Big Sound - Bourbon Barrel-Aged
Cigar City Brewing

Big Sound - Bourbon Barrel-AgedBig Sound - Bourbon Barrel-Aged
Rate It
Beer Geek Stats | Print Shelf Talker
Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy
4.38 | pDev: 7.76%
Cigar City Brewing
Florida, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Big Sound - Bourbon Barrel-AgedBig Sound - Bourbon Barrel-Aged
Notes: 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.
Reviews: 100 | Ratings: 669 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of bubseymour
bubseymour from Maryland

4.94/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

This beer feels alot bigger than 8.5%. More like a 11-12% ABV BA beer. Very sweet and really good all around. Probably the best I've ever had on par with Wulver.

Aug 14, 2018
Photo of Treyliff
Treyliff from West Virginia

4.31/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

750ml bottle poured into a snifter

A- pours a deep brown color with a one-finger off-white head that has short retention before settling to a ring around the edge

S- huge barrel aroma, sharp oak & booze soaked vanilla. Undertones of caramel and toffee, chocolate molasses & fig

T- as expected with the nose, plenty of barrel flavor; bourbon, woody oak, vanilla & caramel. Undertones of tobacco, dark cherry & chocolate.

M- medium body with low carbonation leads to a foamy mouthfeel and finish

O- bold barrel notes mesh with smooth caramel, toffee and dark fruit, good stuff

Feb 09, 2018
Photo of mschrei
mschrei from Illinois

4.53/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 1/6/16. Got it as a Christmas gift last year from my brother.

Dark, thinning edges, healthy lacing. Smell is boozy barrel and sweet malt. Taste is molasses and bourbon. Feel is a pleasant middle ground between harsh oiliness and smooth cleanliness. Damn good beer.

Sep 08, 2017
Photo of KensWorld
KensWorld from Florida

3.95/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

From cellared 750ml bottle dated 1/6/16.

I remember this being one of my first big Beers i ever had from CCB back when they opened, green wax dipped bottle I think? . I can't say I remember how it tasted but I sure remember it's punch. Like getting slammed by a skinhead at a Cuban Club show back in the late 1980s. This is a sleeper of a beer. Extreamly smooth and silky yet it creeps up on you. Very good example of Scotch style. Only problem is there is hardly any bourbon presence. Slam on!

Jun 07, 2017
Photo of Slack
Slack from Virginia

4.48/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

No date but has the glass package emblem and received via trade 1.5 years ago
750 ml

Dark Brown and clear with a nice head that settles to a solid ring. Nice legs as well.

Nose is subtly sweet, with all minor notes of bourbon, oak, vanilla, dark fruit, and smoke.

Taste is bourbon and caramel mixed with malt, oak, vanilla, minor dark fruit, minor booze, and minor earthy peat.

Mouthful is medium and smooth with just a hint of aggression. Carbonation is average. Finish is sweet.

Super duper bourbon barrel Scotch Ale. Perhaps it is the additional aging but the balance here is exceptional. No one note rules the nose or taste. Everything has mellowed out. Very drinkable. Very enjoyable. Seek it out.

Apr 29, 2017
Photo of FriedSlug
FriedSlug from North Carolina

4.49/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Opaque brown brew with a creamy tan head. The aroma is filled with oak, vanilla, caramel, toffee, bourbon, raisins and chocolate. The taste is so smooth, sweet and delicious with all the aromas present in the taste. This is really a balanced and delicious scotch ale. Just amazing.

Apr 07, 2017
Photo of larryarms847
larryarms847 from Illinois

4.25/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours thick, oily, and viscous with a touch of reddish/mahogany hues on the edges and a bit of transparency, but certainly not clear.

Rich notes of vanilla, oak, and caramel adds a gentle sweetness to the earthy notes, peat, and bourbon.

Aroma translates to flavor perfectly with delicious vanilla, oak, subtle smokiness, and warming bourbon.

Full-bodied, low carbonation, semi-chewy, warming.

Overall, a truly outstanding beer. A great sipper.

Feb 26, 2017
Photo of JackRWatkins
JackRWatkins from Alabama

4.18/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours black as night with a minimal khaki head and some lacing
S: sticky sweet, with tobacco and leather notes along with some toffee and caramel,
T: sweet with immediate bourbon with malt and toffee as well, it is very rich and sweet with a subtle boozy bitterness, has some earthiness as well
M: thick, thick, thick
O: A very tasty drink, definitely would make a wonderful dessert beer but is great on its own of course, buy if you can find, I recommend the gift set as it comes with 2 wonderfully crafted high quality Spiegelau glasses. This beer (and some others I've had more recently) makes me want to dive back into the world of Scotch ales as admittedly I haven't explored this style too extensively

Jan 21, 2017
Photo of FBarber
FBarber from Illinois

4.24/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a barrel aged snifter - blind tasting.

Pours a dark mahogany with a thin tan head. Crisp color in spite of the deep dark hue. Head slowly dissipates leaving a thin tan lacing along the top. Bit dark for the style.

Smell was of raisins, blackcurrant, dark fruits and chocolate. Kind of a woody-boozy undertone is noted.

Taste opens with a nice woody boozy character giving way to rotes of raisins, blackcurrants, dark fruits, and chocolate cake. The Chocolate cake taste threw me for a loop, but it really works here. Undertones of vanilla (from the barrel) and a musty cellar like note was noticed - that musty cellar smell definitely comes from the barrel and was quite good in this.

Feel was very mellow and smooth. Clearly this had been aged for some time and given the opportunity to really mellow and mesh. medium carbonation keeps it crisp and sprightly.

Overall this was tasted as part of a blind tasting of five barrel aged wee heaves - this one stood out as a very unique example of the style. The chocolate cake notes were unusual but worked and added a depth to the beer that was very nice. Bit on the dark side for the style, but thats a minor quibble.

Apr 23, 2016
Photo of Smakawhat
Smakawhat from Maryland

4.18/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from the bottle into a Cigar City tulip snifter bulb glass.

A muddy slightly body appearance, deep in mahogany and a bit of a purple/reddish tinge to it. There is some fine carbonation on the sides that can be seen, with a head creation that is very minimal and hardly existent even off a centre pour. Light tan, quite a big bubbled collar, with a small top.

Very nice aroma. Thick soft malt qualities, lots of interesting fruit tones from raisin to dark wine grape character. Really big round aromas, slightly oaky in a woody cedar like way, mild toffee and thicker caramel, a slight bit of milky chocolate makes its way out as well. Real enjoyable.

Palate is quite interesting and a bit distinct if unusual. Rich and milky toffee caramel aromas, with a lighter sensing body that actually has a hint of flattened carbonation to it. Chewy sensing candy bar and caramel flavors, but also large fruit tones of raisin and grape not unlike was suggesting on the nose. Finishes a bit prickly, and has a lighter malt presence but also mild sensing booze. Warmth brings out some milky chocolate tones with some vanilla barrel aging qualities as well. Real nicely melded, if a bit lighter malt backbone than expected.

Very different wee heavy that seems to have taken a different turn than I was expecting, that is real impressive in a way. Still a very nice and enjoyable wee heavy by far.

Apr 09, 2016
Photo of rlee1390
rlee1390 from Indiana

4.25/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Not getting much of the scotch ale base. But the bourbon barrel aging more than makes up for that. There is a nice vanilla note as well as the oak and bourbon.

Apr 08, 2016
Photo of Lapalou
Lapalou from Florida

4.46/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2016 version on draft @ Marriott pre- beer week. Light black pour with a nice 2 finger white creamy head. Not much aroma. Taste is big sound with a vanilla background. Nice creamy mouthfeel, much more so than original big sound. Almost like a nitro pour. As it warms a lingering bourbon backend with subtle oak notes. But really a smooth drinking BA scotch ale with a good vanilla notes. Impressive draft beer .

Mar 01, 2016
Photo of IckyT2012
IckyT2012 from Florida

4.71/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Full disclosure: this is my white wale I've been hunting for years. But this is unquestionably the greatest scotch ale I have ever tasted, barrel aged or otherwise. Decadently balanced, nowhere near too boozy. It actually drinks smoother than the base beer. Everything I hoped for here!

Feb 24, 2016
Photo of The_Snow_Bird
The_Snow_Bird from Florida

4.36/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark brown clear color with absolutely not head in sight. It gives off a strong bourbon smell mixed with caramel. The bourbon is strong in this one, tastes of vanilla and caramel.

Feb 22, 2016
Photo of CraftFan5
CraftFan5 from New Jersey

4.76/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Held onto this one for well over a year. Let's see what she did. 750 ml bottle into a tulip.

A - Very dark out of the bottle. If I didn't know any better I would guess imperial stout or porter. It's not black, but it's a very dark, opaque brown. Tight khaki bubbles on top, down to a small layer. Lacing is lovely. Best looking scotch ale I've ever seen.

N - It's sitting about a foot from my face while I typed the appearance, and I've been getting tons of bourbon. With my nose in the glass I get more of the same. Sweet caramel and vanilla, some booze. Yum.

T - Yes! Classic scotch ale goodness, plenty of malt, with a bit of smoke. The bourbon is dominating, but it also brings out the scotch flavors. Not at all bitter, and not very boozy. I think the year really made a difference.

M - Thick, frothy, and lots of tingles on the tongue. By the time it gets down to the dregs it's positively chewy. This is a really impressive beer.

O - I'll admit that I've never been blown away by a CCBC beer, but now I have been. Can't wait to crack the Hunahpu I have sitting in the cellar.

Sep 22, 2015
Photo of Houser
Houser from Pennsylvania

4.35/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

pours this ugly and beautiful mahogany, yes, at the same time. smell is toffee, bourbon, caramel and taste is much of the same but mellowed. i really enjoyed this one, but fell slightly short of the original hype.

Aug 22, 2015
Photo of lupercmda
lupercmda from North Carolina

4.66/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a brownish, black which is a function of the Barrel probably. I get a lot of bourbon in the nose with only a slight amount of sweet malt smell. Slightly sweet in the beginning but the oaky, smooth alcohol flavor takes over in a good way. Nice thick feel for a scotch ale. A real pleasure to drink this bad boy.

Apr 27, 2015
Photo of chinchill
chinchill from South Carolina

4.12/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

At the RBWG-2015.
Cloudy brown south a limited head.
Plenty of bbl effect. Perhaps a tad too sweet.
Thick full Syrupy body with medium light carbonation.
Lots of whisky [Heaven Hill? ).

Mar 06, 2015
Photo of Davepoolesque
Davepoolesque from Massachusetts

4.21/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours out very dark brown with almost no head. Straight caramel, vanilla, toasted oak and toffee. Getting a hint of cinnamon. Thick. A little bit one noted, but it was a delicious one note.

Jan 26, 2015
Photo of TX-Badger
TX-Badger from Texas

4.47/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a dark brown color with lightly tan colored head. Bourbon, caramel, vanilla, oak, and some dark fruits on the nose; follows onto the palate. Finishes with sweetness, and a bourbon warmth. Very complex.

Dec 29, 2014
Photo of winningwes91
winningwes91 from North Carolina

4.8/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Pours out a murky brown color. Smell seems like muted Carmel and bourbon with some oak in the back. Taste is a completely different story. A huge pop of Carmel candy soaked bourbon in the front end with the nice oak and tobacco notes in the end. Yum. Nice and full mouthfeel. Probably my favorite wee/scotch ale to date.

Dec 26, 2014
Photo of KVNBGRY
KVNBGRY from Florida

4.61/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Looks amazing. Dark, not black. Brown head, like a target employee khakis. Aroma is booze, oak, raisins. Taste follows with less booze, more raisin, caramel, oak, and brown sugar. Medium-full mouthfeel. Just a stunner of a beer. Easy to drink an entire 22oz (Hurricane Matthew causing me to drink) top 5 CCB beer ever.

Nov 17, 2014
Photo of floridadrift
floridadrift from Florida

5/5  rDev +14.2%

Happy Birthday to Roland.

A: Dark blackish brown body with bone white head. Beautiful

T: So good. One of the best I've had. Bourbon compliments but doesnt take away from the Scotch Ale itself with its sweetness and figs and dates and vanilla oaky-ness.

M: Creamy and perfect to the swallow.

O: Try to find this, its worth it. Or find it next year. A gentlemen's upgrade to the original Big Sound.

Oct 30, 2014
Photo of mdfb79
mdfb79 from New York

4.35/5  rDev -0.7%

From 10/28/14 notes. 750ML bottle poured into my Cigar City snifter.

Pours a deep mahogany brown color with one inch of light tan head and moderate carbonation evident. Lots of bourbon, raisins, chocolate, caramel malts, toffee, toasted malts, and some burnt malts. Taste has more dark fruits and caramel. Medium body and low carbonation, the body is SUPER smooth and heat at all and crazy easy to drink.

Overall I really like this one; I thought it was great and one of the better scotch ales I've ever had. I like the base beer and this is an improvement. I love how much flavor there is and how good the bourbon is yet this is still drinkable and not hot at all...very impressive. Worth seeking out.

Oct 29, 2014
Photo of mikepcarney
mikepcarney from Ohio

4.53/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I initially had this ranked up higher, but after having it next to Wulver I had to lower my score. Anyone who has had this needs to have Thirsty Dog's Wulver and you will be blown away. This is a very good beer, but side by side it just doesn't hang.

Oct 26, 2014
Big Sound - Bourbon Barrel-Aged from Cigar City Brewing
Beer rating: 96 out of 100 with 669 ratings