Big Sound Scotch Ale - Bourbon Barrel Aged | Cigar City Brewing

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Big Sound Scotch Ale - Bourbon Barrel AgedBig Sound Scotch Ale - Bourbon Barrel Aged

Brewed by:
Cigar City Brewing
Florida, United States

Style: Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by cjgator3 on 06-16-2009

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Reviews: 95 | Ratings: 652
Photo of floridadrift
5/5  rDev +15.5%

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.

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Photo of hopsbreath
4.82/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Update: Got another bottle of this thanks again to urwithdave! Drank over the weekend and it's still fantastic. Not sure it's actually better then last time, but I feel like I need to make a statement with my score now that my admiration is affirmed. That's why it's getting a couple extra tents of a point over my original score. Just an excellent beer overall and highly recommended.

Original review from New Years 2012: 4.6/5.0
Thanks go out to urwithdave for sending a green waxed bottle of the recent release my way. Shared with some fellow beer drinkers on New Years Eve.

A: Murky prune with a butterscotch colored wispy head that quickly recedes to a tiny bubble glass ring. Obvious thick legs, just the way I like 'em. 4.5/5

S: Very boozy and heavy on the bourbon. I like a huge barrel forward beer and this is in that range. The base beer simply works as a great vehicle for the liquor. Sweet, peppery spice, and loaded with vanilla. Fantastic barrel character. 5/5

T: Sweet and ridiculously rich. A little butter and heavy on the booze. Loads of the vanilla from the nose, well integrated coconut, and solid wood. 4.5/5

M: Moderate body and low carbonation. Long lingering finish. 4.5/5

O: Great fucking beer. I want more. Thanks Dave! 4.5/5

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.8/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

ich dark brown color coming forward right away. Nearly opaque with a small head of tan creeping up the sides throughout the session but eventually falling back down to earth. The aroma was wonderful with rich caramel and toffee notes that just exploded in the air. Hints of apricot and other light fruits bouncing around as well. Really the best flavor I could have imagined coming out of this one. Rich caramel and toffee flavors, hints of vanilla, pears and light tart flavors bouncing aorund. No alcohol at all, , it does not drink anywhere near this kind of strentght. Smooth, perfect carbonation with a drinkability that was off the charts. I just dont know what else I can say about this beer

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Photo of winningwes91
4.8/5  rDev +10.9%
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.

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Photo of CraftFan5
4.76/5  rDev +9.9%
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.

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Photo of Tesilential
4.75/5  rDev +9.7%
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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Photo of IckyT2012
4.71/5  rDev +8.8%
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!

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Photo of lupercmda
4.66/5  rDev +7.6%
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.

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Photo of timc100
4.65/5  rDev +7.4%

Pours dark for a scotch ale - great creamy beige head. Fantastically rich aroma of toffee, caramel, bourbon, oak, oaky vanilla and sweet brown sugar and some very light sweet smoke. A lot of chocolate as it warms Very rich whiskey and caramel. Tastes very smooth - rich barrel, whiskey, and scotch ale flavors. Finishes with booze, toffee, caramel, and chocolate. Crazy, but brings positive dark lord qualities to mind.

CCB kills another BA beer. They are at the top of the game, and this is outstanding.

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Photo of macrosmatic
4.62/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes. Had on-tap at CCB tasting room. Poured into snifter.

A: Opaque, extremely dark brown. Forms a thin tan head with no visible carbonation.

S: Relatively light bourbon aroma overlays a big dark roasty malt sweetness.

T: Follows the nose - big sweet roasted malts. The bourbon presence isn't as heavy-handed as some recent BA treatments from CCB, which is perfect here. It still hides a bit of the raisin fruitiness present in the base beer, but I don't miss it much. This is really, crazy good.

M: Thick sticky mouthfeel, heavy body. The alcohol is noticeable obviously, but only adds to the beer. Minimal carbonation sensation.

O: Truly an excellent beer. Highly recommended.

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Photo of KVNBGRY
4.61/5  rDev +6.5%
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.

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Photo of shand
4.6/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2012 vintage.

Bourbon Barrel Big Sound is bourbony, oaky, velvety smooth goodness. This is one of the first times I've had a BBA beer that actually tempers the sweetness of the base beer. Big Sound off the shelf is tasty, but runs a touch too sweet for me. Somehow this is better. The mouthfeel is outstanding here, it's got a medium-bodied, ridiculously velvety feel. Basically, BBA Big Sound is amazing.

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Photo of Auracom
4.6/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Happy halloween! Huge thanks to Raffy for getting this to me. 8 oz. poured into a FFF Rastal on October 26th, 2012.

A - Very black for this style, with the heft I've come to expect from CC. Small, 1/2" head reduces to bubbling in seconds. Plentiful alcohol legs.

S - Hefty bourbon barrel aromas. Coconut, oak, vanilla. touch of honey-soaked dark fruit. I pull slight candied sugar and a general sweetness more reminiscent of a scotch ale.

T - Sweeter notes of brown sugar and caramel. A bit less of the bourbon but it's well integrated adequately rich.

M - Extremely smooth and medium bodied. Low to moderate carbonation. Semi-sweet finish.

T - Great stuff, makes Founders Backwoods Bastard seem like a bastardized version. Would unquestionably revisit.

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Photo of AleWatcher
4.59/5  rDev +6%
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 cjgator3
4.57/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.75

On-tap at Redlight Redlight. I am a huge fan of the regular Big Sound but the bourbon barrel aging puts it over the top. Fantastic brew! Big and malty with huge bourbon notes from the barrel aging. Overall, fantastic brew from CCB! I hope to see this beer again!

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Photo of KickInTheChalice
4.56/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

From notes. Poured from a 750 mL bottle into a tulip. From notes.

Bourbon Barrel Big Sound has a full, opaque brown color in the glass. There was a tiny head on top after the initial pour, but it faded to nothing rather quickly.

The nose is a sign of good things to come. Bourbon, oak, and vanilla gracefully step in brown of caramel, burnt sugar, orchard fruits, and peat.

Typical Scotch Ale sweetness starts off the flavor, with brown sugar and toffee leading the way. Quickly the bourbon barrels send the rest of the sip on a less sweet trajectory, smoothing out the sugars with a nice bourbon and vanilla presence. There is general fruitiness in the middle of the sip that works nicely with the other flavors as well. Woody oak notes blend well with the peat notes in the original beer. The end finishes smooth, with the flavors coming together and wrapping up nicely.

Where I may be most impressed with this beer is in the body. Not only does the beer survive the barrel aging process with its body intact, it actually drinks bigger than the 8.5% that it is. It seems that instead of wearing away at the body, the barrel aging process only removed some of the sweetness and added a smoothness to the texture that I like. If anything, the carbonation seems a little light.

Cigar City has done a very good job with their barrel program. Nearly every beer they have chosen to age in barrels has emerged better than when it went in.

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Photo of OneBeertoRTA
4.56/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to Zander for two of these 2012 editions.

Pour- A nice rich dark brown with 2 fingers of head

Smell- Huge or should i say BIG bourbon sweetness. Like enormous and powerful sweetness. It reminds me of a Backwoods Bastard on Steriods

Taste- very sweet, tons of flavor and an all around delicious version of the style. Zero booze, can't see the abv on the bottle but I can taste very little, if any heat. Just a sweet and delicious brew

Mouthfell- Medium carbonation, nice lacing, flavor really lingers on your tongue. Just a ton of sweetness. More flavor than any of the same style I can recall.

Overall- Fantastic beer. Will definately trade for more. I would consider this an entry level Scotch ale in that it is easy to drink, no booze and tons of flavor. Something special any new craft fan would love as would the vets.

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Photo of mikepcarney
4.53/5  rDev +4.6%
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.

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Photo of GallowsThief
4.51/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Out of a bomber into my tulip.
A – Deep and dark. Tiny bit of light chocolate head that dissipated quickly. Leaves almost no lacing.
S – Bourbon and lots of it. Sweet molasses and syrup.
T – Nice strong bourbon flavor floods this one. Not nearly as sweet as the nose. Traces of molasses, toffee, brown sugar and vanilla. As it warms up you get a nice caramel flavor as well. Great mix of the sweet flavors and bourbon make you feel the ABV but no real burn.
M – Lightly carbonated with a smooth and creamy mouthfeel.
O – Yep it’s a hit in my book. Love the bourbon flavor and the mix of sweet. Do yourself a favor and let this one warm up. It’s worth the wait.

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Photo of Greywulfken
4.5/5  rDev +3.9%

A: murky brown body with a slim filmy cap that slipped quickly into a thin collar

S: boozy dark fruits and figs and dates; toffee sweetness; vanilla and wood bourbon notes

T: dates soaked in bourbon whiskey; rich dark fruits richly fermenting; lush and plush and earthy and rustic; vanilla and liquor, brown sugar caramel and toffee; evades being too sweet

M: solid medium weight, subtle carbonation, smooth but with some tingle of spice; drying vapors in the roof of the mouth

O: this was a no-brainer - the Scotch ale's sugar character and fruit impressions are a natural setting for bourbon barrel aging - the vanilla and booze of the bourbon, plus the drying of the barrel vapors creates a decadent fruity array of aroma, flavor and feel.

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Photo of julian89
4.5/5  rDev +3.9%
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 ronricorossi
4.5/5  rDev +3.9%

bottle from a trade - you can tell from the first hit of the nose, immediately after taking the cap off, that it's outstanding. Thick toffee and dark fruit and caramel, and bourbon, vanilla, chocolate from the barrel. Strongly sweet on the back end. One of the better barrel aged beers out there. Another Cigar City success.

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Photo of FriedSlug
4.49/5  rDev +3.7%
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.

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Photo of Slack
4.48/5  rDev +3.5%
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.

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Photo of aasher
4.47/5  rDev +3.2%
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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Big Sound Scotch Ale - Bourbon Barrel Aged from Cigar City Brewing
4.33 out of 5 based on 652 ratings.
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