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Founders Backwoods Bastard - Founders Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Founders Backwoods BastardFounders Backwoods Bastard

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,661 Reviews
no score

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Reviews: 1,661
Hads: 7,371
Avg: 4.25
pDev: 22.59%
Wants: 955
Gots: 2,789 | FT: 262
Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy |  11.60% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: CortexBomb on 01-30-2007

"Wee Heavy", cave aged in oak bourbon barrels.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 1,661 | Hads: 7,371
Photo of JordonHoltzman
4.41/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle dated 9/25/15, poured into snifter. Light pour, so no read head, but some white bubbles lay on top of a mahogany body that is ruby red when held up to the light.
Aroma of vanilla, bourbon, some smoke, caramel.
Taste is similar, fantastic notes of dark fruit as well, definitely a sipper, also a little higher in carbonation than expected.

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Photo of StoutElk_92
4.41/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep dark red. Smells boastfully of dark fruit, vanilla, and bourbon. Taste is bitter and oaky, with vanilla, toffee, bourbon and dark dried fruit, almost like a dried fig or plum flavor, with a slightly chocolate aftertaste. Feels light body, slightly creamy with moderate carbonation. Overall, a great beer. Full flavored, abv covered up well, looks awesome, feels good. If you like these strong intense flavors, then this is a really good beer.

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Photo of tekstr1der
4.23/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

At first whiff, I was certain the whiskey would dominate and I would not like this. I'm not a fan of whiskey of any kind, so the whole bourbon-barrel-aging craze is something of an anathema to me.

However... having now got into my 3rd 4-pack of this stuff, I keep coming back for more. Pours a dark mahogany with a thin off-white top and some nice lacing. Aroma is dominated by whiskey, but smoothed out by malt and caramel. Flavor is similar in that whiskey dominates, but even more so the malty goodness rounds things out with a nice sweetness. Above all, this is one of the smoothest-sipping beers I've ever had. The creamy mouthfeel, and ease with which this swallows is amazing.

I suspect that were this not put in a bourbon barrel, it could possibly be by far my favorite scotch ale.

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Photo of DrSpaceman
4.1/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours opaque amber, very thin head that dissipates quickly. Aroma is oak and brown sugar. Taste is bourbon barrel forward, nice rich buttery finish. Body stands up to the alcohol, a brilliantly executed bottle.

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Photo of JJKBeerLvr
4.08/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into pint glass in November 2015. I like the bottled date of 9/26/2015 on the bottle, and I drank it about 2 months after bottling.

Appearance: Very deep amber with dark tan head. Beer color is opaque but not cloudy. Head is medium, and leaves a thin film on the glass.

Smell: Aroma filled with mix of roasted malt, caramel, and some chocolate. Nice variety and balance, with a little aroma from the bourbon barrel.

Taste: There is a nice mix of sweetness from the malt and bite from the hops. There is a strong scotch flavor, and also a little chocolate flavors, balanced with a bit of hops. This was done in a nice combination with the other flavors. There is a nice variety of flavors in the aftertaste too, that lasts for a minute. I like how the flavors vary overtime with the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied, and very smooth. Strong alcohol, which confirms the 11.6% on the bottle.

This is an extremely smooth full-bodied Scotch Ale. It is an interesting combination of flavors, and I would definitely drink this again. Overall a very good beer, and another winner from Founders

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Photo of Myotus
4.34/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2014 bottle
Poured from a 12oz bottle (bottled 07Oct15) into a thistle.
LOOK: Pours with a finger and half worth of khaki foam that dissipates into a quarter finger's worth within 2 minutes and 5 seconds. Dark copper in color with an extreme amount of cloudiness. Rising bubbles are extremel scarce and medium in size. Lacing is thin and moderate.
SMELL: Strong aromas of tea, caramel, and bready malts are backed by mild aromas of vanilla, subtle aromas of oak, and hints of bourbon.
TASTE: Very strong tea flavors and strong flavors of bready malts and caramel enter initially. Mild vanilla and subtle oak flavors follow right after. Hints of bourbon and spicy hops enter lastly as all previous flavors persist, except for caramel and bready malts, which fade to mild and tea flavors, which grow even stronger.
FEEL: Somewhere between full-bodied and medium-bodied. Carbonation is subtle. Goes down incredibly smooth and creamy. Finishes with a moderate amount of dryness.
NOTE: Tea flavors took the spotlight on this one and left it too bitter in my opinion. I would like to try a fresh one to see how they would compare.

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Photo of thebeers
3.81/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Reddish brown with a very thin head that's quick to dissipate but leaves a ring. Raisins, cherry, caramel and bourbon on the nose, with a little oak in back. Most carry over to the taste, but less pronounced, with more malt character, a touch of hop bitterness and a slight staleness in the after taste. Thin side of medium bodied with a fair amount of carbonation. Not at all hot.

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Photo of MHurley
4.54/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark brown with think sticky carmel head. Smells of Bourbon feel the nose along with oak and vanilla. Taste os boozy! Love this beer. Nice bourbon and vanilla, very smooth but still a sipper.

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Photo of thepenguin
4.34/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2015 Vintage

L: Pours a turbid dark amber with a hint of burgundy and a khaki head.

S: Dried prunes, sweet wheated bourbon, nice oak with an especially pronounced vanilla note. Deep complex maltiness. Slight sherry notes, reminiscent of a sherried malt whisky. Tart dried cherries emerge as the glass warms.

T: Following the nose, flavors of dark fruits and vanilla, with a creeping light bitterness in the otherwise very sweet finish balancing the beer out. Malt controls the flavor with layers of rich caramel, some toastiness and lingering roast. Moderate perceptible booziness shows itself late in the sip with slight tannic notes from the wood.

F: Medium-full bodied, moderate carbonation, and pronounced chewiness and creaminess. Extremely tame for the ABV, even as this beer warms to room temperature; such little heat and a surprisingly light body makes this one a dangerous sipper.

O: A classic in the bourbon barrel aged category, Backwoods Bastard is one release I look forward to every year. Not one I can drink more than a bottle of at a time, and indeed even one bottle can begin to feel like a chore, this is one of those beers it take me an hour and half to finish.
2014 Vintage for comparison

L: About the same, perhaps slightly darker.

S: More bourbon notes and less oak/vanilla. Lots of dark dried fruits, notably dates and prunes, with some cherry. Lots of bread and some toastiness.

T: The vanilla pulls through in the taste, with some oakiness to boot. Has a really nice woody, slightly bitter roasty finish. Still very malt-forward, but seems a bit less cloying.

F: Similar feel to the 2015 vintage.

O: I think I like this better than the fresher 2015 bottle. Not sure if it’s the brew itself or the year of age on it, but the bourbon is a bit more pronounced, it’s less of a booze bomb and it does seem a bit more rounded. That said, it’s very similar to this year’s in most regards and I’ll probably snag at least one four-pack each fall until the day I die (or Backwoods Bastard slays me).

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Photo of jasonpeckins32
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours a mahogany reddish-brown hue with a slight head retention that dissipates quickly. The aroma is nutty and sweet.

Flavor is of bourbon, molasses, caramel, and hints of dark fruit. Very soft on the palate, and easy-drinking, yet highly flavorful barrel aged beer. The high alcohol was mildly noticed in warmth.

It's a very nice brew. I've had this several different times now over the years, and I must say this 2015 version may be the best yet.

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Photo of OmahaKF
4.12/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2015 version. Smell is of bourbon, caramel, oak and vanilla.

Taste is complex with notes of dark fruit, bourbon, vanilla (which comes out more prominently as the beer warms), and the burnt top of creme brulee. There's just a slight alcoholic burn at the finish, but it melds well with the rich flavors of the beer. This year's version seems better than last year.

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Photo of mothmanscott
4.54/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This brew was a gift from outdoor7or24. Pours a clear brown, that is garnet colored when held to the light, producing 2 fingers of frothy, mocha, lasting head that dissipates to a thick collar ring & surface cap of foam leaving a webby coating of clumpy lace. Aroma is dark malts, brown sugar, chocolate & dark fruit all awash in boozy bourbon & woody vanilla. Taste is dark chocolate/fudge syrup, brown sugar & dark fruits blended with bourbon, woody vanilla & alcohol.  Almost like liquid fudge cake & vanilla ice cream drizzled with bourbon. Rapidly diminishing chocolate, bourbon & wood aftertaste leaving a light bitterness. Bordering on sweet but not cloyingly so, the alcohol is detectable but minor for the ABV. There is little if any hop presence. Mouthfeel is near heavy bodied with low carbonation, smooth & creamy bordering on syrupy, chewy, with a little, but lengthy, peppery bite throughout the sip. This is quite possibly the best barrel aged brew I have tasted to date.

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Photo of SR_619
4.48/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

This is as close to perfect as I've had - cracked open a 1 year old bottle (2014 issue) recently and am having a hard time going back to lesser beers!

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Photo of SFC21
4.1/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2015 vintage, bottled on 10/6/15, poured into teku. Cola colored body that pours with very little head. For how little carbonation appears to be in this beer a quick swish provides a light, creamy, bubbly mouthfeel. Caramel and light bourbon hints on the nose, although the aroma doesn't jump out of the glass. The taste is caramel candy, lightly smoky malts and a big bourbon finish. Great beer that gets better as it warms.

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Photo of dleigh
4.62/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

Beautiful dark amber color with a little red tinge. Lots of caramel and oak in the nose. A rich, malty, sweet scotch ale taste with a big caramel aftertaste. The feel is pretty smooth but maybe not as velvety as some of the big imperial stouts. Perfect for a cold winter or fall night. Easy to find for the quality. A great beer to purchase wherever you see.

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Photo of Tele
4.33/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Serving Type: Bottle (10.7.15)
Consumed: 11.20.15

A: 4.5 Pours a mostly clear red-brown with a small, khaki head.

S: 4.5 Smells great. Lots of bourbon and vanilla up front, but moves quickly into honey, raisins, apple cider, toffee, and blackberry. Almost has a quad-type quality – pretty interesting.

T: 4.25 Like the nose, the flavors are really nice if a bit unexpected. There hot bourbon while the beer is cold, but as soon as it gets up to about 55 or 60 degrees, more interesting flavors come out. It’s mildly sweet with plenty of bourbon and some barleywine flavors too. There’s caramel, toffee, cinnamon, with roasted malt, bit of coffee, and mild bitterness on the finish.

M: 4.25 Body and carbonation are really nice. The bitterness makes the finish a bit too dry.

O: 4.25 Really nice beer with good flavors and nice barrel notes. It seems like a mix of different styles, which is nice and interesting, but also a bit disorganized. I feel like some time in the cellar will help things come together.

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Photo of BranfordBound
4.33/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2015 keg on tap at MiKro in Hamden, pours a dark ruby color, near brown, with a thin tannish head that leaves little lacing. Smell is boozy, lots of fruit, some barrel notes. Taste is similar, it's a big, sweet, boozy beer. However, there is no alcohol present. Malts kick in first, and there is a lot of obvious barrel undertones. Tastes very similar to scotch at the end. Overall a really cool beer and they did an excellent job capturing all the flavors here.

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Photo of wdberkley
4.73/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Founders, again, nailed it. Pours beautifully into a deep dark brown, almost like soda, with a solid 1" light tan head. Nose is bourbon, then more bourbon, and a hint of oak. The taste is fantastic - scotch, malt, caramel. It's boozy, but not too overpowering. Just an absolutely fantastic sipping beer.

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Photo of deadsincebirth
4.66/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow! The nose on this beast is right on! Smells of charred oak, vanilla, caramel. Taste is a lot of the same with an added layer of smoke and peat. Smooth as silk and very drinkable. Never meant to be a punch you in the face beer. All about the smoothness baby! Overall a wonderful beer from Founders I look forward to every year.

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Photo of Evilyak
3.89/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

i'm thinking of ramirez in a canoe. this beer is connor macleod. it's unbalanced.

it's pretty like christopher lambert. pours dark brown, with a thick head and nice lacing. it smells of bourbon and vanilla and oak and bourbon (not like christopher lambert). it tastes of bourbon and bourbon (i've not tasted christopher lambert to know). the mouthfeel is cloying and one dimensional (like christopher lambert in mortal kombat - i mean, really, raiden?)

it's a good beer. it is what it sets out to be - a malty, barrel-aged, scotch ale. it just hits a single note and that overwhelms the entire brew.

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Photo of DaverCS
4.75/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Pours a mahogany, almost cherry Coke like color with 1 finger of off-white caramel colored head. Some light does sneak through.

Aroma is an absolute bourbon bomb! Down-right delicious smelling beer. Tons of bourbon, charred oak, molasses, and loads of vanilla. A perfect smelling bourbon-barrel aged beer.

Taste is again dominated by bourbon, vanilla, smokiness, and oak. Middle of the mouth, a kiss of tangy hops shine through, but they quickly fade to the finishing notes. There is a beautiful toffee, caramel, and almost brown butter-like nuttiness in the finish. Alcohol heat and spice extend pass the sip. The mouthfeel is relatively thick, but thins out near the end of the sip.

Overall, this is an absolutely fantastic beer. I need to pick up more of this and would love to age a few bottles! The only thing is the carbonation is maybe a touch too much, as it makes the beer feel a bit too light or thin. While it is not thin by any means, it could be a bit thicker with a more creamy mouthfeel if the carbonation was less. Still a fantastic brew! I see this pairing well with a freshly baked, warmly-spiced fruit cake. It gets a 95/100.

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Photo of jakecattleco
4.46/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle into a tulip glass. Very dark, almost more black than red in color, with 2 fingers of tan head. The nose just screams BIG beer! However, the taste is very well balanced and smooth, almost shockingly so based on the nose. Good carbonation, and the finish seems almost a bit spicy. I will quite happily have this in my fridge for the colder months. Quite impressed, well done Founders!

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Photo of MusicBeer_1961
4.55/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I was able to score two 4 packs at one of my local bottle shops and consider myself lucky. This ale is a treat. I get the mello oak aged bourbon without the booziness..At 11.6%ABV, that's quite remarkable. I also get caramel and coconut.. Especially coconut in the aroma and taste. Everything meshes together perfectly. I'll be drinking 6 of these fresh and letting 2 age for a year.

Founders really hit a home run with the 2015 addition. We should expect nothing less from a great brewery...

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Photo of RoddyMedina
3.75/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I finally got my hands on a four pack of Backwoods Bastard and for all the hype and great recommendations it got, I wasn't impressed. Pouring it into the glass from the bottle you get a nice dark-red/brown copper like color, light head that faded pretty quickly. The smell is fantastic, I love single malts, so as soon as I got a whiff of the Backwoods I was excited. It has a very malty, sweet, scotch smell to it. My wife compared the smell of it to a whiskey and coke. Taking a drink of it, you get a malty, dark fruit taste with bourbon flavors all mashed together. Here was my disappointment with the Bastard, after a couple of sips it tasted flat, maybe I grabbed a bad 4-pack but it tasted super flat. Im gonna get another pack to give it a shot before they run out but I just hope it was a bad pack.

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Photo of 98green
4.4/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Hopcat Ann Arbor. Finally tried this elusive one. I like dirty bastard and I like BBA so this seemed a natural. Pours a deep brown, minimal head. Smell is all barrel. Taste is the same plus some toasty malts. A wee heavy might be the ideal style for a barrel since the base beer isn't overpowering. Still, there is nice complexity here. Not boozy at all for a double digit abv. As good as expected.

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Founders Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
95 out of 100 based on 1,661 ratings.