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

189 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 189
Hads: 639
rAvg: 4.11
pDev: 9.49%
Wants: 185
Gots: 170 | FT: 16
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: 189 | Hads: 639
Photo of Duff27
3.91/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Mocha colored one-inch head on top of a cola=brown beer. Good head retention and lacing!

S- Dark caramel malts with a touch of cola.

T- Low hops, per usual for the style. Dark malts with some chocolate and toffee notes. Well hidden ABV.

M- Creamy/syrupy. Well carbonated but with very, very small bubbles.

D/O- A good example for the style overall but for the money I believe there are better options. Worth a try though if you are a huge Scotch Ale fan like me. (469 characters)

Photo of pmlondrigan
3.9/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Looks like slightly flat coca cola in the glass, though a little darker. A head appears then disappears just as fast. Faint if none existant aroma of none discript malty-ness. The flavor delivers a lot where other areas of this beer fall short. Very malty with some caramel and a hint of roast coffee. Pete-y to a degree with brown sugar. It is full and malty but dry, not sweet at all. Big full mouthfeel, a little oily, a little lacking in carbonation. Despite the beer's lack of appearance and aroma it really delivers well. If this was available in my market I'd drink it frequently in the cooler months. (608 characters)

Photo of Lothore
3.89/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a deep brownish hue with a small, coffee head which dissipates rather quickly.

S- Smell is very big, lots of caramel, hints of roasted malt, coffee and brown sugar.

T- Taste starts off with sweet, smooth caramel and leads into a bit of an acidic coffee flavor that ends very balanced.

M- Thick with carbonation on the high side of medium.

D- This seems like a hybrid of a scotch ale and an imperial stout to me. While scotch ales aren't my favorite, this one got my attention and I enjoyed it. (506 characters)

Photo of FtownThrowDown
3.88/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled shared by BigErn.
Pours a dark ruby brown in color. Only a minimal head forms on the pour, and quickly recedes to a ring of froth. Smell is huge malts. There's a nice roasty note with a strong peaty finish.
Flavor is huge, robust malts. A very strong peat flavor in the finish. Very enjoyable. Medium mouthfeel with light carbonation. Very smooth and easy drinking. Solid beer. My first offering from Cigar City and it's a solid start, can't wait to try some of their other stuff. (488 characters)

Photo of danh53
3.88/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark brown ale with one finger head that disappears and leaves little lacing on the glass. Aroma of molasses, coffee, caramelized brown sugar. Dark fruit comes through a little in the taste, especially prunes. Chocolate comes through as it warms.The mouth feel is medium and smooth. Not the biggest fan of scotch ales, but this is one of the best. (347 characters)

Photo of Sammy
3.85/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Neat chocolate tasting beer, chocolate taste through and through. Chocolate colour, very lacey with almost no head. Very good drinkabiliy, sweetish, slightly above average mouthfeel, with understaetd carbonation. Slight scotch flavours.
On tap at the brewery.This was much better than in the bottle, of which I partook a half year later. (337 characters)

Photo of jbaker67
3.84/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown with a big khaki colored head of foam. The aroma has rich toffee and dark fruit notes. Some chocolate notes are there as well. The taste is more of that dark fruit and chocolate sweetness. Some sherry notes, perhaps. Big, chewy mouthfeel and body. Lower end of carbonation. (292 characters)

Photo of MacQ32
3.82/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A - pours a super deep dark brown with a finger of dark tan head, very dense, strong retention, solid lacing.

S - candied sugar and dark fruits, fig/dates. Not very sweet. Molasses and minimally sweet maple syrup.

T - super light. Dark fruits again, figs mostly light sugars at the finish aftertaste can be quite boozy as it warms. Cool its fairly light and refreshing.

M - much too light for me. Relatively drinkable for sure, medium/low carb quite smooth. Mouth feel is really awesome but at the same time not what I want from this beer at all.

O - mixed feelings on this one, I like it. But not for a scotch ale (619 characters)

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.8/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a deep brown burgundy color ale with a medium size foamy head with good retention and minimal lacing. Aroma of rich sweet malt with some deep notes of caramel and toffee is enjoyable though very close to the overly sweet territory. Taste is also an enjoyable mix between some rich sweet malt with deep notes toffee and caramelized sugar. Body is quite full with OK carbonation and no apparent alcohol. I usually like some peat malt in my scotch ale but not sure it would have benefited this one since there is so much residual sugar. (548 characters)

Photo of AKBelgianBeast
3.78/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Beerlando for the bottle.

Pours a deep and enticing ruby brown color with a light tan head that retains ok, but not for extended amounts of time and leaves ok lacing.

Nose is alot of peat malt and sugar. Minimal hop presence and a touch of smoke.

Taste is a nice malty mix. Some peat and smoke, but all in all not terribly strong. Some chocolatey caramely notes through the middle with a touch of prune.

Mouthfeel is pretty solid. Nice and viscous, could be even a touch thinner and it would be appropriate.

Drinkability is ok, but not amazing. The abv is about what i expected, and the viscosity doesn't help that alot, but its not bad or anything.

Overall a decent scotch ale and a good representation of the style, but not anything i would buy alot of. It's not bad, its just not terribly exciting. The barrel aged version however, is significantly better. The wood did alot for this beer. A good scotch ale. (927 characters)

Photo of smakawhat
3.78/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle into a tulip glass. Turkey leftovers!

Absolutely super dark walnut black body, making some sudsy light tan head. Makes three fingers but settles very quickly to a small collar ring. Light creamy puck on top manages to stick around while drinking. Probably the darkest Scotch Ale I've seen.

Nose is very small, mild classic malts and toffee, kind of fruity smelling sort of a grape sensation. Strangely subtle and nothing very noticeable.

Palate fills with a nice malty chocolate and raisin. Low/medium carbonation with a nice creamy palate feel. A yeast density aftertaste to this mixing in with whoopers candy. Warmth brings some mild char roasting and mild faint prickly hop also.

Overall pretty decent and a worthy drink, but I think I prefer other Wee Heavy beers compared to this one. (816 characters)

Photo of Patrick999
3.75/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

From the 750ml capped bottle. Poured into a snifter. As others have noted, this is a really dark Scotch ale. Some red highlights if held to a lamp. Persistent thick head.

Excellent aroma. I get ripe sweet cherries, cedar, lavender, sweet tea.

Wow, this is tasty, but it's awfully sweet and thick. I can tell it's going to be a chore to finish the bottle. In the future, I won't open one of these unless I have several people to share with. I get a lot of the sweet cherries drenched in maple syrup. Tastes cinnamon bun-like. It's really sweet. Good, but I think the sweetness detracts from the complexity that would otherwise develop. I can definitely see why people rate this highly; it just runs a little contra to my personal preferences.

It's the epitome of a beer you share out big time. I'd have a hard time even finishing a 12 oz bottle. (849 characters)

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.75/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

a nice big malty scotch ale, a little too sweet for my palate overall, and certainly too sweet to take down too much of. i like its density though, and its grain richness. in some ways its like a dopplebock on the grain front, this may be a little less german, but its dark caramel and dried red fruit complexion is in line with that. earthy up front before the sweet, dark amber to mahogany in color, thick in body but not overly so. carbonation is upbeat for the style, which really helps with the sugar. there is a real molasses character to the front end, and even a mellow hop bitterness there too. it just feels like dessert to me. a glass of this brings cures the itch of both a sweet tooth and an individual in need of a little buzz. you cant taste the booze in it really, but i can definitely feel it after even half a glass. solid beer overall, well made, but not all that different and quite sugary in the finish. (924 characters)

Photo of Gmann
3.73/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Out of a 750ml capped bottle. Pours a very dark brown color with a huge frothy tan head that slowly dissipated leaving nice chunks of lacing. The aroma is malty & musty, good wet bark scents with hints of copper, caramel and brown sugar. The taste is quite sweet, big brown sugar and honey sweetness. This is somewhat offset by an earthy woody flavor. Throughout the profile there is pockets of dark fruit flavors, raisins and fig. The brew has a chewy feel with fizzy carbonation, any of the earthy characteristics are drown out by the almost cloying sweetness; finishes a sticky and syrupy. An over-reaching scotch ale. It seems to go too big on sweetness when it doesn't need it. The brew has good earthy characteristics but these are crushed by the over the top sweetness. (776 characters)

Photo of robwestcott
3.73/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

poured aggressively from the bottle a thick, dark reddish brown to a dogfish head signature glass with a frothy, finger and a half mocha colored head that leaves a nice bit of lace as it slowly recedes.

aroma of malt, and dark fruits, fig, plums, and raisins, followed by an almost cloying sweet caramel sugar and vanilla extract.

a very sweet tasting beer, again, dark fruits are forward, figs and plums in particular followed by vanilla. very malty, and if there's a hops presence, i cannot place it.

medium carbonation, smooth and sweet to the tongue.

drinkable enough, i'll be emptying the 750ml bottle tonight. (619 characters)

Photo of rfgetz
3.7/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy brown with some red highlights, nice sticky khaki lacing. Scent is of brown sugar, toffee, cherry, nuts, earth and booze. Taste is very sweet and boozy, almost cloying. Working past the harshness, tastes of toffee, earth and some dark fruit. Full bodied, creamy due to the cask pour. A nice ale that is a touch too harsh in the sweetness and boozyness. (365 characters)

Photo of mynie
3.7/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Regular (not BA) Big Sound. On cask at the brewery.

Pours brown. Smells like chocolate and booze. I had to ask whether or not it was barrel aged, as the alcohol nodes were so pronounced.

Once sipped, the aroma's intensity gives way to a different intensity. Big, burny booze washes up against zippy brown ale malt, and the affect is akin to a beer that starts off as a bock but ends as an almost-too-sweet super boozy brown. At no point is the beer bad, but it never quite ties together. (498 characters)

Photo of angrybabboon
3.68/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cheers to Bilco for sharing this beer

Review adapted from notes taken 3/31/12

Appearance: Reddish brown, beige head, spotty lacing, retains a nice ring

Smell: Caramel, sugar, a lot of sweetness - toasted bread, bread crust, toasted malts - a hint of fruit, and some booze

Taste: Not a typical Scotch ale, sweet - very caramelized, sweet and malty - toasted malts, bread, dough, molasses, toffee, hints of chocolate and dark fruits

Mouthfeel: Medium to heavy body, smooth, nicely carbonated

Overall: Good stuff

This was an interesting Scotch ale. Bigger and sweeter than the average, with some interesting flavors. This is worth a try, but it's not mind-blowing. (668 characters)

Photo of bcostner1
3.66/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: Moderate brown hued with red undertones.

S: Pretty underwhelming. A little peat, a little malt, very mild hops.

T: One of the better tasting scotch ales I have had. I will admit, though, that I am very hot and cold with this style. I have to be in the mood for one. It's not one that I necessarily crave or seek out. I'm getting: peat, mild smoke, caramel, some chocolate, toffee, and maybe a little black cherry.

M: Decent. Body is fairly satisfying and abv pretty well hidden. Just nothing about it that really wows me or turns me off one way or the other.

Overall, decent brew. Glad I got to try it. Would like to try the BA version. I bet I would enjoy it more. (673 characters)

Photo of Overlord
3.65/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Consumed 2.3 oz of this brew for reviewing purposes. Heated in an oven for five minutes at 400 degrees, then I dropped it into a vat of liquid helium. BRRR!! When it got back to room temperature, I was ready to try it.

Pours a dark, deep brown with a bubbling, long lasting tan head. Quite a bit of foam on these cigar city brews.

Smells like a bit of roasted malt, sweet caramel, and maybe ... some nuttiness? Earthiness? Not sure.

Taste is mostly sweet, with a strange astringent coffee bittering agent that lingers on the aftertaste, mostly rich roasted grainy caramel malt, and that nuttiness from the aroma becomes more prevalent. Maybe a hint of vanilla ... can't be sure. There's also a strange kind of butteriness to it. Somewhat unusual wee heavy that almost reminds me more of an uber-malted brown ale.

Made it through the big bottle, but not that drinkable, all things considered. (897 characters)

Photo of IPAdams
3.65/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance- Pours a very dark brown with a small tan head that recedes quickly and leaves no lacing.

Smell- First smell is raisins along with some background notes of toffee and burnt caramel. The raisin/prune smell is very dominant.

Taste- Similar to the smell I get a strong prune taste. I get some dark chocolate and a little burnt caramel on the back end. Almost no bitterness, fairly sweet and tart.

Mouthfeel- Body is medium, good carbonation for the style. Leaves a slick feeling after swallowing.

Overall- Not a bad beer, but the strong prune taste and smell made me not enjoy it as much. A very different take on a scotch ale. (639 characters)

Photo of jsanford
3.6/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle poured into a Cigar City Snifter.

A - Pours a dark cola brown with ruby highlights and a big creamy head of khaki that has great retention and leaves spotty lacing as it recedes.
S - Nice aromas of caramel, chocolate, dark berries, and coffee with just a faint touch of smoke.
T - Follows the nose nicely with flavors of chocolate, caramel, and coffee with a bit of dark cherry, orange peel, and smoke. Bit of a metallic twang to this, I'm thinking the bottle may be past it's prime, but it's still a decent beer.
M - Smooth and creamy, slightly sticky, with a medium-full mouth-feel and moderately prickly carbonation.
O - Solid example of the style, the high ABV is masterfully hidden. (701 characters)

Photo of speter
3.59/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a dark muddy brown with a massive (and I do mean massive) coffee-brown head. The head persists, leaving all kinds of lacing.

S: Figs, cherries, brown sugar, toffee, with a deeply-roasted, almost charred, chocolate/coffee note.

T: Creamy chocolate and whipped prune together. Sweet from start to finish. Only in the long aftertaste does this gain some hop bitterness. Very nice, but lacks somewhat in complexity.

M: Rich and smooth with creamy carbonation. The alcohol is extremely well integrated.

O: I know this is down from my earlier firkin review of this same beer, but I've had Traquair House Ale in the meantime, and it's changed how I view the style. With increased ABV comes required complexity. (719 characters)

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.58/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A solid pour into my 25cl tulip glass produces a three finger thick, nicely amber tinged, full amber color. The beer is a dark amber color that has a concentrated redness to it. When held up to the light the beer shows a nicely concentrated, red, ruby color. The beer has an interesting note to it up front, it is quite sweet with an almost cinnamon like character to it sweetness; almost reminds me of a deeply caramelized, cinnamon sweetened red-hot. There is a touch of toasted grain underneath the sweet aroma. Perhaps this is a bit too cold (though it is at 50ºF / 10ºC), a quick stint in the microwave has me noticing a bit more caramel character rather than straight sweetness, some berry like fruit character as well as more toasted malt character. Actually the sticky sweetness has now all but disappeared. The aroma started out a bit on the simplistic side, but it does get a bit better if you really let it warm up, though it still doesn't quite have the complexity that I was hoping for.

This is sweet tasting with a thick, chewy body that easily tames the sweetness, which definitely is not cloying. The beer finishes with a touch of warming alcohol as well as a chewy, whole grain toastiness, and a deeply caramelized malt character. A bit of caramelized, marshmallow character is in the middle and the finish has a hint of roast grain that adds just a hint of bite to balance a smidge of the sweetness. This does have some salty smokiness to it as well, which is quite subtle and I would guess is not from any actual peat smoked malt. This has a touch of fruitiness to it with mostly a raisin-like note that likely is contributed by the malt character. While the sweetness is not too much in this warmed up beer, it does still have a candy like note to it with all of the caramelized specialty malt character floating around in this beer.

In hopes of cutting the sweetness I have taken to eating an overly sweetened brownie, this does tame the beers sweetness, but actually brings a touch of tartness out in the beer. It does accentuate a touch more of the light roast character, a slight bit more smokiness, as well as bringing out more of the toasted malt character.

Not a bad beer, I must admit that I got a bit too caught up in excitement around this brewery, my expectations of grandeur where probably a bit too much, but I was expecting a lot more from this beer. It doesn't quite have the complexity and balance that I really want to see in a great example of the style. Really my biggest complaint here is that the beer has a bit too much sweetness; it does need some sweetness, but if it was a touch drier it would really allow a lot more complex malt character to come through. A touch more age might round this out a bit though; six months to a year might see this beer peaking. (2,810 characters)

Photo of Avagadro
3.52/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a hazy, chocolatey brown color with no head formation. A very dull looking brew.

S: Very little aroma, but what is there is nice: dark berries, chocolate, and caramel.

T: I'm starting to see a common trend with CCB's malty brews; they're all too sweet. Big sound boasts notes of black raspberries, coconut, and toffee, with dark chocolate on the finish. The flavors here are great, but they are too rich when combined with this brew's low attenuation.

M: Very full body, little carbonation, and nice chewy texture.

O: A decent brew marred by excessive sweetness. I'm starting to not trust CCB's malty beers, because they all contain the same mistake. If sweet brews are your thing, more power to you. I just can't give high marks to a brew like this. (764 characters)

Big Sound Scotch Ale from Cigar City Brewing
91 out of 100 based on 189 ratings.