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Big Sound Scotch Ale | Cigar City Brewing

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BA SCORE
91
outstanding
197 Reviews
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BEER STATS
Reviews:
197
Ratings:
686
Avg:
4.09
pDev:
10.27%
 
 
Wants:
190
Gots:
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21
Big Sound Scotch AleBig Sound Scotch Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Cigar City Brewing
Florida, United States | website

Style: Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.50%

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

Added by cjgator3 on 12-05-2008

User Reviews
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Reviews: 197 | Ratings: 686
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 bhalter8
4.2/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark, ruby red with a tan, one finger head. Decent retention on the head, but not much lacing left around the glass. A nice sweet malt aroma, but not too strong. There is a cornucopia of caramel, brown sugar, and a little chocolate. In short, it smells very sweet! The taste is much more strong than the aroma would indicate. Although, one thing the aroma hinted to is there, sweet, very sweet flavor. There is the same mix of caramel, brown sugar, and chocolate, but it is far more pronounced. I continue to be impressed, and amazed, by the strong flavor CCB packs in to every brew. It might not always be exactly to style, but it is delicious. A rather thick mouthfeel and fair amount of alcohol make this one a bit of a slower drinker. There is also a bit of a bitterness bite at the back-end that slowed me down. Overall, another great offering from CCB.

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Photo of DosBeerigos
2.75/5  rDev -32.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

C. Cloudy almost like mud
H. Brown
N. Very little odor at all

Ok this beer on cask was good, but it didn't come across with the same flavors. Actually it sorta tasted similar to how it looked, muddy. Personal opinion stick to the mature carbonated version of this mean scotch ale

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Photo of radioscooter
4.7/5  rDev +14.9%
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.

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Photo of Netdigger2
4.29/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml poured into a 16oz Duvel tulip.

Pours hazy brown, about an inch of tan head and good lacing. Tons of yeast dregs in this bottle, probably 2-3oz in the bottom.

Smell has a bit of a caramel and scotch playing against each other, no real hop on the nose, but you can almost make out maple syrup or brown sugar.

Taste is maple syrup, scotch, light aroma hops, brown sugar and crystal malt.

Mouthfeel is good with strong carbonation, full body.

Overall, great brew, wish it were available here.

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Photo of jbone78
4.38/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Hello,
Went to the brewery a few weeks ago and picked up some of their brews at the nearby store.

A- I think I had a bad pour, I'm excited! Poured dark red, nearly brown. But, I can't comment on the head because I ruined that.
S- I don't think I can smell. I don't pick up much scents sometimes. I do smell the roasted malty character, but that's about it.
T- Very nice complex flavor! Roasted Malts, sugars,great, nuts, alcohol all blend well.
I like!
M- Even with the very malty taste, which is common with Scotch Ales, you don't have a huge sticky after taste. Very smooth, balanced, clean!

-Bye

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Photo of cbak999
4.15/5  rDev +1.5%
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.

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Photo of mtvolkens
4.34/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Very dark in glass. Almost black until you pick up the glass and see deep red color with a tan head that is not falling. A slight milk chocolate upfront with an immediate alcohol hit. You can feel it as you swallow and it finishes with a sweet cream finish. Very very good scotch ale.

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Photo of RossCain
2.82/5  rDev -31.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Purchased from CCB taproom in March 2011, Review from late October. Poured from a 750ml bottle into a snifter.

A: Murky brown in color, the brew pours viscous and thick with a pillowy, tan colored head. Clingy webs attach themselves to the sides of the glass with rings of thick bubbles.

S: Malty upfront showcasing a bit of char mixed with some hints of dark fruit. Unfortunately, a waft of infection resides in the finish, throwing the aroma off and dashing the full enjoyment.

T: Bold, char roasted malt notes imparted with a wood like taste. Bing cherries come through with a nice sweetness backed by the familiar scotch tastes of char and peat. Sour/tart in the finish due to a noticeably nascent infection, again hampering the true potential of the beer.

M: Thick, full-bodied, and chewy brew as expected from CCB. Assertive mouth feel with slightly tingly carbonation and a smooth aftertaste. Finishes with a satisfying alcohol warming and definitely a slow sipper.

O: I was aging this beer for a short amount of time only to be let down a second time by CCB due to an apparent lack of quality control. The onset of infection in noticeable in the beer, especially given the 1/4 inch of yeasty sediment residing in the bottom of the bottle. It's a shame because from the flavors that were in the beer, I can tell I would have enjoyed it much more were it not for the constant reminder of the detracting infected flavors. I finished about half of the bottle before my drain received the rest. Not bad but not worth drinking.

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Photo of Tabni
4.77/5  rDev +16.6%
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!

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Photo of hmf05
4.55/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark brown with a three finger fizzy tan head. I see tons and tons of bubbles rising to the top which is surprising to me. Didn't expect to see so much carbonation. The smells is sour cherries, toffee, caramel, and some smoke. Smells nice. The tase is out of this world. I get sweet cherries up front, followed by toffee and caramel. The smoke is there in the finish, but to call this "smokey" would be an overstatement. Mouthfeel is creamy and well carbonated. Overall, very surprised in how much I am enjoying this. While the brew is sweet, it is not cloying like syrup. The ABV is well hidden as well. Just another solid brew from Cigar City. My only complaint is that I would have preferred a more defined smokiness, but that is just nitpicking. This is an incredible beer.

***Update:

As the brew warms, I am getting more and more smoke on the nose and in the taste. Truly an exceptional beer. At first, this didn't really meet the Scotch Ale style, but the traditional style comes out more and more as the beer warms. This is a beer that should be drunk at no colder than 50 degrees. I originally scored this as an "A," but this is an A+ beer. One of the best beers that has passed through these lips.

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Photo of zep9865
4.38/5  rDev +7.1%
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.

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Photo of aahynick
4.63/5  rDev +13.2%
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!.

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

pours an almost pitch black caramel color. nice head. retention is long. lacing is quite quite nice.

nose is rich. a ton of things in here, but predominant caramel, malt, chocolate, burnt toast flavors.

first thing you notice is the sweetness. reminds me a lot of the ST creme brulee. much milder. i want to describe the flavor as oblong in shape. sweet, but the sweetness is incredible. complex. rich. flavorful. no bitterness on the finish. reminds me also of marshall zhukov. less RIS flavors.

mouthfeel is amazing. velvety. great carbonation.

it's a great beer but calling it a scotch ale is a little....

it's a super amplified scotch ale. clearly a great beer, but not my thing. it's like an american treated scotch ales like he would treat an ipa or an RIS. i prefer more toned down scotch ales. would really taste good with a fruit pie of some sort

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Photo of barfootbandit
4.93/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured this beer from a bomber. This beer was phenomenal and probably one of the best scotch ales I have ever had. Very dark color with aromas of peated scotch-y malts. Scotch-y flavors are present with hints of caramel, toffee, and roasted malt. Scotch-y peated flavors are similar to flavors from Islay whiskey casks. An 8.5% ABV helps the overall taste as well and makes this a hearty beer. Absolutely loved this beer and highly recommend it.

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Photo of ahatcher78
4.03/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A massive thanks to my sister for picking some of this up in Orlando on her way through. Six bottles? thats above and beyond! Serving type bottle poured gingerly into my Slyfox Tulip Pint.

Pours a deep brown with a substantial cream colored head that held on for awhile. Hints of a deep ruby or amber peaking through from time to time. Lacing doesn't really stick around but it's there.

Smells of malt and dark fruit. No...seriously every dark fruit you can imagine seems to be there.

Tastes of malt,a hint of chocolate,and dark fruits. A little sweet. Hey, where's the alcohol? Not to be found. Uh-oh

Mouthfeel good carbonation,and it's a tounge coater.

Drinkability again is good. Not my favorite style, but very good.

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Photo of jcreegan
3.52/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 750 into a snifter glass.

A- dark color. Darker the expected, almost porter like. 2 finger golden head quickly dissapeared and left no lacing.

S- very sweet. Hints of coffee, Carmel, and cherry. You can also smell the alcohol.

T- sweet and roasty. Hints of cherry, coffee, and malts. You can definitely taste the alcohol. A little bit of bitterness at the end of each sip.

M- light carbonation. Very smooth. A little syrupy.

O- too sweet to me. An ok beer but Not sure I would drink again.

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Photo of LMO1190
4.74/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Looks. Nice dark brown color. About 3 fingers of head on pour in a sniffer.

Smell= Very malty , sweet, with dark fruits. Smells awesome.

Taste= Caramel, Figs, vanilla.

Feels, very smooth.


This beer is a must have. I am going to get a few bottles and cellar it. Good stuff!!!

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Photo of orock25
4.13/5  rDev +1%
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.

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Photo of Steeeve
4.35/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very dark and viscous looking pour with a thin medium tan head. Looks the part of a porter. Very sweet and fruity aroma. A lot of dried dark fruit notes along with some berries, caramel, toffee, and even subtle hints of chocolate and leather. Flavor is very sweet, but not cloying. Underlying fruit notes are quickly displaced by roasty and coffee flavors. Rich caramel and toffee flavors interplay wonderfully. Definitely improves as it nears room temperature. Palate is thick and full, with a lingering sweetness on the finish. A little off-kilter (pun intended) for the style but extremely well-made and delicious. One of my new favorite scotch ales. Would love to try this in barrel-aged form.

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Photo of drgoose23
4.68/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Bought this bad boy last year at the brewery and loved it so much that I had a friend that visited Tampa a couple weeks after to bring me another one because it loved it so much. Can't wait until the new one comes out because I will be hoarding them for a year just like I'm doing with the bottle my buddy brought me. IF you can get your hands on this do yourself a FAVOR.

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Photo of atlaShrugged
4.58/5  rDev +12%
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.

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Big Sound Scotch Ale from Cigar City Brewing
91 out of 100 based on 197 ratings.