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Big Sound Scotch Ale | Cigar City Brewing

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BA SCORE
91
outstanding
197 Reviews
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BEER STATS
Reviews:
197
Ratings:
688
Avg:
4.09
pDev:
19.07%
 
 
Wants:
190
Gots:
192
For Trade:
21
Big Sound Scotch AleBig Sound Scotch Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Cigar City Brewing
Florida, United States | website

Style: Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.50%

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

Added by cjgator3 on 12-05-2008

User Reviews
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Reviews: 197 | Ratings: 688
Photo of ChugginOil
4.12/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big Sound

Very dark brown in color. Almost black. 2 fingers of a greyish tan head. Oily lacing leaves spotty bubble lacing.

The nose smells of burnt malts, tobacco, and leather. There is also a great deal of sweet caramel malt going on.

The taste is much the same. Sweet malts dominate and are very smooth. Some tobacco and leather are noticed passed the sweetness. A nice robust flavor.

The mouthfeel is smooth and full-bodied all around. The sweetness leaves a stickiness on my palate.

Overall, a great example of the style and holds many robust and enjoyable flavors.

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

Poured from the bottle right to the tulip

A: Upon cracking open this brew Big Sound let out a rising head that conveniently ran directly into my tulip ;). Bellow a thick mahogany tinted head sits a very dark, extremely dark, almost black, brew with an amber and mahogany tint.

S: Fruity backed by an eloquent malt background. I sense some dark cherry and other sweet fruits along with some sweet sticky caramel.

T: Chewy, complex malty, fruity flavors. Big Sound tastes very organic and rich. Caramel pokes its head out and teases the pallet. A very slightly bitter finish is a pleasant surprise. My beef is that it's a little too sweet. Hmm...maybe some age? How long who knows, but I'm gonna put one in the Florida cellar soon.

M: Despite the impressive head the mouth feel is very lightly carbonated. Medium body. Nothing to impressive, but I'm certainly not disappointed.

D: Like I said, Big Sound needs some time in the garage practicing it's bag pipe punk rock skills, promoting it's demo tapes, and tone down it's sweetness. I like this one a lot. Don't love it yet, but hey I'm gonna give CCB a call and ask what some age will do to this brew.

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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 yeahnatenelson
4.05/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance -- Pours a deep mahogany hue with a massive stiff tan head.

Smell -- Cocoa, malted milk, cafe mocha, figs, rum raisin, toasted malt, herbal hops. Very aromatic.

Taste -- An abundance of sweet, malty notes: figs, rum-soaked raisins, toffee, molasses, mild roast coffee, dark chocolate, and malted milk. There's a big push of herbal/menthol hop flavor toward the finish that makes for a chocolate-covered Ricola-type flavor.

Mouthfeel -- Medium in body with ample foamy carbonation. Feels nice, not unlike a nice Quad.

Drinkability -- Very interesting, sort of a Scotch Ale come American Barleywine. I wouldn't call this a quintessential Wee Heavy, but it is quite unique and drinkable. Glad I got my hands on a bottle!

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Photo of mwilbur
4.43/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 750 mL bottle into shaker pint glass.
A: Pours a very dark, muddy brown with 1/4 inch dark tan head that fairly quickly recedes. Appears thick and heavy. Nice.
S: Caramel malt, cured meat, dark dried fruit (e.g. fig), and a hint of smoke and salt.
T: Chewy and soft caramel malt, molasses, fresh dark dried fruit (e.g. dark cherries), mildly roasted coffee, dark and dense grain bread, and a hint of nuts. Nice complexity!
M: Soft, chewy, dense, fresh. Full body. Lingers and matures nicely on the palate as well! Phenomenal here.
D: Extremely drinkable. Wonderful complexity...excellent for style. ABV is perfect and well hidden. Seek it out!

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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 Patrick999
3.75/5  rDev -8.3%
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.

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Photo of Myotus
4.22/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Poured at 47F from a 22oz bottle (bottled 12Jan16) into a thistle glass. Consumed on 10Apr16.
LOOK: An astounding five fingers worth of light brown foam is formed after pouring. The gargantuan foam head immediately begins to recede via a cascade for about 20 seconds. A fingers worth of foam is lost in this manner. Once the cascading ceases, the remainder foam head eventually dissipates into a half fingers worth within 3 minutes. Dark brown in color with a ruby tint. Rising bubbles are subtle in quantity and small in size. Lacing is very thick and moderate.
SMELL: Very strong aromas of molasses harmonize with strong caramel, toffee, and sweet bread along with mild aromas of coffee, smoked goodness, tree nuts, plums, figs, and black cherries to create an ultimate balance of sweet and bitter.
TASTE: Strong black cherry, plum, and fig flavors first explode onto the palate, satisfying my sweet tooth that longs for unbalanced beers. Strong flavors of molasses, caramel, and toffee along with mild sweet bread flavors immediately add to the sweetness, further satisfying my sadistic sweet tooth. Some balanced is finally achieved once mild flavors of bittersweet coffee, tree nuts, and smoked goodness caress the palate while all previous flavors press on, except for black cherry, which grow stronger.
FEEL: This is so incredibly full-bodied, I can practically chew this beer. Carbonation levels are moderate. The beer goes down smooth and creamy while also clinging to the back of the throat like syrup. Finishes with a strong and unpleasant dryness.
NOTE: One of the best of its style that I have had. Somewhat unbalanced and leaning towards the sweeter side, this beer isn't for everyone. My main complaint is that there is too much cherry going on. That's a personal bias, however, since I do not like cherries too much.

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Photo of dstc
4.28/5  rDev +4.6%
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.

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Photo of seaoflament
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this one in a trade with smellsofstout, thanks for the opportunity! This beer was shared at the Stone Sour Fest 09.

Poured a reddish brown color with a decent ¼ inch of foam.

The aroma was of caramel, toast, toffee, earthy hops, sweet raisins, a touch of spice like cinnamon.

Similar to the aroma with some toasted malts, toffee, some bitterness and dryness in the finish. Caramel, dates, and nutty malts in the back. Malty and sweet with a good balance. Low to moderate carbonation. Not a big fan of this style but this one was decent.

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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 ATLbeerDog
3.97/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a beautiful deep brownish red just a shade or two darker than root beer. A thick frothy tan head crowns the beer and quickly recedes leaving decent lacing. Smells of sweet dark fruits and sweet roasted malts comprise the aroma. First sip is all raisins like picking out all those plump fat sugar coated sweetened raisins from a box of Raisin Bran and chewing them all at once. Plenty of malt and toffee too. A welcomed splash of bitterness brings up the finish. Nicely carbonated makes for a very good mouthfeel. Very nice indeed.

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Photo of brownbeer
4.7/5  rDev +14.9%
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.

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Photo of Lawl3ss
3.96/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Lightly chilled 25.4 oz. bomber into an imperial shaker. Bottling date 8.20.12

Look- Clear deep brown with two fingers of dense, creamy off-white foam. Good retention, excellent lacing.

Smell- Rich, nougaty, malty without being overly sweet. Perhaps some maple, but overall a very straightforward nutty-cocoa malt aroma.

Taste- Just what I was looking for. Brown bread, molasses, toffee, mild herbal bittering. Not picking up on any smokiness, but this one's so well balanced that I can't really fault it too much. Lingering biscuit and brown sugar, never gets too sweet or syrupy.Tasty!

Mouthfeel- Smooth, creamy, full feel but fairly dry. Clean finish. Mellow, comforting feel, dangerously drinkable for the ABV.

Overall- This is the sort of beer I miss in Texas. If only I could get something similar in the area.... Consider yourself lucky if this is a shelf beer where you live.

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Photo of Benish
3.99/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Appearance: dark brown, almost ash-like in color. Half inch tan head that dissipated quickly. No lacings around the glass. No sediment.

Smell: just after pouring, I instantly smelled toffee and some caramel. Once it warmed up, the toffee was absent and instead I smelled mostly sweet malt with subtle hints of cherry.

Taste: started out with notes of toffee, vanilla, and oak. Little burnt at the finish with notes of cherry. It left a bitter-tea aftertaste but not in a bad way. Eventually as the beer warmed up, it became more sweet and less complex.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied, silky, and smooth.

Overall: it's a good wee heavy. Just wouldn't call it spectacular. This definitely could use barrel-age treatment. Clearly the barrel-aged version is a hit, which I hope to try someday.

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Photo of Rogorama
4.5/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

One of the better scotch ales I've tried. Opened a 2012 bottle on DLD. The malts really take over in this one, with a slight hint of cherries. The coffee didn't really come out as much as I had hoped, but it was still a very nice beer overall. Looking forward to trying the barrel aged versions!

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

Thanks to Jeff for sharing his March Madness Winnings. From notes, 5.21.

Pours a deep mahogany-brown color with some tight, 1 finger creamy light beige foam. Fades somewhat quickly to a good film with abstract clinging lace in my tulip.

Aroma has some darker notes than I had expected, rich, brown sugar, caramel but also some darker chocolate and toasted bread notes. Some roasted nuts, it smells pretty good. Taste isn't super sweet but has some characteristics and flavors that lean toward sweet. Big toffee and toasty notes, some caramelized brown sugar and a charred malt note that wavers toward the tiniest hint of smoke. Dark fruits, namely a dull-ish raisiny note. Rasinets? Though there is some bitter chocolate here too, leading to a very distinct, semi-sweet chocolate wafer cookie finish.

Maybe a little too carbonated right out of the bottle, but otherwise this is perfect mouthfeel. Nice and viscous, bubbles still felt on the tongue though. Good substance to it, but never felt too heavy or overbearing. I really like the 8.5% abv point as well. Alcohol was well hidden, but the robustness of the flavors still makes this somewhat of a sipper. I think I might have tried a sip of the BA version before, but now I really would like to revisit it.

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Photo of beergod1
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy Dark Brown with a thin lasting beige head. Aroma is lots of sweet caramel, toasted malts, brown sugar, dark fruity esters, and light roast. Flavor is also Dark fruit, big malts, and earthy hops and sweet licorice on the finish . Mouth feel is Medium/Full, with a smooth finish. Great tasting brew, but almost no resemblance to a scotch ale. Tastes similar to their Warmer Winter....

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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 Lothore
3.89/5  rDev -4.9%
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.

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Photo of core42
4.15/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very smooth Scotch ale that smells good and tastes great. Lots of flavor without the lingering peaty aftertaste that some other Scotch ales have. Definitely one of my favorite Scotch ales out there

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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 Beerbuddha
4.5/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: This brew poured a nice deep copper color with a nice solid off white head. Lacing present throughout.

Smell: Wonderful aroma of caramel, tobacco, roasted malt and dark fruit.

Taste: The taste in similar to aroma. Caramel and dark fruits dominate. Slight tea like bitterness which balances the sweetness well. Nice booziness comes across.

Mouthfeel: This is one full bodied brew with very little carbonation.

Overall: Incredible brew! Perfect brew for the colder nights! On a side note I actually marinated some pork shoulder in this brew and it was incredible.

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

Shared at one of the Tampa BA gatherings. I still need to find a few bottles of this for myself.

Pours a nice red with a great lingering head. Great looking beer.

Very sweet smell with all the wonderful characteristics of the style. Great balance in the nose.

Great schotchy taste with nice finish. Good sweet notes in the beer. Drinks like candy.

This might be one of the smoothest beers I've had. It is liquid velvet. Wow.

This is an all-day everyday beer. Great for sessions or with food. Like I said, I must find some bottles.

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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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Big Sound Scotch Ale from Cigar City Brewing
91 out of 100 based on 197 ratings.