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

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Big Sound Scotch Ale - Bourbon Barrel AgedBig Sound Scotch Ale - Bourbon Barrel Aged

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BA SCORE
95
world-class

82 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 82
Hads: 595
rAvg: 4.31
pDev: 2.09%
Wants: 358
Gots: 156 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 82 | Hads: 595
Photo of Jeffo
3.54/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Got this rare gem from boatshoes a while back. Thanks again for all the fun trades man. Always a pleasure. Drank this one right after a fresh bottle of the base beer.

From a 750ml bottle into a snifter
Vintage: 2009
Bottle 167 of 246
Red wax

APPEARANCE: Pours a one finger, ver loose looking, fizzy, light tan head with decent retention. Head fades to a splotchy wisp and ring. A perfectly clear bistre brown body with no carbonation evident. Light ring remains but leaves no lacing by the end. Ends a bit flat looking. Basically the same as the fresher base beer, but the head was even thinner perhaps.

SMELL: Oak and wood with much of the base beer still there. Leather, dark fruits, with some nice toffee and caramel aromas as well. Milder bourbon qualities are there, and this is milder on the nose overall, though the barrel does contribute another layer to this. Quite nice.

TASTE: The base beer is still there for sure, then with some bourbon, oak and vanilla coming out nicely after the swallow. Leather, dark fruits, grape flavors, as well as some nice toffee and caramel sweetness though the middle and into the barrel flavored finish. Some milk chocolate there as well. Medium aftertaste shows a nice balance between the sweet base beer and barrel components and lingers nicely on the palate. A pleasant drink, and more complex than the base beer.

PALATE: Medium body and carbonation with enough weight on the palate. Not all that creamy, a touch prickly on the palate perhaps, goes down fine and finishes rather sticky for the style. More weight than the base beer, but not quite as creamy, unfortunately.

OVERALL: A bit of an improvement on the original, as the barrel adds complexity to the base beer instead of dominating it, but at the same time, it's not quite as bold as I'd hoped and the palate could be a little creamier. I never had this beer fresh, but if I had to wager a guess, I would say that this has held up alright. However, I can imagine it was better fresh, and it is a 8.5% beer, so if you're holding onto one of these, you might think about doing something with it while it's still decently enjoyable. Cheers again for the trade boatshoes! (2,184 characters)

Photo of rev3rb
3.63/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottom Line Up Front: A big, malty, complex ale that has many factors to it. This is not a beer to expect or drink lightly.

Decanted a 26 oz. bomber in a goblet.

Appearance: Very dark almost black with a very thin white head that dissipates quickly. I was in a darker room though so it might have more of a deeper color than what I could perceive.

Smell: The aroma of bourbon is very predominant. Aromas of dark fruit also prevalent.

Taste: There is very complex malty taste to this beer. Lots of dark fruits throughout the palette. Finishing with a light bourbon aftertaste. Also warm and boozy.

Mouthfeel: This beer is quite heavy almost sticky on the palette.

Overall: This is a good strong ale definitely not for the weak of heart... or palette. Sip this one. (772 characters)

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.74/5  rDev -13.2%
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. (585 characters)

Photo of Sammy
3.9/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Clear winner of our horizontal tasting, thanks Tom. Big brown coloured beer. The bourbon is there in the aroma and the taste and dominant, but it was well done. Fuller mouthfeel, caramel, . Woody, characteristics of Coconut and vanilla, a sipper in drinkability.Some smoke, good for the style. (293 characters)

Photo of jeonseh
3.93/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle shared at NWI tasting group bottle share

A - Dark brown with a light oak accent on the sides. It also leaves a thick coating as it swirls in the glass. There is only a light amount of foam on the side

S - Malty, light peat, light bourbon sweetness

T - Light caramel sweetness upfront. Then, there is a bourbon sweetness, slight smoky peat and chocolate and roasted malts

MF - Light body and carbonation. Slightly watery. Light oak in the finish

O - Solid scotch ale that has a nice barrel presence that adds a nice sweetness to it (543 characters)

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.96/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle pour at the bottle share held at Chloe's inside Golden Road Brewing in Los Angeles, CA.

Pours a clear super dark crimson-brown with a foamy khaki head that settles to an oily film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of toasted malt, caramel, roasted nuts, and slight bourbon aromas. Taste is much the same with a fruity flavor on the finish. There is a slight alcohol kick with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer with a solid barrel aged presence. (607 characters)

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.97/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Cigar City. Served in a taster.

Appearance - Deep mahogany. No head. Thin collar but not much else.

Smell - Bourbon, but it's not intense. Vanilla and butterscotch. Big caramel maltiness.

Taste - Similar to the smell. Bourbon rounds out a strong caramel and butterscotch. Molasses heaviness. Not too sweet though. Hop presence in the back provides a touch of balancing bitterness.

Mouthfeel - Heavy. It's got some heat too it, but it's not too much from either the beer or the barrel. Lowish carbonation.

Overall - Good. The barrel is nice, but the beer could use more... something. It's a boatload of caramel and some Bourbon. (642 characters)

Photo of homebrew311
4.04/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance is cloudy brown with thin head. Smell is syrupy with notes of vanilla, maple, oak, and a touch of smokey malt. Taste is smooth and mellow with nice vanilla malts paired with sweet malts. A touch of smoke. Mouthfeel is heavy with light carbonation. Overall, nice integration of the barrel. (299 characters)

Photo of BearsOnAcid
4.05/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Dark opaque pour, light brown head.

Big syrupy sweet malty nose. Did this thing ferment? Dark fruit, prunes, raisins, figs, etc. Bourbon, oak, and vanilla. A bit buttery.

Big bourbon and oak backed up by a malty sweetness. Buttery. Tobacco leaves and a little bit of a smokey pork flavor. This is a pretty decadent beer. (322 characters)

Photo of Sean9689
4.05/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours dark brown, light tan head, thin collar, wisps on top. Nose is coconut, bourbon, oak, burnt sugars, caramel. Flavor is coconut and bourbon, some oak, bourbon alcohol hotness that's toned down quite a bit since last time I had this. Caramel, burnt sugars, vanilla on the finish. Body is medium to full, good carbonation, creamy sweet finish.

This is aging nicely, but I think it has another 6 months to a year left...I have one bottle left so I'll report back next time I visit this one. Right now, drinking great, lots of sweetness and the booze is slightly hot. Recommend. (581 characters)

Photo of oline73
4.07/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I had this at the Fluff bottle share before the Jackie O's release. Poured into a goblet.

Appearance: Pours a dark mahogany color with a small amount of off white head that fades quickly.

Smell: This smells really good. Initially I'm thinking sweet bourbon candy. Caramel and vanilla go really well with the malt. There is some dark fruit and bourbon too.

Taste: Thank goodness it is just like the smell. Very sweet with a strong bourbon presence. Brown sugar and vanilla notes with a warm bourbon burn in the finish.

Mouthfeel: The body is on the thick side of medium with hardly any carbonation and a slick finish.

Overall: I'm really glad I was able to try this beer. The bourbon went really well with the other flavors from the beer. I would definitely have another if given the chance. (795 characters)

Photo of tpd975
4.08/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Missed the release but thanks to the CCB boys for taking care of me! Bottle 75/246

A: Pours a very dark amber hue, more brown than red. Nice tall creamy tan head that rises to a full finger. Excellent retention with tons of thick sticky lace. CCB beers really are beautiful in the glass.

S: Wonderful aromas. Lots of toffee, brown sugar, loads of caramel malt. Lots of barrel as well. Old oak, vanilla, and hints of booze.

T: Pretty damn drinkable for a BA brew. Lots of malt sweetness. Toffee forward, brown sugar, and sweet molasses. Hints of apple and dark fruit in the middle. The finish is about the barrel. Not over the top at all, just subtle oak, vanilla, and a touch of booze which compliments the base beer nicely.

M: Medium in body, smooth mouthfeel.

D: Pretty good actually. Not the best barrel aged CCB brew, but the barrel did improve an already solid base brew! (881 characters)

Photo of tectactoe
4.09/5  rDev -5.1%
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. (2,100 characters)

Photo of womencantsail
4.1/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks for the bottle, Eddie.

Pours a murky brownish-amber color with a finger of off-white head. A nice bourbon and vanilla note to it on top of the rich caramel and toffee malt smells. The flavor is quite similar. Heavy bourbon, vanilla, and wood with a strong caramel malt flavor and some brown sugar. Medium bodied with medium carbonation. (344 characters)

Photo of chinchill
4.12/5  rDev -4.4%
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? ). (187 characters)

Photo of thagr81us
4.12/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A massive thanks goes out to bross242 for bringing this one out during cmrillo’s 40 Beers* @ 40 Birthday Bash! Served from bottle into a Cigar City snifter. Poured dark brown with a minimal tan head that subsided to basically none quickly. Maintained decent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, vanilla, wood, sweet alcohol, and dark chocolate. The flavor was of sweet malt, vanilla, caramel, dark chocolate, and sweet alcohol. It had a medium feel on the palate with medium-high carbonation. Overall this was a pretty good brew. I was really put back by the aroma on this one as it was really well balanced and intense. I wish this would have carried over to the flavor, but the flavor was still quite good though. Definitely glad I got the chance to try this one and I suggest you do the same. (828 characters)

Photo of Chico1985
4.12/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Much thanks to Cam for sharing this bottle. Sept 2011 bottling.

Pours what might be an extremely dark red, but may as well be black. Pretty nice tan head, so-so retention. Some legs on the glass.

Good scent, buttery caramel malts, bourbon, brown sugar. Very nice but loses some strength with time.

Sweet and dark caramel, buttery malts and bourbon stick out the most, the bourbon is big but not overbearing. Some dark fruit, vanilla and maple, big oak presence as well.

Smooth and quite velvety mouthfeel, but pretty hot, would've guessed this was maybe 10%.

The booziness dragged this down a bit for me but pretty awesome nonetheless, lots of good flavors here. (667 characters)

Photo of gford217
4.13/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750mL bottle courtesy of a very, very generous Tampa BA, poured into a snifter.

Pours dark brown in the glass with some mahogany hues coming through around the edges. There is a very small tan head that recedes very quickly, leaving a small collar and a swirl of bubbles along the top.

Much like the regular version, I'm not overly impressed with the nose as it's fairly faint and mostly sweet caramel malts and brown sugar. The bourbon is present but definitely not overpowering.

The taste is markedly better than the aroma for me as the malts take on a more smoked peat character in addition to the caramel sweetness. There are dark fruits, raisins and figs, in the middle before the bourbon makes an appearance in the finish leaving a nice burn going down.

The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with soft carbonation and very smooth. Though the smoked peat lends a slight dryness to the finish, it's still a sweet, sugary feel on the palate.

This is a step up from the regular Big Sound for me as the bourbon brings an extra complexity to the taste without being the dominant component. Very nice. (1,106 characters)

Photo of olimpia84
4.15/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Got this on tap during the Hunahpu release event on Sept. 24, 2011. Served on a CCB snifter.

A: very dark brown and opaque body, small head that was less than one finger and disappeared eventually. No lacing.

S: strong coconut smell coupled with hints of cocoa and caramel and sweet malts as well.

T: it follows the nose fairly well with caramel and sweet flavors from cocoa and malts. It also has a liquory taste with hints of coconut and medicinal notes.

M: smooth, full bodied and medium carbonation. Very drinkable and a good job at disguising the alcohol level.

O: another quality offering from CCB, this is a smooth and drinkable strong beer that presents several qualities that stand out.l (701 characters)

Photo of BrownAleMale
4.15/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ML bottle poured into a Sprecher snifter glass

Appearance- Cola like in both the color of the liquid and the head. Head is about a fingers worth and dissipates into a thin surface layer and leaves some nice lacing behind.

Smell- Tons of robust smells right away that includes oak, yeast, vanilla and bourbon.

Taste- Follows the nose with a slight addition of some dark bakers chocolate.

Mouthfeel- It seems a little lighg for the style, but a great smoothness is created between the oak, bourbon and base beer. Also leaves a nice long plesant warming.

Overall- Very easy drinking for a barrel aged beer, but still keeps all the flavors. My only gripe is that the base beer is somewhat lost in the barrel aging. Still very impressed! (741 characters)

Photo of rudzud
4.18/5  rDev -3%
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. (313 characters)

Photo of MasterSki
4.19/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle contributed by me. Served in a Hill Farmstead glass. 2011 vintage.

A - Quick-dissolving tan foam settles to pretty much nothing. A very dark brown, opaque, body with some chestnut highlights to it.

S - Oak, bourbon, caramel apples, burnt sugars, dark fruits, and a low amount of smoke and peat. Surprisingly boozy and barrel-forward for only 8.5% - I'm guessing this picked up some alcohol from the bourbon barrels.

T - Taste is largely similar, but with better-hidden alcohol. Caramel apples, toffee, bourbon, fruity yeast, with some oak presence to balance out the sweet flavors and keep things from getting too cloying or heavy.

M - Smooth, chewy, viscous, with a touch of alcohol warmth, and light residual burnt sugar stickiness. Medium-low carbonation is adequate and unobtrusive. Seems like a bigger beer than 8.5%.

D - This is quite good - I tend not to like Scotch Ales due to overwhelming sweetness, but this one has a nice balance of bourbon barrel and malt flavors. Very glad I managed to get this one over the rum version (which is what I initially wanted). Highly recommended if you're into this style. (1,128 characters)

Photo of Mora2000
4.2/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to llcooldave for sharing this bottle.

The beer pours a dark brown to black color with a tan head. The aroma has some cedar notes, but what really comes through is the roasted malt and bourbon. I also get a hint of menthol in the aroma. The flavor is similar. The cedar is once again present, but it takes a back seat to the heavy oak, vanilla and maple notes. There is also a big whiskey character to the flavor, as well as some roasted malt and quite a bit of chocolate. Thick mouthfeel and medium carbonation. Very nice. (531 characters)

Photo of weeare138
4.2/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to josh for popping this one. Bottle 93/246...
Appears a brownish-red with a small, tan cap that quickly fades into a tiny collar. Spotty bits of lacing are left around the glass.
Smell is of cocoa, vanilla, booze, caramel, and toffee.
Taste is of the aromas with caramel coated apples, mild grapes, and ripe fruit pulling through.
Mouthfeel is chewy, medium bodied, boozy, with sticky, syrupy sweetness. (411 characters)

Photo of BEERchitect
4.21/5  rDev -2.3%
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. (1,917 characters)

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Big Sound Scotch Ale - Bourbon Barrel Aged from Cigar City Brewing
95 out of 100 based on 82 ratings.