Big Sound Scotch Ale - Cigar City Brewing

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Big Sound Scotch AleBig Sound Scotch Ale

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190 Reviews
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Reviews: 190
Hads: 645
Avg: 4.09
pDev: 19.07%
Wants: 188
Gots: 166 | 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
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Reviews: 190 | Hads: 645
Photo of hAle2theWort
5/5  rDev +22.2%
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.

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Photo of barfootbandit
4.93/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured this beer from a bomber. This beer was phenomenal and probably one of the best scotch ales I have ever had. Very dark color with aromas of peated scotch-y malts. Scotch-y flavors are present with hints of caramel, toffee, and roasted malt. Scotch-y peated flavors are similar to flavors from Islay whiskey casks. An 8.5% ABV helps the overall taste as well and makes this a hearty beer. Absolutely loved this beer and highly recommend it.

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Photo of oglmcdgl
4.85/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On cask at capones.

A- ruddy red brown with a beautiful 2 inches of creamy off white head.

S- smooth and creamy toffee and caramel with some yeasty fruity goodness.

T- wow! Toasted malts and sweet candied cherries. Some peat and mossyness.

M- creamy and full bodies with that perfect carb on a firkin.

D- all day every day. I want this stuff in my fucking veins main line style. Baller shit from a baller brewery.

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Photo of Tabni
4.77/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bought it at Whole Foods in Pinecrest. Served into my Orval Tulip. Great flavors I'm getting from this amazing Cigar City brew. Worth every penny of the $13.99 that I paid. Reminds me of a Skull Splitter. Hints of caramel and even toffee. Would buy this again for sure!

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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 hoptualBrew
4.7/5  rDev +14.9%
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.

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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 drgoose23
4.68/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Bought this bad boy last year at the brewery and loved it so much that I had a friend that visited Tampa a couple weeks after to bring me another one because it loved it so much. Can't wait until the new one comes out because I will be hoarding them for a year just like I'm doing with the bottle my buddy brought me. IF you can get your hands on this do yourself a FAVOR.

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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 aahynick
4.63/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

about 40 degree F into a pint glass
A- garnet to black with a long lasting giant head

S- chocolate and peat

T- I just O'd. Rich chocolate, peak smoke and malt

M- like a $15 milkshake, so creamy, sooo nice

D- this could easily become my favorite. The stuff is pricy but DAMN!.

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Photo of iTunesUpdates
4.6/5  rDev +12.5%
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

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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 atlaShrugged
4.58/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle from St Pete Total Wine

a - deep brown, good head retention, lacing

s - toffee and caramel

t - caramel and toffee, enough alcohol to make you take pause but not enough to overpower the other flavors

m - medium to full bodied, mild carbonation

d - This kept me coming back for more trying to wrap my head around it. It seems CCB was trying pretty hard to make good beer. Luckily, they succeeded. Insert any other A rating here.

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Photo of JayS2629
4.57/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark brown with a two finger mocha head that fades fast but leaves great lacing.

The aroma is of molasis, oak, maple and cocoa with a hint of vanilla and hazelnuts. Sweet notes of toffee and a touch of smoke and booze.

The flavor is just as complex. Rich and malty backbone of brown sugar, vanilla, oak, smoke, maple, cocoa, and hazelnuts. Deep toffee dominates with earthy hops in the back. All of this is with a touch of bourbon completes things.

Rich and decandent. Very balanced and tasty.

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Photo of ThreeWiseMen
4.57/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Got this in a trade with fogdog. Thanks Kevin!

Poured into a Cigar City snifter.

Appearance: A small, foamy, cream-colored crown sits atop a translucent mahogany body. Body is opaque through the center, but glows orange-caramel around the edges. Looks a bit oily when swirled. Lacing doesn't show any staying power.

Smell: Molasses, plum, bread crust, brown malt, coffee, maple syrup, and a touch of alcohol. Flowery esters cap off each whiff. Quite mellow for having so many sweet components. Well balanced and very pleasant.

Taste: Brown malt, wholegrain wheat bread, tobacco, and flowery hops/esters. Scotch appears at the end of each sip and melds well with the dry finish. I also get toffee and even some dark chocolate. Really nicely put together. Not too hot of harsh. I dig.

Mouthfeel: Malty, full, and very gently carbonated. Slightly warm and certainly dry, but very mellow for the style. Scotch, floral esters, and tobacco/leather comprise an aftertaste that's long-lasting and enjoyable. Well done!

Drinkability: I'm not a big scotch ale fan, but this was nice. Far from harsh, Big Sound is complex and harmonious - and oh so smooth. A beautiful example of the style. I'd recommend this to anyone.

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Photo of DIM
4.57/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

a: This was a dark mahogany chestnut color. It poured with a thick, creamy, and long lived light tan colored head. Pretty sticky too.

s: Massive maltiness, very deep. This changed fairly dramatically as it warmed as well. At various stages on the way to room temperature I detected lots fruit in the form of raisins, cherries, and plums. All were on the sweet side in a very enticing way. I also got toffee, chocolate, and just a trace of floral warmth. Big and beautiful.

t: Plenty going on here as well. Moderately sweet throughout, I tasted raisins, a little chocolate, and toffee. The finish dries out with some floral cherries.

m: Full bodied, but I wish it had been a bit more so. The carbonation was gently foamy and long lasting.

d: Big thanks to tpd975 for this via my Nobody wants to see a beer geek naked BIF. This was only the second non-Austarlian beer I've had in a month, so its possible my enthusiasm is a bit inflated. Whatever the reason, I'm quite saddened by my rapidly emptying glass. Great stuff from CC, thanks again Greg!

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Photo of ktrillionaire
4.55/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - A hazy mahogany with spotty bubbles that make an insane ghostly residue in place of lace.

S - The smell is of a campfire freshly extinguished; the peat melds with cherry, chocolate and toffee to produce a flavor not unlike the chewing tobacco, Levi Garrett. Or perhaps smoked figs, if such a thing exists.

T - The flavor is better on cask; it is still sweet and smoky, but perhaps smokier and definitely more subtle. The balance is even greater, the melding of the flavors is at such a high level. The sweetness has dropped out a bit, which is a welcome development, and indeed all of the flavors have been toned down by the cask. The resulting beer is immensely enjoyable, with a natural and rustic quality to it. No pretense; this is 'real ale'.

M - The feel is smooth and lightly carbonated; the low pressure of the cask works wonders for this brew.

D - I am not a 'homer', CCB is really that good.

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Photo of hmf05
4.55/5  rDev +11.2%
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.


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.

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Photo of steve8robin
4.53/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This week appears to be Cigar City lineup week. I've gotten to try quite a few thanks to a gem of a beer store! 750ml...

A: A beautiful deep dark porter-esqu color with some transparency through it. A thick tan head quickly follows which fades slowly. Perfect!

S: I can smell this brew from the table! I get some great blends of raisin, sweet malts, walnut, and scotch all upfront. Followed comes some very nice toffee and hints of caramel with some sweet dry hop hidden well in the backend. This smells awesome! Very good!

T: I get some raisin and sweet sugars upfront blended with a nice creaminess quickly followed. I almost get a delayed chocolate and plum taste in the middle with an awesome blended scotch on the backend. So good!

M: Medium body with a great carbonation feel. A creamy wet finish. Very good.

D: Does not even taste like alcohol. Some scotch characteristics in the taste, but no alcohol burn. Very good!

All in all, a standing ovation here. Cigar City has done it again. Hunahpu blew me away, and now the second to blow me away from CC is Big Sound. I'd recommend trying this if you like well blended sweet flavorful beers. Great job CC!

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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 blivingston1985
4.51/5  rDev +10.3%
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.

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

Another gem from CCB. To say I get excited when a new offering comes in from them would be the understatement of the year. This one was grabbed out of the fridge and served in a tall pilsner glass. Consumed on 06/28/2009.

The pour was very big. Deep, dark hazelnut brown in color with a huge tan head of at least three inches covering up the top of it. Very big look to it overall with great retention and tons of side glass lacing going up and down the glass. Rich aroma of caramel, hints of nuts and brown sugar and a very nice herbal or woodsy like quality to it. Smooth, sublime carbonation here. Really full bodied for the style led to a wonderful coating like quality across the tongue. As I reach in for a taste I get all kinds of flavor here. Earthy grains, hints of bready malts, a nice touch of rich caramel and almost a tobacco like flavor. Very interesting. Mellow ABV with a slight warming, but nothing distracting at all. In fact this was quite drinkable to say the least.

Overall this was beyond solid and a real treat. I am a huge fan of the style and this was no exception at all. I would go here again any day of the week. Really excellent and they just keep going with the great releases.

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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 Zachtheporter
4.5/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 1pt 9.4 fl oz bottle into a Big Eddy snifter.

A- Pours a deep dark brown that almost looks black from a distance. Upon pouring there is a bubbly fizzy 1 finger tan head. Upon dissipating the dead leaves behind a thick collar and a layer of lace on top of the beer.

S- The aroma to this Wee Heavy is fairly pungent for the style. I was able to smell it from even a foot or so away. Overall the scent is very sweet with a slight smokiness and peatiness. There are strong notes of caramel and brown sugar, as well as slight notes of coffee, wood, vanilla and aged tobacco. There is also a slight chocolateyness to it that reminds me somewhat of tootsie rolls.

T- The taste is big, sweet and malty just like the label says. Just like in the smell, there are strong notes of caramel as well as a slight smokiness. some notes of tobacco and coffee take a backseat to the tremendous amount of malty sweetness. The taste helps to somewhat mask the alcohol content, however it is still present .

M- the mouthfeel is very reminiscent to a well made RIS in certain aspects. It's heavy of course with a smooth and velvety feel to it, as well as a low carbonation. Somewhat creamy.

O- This is a straight up malt bomb! A Great quality Wee Heavy and one of my new favorites! Definitely a sipper. I could see this going great with a nice cigar! (and not just because its made by a brewery called Cigar City!). Drinking a bottle of this to myself was awesome, yet foolish. I can't wait to get my hands on more of this in the future.

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Photo of BARFLYB
4.5/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Out of the firkin @ Capone's for Philly Beer Week, I love this city and the burbs.

Big sound has a murky brown muddy look to it, the color is a light brown with some small tan spots here, not the darkest scotch ale i've seen. A nice dark tan bubbly head on top that leaves small squiggly lines. There is actually some sludge at the end of my pint, nice!!

Smell is big with an apparent nuttiness along with a decent amount of hopping for a scotch ale, some grapefruit. Some roasted malt aroma along with sweet sugar and toffee sweets.

This is perhaps the best scotch ale I have had in years, no joke. The taste is superb and does not come off as a malty mess. The malt is there and sweet along with brown suga and toffee, but there is a nice cherry with dark fruit along with some nice citrus rind from some hops, not major though. Nuts and just some dank ass beer, My eyes opened.

The feel is killer. This beer really goes well off a firkin. If I had this in a bottle, this may not be the case, but right now Im in heaven. Medium bodied, smooth, malty sweet, backing hop presence, carb is there, this is bonkers.

I drank a whole pint with ease, I wanted another, but I was driving, I would of had more real quick, this beer is good, no it's great, the firkin just puts it over the edge, this is what beer is all about, this is the pinnicle, the source, the bees knees, the tits, whatever it is, it's ballerific.

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