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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: 648
Avg: 4.09
pDev: 10.27%
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: 648
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 jcreegan
3.52/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 750 into a snifter glass.

A- dark color. Darker the expected, almost porter like. 2 finger golden head quickly dissapeared and left no lacing.

S- very sweet. Hints of coffee, Carmel, and cherry. You can also smell the alcohol.

T- sweet and roasty. Hints of cherry, coffee, and malts. You can definitely taste the alcohol. A little bit of bitterness at the end of each sip.

M- light carbonation. Very smooth. A little syrupy.

O- too sweet to me. An ok beer but Not sure I would drink again.

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Photo of orock25
4.13/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Wife picked up a Bottle of this for my Bday knowing that Cigar City is my favorite brewery.

Appearance - Dark color, much darker than I was expecting. Thick creamy head that fades quickly is the only thing that tells me this isn't a stout. I can't wait to dig in!

Smell - Really sweat nose. Picking up maybe some caramel mixed with a small amount of coffee malts. Didn't notice the cherry until I read the bottle, but it's definitely there.

Taste -Coffee, caramel, toffee, and again cherry. The great thing here is that even with those flavors it's still refreshing. Which is important to me with any brew.

Mouthfeel - Perfect amount of carbonation as shown with a remaining thin layer of head. It sits very south and silky which is again surprising giving how refreshing it is.

Overall -From what I know about scotch ales, I think this is great. I haven't tried many in this style, but much like other beers Cigar City brews, this one might get me more interested in the style.
Cheers again CCB.

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Photo of jsanford
3.6/5  rDev -12%
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.

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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 GallowsThief
4.05/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured out of a bomber into my Duvel tulip.

A – Deep, dark coca cola brown pour with about two fingers of light foamy brown head. Nice lacing left down the glass.

S – Chocolate, caramel and cocoa.

T – Chocolate, vanilla, dark fruits and a distinct milk taste. Also has a strong taste of cocoa powder. Sweet but not overly though it may turn off those who do not like sweet brews. The ABV is expertly hidden here, no trace at all. Finishes with a caramel and toffee taste. Nice.

M – Has a nice creamy, slick mouthfeel with decent carbonation.

O – Really nice offering from the boys at CC. Solid brew all around. For me this was a great sipper with an almost dessert like quality.

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Photo of DoctorB2B
4.15/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: ruby and quite clear, thick pink creamy two-finger head to boot.

Smell: Smells of sweet ripened dark fruits, a bit of smoke as well.

Taste: With a scotch ale, I expected some peat, and it wasn't there with this one ... I was just a little sad about that. However, I got from the taste what I got from the nose, sweet and slightly boozy dark fruits.

Overall: Got this is a trade with Dolfan84, glad I got to try it. Sure I'd like to have a more of the traditional wee heavy.

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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 adam42381
4.58/5  rDev +12%
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.

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Photo of Nugganooch
3.09/5  rDev -24.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Making my way through the CCB brews thanks to Alienloquium for the connect! - Cheers Collin.

Love the label! "Big Sound pairs well with Haggis, Highland Games, Huge Heads, Enormous pillows and of course bag pipes"

A: Big Sound pours the darkest Scotch Ale I have ever seen. It is a Coca-Cola dark brown with just the slightest twinge of garnet at the edges. A great big taupe colored head formed with no notable lacing.

S: Aroma is tart fruits, earthy roast malt and some nutty caramel toffeeness. Malty for sure.

T: Drinks sweet with a tart fruitiness akin to dried cherries that tickles the palate somewhat. Syrupy malts, brown sugars, and a caramel chocolatiness. Some chickory root. ABV is rather well masked with a slight warmth to it.

M: Mouthfeel is considerably light given the sugary sweet flavors here with a nice sleek coating to the tongue. A bit chewy overall though.

D: Drinkability is rather low. Drinks like a barleywine that is rather sweet and filling.

An interesting take on the Scotch Ale that doesn't seem like much of a stretch from some of the other dark CCB brews. A complex ale that in the end is a tad too syrupy for my liking. I would have personally enjoyed something perhaps attenuated down a bit more with some better carbonation to it. Love the label for sure tho! Oi! If it's not Scottish, It' crap!

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Photo of PorterLambic
3.95/5  rDev -3.4%
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.

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Photo of Avagadro
3.52/5  rDev -13.9%
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.

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Photo of twiggamortis420
3.08/5  rDev -24.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

750 mL bottle pours a near black color with a modest tan head. Lacing decent.

Nose is malty and fruity, raspberries galore! Surprisingly fruity and the yeast seems ahead of the malt even, a bit of a departure from the norm when it comes to Scotch Ales. No smoke and no peat...hmmmm....

Fruits and sweet toffee malts are ridiculously prominent. Like drinking blackberry malt juice. I could see this appealing to some, but it is the anti-me kind of beer. I look for smoke, peat and rich malts in a Scotch Ale, and this has none of the above. Ugh...sugary, fruity mess of a beer. If I had to guess, it is fermented at way to high of a temp. I find this to be a pretty poor example of a Scotch Ale.

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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 GarthDanielson
4/5  rDev -2.2%
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.

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Photo of AdamBear
4/5  rDev -2.2%
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.

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Photo of Hojaminbag
4/5  rDev -2.2%
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.

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Photo of zep9865
4.38/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed at a beer tasting courtesy of aasher. Pours a dark muddy brown with 2 fingers of tan foam head. Lacing is minimal

s-alcohol is most definitely detectable on the nose of this beer with molasses, burnt wood, and raisins. Chocolate is there as well.

t-the molasses and raisins in the smell are very representative in the taste. Sweet, but not overly malty.

m-carbonation on this beer is perfect; enough, but not too much. The different flavors that my palate experience are remarkable.

o-sucks that I'm really at a loss for words for this beer. It is very very good.

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Photo of aasher
4.67/5  rDev +14.2%
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.

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Photo of Kkottonmouthkngz
4.52/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This thing pours a murky, muddy water brown that looks strangely inviting. A tan colored superfine head makes an appearance off the initial pour, and quickly disappears immediately afterwords.
Huge amounts of toffee an sugar combined with a just right alcohol presence make up a bountiful nose. Light spice, toffee, vanilla, and a nice breadiness envelope my mouth, and are further enjoyed as this beer warms and the flavors become highly enhanced. I do love the malt level here, and have to say this is one of the best scotch ales ive had. I do notice a huge amount of variation in the ones ive had, and this one just hits all cylinders for me. Everything is balanced perfectly amd the flavors just rock.

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Photo of Sammy
3.85/5  rDev -5.9%
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.

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Photo of saintwarrick
4.35/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Brownish brew pours with a quick rising tan head. Lots of nutty almond and malty aromas fill the nose, some light brownies also. Taste is very sweet and malty, right on style. Dates and sweet bready malts dominate with some cocoa mixed in and over-sugared coffee; body is thick and sweet while the alcohol is very well hidden. Some bitterness at the end keeps this brew from getting to cloying. Very well-crafted brew as always from CC.

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Photo of radioscooter
4.7/5  rDev +14.9%
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
Traquair House
Jolly Scott
Scotty Karate
Old Chub
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.

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Photo of MisterE
3.4/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

750 ml bottle bought last summer at Gator Beverage

A: pours a very dark but translucent red brown with a huge foamy head of fine bubbles that doesn't retreat

S: big ripe fruit aroma of raisins and banana on top of sweet barley malt

T: it's beer but has a strong punch of sweet fruit up front, followed by bitter cherry notes - unique in my experience

M: very full - smooth and soft on the mouth, with mild carbonation

D: may be a challenge drinking the whole 750 ml bottle

Not sure exactly what I paid for this, but do remember thinking it was kind of expensive. With so many very good and less expensive scotch ales available, I probably won't buy this one again.

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Photo of wspscott
4.01/5  rDev -2%
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.

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