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Big Sound Scotch Ale | Cigar City Brewing

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BA SCORE
91
outstanding
200 Reviews
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Big Sound Scotch AleBig Sound Scotch Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Cigar City Brewing
Florida, United States
cigarcitybrewing.com

Style: Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.50%

Availability: Spring

Notes / Commercial Description:
Big Sound Scotch Ale is dedicated to our good buddy Gino, the most Punk Rock Bagpiper you will ever meet, and the rest of the men and women of the Tampa Bay Pipes and Drums. Brown in color, Big Sound has huge notes of dark sweet toffee with underlying mild notes of coffee in the aroma. The flavor starts with a slight note of cherry and then opens into a goliath of malt character with notes of dark sweet toffee, coffee and mild notes of toasted bread in the finish. Big Sound Scotch Ale pairs well with Haggis, Highland Games, Huge Heads, Enormous pillows and of course Bagpipe Music.

40 IBU

Added by cjgator3 on 12-05-2008

BEER STATS
Reviews:
200
Ratings:
711
Avg:
4.1
pDev:
18.78%
 
 
Wants:
189
Gots:
193
For Trade:
19
User Reviews
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Reviews: 200 | Ratings: 711
Photo of coldmeat23
4.23/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

GLASS: Snifter
TEMP: Cellared @ approx 55 degrees

That's a nice, deep, almost murky, brown color. The head is on the smallish side at just over a fingers worth. It's a nice creamy head though which is a medium shade of brown in color. The retention is very nice and the lacing is in some nicely thick and sticky strands.

The nose has a huge maltiness going on, which is to be expected. Lots of big caramel and toffee notes. A nice biscuit presence. A slight hint of cherries, which is nice, even though it was unexpected. Mild hints of peat/smoke and tobacco.

Big presence of toasted maltiness. Good showing of caramel, toffee and brown sugars, bringing in a nice amount of sweetness, but by no means too much. The cherries, which were sweet, in the nose, are now closer to black ones. They are not overly noticed, but when you find them they are darkly sweet. Mild notes of vanilla and tobacco. A nice undertone of coffee.
This one is nicely complex and very interesting.

This is full-bodied with a low-to-medium level of carbonation. It is nicely bold and smooth and has a very nice level of creaminess.

The 8.50%abv is very well disguised. This one is quite easily drinkable. As a fan of Scotch Ales/Wee Heavys, I say that this one comes highly recommended.

 1,265 characters

Photo of merlin48
4.22/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 ml, thanks to mntlover. Pours a thick dark brown body with a large beige head. Lots of sticky lacing and good retention.

Lovely aroma of brown sugar, caramel, and molasses accented by ripe sweet red cherries.

Medium full bodied with a creamy moderate carbonation.

Taste mirrors the aroma but has some added chocolate hints. Love the ripe red cherry presence but wish it had some smoky peated malt character in keeping with the style. Alcohol is very cleverly concealed. Finishes with a flourish of malty toffee.

Very tasty. Two things I can say for Cigar City after trying two of their offerings(thanks to mntlover again): they can really brew high quality malt driven styles and they know how to disguise some serious alcohol content.

 743 characters

Photo of rhoadsrage
4.22/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(Served in a snifter) Thanks to Gunnerman for this gem.
A- This beer pours a dense brown body with a slight hint of red glow. There is light tan head that is thick and creamy turning rocky with sheets of foam sticking to the glass and then sliding back into the beer. There are some a few tiny bubbles stuck to the glass.
S- This beer has a soft caramel hint with a tart note and a soft dry caramel biscuit quality. There is a rye bread aroma with a roasted cocao nibs arom finishing with a soft fusel hint in the finish.
T- This beer has a big chocolaty roasted flavor with a slight vinous quality to the black malt finish. There is a strong but pleasant chalk flavor to the dark malt.
M- This beer has a medium-full mouthfeel with a creamy texture and only a soft alcohol heat hint.
D- This beer has a big complex dark roasted chocolate malt flavor but it still stays smooth and almost silky.

 899 characters

Photo of superspak
4.22/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle into snifter, bottled on 8/20/2012. Pours moderately cloudy very dark reddish brown color with a 1 finger dense cream colored head with good retention, that reduces to a thin lace cap that lingers. Light soapy lacing clings on the glass. Aromas of big caramel, molasses, raisin, cherry, apple, toast, pear, toffee, clove, light roast, peat smoke, dark bread, and toasted earthiness. Fantastic aromas with great balance and big complexity of dark/toasted malt notes with fruitiness and moderate peat. Taste of big caramel, molasses, raisin, cherry, apple, toast, toffee, pear, clove, light roast, dark bread, light peat, and toasted earthiness. Lingering notes of caramel, molasses, light and dark fruit, toast, toffee, clove, dark bread, light roast, light peat, and earthiness on the finish for a while. Damn nice balance with big complexity of malt and fruity flavors; with zero cloying sweetness after the finish. Medium carbonation and very full bodied; with a slick, creamy, and lightly syrupy mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a slight warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is a highly excellent scotch ale! Very nice balance and big complexity of malt/fruity flavors; and very smooth to sip on. A highly enjoyable offering.

 1,282 characters

Photo of aubuc1
4.22/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750 ml bottle poured in to a goblet.

Pours a very dark brown, almost black with a steady, but somewhat thin creamy tan head.

Big huge sweet bready malt with a roasty finish. Oozes malt.

Taste is bold up front of dry roast, then more sweet malt. More complex than most scotch ales.

Mouthfeel is very creamy but it is a little boozy and/or astringent.

It took me a while to find this for some reason, and this really is an excellent beer.

 442 characters

Photo of mdfb79
4.22/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From 3/27 notes.

a - Pours a nut brown color with no head and little carbonation evident.

s - Smells of sticky sweet dark fruits, raisins being most prominent. Also some caramel or toffee and toasted malts.

t - Taste is of dark fruits again, as well as those caramel malts.

m - Full bodied and low carbonation.

d - I really liked this beer. Thought it smelled wonderful and had a nice caramel taste. Would love to try it again.

 432 characters

Photo of Myotus
4.22/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Poured at 47F from a 22oz bottle (bottled 12Jan16) into a thistle glass. Consumed on 10Apr16.
LOOK: An astounding five fingers worth of light brown foam is formed after pouring. The gargantuan foam head immediately begins to recede via a cascade for about 20 seconds. A fingers worth of foam is lost in this manner. Once the cascading ceases, the remainder foam head eventually dissipates into a half fingers worth within 3 minutes. Dark brown in color with a ruby tint. Rising bubbles are subtle in quantity and small in size. Lacing is very thick and moderate.
SMELL: Very strong aromas of molasses harmonize with strong caramel, toffee, and sweet bread along with mild aromas of coffee, smoked goodness, tree nuts, plums, figs, and black cherries to create an ultimate balance of sweet and bitter.
TASTE: Strong black cherry, plum, and fig flavors first explode onto the palate, satisfying my sweet tooth that longs for unbalanced beers. Strong flavors of molasses, caramel, and toffee along with mild sweet bread flavors immediately add to the sweetness, further satisfying my sadistic sweet tooth. Some balanced is finally achieved once mild flavors of bittersweet coffee, tree nuts, and smoked goodness caress the palate while all previous flavors press on, except for black cherry, which grow stronger.
FEEL: This is so incredibly full-bodied, I can practically chew this beer. Carbonation levels are moderate. The beer goes down smooth and creamy while also clinging to the back of the throat like syrup. Finishes with a strong and unpleasant dryness.
NOTE: One of the best of its style that I have had. Somewhat unbalanced and leaning towards the sweeter side, this beer isn't for everyone. My main complaint is that there is too much cherry going on. That's a personal bias, however, since I do not like cherries too much.

 1,832 characters

Photo of lordofthewiens
4.2/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A very dark brown color with a miniscule head.
Sweet malt aroma. Some peat. A tiny bit of dark fruit and chocolate.
Taste of toffee. Smoky/peaty. A hint of plum and chocolate.
Medium-bodied.
Great beer.

 202 characters

Photo of Mora2000
4.2/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Exiled for sharing this bottle.

The beer pours a dark brown color with a tan head. The aroma is caramel and toffee malt with some smoke and chocolate. I also get some woody and oak notes even though the beer is not barrel aged as far as I know. The flavor is heavy on the milk chocolate with some light smoke and toffee. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation. One of the better Scotch Ales I have tried.

 417 characters

Photo of rlee1390
4.2/5  rDev +2.4%

A-Black in the glass, clear brown when pouring not much carbonation, one finger head that does last.

S-Earthy, peaty, toffee, caramel, with chocolate and roasted malt.

T-Great balance. Earthy with nice peaty and grassy/dirt flavors to start. The finish is rich chocolate/toffee/caramel.

M-Medium bodied, velvety, not much carbonation.

O-A style that more people need to make. One of the better ones.

 406 characters

Photo of shand
4.2/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Big Sound pours out a deep brown color with a decent head that quickly drops to a ring. The aroma is intensely malty with just a bit of smoke. The taste is awesome, this is a huge and rich Scotch ale that provides a massive amount of malt flavors. There's a bit of sweetness over the slightest amount of peaty smoke. There's a solid amount of booze on the finish as well. The mouthfeel, like most big Cigar City beers, is exceptional. It's got a pretty large body, yet is very smooth. The drinkabiliy is very good. Overall, Big Sound is a solid Scotch ale. There's a little less peat presence than I'd like, but it's otherwise nice and complex.

 644 characters

Photo of Jefe73
4.2/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at the CCB Tasting Room

A - Pours dark brown with ruby highlights. Lacing is consistent throughout the glass with good head retention.

S - There's a lot going on in the nose. Sweet fruit (cherries, raisins and figs) sweet malt, cotton candy?

T - Sweet malt, rum raisins, toffee and molasses are all represented here. A little roasted coffee, malted milk and toffee on the finish, along with some hoppy notes. Complex, but nicely balanced.

M - Medium body with a creamy feel on the palate. Good level of carbonation. Everything seems to be blended quite nicely.

O - Quite drinkable for something coming in at 8.5%. I haven't had a lot of this style, but this one really made me stand up and take notice. More please!

 736 characters

Photo of bhalter8
4.2/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark, ruby red with a tan, one finger head. Decent retention on the head, but not much lacing left around the glass. A nice sweet malt aroma, but not too strong. There is a cornucopia of caramel, brown sugar, and a little chocolate. In short, it smells very sweet! The taste is much more strong than the aroma would indicate. Although, one thing the aroma hinted to is there, sweet, very sweet flavor. There is the same mix of caramel, brown sugar, and chocolate, but it is far more pronounced. I continue to be impressed, and amazed, by the strong flavor CCB packs in to every brew. It might not always be exactly to style, but it is delicious. A rather thick mouthfeel and fair amount of alcohol make this one a bit of a slower drinker. There is also a bit of a bitterness bite at the back-end that slowed me down. Overall, another great offering from CCB.

 871 characters

Photo of drabmuh
4.2/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

At the time of this review, this beer is the #7 Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy, served in a Bruery tulip.

Beer is dark brown almost black but clear with a decent head of small bubbles, lacing on the glass, some carbonation but low.

Aroma is sweet mildly peety and a little caramel. Smells good.

Beer is medium in body, nice and heavy on the palate, sweetness up front with a nice almost liquor like finish. Very enjoyable, a very good beer, I can tell why it is rated so high. I'd have it again.

 490 characters

Photo of Huhzubendah
4.2/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by durwoodx. Thanks Darrell.

The beer appears a hazy brown hue with a small beige head. The aroma offers some candied fruit, malt, alcohol. Nice flavor. Slightly sweet, well balanced, mildly tannic. Really delicious. The flavor improves on the aroma. Delicious tannic quality. Medium bodied with ample carbonation. A solid beer from a great brewery. Recommended.

 377 characters

Photo of gonzo46and2
4.18/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark brown that's slightly cloudy. Very small hints of red or amber. Had a big tan head .

Smell is very malty with brown sugar, dates, figs, raisins, caramel and maybe a bit of cafe con leche.

Taste is sweet overall with a touch of balancing hops. Lots of fruity sugar malt.

Mouthfeel is very smooth and creamy. Totally satisfying. Very big beer that delivers on mouthfeel. Overall it's sweet.

Drinkability is super high. This would be my go-to wee heavy if it was always available.

 498 characters

Photo of FanofHefe
4.18/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bomber (no dating on the bottle of label) which pours a deep brown/black body, with very little light penetration. Very small tan head with a very small amount of lacing.

Mostly light aroma of roasted malt with dark fruit notes.

The flavor is excellent and stands up ahead of the aroma. Very tasty blend of the dark fruit flavors with the solid dark malt flavors. A very light taste of citrus hops adds to an overall tasty blend.

A thick texture in the mouthfeel and very enjoyable and drinkable brew. I like this very much and would highly recommend it.

 557 characters

Photo of One2Remeber
4.17/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber poured into a snifter

A: Yellow/Lite mocha head, creamy but fizzes away quickly. Body is a very dark brown, murky.

S: Raisin, molasses, sweet like honey.

T: Smooth caramel sweetness, lightly burnt. Candy sugar explosion. Hint of chocolate with dominant figs/bread taste lingers.

M: Bitter up front. Smooth on the back, flows nice and easy. Very clean mouthfeel.

O: Not too familiar with Scottish ales but I would highly recommend this one. Not boozy at all for strength all and the flavors are kept in check. Smooth, drinkable with potent flavors.

 561 characters

Photo of Onenote81
4.17/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ah. The famed Cigar City. I've been pining to try these guys since their formation. Big thanks to Kiefdog for hooking me up with this big bottle. Thanks, Kevin!

Poured into my pint glass a very thick dark brown with slight ruby tints on the edges. There was a decent amount of tan head on there, but this left little to no lacing. Disappointing there. Smells of fresh bread, big toffee, caramel, and booze.

Mouthfeel is decent with a medium amount of carbonation. Slightly slick, but not bad. This is the maltiest malt-bomb ever! Huge brown sugar, molasses, caramel, toffee, pumpernickel all over this beer! Finishes slightly chalky and drying. This is a very good Scotch Ale. Probably the best I've had. Highly recommend.

 725 characters

Photo of SilentSabre
4.17/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A 750mL bottle shared among 3 people (myself and 2 others).

Poured up a very dark reddish brown, nearly black, with a finger and a half of sandy, light brown foam. The colour of the body and the look of the foamy cap look quite nice.

The smell on this is terrific. Huge malt in the nose with a noticeable bit of fruit, particularly cherries. Not that artificial cherry candy smell, but the same 'realistic' cherry smell one gets from Bell's Cherry Stout. Very nice, indeed!

Big malt flavour, as expected, with a bit of dark fruit such as cooked raisins; reminds me a bit of tawny port, though not that extreme. Very tasty.

Quite viscous; flirting with being oily, but in a good way. Very low carbonation.

All things considered, I feel this is quite drinkable, though I also feel carving this up with two friends was the way to go. The 8,5%abv is very, very well concealed, but given the weight in the mouth, I don't know if I'd want all 750mL on my stomach at once...
A hell of a Scotch Ale, though..very well crafted, for sure!!

 1,035 characters

Photo of TKEbeerman
4.15/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle right to the tulip

A: Upon cracking open this brew Big Sound let out a rising head that conveniently ran directly into my tulip ;). Bellow a thick mahogany tinted head sits a very dark, extremely dark, almost black, brew with an amber and mahogany tint.

S: Fruity backed by an eloquent malt background. I sense some dark cherry and other sweet fruits along with some sweet sticky caramel.

T: Chewy, complex malty, fruity flavors. Big Sound tastes very organic and rich. Caramel pokes its head out and teases the pallet. A very slightly bitter finish is a pleasant surprise. My beef is that it's a little too sweet. Hmm...maybe some age? How long who knows, but I'm gonna put one in the Florida cellar soon.

M: Despite the impressive head the mouth feel is very lightly carbonated. Medium body. Nothing to impressive, but I'm certainly not disappointed.

D: Like I said, Big Sound needs some time in the garage practicing it's bag pipe punk rock skills, promoting it's demo tapes, and tone down it's sweetness. I like this one a lot. Don't love it yet, but hey I'm gonna give CCB a call and ask what some age will do to this brew.

 1,156 characters

Photo of glid02
4.15/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by Darren - thanks!

Pours a slightly hazy chestnut brown color with a one-finger tan head. The head recedes into a wispy layer on top leaving solid lacing.

Smells of lightly toasted malts with good amounts of toffee, lighter amounts of tobacco, and lighter still amounts of spicy hops.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Sweet caramel malt flavors with hints of toastiness kick things off. Joining in shortly thereafter are crisp toffee flavors with hints of leafy hops and tobacco. A very mild amount of spicy hops enters into things right before a mildly bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is very good. It's got a nice thickness with grainy carbonation.

Drinkability is also very good. I finished my glass quickly and could have a few more with no problems.

Overall this beer follows the trend set forth in many other of CCB's beer with hints of tobacco which I'm a huge fan of. Not an exceptional beer but not far from it either, worth a shot.

 955 characters

Photo of Brenden
4.15/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is the final brew from my most recent trade with BeerLovinGirl. Many thanks to her.

This one is a deep, dark brown that shines red in the light. A tan head sticks around at a couple fingers and leaves some patchy lacing behind.
The aroma is earthy, a little smoky, and malty with notes of dark fruits. There's also an RIS-like molasses, licorice and bitter chocolate note.
The taste follows suit, with more strength in the big smoked malt. It really has the characteristics of a big RIS. Underneath is a gentle fruit note, with some astringent coffee and the subtle note of a toffee-like caramelized sugar. The finish is dry with some toasty grains.
The mouthfeel on this one is pretty full, with light carbonation and a balance of smooth and crisp.
This is a big, bold, tasty brew and a nice one from Cigar City.

 819 characters

Photo of RomaniIteDomum
4.15/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Shared at one of the Tampa BA gatherings. I still need to find a few bottles of this for myself.

Pours a nice red with a great lingering head. Great looking beer.

Very sweet smell with all the wonderful characteristics of the style. Great balance in the nose.

Great schotchy taste with nice finish. Good sweet notes in the beer. Drinks like candy.

This might be one of the smoothest beers I've had. It is liquid velvet. Wow.

This is an all-day everyday beer. Great for sessions or with food. Like I said, I must find some bottles.

 535 characters

Photo of core42
4.15/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very smooth Scotch ale that smells good and tastes great. Lots of flavor without the lingering peaty aftertaste that some other Scotch ales have. Definitely one of my favorite Scotch ales out there

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Big Sound Scotch Ale from Cigar City Brewing
4.1 out of 5 based on 711 ratings.
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