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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 brentk56
4.08/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearancec: Pours a murky burnt caramel with a solid head that sticks and laces very nicely

Smell: Malty aromatics of toasted brown bread, caramel, tobacco and dark fruit

Taste: Opens with a pumpernickel bread and caramel flavor that adds a bitter tobacco element by mid-palate; after the swallow, boozy rum-soaked fig flavors emerge but a lot of the tobacco lingers into the aftertaste; despite the overall sweetness, there is also a subtle dry woody characteristic that lingers though the finish is filled with fig

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with moderate carbonation; some warmth in the gullet

Drinkability: Complex and adventurous for the style, with a bitter undertone not often found in a Wee Heavy; I'm not mad for it as this is not my favorite style but it is well worth sampling (788 characters)

Photo of TotallyHosed
4.08/5  rDev -0.7%
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. (915 characters)

Photo of nickd717
4.1/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Bottle shared at a BeerAdvocate tasting hosted by mfielden - thanks, Mark!

A - Pours a ruddy dark brown color with a beige head.

S - Aroma of caramel malt, dark fruits, and a hint of smoke.

T - Sweet and malty with lots of caramel and toffee with a little cherry, scotch whiskey, and smoke/roast. Great Scotch ale.

M - Really smooth and full palate with a somewhat dry finish.

D - Pretty high for the style. (412 characters)

Photo of Segelstrom
4.1/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a - poured to a nice smooth head to a dARK BRN head

s - not a hoppy smell - good notes of heavy sweet malt

t - a nice full body taste. a little on the sweet side but to be expected wit- h abv numbers

m - smooth

o - a great tasting beer - worth getting again. (263 characters)

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

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a Loterbol tulip. Special thanks to neubernie for the hook-up!

A: Pours a very dark chestnut/mahogany color. Sitting on top is three fingers of creamy dark-khaki colored foam that sports great retention. Carbonation was moderately active and a lot of sticky lace was left behind.

S: Big nose full of toffee and caramel awash in raisins, chocolate, figs, roasted nuts, and milk chocolate covered cherries with a slight hint of coffee and alcohol. I was hoping for more in the way of some smoke or peat or smoky peat.

T: See above. A bit more smoked malt flavor comes out in the taste (compared to the smell) as it warms. Lovely Heath Bar flavor along with rum soaked dark fruit.

M: Very rich and savory. Sweetness could've easily gone overboard but is kept in check by some slightly prickly alcohol and quietly astringent hops.

D: Drinks extremely well considering the relative lack of smokiness. There's a bit of dryness and spicy prickle...just enough to keep the sweetness at bay. Plus, I struggled to really detect any sort of obtrusive alcohol presence. Nice. (1,100 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 BMMillsy
4.1/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle from the brewery dated 9/11/13. Pours a deep dark brown with a khaki yellow brown head. Verrry slight ruby on the edges but mostly opaque. Aroma of sweet molasses, chocolate, roast, smoke, toffee, biscuits, and more chocolate. Flavor is a nice roasty smokey chocolate with a lingering peaty flavor on the palate. Sweet molasses takes over the palate after chocolate subsides up front. Rich and creamy but with offsetting light carbonation and not stout heavy. Good scotch ale ad can see how this would take on the bourbon barrels well. Will have to find the BA version this season. (588 characters)

Photo of weeare138
4.12/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to hopdog for sharing this preview of what will soon be available in the SE PA market...
Appears a semi-transparent toned mahogany with a small, beige head that leaves spotty bits of lacing around the glass.
Smell is of vanilla, light smoke, raisins, molasses, and earthy minerals.
Taste is of the mentioned aromas with dark fruit, smoke, and cocoa standing out amongst the flavors.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied, smooth, and drinkable. (444 characters)

Photo of garbercury
4.12/5  rDev +0.2%
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... (602 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 WeisGuy
4.13/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle from Tampa Whole Foods

a - pours a deep brown with burgundy highlights, three finger mocha head, good retention and lacing

s - toffee and caramel dominate with a good deal of smokiness and wood also mixed in, lighter hoppy and oatmeal aromas

t - as with the nose, caramel and toffee are the predominant flavors, light orange flavors on the midpalate, finish has some smokiness mixed in with the sweet caramel and toffee and orange notes, alcohol is not very noticeable, very smooth flavors and, most importantly, not cloyingly sweet like several examples of this style that I've tried

m - medium to full bodied, moderate carbonation, fairly sweet on the finish, definite alcohol warming effect

d - very drinkable for the style that I don't typically care much for, I would have no problem polishing off the bottle with little help, flavors are complex enough to keep it interesting and the sweetness is restrained enough to keep the palate fresh

Probably the best example to this style that I've tried. Another winner from CCB. (1,047 characters)

Photo of orock25
4.13/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Wife picked up a Bottle of this for my Bday knowing that Cigar City is my favorite brewery.

Appearance - Dark color, much darker than I was expecting. Thick creamy head that fades quickly is the only thing that tells me this isn't a stout. I can't wait to dig in!

Smell - Really sweat nose. Picking up maybe some caramel mixed with a small amount of coffee malts. Didn't notice the cherry until I read the bottle, but it's definitely there.

Taste -Coffee, caramel, toffee, and again cherry. The great thing here is that even with those flavors it's still refreshing. Which is important to me with any brew.

Mouthfeel - Perfect amount of carbonation as shown with a remaining thin layer of head. It sits very south and silky which is again surprising giving how refreshing it is.

Overall -From what I know about scotch ales, I think this is great. I haven't tried many in this style, but much like other beers Cigar City brews, this one might get me more interested in the style.
Cheers again CCB. (1,003 characters)

Photo of Jwale73
4.13/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Another great bottle shared by jdiddy. Pours a deep mahogany with a rocky, one inch, cream-colored head. Nose reveals raisins, brown sugar and a vinous quality. Taste is chocolatey, earthy and pruney. Mouthfeel is medium-bodied with a slightly assertive carbonation. This is a really exceptional Wee Heavy. Definitely one of my favorites for the style, if not my favorite. (372 characters)

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

Bottle hauled with TLC from FL via NC over a 2 week period, a lot of icecubes gave themselves up to keep this tasty...

I tried the version aged on Cherry or was it cedar at CCB, not bad, but my taste buds were gone by then...

Pours an effervescent chestnut with 3+ fingers of fluffy tan head, tiny bubble cling to the bottom of the glass... Crazy head retention lacing

S: Toffee & slight herbal hop scents

T: Caramel & toffee, plus peatyness up front, some herbal hops lurk in the background. Dryness dominates as this warms along with woody hops & an oaky character, plus more peaty notes & some dates & dark cherry as well. Finishes dry, with caramel sweetness, fruitty & smokey

MF: Chewy as all get out, with fairly firm carbonation up front, mellows out when warm

Drinks pretty easy for the abv until the dryness settles in. Still like it better than the version I had the brewery. Not a perfect wee heavy, but tasty enough, I wish could get it on a routine basis (974 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 TKEbeerman
4.15/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle right to the tulip

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

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

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

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

D: Like I said, Big Sound needs some time in the garage practicing it's bag pipe punk rock skills, promoting it's demo tapes, and tone down it's sweetness. I like this one a lot. Don't love it yet, but hey I'm gonna give CCB a call and ask what some age will do to this brew. (1,156 characters)

Photo of glid02
4.15/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by Darren - thanks!

Pours a slightly hazy chestnut brown color with a one-finger tan head. The head recedes into a wispy layer on top leaving solid lacing.

Smells of lightly toasted malts with good amounts of toffee, lighter amounts of tobacco, and lighter still amounts of spicy hops.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Sweet caramel malt flavors with hints of toastiness kick things off. Joining in shortly thereafter are crisp toffee flavors with hints of leafy hops and tobacco. A very mild amount of spicy hops enters into things right before a mildly bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is very good. It's got a nice thickness with grainy carbonation.

Drinkability is also very good. I finished my glass quickly and could have a few more with no problems.

Overall this beer follows the trend set forth in many other of CCB's beer with hints of tobacco which I'm a huge fan of. Not an exceptional beer but not far from it either, worth a shot. (955 characters)

Photo of Brenden
4.15/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is the final brew from my most recent trade with BeerLovinGirl. Many thanks to her.

This one is a deep, dark brown that shines red in the light. A tan head sticks around at a couple fingers and leaves some patchy lacing behind.
The aroma is earthy, a little smoky, and malty with notes of dark fruits. There's also an RIS-like molasses, licorice and bitter chocolate note.
The taste follows suit, with more strength in the big smoked malt. It really has the characteristics of a big RIS. Underneath is a gentle fruit note, with some astringent coffee and the subtle note of a toffee-like caramelized sugar. The finish is dry with some toasty grains.
The mouthfeel on this one is pretty full, with light carbonation and a balance of smooth and crisp.
This is a big, bold, tasty brew and a nice one from Cigar City. (819 characters)

Photo of RomaniIteDomum
4.15/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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

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

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

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

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

This is an all-day everyday beer. Great for sessions or with food. Like I said, I must find some bottles. (535 characters)

Photo of core42
4.15/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very smooth Scotch ale that smells good and tastes great. Lots of flavor without the lingering peaty aftertaste that some other Scotch ales have. Definitely one of my favorite Scotch ales out there (199 characters)

Photo of Ineedabeerhere
4.15/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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

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

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

Maybe a little too carbonated right out of the bottle, but otherwise this is perfect mouthfeel. Nice and viscous, bubbles still felt on the tongue though. Good substance to it, but never felt too heavy or overbearing. I really like the 8.5% abv point as well. Alcohol was well hidden, but the robustness of the flavors still makes this somewhat of a sipper. I think I might have tried a sip of the BA version before, but now I really would like to revisit it. (1,266 characters)

Photo of DoctorB2B
4.15/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: ruby and quite clear, thick pink creamy two-finger head to boot.

Smell: Smells of sweet ripened dark fruits, a bit of smoke as well.

Taste: With a scotch ale, I expected some peat, and it wasn't there with this one ... I was just a little sad about that. However, I got from the taste what I got from the nose, sweet and slightly boozy dark fruits.

Overall: Got this is a trade with Dolfan84, glad I got to try it. Sure I'd like to have a more of the traditional wee heavy. (490 characters)

Photo of kylehay2004
4.15/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

3 finger frothy head which rapidly dissipates with little lacing. Body is viscous appearing, black with only a little light passing through. Aroma is wide ranging with syrup, dark fruits, caramel and smokey notes intermixed. This one initially is very sweet and it hard to overcome. This one is very smooth. Sweet dark fruits, a little creamy with slight smokey hues and a maple like finish. Body is thick and light carbonation. Overall this one was way too sweet for my tastes to give this my top rating. (505 characters)

Photo of cbak999
4.15/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A -pours a dark, almost completely opaque brown. A small tan head sit atop the beer.

S - Sweet malt. Caramel and molasses notes also come through.

T - super sweet right off the bat. Makes my mouth pucker up a bit. A hop after taste prevails once you get past the molasses, malt, and raisin flavors.

D - This is a sipper. It took me a good hour to drink half of the 750mL bottle. The 8.5% is nicely hidden, but due to the pure sweetness, I can't consider it highly drinkable all the time. (491 characters)

Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.15/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours out an opaque, dark brown body accented with some amber highlights and topped with a half-inch of beige head.

Smell: The aroma is plushly malty, rooted around a concentrated toasty breadiness coated with sweet-scented caramel. This is supported with notes of chocolate, roasty coffee, and a fruitiness that grows even bolder when the beer is given a moment to warm up a bit.

Taste: Deep robust maltiness with a fair amount of soothing sweetness. Tastes of caramelized sugars, toasted bread crusts and, whaddya know, even some chocolate-coated grains and coffee are present, as is a vibrant dried dark fruitiness. Undercurrent of earthiness throughout. Very low, subtle hop bitterness. A bit more breadiness and a touch more roast in the lightly warming finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium carbonation. Smooth mouthfeel.

Drinkability: I certainly enjoyed this one. Sure, it's a bit deeper and darker than your usual Scotch Ale, but who gives a crap as long as it makes for a tasty, enjoyable beer. (1,026 characters)

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