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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 ATLbeerDog
3.97/5  rDev -3.4%
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. (536 characters)

Photo of Steeeve
4.35/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very dark and viscous looking pour with a thin medium tan head. Looks the part of a porter. Very sweet and fruity aroma. A lot of dried dark fruit notes along with some berries, caramel, toffee, and even subtle hints of chocolate and leather. Flavor is very sweet, but not cloying. Underlying fruit notes are quickly displaced by roasty and coffee flavors. Rich caramel and toffee flavors interplay wonderfully. Definitely improves as it nears room temperature. Palate is thick and full, with a lingering sweetness on the finish. A little off-kilter (pun intended) for the style but extremely well-made and delicious. One of my new favorite scotch ales. Would love to try this in barrel-aged form. (697 characters)

Photo of Dreadnaught33
4.47/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by starrdogg, next to bourbon and rum barrel big sound. Thanks a lot Matt, very cool lineup.

A: Nice brown color with crimson highlights, it has a decent head with just a ring forming with a tan color.

S: Has a very rich and quite perfect to style scotch ale smell. A light smoked peat aroma yet still kind of sweet in a confectionary way. Super malty and has the toasted malt 'grapenuts' smell.

T: Taste is very rich like a layered cake with espresso and a semi-sweet BBQ smoke notes. Super tasty, some lighter sweet malts too. I'd say that the scotch is more like a highland park sort of honey-peat as opposed to a super smoky islay. Great, really quite tasty.

M: Very nice, smooth and satisfying. Slick over the palate.

Overall this is very nice, and certainly worth a try if you like scotch ale! This and Robert the Bruce would probably be my two examples of the style to present to a new beer enthusiast. (932 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 BarryMFBurton
4.4/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Looks like a big Scottish treat for me tonight: Cigar City’s Big Sound. Now, while Scotch ales aren’t my favorite style, I’ve really started to like CCB. Thanks again, Stankonia, for an awesome LIF.

A: Pours very dark, a thick red-brown, with a viscous-looking body – one of those beers where the head takes a while to materialize. Eventually, that medium-tan cream appears, and it’s just as thick: almost two full fingers high at the start. Soon, though, it changes texture to become more light bubbles than anything, deflating at a medium rate; finally, it rests at a silky half-finger of beige cream. Not a lot of lacing, but with a good enough presence to be attractive.

S: Ah, surprisingly skunky! It has a nose that’s quite a bit like their Guava Grove saison: light lemon zest and guava, with a really light scent of sweet cherry syrup. Not cloying, but extra sweet; it’s like the smell of a cherry slushie. Good, but that’s all the malts really have to offer. Plus, the boozy Scotch aromas that are normal for this style are actually quite light, as they can’t really do a lot from behind the fruits. An odd, one-dimensional, but entertaining nose.

T: Wonderfully smooth; the flavors are rich, yet insanely drinkable. First off are those great fruits: peach cobbler, pear, cinnamon apple, and a sweet vinous character. They’re some of the best sugars I’ve had in a beer in a while. Roasted malts, empowered by this profile, lay quietly over the palate with a mild smokiness and caramel. They bring in woody alcohol, maple spice, and dark fruits, the characteristic Wee Heavy flavors, but with all the support of the skunky yeasts. It finishes with a hint of chocolate and a chewy wheat graininess. So much different that the other Scotch ales I’ve tried, but so damn tasty.

M: So smooth, a viscosity that’s just as drinkable as the flavors in the palate – I’ve finished a 750 mL bottle in no time. Be careful, because this 8.5% beast goes down like water; there’s really only a hint of astringency from the rindy fruits of the palate.

O: I have never, ever had a Wee Heavy like this, and I doubt I’ll ever have another. This beer is one-of-a-kind, demonstrating such impressive craftsmanship from Cigar City; even in the nose, the light fruits caught me off guard with their unique power. The flavor profile was just delicious, as well, topped off by an amazingly drinkable body. This one’s for the record books: a Wee Heavy that shovels its alcohol down with complex flavor and mind-blowing drinkability. (2,555 characters)

Photo of RossCain
2.82/5  rDev -31.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Purchased from CCB taproom in March 2011, Review from late October. Poured from a 750ml bottle into a snifter.

A: Murky brown in color, the brew pours viscous and thick with a pillowy, tan colored head. Clingy webs attach themselves to the sides of the glass with rings of thick bubbles.

S: Malty upfront showcasing a bit of char mixed with some hints of dark fruit. Unfortunately, a waft of infection resides in the finish, throwing the aroma off and dashing the full enjoyment.

T: Bold, char roasted malt notes imparted with a wood like taste. Bing cherries come through with a nice sweetness backed by the familiar scotch tastes of char and peat. Sour/tart in the finish due to a noticeably nascent infection, again hampering the true potential of the beer.

M: Thick, full-bodied, and chewy brew as expected from CCB. Assertive mouth feel with slightly tingly carbonation and a smooth aftertaste. Finishes with a satisfying alcohol warming and definitely a slow sipper.

O: I was aging this beer for a short amount of time only to be let down a second time by CCB due to an apparent lack of quality control. The onset of infection in noticeable in the beer, especially given the 1/4 inch of yeasty sediment residing in the bottom of the bottle. It's a shame because from the flavors that were in the beer, I can tell I would have enjoyed it much more were it not for the constant reminder of the detracting infected flavors. I finished about half of the bottle before my drain received the rest. Not bad but not worth drinking. (1,534 characters)

Photo of aepb1
4.42/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- deep dark brown body with a creamy tan head

S- dark sweet cherries and some molasses

T- caramel, toffee, dark fruits, molasses, big flavor and that's wonderful!

M- full-bodied and creamy with a lower level of carbonation

O- a great scotch ale. Very nice to sip on a cold florida evening! (294 characters)

Photo of hmf05
4.55/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark brown with a three finger fizzy tan head. I see tons and tons of bubbles rising to the top which is surprising to me. Didn't expect to see so much carbonation. The smells is sour cherries, toffee, caramel, and some smoke. Smells nice. The tase is out of this world. I get sweet cherries up front, followed by toffee and caramel. The smoke is there in the finish, but to call this "smokey" would be an overstatement. Mouthfeel is creamy and well carbonated. Overall, very surprised in how much I am enjoying this. While the brew is sweet, it is not cloying like syrup. The ABV is well hidden as well. Just another solid brew from Cigar City. My only complaint is that I would have preferred a more defined smokiness, but that is just nitpicking. This is an incredible beer.

***Update:

As the brew warms, I am getting more and more smoke on the nose and in the taste. Truly an exceptional beer. At first, this didn't really meet the Scotch Ale style, but the traditional style comes out more and more as the beer warms. This is a beer that should be drunk at no colder than 50 degrees. I originally scored this as an "A," but this is an A+ beer. One of the best beers that has passed through these lips. (1,216 characters)

Photo of billab914
4.14/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 750ml bottle into my Dogfish snifter. It poured It poured a very dark and opaque brown color with a thin and frothy tan head to it.

The aroma has a pretty big malty profile to it with both caramel and dark fruits playing a big role. I get some notes of cherry and raisin coming out and mixing with some sweeter brown sugar and fig notes. Excellent aroma overall.

The taste shows even more of a dark fruit presence to it. I get some of the fig and raisin flavors coming out with just a hint of cherry. Some bitterness in the finish helps the malty flavors from becoming overly sweet.

The mouthfeel is on the heavier side with carbonation being low. Overall i thought it was an excellent beer. The malty dark fruit flavors were great and they did a nice job balancing out all the malty sweetness as well. Very enjoyable beer overall (848 characters)

Photo of TheFightfan1
4.35/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into my CC snifter. Color is a deep brown awesome lighter brown colored lacing that clings to the edges and won't let go. A little murky and somewhat a rubyish tint to it.

Nose is mostly of toasted malts, a slight berry,frutitness and maybe a touch of smoke.

Very tasty little number. Toffee up front and center with a nice touch of mocha in the mix. Slightest bit again of smoked cedar. Finishes very clean with a slight hop linger.

Full bodied, silky smooth feel,great carbonation. Neither to watery or to thick. Perfect balance.

Awesome offering from CC. (568 characters)

Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
3.95/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

reviewed from notes on 09/29/2011.

poured into a tulip glass and shared with several friends.

Appearance: Dark brown bodied beer with mahogany reddish hues. A light to medium brown head. Decent lacing.

Smell: Sweet and fruity. Malty with hints of smoke. Lots of dark fruits.

Taste: It starts off with huge toffee and caramel notes. Blending into dark fruits and a hint of smoke. Also has an earthy peat character to this beer. Massive malty & sweet profile on this beer that showcases the yeast which shows up in the form of the fruity notes.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied beer with medium levles of carbonation. Sticky beer with a nice clean finish. Its surprisingly drinkable and nt at all boozey.

Overall: Still liked this beer, but not true to the Scotch/Wee Heavy style. Too much fruit not enough smoke. (811 characters)

Photo of flexabull
3.96/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of cyrusthepup, thanks again!

Pours a deep and dark amber color with a nice off white head.

Aromas are really grainy, vegetal, oaky, nutty, and slightly sweet.

Taste is grainy, a bit sweet, with some nice oaky, nuttiness, and some chocolate notes. Finish is warm, slightly boozy, with light earthy hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel is nice, full, smooth, yet not heavy,

Overall this is a very solid scotch ale. It would be really good if the nose was a bit nicer. But with that said, this is still really tasty, (524 characters)

Photo of Holland
4.1/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: pours dark brown with light brown highlights and a big tan head.

S: smells largely of pear(!), apple, peat, smoke, and roasted malt.

T: very fruity for a scotch ale. This has tons of pear and apple up front, then some roasted malt, smokey wood, and peat.

M: well carbonated with a medium body. I don't like that it seems too carbonated.

O: very good beer, good drinkability, but it's a bit expensive at $10 or so for the bomber. (438 characters)

Photo of mwilbur
4.43/5  rDev +7.8%
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! (655 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 hoptualBrew
4.7/5  rDev +14.4%
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. (733 characters)

Photo of hopsbreath
3.02/5  rDev -26.5%
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 (1,038 characters)

Photo of Duff27
3.91/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Mocha colored one-inch head on top of a cola=brown beer. Good head retention and lacing!

S- Dark caramel malts with a touch of cola.

T- Low hops, per usual for the style. Dark malts with some chocolate and toffee notes. Well hidden ABV.

M- Creamy/syrupy. Well carbonated but with very, very small bubbles.

D/O- A good example for the style overall but for the money I believe there are better options. Worth a try though if you are a huge Scotch Ale fan like me. (469 characters)

Photo of Chaney
4.07/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Currently the #7 ranked Scotch Ale on BA.

I got this bottle at the Total Wine right up the street from Cigar City.

A: Sitting there idle, it looked like a liquid piece of shit. Again, shit brown, with a nice 1/8 finger beige head that stuck around.

S: Malt bomb for sure: Melted caramel, maybe a tinge of butterscotch, but not much.

T: I got the cherry and toffee somewhat, but got raisons and dates overall. Damn good for this style. Smooth finish IMO. Neither dry nor wet.

M: Thick and somewhat sugary, but not too. No booze overall, and a good bit of lacing... but most of it fell back into the snifter.

O: Pretty good, but I'll still give Alesmith Wee Heavy the honors in this category. (697 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 jmdrpi
4.41/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750mL capped bottle, no date to be found.

appears deep dark brown, almost black. nice thick 1/2" head, that leaves lacing. good head retention too.

aroma is sweet and a bit boozy. tastes of toffee, hazelnut, brown sugar. rich flavors. mouthfeel is incredibly smooth.

one again, Cigar City impresses. (305 characters)

Photo of thagr81us
3.3/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served from bottle into a Stone nonic. Poured a deep dark brown with a half finger light tan head that subsided to a minimal amount quickly. Maintained decent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, maple syrup, and caramel. The flavor was of sweet malt, maple syrup, caramel, wood, and subtle tart. It had a medium feel with medium-high carbonation. Overall this was a decent brew. I really wasn't that impressed with this one if I am honest. Glad that the alcohol presence wasn't here though as it would have made it unbearable for me with these flavors. Nothing too memorable here at all. Worth trying if you get the chance but that is about it. (676 characters)

Photo of ChugginOil
4.12/5  rDev +0.2%
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. (577 characters)

Photo of mntlover
4.38/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark deep brown with red hints when held to the light. Sports a big tan head that falls slow with tons of sheet lace. Very nice looking.

Aroma is big, big malts caramel, hints of peat, some light coffee notes underneath. Some dark fruit notes sprinkled with more sweetness also chocolate hints.

Taste is smooth from the beginning lots of sweet malts caramel, toffee peat hints sprinkled with more sugary sweetness. Nice fruit notes figs, plums and cherries mingle through out. Finish is smooth favorable malts.

Mouthfeel is big and really smooth, very enjoyable.

Overall very nice big smooth malty sweet goodness. Love to have a few of these set back for cooler weather. (683 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)

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