Big Sound Scotch Ale | Cigar City Brewing

BA SCORE
91
outstanding
720 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score
Send samples
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
Ratings:
720
Reviews:
202
Avg:
4.09
pDev:
10.02%
 
 
Wants:
192
Gots:
191
For Trade:
18
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 720 |  Reviews: 202
Photo of NeroFiddled
4.25/5  rDev +3.9%
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!

 1,796 characters

Photo of dbrauneis
4/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of ygtbsm94
3/5  rDev -26.7%

Photo of Kegatron
3.75/5  rDev -8.3%

Photo of wethorseblanket
4.06/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of nathanmiller
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of XmnwildX12
4/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of mendvicdog
4.25/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of dcmchew
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Ciocanelu
3.9/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Dark mahogany color with light brown head. Aroma has intense dark fruits like dates and dried cherries. Taste starts also fruity with a hint of burnt sugar. Finishes really balanced. Medium body and carbonation. Overall it's a nice scotch ale, true to style and really well made.

 279 characters

Photo of Gagnonsux
3.79/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of billab914
4.14/5  rDev +1.2%
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

 848 characters

Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.15/5  rDev +1.5%
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.

 1,026 characters

Photo of russpowell
4.14/5  rDev +1.2%
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

 974 characters

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.35/5  rDev +6.4%
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.

 1,765 characters

Photo of duceswild
4.25/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of mikesgroove
4.5/5  rDev +10%
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.

 1,215 characters

Photo of mdfb79
4.22/5  rDev +3.2%
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 orangesol
4/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.5/5  rDev -14.4%
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.

 403 characters

Photo of MarkyMOD
4/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of thatoneguymike
3.96/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of Huhzubendah
4.2/5  rDev +2.7%
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 WoodBrew
4.38/5  rDev +7.1%
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.

 758 characters

Photo of stakem
4.35/5  rDev +6.4%
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.

 851 characters

Big Sound Scotch Ale from Cigar City Brewing
4.09 out of 5 based on 720 ratings.
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.