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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

602 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 602
Reviews: 187
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 10.54%
Wants: 179
Gots: 151 | FT: 12
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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 602 | Reviews: 187
Photo of GarthDanielson
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured on-tap at the Cigar City Brewing tasting room in Tampa. Served in a pint glass, the beer is an opaque, black sludge looking brew with a ruby-red highlight showing around the edges, and a slight film of head. Sweet malt and boozey aromas. The body is round and smooth...holy shit! The flavor is the boozey characters of a smooth, smokey scotch, and the sweetness of melted brown sugar. Great bodied. The booze and sweet consumes the aftertaste. Great sipper. Light, lingering finish.

Photo of AdamBear
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-dark chocolate brown with a light tan head that fades

S-smells like a chocolate candle with some bitterness to it. has a decent strength

T-comes in with a good decent taste of milk chocolate and some very slight bitterness. it ends with a good amount of toffee but its not too sweet at first. the milk chocolate and toffee make up a good after-taste.

M-good creamy carbonation with a semi dry finish

O-it gets sweeter as you drink it. its a good example of the style, but I think the 750 mL is best shared. i wouldn't want this all to myself. its a good taste, but not something i want a lot of. not something i'll be searching for again.

Photo of Hojaminbag
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This one came to me in a recent trade with Mikesgroove. Thank you for yet another nice beer Mike.

Big Sound smells promising, as it obviously focuses on malt, which I like in my scotch ales. Bread, molasses, toffee, a hint of hops and some booze.

I like this one. Lots of malt without a ton of sweetness. Molasses and toffee are there, but they are quickly overtaken by some toasted malt and a bit biscuit that dry the taste out. Just a little bit of dry, powdery, cocoa taste. At the core is a little bit of dark fruit in the form of raisins. The finish has a slight amount of hop bitterness, and a blast of warmth from the alcohol.

Almost chewy feeling with some warmth in the finish.

I'm starting to dig Cigar City stuff more as I try more of their beers. This one is a very nice Scotch Ale.

Photo of zep9865
4.38/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed at a beer tasting courtesy of aasher. Pours a dark muddy brown with 2 fingers of tan foam head. Lacing is minimal

s-alcohol is most definitely detectable on the nose of this beer with molasses, burnt wood, and raisins. Chocolate is there as well.

t-the molasses and raisins in the smell are very representative in the taste. Sweet, but not overly malty.

m-carbonation on this beer is perfect; enough, but not too much. The different flavors that my palate experience are remarkable.

o-sucks that I'm really at a loss for words for this beer. It is very very good.

Photo of aasher
4.67/5  rDev +14.5%
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.

Photo of Kkottonmouthkngz
4.52/5  rDev +10.8%
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.

Photo of Sammy
3.85/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Neat chocolate tasting beer, chocolate taste through and through. Chocolate colour, very lacey with almost no head. Very good drinkabiliy, sweetish, slightly above average mouthfeel, with understaetd carbonation. Slight scotch flavours.
On tap at the brewery.This was much better than in the bottle, of which I partook a half year later.

Photo of saintwarrick
4.35/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Brownish brew pours with a quick rising tan head. Lots of nutty almond and malty aromas fill the nose, some light brownies also. Taste is very sweet and malty, right on style. Dates and sweet bready malts dominate with some cocoa mixed in and over-sugared coffee; body is thick and sweet while the alcohol is very well hidden. Some bitterness at the end keeps this brew from getting to cloying. Very well-crafted brew as always from CC.

Photo of radioscooter
4.7/5  rDev +15.2%
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
Alesmith
Belhaven
Traquair House
Jolly Scott
Scotty Karate
Skullsplitter
Old Chub
Arcadia
Berkshire
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.

Photo of MisterE
3.4/5  rDev -16.7%
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.

Photo of wspscott
4.01/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle in Duvel tulip
no date, but I got this last summer, it has been refrigerated since then.

A: Pours almost completely black, when held up to a bright, there are obvious ruby highlights. The initial pour yielded a fluffy 2-finger head that quickly dropped to a half-finger head and a lot of lace.
S: Dark caramel, a little bit of butter (diacetyl), some fruitiness.
T: Very similar to the nose, obvious caramel and butter, the fruit is much more pronounced. I can't decide if the fruitiness is yeast or malt driven. No hint of alcohol.
M: Very rich and mouth-coating, but not cloying. A relatively high level of carbonation for the style, but not at all unpleasant, helps the mouthfeel from being too much.
D: A great sippin beer that has a ton to think about. I think I could finish the whole bottle tonight and think about a second one.

Photo of claspada
3.92/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle had in my cellar for about 9 months, let's see if it was worth the wait.

Aromas are really Belgian forward which I did not expect; lots of dark fruit with some raisin, dark caramel malts, slight nuttiness and mild peat all upfront. Some very nice toffee and hints of caramel with some earthiness, maybe from the hops but I cannot be certain.

The taste begins with some raisin and sweet brown sugar upfront blended with a nice creaminess quickly followed. I almost get a delayed chocolate and plum taste in the middle. As it warms the beer becomes exponentially sweeter and borderlines cloying.

The mouthfeel is medium to fll bodied with medium carbonation. Finish is sweet and sticky from all the sweet malts, wish there was a tad bit more hops ornsome kind of bitterness to balance the sweetness.

Overall this is a very good scotch ale but lacks the balance I crave in this style. Too much sweet dark fruits and not enough dark roasted malts or hops to balance; that is literally the first time I have ever written that which says something. A good beer but would be better served in a smaller bottle because 22 oz is just too much because of the sweetness in my opinion.

Photo of garbercury
4.12/5  rDev +1%
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...

Photo of chicagobeerriot
4.26/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

After an honest down-the-middle pour, Big Sound produced a thick pillow of light mocha foam over a baker's chocolate brown brew that glows ruby-red at the edges when held up to the light. A very good looking beer.

Salt water taffy, brown sugar and a bit of candied fruit on the nose, but not as much of a powerhouse smell as some in the style.

The mouthfeel is appropriately medium-full without too much carbonation.

The taste is pleasantly surprising after the relatively weak smell. Starts wonderfully sweet, with brown sugar, milk chocolate, and a slight cherry fruit taste taking the lead. A satisfying bready malt (almost like toasted dark wheat bread) comes in at the end and melds very nicely with some alcohol warmth. Seems like this beer has enough backbone to take some barrel aging. Definitely could stand up to BBQ or a nice steak. Overall, this is among my favorite Scotch ales.

Photo of steve8robin
4.53/5  rDev +11%
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!

Photo of yeahnatenelson
4.05/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance -- Pours a deep mahogany hue with a massive stiff tan head.

Smell -- Cocoa, malted milk, cafe mocha, figs, rum raisin, toasted malt, herbal hops. Very aromatic.

Taste -- An abundance of sweet, malty notes: figs, rum-soaked raisins, toffee, molasses, mild roast coffee, dark chocolate, and malted milk. There's a big push of herbal/menthol hop flavor toward the finish that makes for a chocolate-covered Ricola-type flavor.

Mouthfeel -- Medium in body with ample foamy carbonation. Feels nice, not unlike a nice Quad.

Drinkability -- Very interesting, sort of a Scotch Ale come American Barleywine. I wouldn't call this a quintessential Wee Heavy, but it is quite unique and drinkable. Glad I got my hands on a bottle!

Photo of Beerbuddha
4.5/5  rDev +10.3%
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.

Photo of SilentSabre
4.17/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A 750mL bottle shared among 3 people (myself and 2 others).

Poured up a very dark reddish brown, nearly black, with a finger and a half of sandy, light brown foam. The colour of the body and the look of the foamy cap look quite nice.

The smell on this is terrific. Huge malt in the nose with a noticeable bit of fruit, particularly cherries. Not that artificial cherry candy smell, but the same 'realistic' cherry smell one gets from Bell's Cherry Stout. Very nice, indeed!

Big malt flavour, as expected, with a bit of dark fruit such as cooked raisins; reminds me a bit of tawny port, though not that extreme. Very tasty.

Quite viscous; flirting with being oily, but in a good way. Very low carbonation.

All things considered, I feel this is quite drinkable, though I also feel carving this up with two friends was the way to go. The 8,5%abv is very, very well concealed, but given the weight in the mouth, I don't know if I'd want all 750mL on my stomach at once...
A hell of a Scotch Ale, though..very well crafted, for sure!!

Photo of cbak999
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%
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.

Photo of Tabni
4.77/5  rDev +16.9%
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!

Photo of SFLpunk
3.96/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

750mL capped brown glass champagne bottle. No date.

Pours a deep, but clear, mahogany with creamy tan head that stands up tall. Nose is a little smoky with lots of molasses and dark caramel, plus some earthy-forest-floor type aromas. Palate is big and sweet, but bitter and finessed at the same time. Lots of toasted/roasted barley. Smoky again from the malt and malt bitterness is present too...black malt? Balance is achieved in some strange way though. As the beer warms the malt bill starts to remind me of the JW Lees Harvest ales. A little bitter, a little smoky and pretty caramel-sweet.

Notes: This is perhaps the most complex and pleasant Scotch ales I've ever had. Drinkability suffers only because it's SO big! A real must!

Photo of GbVDave
4.1/5  rDev +0.5%
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.

Photo of Jwale73
4.13/5  rDev +1.2%
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.

Photo of russpowell
4.14/5  rDev +1.5%
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

Photo of zeff80
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Good scotch ale appearance. It had cloudy/murky dark brown tones with a small, off-white head of thick foam. Nice retention and some lacing.

S - It smelled of peat and moss with a smoky aroma, too.

T - Good flavor blend of smoke, earthy hops and sweet caramel malt.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium bodied beer that was somewhat chewy.

D - This is a very nice scotch ale/wee heavy. Glad I got to try this one.

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Big Sound Scotch Ale from Cigar City Brewing
91 out of 100 based on 602 ratings.