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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 Sammy
3.85/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Neat chocolate tasting beer, chocolate taste through and through. Chocolate colour, very lacey with almost no head. Very good drinkabiliy, sweetish, slightly above average mouthfeel, with understaetd carbonation. Slight scotch flavours.
On tap at the brewery.This was much better than in the bottle, of which I partook a half year later.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.92/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to mhksuccess for sharing this one at my tasting.

Bottled 8/20/12.

Pours a clear dark brown with a foamy khaki head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, brown sugar, caramel, and toffee. Taste is much the same with a malty flavor on the finish. There is a mild amount of hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer that with some solid aromas and flavors.

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Photo of kylehay2004
4.15/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

3 finger frothy head which rapidly dissipates with little lacing. Body is viscous appearing, black with only a little light passing through. Aroma is wide ranging with syrup, dark fruits, caramel and smokey notes intermixed. This one initially is very sweet and it hard to overcome. This one is very smooth. Sweet dark fruits, a little creamy with slight smokey hues and a maple like finish. Body is thick and light carbonation. Overall this one was way too sweet for my tastes to give this my top rating.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.75/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

a nice big malty scotch ale, a little too sweet for my palate overall, and certainly too sweet to take down too much of. i like its density though, and its grain richness. in some ways its like a dopplebock on the grain front, this may be a little less german, but its dark caramel and dried red fruit complexion is in line with that. earthy up front before the sweet, dark amber to mahogany in color, thick in body but not overly so. carbonation is upbeat for the style, which really helps with the sugar. there is a real molasses character to the front end, and even a mellow hop bitterness there too. it just feels like dessert to me. a glass of this brings cures the itch of both a sweet tooth and an individual in need of a little buzz. you cant taste the booze in it really, but i can definitely feel it after even half a glass. solid beer overall, well made, but not all that different and quite sugary in the finish.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.98/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A tremendous beer offered up by Cigar City- this, my first beer from the brewery. If all of them are equally as solid, then they are welcome in my glass. any time.

The beer starts with a dark brown hue and deep mohogany highlights comming through the edges. a billowing tan head forms above the beer and never reliquishes. Lots of lacing as the beer fades. This is how a Scottish Ale is supposed to look.

Serious malty aromas lead the way. Toffee, molassas, and syrupy barly flavors give a deep bready, melanoidin flavor witout too much residual sweetness. Phenolics of plastic and smoke give a complexity to the malts in the absence of hop aroma, though the plastics are as much a deterant as a benifit. Fruity throughout with plumbs, dates, figs, cherries, grapes, and raisons.

Flavors transfer the malt and fruity notes in a most bold sort of way. Rich flavors of malts are backlit with lighter chocolates, coffee, and nuttiness. Boozy rum flavors, combined with the fruits, give an almost caugh-syrup taste that proves too bold in flavor and feel. There is a lot going on in the taste.

There is a lot of body in this beer as well. Heavy toasted breads give a deeply creamy and malty texture without getting too sweet or sticky. Alchols become quite abrupt again with a hot and rough abrasion on the throat. A long, sweet linger of rum, cherries, and sunkist barley malts reappear in the aftertaste.

A great example of the style. Even the detractors are allowed in these lower levels. Thanks BigMcLargeHuge!

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Photo of brentk56
4.08/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearancec: Pours a murky burnt caramel with a solid head that sticks and laces very nicely

Smell: Malty aromatics of toasted brown bread, caramel, tobacco and dark fruit

Taste: Opens with a pumpernickel bread and caramel flavor that adds a bitter tobacco element by mid-palate; after the swallow, boozy rum-soaked fig flavors emerge but a lot of the tobacco lingers into the aftertaste; despite the overall sweetness, there is also a subtle dry woody characteristic that lingers though the finish is filled with fig

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with moderate carbonation; some warmth in the gullet

Drinkability: Complex and adventurous for the style, with a bitter undertone not often found in a Wee Heavy; I'm not mad for it as this is not my favorite style but it is well worth sampling

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.8/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a deep brown burgundy color ale with a medium size foamy head with good retention and minimal lacing. Aroma of rich sweet malt with some deep notes of caramel and toffee is enjoyable though very close to the overly sweet territory. Taste is also an enjoyable mix between some rich sweet malt with deep notes toffee and caramelized sugar. Body is quite full with OK carbonation and no apparent alcohol. I usually like some peat malt in my scotch ale but not sure it would have benefited this one since there is so much residual sugar.

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Photo of zeff80
4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Good scotch ale appearance. It had cloudy/murky dark brown tones with a small, off-white head of thick foam. Nice retention and some lacing.

S - It smelled of peat and moss with a smoky aroma, too.

T - Good flavor blend of smoke, earthy hops and sweet caramel malt.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium bodied beer that was somewhat chewy.

D - This is a very nice scotch ale/wee heavy. Glad I got to try this one.

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Photo of nickfl
4.07/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Small head on a dark brown body. The foam settles quickly and leaves little lace.

S - Caramel and brown sugar with dark, dank molasses. Lots of toffee as well.

T - Plums and dark cherries with complex, dark sugar; mostly molasses. Brown sugar, caramel and a hint of chocolate in the finish.

M - Medium-thick body, moderate carbonation, and a sweet finish.

D - Very rich and dark, like a lot of Cigar City beers, this one has a much darker and more complex malt profile than one would normally expect. A good beer, though the malt gets to be a bit much towards the end of the glass.

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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.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Time for the Big Sound - I've been waiting for this one!

Just pouring it I can see within the stream of liquid that it's got a crimson cast to it. It's a bit hazy though. It's a deep chestnut with a dark amber glow along the base of the glass. The tan head is massive, and frothy, and it just doesn't want to die down. It's got lots of big bubbles mixed into it and it almost looks like swiss cheese. It does settle though, and becomes more like a creamy cap of baby swiss. The lacing is really nice though, and it leaves rings and curtains as it goes.

The nose is less bombastic, and it's gently sweet with a softly caramelish and gently fruity, berry and jam-like, edge.

That follows into the flavor, and I was surprised at how restrained it is. I was expecting more sugary malt, but this is actually right on par for the style. So many American brewers take it a notch beyond this and go over-board, but this is in check. It reminds me of Belhaven 80 -/-, although it's been so long since I've had one that I'm not even sure about that. I know it's not as roasty as the 90 -/- though, but it's technically stronger. More importantly, it's balanced. And balance is the key to Scottish and Scotch ale. It's malt, and then malt backed by low-level hops, and then more malt, and then more hops - and then a subtly lingering malty and just slightly hoppy and bitter finish. And the stunningly smooth and creamy mouthfeel on this one only makes that all the better!

So, moving to drinkability, at 8.5% this is an amazingly smooth and consumable beer. There's just enough caramel and sweetness to the malt, and just enough hop and bitterness to balance it - and the alcohol is very well cloaked! I'd imagine one could simply enjoy this until they passed out!

Nicely done! And well worth trying!

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

Appearance: Pours out an opaque, dark brown body accented with some amber highlights and topped with a half-inch of beige head.

Smell: The aroma is plushly malty, rooted around a concentrated toasty breadiness coated with sweet-scented caramel. This is supported with notes of chocolate, roasty coffee, and a fruitiness that grows even bolder when the beer is given a moment to warm up a bit.

Taste: Deep robust maltiness with a fair amount of soothing sweetness. Tastes of caramelized sugars, toasted bread crusts and, whaddya know, even some chocolate-coated grains and coffee are present, as is a vibrant dried dark fruitiness. Undercurrent of earthiness throughout. Very low, subtle hop bitterness. A bit more breadiness and a touch more roast in the lightly warming finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium carbonation. Smooth mouthfeel.

Drinkability: I certainly enjoyed this one. Sure, it's a bit deeper and darker than your usual Scotch Ale, but who gives a crap as long as it makes for a tasty, enjoyable beer.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.35/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

"Bagpipers developed this sound that evokes the wide-open, lonely landscape of the Scottish Highlands."

--Jamie Laval

Dark candy apple red with terra cotta trim. A gentle escape of CO2 on crown cracking led to a high-altitude pour... which led to three fingers of golden brown sugar colored cream that looks like it has no interest in melting. An acceptable amount of lace sticks as well.

The aroma is more burly brown ale than most beer of this style. One doesn't often smell pumpernickel toast and coffee in a Scotch ale. If there's enough malt, but this could be pretty special stuff.

Big Sound delivers big flavor. This is one of those offerings that is delicious from the first mouthful and could easily reach exceptional by the tenth or twelfth. If the flavor profile gains a little depth and breadth with warming, we're there.

Flavors include English toffee, brown bread drizzled with chocolate and molasses, chicory coffee and earthy tobacco leaves. A modest amount of peat-smoked malt would have put this brew into the stratosphere. As was expected, the Sound is even Bigger now that the middle of the bomber has been breached. In addition, the sweet-bitter balance is nigh on perfect.

The mouthfeel is slightly lighter than it should be for the ABV. On the other hand, it too comes into its own as the ounces pass, developing a lushness that couldn't have been predicted after the first sip. Scores are being increased all over the damn place.

Big Sound Scotch Ale is dedicated to Gino the punk rock bagpiper and to Tampa Bay Pipes And Drums. This is my first Cigar City beer and it's a corker. If you have the opportunity, tune in to Big Sound and enjoy a wonderful wee heavy from the Sunshine State. Thank you to whoever sent me this tasty treat.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.5/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Another gem from CCB. To say I get excited when a new offering comes in from them would be the understatement of the year. This one was grabbed out of the fridge and served in a tall pilsner glass. Consumed on 06/28/2009.



The pour was very big. Deep, dark hazelnut brown in color with a huge tan head of at least three inches covering up the top of it. Very big look to it overall with great retention and tons of side glass lacing going up and down the glass. Rich aroma of caramel, hints of nuts and brown sugar and a very nice herbal or woodsy like quality to it. Smooth, sublime carbonation here. Really full bodied for the style led to a wonderful coating like quality across the tongue. As I reach in for a taste I get all kinds of flavor here. Earthy grains, hints of bready malts, a nice touch of rich caramel and almost a tobacco like flavor. Very interesting. Mellow ABV with a slight warming, but nothing distracting at all. In fact this was quite drinkable to say the least.



Overall this was beyond solid and a real treat. I am a huge fan of the style and this was no exception at all. I would go here again any day of the week. Really excellent and they just keep going with the great releases.

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Photo of russpowell
4.14/5  rDev +1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle hauled with TLC from FL via NC over a 2 week period, a lot of icecubes gave themselves up to keep this tasty...

I tried the version aged on Cherry or was it cedar at CCB, not bad, but my taste buds were gone by then...

Pours an effervescent chestnut with 3+ fingers of fluffy tan head, tiny bubble cling to the bottom of the glass... Crazy head retention lacing

S: Toffee & slight herbal hop scents

T: Caramel & toffee, plus peatyness up front, some herbal hops lurk in the background. Dryness dominates as this warms along with woody hops & an oaky character, plus more peaty notes & some dates & dark cherry as well. Finishes dry, with caramel sweetness, fruitty & smokey

MF: Chewy as all get out, with fairly firm carbonation up front, mellows out when warm

Drinks pretty easy for the abv until the dryness settles in. Still like it better than the version I had the brewery. Not a perfect wee heavy, but tasty enough, I wish could get it on a routine basis

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Photo of billab914
4.14/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 750ml bottle into my Dogfish snifter. It poured It poured a very dark and opaque brown color with a thin and frothy tan head to it.

The aroma has a pretty big malty profile to it with both caramel and dark fruits playing a big role. I get some notes of cherry and raisin coming out and mixing with some sweeter brown sugar and fig notes. Excellent aroma overall.

The taste shows even more of a dark fruit presence to it. I get some of the fig and raisin flavors coming out with just a hint of cherry. Some bitterness in the finish helps the malty flavors from becoming overly sweet.

The mouthfeel is on the heavier side with carbonation being low. Overall i thought it was an excellent beer. The malty dark fruit flavors were great and they did a nice job balancing out all the malty sweetness as well. Very enjoyable beer overall

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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.

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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.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.5/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the House of Brews. Served in a short pint.

Appearance - Deep brown. Small off white head and collar.

Smell - Toffee. A little fruity and buttery.

Taste - Sweet caramel. Dark fruits. Mild hop flavor in the middle. Nutty after that and a little boozy.

Mouthfeel - Medium heavy. Kinda sweet. Medium carbonation.

Overall - Good without being special. I'm surprised I've never reviewed this.

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Photo of stakem
4.35/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from notes taken on 6/5/10.

Firkin made available during Philly beer week. Served in a small snifter approximately 6oz pour. It appears a cloudy brown color with a creamy offwhite head that laces in a solid wall about the glass. Sweet caramel malt filled nose has a slight citrus hop bite before the rest of the malt aromas fills the nose with other dark fruity suggestions and a bit of vanilla. The taste is quite appealing, this is a very solid example of scotch ale. Malt flavors all over the place with a kick of alcohol and hop bitterness. The malt is represented with flavors of chocolate, vanilla, caramel and some suggestions of dark skinned fruit. Feel with this beer is full with a mild level of carbonation. There is a lingering flavor of chocolate and alcohol that mingles with some hops left in the mouth. Overall an awesome brew.

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Photo of smakawhat
3.78/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle into a tulip glass. Turkey leftovers!

Absolutely super dark walnut black body, making some sudsy light tan head. Makes three fingers but settles very quickly to a small collar ring. Light creamy puck on top manages to stick around while drinking. Probably the darkest Scotch Ale I've seen.

Nose is very small, mild classic malts and toffee, kind of fruity smelling sort of a grape sensation. Strangely subtle and nothing very noticeable.

Palate fills with a nice malty chocolate and raisin. Low/medium carbonation with a nice creamy palate feel. A yeast density aftertaste to this mixing in with whoopers candy. Warmth brings some mild char roasting and mild faint prickly hop also.

Overall pretty decent and a worthy drink, but I think I prefer other Wee Heavy beers compared to this one.

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Photo of WoodBrew
4.38/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Suck a bottle of this no the cruise to give a break from the standard crap served on teh boat. The color is deep dark teak color with a creamy light tan head. Head dissipates to a thin broken film in just a few minutes but leaves some impressive lace.
Smell is rich and sweet with roasted malt, soy, caramel and candied sugar. Nicely balanced.
Taste is very similar with notes of roasted malt, soy, sweetness, dark fruits and dark chocolate with a hop note way in back.
Smooth, rich, creamy and full-bodied, this is a good brew. Only downside would be that it is a bit too sweet, even for me. Light effervescence and a light coating of the palate but no real warming like I expected. A good beer for sipping, as in dessert. Had some smoke/peat presence, too.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured on-tap at the Cigar City Brewing tasting room in Tampa. Served in a pint glass, the beer is an opaque, black sludge looking brew with a ruby-red highlight showing around the edges, and a slight film of head. Sweet malt and boozey aromas. The body is round and smooth...holy shit! The flavor is the boozey characters of a smooth, smokey scotch, and the sweetness of melted brown sugar. Great bodied. The booze and sweet consumes the aftertaste. Great sipper. Light, lingering finish.

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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.

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Photo of Duff27
3.91/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Mocha colored one-inch head on top of a cola=brown beer. Good head retention and lacing!

S- Dark caramel malts with a touch of cola.

T- Low hops, per usual for the style. Dark malts with some chocolate and toffee notes. Well hidden ABV.

M- Creamy/syrupy. Well carbonated but with very, very small bubbles.

D/O- A good example for the style overall but for the money I believe there are better options. Worth a try though if you are a huge Scotch Ale fan like me.

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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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