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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 Sean9689
4.05/5  rDev -6.3%
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.

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Photo of julian89
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Draft poured into tulip.

Appearance: A very dark brown, opaque, with a decent 1 inch cream head, minimal lacing and fair retention.

Smell - Oak, bourbon, caramel, burnt dark sugars, dark fruits, and a fair amount of earthy smoke and peat. I love the smoothness it's received from the bourbon barrel age.

Taste - It matches the smell quite well. Large amount of bourbon taste with caramel and vanilla and earthy smoky balance. For the booze percentage it's fairly drinkable.

Mouthfeel -Very smooth with a medium to thick body. Carbonation is well balanced as well. Seems like a bigger beer than 8.5%.

Drinkability - Very good, the best beer I had on this particular day at Brick store, next to the barrel aged Ten fiddy.

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Photo of Mora2000
4.2/5  rDev -2.8%
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.

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Photo of corby112
4.42/5  rDev +2.3%
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!

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Photo of thagr81us
4.12/5  rDev -4.6%
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.

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Photo of HopHead84
4.47/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5



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.

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Photo of FosterJM
4.24/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

1141st Review on BA
Draft to Taster

@Cigar City

App- Medium soda colored brown with some lighter edges. No head and very smooth. Mix of chocolate and flat soda.

Smell- Big malty scotch ale notes come in 1st and thin citrus with the big bourbon vanilla and oak coming next. Small sting from the booze.

Taste- Very well layered with small sugary malts and then the bourbon behind it. The flavors give a sweet note and a punchy candy treat flavor with vanilla.

Mouth- A lighter medium body and almost creamy with a medium body and lots of bourbon remain.

Drink- This was a good beer. Layered, sweet, sticky and lots of bourbon and vanilla come out as well.

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Photo of Chico1985
4.12/5  rDev -4.6%
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.

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

Reviewed from notes, Sept2011 bottle.

A- Black pour pretty much dark brown into a pint glass. Pretty nice tan head forms with decent retention. Cloud stays around and a creamy ring leaving nice webs of lace.

S- Bourbon mellow whiskey and a good oak barrel presence smoothed out by big sweet syrupy maple feel almost, dark fruit and butter for sure, brown sugar.

T- Follows the nose quite nicely with more dark fruit (rasb, cherry) here. Very nice mellow whiskey and vanilla oak presence, some of the dark sugars gives off a maple feel.

MF - Moderate feel that is both oily and somewhat creamy, moderate carbonation, slight warmth from alcohol.

Awesome scotch ale with a nice mellow and flavorful whiskey oak feel, drinks very well smooth, awesome balance of style flavors.

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Photo of BearsOnAcid
4.05/5  rDev -6.3%
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.

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Photo of AleWatcher
4.59/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled shared by aasher at his place.

The nose on this incredible-- huge bourbon, vanilla, charred oak with toasted coconut, and plenty of caramel malt action.
The flavor is great, not as amazing as the nose, but damn close. A nice sweet bourbon booziness is perfectly integrated, but the only problem I have is that there's a little flavor from the malt that I associate with oxidation-- though I'm certain there's no way this beer is oxidized already!

Feel is velvety and lush... Nice and full with firm carbonation.

Overall-- quite damn sold. Easily my top scotch ale.

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Photo of aasher
4.47/5  rDev +3.5%
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.

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Photo of jsanford
4.32/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml poured into a CCB Snifter. 2011 Vintage.

Pours black with brown edges and a thin khaki head that settles to a very slight haze and bubbly ring. HUGE bourbon aromas pour from the glass, followed by sweet malt, caramel, and a touch of chocolate. One of the most Bourbon-forward brews I've seen in a while. Taste is similarly Bourbon-heavy, lots of caramel, oak, and vanilla mingle with dark dried fruits, malt, and brown sugar. Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy, with a medium-full body and low carbonation. Overall an excellent Barrel-Aged offering from CCB, I needed something positive after the travesty that was the Rum Barrel-Aged Big Sound. Blegh.

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Photo of trxxpaxxs
4.22/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2012 vintage...

A: Pours a super deep brown, almost black, with a half finger of kahki colored head. The foam doesn't take long to fade into oblivion, and you can begin to see the light brown edges of the beer.

S: The nose is bourbon, caramel, malt, and mild spice. It's sweet and hot. Smells pretty good for the style.

T: The beer starts off wet with a good bit of barrel character, malt, mild yeast, and mild spice. The caramel notes really shine through in the middle, as the bourbon fades a bit and the spice comes on. The finish of the beer is back to sweets and bourbon alcohol. The booze is well balanced in this beer.

M: Full bodied beer. It's wet and smooth to start. The malt/caramel notes make the beer sticky in the middle. As the beer tends towards the back end, it gets hot with alcohol, but remains coating on the palate. Lingering caramel and spice.

O: Very nice beer. I'm not a huge fan of Scotch Ales, but it's hard to turn down the chance to try something in a barrel. I'm glad I got the chance. This beer is solid, and a good runner up for best BA Scotch Ale, after Founder's Backwoods Bastard.

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Photo of MasterSki
4.19/5  rDev -3%
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.

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Photo of mothman
4.22/5  rDev -2.3%
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.

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Photo of Sammy
3.9/5  rDev -9.7%
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.

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Photo of ThePorterSorter
4.25/5  rDev -1.6%

The beer pours a dark, tarry color with a thin tan head that settles quickly without lacing, but leaves spots of dark sediment at the bottom. The nose is dominating bourbony/malty sweetness, a slightly metallic ethanol, and subtle vanilla. The taste is slightly fruity with caramel sweetness that's quickly followed by a generous helping of woody barrel and ethanol. The mouthfeel is viscous, but not chewy sweet, lightly carbonated, has hinting alcohol, and a great barrel presence that unfortunately overtakes much of the scotch ale. This is really a great beer, only criticism is that the base beer is overpowered.

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Photo of oline73
4.07/5  rDev -5.8%
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.

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Photo of womencantsail
4.1/5  rDev -5.1%
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.

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Photo of Dreadnaught33
4.4/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Another variant shared by starrdogg, thanks Matt, really a treat.

A: Nice brown color with crimson highlights. Ok head that dies to a tan ring.

S: Tons of bourbon, it really screams out pina colada with the pineapple and coconut notes flying out of the glass. Barley any of the original scotch ale and grapenuts comes through, but theres a little smoke. Maple syrup as well. Very cool but a little bizarre!

T: Awesome taste thats very well balanced with the very nice vanilla oak and brown sugar to the base smoky savory malts. Sweeter, but I enjoy it. Reminds me a lot of Port Brewing Older Vis in the bourbon and kind of 'strong ale' like malt profile in the beer, which is a good thing.

M: Very nice and smooth, no heat. Great feel that I'm finding is a trademark of a lot of Cigar City beers.

Overall a nice beer and very unique.

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Photo of ehammond1
4.39/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5


Thanks for sharing, womencantsail!

Dark murky brown throughout with a thin light brown head. This doesn't have a lot of visible carbonation, but does leaves some cling on the glass.

This a wonderfully aromatic beer. The bourbon barreling process has left this beer with an incredible vanilla, coconut, and oak aroma that is almost as good as any.

The flavor is no slacker either, and it follows in the same vein as the aroma. The bourbon character throughout this beer is a marvelous example of the transformation beer can possess after barreling. A low to moderate level of bitterness accompanies the mild bread and caramel notes mixed in with the bourbon.

Medium to thick bodied with low carbonation. Incredibly drinkable.

A wonderful treat, and I'm so glad at the opportunity to try this one.

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Photo of koopa
4.35/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 vintage bottle # 59 out of 246 received in a trade with a generous BA thanks!

Appearance: Pours a murky crimson stained brown with a 1 finger light brown to dirty khaki crown that displays moderate retention and lace.

Smell: Strong malt with minor earth notes and nice toffee accents.

Taste: Same as the nose but with a nice subtle bourbon addition.

Mouthfeel: Thick bodied with moderate carbonation.

Drinkability: Goes down fairly easy for the style.

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Photo of biggsbowler
4.42/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

BA Hunahpu release day!!! Just a great beer, Big Sound is one of my favorites from CCB and adding bourbon just makes it better. The nose is full of bourbon. The taste of caramel sweetness mixed with bourbon flows so beautifully in my mouth. This beer and a redheaded girl would be a great time!!!

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Photo of Tesilential
4.75/5  rDev +10%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Holy moly!

On tap 9/25/11, the day after BA Hunahpu and BA Big Sound releases.

When I received my snifter I was greeted by a delicious dark beer, looking more like a porter than a scotch or brown ale. I immediately sensed I was dealing with a serious beer.

I took a sniff and couldn't help but blurt out "oh my god the sweet sweet bourbon!" This smells like delicious bourbon at it's finest! My girlfriend and I took turns smelling this beer for a couple minutes until we dared taste it. One of the most delicious smelling beers I've ever had the pleasure of tasting. Note: If you don't like bourbon you probably won't like this beer, it is seriously influenced by the barrel aging process and I've never tasted such liquor character in a beer. This is the best BA beer I've had. It tastes as if they poured expensive whiskey into a scotch ale.

Bourbon was still very much a part of the taste, replacing the heavy alcohol taste I get in many commercial high gravity beers. I've never had the regular Big Sound, so I can't compare it to it's base beer, but suffice it to say this is one of the best beers I have enjoyed, Period. This beer has moutfeel for days and can easily be enjoyed in a small <4 oz serving, making this an excellent brew for tastings.

I spoke to several of the CCB staff, and they said it was 100% unanimous among them that the BA Big Sound line was the better beer than the BA Hunahpu. They absolutely recognize Hunahpu has the HUGE following among beer geeks, (as evidenced by their chaotic BA release yesterday), but still insist Big Sound is the tastier drink.

I am becoming a bigger fan of CCB every time I try a new beer. They have an excellent IPA but where they shine is malty beers. IMO they are a top 5 brewery for malt leaning beers and I'm ecstatic to live to close by. I'm also discovering more and more I appreciate the nuances in delicious malt beers than hop charged beers thanks to them. These are some of the most complex beers on earth without being sweet, cloying hop bombs.

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