Dismiss Notice
Save $5 when you subscribe to 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine and select auto-renew.

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join Our Email List →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.
Dismiss Notice

Pre-order your Respect Beer "Hipster" Hoodie today!

Plus: Free shipping (US only) on orders of $25 or more until 12/18/15. Just select "Free Shipping" at checkout.

Shop now →

Founders Backwoods Bastard - Founders Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Founders Backwoods BastardFounders Backwoods Bastard

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,651 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 1,651
Hads: 7,338
Avg: 4.25
pDev: 22.59%
Wants: 955
Gots: 2,775 | FT: 260
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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 1,651 | Hads: 7,338
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.

 458 characters

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.

 367 characters

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.

 987 characters

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!

 150 characters

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.

 425 characters

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.

 358 characters

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.

 1,020 characters

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.

 462 characters

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.

 307 characters

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.

 330 characters

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.

 602 characters

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.

 1,149 characters

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!

 402 characters

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...

 494 characters

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.

 807 characters

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.

 408 characters

Photo of oldn00b
4.84/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pours a rusty copper, thin fuzzy head forms and quickly fades.

Nose is big bourbon forward, vanilla and molasses come through big.

Flavor is fantastic - bourbon, vanilla, and caramel are huge. Slight smoke hint, clove, and pepper hints too. This is a delectable sipper. Surprisingly, "boozy" is one of the last things that comes to mind. Delicate, subtle, sweet but not cloying. Just a fantastic beer.

Feels is near perfect. It's a bit brash, in a good way, but a slightly rough edge does come through.

Overall this is a fantastic beer, one of my favorites for the season hands down.

 595 characters

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

Outstanding beer that's rich, complex and incredibly satisfying. Maroon, dark brown pour with a frothy head. Aroma of wood, freshly dug earth, scotch, bourbon, cherries and licorice. Taste flows suit with additional notes of chocolate, smoke and vanilla. The charred-barrel flavor is awesome. Simply awesome. The lingering booze and vanilla after each sip both warms and sweetens the palette without being too hot or cloying. So smooth.

 436 characters

Photo of BrownAleBollocks
4.1/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours a deep ruby, brown color with a fluffy two finger khaki color head. Aroma is scotch/bourbon, caramel, smoke, and dark fruits. Taste follows with bourbon, smoke, dark fruit, and a bit of spice. Mouthfeel is medium and smooth. Overall, a very nice take on a scotch ale, and not overwhelming with barrel presence, which helps keep everything balanced.

 358 characters

Photo of frasergrove
4.36/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Nose is reminiscent of dates, plum, some barrel notes, a hint sweet and light maltiness. Warming as you sip, but not overly boozy or harsh. Extremely smooth, light vanilla touches as it crosses the palate. An outstanding barrel aged beer

 238 characters

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

L: very dark red, almost black. A film of head with big lacing on the glass
S: bourbon and a sweet strong ale
T: fairly smooth bourbon, still a sipper though. I get the alcohol, but again it's pretty smooth. Great lasting flavors in the finish.
F: fairly thin, and carbonated
O: I ilke the bourbon presence in it, but not worth hoarding.

 341 characters

Photo of JonathanR
4.58/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

No head, great lacing. If i wasn't such a stout snob, this would be my favorite beer. Barrel aged exceptionally well with a wood/oak smell. Toasted coconut and vanilla flavor with a finish of sweet caramel. NO hint of abv is simply incredible

 242 characters

Photo of RacerX5k
4.52/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

One of the best values in beerdom, $13 4 pak Wegmans Allentown PA. And this beer will get better in about a month when that scintilla of cherry starts to blossom ... that's not to say age this for a year, my well known belief that beer may change but certainly does NOT get better with age. I've had this beer on draft back to back years side by side and the newer was way better.

Pretty red, amber I don't know the exact shade or color. Big aroma, malt, scotch, vanilla, hints of bourbon. That's what it tastes like, vanilla malt bomb. More bourbon in the flavor then the aroma. Smooth all day, 2 bottles and you're just where you need to be.

Overall outstanding. Will get more.

 681 characters

Photo of hardysf
3.63/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is a meh beer to me. To each their own. I think this beer is like watered down bourbon. The barrel and bourbon notes really come through. Little if any other tasting notes. The bourbon flavors are good, but if I wanted bourbon on the rocks, I'd order bourbon on the rocks. Founders usually crushes it in my book, but I think this one just isn't for me. I'll have to give it another try on a different day.

 412 characters

Photo of HorseheadsHopHead
4.52/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a stem glass. Bottled on 10/06/15.

Comes in a very dark reddish brown color; looks almost black in the glass but has ruby tints when held up to the light. A faint stream of carbonation is visible, as are some sediment chunks, and a semi-aggressive pours yields a finger of creamy tan head.
The aroma is very bourbon-forward. A sweet and spicy blend of kerosene, vanilla extract, pecans, and chilies. Behind the massive booze note lies oak, butterscotch, brandy-soaked cherries, figs, and raisins.
In the taste, the malt character is prominent. Butterscotch, toffee, molasses, and a hint of licorice up front, and then cherries, figs, dates, earth, and peat smoke in the middle. Finishes with heavy notes of bourbon, oak, and vanilla--warm, but not hot, and smooths out fairly well with sweetness coating the tongue.
The body is quite full, though not thick or syrupy; it flows smoothly across the palate, creamy like root beer, with only a light tingle of carbonation, and the aftertaste smacks of residual sugars, though it balances out fairly nicely and doesn't seem cloying.

This is a very nice BBA aged beer. Complex and quite drinkable for being 11.6% alcohol. Definitely worth buying. I might even buy a few packs while I have the chance.

 1,288 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Founders Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
95 out of 100 based on 1,651 ratings.