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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 mtvolkens
4.34/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Very dark in glass. Almost black until you pick up the glass and see deep red color with a tan head that is not falling. A slight milk chocolate upfront with an immediate alcohol hit. You can feel it as you swallow and it finishes with a sweet cream finish. Very very good scotch ale. (287 characters)

Photo of joepais
4.33/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

Thanks Grant for the treat. Pored this one into a large snifter sitting by a camp fire. I must say it may have influenced my score some by adding to the experience I even lit up a Liga Privada no.9 for my second glass which paired prefect in my book. The brew had a tan colored head on top of a dark brown body, and the head lasted leaving great lacing on the side of the glass.

Big roasted malt aromas' come from this brew, so you get some coffee espresso notes. Now It might have been the campfire but I did get a slight hint of smoke LOL. It had a medium to light body. I wished for a tad more probably my only knock on the brew.

The flavor was great, it had a healthy amount of sweet caramel malts to me with the right amount of roasted bitters to keep this brew well balanced. Again I did get some smokiness to it as well, but like I said the atmosphere enhanced this one.

A great scotch ale well worth the effort to obtain. The drinkability was off the charts for me. I would love another bottle (hint) (1,013 characters)

Photo of cjgator3
4.32/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle

A- Capped 750ml bottle poured into a snifter. Pours a dark brown color with a light tan head that forms into a ring of lace around the glass.

S- The aroma is nothing short of a big malt bomb with a lot of sweet malts with notes caramel and toffee with a touch of hops.

T- The taste is fantastic! A lot of sweet malt, caramel and coffee flavors dominate the palate. There is also just a hint of peat as well, with a touch of hops in the finish.

M- The mouthfeel is light to medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation.

D- This is a fantastic sipping beer. Overall, this is another fantastic beer from CCB. The beer keeps getting better and better as it warms up in the glass. I can't wait to taste what the next beer released by Cigar City! (763 characters)

Photo of prototypic
4.3/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big Sound pours a dark, nut brown color. Light cutting through gives it a golden brown look. A caramel colored head covers the top and stands about two and a half fingers tall. It's very slow to recede. Lacing was certainly sticky, but light.

The nose is impressive. It's chock full of malts...brown, caramel, and a little chocolate. There's a bit of a sweet smell to it. But, a light cocoa/chocolate presence is also noted. Roasted coffee is relatively prominent. That's welcome in my book. It blends well with the wealth of malt present. Alcohol is blended well and isn't very noticeable. Smells good to this guy.

The flavor is excellent. Probably even a little better than the nose. This stuff hits on all cylinders! It kicks off with a sweet, caramel/toffee flavor. The brown/caramel/chocolate malt base is very strong. Light chocolate and cocoa flavors aren't as strong as the caramel, but they're duly noted. Coffee is probably the x-factor here. It adds quality depth and strong character to the overall flavor. Alcohol is masked well and goes largely unnoticed. It finishes sweet with a touch of java. Very impressive.

Big Sound has a medium body. It's very smooth due to light carbonation. More body would probably add something here, but I can't complain too much. Drinkability is very high. This is a quality Scotch Ale that's simply delicious. It might be a little hefty, but it's going down like a dream.

This is my first beer from Cigar City Brewing. I must say, it's a big time winner in just about every respect. Big Sound is a fantastic Scotch Ale. Its greatest attribute is the coffee flavor. It really ramps up the flavor a lot. It doesn't have any big weak points. More body would probably improve the feel a little. Otherwise - spot on! Go find a bottle. (1,779 characters)

Photo of grub
4.3/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

bottle courtesy of a LIF from the very generous tpd975. thanks greg!

750ml bottle. sampled july 4/09.

pours slightly murky deep dark red-brown with a dense cap of brown head. the head drops slowly and leaves plenty of thick lace behind.

aroma is great. rich caramel and toffee. toasted multi-grain bread and biscuit. light alcohol. earthy and a touch woody.

taste is good. much like hte aroma, this is all about the malt. rich caramel and toffee. bit of coffee and dark chocolate. lightly toasted multi-grain bread and biscuit. bit of cracker. hint of smoke. light alcohol. a bit earthy. some dark fruit. low bitterness level, more coffee and chocolate than hops.

mouthfeel is great. medium-large body. medium carbonation level. silky smooth.

drinkability is great. excellent balance, hiding its alcohol almost completely. great complexity and depth. makes me wish i had a few more bottles! (896 characters)

Photo of Wasatch
4.3/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks goes out to Sebletitje for this brew.

750ml Bottle

Poured into a chalice a nice deep dark brown color, nice carbonation, nice little fizzy/creamy tan head, with some stick lacing left behind. The nose is malty, slight bourbon, and some caramel. The taste is malty, sweet, slight bourbon note, slight tartness, and caramel. Medium body. Very drinkable, this one surprised me very tasty, recommended. (407 characters)

Photo of alpinebryant
4.3/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From moose3285 I see two people down Mike has set up another BA with this great beer Thanks!

Pours a dark brown with a light caramel head

Smell of strong caramelized sugars, nuts, some vanilla, toffee and sweet nuttiness.

Taste of strong thick caramel with toffee, lots of pecan pie, that slightly buttery butterscotch flavor from a longer roasted scotch ale. Thicker than most for the style, but also a higher ABV as well. clearly the higher abv has made it thicker but the mouthfeel is extremely thick for a 8.5 beer. Not quite the norm for the style, but I approve and tended to really enjoy this one.

So arguably close to a barleywine old ale that it might as well be considered in the same category. The yeast is clearly a scotch ale yeast and is very tasty. Another great beer by Cigar City Brewing. (812 characters)

Photo of Netdigger2
4.29/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml poured into a 16oz Duvel tulip.

Pours hazy brown, about an inch of tan head and good lacing. Tons of yeast dregs in this bottle, probably 2-3oz in the bottom.

Smell has a bit of a caramel and scotch playing against each other, no real hop on the nose, but you can almost make out maple syrup or brown sugar.

Taste is maple syrup, scotch, light aroma hops, brown sugar and crystal malt.

Mouthfeel is good with strong carbonation, full body.

Overall, great brew, wish it were available here. (500 characters)

Photo of FleeVT
4.28/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Brown bomber with a little piece about the brew, no dates anywhere on the bottle.

Pours a deep mahogany with tan pillowy head. Carbonation bubble are big. The nose is sweet with roasted malts. Lots of toffee, hints of dark berries, and maybe a touch of molasses. A mild alcohol undertone but it is inviting. A nice full mouth with perfect texture, not too much carbonation. More sweetness on the tongue, with berries and toffee coming through again. It warms the throat, then leaves you with lip licking sweetness that is fantastic. This is a hell of a beer and a best in class for the style. I would pair it with dessert, or some gamey meat. (643 characters)

Photo of dstc
4.28/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours dark with a huge, frothy, light brown head. Head falls very slow. Big sticky lace.

Bold malt aroma with hints of dark fruit and coffee.

Big malt taste. Cherries and plums with a nice sweetness. Coffee flavor is mild, ends a bit metallic and with a roasted flavor. Very bold.

Full and chewy in the mouth and smooth.

Awesome brew. So bold, flavorful and chewy. Very nice. (383 characters)

Photo of indesertum
4.28/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

pours an almost pitch black caramel color. nice head. retention is long. lacing is quite quite nice.

nose is rich. a ton of things in here, but predominant caramel, malt, chocolate, burnt toast flavors.

first thing you notice is the sweetness. reminds me a lot of the ST creme brulee. much milder. i want to describe the flavor as oblong in shape. sweet, but the sweetness is incredible. complex. rich. flavorful. no bitterness on the finish. reminds me also of marshall zhukov. less RIS flavors.

mouthfeel is amazing. velvety. great carbonation.

it's a great beer but calling it a scotch ale is a little....

it's a super amplified scotch ale. clearly a great beer, but not my thing. it's like an american treated scotch ales like he would treat an ipa or an RIS. i prefer more toned down scotch ales. would really taste good with a fruit pie of some sort (860 characters)

Photo of jeffthecheff
4.27/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Split this 750 during another good night of beers with Joe. Pours a dark brown color with a brownish-yellow head. Retention and lacing are just okay.

The nose is pretty intense. Caramelized brown sugar is at the forefront, with a medium amount of chocolate, some vanilla, and nutiness. A little bit of booze comes through when it warms, just barley keeping the aroma from a higher score.

The flavor is very concentrated and sweet, with the same flavors as described in the nose, with a bit more emphasis on creamy nuttiness. When Joe mentioned it tasted like a creamy, sugary chocolate wafer bar, I couldn't think of anything else. That description fit too well for me not to steal it in this review.

The mouthfeel is on the heavy side for the style, with mid to high carbonation and a lingering, sweet finish. This beer really impressed me, especially since I haven't been a fan of the style to this point. I might have to seek out some more examples, but I'm afraid I'll be disappointed after this one. (1,008 characters)

Photo of chicagobeerriot
4.26/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

After an honest down-the-middle pour, Big Sound produced a thick pillow of light mocha foam over a baker's chocolate brown brew that glows ruby-red at the edges when held up to the light. A very good looking beer.

Salt water taffy, brown sugar and a bit of candied fruit on the nose, but not as much of a powerhouse smell as some in the style.

The mouthfeel is appropriately medium-full without too much carbonation.

The taste is pleasantly surprising after the relatively weak smell. Starts wonderfully sweet, with brown sugar, milk chocolate, and a slight cherry fruit taste taking the lead. A satisfying bready malt (almost like toasted dark wheat bread) comes in at the end and melds very nicely with some alcohol warmth. Seems like this beer has enough backbone to take some barrel aging. Definitely could stand up to BBQ or a nice steak. Overall, this is among my favorite Scotch ales. (895 characters)

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Time for the Big Sound - I've been waiting for this one!

Just pouring it I can see within the stream of liquid that it's got a crimson cast to it. It's a bit hazy though. It's a deep chestnut with a dark amber glow along the base of the glass. The tan head is massive, and frothy, and it just doesn't want to die down. It's got lots of big bubbles mixed into it and it almost looks like swiss cheese. It does settle though, and becomes more like a creamy cap of baby swiss. The lacing is really nice though, and it leaves rings and curtains as it goes.

The nose is less bombastic, and it's gently sweet with a softly caramelish and gently fruity, berry and jam-like, edge.

That follows into the flavor, and I was surprised at how restrained it is. I was expecting more sugary malt, but this is actually right on par for the style. So many American brewers take it a notch beyond this and go over-board, but this is in check. It reminds me of Belhaven 80 -/-, although it's been so long since I've had one that I'm not even sure about that. I know it's not as roasty as the 90 -/- though, but it's technically stronger. More importantly, it's balanced. And balance is the key to Scottish and Scotch ale. It's malt, and then malt backed by low-level hops, and then more malt, and then more hops - and then a subtly lingering malty and just slightly hoppy and bitter finish. And the stunningly smooth and creamy mouthfeel on this one only makes that all the better!

So, moving to drinkability, at 8.5% this is an amazingly smooth and consumable beer. There's just enough caramel and sweetness to the malt, and just enough hop and bitterness to balance it - and the alcohol is very well cloaked! I'd imagine one could simply enjoy this until they passed out!

Nicely done! And well worth trying! (1,796 characters)

Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I got this brew in a trade with Kiefdog, Thanks Kevin!

750ml bottle served in a snifter.

Dark brown color with a beige head that left some spots of lacing.
Roasted malt aroma.
The taste is full of roasted malt, dark fruits, a hint of chocolate and light bitterness.
Medium/full bodied with a creamy feel.
Oh yeah, but drink it slowly. (336 characters)

Photo of CampusCrew
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I had this at the Kickbacks Cigar City/St Somewhere dinner. I'm reviewing this by memory on this I had this at the Kickbacks Cigar City/St Somewhere dinner. I have had most of CC's regular beers but I have not tried this yet. Finally got to try this malt monster of a scocth ale. It's heavy with with a tad of sweetenss. one of the best I have had in the styly. (361 characters)

Photo of Shaw
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours almost black: Just a hint of amber shows through when put to the light.

The aroma is quite complex, with caramel, fruit and nut notes combining with a hint of solvent alcohol plus other things I can't identify.

Wow, what a taste! It's rich and roasted with dried fruit notes, big malt flavors and a bit of alcohol. Very complex, but restrained at the same time.

The body is creamy, thick and slick.

Overall this is an excellent beer and instantly becomes one of my favorites from Cigar City. (501 characters)

Photo of ffejherb
4.24/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dispensed via firkin at Capone's on 6/5/10 during Cigar City event for Philly Beer Week.

A - Appeared as an extremely murky, cloudy earthy brown liquid with a flimsy beige head that disappeared completely.

S - Rich and malty nose with plenty of caramel, toffee and vanilla as well as a hint of floral notes. After some time, a coffee and roasted malt character develops, adding a bit of depth to the aroma.

T - The initial flavor incorporates much of the same rich, sweet toffee and caramel attributes found in the aroma. Vanilla and traces of sugar candy are also apparent, as well as a hint of coffee. Finishes with a leafy, earthy hop bite and lots of chocolate character in the backend.

M - Medium bodied with a smooth texture, resulting in a fairly silky mouthfeel. Finishes with subtle bitterness and a hint of dryness on the palate.

D - This is a tasty-ass Scotch Ale, although I think I was a bit more floored when I had this from the bottle. Of course, that was my first-ever Cigar City brew, so my memory may be a bit skewed. All in all, this is an outstanding beer. (1,082 characters)

Photo of scottfrie
4.23/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle split with my father. Poured into New Belgian snifter. Thanks to the generous BA who sent me this delicious extra.

A: Pours a very dark brown color with a thick, dense, light brown greasy head that receded into a thick film that lasted forever and laid down some good lacing. Great head retention.
S: Sweet, malty and woody smelling with notes of molasses, raisins, red grapes and a touch of alcohol.
T: Follows the nose with flavors of sweet malt, molasses, rum soaked raisins, and chocolate. Flavors and creamy and toasted tasting. The finish is full of vanilla, and the aftertaste has slight notes of tobacco and caramel.
M: Soft, bubbly carbonation with a creamy smooth body that is on the more medium side of full. Alcohol is hidden without a trace.
O: Sweet but not super caramelly or sugary. Went well with my pulled pork sandwich. Thanks again to BA who sent me this months ago. (902 characters)

Photo of macrosmatic
4.23/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes. Had on-tap at CCB tasting room. Poured into a snifter.

A: Opaque, dark brown to black with slight ruddy undertones. Forms a half-finger tan head that quickly fades to foam. Mild amount of visible carbonation.

S: Dark roasty malts, dark fruits, and malty sweetness with a bit of dark cacao.

T: Sweet roasty malts, dark fruit and raisins, a bit of coffee & cacao. This is a bit boozy with a sweet sticky finish.

M: Heavier body, a smooth mouthfeel, and a moderate alcohol presence. Not overly boozy to the point of detraction.

O: This is pretty good, indeed much better than the infected bottle I had. A darn good scotch ale. (649 characters)

Photo of Lerxst
4.23/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A-Pours a dark brown with a one finger mocha colored head that has very good retention and leaves plenty of sticky lacing all the way down.

S-Roasted malt, sweet caramel, dark fruit and maybe a hint of tobacco. Very pleasant nose.

T-Lots of slightly sweet roasty malted goodness here. Caramel, toffee, plums and cherries, a bit smoky too. This is good.

M-Full bodied, very creamy, a bit chewy and sticky. Coats the palate well. Great mouthfeel.

D-Its a beer you take your time with no doubt, but I had no trouble finishing the entire 750 myself. It was a pleasure to do so.

This is another great beer from CC. Just wish their stuff was more widely available. (663 characters)

Photo of coldmeat23
4.23/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

GLASS: Snifter
TEMP: Cellared @ approx 55 degrees

That's a nice, deep, almost murky, brown color. The head is on the smallish side at just over a fingers worth. It's a nice creamy head though which is a medium shade of brown in color. The retention is very nice and the lacing is in some nicely thick and sticky strands.

The nose has a huge maltiness going on, which is to be expected. Lots of big caramel and toffee notes. A nice biscuit presence. A slight hint of cherries, which is nice, even though it was unexpected. Mild hints of peat/smoke and tobacco.

Big presence of toasted maltiness. Good showing of caramel, toffee and brown sugars, bringing in a nice amount of sweetness, but by no means too much. The cherries, which were sweet, in the nose, are now closer to black ones. They are not overly noticed, but when you find them they are darkly sweet. Mild notes of vanilla and tobacco. A nice undertone of coffee.
This one is nicely complex and very interesting.

This is full-bodied with a low-to-medium level of carbonation. It is nicely bold and smooth and has a very nice level of creaminess.

The 8.50%abv is very well disguised. This one is quite easily drinkable. As a fan of Scotch Ales/Wee Heavys, I say that this one comes highly recommended. (1,265 characters)

Photo of merlin48
4.22/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 ml, thanks to mntlover. Pours a thick dark brown body with a large beige head. Lots of sticky lacing and good retention.

Lovely aroma of brown sugar, caramel, and molasses accented by ripe sweet red cherries.

Medium full bodied with a creamy moderate carbonation.

Taste mirrors the aroma but has some added chocolate hints. Love the ripe red cherry presence but wish it had some smoky peated malt character in keeping with the style. Alcohol is very cleverly concealed. Finishes with a flourish of malty toffee.

Very tasty. Two things I can say for Cigar City after trying two of their offerings(thanks to mntlover again): they can really brew high quality malt driven styles and they know how to disguise some serious alcohol content. (743 characters)

Photo of rhoadsrage
4.22/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(Served in a snifter) Thanks to Gunnerman for this gem.
A- This beer pours a dense brown body with a slight hint of red glow. There is light tan head that is thick and creamy turning rocky with sheets of foam sticking to the glass and then sliding back into the beer. There are some a few tiny bubbles stuck to the glass.
S- This beer has a soft caramel hint with a tart note and a soft dry caramel biscuit quality. There is a rye bread aroma with a roasted cocao nibs arom finishing with a soft fusel hint in the finish.
T- This beer has a big chocolaty roasted flavor with a slight vinous quality to the black malt finish. There is a strong but pleasant chalk flavor to the dark malt.
M- This beer has a medium-full mouthfeel with a creamy texture and only a soft alcohol heat hint.
D- This beer has a big complex dark roasted chocolate malt flavor but it still stays smooth and almost silky. (899 characters)

Photo of superspak
4.22/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle into snifter, bottled on 8/20/2012. Pours moderately cloudy very dark reddish brown color with a 1 finger dense cream colored head with good retention, that reduces to a thin lace cap that lingers. Light soapy lacing clings on the glass. Aromas of big caramel, molasses, raisin, cherry, apple, toast, pear, toffee, clove, light roast, peat smoke, dark bread, and toasted earthiness. Fantastic aromas with great balance and big complexity of dark/toasted malt notes with fruitiness and moderate peat. Taste of big caramel, molasses, raisin, cherry, apple, toast, toffee, pear, clove, light roast, dark bread, light peat, and toasted earthiness. Lingering notes of caramel, molasses, light and dark fruit, toast, toffee, clove, dark bread, light roast, light peat, and earthiness on the finish for a while. Damn nice balance with big complexity of malt and fruity flavors; with zero cloying sweetness after the finish. Medium carbonation and very full bodied; with a slick, creamy, and lightly syrupy mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a slight warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is a highly excellent scotch ale! Very nice balance and big complexity of malt/fruity flavors; and very smooth to sip on. A highly enjoyable offering. (1,282 characters)

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