, so I poured it into my DFH pint glass. This is one of those beers that appears to be one thing from a distance, but up close it's something totally new. This beer from a distance appeared to be a solid coal black color, but when held into the light, I found out that it was a dark mahogany brown with milk chocolate highlights along the sides. The head of foam on this beer was just as nice as the color of the beer. The head of foam was in between 3/4 to 1 inch in height and light tan in color. This head of foam had excellent slow retention that left behind a tiny skim of tan foam and so many spots and streaks of lace around the glass that it looked like there was also a skim of foam along the sides of the glass as well. This was one of the best appearances I've seen from a Scotch Ale so far.

Smell: The aroma of this Scotch Ale was as smoky as it was roasted. There wasn't one aroma that jumped out at me. That's OK because it means that there wasn't one single aroma hogging the aroma all to itself. Every aroma in the beer had the same amount of time to shine. The aroma started off with the smoky/roasted malts and then it immediately went into the black cherry, chocolate, tobacco, sweet toffee, and then the aroma rounds off with some roasted coffee beans. This was another aroma you need to take your time with because not ever aroma that I mentioned will come out at the same time. They come out when they want to come out.

Taste: The aroma was BOTH roasted and smoky while the taste was geared more toward the roasted aspect with the smokyness was more toward the back. Also like the aroma, there wasn't one flavor hogging up the entire taste for itself. The taste kicked off with the chocolate and the roasted malts. Directly after the malts is where you can find the sweet toffee, black cherry, and roasted coffee beans. It's hard to describe this beer's final taste in words. I'll give it my best shot. It tasted like every flavor that I mentioned combined powers and then this super taste mixed itself with some tobacco and alcohol. It was a little weird, but nothing shocking. This was a very good Scotch Ale taste. I would have liked to see more smokyness, but it's still a good tasting beer without it.

Mouthfeel: This was a medium bodied Scotch Ale with a moderate level of carbonation to keep this beer alive and with a roasted and lightly smoky aftertaste. It the taste made in the initial taste then it was also in the aftertaste. That means you can taste again the roasted coffee beans, black cherry, sweet toffee, and chocolate. This repeat taste stuck around on your tongue for about 30 seconds before it left for good.

Drinkability: I should mention first that I would like to thank my good BA friend Meatyard for giving me the opportunity to try this Florida brew. This is one of the better Scotch Ales I tried so far. I enjoyed how every flavor and taste had equally the same amount of time in their respective areas. If their Scotch Ale is this good, then I would love to try their other beers. (3,896 characters)

Photo of wspscott
4.01/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle in Duvel tulip
no date, but I got this last summer, it has been refrigerated since then.

A: Pours almost completely black, when held up to a bright, there are obvious ruby highlights. The initial pour yielded a fluffy 2-finger head that quickly dropped to a half-finger head and a lot of lace.
S: Dark caramel, a little bit of butter (diacetyl), some fruitiness.
T: Very similar to the nose, obvious caramel and butter, the fruit is much more pronounced. I can't decide if the fruitiness is yeast or malt driven. No hint of alcohol.
M: Very rich and mouth-coating, but not cloying. A relatively high level of carbonation for the style, but not at all unpleasant, helps the mouthfeel from being too much.
D: A great sippin beer that has a ton to think about. I think I could finish the whole bottle tonight and think about a second one. (851 characters)

Photo of KYGunner
4/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This has a black profile but it holds a top of Brown that seems to ease into the darkness. The head has a lot of stiffness and survived well.

The aroma was of fresh brewed tea, less leaf and more of the finished product. There is some raisin or dark fruit in the nose with tobacco and a grain malt.

The grain flavors are more to the front and seem to take over. As a fan of strong malts and grain I found this to be very enjoyable. This ended with a raisin sweetness that kept the dried fruit intact.

The feel is very lively, very light and super easy to drink.

Very good beer with a lot of personality. (607 characters)

Photo of Danny1217
4/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark brown, little tan head that quickly fades and leaves a thin layer at the top.
Smells of grapes, toffee, roasted malts, brown sugar, leather, and oak. A little bit of booze on the nose too. Best way I can describe it is that it smells like a red wine, but in beer form.
Tastes of spice, toffee, caramel, raisins. A bit of a roasty flavor. Nice alcohol warmth, but isn't overpowering. Nice full body, medium carbonation.

A nicely complex Scotch ale. Cigar City never disappoints. (484 characters)

Photo of WillCarrera
4/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle, opened at Mikkeller & Friends in Copenhagen, poured into a mini pokal glass. Thanks Emily!

A- Pours dark brown, thick and viscous looking, produces a tiny head that quickly disappears.

S- Sweet, malty aroma of caramel, dark fruit, molasses, and bread.

T- Quite sweet and sugary, loads of caramel, molasses, caramelized dark fruits, some boozy rum flavors and breadiness.

M- Full-bodied, thick and rich, moderate booze warmth.

O- A solid scotch ale, but overall a bit more sweet than I would have liked, it's a beer worth trying but I would recommend splitting this with a few friends. (604 characters)

Photo of GarthDanielson
4/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured on-tap at the Cigar City Brewing tasting room in Tampa. Served in a pint glass, the beer is an opaque, black sludge looking brew with a ruby-red highlight showing around the edges, and a slight film of head. Sweet malt and boozey aromas. The body is round and smooth...holy shit! The flavor is the boozey characters of a smooth, smokey scotch, and the sweetness of melted brown sugar. Great bodied. The booze and sweet consumes the aftertaste. Great sipper. Light, lingering finish. (489 characters)

Photo of zeff80
4/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Good scotch ale appearance. It had cloudy/murky dark brown tones with a small, off-white head of thick foam. Nice retention and some lacing.

S - It smelled of peat and moss with a smoky aroma, too.

T - Good flavor blend of smoke, earthy hops and sweet caramel malt.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium bodied beer that was somewhat chewy.

D - This is a very nice scotch ale/wee heavy. Glad I got to try this one. (430 characters)

Photo of beergod1
4/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy Dark Brown with a thin lasting beige head. Aroma is lots of sweet caramel, toasted malts, brown sugar, dark fruity esters, and light roast. Flavor is also Dark fruit, big malts, and earthy hops and sweet licorice on the finish . Mouth feel is Medium/Full, with a smooth finish. Great tasting brew, but almost no resemblance to a scotch ale. Tastes similar to their Warmer Winter.... (395 characters)

Photo of Hojaminbag
4/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This one came to me in a recent trade with Mikesgroove. Thank you for yet another nice beer Mike.

Big Sound smells promising, as it obviously focuses on malt, which I like in my scotch ales. Bread, molasses, toffee, a hint of hops and some booze.

I like this one. Lots of malt without a ton of sweetness. Molasses and toffee are there, but they are quickly overtaken by some toasted malt and a bit biscuit that dry the taste out. Just a little bit of dry, powdery, cocoa taste. At the core is a little bit of dark fruit in the form of raisins. The finish has a slight amount of hop bitterness, and a blast of warmth from the alcohol.

Almost chewy feeling with some warmth in the finish.

I'm starting to dig Cigar City stuff more as I try more of their beers. This one is a very nice Scotch Ale. (798 characters)

Photo of AdamBear
4/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-dark chocolate brown with a light tan head that fades

S-smells like a chocolate candle with some bitterness to it. has a decent strength

T-comes in with a good decent taste of milk chocolate and some very slight bitterness. it ends with a good amount of toffee but its not too sweet at first. the milk chocolate and toffee make up a good after-taste.

M-good creamy carbonation with a semi dry finish

O-it gets sweeter as you drink it. its a good example of the style, but I think the 750 mL is best shared. i wouldn't want this all to myself. its a good taste, but not something i want a lot of. not something i'll be searching for again. (644 characters)

Photo of seaoflament
4/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this one in a trade with smellsofstout, thanks for the opportunity! This beer was shared at the Stone Sour Fest 09.

Poured a reddish brown color with a decent ¼ inch of foam.

The aroma was of caramel, toast, toffee, earthy hops, sweet raisins, a touch of spice like cinnamon.

Similar to the aroma with some toasted malts, toffee, some bitterness and dryness in the finish. Caramel, dates, and nutty malts in the back. Malty and sweet with a good balance. Low to moderate carbonation. Not a big fan of this style but this one was decent. (545 characters)

Photo of BEERchitect
3.98/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A tremendous beer offered up by Cigar City- this, my first beer from the brewery. If all of them are equally as solid, then they are welcome in my glass. any time.

The beer starts with a dark brown hue and deep mohogany highlights comming through the edges. a billowing tan head forms above the beer and never reliquishes. Lots of lacing as the beer fades. This is how a Scottish Ale is supposed to look.

Serious malty aromas lead the way. Toffee, molassas, and syrupy barly flavors give a deep bready, melanoidin flavor witout too much residual sweetness. Phenolics of plastic and smoke give a complexity to the malts in the absence of hop aroma, though the plastics are as much a deterant as a benifit. Fruity throughout with plumbs, dates, figs, cherries, grapes, and raisons.

Flavors transfer the malt and fruity notes in a most bold sort of way. Rich flavors of malts are backlit with lighter chocolates, coffee, and nuttiness. Boozy rum flavors, combined with the fruits, give an almost caugh-syrup taste that proves too bold in flavor and feel. There is a lot going on in the taste.

There is a lot of body in this beer as well. Heavy toasted breads give a deeply creamy and malty texture without getting too sweet or sticky. Alchols become quite abrupt again with a hot and rough abrasion on the throat. A long, sweet linger of rum, cherries, and sunkist barley malts reappear in the aftertaste.

A great example of the style. Even the detractors are allowed in these lower levels. Thanks BigMcLargeHuge! (1,515 characters)

Photo of gford217
3.98/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750mL bottle courtesy of Gillard, poured into a snifter.

Pours a very dark mahogany brown in the glass that shows a dark, clear copper when held up to light. There's a solid creamy tan head that recedes fairly slowly and leaves almost no lacing.

The aroma is pretty subtle and straight-forward for the style with a big slightly-smoked caramel malt backbone with some dark fruit mixed in. Hints of molasses and chocolate are in there is well.

The taste is a more vibrant version of the nose with the sweetness still dominating but with a more pronounced smoked peat flavor, especially in the finish which is slightly dry and has more coffee bitterness than I was expecting. The dark fruits, chocolate and vanilla all contribute to the sweetness.

The mouthfeel is very smooth and medium to full bodied with good carbonation.

This is a solid effort from Cigar City and a very good Scotch ale. I wouldn't put it near the top of the list of their beers, but it's a drinkable and sweeter version of the style. (1,008 characters)

Photo of hopdog
3.97/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle acquired in trade with daknole (thanks!).

Poured a deeper amberish/brown color with a small sized off white head. Aromas of earthiness, toffee, roast, and some dark fruits. Tastes of lighter earthiness, dark fruits, chocolate, and smoke. (252 characters)

Photo of FosterJM
3.97/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1195th Review on BA
Bottle to Bruery Tulip
750ml

Thanks to GuruDel for sharing

App- Murky light colored brown with some off notes of amber and some creme in there. Not really a head to speak of, more of a couple fast popping bubbles.

Smell- A traditional scotch ale smell. Had a nice blend in the nose. The sweetness of the the malts and toffee, a bit bitter and it did have some coffee. Even the cherry on the nose was unexpected.

Taste- I liked it. Had a bit of everything and still held the style together well. The malts and sweet worked and even though it had a slight sour note to it, it worked well. Not overly boozy as some of the style are. A nice sipping beer.

Mouth- A lighter medium body and a medium full carbonation. A little creamy and it left some good malty toffee sweet notes.

Drink- Nice beer. I believe this one was aged about 1-1/2 years. Nice bottle for a birthday in prompteau tasting. (914 characters)

Photo of ATLbeerDog
3.97/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a beautiful deep brownish red just a shade or two darker than root beer. A thick frothy tan head crowns the beer and quickly recedes leaving decent lacing. Smells of sweet dark fruits and sweet roasted malts comprise the aroma. First sip is all raisins like picking out all those plump fat sugar coated sweetened raisins from a box of Raisin Bran and chewing them all at once. Plenty of malt and toffee too. A welcomed splash of bitterness brings up the finish. Nicely carbonated makes for a very good mouthfeel. Very nice indeed. (536 characters)

Photo of flexabull
3.96/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of cyrusthepup, thanks again!

Pours a deep and dark amber color with a nice off white head.

Aromas are really grainy, vegetal, oaky, nutty, and slightly sweet.

Taste is grainy, a bit sweet, with some nice oaky, nuttiness, and some chocolate notes. Finish is warm, slightly boozy, with light earthy hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel is nice, full, smooth, yet not heavy,

Overall this is a very solid scotch ale. It would be really good if the nose was a bit nicer. But with that said, this is still really tasty, (524 characters)

Photo of cpetrone84
3.96/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A-dark brown with reddish hues and quite hazy. the head is a tan color with good retention and thick lace

S-metalic notes blended with an underlying chocolate. toffee after the metalic notes with light dark fruit sweetness. the metalic notes start to fade as it warms and I swirl it

T-lots of chocolate with that metalic note in the mix. a good bit of toffee, notes of scotch. light notes of dark fruits in the back, cherries with a touch of plum. again, the metalic flavors seem to fade in time.

M-extremely smooth and creamy on the palate, good full body and chewy. low carbonation but doesn't fall off.

D-this is pretty tasty as it warms up and the metalic notes fade. nice flavors and everything seems to compliment each other well. (740 characters)

Photo of Lawl3ss
3.96/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Lightly chilled 25.4 oz. bomber into an imperial shaker. Bottling date 8.20.12

Look- Clear deep brown with two fingers of dense, creamy off-white foam. Good retention, excellent lacing.

Smell- Rich, nougaty, malty without being overly sweet. Perhaps some maple, but overall a very straightforward nutty-cocoa malt aroma.

Taste- Just what I was looking for. Brown bread, molasses, toffee, mild herbal bittering. Not picking up on any smokiness, but this one's so well balanced that I can't really fault it too much. Lingering biscuit and brown sugar, never gets too sweet or syrupy.Tasty!

Mouthfeel- Smooth, creamy, full feel but fairly dry. Clean finish. Mellow, comforting feel, dangerously drinkable for the ABV.

Overall- This is the sort of beer I miss in Texas. If only I could get something similar in the area.... Consider yourself lucky if this is a shelf beer where you live. (889 characters)

Photo of SFLpunk
3.96/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

750mL capped brown glass champagne bottle. No date.

Pours a deep, but clear, mahogany with creamy tan head that stands up tall. Nose is a little smoky with lots of molasses and dark caramel, plus some earthy-forest-floor type aromas. Palate is big and sweet, but bitter and finessed at the same time. Lots of toasted/roasted barley. Smoky again from the malt and malt bitterness is present too...black malt? Balance is achieved in some strange way though. As the beer warms the malt bill starts to remind me of the JW Lees Harvest ales. A little bitter, a little smoky and pretty caramel-sweet.

Notes: This is perhaps the most complex and pleasant Scotch ales I've ever had. Drinkability suffers only because it's SO big! A real must! (736 characters)

Photo of warnerry
3.95/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours deep brown with a touch of red. Two fingers of light brown head with nice retention. Not much lacing.

S - Big caramel malt aroma, with some cola, coffee, a bit of raisin and faint brown sugar. Aroma does have a sweetness to it, but is pretty nice.

T - Caramel and molasses, definitely has some sweetness to it, but seems to work pretty well in this case. Subtle coffee, raisin and faint spice.

M - Medium-full mouthfeel that is sticky sweet. Some drying on the finish, but sweet all the way through.

O - Tasty Scotch ale. It would be nice if the sweetness were dialed back just a bit, but it mostly works here. A good bottle to split. (649 characters)

Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
3.95/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

reviewed from notes on 09/29/2011.

poured into a tulip glass and shared with several friends.

Appearance: Dark brown bodied beer with mahogany reddish hues. A light to medium brown head. Decent lacing.

Smell: Sweet and fruity. Malty with hints of smoke. Lots of dark fruits.

Taste: It starts off with huge toffee and caramel notes. Blending into dark fruits and a hint of smoke. Also has an earthy peat character to this beer. Massive malty & sweet profile on this beer that showcases the yeast which shows up in the form of the fruity notes.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied beer with medium levles of carbonation. Sticky beer with a nice clean finish. Its surprisingly drinkable and nt at all boozey.

Overall: Still liked this beer, but not true to the Scotch/Wee Heavy style. Too much fruit not enough smoke. (811 characters)

Photo of PorterLambic
3.95/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Arrives a deep dark teak color with a creamy light tan head. Head dissipates to a thin broken film in just a few minutes but leaves some impressive lace.
Smell is rich and sweet with roasted malt, soy, caramel and candied sugar. Nicely balanced.
Taste is very similar with notes of roasted malt, soy, sweetness, dark fruits and dark chocolate with a hop note way in back.
Smooth, rich, creamy and full-bodied, this is a good brew. Only downside would be that it is a bit too sweet, even for me. Light effervescence and a light coating of the palate but no real warming like I expected. A good beer for sipping, as in dessert. Would like some smoke/peat presence, too.

An addendum: I dropped the taste score one half point because the sweetness expanded as it warmed. (768 characters)

Photo of wisrarebeer
3.94/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Given to me by Special K! Thanks.

A: deep copper/dark brown color, near opaque, poured with head that quickly dissipated
S: medium to full nose, figs, sweet, leather
T: roasted malt, balanced with hops but more malt, on the sweeter side, deep depth of character in malt, true to type
M: very mellow, rounded mouthfeel, incredibly drinkable, some burnt malt/toffee undertones (375 characters)

Photo of claspada
3.92/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle had in my cellar for about 9 months, let's see if it was worth the wait.

Aromas are really Belgian forward which I did not expect; lots of dark fruit with some raisin, dark caramel malts, slight nuttiness and mild peat all upfront. Some very nice toffee and hints of caramel with some earthiness, maybe from the hops but I cannot be certain.

The taste begins with some raisin and sweet brown sugar upfront blended with a nice creaminess quickly followed. I almost get a delayed chocolate and plum taste in the middle. As it warms the beer becomes exponentially sweeter and borderlines cloying.

The mouthfeel is medium to fll bodied with medium carbonation. Finish is sweet and sticky from all the sweet malts, wish there was a tad bit more hops ornsome kind of bitterness to balance the sweetness.

Overall this is a very good scotch ale but lacks the balance I crave in this style. Too much sweet dark fruits and not enough dark roasted malts or hops to balance; that is literally the first time I have ever written that which says something. A good beer but would be better served in a smaller bottle because 22 oz is just too much because of the sweetness in my opinion. (1,183 characters)

Big Sound Scotch Ale from Cigar City Brewing
91 out of 100 based on 190 ratings.