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Big Sound Scotch Ale - Bourbon Barrel Aged - Cigar City Brewing

Not Rated.
Big Sound Scotch Ale - Bourbon Barrel AgedBig Sound Scotch Ale - Bourbon Barrel Aged

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BA SCORE
97
world-class

570 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 570
Reviews: 85
rAvg: 4.38
pDev: 8.22%
Wants: 353
Gots: 160 | FT: 16
Brewed by:
Cigar City Brewing visit their website
Florida, United States

Style | ABV
Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy |  8.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: cjgator3 on 06-16-2009

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 570 | Reviews: 85
Photo of Jimbok232
4.49/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big bourbon flavors but it is an amazing complement to the taste. I picked up alot dark fruits, vanilla and cinnamon on the back end.

Photo of chinchill
4.12/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

At the RBWG-2015.
Cloudy brown south a limited head.
Plenty of bbl effect. Perhaps a tad too sweet.
Thick full Syrupy body with medium light carbonation.
Lots of whisky [Heaven Hill? ).

Photo of cheesy26
3.54/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

Tons of Dark fruit, very little barrel. I prefer the regular version to the BA variant.

Photo of Davepoolesque
4.21/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Straight caramel, vanilla, toasted oak and toffee. Getting a hint of cinnamon. Thick. A little bit one noted, but it was a delicious one note.

Photo of TX-Badger
4.47/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a dark brown color with lightly tan colored head. Bourbon, caramel, vanilla, oak, and some dark fruits on the nose; follows onto the palate. Finishes with sweetness, and a bourbon warmth. Very complex.

Photo of Johnny_Danger
3.24/5  rDev -26%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Not a fan of this beer .

Photo of ILMbrew
4.5/5  rDev +2.7%

Really rich and smooth. Still though, I think I prefer Backwoods.

Photo of floridadrift
5/5  rDev +14.2%

Happy Birthday to Roland.

A: Dark blackish brown body with bone white head. Beautiful

T: So good. One of the best I've had. Bourbon compliments but doesnt take away from the Scotch Ale itself with its sweetness and figs and dates and vanilla oaky-ness.

M: Creamy and perfect to the swallow.

O: Try to find this, its worth it. Or find it next year. A gentlemen's upgrade to the original Big Sound.

Photo of mdfb79
4.35/5  rDev -0.7%

From 10/28/14 notes. 750ML bottle poured into my Cigar City snifter.

Pours a deep mahogany brown color with one inch of light tan head and moderate carbonation evident. Lots of bourbon, raisins, chocolate, caramel malts, toffee, toasted malts, and some burnt malts. Taste has more dark fruits and caramel. Medium body and low carbonation, the body is SUPER smooth and creamy...no heat at all and crazy easy to drink.

Overall I really like this one; I thought it was great and one of the better scotch ales I've ever had. I like the base beer and this is an improvement. I love how much flavor there is and how good the bourbon is yet this is still drinkable and not hot at all...very impressive. Worth seeking out.

Photo of gjoker321
4.25/5  rDev -3%

Very tasting, second best vintage of Big Sound I have had.

Photo of GallowsThief
4.51/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Out of a bomber into my tulip.
A – Deep and dark. Tiny bit of light chocolate head that dissipated quickly. Leaves almost no lacing.
S – Bourbon and lots of it. Sweet molasses and syrup.
T – Nice strong bourbon flavor floods this one. Not nearly as sweet as the nose. Traces of molasses, toffee, brown sugar and vanilla. As it warms up you get a nice caramel flavor as well. Great mix of the sweet flavors and bourbon make you feel the ABV but no real burn.
M – Lightly carbonated with a smooth and creamy mouthfeel.
O – Yep it’s a hit in my book. Love the bourbon flavor and the mix of sweet. Do yourself a favor and let this one warm up. It’s worth the wait.

Photo of ronricorossi
4.5/5  rDev +2.7%

bottle from a trade - you can tell from the first hit of the nose, immediately after taking the cap off, that it's outstanding. Thick toffee and dark fruit and caramel, and bourbon, vanilla, chocolate from the barrel. Strongly sweet on the back end. One of the better barrel aged beers out there. Another Cigar City success.

Photo of Greywulfken
4.5/5  rDev +2.7%

A: murky brown body with a slim filmy cap that slipped quickly into a thin collar

S: boozy dark fruits and figs and dates; toffee sweetness; vanilla and wood bourbon notes

T: dates soaked in bourbon whiskey; rich dark fruits richly fermenting; lush and plush and earthy and rustic; vanilla and liquor, brown sugar caramel and toffee; evades being too sweet

M: solid medium weight, subtle carbonation, smooth but with some tingle of spice; drying vapors in the roof of the mouth

O: this was a no-brainer - the Scotch ale's sugar character and fruit impressions are a natural setting for bourbon barrel aging - the vanilla and booze of the bourbon, plus the drying of the barrel vapors creates a decadent fruity array of aroma, flavor and feel.

Photo of timc100
4.65/5  rDev +6.2%

Pours dark for a scotch ale - great creamy beige head. Fantastically rich aroma of toffee, caramel, bourbon, oak, oaky vanilla and sweet brown sugar and some very light sweet smoke. A lot of chocolate as it warms Very rich whiskey and caramel. Tastes very smooth - rich barrel, whiskey, and scotch ale flavors. Finishes with booze, toffee, caramel, and chocolate. Crazy, but brings positive dark lord qualities to mind.

CCB kills another BA beer. They are at the top of the game, and this is outstanding.

Photo of BMMillsy
4.43/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from Total Wine right near the brewery in Tampa. Pours dark brown color with a big khaki head on top. Big whiskey aromas, vanilla, caramel, molasses, oak. The bourbon is strong with this one. Big rich vanilla, caramel, dark fruit, molasses, bourbon is so smooth here. Lots of wood as well. Big and rich mouthfeel as usual from these guys, low plus carbonation, oh yeah. Another beautiful barrel aged beer from CCB. Yum.

Photo of silverking
4.38/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

A- opaque black with a cola colored rim. Thin, creamy khaki head with good retention and beautiful lacing.

S- intense aromas of bourbon and oak intermingled with toffee and dried dates. Really intense. It has a slightly smoky edge to it.

T- just like the aroma, oak dominates. Lots of toffee and raisin, and dates as well. I get a nondescript nuttiness as well. A lot of alcohol is present, giving an intense warming effect.

M- thick, rich and creamy. Light carbonation. Warming.

O- a very solid release from Cigar City.

Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.45/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by Bob at Curran's tasting.

Pours a clear dark brown, sort of the color of caramel, with a half inch head, and only the smallest amount of lacing.

Smells like caramel, bourbon, some toasted malt, and toffee.

Great taste here. Some peat smoke, brown sugar, toffee, bourbon, burnt sugar, and a slightly boozey twinge. Some vanilla and coconut flavors from the barreling, as well.

Medium bodied, slick and smooth mouthfeel, very drinkable, because of the low amount of present alcohol.

Another great one, this night killed me.

Photo of jlindros
4.29/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

One I cracked at the CCB bottle share, thanks to mposha (Reddit) for sharing.

Decent creamy fizzy head, dark molasses brown color.

Nose sweet malts, some bourbon and vanilla barrel notes, cognac fruit and sweet malt, toffee, candy dark fruit, toffee, etc.

Taste sweet candy malts, toffee, caramel, juicy barrel and bourbon juice, toffee, caramel, dark candied fruits and a little nutty.

Mouth fuller bod, decent but lighter carb, some warming booze.

Photo of rudzud
4.18/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Thanks to JLindros for sharing.

A - Poured into a Kate the Great tulip a nice clear dark brown hue with a thin mocha halo.

S - Aromas of bourbon, malts, caramel.

T - Taste is sweet, raisin bourbon, malts, delicious.

M - Mouthfeel is creamy, lightly carbonated.

O - Overall this beer was tasty, super smooth.

Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.29/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle opened on 1.25.14

A - Pours a motor oil black with a foamy light brown head that just sits there.

S - Lots of chocolate up-front, then some bourbon, sweet.

T - Sweet bourbon, then caramel and vanilla follow.

D - Good carbonation with a heavy body.

O - Sweet, but nice flavors hit you in layers. Good stuff.

Photo of shand
4.6/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2012 vintage.

Bourbon Barrel Big Sound is bourbony, oaky, velvety smooth goodness. This is one of the first times I've had a BBA beer that actually tempers the sweetness of the base beer. Big Sound off the shelf is tasty, but runs a touch too sweet for me. Somehow this is better. The mouthfeel is outstanding here, it's got a medium-bodied, ridiculously velvety feel. Basically, BBA Big Sound is amazing.

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.74/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bottle (2009 vintage drank in 2013): Poured a cloudy dark burgundy color ale with a small dark brown foamy head with light retention and some light lacing. Aroma of bourbon notes with light vanilla with a heavy malt base with quite a bit of residual sugars. Taste is also dominated by heavy caramel malt with quite bit of residual sugar with some medium bourbon notes with light vanilla notes. Body is full with medium carbonation and light warming alcohol notes. Drank very well for a four year old beer but ultimately this beer is a sipper and can’t be enjoyed in large quantities.

Photo of tectactoe
4.09/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Mike for pulling out this beauty at the tasting. It looks like a liquid, mahogany, wooden bureau with decent clarity at the edges. The middle would be clear, too, if the hue wasn't so cohesively dark. The tan head foams up quick and slowly settles to a collar that looks a bit lighter in color.

Deep and heavy bourbon infiltrates the aroma, complete with other various components you'd expect from a wee heavy; dark fruit sweetness, prunes, dates, some malty, brown sugar, a hint of caramel and black licorice, with a finishing note of smoke. The bourbon is not lost at all, and actually I'd go so far as to say it's the strongest part of the aroma by far.

For a second, I thought I accidentally took a sip from the glass of Buffalo Trace on the table; this sucker has such an enormous bourbon presence, and even a raw, whiskey-ish feel. If muscles were bourbon, Barrel Aged Big Sound would be Arnold Schwarzenegger. Less than 1% body fat, for real, dead lifting a car and takin' straight shots of whiskey to the dome.

Plums, sweet dates, brown sugar and a river of smooth and sweet toffee give the bourbon an extra leg with which to stand on, and they do their best to balance. Once you get a little more acquainted to the bourbon, the other flavors start to stand out a bit more. More fruit, more caramel and brown sugar, and a finishing touch of oak and toffee.

The bourbon will leave a lasting impression on your palate, long after the beer is gone, and it is accentuated by the fact that this beer feels way bigger than it really is. I couldn't believe it was only 8.5% ABV - it's very bourbon heavy and the body is quite large; creamy, smooth, thick, and heavy overall. Barrel Aged Big Sound flexes like a madman.

Very good beer, and probably the only time I've called an 8.5% ABV beer a "slow sipper", but it's eminently true here. I actually think it would benefit with some age, giving the bourbon a chance to mingle and settle in with the rest of the flavors and hopefully form a bond for the greater good. As it stands - still a great beer, just a bit hot at the moment.

Photo of KickInTheChalice
4.56/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

From notes. Poured from a 750 mL bottle into a tulip. From notes.

Bourbon Barrel Big Sound has a full, opaque brown color in the glass. There was a tiny head on top after the initial pour, but it faded to nothing rather quickly.

The nose is a sign of good things to come. Bourbon, oak, and vanilla gracefully step in brown of caramel, burnt sugar, orchard fruits, and peat.

Typical Scotch Ale sweetness starts off the flavor, with brown sugar and toffee leading the way. Quickly the bourbon barrels send the rest of the sip on a less sweet trajectory, smoothing out the sugars with a nice bourbon and vanilla presence. There is general fruitiness in the middle of the sip that works nicely with the other flavors as well. Woody oak notes blend well with the peat notes in the original beer. The end finishes smooth, with the flavors coming together and wrapping up nicely.

Where I may be most impressed with this beer is in the body. Not only does the beer survive the barrel aging process with its body intact, it actually drinks bigger than the 8.5% that it is. It seems that instead of wearing away at the body, the barrel aging process only removed some of the sweetness and added a smoothness to the texture that I like. If anything, the carbonation seems a little light.

Cigar City has done a very good job with their barrel program. Nearly every beer they have chosen to age in barrels has emerged better than when it went in.

Photo of BEERchitect
4.21/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

With a big emphasis on sweetness, Big Sound uses the two headed monster of malt and booze to create a strong and savory taste that drinks like a meal. ...or at least the dessert part.

Very dark brown and cast with complete opaqueness, the beer simply looks malty as its heavy haze and darkness carries a visual weight that's uncompromising. A slow rise of creamy foam tops the glass with mousse proportions. As the head slowly creeps back into thec beer it trails with spotted lacing patterns. A swirl of the glass shows brandy-like legging to accompany the pocketed lace.

Its deep malt richness layers on the nose with Dopplebock-like character as its earthen peat elements are shy to show. And then the bourbony undertow offers up sultry caramel, vanilla, aged oak and undeniable booze. Walnut, chocolate, molasses, and coffee are all represented, as well as the estery profile of grape, cherry, date, and fig.

To taste, the beer seeps into the taste buds with a sweet and savory taste that melts the palate and the soul. Toffee, smoky chocolate and rum project early on and with high intensity. But then the toastier, peppery, tobacco, and coffee-ish earthen tones set in at mid palate- and then the late charge of unmistakably bourbon, cherry, oak and tepid wood-derived bitterness.

Full bodied, full flavored, and long lasting- the ale clings on to all the surfaces of the mouth and are reluctant to release. All that residual sweetness lingers indefinitely and keeps the beer much more of a sipping ale than a drinking one. Warm, peppery, and mildly earthen- the tannin and phenolic spice do little to balance the textures and keep the beer squarely focused on malt.

Complex as hell, but palate fatigue falls on the mouth as I meander through a mere glass of the ale. It begs for a side accompaniment of tangy sharp cheddar, cheesecake, or a fragrant Churchill cigar for both reprieve and for completeness.

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Big Sound Scotch Ale - Bourbon Barrel Aged from Cigar City Brewing
97 out of 100 based on 570 ratings.