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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.

190 Reviews
no score

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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 tjkinate
2.56/5  rDev -37.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

My first from Cigar City. I just hope my upcoming 200th review of Hunapuh is better.

A: 2 fingered head that had decent retention settling to a thin khaki color. Deep brown bodied brew.

S: Smells like booze more than beer. A malty backbone pokes through here and there, but nothing I would call complex.

T: Caramel, sugar, and booze. Tasted like a flat day old pepsi.

M: Under carbonated

O: Not at all what I had hoped.

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Photo of DosBeerigos
2.75/5  rDev -32.8%
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

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Photo of RossCain
2.82/5  rDev -31.1%
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.

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Photo of hopsbreath
3.02/5  rDev -26.2%
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

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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 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 Jeffo
3.12/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Dad picked this one up for me from the brewery when he was in Florida for Spring Training in 2012. Thanks for swinging by pops!

From a 750ml bottle into a snifter

APPEARANCE: Pours a one finger, looser looking, fizzy, light tan head with decent retention. Head fades to a splotchy wisp and ring. A perfectly clear bistre brown body with no carbonation evident. Light ring remains but leaves no lacing by the end. Ends a bit flat looking.

SMELL: Dark malts, leather, dark fruits and spicy yeast notes on the nose. Much like a Belgian strong dark ale, with caramel notes and some dark bread as well. Medium strength.

TASTE: Somewhat mild up front, though some leather and dark fruits do make an appearance. Flavor picks up at the swallow with lots of sweet flavors, including grapes, toffee and caramel flavors. Milder but lingering finish of sweet malts, grapes, and a touch of bitter coffee at the end. Quite sweet and a little lack-luster initially.

PALATE: Medium body and slightly light on the palate. Creamy enough, goes down smooth and finishes rather sticky for the style. A touch light perhaps, but nothing is off-putting.

OVERALL: This was just alright. I've had piles of wonderful beers from Cigar City, but this one didn't quite do it for me. A little light in body and the flavor lacked up front a bit. Still an enjoyable beer, but I think I expected more from this one. Cheers again for doing the leg-work pops. Love trying stuff from this brewery.

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Photo of thagr81us
3.3/5  rDev -19.3%
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.

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Photo of Goblinmunkey7
3.35/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Bilco for sharing the bottle.

Appearance: Pours with almost no head. Vestiges of a light tan head cling to the edges of the beer...barely. Amber bordering on dark copper. Very clear.

Smell: Caramel malts and biscuit. Underlying overcooked malt note adds a nice bit of depth to an otherwise basic malt profile. Dusting of citrus, but that's stretching it. Loads of sweetness from the malts. Bread crust and some darker sugars. Some raisin/dark fruit notes buried in there as well. Dough and crust.

Taste: Almost a spot-on-replica of the nose. Big chewy malts. Caramel and hints of molasses over a solid bready, almost doughy, malt presence. Tiniest hint of hops on the back, but it's quickly covered over by the sweetness from the malts. Dark fruit rounds the whole thing out. Raisins.

Mouthfeel: Creamy, smooth, and almost full. Carbonation is minimal, but it works with the style and the profile.

Overall: A solid take on the style. I'm glad I ended up sharing this bottle with a couple friends as it would be a task to drink a whole bottle alone. Nice flavor, but it's not gripping.

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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 LilBeerDoctor
3.41/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed on 06/05/2009. Bottle at PPRBSG09. This beer pours a murky brown with a small head. The aroma is of diacetyl and sweet malt. The flavor is of roasted malt and sweet caramel malt. Ok for a scotch ale (although admittedly it is not my favorite style).

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Photo of SaCkErZ9
3.44/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This one was bottled Aug 20, 2012.

Poured from the 750ml bottle into a New Belgium snifter. Pours chocolate brown, with no highlights. This one is as opaque as my leather couch. Topped with a very creamy, frothy, milkshake looking cappuccino colored head. Copious amounts of lacing. Wonderful looking for a scotch ale.

Aroma is a bit lacking. None of the smokiness, peatiness, caramel, deep roastiness associated with most of the style. There is some caramel as well as some dark fruitiness. Alcohol esters are definitely noticeable. Slight bit of chalkiness with this one also.

Decent flavors. Again, a bit muted. Not overly sweet, which I like. None of the smokiness or tobacco qualities I like. Super malty with more dark fruit flavors and a bit or raisins shining through. Full bodied and chewy; very sticky.

Overall, a decent beer. Certainly not tops for the style but above average. Price point is nice so I would probably get this one again.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.5/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the House of Brews. Served in a short pint.

Appearance - Deep brown. Small off white head and collar.

Smell - Toffee. A little fruity and buttery.

Taste - Sweet caramel. Dark fruits. Mild hop flavor in the middle. Nutty after that and a little boozy.

Mouthfeel - Medium heavy. Kinda sweet. Medium carbonation.

Overall - Good without being special. I'm surprised I've never reviewed this.

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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 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 Gueuzedude
3.58/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A solid pour into my 25cl tulip glass produces a three finger thick, nicely amber tinged, full amber color. The beer is a dark amber color that has a concentrated redness to it. When held up to the light the beer shows a nicely concentrated, red, ruby color. The beer has an interesting note to it up front, it is quite sweet with an almost cinnamon like character to it sweetness; almost reminds me of a deeply caramelized, cinnamon sweetened red-hot. There is a touch of toasted grain underneath the sweet aroma. Perhaps this is a bit too cold (though it is at 50ºF / 10ºC), a quick stint in the microwave has me noticing a bit more caramel character rather than straight sweetness, some berry like fruit character as well as more toasted malt character. Actually the sticky sweetness has now all but disappeared. The aroma started out a bit on the simplistic side, but it does get a bit better if you really let it warm up, though it still doesn't quite have the complexity that I was hoping for.

This is sweet tasting with a thick, chewy body that easily tames the sweetness, which definitely is not cloying. The beer finishes with a touch of warming alcohol as well as a chewy, whole grain toastiness, and a deeply caramelized malt character. A bit of caramelized, marshmallow character is in the middle and the finish has a hint of roast grain that adds just a hint of bite to balance a smidge of the sweetness. This does have some salty smokiness to it as well, which is quite subtle and I would guess is not from any actual peat smoked malt. This has a touch of fruitiness to it with mostly a raisin-like note that likely is contributed by the malt character. While the sweetness is not too much in this warmed up beer, it does still have a candy like note to it with all of the caramelized specialty malt character floating around in this beer.

In hopes of cutting the sweetness I have taken to eating an overly sweetened brownie, this does tame the beers sweetness, but actually brings a touch of tartness out in the beer. It does accentuate a touch more of the light roast character, a slight bit more smokiness, as well as bringing out more of the toasted malt character.

Not a bad beer, I must admit that I got a bit too caught up in excitement around this brewery, my expectations of grandeur where probably a bit too much, but I was expecting a lot more from this beer. It doesn't quite have the complexity and balance that I really want to see in a great example of the style. Really my biggest complaint here is that the beer has a bit too much sweetness; it does need some sweetness, but if it was a touch drier it would really allow a lot more complex malt character to come through. A touch more age might round this out a bit though; six months to a year might see this beer peaking.

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Photo of speter
3.59/5  rDev -12.2%
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.

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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 Overlord
3.65/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Consumed 2.3 oz of this brew for reviewing purposes. Heated in an oven for five minutes at 400 degrees, then I dropped it into a vat of liquid helium. BRRR!! When it got back to room temperature, I was ready to try it.

Pours a dark, deep brown with a bubbling, long lasting tan head. Quite a bit of foam on these cigar city brews.

Smells like a bit of roasted malt, sweet caramel, and maybe ... some nuttiness? Earthiness? Not sure.

Taste is mostly sweet, with a strange astringent coffee bittering agent that lingers on the aftertaste, mostly rich roasted grainy caramel malt, and that nuttiness from the aroma becomes more prevalent. Maybe a hint of vanilla ... can't be sure. There's also a strange kind of butteriness to it. Somewhat unusual wee heavy that almost reminds me more of an uber-malted brown ale.

Made it through the big bottle, but not that drinkable, all things considered.

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Photo of IPAdams
3.65/5  rDev -10.8%
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.

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Photo of bcostner1
3.66/5  rDev -10.5%
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.

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Photo of angrybabboon
3.68/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cheers to Bilco for sharing this beer

Review adapted from notes taken 3/31/12

Appearance: Reddish brown, beige head, spotty lacing, retains a nice ring

Smell: Caramel, sugar, a lot of sweetness - toasted bread, bread crust, toasted malts - a hint of fruit, and some booze

Taste: Not a typical Scotch ale, sweet - very caramelized, sweet and malty - toasted malts, bread, dough, molasses, toffee, hints of chocolate and dark fruits

Mouthfeel: Medium to heavy body, smooth, nicely carbonated

Overall: Good stuff

This was an interesting Scotch ale. Bigger and sweeter than the average, with some interesting flavors. This is worth a try, but it's not mind-blowing.

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Photo of rfgetz
3.7/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy brown with some red highlights, nice sticky khaki lacing. Scent is of brown sugar, toffee, cherry, nuts, earth and booze. Taste is very sweet and boozy, almost cloying. Working past the harshness, tastes of toffee, earth and some dark fruit. Full bodied, creamy due to the cask pour. A nice ale that is a touch too harsh in the sweetness and boozyness.

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Photo of mynie
3.7/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Regular (not BA) Big Sound. On cask at the brewery.

Pours brown. Smells like chocolate and booze. I had to ask whether or not it was barrel aged, as the alcohol nodes were so pronounced.

Once sipped, the aroma's intensity gives way to a different intensity. Big, burny booze washes up against zippy brown ale malt, and the affect is akin to a beer that starts off as a bock but ends as an almost-too-sweet super boozy brown. At no point is the beer bad, but it never quite ties together.

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Photo of Gmann
3.73/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Out of a 750ml capped bottle. Pours a very dark brown color with a huge frothy tan head that slowly dissipated leaving nice chunks of lacing. The aroma is malty & musty, good wet bark scents with hints of copper, caramel and brown sugar. The taste is quite sweet, big brown sugar and honey sweetness. This is somewhat offset by an earthy woody flavor. Throughout the profile there is pockets of dark fruit flavors, raisins and fig. The brew has a chewy feel with fizzy carbonation, any of the earthy characteristics are drown out by the almost cloying sweetness; finishes a sticky and syrupy. An over-reaching scotch ale. It seems to go too big on sweetness when it doesn't need it. The brew has good earthy characteristics but these are crushed by the over the top sweetness.

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