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Big Sound Scotch Ale - Cigar City Brewing

Not Rated.
Big Sound Scotch AleBig Sound Scotch Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
91
outstanding

582 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 582
Reviews: 182
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 10.78%
Wants: 179
Gots: 144 | FT: 13
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:
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 added by: cjgator3 on 12-05-2008)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 582 | Reviews: 182 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of SFLpunk
4/5  rDev -2%
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
4.18/5  rDev +2.5%
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.

Photo of robwestcott
3.75/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

poured aggressively from the bottle a thick, dark reddish brown to a dogfish head signature glass with a frothy, finger and a half mocha colored head that leaves a nice bit of lace as it slowly recedes.

aroma of malt, and dark fruits, fig, plums, and raisins, followed by an almost cloying sweet caramel sugar and vanilla extract.

a very sweet tasting beer, again, dark fruits are forward, figs and plums in particular followed by vanilla. very malty, and if there's a hops presence, i cannot place it.

medium carbonation, smooth and sweet to the tongue.

drinkable enough, i'll be emptying the 750ml bottle tonight.

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

Review from notes taken on 6/5/10.

Firkin made available during Philly beer week. Served in a small snifter approximately 6oz pour. It appears a cloudy brown color with a creamy offwhite head that laces in a solid wall about the glass. Sweet caramel malt filled nose has a slight citrus hop bite before the rest of the malt aromas fills the nose with other dark fruity suggestions and a bit of vanilla. The taste is quite appealing, this is a very solid example of scotch ale. Malt flavors all over the place with a kick of alcohol and hop bitterness. The malt is represented with flavors of chocolate, vanilla, caramel and some suggestions of dark skinned fruit. Feel with this beer is full with a mild level of carbonation. There is a lingering flavor of chocolate and alcohol that mingles with some hops left in the mouth. Overall an awesome brew.

Photo of joepais
4.35/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

Thanks Grant for the treat. Pored this one into a large snifter sitting by a camp fire. I must say it may have influenced my score some by adding to the experience I even lit up a Liga Privada no.9 for my second glass which paired prefect in my book. The brew had a tan colored head on top of a dark brown body, and the head lasted leaving great lacing on the side of the glass.

Big roasted malt aromas' come from this brew, so you get some coffee espresso notes. Now It might have been the campfire but I did get a slight hint of smoke LOL. It had a medium to light body. I wished for a tad more probably my only knock on the brew.

The flavor was great, it had a healthy amount of sweet caramel malts to me with the right amount of roasted bitters to keep this brew well balanced. Again I did get some smokiness to it as well, but like I said the atmosphere enhanced this one.

A great scotch ale well worth the effort to obtain. The drinkability was off the charts for me. I would love another bottle (hint)

Photo of prototypic
4.33/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big Sound pours a dark, nut brown color. Light cutting through gives it a golden brown look. A caramel colored head covers the top and stands about two and a half fingers tall. It's very slow to recede. Lacing was certainly sticky, but light.

The nose is impressive. It's chock full of malts...brown, caramel, and a little chocolate. There's a bit of a sweet smell to it. But, a light cocoa/chocolate presence is also noted. Roasted coffee is relatively prominent. That's welcome in my book. It blends well with the wealth of malt present. Alcohol is blended well and isn't very noticeable. Smells good to this guy.

The flavor is excellent. Probably even a little better than the nose. This stuff hits on all cylinders! It kicks off with a sweet, caramel/toffee flavor. The brown/caramel/chocolate malt base is very strong. Light chocolate and cocoa flavors aren't as strong as the caramel, but they're duly noted. Coffee is probably the x-factor here. It adds quality depth and strong character to the overall flavor. Alcohol is masked well and goes largely unnoticed. It finishes sweet with a touch of java. Very impressive.

Big Sound has a medium body. It's very smooth due to light carbonation. More body would probably add something here, but I can't complain too much. Drinkability is very high. This is a quality Scotch Ale that's simply delicious. It might be a little hefty, but it's going down like a dream.

This is my first beer from Cigar City Brewing. I must say, it's a big time winner in just about every respect. Big Sound is a fantastic Scotch Ale. Its greatest attribute is the coffee flavor. It really ramps up the flavor a lot. It doesn't have any big weak points. More body would probably improve the feel a little. Otherwise - spot on! Go find a bottle.

Photo of aahynick
4.68/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

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

S- chocolate and peat

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

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

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

Photo of atlaShrugged
4.63/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle from St Pete Total Wine

a - deep brown, good head retention, lacing

s - toffee and caramel

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

m - medium to full bodied, mild carbonation

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

Photo of Mora2000
4.22/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Exiled for sharing this bottle.

The beer pours a dark brown color with a tan head. The aroma is caramel and toffee malt with some smoke and chocolate. I also get some woody and oak notes even though the beer is not barrel aged as far as I know. The flavor is heavy on the milk chocolate with some light smoke and toffee. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation. One of the better Scotch Ales I have tried.

Photo of FleeVT
4.3/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Brown bomber with a little piece about the brew, no dates anywhere on the bottle.

Pours a deep mahogany with tan pillowy head. Carbonation bubble are big. The nose is sweet with roasted malts. Lots of toffee, hints of dark berries, and maybe a touch of molasses. A mild alcohol undertone but it is inviting. A nice full mouth with perfect texture, not too much carbonation. More sweetness on the tongue, with berries and toffee coming through again. It warms the throat, then leaves you with lip licking sweetness that is fantastic. This is a hell of a beer and a best in class for the style. I would pair it with dessert, or some gamey meat.

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

Had this one on firkin at Capones 6.5.10 during the CCB Philly Beer Week event they had.

Appearance: Pours a brown dominant shade of mahogany with a nice 2 finger dirty khaki crown that exhibits some retention and good lace.

Smell: Lightly roasted scotch malt, hint of honey, slight chocolate covered raisins note.

Taste: Same as nose.

Mouthfeel: Nice creamy head, thick side of medium bodied and better than the standard tap version in my opinion.

Drinkability: Not bad considering the abv.

Photo of WeisGuy
4.13/5  rDev +1.2%
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.

Photo of ffejherb
4.28/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dispensed via firkin at Capone's on 6/5/10 during Cigar City event for Philly Beer Week.

A - Appeared as an extremely murky, cloudy earthy brown liquid with a flimsy beige head that disappeared completely.

S - Rich and malty nose with plenty of caramel, toffee and vanilla as well as a hint of floral notes. After some time, a coffee and roasted malt character develops, adding a bit of depth to the aroma.

T - The initial flavor incorporates much of the same rich, sweet toffee and caramel attributes found in the aroma. Vanilla and traces of sugar candy are also apparent, as well as a hint of coffee. Finishes with a leafy, earthy hop bite and lots of chocolate character in the backend.

M - Medium bodied with a smooth texture, resulting in a fairly silky mouthfeel. Finishes with subtle bitterness and a hint of dryness on the palate.

D - This is a tasty-ass Scotch Ale, although I think I was a bit more floored when I had this from the bottle. Of course, that was my first-ever Cigar City brew, so my memory may be a bit skewed. All in all, this is an outstanding beer.

Photo of BARFLYB
4.53/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo of philbe311
4.43/5  rDev +8.6%
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...

Photo of rfgetz
3.68/5  rDev -9.8%
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.

Photo of oglmcdgl
4.88/5  rDev +19.6%
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.

Photo of alpinebryant
4.33/5  rDev +6.1%
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.

Photo of jeffthecheff
4.33/5  rDev +6.1%
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.

Photo of Ineedabeerhere
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%
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.

Photo of DefenCorps
4.4/5  rDev +7.8%
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!

Photo of cpetrone84
3.98/5  rDev -2.5%
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.

Big Sound Scotch Ale from Cigar City Brewing
91 out of 100 based on 582 ratings.