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Founders Backwoods Bastard - Founders Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Founders Backwoods BastardFounders Backwoods Bastard

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
97
world-class

6,412 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 6,412
Reviews: 1,520
rAvg: 4.34
pDev: 10.6%
Wants: 763
Gots: 2,084 | FT: 190
Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy |  10.20% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes/Commercial Description:
Scotch Ale aged in bourbon barrels.

(Beer added by: CortexBomb on 01-30-2007)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 6,412 | Reviews: 1,520 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by Foxman:
Photo of Foxman
4.22/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It pours a quite clear mahogany with dark amber margins. A thin finger of light tan head dwindles in an instant to fine surface swirls. Cords of lacing rope the inside of the glass.

In the aroma, the malt is dense and obviously sweet with brown sugar, toffee, and plum, and earthy with cocoa and medium strength coffee. A touch of soy and a vapory vent of alcohol round things out.

Upon sipping, thick malt washes in with sloe, brown sugar, mocha coffee, and unsweetened cocoa, not to mention molasses and dark toffee. Baked biscuit and roasted nuts provide a ground for a warm current of overt alcohol. Mere hints of hop spice tease before malt asserts again with slightly sweet caramel and dark baked bread. Bitterness builds steadily toward a finish that crisps but never forgoes the grain as it fades. This is a tasty malt beast with no pretense or pretending.

Between medium and full bodied, the flow is like light treacle and it ends with a dry gust.

First comes malt, second comes malt, and third comes the malt, always malty, nutty, and earthy sweet. Lord, I wonder what the wort smells like as it boils! Anyway, this malty bastard also sports a seriously buff ABV that heats and hazes. Still, it drinks happily, if malt be your thing. So I'm not sure if I mentioned malt, but it is malty, and damned proud of it. Enjoy it, friends, for the no-airs prideful creation it is.

More User Reviews:
Photo of BEERchitect
4.38/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

An honor to finally try this beer. I'm a huge fan of Bourbon barrel aged beers. Needless to say I have high expectaitons here after striking gold with everything else that Founders makes.

A sturdy and stead pour brings about deep mohogany and medium brown colors with a significant haze. An initial 1/2" head of dense off-white head falls to half that and remains firm from then on. A nice Belgian lace persists on the sides of the glass as the beer fades.

In Kentucky, we are used to the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday Bourbon Balls. This delicate desert is very well exhibited in this beer. The aroma is chocked full of deep bourbony and cocoa aromas. Here, the maltiness doesn't end with the grains, but a malted milk note persists and inhances the intrigue. Just from the nose, this is one inviting beer.

Intense flavors of strong malts, deep chocolates, medium coffees and nuts, and bourbon-soaked fruits make for a great, great taste. Low on hop flavoring, the malts dominate here. Absolute delicious blend of molassas sweetness, bourbon undertones, cocoa, and mild campfire-ish notes make for a very well rounded and complex taste.

The body of the beer, once again, favors the malts but is well balanced with deep alcohols, fruitcake breadiness, and rich creaminess (again, like the malted milk thing- think Whopper candies soaked in bourbon). No phenolics or sharp alcohols, this beer is very well textured.

As far as Scottish Ales are concerned, this one is light on the peat and smokey notes. It emphasized the rich malty flavors and textures without becomming overly sweet. Combine all this with the robust chocolate and bourbon notes and we have a perfect desert beer for a Kentuckian.

Thanks RyanC84!

Photo of WildRage
2.13/5  rDev -50.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Let me preface this with saying that I love scotch ales - I love Old Chubb, and I typically love beers aged in bourbon barrels - Black Ops comes to mind. That being said, I had a really hard time finishing one bottle of this 4 pack. It was like drinking bourbon - almost no beer taste to be found. If you love bourbon, you will love this beer - but be warned that it is EXTREMELY overpowering. I typically love Founders beers - had the Breakfast Stout and Nemesis on tap last night -- but I can't see myself buying this one again.

Photo of nquigley16
4.35/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Drinking a fresh 2014 out of a stemless wine glass.

L- Rich mahogany but when held to the light it is an AMAZING ruby/burgundy color and crystal clear. Absolutely gorgeous. Thin tan lacing. Even has thin legs when swirled. Not much of a head.

A- Almond, bourbon, oak, marzipan, brown sugar, milk chocolate, figs. Incredible aroma, I could pick things out of this all day if my olfactory receptors didn't get so saturated.

T- Lightly sweet, oaky, smokey, lightly boozy. Taste isn't as complex as the aroma but it pretty much the perfect level of sweetness and booze. Too many big oak aged beers are overly sweet or overly boozy. Backwoods is the perfect middle ground IMO.

M- A little thinner than I would expected, but that comes with being less sweet, which is nice. Definitely not too thin, nice mouthfeel, nice light carbonation. Sticky.

O- Awesome beer. I can't wait to drink one of these is 6 months too.

Photo of MIbeer27
4.68/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

12 ounce bottle, dated 10/07/2014

The bottle pours a deep brown hue (brownish red when held to the light) with a one finger, off-white head that quickly dissipates. Carbonation bubbles slowly up the side of the glass.

Aroma is complex, perfectly balanced between a vanilla, toffee, caramel and oak sweetness, along with a healthy dose of bourbon. I honestly don't think a beer could smell much better than this.

The taste follows the nose almost identically, slightly less balanced this time with the bourbon taking the lead midpalate, especially as the beer warms. Heat from the alcohol is there, but it lingers in the background.

Mouthfeel is medium-full with medium carbonation. Bitterness is at the perfect level and damn this stuff is drinkable!

Overall, this is easily one of the best beers I have ever had and I can see why it is so sought-after. The vanilla, toffee, caramel, and oak just blend so perfectly with the bourbon to create such an excellent beer. I could deal with a little less bourbon in the taste (I now understand why people cellar this stuff), but that is really its only flaw. Now, excuse me why I go pick up more!

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.18/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Exiled for sending me this one!

Pours a murky dark brown color with a 1 inch light beige head that fades to a thin cap. Rings upon rings upon rings of lace on the drink down. Very nice looking lacing with this beer. Smells of toasted coconut, some wood, alcohol, and malt. Taste has the toasted coconut, slight wood flavors, some vanilla, and malts. I am not really getting any stand out bourbon alcohol smells or tastes from this beer. Low carbonation with a thick and chewy mouthfeel. Slight alcohol burn in the back of the throat after each sip. Overall, this is a pretty taste beer with some nice toasted coconut qualities (I love coconut). I could probably only handle one of these at a time though.

Photo of mgoblue5743
1.93/5  rDev -55.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5

Just opened a fresh 2010 bottle.

Tasted like Bourbon + water; like a mixed drink instead of a beer. This is the first beer from Founders that I didn't really enjoy.

I've heard it gets much better with age, so the rest of the four pack is going into the beer fridge, but I am sorely disappointed as I tried hard to find this four-pack.

Photo of ChainGangGuy
4/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a clear, dark reddish-brown body with a rather small, fleeting, off-white head.

Smell: A sturdy, sweet-scented caramel maltiness with a hint of maple. Oh, and with a rich, distinct bourbon barrel aroma, but you already knew that, right?

Taste: Sweet, sugary caramel maltiness with an added dose of maple syrup. Small touch of fruit. Full, punchy bourbon barrel tastes of vanilla and toasted oak wood. Light tannic astringency. Earthy hops with a medium amount of bitterness. Pleasingly sweet, bourbony finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium carbonation. Lightly sticky mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Oh, it's quite good. Potent, sure, but good! If ever anyone has some extra bottles of Backwoods Bastard they're looking to get rid of count me in.

Photo of ShogoKawada
2.08/5  rDev -52.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

12oz into Newport Storm pint glass. 2010 bottling. Thought the first bottle was off, so I drank another the following night.

A- Dark roasty brown, a bit of a light brown head that fizzes out.

S- Bourbony notes, caramel/molasses. Nothing great, nothing awful.

T- Taste is bourbony, but not very good. Earthy, musty, dull, and oxidised. There is a heavy burbon note but it's dull and unexciting. Where's the vanilla and oak? All I'm getting is burnt sugar and dull earthy notes. Unappologetic booze permiates, but I've had far boozier beers that incorporate it better.

M- Decent enough body and carbonation but there are some off-notes in the flavor and finish that I'm not really enjoying.

D- Low. Thought I was going to enjoy this one as the chatter in the forums is quite abuzz over this beer. Not the case- I'm going to gift out the two remaining bottles as I don't want to drink this. Not a drainpour, but not enjoyable. I love bourbon, straight up, on the rocks, and in my beers, but this one was a misfire IMO.

What kind of barrels are these in? Remind me never to buy that bourbon.

Photo of TimZebGir
4.1/5  rDev -5.5%

Years trapped in wood,
Crawling out covered in syrup,
Eyes flash to the bar,
Grin of missing teeth.

A: Caramel brown and brilliantly clear -- a thick creamy head that just refused to subside (3/3)
S: Like a shortbread cookie at first, then blending to clear bourbon and booze, with notes of raisin and toffee in the middle (9/12)
T: Remarkably rich and dessert-like (burnt toffee on a sweet whiskey-soaked sponge cake?), but that alcohol (with a bit of coffee maybe?) kicks you in the ass at the end(17/20)
M: Very creamy, surprisingly so given the superbly clear appearance (4/5)
O: Tread lightly, this old bastard shoots to kill. This is a great cure for a cold night or a good companion for a small, rich dessert. Otherwise, this guy is going to overpower anything it touches. (8/10)
41/50

Photo of oberon
4.03/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Ahh the Lions,enough said.Backwoods Bastard poured into a small tulip glass an awesome deep mahogany with with amber hue,a tight formed clingy tannish colored head atop,great clarity and a great pour.Deep complex malt aromas with the bourbon barrel showing through,vanilla and cherry notes dominate with some wood and a tinge of sweet alcohol.Obviously not a beer to start turkey day with but I did,its a sipper but not a head knocker.Flavors are pretty sweet up front with vanill,caramel and cherry flavors dominating,the bourbon flavor is prevelent but not overpowering,theere is a noticeablr drying leafy finish.A great beer,like I said asipper but it wont slow you down to much,a few of these and I might enjoy the Lions game.

Photo of don1481
4.16/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

On tap here at Stubbys in MKE. Got the very last one - keg blew right as this finished pouring onto a globe.

Appearance: Pours a caramelish color with a nice head that retains for a couple minutes.

Smell: chocolate. Little bit of booze. Luxurious. Yeah, that's a good word for this.

Taste: slightly boozy, definitely not obnoxiously so. Chocolatey, caramel, melts in your mouth taste.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth. Oh, so smooth. Right up there with the Skull Splitter in this department.

Overall: very nice. Wish they didn't run out here, but happy I got to review it!!

Photo of aszatk01
3.75/5  rDev -13.6%

Photo of DanGeo
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

Photo of Smokesnotes
4.8/5  rDev +10.6%

Photo of tectactoe
4.18/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Brewed in 2011. Pours a very deep copper-orange color, very cloudy, very hazy, and very heavy looking. Almost no noticeable carbonation and practically no head formation, even after a vigorous pour. The aroma is full of vanilla, bourbon, and burnt oak chips. The mouth contains a heavy dose of bourbon, vanilla, and caramel malt up front. The background contains a bit of sweetness, and I'm really tasting a faint cherry flavor, which goes well with the heavy vanilla. There's also a slightly buttery and bready aftertaste. No noticeable "hop" bitterness but the bourbon provides the sought after "bite" on the tongue. The body is thick and chewy and leaves the mouth quite sticky.

Overall, a very good bourbon forward beer that must be sipped slowly. The alcohol is heavy but soothing and warm, rather than harsh and abrasive. Founder's can do no wrong.

EDIT: had a bottle from 2010. Bourbon notes are more mellow, much heavier on the vanilla and oak accents. Much to my surprise, this one had more carbonation. Once again, awesome brew.

Photo of DavyJones
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

Photo of t2grogan
4/5  rDev -7.8%

Photo of TCHopCraver
4.35/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours dark hickory-brown into an oversized wine glass. A tiny head disappears quickly. The lacing is mostly dotty and sticky. When held to the light, this crotchety fella is impenetrable to the eye.

S: I don't really know how an aroma can be creamy, but this is. It makes me genuinely excited to partake. The bourbon/oak smells support a caramel-vanilla-maple malt aroma. I find myself taking this into my olfactory organs over and over. In Utopia, this is exactly how autumn in an enchanted forest would smell.

T: Rich. Full. Creamy. Chewy. Everything I detected in the aroma is present in the taste. Somewhat surprisingly, though, the maple sweetness that I smelled is just a little under-represented in the taste. I think the bourbon oak barrel flavor is overwhelming the malt sweetness a tad too much. The taste experience of a sip of this brew is akin to an Orchestra playing the hell out of a Mahler Symphony, only to fall about 10% short of reaching the full color spectrum at the climax of the piece.

M: Repeat the first four sentences of my taste review. I also enjoy the dryness of the finish, but I wish the sweetness of the brew would coat my palate just a a smidge more.

D: Excellent. This is a very well crafted beer. I could imagine having more than one of these in a sitting, but eventually the high a.b.v. would put an end to that.

Photo of OhioBobcat
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%

Photo of MadScientist
4.35/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: A medium-dark copper with a deep ruby hue and excellent clarity. The light tan head doesn't get very big but dissipates slowly.

S: A moderately-strong aroma of whiskey and oak with some of the cinnamon and vanilla aromas the the wood brings to the party. The alcohol aroma is moderately-strong warning of the potent potable you're about to drink. The aromas of a Wee Heavy sit just below that of the oak, with that rich malt and caramel aroma along with an earthy peatiness, not that the charred bourbon barrel might not have brought it's own phenols as well. A light diacetyl aroma and no hops

T: A moderately-strong caramel malt rich flavor balanced more by the alcohol than the light hops bitterness. There is a lot of the oak and bourbon presence here with a moderately-light vanilla flavor. A moderate amount of the earthy and peaty flavors and a light smoke but nothing like a Rauch Bier and not harsh at all. The balance is moderately sweet with a farily sweet finish. The aftertaste is malty sweet and a earthy.

M: Medium-full bodied, seeming even thicker with a moderately-low slickness. The alcohol provides a substantial warmth sure to take the chill of a cold night or at least make one relativity numb after a second bottle.

O: A potent, earth, sweet beer that stop short of being cloying but it definitely weighs in as a desert beer but that's the style. If you don't like sweet beers stay away. The Wee Heavy has the richness and boldness to let the oak and whiskey really infuse this beer with a lot of there character and the balance between the base beer and the oak is spot on.

Photo of CavemanRamblin
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

Photo of jono0101
4.75/5  rDev +9.4%

Photo of MaxT
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

Photo of brownbeer
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

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Founders Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 6,412 ratings.