Dismiss Notice
Subscribe to BeerAdvocate magazine and get 12 issues / year of fresh beer content delivered to your door each month.

Already subscribe? to manage your subscription.

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
95
world-class

82 Reviews
THE BROS
-
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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 82 | Hads: 595
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 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 brentk56
4.43/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Posts a root beer brown color with a modest head that leaves a smattering of lace behind

Smell: Rich aromatics of peat, bourbon, vanilla, caramel and coconut, with underlying fig and date

Taste: Opens with peated caramel flavors, followed by the dark fruit, vanilla and coconut; by mid-palate, the Bourbon flavors open, bringing a boozy warmth to the profile; the finish is slightly harsh, though the complexity shines through

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with low to moderate carbonation; considerable warmth in the gullet

Overall: One of the best of the Cigar City brews I have tried; the barrel treatment is pronounced but not dominant and complements the other flavors in the malt profile

Thanks, donttazemebro, for the opportunity (746 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)

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 mikesgroove
4.8/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

ich dark brown color coming forward right away. Nearly opaque with a small head of tan creeping up the sides throughout the session but eventually falling back down to earth. The aroma was wonderful with rich caramel and toffee notes that just exploded in the air. Hints of apricot and other light fruits bouncing around as well. Really the best flavor I could have imagined coming out of this one. Rich caramel and toffee flavors, hints of vanilla, pears and light tart flavors bouncing aorund. No alcohol at all, , it does not drink anywhere near this kind of strentght. Smooth, perfect carbonation with a drinkability that was off the charts. I just dont know what else I can say about this beer (698 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 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 jlindros
4.29/5  rDev -0.5%
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. (453 characters)

Photo of Rifugium
4.39/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

First had: on tap at Cigar City, Tampa, FL

Definitely the highlight of my visit to Cigar City. I had no problem shelling out for a couple bottles to take home.

Poured a dark brownish amber, opaque, with a small creamy tan head that retained as a thick ringlet and left soapy lacing on the glass. Nice aroma, sweet with dark sugars, vanilla, bourbon-soaked wood. Though it's a different style, this conjured memories of Mother of All Storms and King Henry. The taste reflected the aroma, all the toffee, brown sugar and caramel goodness, vanilla, smooth bourbon, subtle oak, notes of raisin, fig, papaya, and a dash of cocoa. Great. Heavy-medium body, meh, might as well call it full-bodied, smooth and creamy, chewy with not too much of a boozy bite to it. A good sipper. So glad this was in bottles when I was down there. (824 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 mdfb79
4.35/5  rDev +0.9%

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. (716 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 mothman
4.22/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a beige head. Color is a copper amber.

Aroma: Phenomenal. Bourbon, vanilla, chocolate, oak. Sweetness. Rich. Caramel. Hoppy. Dark fruits show with plums. The bourbon, oak, and vanilla is spot on.

Taste: Much like the nose. Raisins, plums, dark fruits. Vanilla, oak, and bourbon. The bourbon is just awesome. Caramel with some smokiness.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, creamy, and warming. Medium to full bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. Ends a little dry.

Overall, this was a great beer. Very well done. Very easy to drink. I could have a lot of this one. (564 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 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 corby112
4.42/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark amber/chestnut brown color with a 1.5 finger beige head that slowly fades into a lasting ring.  Streaks of spotty lacing left behind.

Nice barrel presence in the nose with dry oak, toasted coconut, vanilla and spicy bourbon.  Doesn't overpower the base beer allowing sweet and roasted malt notes to come through.  Hints of caramel, toffee, hazelnut and chocolate.  Slightly smokey but not acrid or burnt smelling.  Smells great!

Medium bodied with a strong barrel character that adds another layer of flavor to the base beer.  Some dry oak along with silky vanilla, toasted coconut and a delicious spicy bourbon character.  Although the barrel flavors are strong, they are perfectly integrated into the flavor without overpowering the base beer.   Lots of excellent bourbon flavor but barely any heat making it deceptively drinkable.  Underneath the barrel, there is a nice combination of sweet and roasted malt notes.  Slightly smokey with hints of dark chocolate, toffee, caramel and oatmeal lingering into a somewhat dry finish.  Highly recommended! (1,078 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 HopHead84
4.47/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

4/27/2012

Thanks!

A: Deep reddish brown with a finger of light brown froth.

S: Huge candied granny smith caramel apple aroma with a strong bourbon presence. Toffee blends with vanilla and brown sugar. Killer nose.

T: Sweet caramel and toffee with strong brown sugar and candied notes. Red apple carries through with lots of bourbon and lesser notes of vanilla. Alcohol is mild near the finish.

M: Lower full body with matching carbonation. The mouthefeel is silky and sticky.

Overall: An awesome beer. (507 characters)

Photo of Duff27
4.25/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Half inch cream colored head. Collar and cap left.

Big viscious sweet malt bomb. Bal aged for sure, burrrrbon.

Fruits, raisin. Brian says chocolate but I don't find it very pronounced. This is a showcase on the barrel presence I feel.

Pretty smooth mouthfeel, low carbonation.

Close to a booze bomb, just sweet and alcohol filled. I liked it but it was just about one dimensional. You da man egrace84. (405 characters)

Photo of aasher
4.47/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This bottle was courtesy of Preismj. Thanks for hitting this HUGE want Matt!

This beer pours a full bodied syrupy stained wood brown in color with an off white lacing. The nose is beautiful. It features a good amount of sweet bourbon barrel, vanilla, oak, and a ton of coconut. The flavors follow the same lines. It features a lot of coconut, vanilla, bourbon, molasses, and rich smooth malts. The flavor is superb. It drinks full in body and is really smooth. I really, really like this one. It's a nice example how barrel aging can add a lot or complexity to an already great beer. Imagine a bourbon barrel aged Mounds candy bar. (632 characters)

Photo of cjgator3
4.57/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.75

On-tap at Redlight Redlight. I am a huge fan of the regular Big Sound but the bourbon barrel aging puts it over the top. Fantastic brew! Big and malty with huge bourbon notes from the barrel aging. Overall, fantastic brew from CCB! I hope to see this beer again! (262 characters)

Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.29/5  rDev -0.5%
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. (318 characters)

Photo of wordemupg
4.32/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

750ml green waxed bottle 2012, poured into tulip 4/6/13 big cheers to MasterSki and Sean9689 for the bottle

A reddish dark cola when held to the light with enough clarity to almost see the other side of the glass, two fingers of tan foam leaves just a few random patches of lace

S the nose has a fair bit going for it, lots of dried fruit, raisins, prunes, cherries, is the peat just in my mind? either way the smokes very faint, vanilla, oak, bourbon and ju-jubes, there's some booze in there with loads of hard toffee, soft caramels and brown sugar, smells amazing

T more wood and booze, everything from the nose is still there in one form or another but just slightly toned down, there's a little spice I can't place and I want to say nutmeg or cinnamon but I just can't quite grasp it, excellent flavor but the nose was a hard act to follow

M tannins and booze give it almost a numbing effect, slightly syrupy and sticky on the lips and slick on the gums, leaning towards full and it warms my chest, lingering finish of candied raisin bourbon

O oh man if the smell carried through this would be one of the best brews ever, great job with the barrel complexity in what I can only assume was a great base

I should've sat on this one for a while, a long while, booze popping up here and there is my only real complaint. I could smell this all day but I drank well before midnight, great stuff that will be even better down the road (1,444 characters)

Photo of TurdFurgison
4.25/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

drgonzo3705 brought this to a tasting in Akron(thanks Paul!). This was bottle 83/246 from 2009.

This poured a dark brown and nearly opaque color, noticeably murkier in the later pours. Very strong peat character in the nose, some sweet malts too, very nice.

It tastes primarily sweet, with a lasting smoky flavor that's really addictive. A hint of ethanol in there too, or it could be that this evokes a scotch whiskey memory from the peat.

Relatively thick bodied, this was a serious bruiser of a beer start to finish. Excellent. (536 characters)

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Big Sound Scotch Ale - Bourbon Barrel Aged from Cigar City Brewing
95 out of 100 based on 82 ratings.