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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.

191 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 191
Hads: 650
Avg: 4.09
pDev: 19.07%
Wants: 186
Gots: 163 | 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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 191 | Hads: 650
Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.15/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours out an opaque, dark brown body accented with some amber highlights and topped with a half-inch of beige head.

Smell: The aroma is plushly malty, rooted around a concentrated toasty breadiness coated with sweet-scented caramel. This is supported with notes of chocolate, roasty coffee, and a fruitiness that grows even bolder when the beer is given a moment to warm up a bit.

Taste: Deep robust maltiness with a fair amount of soothing sweetness. Tastes of caramelized sugars, toasted bread crusts and, whaddya know, even some chocolate-coated grains and coffee are present, as is a vibrant dried dark fruitiness. Undercurrent of earthiness throughout. Very low, subtle hop bitterness. A bit more breadiness and a touch more roast in the lightly warming finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium carbonation. Smooth mouthfeel.

Drinkability: I certainly enjoyed this one. Sure, it's a bit deeper and darker than your usual Scotch Ale, but who gives a crap as long as it makes for a tasty, enjoyable beer.

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Photo of babaracas
4.15/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark red-brown with a dense two finger tan head, settles to a half inch leaving sticky thick clumps of lace. Smell: lots of caramel, dark bread, some cherry, a little peat, faint green grassy/leafy hops. Taste: mildly roasty and a little smoky, lots of sweet caramel, a little chocolate, some earthy bitterness in the background. Medium-full bodied and creamy, with a sticky finish. The least interesting beer I've tried from CCB, but still quite enjoyable.

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Photo of One2Remeber
4.17/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber poured into a snifter

A: Yellow/Lite mocha head, creamy but fizzes away quickly. Body is a very dark brown, murky.

S: Raisin, molasses, sweet like honey.

T: Smooth caramel sweetness, lightly burnt. Candy sugar explosion. Hint of chocolate with dominant figs/bread taste lingers.

M: Bitter up front. Smooth on the back, flows nice and easy. Very clean mouthfeel.

O: Not too familiar with Scottish ales but I would highly recommend this one. Not boozy at all for strength all and the flavors are kept in check. Smooth, drinkable with potent flavors.

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Photo of Onenote81
4.17/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ah. The famed Cigar City. I've been pining to try these guys since their formation. Big thanks to Kiefdog for hooking me up with this big bottle. Thanks, Kevin!

Poured into my pint glass a very thick dark brown with slight ruby tints on the edges. There was a decent amount of tan head on there, but this left little to no lacing. Disappointing there. Smells of fresh bread, big toffee, caramel, and booze.

Mouthfeel is decent with a medium amount of carbonation. Slightly slick, but not bad. This is the maltiest malt-bomb ever! Huge brown sugar, molasses, caramel, toffee, pumpernickel all over this beer! Finishes slightly chalky and drying. This is a very good Scotch Ale. Probably the best I've had. Highly recommend.

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Photo of SilentSabre
4.17/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A 750mL bottle shared among 3 people (myself and 2 others).

Poured up a very dark reddish brown, nearly black, with a finger and a half of sandy, light brown foam. The colour of the body and the look of the foamy cap look quite nice.

The smell on this is terrific. Huge malt in the nose with a noticeable bit of fruit, particularly cherries. Not that artificial cherry candy smell, but the same 'realistic' cherry smell one gets from Bell's Cherry Stout. Very nice, indeed!

Big malt flavour, as expected, with a bit of dark fruit such as cooked raisins; reminds me a bit of tawny port, though not that extreme. Very tasty.

Quite viscous; flirting with being oily, but in a good way. Very low carbonation.

All things considered, I feel this is quite drinkable, though I also feel carving this up with two friends was the way to go. The 8,5%abv is very, very well concealed, but given the weight in the mouth, I don't know if I'd want all 750mL on my stomach at once...
A hell of a Scotch Ale, though..very well crafted, for sure!!

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Photo of gonzo46and2
4.18/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark brown that's slightly cloudy. Very small hints of red or amber. Had a big tan head .

Smell is very malty with brown sugar, dates, figs, raisins, caramel and maybe a bit of cafe con leche.

Taste is sweet overall with a touch of balancing hops. Lots of fruity sugar malt.

Mouthfeel is very smooth and creamy. Totally satisfying. Very big beer that delivers on mouthfeel. Overall it's sweet.

Drinkability is super high. This would be my go-to wee heavy if it was always available.

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Photo of FanofHefe
4.18/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bomber (no dating on the bottle of label) which pours a deep brown/black body, with very little light penetration. Very small tan head with a very small amount of lacing.

Mostly light aroma of roasted malt with dark fruit notes.

The flavor is excellent and stands up ahead of the aroma. Very tasty blend of the dark fruit flavors with the solid dark malt flavors. A very light taste of citrus hops adds to an overall tasty blend.

A thick texture in the mouthfeel and very enjoyable and drinkable brew. I like this very much and would highly recommend it.

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Photo of Mora2000
4.2/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Exiled for sharing this bottle.

The beer pours a dark brown color with a tan head. The aroma is caramel and toffee malt with some smoke and chocolate. I also get some woody and oak notes even though the beer is not barrel aged as far as I know. The flavor is heavy on the milk chocolate with some light smoke and toffee. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation. One of the better Scotch Ales I have tried.

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Photo of rlee1390
4.2/5  rDev +2.7%

A-Black in the glass, clear brown when pouring not much carbonation, one finger head that does last.

S-Earthy, peaty, toffee, caramel, with chocolate and roasted malt.

T-Great balance. Earthy with nice peaty and grassy/dirt flavors to start. The finish is rich chocolate/toffee/caramel.

M-Medium bodied, velvety, not much carbonation.

O-A style that more people need to make. One of the better ones.

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Photo of shand
4.2/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Big Sound pours out a deep brown color with a decent head that quickly drops to a ring. The aroma is intensely malty with just a bit of smoke. The taste is awesome, this is a huge and rich Scotch ale that provides a massive amount of malt flavors. There's a bit of sweetness over the slightest amount of peaty smoke. There's a solid amount of booze on the finish as well. The mouthfeel, like most big Cigar City beers, is exceptional. It's got a pretty large body, yet is very smooth. The drinkabiliy is very good. Overall, Big Sound is a solid Scotch ale. There's a little less peat presence than I'd like, but it's otherwise nice and complex.

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Photo of Jefe73
4.2/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at the CCB Tasting Room

A - Pours dark brown with ruby highlights. Lacing is consistent throughout the glass with good head retention.

S - There's a lot going on in the nose. Sweet fruit (cherries, raisins and figs) sweet malt, cotton candy?

T - Sweet malt, rum raisins, toffee and molasses are all represented here. A little roasted coffee, malted milk and toffee on the finish, along with some hoppy notes. Complex, but nicely balanced.

M - Medium body with a creamy feel on the palate. Good level of carbonation. Everything seems to be blended quite nicely.

O - Quite drinkable for something coming in at 8.5%. I haven't had a lot of this style, but this one really made me stand up and take notice. More please!

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Photo of bhalter8
4.2/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark, ruby red with a tan, one finger head. Decent retention on the head, but not much lacing left around the glass. A nice sweet malt aroma, but not too strong. There is a cornucopia of caramel, brown sugar, and a little chocolate. In short, it smells very sweet! The taste is much more strong than the aroma would indicate. Although, one thing the aroma hinted to is there, sweet, very sweet flavor. There is the same mix of caramel, brown sugar, and chocolate, but it is far more pronounced. I continue to be impressed, and amazed, by the strong flavor CCB packs in to every brew. It might not always be exactly to style, but it is delicious. A rather thick mouthfeel and fair amount of alcohol make this one a bit of a slower drinker. There is also a bit of a bitterness bite at the back-end that slowed me down. Overall, another great offering from CCB.

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Photo of drabmuh
4.2/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

At the time of this review, this beer is the #7 Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy, served in a Bruery tulip.

Beer is dark brown almost black but clear with a decent head of small bubbles, lacing on the glass, some carbonation but low.

Aroma is sweet mildly peety and a little caramel. Smells good.

Beer is medium in body, nice and heavy on the palate, sweetness up front with a nice almost liquor like finish. Very enjoyable, a very good beer, I can tell why it is rated so high. I'd have it again.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4.2/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by durwoodx. Thanks Darrell.

The beer appears a hazy brown hue with a small beige head. The aroma offers some candied fruit, malt, alcohol. Nice flavor. Slightly sweet, well balanced, mildly tannic. Really delicious. The flavor improves on the aroma. Delicious tannic quality. Medium bodied with ample carbonation. A solid beer from a great brewery. Recommended.

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Photo of merlin48
4.22/5  rDev +3.2%
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.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
4.22/5  rDev +3.2%
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.

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Photo of superspak
4.22/5  rDev +3.2%
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.

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Photo of aubuc1
4.22/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750 ml bottle poured in to a goblet.

Pours a very dark brown, almost black with a steady, but somewhat thin creamy tan head.

Big huge sweet bready malt with a roasty finish. Oozes malt.

Taste is bold up front of dry roast, then more sweet malt. More complex than most scotch ales.

Mouthfeel is very creamy but it is a little boozy and/or astringent.

It took me a while to find this for some reason, and this really is an excellent beer.

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Photo of mdfb79
4.22/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From 3/27 notes.

a - Pours a nut brown color with no head and little carbonation evident.

s - Smells of sticky sweet dark fruits, raisins being most prominent. Also some caramel or toffee and toasted malts.

t - Taste is of dark fruits again, as well as those caramel malts.

m - Full bodied and low carbonation.

d - I really liked this beer. Thought it smelled wonderful and had a nice caramel taste. Would love to try it again.

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Photo of scottfrie
4.23/5  rDev +3.4%
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.

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Photo of macrosmatic
4.23/5  rDev +3.4%
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.

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Photo of Lerxst
4.23/5  rDev +3.4%
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.

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Photo of coldmeat23
4.23/5  rDev +3.4%
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.

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Photo of ffejherb
4.24/5  rDev +3.7%
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.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.25/5  rDev +3.9%
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!

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Big Sound Scotch Ale from Cigar City Brewing
91 out of 100 based on 191 ratings.