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Big Sound Scotch Ale - Cigar City Brewing

Not Rated.
Big Sound Scotch AleBig Sound Scotch Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
91
outstanding

557 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 557
Reviews: 181
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 10.78%
Wants: 178
Gots: 141 | FT: 13
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:
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 added by: cjgator3 on 12-05-2008)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 557 | Reviews: 181 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ckk527
4.75/5  rDev +16.4%

ckk527, Oct 03, 2012
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4.75/5  rDev +16.4%

One1Asterisk, Aug 28, 2014
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4.75/5  rDev +16.4%

bigred89, Jun 24, 2013
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4.75/5  rDev +16.4%

mycatsissy, Nov 11, 2012
Photo of m_p_snyder
4.75/5  rDev +16.4%

m_p_snyder, Oct 25, 2013
Photo of gbohl
4.75/5  rDev +16.4%

gbohl, Aug 08, 2013
Photo of BYOFB
4.75/5  rDev +16.4%

BYOFB, Oct 05, 2013
Photo of TheBigLebrewski
4.75/5  rDev +16.4%

TheBigLebrewski, Dec 13, 2012
Photo of FroggieMercury
4.75/5  rDev +16.4%

FroggieMercury, Jul 13, 2013
Photo of GTB
4.75/5  rDev +16.4%

GTB, Jun 02, 2012
Photo of HopsJunkiedotcom
4.75/5  rDev +16.4%

HopsJunkiedotcom, Jan 28, 2012
Photo of brownbeer
4.72/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 32oz CC growler thanks to Mike B. Thanks again.

The deepest of mahogany color with a light brown head.

The nose is mostly of raisin and licorice. Ends up being sort of a dark dark dried fruit extravaganza.

Up front, molasses, plump, sweet raisin, licorice, and fig. A dried fruit trail mix, if you will. In time, the layers just keep unfolding. Carob, sour cherry on the back end, and just an array of exotic flavors that have developed throught the experience. Another rich, full-bodied, yet approachable beer from Cigar City. Awesome.

I think if I had only sampled this in a lineup there is no way I would have thought it was this good. Sitting down with a glass of it and focusing on only it, was amazing. Just nudging out Old Chub, this is my favorite, at least American, Scotch Ale.

brownbeer, Apr 09, 2010
Photo of hoptualBrew
4.72/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle after a long fucking day @ work.

Poured into my Funky Buddha snifter a deep dark brown, nearly black with a tight sexy tall head atop the malt bomb.

Malts - holy shit! Roasted malts, caramel malts, dark chocolate, toffee, and nuts just fill the nose & send me away to beer heaven for a split second.

Wow, malt bomb like I thought. So insanely good, could drink this all day & night. Nutty caramel flavors have a strong presence throughout, but a lot of roastiness & chocolates hit the tongue too. This is a perfectly balanced sweet & malty wee heavy, perhaps the best one of its style I have had to date.

Loved this beer, one of my favorites to date. Will be picking this up again for $10.99 @ Total Wine and More.

hoptualBrew, Sep 11, 2011
Photo of radioscooter
4.72/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

For over a year, I've been trying to find ONE Scotch Ale that comes even close to the flavor and taste of McEwan's Scotch Ale, which is on hiatus from being imported to the US. If you read my other reviews you'll see I've been through a LOT of them:
Wet Willys
Alesmith
Belhaven
Traquair House
Jolly Scott
Scotty Karate
Skullsplitter
Old Chub
Arcadia
Berkshire
French Broad
And more.

I've liked some. Disliked others. NONE of them have the taste that McEwan's brings to the table. I was dismayed and thought I'd never get it again. I have a couple last bottles of Mac here that I'd been saving. I've been looking for some to trade in Canada where they apparently still exist, but it's been rough.

So, after trying so many other SA's with nothing close (Alesmith was the closest and it's a far jump) I halfheartedly opened a bottle of Big Sound last night.

Delightedly, I find that it aims squarely for the McEewan's flavor and may even SURPASS it in every way. I went and read their web description. Cherries! Who'd have thought? And here's me slamming every quad that sneaks freaking cherries into their blend!

So - if you like and miss McEwan's - give this a try. I have a Mac opened and am going back and forth. Mac is definitely more soy sauce/tobbacco, while the BS is a bit sweeter - but it's a fine line.
Here's the real BA rundown:

APP: Deep dark mahogany body with a beautiful full-figured head on top in vanilla caramel colors.

Smell: Molasses, Toffee, and apparently old cherries. I would have said English Fruitcake - but same thing.

Taste: Malt bomb, dark caramel syrupy sweet. Not too stouty, so a good drinker but really big flavor. Toffee, cherries, dark candied fruit, a little coffee, burnt sugar. Molasses. Wonderful.

Overall - just freaking amazing and an easy drinker.

radioscooter, Mar 30, 2011
Photo of aasher
4.7/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer was given as an extra by Avagadro in a recent trade. Thanks Aaron! It was poured into a Bell's tulip. It pours a dark, dark brown in color with a one finger velvety smooth beige colored head. It was a very, very smooth pour and was medium to full in body. It smells of slightly sweet dark malts, cream, with a light hazelnut aspect. It's really intriguing. The flavors are phenomenal and complex. It tastes of light cocoa powder, cream, light vanilla, light toffee, and light cherries. Everything is so well integrated that it's the perfect blend, overly flavorful, and not too sweet. This beer is exceptionally smooth and perfect on the palate. The aftertaste too is phenomenal. Overall this is hands down the best scotch ale I've had to date. What a beer! Seek out this beer if you're a fan of the style.

aasher, Jun 03, 2011
Photo of drgoose23
4.69/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Bought this bad boy last year at the brewery and loved it so much that I had a friend that visited Tampa a couple weeks after to bring me another one because it loved it so much. Can't wait until the new one comes out because I will be hoarding them for a year just like I'm doing with the bottle my buddy brought me. IF you can get your hands on this do yourself a FAVOR.

drgoose23, Aug 29, 2013
Photo of aahynick
4.68/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

about 40 degree F into a pint glass
A- garnet to black with a long lasting giant head

S- chocolate and peat

T- I just O'd. Rich chocolate, peak smoke and malt

M- like a $15 milkshake, so creamy, sooo nice

D- this could easily become my favorite. The stuff is pricy but DAMN!.

aahynick, Jul 03, 2010
Photo of atlaShrugged
4.63/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle from St Pete Total Wine

a - deep brown, good head retention, lacing

s - toffee and caramel

t - caramel and toffee, enough alcohol to make you take pause but not enough to overpower the other flavors

m - medium to full bodied, mild carbonation

d - This kept me coming back for more trying to wrap my head around it. It seems CCB was trying pretty hard to make good beer. Luckily, they succeeded. Insert any other A rating here.

atlaShrugged, Jul 03, 2010
Photo of hmf05
4.6/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark brown with a three finger fizzy tan head. I see tons and tons of bubbles rising to the top which is surprising to me. Didn't expect to see so much carbonation. The smells is sour cherries, toffee, caramel, and some smoke. Smells nice. The tase is out of this world. I get sweet cherries up front, followed by toffee and caramel. The smoke is there in the finish, but to call this "smokey" would be an overstatement. Mouthfeel is creamy and well carbonated. Overall, very surprised in how much I am enjoying this. While the brew is sweet, it is not cloying like syrup. The ABV is well hidden as well. Just another solid brew from Cigar City. My only complaint is that I would have preferred a more defined smokiness, but that is just nitpicking. This is an incredible beer.

***Update:

As the brew warms, I am getting more and more smoke on the nose and in the taste. Truly an exceptional beer. At first, this didn't really meet the Scotch Ale style, but the traditional style comes out more and more as the beer warms. This is a beer that should be drunk at no colder than 50 degrees. I originally scored this as an "A," but this is an A+ beer. One of the best beers that has passed through these lips.

hmf05, Nov 09, 2011
Photo of adam42381
4.58/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a chalice.

Appearance: Pours a dark cola brown with beautiful ruby red highlights and a 3 finger frothy medium tan colored head featuring tiny carbonation bubbles. Excellent creamy lacing coating the glass.

Smell: Tons of malt and cocoa with a touch of dried fruits. Smells a lot like Hershey's Whoppers.

Taste: Very sweet mix of flavors up front including cocoa and sweet malt with a touch of caramel up front followed by a light amount of hops in the middle and ending with lightly toasted malt at the finish. Aftertaste is mildly bittersweet and quite appealing. Very well-balanced beer that keeps the alcohol completely hidden.

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied and creamy with a fairly high amount of prickly carbonation that gives it just about the perfect feel for me. Really coats the palate.

Drinkability: Excellent drinkability. The alcohol will sneak up on you since you really don't even notice that it's there.

Overall: Excellent beer overall. Cigar City has really knocked it out of the park with this one. I've liked just about every Scotch Ale/Wee Heavy that I've tried and this one does nothing to change that. I would highly suggest trying this beer if you get the chance.

adam42381, Jul 03, 2011
Photo of ThreeWiseMen
4.58/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Got this in a trade with fogdog. Thanks Kevin!

Poured into a Cigar City snifter.

Appearance: A small, foamy, cream-colored crown sits atop a translucent mahogany body. Body is opaque through the center, but glows orange-caramel around the edges. Looks a bit oily when swirled. Lacing doesn't show any staying power.

Smell: Molasses, plum, bread crust, brown malt, coffee, maple syrup, and a touch of alcohol. Flowery esters cap off each whiff. Quite mellow for having so many sweet components. Well balanced and very pleasant.

Taste: Brown malt, wholegrain wheat bread, tobacco, and flowery hops/esters. Scotch appears at the end of each sip and melds well with the dry finish. I also get toffee and even some dark chocolate. Really nicely put together. Not too hot of harsh. I dig.

Mouthfeel: Malty, full, and very gently carbonated. Slightly warm and certainly dry, but very mellow for the style. Scotch, floral esters, and tobacco/leather comprise an aftertaste that's long-lasting and enjoyable. Well done!

Drinkability: I'm not a big scotch ale fan, but this was nice. Far from harsh, Big Sound is complex and harmonious - and oh so smooth. A beautiful example of the style. I'd recommend this to anyone.

ThreeWiseMen, Apr 27, 2010
Photo of JayS2629
4.55/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark brown with a two finger mocha head that fades fast but leaves great lacing.

The aroma is of molasis, oak, maple and cocoa with a hint of vanilla and hazelnuts. Sweet notes of toffee and a touch of smoke and booze.

The flavor is just as complex. Rich and malty backbone of brown sugar, vanilla, oak, smoke, maple, cocoa, and hazelnuts. Deep toffee dominates with earthy hops in the back. All of this is with a touch of bourbon completes things.

Rich and decandent. Very balanced and tasty.

JayS2629, Jan 02, 2012
Photo of ktrillionaire
4.55/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - A hazy mahogany with spotty bubbles that make an insane ghostly residue in place of lace.

S - The smell is of a campfire freshly extinguished; the peat melds with cherry, chocolate and toffee to produce a flavor not unlike the chewing tobacco, Levi Garrett. Or perhaps smoked figs, if such a thing exists.

T - The flavor is better on cask; it is still sweet and smoky, but perhaps smokier and definitely more subtle. The balance is even greater, the melding of the flavors is at such a high level. The sweetness has dropped out a bit, which is a welcome development, and indeed all of the flavors have been toned down by the cask. The resulting beer is immensely enjoyable, with a natural and rustic quality to it. No pretense; this is 'real ale'.

M - The feel is smooth and lightly carbonated; the low pressure of the cask works wonders for this brew.

D - I am not a 'homer', CCB is really that good.

ktrillionaire, Mar 26, 2010
Photo of LuckySevens82
4.55/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Redlight Redlight in Orlando.
I should note that this is my 300th review in my many years on BA. I can't think of another beer I would be so happy to spend time talking about.

Pours a deep mahogany with a great strong tan head. Lacing is impressive for a beer of this style.

Smell is roast malts, a bit of peatyness, dark fruits (plums, raisins, etc.). A bit of hops in aroma. Kind of faint smelling overall, but still quite inviting.

Taste is exactly what I want in a scotch ale. Loads of roasted malts, a bit of peat, and a bunch of great fruity flavors. Alcohol is definitely well hidden in this one.

Mouthfeel is overall, very good. A little slick, but it is to be expected. I've not had a scotch ale that is not a little slick in feel.

Overall, another amazing beer from a great local brewer. I can't even begin to explain how happy and proud I am to have Cigar City in my area. Their beers are awesome, and this is no exception. It's only a shame that Redlight didn't have any bottles for take home.

Note: When talking to one of the bartenders, he mentioned that they have another Keg of Bolita Brown. Whenever Big Sound is finished, this should be up and going. I can't wait as it's the only CC beer that's available in the Orlando area I've not yet tried.

LuckySevens82, May 05, 2009
Photo of DIM
4.55/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

a: This was a dark mahogany chestnut color. It poured with a thick, creamy, and long lived light tan colored head. Pretty sticky too.

s: Massive maltiness, very deep. This changed fairly dramatically as it warmed as well. At various stages on the way to room temperature I detected lots fruit in the form of raisins, cherries, and plums. All were on the sweet side in a very enticing way. I also got toffee, chocolate, and just a trace of floral warmth. Big and beautiful.

t: Plenty going on here as well. Moderately sweet throughout, I tasted raisins, a little chocolate, and toffee. The finish dries out with some floral cherries.

m: Full bodied, but I wish it had been a bit more so. The carbonation was gently foamy and long lasting.

d: Big thanks to tpd975 for this via my Nobody wants to see a beer geek naked BIF. This was only the second non-Austarlian beer I've had in a month, so its possible my enthusiasm is a bit inflated. Whatever the reason, I'm quite saddened by my rapidly emptying glass. Great stuff from CC, thanks again Greg!

DIM, Nov 07, 2009
Big Sound Scotch Ale from Cigar City Brewing
91 out of 100 based on 557 ratings.