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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

Educational use only; do not reuse.

83 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 83
Hads: 605
Avg: 4.32
pDev: 22.22%
Wants: 363
Gots: 149 | FT: 13
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
Reviews: 83 | Hads: 605
Photo of pmarlowe
4.28/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Tulip glass.

A: Pours black, tinted coffee brown around the edges. A half finger of medium brown, espresso-like head recedes within a few minutes to a thick ring. Very good retention and minimal lacing.

S: Loads of toffee and bourbon, a bit of oak and chocolate and vanilla, cinnamon.

T: Caramel, bourbon, coconut, light oak, moderate sweetness and a miles-long finish. A mouthwatering character. If anything, the sweetness is the limiting factor for this beer.

M: Medium-light body, a bit lighter than expected, with light carbonation.

O: A beer with loads of big flavors, the bourbon is in full force but still integrated with the base. Overall, this is a superb beer.

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Photo of homebrew311
4.04/5  rDev -6.5%
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.

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Photo of beerpirates
4.34/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

75 cl poured into a tastingglass

Very dark brown oily pour with a small slick of tan foam.
Aroma is sweet bourbon with vanilla and underlying peat, toffee, and light roasted grains.
Taste is bourbon with vanilla up front followed by light peat, darker malt with caramel, and alcohol spice.
Smooth and clean mouthfeel. Bourbon character is very nice but still allows the base beer to come through.
Really an excellent beer. Very good.

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Photo of cjgator3
4.57/5  rDev +5.8%
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!

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Photo of Rutager
4.28/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Big thank you to Msquared2 for this treat!

Appearance. Pours a deep cola-brown with a finger and a half of thick, light-beige head.

Smell. Sweet caramel candy, smooth bourbon, and old barrel wood. Nice.

Taste. Sweet caramel malts and smooth bourbon, nice barrel wood flavours, vanilla and brown sugar, and a little earthy peat.

Mouthfeel. Full body, maybe on the low side, slightly sticky. Lowish carbonation.

Overall. Probably the best I've had of the style.

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Photo of brentk56
4.43/5  rDev +2.5%
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

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.96/5  rDev -8.3%
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.

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Photo of OneBeertoRTA
4.56/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to Zander for two of these 2012 editions.

Pour- A nice rich dark brown with 2 fingers of head

Smell- Huge or should i say BIG bourbon sweetness. Like enormous and powerful sweetness. It reminds me of a Backwoods Bastard on Steriods

Taste- very sweet, tons of flavor and an all around delicious version of the style. Zero booze, can't see the abv on the bottle but I can taste very little, if any heat. Just a sweet and delicious brew

Mouthfell- Medium carbonation, nice lacing, flavor really lingers on your tongue. Just a ton of sweetness. More flavor than any of the same style I can recall.

Overall- Fantastic beer. Will definately trade for more. I would consider this an entry level Scotch ale in that it is easy to drink, no booze and tons of flavor. Something special any new craft fan would love as would the vets.

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Photo of Stevedore
4.4/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

'12 vintage on tap at CCB on 12/29/12 (with notes) as well as '12 1x 750ml bottle from CCB on 1/2/13 (also with notes) into a CCB snifter.

Aroma: Smells like a big scotch ale with a ton of wood and vanilla backed by a thick, sweet malt that reminded me of maple syrup- its probably more like a combination of brown sugar and caramel. As it warms up, I had a decent bit of the bourbon itself. Smelled pretty good. (4)

Colour: Dark cola brown, but you could be forgiven for thinking it was black. Pours with a less than 1cm mocha head that dissipates quickly, leaving a slick smooth surface. Not a lot of lacing as this beer goes down. (4)

Flavour: Best part of the beer. Wonderfully complex with the maple syrupy malt sweetness (brown sugar, caramel), the faint hints of the bourbon itself that reminds me a little bit of Jack along with the bourbon barrel's vanilla and oak (at least, I think I can describe them separately from the bourbon) that adds to the bourbon flavour itself. I could spend a minute swishing each sip around the tongue and I'll keep getting slightly different flavours. It's great. (5)

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, creamy and a bit sticky. Good carbonation off the tap. Wonderfully smooth to drink. Comes with a bit of heat which didn't surprise me at the time. Aftertaste is different each time but always features the vanilla and oak woodiness. Enjoyed this a lot. (4)

Overall: In the world of bourbon barrel-aged scotch ales, this is probably the best I've had- compared to Backwoods Bastard which is probably the most popular example of the style, this is quite a bit more complex and smooth. I really love the maple syrup-like sweetness combined with the barrel character, although I'm more of a BA stout fan. I felt reluctant to trade away my last bottle, but once I did, I felt it was time to write this review. Wonderful BA scotch ale that I hope to have the chance to drink again in the future. (4)

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Photo of Etan
4.28/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

750ml, 2012 vintage, into a snifter.

A: Pours a dark molasses color with a nice light tan head.

S. Huge woody bourbon, marshmallow, oak, nutty, light malty spice.

T. Very bourbon forward. Caramel, marshmallow, vanilla, lightly bitter caramelized grain, oak, figs.

M. Medium-bodied, light carbonation, silky feel.

O: A very barrel-forward BA scotch ale. Certainly better than Backwoods Bastard in barrel character and body.

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Photo of jeonseh
3.93/5  rDev -9%
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

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Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.4/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

huge thanks to egrace84 for the share! Thanks elliot!

poured into tulip glass.

reviewed fromn notes taken on 1/8/13.

Appearance: murky brown bodied beer with 2 fingers of large biege head.

Smell: Fruity, smoke, chocolates, earthy, and woody.

Taste: Smoke, dark fruits, chocolates, and bourbon upfront. Earthy peat moss and oakiness. Nice bourbon finish.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied beer with moderate carbonation. Creamy and smooth body. Not a hinting of booze at all.

Overall: probably the best bourbon barrel Scotch ale that I have ever drank. cant think of anything that even comes close. Really nice job CCB!

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Photo of Duff27
4.25/5  rDev -1.6%
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.

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Photo of pmlondrigan
4.22/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Burr, winter nights call for winter beers. Big Sound scotch ale fits the bill. Indeed this does look like coca cola as another reviewer pointed out. Nice looking tan head but it fades away real fast. Tawny brown with reddish highlights. Not the prettiest beer. Yup, toasty oak, vanilla, bourbon, bready and toffee. At first there is an off putting aroma but it fades. My first impression of flavor is a cross between vanilla and chocolateyness. Lovely toffee flavors and caramalized figgy goodness. Raisins, slight bit of cinnamon and more of that nice bourbon barrel goodness. Is this beer slightly thin? I feel like it might be. And there is a bit of an aftertaste that lingers with a bit of a tin like quality. This and the otherwise underwhelming apperance are the only real drawbacks of this otherwise very tasty, tasty cold weather sipper.

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Photo of BrownAleMale
4.15/5  rDev -3.9%
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!

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Photo of RossCain
4.25/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

poured from a waxed 25 oz bottle into a snifter:

a: dark, deep mahogany with luscious cream head. sits attractively in the glass.

s: smells of thick, dark fruit notes with raisins, plums, as well as sweet simple syrup notes and peaty bourbon.

t: thick molasses and raisins with a chocolately character. big, malty backbone with hefty scotch notes. finishes with mellow, smooth notes of burnt scotch goodness.

m: thick, creamy, and smooth with a big booziness. good carbonation, hefty on the palate. definitely a sipper but a pleasant one.

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Photo of Rifugium
4.39/5  rDev +1.6%
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.

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Photo of rev3rb
3.63/5  rDev -16%
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.

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Photo of cosmicevan
4.27/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

big thanks to brewbetter for lending a hand with this one! enjoyed from a ccb snifter.

a - brew poured a deep ruby purple that settled in the glass as black. at first there was a thin grey bubbly head, but that didn't last long, leaving nothing more than some scattered bubbles around the edge of the surface.

s - chocolate plums. figgy and with decadent woody booziness.

t - much like the nose, but leads with decadent woody booze soaked chocolate with some dark fruit tossed into the mix. nice caramel notes set this off into the scotch ale realm as opposed to giving a BSDA vibe.

m - boozy sting for certain. the alcohol really works with this beer. much more smooth than say a backwoods and more full bodied and chewy as well.

o - overall, a very nice barrel aged scotch ale. on the boozy side, but it works. the barrels impart nice chocolate notes along with the bourbon and the wood. there is no mistaking this as a barrel aged brew. VERY enjoyable.

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Photo of coreyfmcdonald
4.33/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle into a snifter

A: Pours a very dark amber/brown, almost to the point of being black.

S: Strong bourbon aroma upfront in this beer. I get a lot of nice caramel sweetness that goes very well with e bourbon flavors. Underlying milk chocolate adds to the complexity. Typical CCB yeast.

T: Similar to the aroma, but now caramel sweetness comes in stronger than the bourbon with a bit of malted milk ball as well. Strong bourbon comes in after this adding a ton of nice sweet complexities like toffee, oak, and a nice fruitiness. Quite boozy, but not over the top.

M: Quite thick with low, creamy carbonation.

O: Definitely lots of bourbon, booze, and sweetness, but the flavors go very well together. And it just oozes typical CCB flavors.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.97/5  rDev -8.1%
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.

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Photo of Auracom
4.6/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Happy halloween! Huge thanks to Raffy for getting this to me. 8 oz. poured into a FFF Rastal on October 26th, 2012.

A - Very black for this style, with the heft I've come to expect from CC. Small, 1/2" head reduces to bubbling in seconds. Plentiful alcohol legs.

S - Hefty bourbon barrel aromas. Coconut, oak, vanilla. touch of honey-soaked dark fruit. I pull slight candied sugar and a general sweetness more reminiscent of a scotch ale.

T - Sweeter notes of brown sugar and caramel. A bit less of the bourbon but it's well integrated adequately rich.

M - Extremely smooth and medium bodied. Low to moderate carbonation. Semi-sweet finish.

T - Great stuff, makes Founders Backwoods Bastard seem like a bastardized version. Would unquestionably revisit.

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Photo of Jeffo
3.54/5  rDev -18.1%
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!

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Photo of macrosmatic
4.62/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes. Had on-tap at CCB tasting room. Poured into snifter.

A: Opaque, extremely dark brown. Forms a thin tan head with no visible carbonation.

S: Relatively light bourbon aroma overlays a big dark roasty malt sweetness.

T: Follows the nose - big sweet roasted malts. The bourbon presence isn't as heavy-handed as some recent BA treatments from CCB, which is perfect here. It still hides a bit of the raisin fruitiness present in the base beer, but I don't miss it much. This is really, crazy good.

M: Thick sticky mouthfeel, heavy body. The alcohol is noticeable obviously, but only adds to the beer. Minimal carbonation sensation.

O: Truly an excellent beer. Highly recommended.

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Photo of hopsbreath
4.82/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Update: Got another bottle of this thanks again to urwithdave! Drank over the weekend and it's still fantastic. Not sure it's actually better then last time, but I feel like I need to make a statement with my score now that my admiration is affirmed. That's why it's getting a couple extra tents of a point over my original score. Just an excellent beer overall and highly recommended.

Original review from New Years 2012: 4.6/5.0
Thanks go out to urwithdave for sending a green waxed bottle of the recent release my way. Shared with some fellow beer drinkers on New Years Eve.

A: Murky prune with a butterscotch colored wispy head that quickly recedes to a tiny bubble glass ring. Obvious thick legs, just the way I like 'em. 4.5/5

S: Very boozy and heavy on the bourbon. I like a huge barrel forward beer and this is in that range. The base beer simply works as a great vehicle for the liquor. Sweet, peppery spice, and loaded with vanilla. Fantastic barrel character. 5/5

T: Sweet and ridiculously rich. A little butter and heavy on the booze. Loads of the vanilla from the nose, well integrated coconut, and solid wood. 4.5/5

M: Moderate body and low carbonation. Long lingering finish. 4.5/5

O: Great fucking beer. I want more. Thanks Dave! 4.5/5

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Big Sound Scotch Ale - Bourbon Barrel Aged from Cigar City Brewing
95 out of 100 based on 83 ratings.