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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.
BA SCORE
97
world-class

542 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 542
Reviews: 83
rAvg: 4.37
pDev: 8.24%
Wants: 350
Gots: 155 | FT: 15
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: 542 | Reviews: 83 | Display Reviews Only:
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4.25/5  rDev -2.7%

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4.5/5  rDev +3%

Photo of tectactoe
4.09/5  rDev -6.4%
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.

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4.25/5  rDev -2.7%

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4/5  rDev -8.5%

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3.5/5  rDev -19.9%

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5/5  rDev +14.4%

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4.75/5  rDev +8.7%

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4.5/5  rDev +3%

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4.5/5  rDev +3%

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4.5/5  rDev +3%

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4.5/5  rDev +3%

Photo of KickInTheChalice
4.56/5  rDev +4.3%
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.

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4.21/5  rDev -3.7%
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 542 ratings.