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

633 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 633
Reviews: 191
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 10.54%
Wants: 185
Gots: 171 | FT: 18
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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 633 | Reviews: 191
Photo of hopsbreath
3.02/5  rDev -26%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to zimmerbloke for this one. I got this bottle from him late last year and had no intention of holding onto it for a while. I ended up popping it in July and the notes are just now making it to BA. Split with TulipSnifter in a couple snifters.

A: Presents a rusty brown in the glass with a couple fingers of strawberry blonde head that dissipates quite quickly. A wisp ring maintains itself for a good hour or so. No lacing, but it is pretty leggy. 4/5

S: Lots of big ripe stone fruits and toffee. Warming peaty alcohol is bigger than what I expect given the 8.5% ABV suggested on the bottle. Very good and most pleasing. 4.5/5

T: Again heavy on the peat, big sugary sweetness, cacao dusted toast points, raisins galore, and spice. The sweetness is all over the place and really needs some toning down. 2.5/5

M: Thick and spritzy with a gummy finish. Not good. 2/5

O: Not a bad effort although unorthodox. More peat and earth with less sweet would have helped out a bunch. A higher attenuation wouldn't have hurt either. 2.5/5

Photo of bcostner1
3.66/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: Moderate brown hued with red undertones.

S: Pretty underwhelming. A little peat, a little malt, very mild hops.

T: One of the better tasting scotch ales I have had. I will admit, though, that I am very hot and cold with this style. I have to be in the mood for one. It's not one that I necessarily crave or seek out. I'm getting: peat, mild smoke, caramel, some chocolate, toffee, and maybe a little black cherry.

M: Decent. Body is fairly satisfying and abv pretty well hidden. Just nothing about it that really wows me or turns me off one way or the other.

Overall, decent brew. Glad I got to try it. Would like to try the BA version. I bet I would enjoy it more.

Photo of gonzo46and2
4.18/5  rDev +2.5%
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.

Photo of iTunesUpdates
4.6/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Hmmm, not sure where to place this one. Not good nor bad. Solid brew. May be a bit too sweet. Feels like brown sugar or something. But I am enjoying it. Yum

Photo of speter
3.59/5  rDev -12%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a dark muddy brown with a massive (and I do mean massive) coffee-brown head. The head persists, leaving all kinds of lacing.

S: Figs, cherries, brown sugar, toffee, with a deeply-roasted, almost charred, chocolate/coffee note.

T: Creamy chocolate and whipped prune together. Sweet from start to finish. Only in the long aftertaste does this gain some hop bitterness. Very nice, but lacks somewhat in complexity.

M: Rich and smooth with creamy carbonation. The alcohol is extremely well integrated.

O: I know this is down from my earlier firkin review of this same beer, but I've had Traquair House Ale in the meantime, and it's changed how I view the style. With increased ABV comes required complexity.

Photo of hoptualBrew
4.7/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle after a long fucking day @ work.

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

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

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

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

Photo of urwithdave
4.08/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a gallon growler into my ccb snifter. Reviewing from notes from 032010.

A- Pours dark brown/mahogany in color. A solid creamy tan 1 inch head sticks around for awhile before fading to a 1/4' for the duration. Leaves some lacing.

S- roasted malts, some coffee, and molasses

T- Big caramel, malts, a bit of chocolate and it finishes out with a hint of coffee. No alcohol detected at all.

M- Pretty creamy with a nice carbonation level. No burn present from alcohol at all.

D- It's a little to sweet for me. With that being said, I still had 6 snifters of it. The high abv is masked incredibly and it knocked me out like an old school uppercut from Mike Tyson.

Photo of KillerJigger
4.03/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It was an interesting beer. I would love to try it again.

Photo of IPAdams
3.65/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance- Pours a very dark brown with a small tan head that recedes quickly and leaves no lacing.

Smell- First smell is raisins along with some background notes of toffee and burnt caramel. The raisin/prune smell is very dominant.

Taste- Similar to the smell I get a strong prune taste. I get some dark chocolate and a little burnt caramel on the back end. Almost no bitterness, fairly sweet and tart.

Mouthfeel- Body is medium, good carbonation for the style. Leaves a slick feeling after swallowing.

Overall- Not a bad beer, but the strong prune taste and smell made me not enjoy it as much. A very different take on a scotch ale.

Photo of MisterE
3.4/5  rDev -16.7%
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.

Photo of Jefe73
4.2/5  rDev +2.9%
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!

Photo of hAle2theWort
5/5  rDev +22.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I've had this aging for a few months and wish I had had it sooner. This is yet another incredible creation from the Beer Gods and CCB. Not too heavy, balanced, wonderful finish.

Photo of Kkottonmouthkngz
4.52/5  rDev +10.8%
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.

Photo of garbercury
4.12/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Generous extra from BeerLovinGrl, thanks Chrissy!

A--Lacing is substantial and the retention is sticky to the glass. Deep reddish brown, classic to the Scotch Ale...

S--Cherries, and other sweet fruits come out in the nose. Cotton candy smell? Enjoyable and aromatic.

T--Sweet, with some nutty flavor, this adds to the malty characteristics of this brew. Somewhat medicinal, good but not great...

M--Maybe a touch over carbonated but certainly could be classified as good...

D--Pretty solid Scotch Ale, not a big expert on the style, and not quite as good as Old Chub, but certainly recommended...

Photo of floridadrift
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

As good as a scotch ale can get.

Hands down.

Photo of chicagobeerriot
4.26/5  rDev +4.4%
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.

Photo of TotallyHosed
4.08/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Heatwave33 for the bottle.

This was poured into a wide goblet mug and produced a creamy tan head. The head reduced down to a thin layer, which impressed me given the width of the glass. The color is a very dark brown that allows no light to enter.

The smell is very nice and what I would expect from a scotch ale. The best way I can describe is is that it makes me think of spiced leather. Another way to describe the nose would be spiced caramel.

The taste follows the nose precisely. There's a bit of spice at the start then caramel flavor follows and lingers. The caramel flavor is slightly sweet, but not near candy sweetness.

The feel is my favorite aspect of this beer. The carbonation is low and the brew is quite creamy. It coats the entire mouth which allows the flavor to rest easy and continue to satisfy.

I enjoyed this scotch ale by Cigar City. It's now one of my favorites of the style.

Photo of One2Remeber
4.17/5  rDev +2.2%
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.

Photo of FleeVT
4.28/5  rDev +4.9%
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.

Photo of blivingston1985
4.51/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is a Top 3 scotch ale for me.

Pour- Nice dark amber/caramel color to the liquid. Thick creamy oatmeal colored head forms on top and maintains a 1/8" foam for most of the glass until it's just a nice lace. Beautiful.

Smell- Mossy peat, earth. A little funky, like a good scotch should.

Taste/Mouthfeel- Very earthy like the smell. Good caramel and a nice hoppiness that blends into the creamy goodness. Great mouthfeel.

Photo of bhalter8
4.2/5  rDev +2.9%
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.

Photo of DosBeerigos
2.75/5  rDev -32.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

C. Cloudy almost like mud
H. Brown
N. Very little odor at all

Ok this beer on cask was good, but it didn't come across with the same flavors. Actually it sorta tasted similar to how it looked, muddy. Personal opinion stick to the mature carbonated version of this mean scotch ale

Photo of radioscooter
4.7/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall - just freaking amazing and an easy drinker.

Photo of Netdigger2
4.29/5  rDev +5.1%
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.

Photo of jbone78
4.38/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Hello,
Went to the brewery a few weeks ago and picked up some of their brews at the nearby store.

A- I think I had a bad pour, I'm excited! Poured dark red, nearly brown. But, I can't comment on the head because I ruined that.
S- I don't think I can smell. I don't pick up much scents sometimes. I do smell the roasted malty character, but that's about it.
T- Very nice complex flavor! Roasted Malts, sugars,great, nuts, alcohol all blend well.
I like!
M- Even with the very malty taste, which is common with Scotch Ales, you don't have a huge sticky after taste. Very smooth, balanced, clean!

-Bye

Big Sound Scotch Ale from Cigar City Brewing
91 out of 100 based on 633 ratings.