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 philbe311
4.38/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

From a frikin at Capone's...

A - An intensely murky and hazy medium brown color... A thin creamy light tan colored head...

S - The nose was surprisingly subdued... Some toasted malty goodness... Nutty... A certain outdoorsy aroma... A slight note of butterscotch...

T - Sweet caramel... Toffee... Brown sugar... Touches of cherry... A hint of nuttiness...

M - Arguably the smoothest beer that has ever cross my lips... On the fuller side of medium bodied... Creamy and rich... Delectable... Just the slightest carbonation...

D - Quaffable and easy going sip after sip... If I could have a firkin of this one hands at all time I would, but unfortunately I'll likely have to settle for this lone memory and what a good memory it was...

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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 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 alpinebryant
4.3/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From moose3285 I see two people down Mike has set up another BA with this great beer Thanks!

Pours a dark brown with a light caramel head

Smell of strong caramelized sugars, nuts, some vanilla, toffee and sweet nuttiness.

Taste of strong thick caramel with toffee, lots of pecan pie, that slightly buttery butterscotch flavor from a longer roasted scotch ale. Thicker than most for the style, but also a higher ABV as well. clearly the higher abv has made it thicker but the mouthfeel is extremely thick for a 8.5 beer. Not quite the norm for the style, but I approve and tended to really enjoy this one.

So arguably close to a barleywine old ale that it might as well be considered in the same category. The yeast is clearly a scotch ale yeast and is very tasty. Another great beer by Cigar City Brewing.

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Photo of jeffthecheff
4.27/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Split this 750 during another good night of beers with Joe. Pours a dark brown color with a brownish-yellow head. Retention and lacing are just okay.

The nose is pretty intense. Caramelized brown sugar is at the forefront, with a medium amount of chocolate, some vanilla, and nutiness. A little bit of booze comes through when it warms, just barley keeping the aroma from a higher score.

The flavor is very concentrated and sweet, with the same flavors as described in the nose, with a bit more emphasis on creamy nuttiness. When Joe mentioned it tasted like a creamy, sugary chocolate wafer bar, I couldn't think of anything else. That description fit too well for me not to steal it in this review.

The mouthfeel is on the heavy side for the style, with mid to high carbonation and a lingering, sweet finish. This beer really impressed me, especially since I haven't been a fan of the style to this point. I might have to seek out some more examples, but I'm afraid I'll be disappointed after this one.

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Photo of Ineedabeerhere
4.15/5  rDev +1.5%
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.

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Photo of DefenCorps
4.4/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

moose3285 sent me a bottle of this a while back. Thanks, Mike!

The pour is deep crimson with great clarity and pleasing reddish highlights. There's a dense, mocha-colored head with excellent retention that leaves some lacework.
The nose is just outstanding. Big notes of vanilla, toffee, butterscotch, a moderate nuttiness, some chocolate. Mildly fruity as well, I get some rich plum character. Quite a fabulous nose, really. A touch of alcohol comes through in the back as well.

The palate opens rich and robust with a solid grainy character with some robust caramel, toasty, nutty malts. Toasty, mildly bready, there's a pronounced brown sugar character that marries very well with the rest of the palate. A touch of cocoa as well? This beer also has the intense malt character (not really sweet, but particularly strong, noticeable, rich brown sugar notes) that I remember BA Old Stock/ Angel's Share having, and that's high praise.As with the nose, there's some fruitiness, a general dark fruit character, more prune-like? Sweetish on the finish, this beer is medium-full in body with a moderate carbonation. The finish is excellent as well, with a pleasant fruitiness as well as toffee and a light alcohol character. All told, this is more along the lines of an old ale than a dyed in the wool wee heavy, but still, an excellent beer. I think I can unequivocally say that this is the best Cigar City Beer I've had. Thanks a TON, Mike! I must now seek out the BA version!

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Photo of cpetrone84
3.96/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A-dark brown with reddish hues and quite hazy. the head is a tan color with good retention and thick lace

S-metalic notes blended with an underlying chocolate. toffee after the metalic notes with light dark fruit sweetness. the metalic notes start to fade as it warms and I swirl it

T-lots of chocolate with that metalic note in the mix. a good bit of toffee, notes of scotch. light notes of dark fruits in the back, cherries with a touch of plum. again, the metalic flavors seem to fade in time.

M-extremely smooth and creamy on the palate, good full body and chewy. low carbonation but doesn't fall off.

D-this is pretty tasty as it warms up and the metalic notes fade. nice flavors and everything seems to compliment each other well.

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Photo of Lerxst
4.23/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A-Pours a dark brown with a one finger mocha colored head that has very good retention and leaves plenty of sticky lacing all the way down.

S-Roasted malt, sweet caramel, dark fruit and maybe a hint of tobacco. Very pleasant nose.

T-Lots of slightly sweet roasty malted goodness here. Caramel, toffee, plums and cherries, a bit smoky too. This is good.

M-Full bodied, very creamy, a bit chewy and sticky. Coats the palate well. Great mouthfeel.

D-Its a beer you take your time with no doubt, but I had no trouble finishing the entire 750 myself. It was a pleasure to do so.

This is another great beer from CC. Just wish their stuff was more widely available.

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Photo of coldmeat23
4.23/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

GLASS: Snifter
TEMP: Cellared @ approx 55 degrees

That's a nice, deep, almost murky, brown color. The head is on the smallish side at just over a fingers worth. It's a nice creamy head though which is a medium shade of brown in color. The retention is very nice and the lacing is in some nicely thick and sticky strands.

The nose has a huge maltiness going on, which is to be expected. Lots of big caramel and toffee notes. A nice biscuit presence. A slight hint of cherries, which is nice, even though it was unexpected. Mild hints of peat/smoke and tobacco.

Big presence of toasted maltiness. Good showing of caramel, toffee and brown sugars, bringing in a nice amount of sweetness, but by no means too much. The cherries, which were sweet, in the nose, are now closer to black ones. They are not overly noticed, but when you find them they are darkly sweet. Mild notes of vanilla and tobacco. A nice undertone of coffee.
This one is nicely complex and very interesting.

This is full-bodied with a low-to-medium level of carbonation. It is nicely bold and smooth and has a very nice level of creaminess.

The 8.50%abv is very well disguised. This one is quite easily drinkable. As a fan of Scotch Ales/Wee Heavys, I say that this one comes highly recommended.

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Photo of Domingo
4.48/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Grabbed this on my most recent trip to Tampa at the brewery itself.
Pours a really deep brown color that's almost black. A think white sheen forms and laces rather well, but is never more than about 1/10". A quick glance at this beer would likely make you think it was a stout.
The smell is huge! Sweet and malty, lots of roasty and wood-based flavors. Vanilla, molasses, and berries.
The flavor also carries the same punch. Toffee sweetness with vanilla, molasses, a little cocoa, bourbon (I know there's none in here - but it carries the flavor), and a little bit of tobacco smoke.
It's a sipper, but much in the same way Old Chub is. It has a hint of heat that's really needed to keep you from downing it too quickly.
Our champagne bottle disappeared quickly and I really, really wish I had another one.
This is probably the best scotch ale I've had to date, and while it might not be a classical example of the style guidelines - I love it. It's like an Old Chub, but even better.
I'll probably be trading for more of these...

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Photo of brentk56
4.08/5  rDev -0.2%
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

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Photo of glid02
4.15/5  rDev +1.5%
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.

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Photo of aubuc1
4.22/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750 ml bottle poured in to a goblet.

Pours a very dark brown, almost black with a steady, but somewhat thin creamy tan head.

Big huge sweet bready malt with a roasty finish. Oozes malt.

Taste is bold up front of dry roast, then more sweet malt. More complex than most scotch ales.

Mouthfeel is very creamy but it is a little boozy and/or astringent.

It took me a while to find this for some reason, and this really is an excellent beer.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
4.05/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

inflatablechair brought this to a tasting a couple weeks ago... Thanks Sam!!

1" lite tan head... very deep brown.. pretty clear brew...

Nice traditional Wee Heavy aromas punctuated with crusty dark bready malts.. some fruity aromas that should probably not be there..

Flavor is pretty nice expected maltiness... the lite roastiness is there.. so is a bit of minor caramel.. earthy tobacco .. but there is also some odd fruity esters that make me think of dark cherries.. the fruitiness is pretty mild, but a bit out of place...

good body and a mild carbonation...

I wish I had taken better notes on this one.... I still say it was pretty good... Thanks Sam!!!


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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 dstc
4.28/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours dark with a huge, frothy, light brown head. Head falls very slow. Big sticky lace.

Bold malt aroma with hints of dark fruit and coffee.

Big malt taste. Cherries and plums with a nice sweetness. Coffee flavor is mild, ends a bit metallic and with a roasted flavor. Very bold.

Full and chewy in the mouth and smooth.

Awesome brew. So bold, flavorful and chewy. Very nice.

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Photo of babaracas
4.15/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark red-brown with a dense two finger tan head, settles to a half inch leaving sticky thick clumps of lace. Smell: lots of caramel, dark bread, some cherry, a little peat, faint green grassy/leafy hops. Taste: mildly roasty and a little smoky, lots of sweet caramel, a little chocolate, some earthy bitterness in the background. Medium-full bodied and creamy, with a sticky finish. The least interesting beer I've tried from CCB, but still quite enjoyable.

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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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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 Phyl21ca
3.8/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a deep brown burgundy color ale with a medium size foamy head with good retention and minimal lacing. Aroma of rich sweet malt with some deep notes of caramel and toffee is enjoyable though very close to the overly sweet territory. Taste is also an enjoyable mix between some rich sweet malt with deep notes toffee and caramelized sugar. Body is quite full with OK carbonation and no apparent alcohol. I usually like some peat malt in my scotch ale but not sure it would have benefited this one since there is so much residual sugar.

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Photo of Patrick999
3.75/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

From the 750ml capped bottle. Poured into a snifter. As others have noted, this is a really dark Scotch ale. Some red highlights if held to a lamp. Persistent thick head.

Excellent aroma. I get ripe sweet cherries, cedar, lavender, sweet tea.

Wow, this is tasty, but it's awfully sweet and thick. I can tell it's going to be a chore to finish the bottle. In the future, I won't open one of these unless I have several people to share with. I get a lot of the sweet cherries drenched in maple syrup. Tastes cinnamon bun-like. It's really sweet. Good, but I think the sweetness detracts from the complexity that would otherwise develop. I can definitely see why people rate this highly; it just runs a little contra to my personal preferences.

It's the epitome of a beer you share out big time. I'd have a hard time even finishing a 12 oz bottle.

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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 mdfb79
4.22/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From 3/27 notes.

a - Pours a nut brown color with no head and little carbonation evident.

s - Smells of sticky sweet dark fruits, raisins being most prominent. Also some caramel or toffee and toasted malts.

t - Taste is of dark fruits again, as well as those caramel malts.

m - Full bodied and low carbonation.

d - I really liked this beer. Thought it smelled wonderful and had a nice caramel taste. Would love to try it again.

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