Founders Backwoods Bastard - Founders Brewing Company

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Founders Backwoods BastardFounders Backwoods Bastard

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7,032 Ratings

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Ratings: 7,032
Reviews: 1,651
rAvg: 4.34
pDev: 10.37%
Wants: 894
Gots: 2,494 | FT: 250
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:
Beer added by: CortexBomb on 01-30-2007

"Wee Heavy", cave aged in oak bourbon barrels.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 7,032 | Reviews: 1,651
Photo of PatrickJR
4.04/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into nonic pint glass.

A - Murky dark brown, with garnet highlights on the edges. Two fingers of off white head rise with decent retention. Decent lacing left behind.

S - Wow, great aroma here. Immediately there is a lot of pineapple and coconut aroma making it clear that this has been barrel aged. Bourbon is present in small amounts mingling with generous doses of butterscotch and vanilla. Lots of stuff going on here.

T - Big butterscotch and vanilla flavor are the first flavors to hit the palate. The tropical fruits from the nose come in mid palate with more emphasis on the coconut. Late palate the alcohol peeks through a bit with a clear bourbon-like note. Minor bitterness. Coconut carries on into the aftertaste with slight alcohol astringency and a hint of wood.

M - Carbonation is moderate to low and at a great level. Unfortunately, this light-side-of-medium body isn't working well for the brew. It seems very thin on the palate and doesn't allow enough time for these rich flavors to linger. This brew needs a much fuller body.

D - Certainly better than "Dirty Bastard," the barrel aging has done good things for this beer; but even barrel aging can't make a medicore beer great. The biggest flaw is with the body which just isn't working for a huge wee-heavy. Overall a rich and complex beer.

Photo of MCDuhamel
4.04/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip glass at around 55 F. Thanks to Liz for the sample!

A: Pours a dark mahogany that shows a luminescent but somewhat cloudy garnet when held against light. A dark ivory head forms quickly, dissipating to a thin foam cap in short order. Some moderate lacing on the sides. Visible carbonation is more active than expected. Nice enough to look at, but nothing unexpected or exciting.

S: The nose is full of vanilla and oak, with a hint of red fruit.

T: The first impression on the palate is of oak and tannin, followed quickly by vanilla yielding to malt. Strong caramel/toffee notes are evident. The beer is supported by obvious alcohol spiciness and warmth; no subtlety to the strength here. The finish shows some hops bitterness which, with the medium carbonation, prevents the beer from being at all cloying despite its sweetness.

M: The mouthfeel is a bit light for a wee heavy, and perhaps reflects a little more carbonation than one might expect.

D: Despite its strength, this would be an easy beer to have two of in a session. There is nothing cloying or overpowering about the beer, which maintains nice balance.

Overall: Its nice to find an oak-aged beer that isn't a stout. This is a very good oaked beer that shows the wood and vanilla characteristics typical of such beers without losing proportion.

Photo of Dope
4.04/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: A dark brown, slightly reddish/mahogany pour. Small tan head that disappears almost immediately. Decent lacing.

S: Very strong. Tons of bourbon, oak, caramel, caramelized brown sugar, molasses. Maybe some fig and plums and raisin? Strong alcohol too.

T: Pretty much exactly like the nose. Lots of bourbon and oak from the barrel. Huge caramel malt and burnt brown sugar. Dark fruits are there too. Certainly a bit of a bite from the alcohol. No noticeable hops. Almost no bitterness.

M: Not as heavy as you would think. Pretty medium bodied despite the higher ABV. Relatively smooth if not for the bourbon and alcohol bite.

O: Good sipping beer on a cold night. Lots of strong flavors (and ABV) in this one. Try to enjoy it warm, it's way better. Not really my style of beer but a good example of the style nonetheless.

Photo of ADZA
4.04/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

Was just gonna go to bed but after walking the dogs off the lead only for the bitch to go walkabout on me an hour later after I return with the bitch in tow and after thinking the worst only to return achieved instead of finishing with a cool drink I'm drinking a beer for the moment name appropriate and after visiting the backwoods to find that bitch man it's appropriate and pours a dirty dark ass brown hue with a fast vanishing two finger head and and a rim of lacing along with sporadic clingers,the smell is strong bourbon along with feint oak and an undercoat of sticky toffee,the feel is medium bodied with above moderation and could use a little work but the tastes are a happy medium Oaked bourbon and sticky chewy caramel and finished with a dried fruit booziness but no boozy heat which is good and I'm always surprised at the ABV when drinking this and looking at it as it's hidden so well and overall the hype is right on the money for once this is definately something I could get used to being on our shores shelves as an option as it's tasty and nicely priced.

Photo of jvillefan
4.04/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Almost no head when poured vigourously. The body is a muddy brown with a tinge of red.

S: Bery hot with prominate bourbon flavors. There are subtle caramel malts present.

T: There are caramel notes but harsh bourbon flavors rip through the body of the flavor of this beer.

M: The carbonation was very sharp but the texture was smooth and a little silky.

O: Good beer but not great. Definitely worth trying though.

Photo of RoamingGnome
4.04/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to ncketchum for the bottle...(2012 vintage) Poured this into a CBS snifter and drank at room temperature.

A) Pours out looking like a thin maple syrup. Deep brown with some red tone. There was no head, and no lacing. Some alcohol feet.

S) That American oak is very present. This is pleasantly woody, with vanilla, caramel, roasted malt, and certainly some bourbon. Very nice aroma.

T) A good amount of malt flavor. Again, nice and woody. Vanilla and caramel are also noted, but this is not overly sweet for my tastes. Definitely some alcohol, and the accompanying warmth one would expect.

M) A medium body, and really not much carbonation at all. Kind of a sweet sticky feel. It's smooth, but I really felt it would be a bit heavier. Finishes warm and a little dry. Nice aftertaste...

O) This is very good, but honestly, I found myself just slightly disappointed. This is likely because my expectations were sky high, based upon anything barrel aged I've had by Founders, which have been amazing. Having said all of that, I will gladly revisit this offering.

Photo of eagles22
4.04/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: deep dark brownish color..almost black with a tannish head

Smell: of whiskey and also coffee...the whiskey smell is great very sweet and nice

Taste: of whiskey...i love it its wonderful..also you get hints of chocolate and caramel and ends with a nice coffee taste...its just a great complex beer

Mouthfeel: was very smooth and warms you up great...and nice aftertaste with the coffee

Drinkability: not very high but great to have 2or3 of these puppies awesome beer

this beer is definitely worth a try...if your a whiskey drinker you will love this beer ...i sure did

Photo of bbeane
4.04/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Poured into an oversized snifter... starts with a small brown head that almost disappears completely. Beer is dark brown in color, a shade of ruby when held up to the light

S- Smells great... notes of chocolate, raison, fig, and bourbon. After some swirls of the snifter more sweet malts come out with light notes of bourbon. Bourbon and heat intensifies as it warms

T- Not as complex as the aroma... Starts with malty sweet taste accompanied by notes of bourbon and wood. Finishes with the oaky bourbon taste intensifying and some notes of vanilla

M- Medium body and light carbonation

O- Wasn't as good as I had expected, but a quality libation for sure. I thought the nose was amazing with the body and taste lacking abit. All in all worth trying once for sure

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

Generally: Beers aged in Bourbon Barrels = not my thing. I find almost universally that the vanilla from the oak itself, and the residual bourbon notes overpower the malt and, when brewers try to balance it all out with hops... chaos. Leave it to Founders to provide the exception to the rule.

The Pour: A handsome looking beer, falling right in line with the chestnut browns typical of Scotch Ales. There's a very light, almost wispy head that lingers for just a moment or two.

Face in the glass: Bourbon and caramel malts, with some subtle hints of earthiness and spice.

With Regard to Taste: On more than one occasion, I have dumped my whisk(e)y into my beer. This reminds me of that concoction in the best possible way. A parade of bourbon and oaky vanilla riding around on delicious caramel and spice floats. Extremely well balanced.

Epitoma: A wonderful late-fall sipper, guaranteed to warm your bones.

Serving type: Bottle

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

Fresh Bottle

Appearance - Beautiful maroon / dark red, barely a head on it and what is there disappears rather quickly. Alcohol sticking to the glass, great lacing.

Smell - BOURBON, seriously in your face. It kind of smells like i just smelled a shot of jim beam, but it is pretty balanced. A nice warm vanilla undertone to move you through the bourbon smell. You can smell the wood and definitely reminiscent of a scotch ale. Smells amazing

Taste - Definitely follows the nose, bourbon, vanilla, oak, deep deep malts and dark fruits. It tastes a little hot right now but this is a pretty fresh bottle.

Mouthfeel - thick and chewy, little carbonation. nice for this style

Overall - I had this beer for the first time when it had a year on it and i was absolutely blown away. I think i prefer this beer with more age on it. When i found out my local shop had it i went and bought three 4 packs because thats how much i loved it when i first had it. However, the newer bottle tastes a lot different than an aged one. I really wanted to review this one higher, i should have taken notes on the first one. But honestly this is a spectacular brew.

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

12 oz bottle poured into tulip

A: dark orange/brown with full tan head that sat tight and left pure residue down the glass

S: very sweet: toffee aroma, woody, a coconut smell I can't explain. Very subtle bouron aroma

T: Much stronger with the wood/oak flavor but even more pronounced in the taste is this "coconut" that I couldn't get past. It certainly wasn't bad, but nothing I expected from this - it truly was reminiscent of a pina colada with the mix of bourbon (in place of rum)/coconut. This all set on a huge sweet, malt backbone.

M: light to medium body with full but soft carbonation

O: alcohol incredibly well-hidden. Not at all the tast profile I anticipated but certainly enjoyable. For the price (at least in my area), this will not be a yearly must-have but I will no doubt enjoy this beer another time or two.

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

Pours nearly perfectly into my Sam Adams glass. Appealing dense tan head over a dark amber elixar of thick and rich cooper and garnet. Malty aroma with rich sweetness, almost sugary that slowly fades to mild alcohol mixed with vanilla, oak and very mild bourbon. Hints of toast and caramel. Now this one has that balance right, at least in the aroma. Thick and heavy lacing marks the drinks.
So much of the balance stays into the flavor, except the alcohol shows a bit of a bite, with a mild burning and isn't blended as well. Too bad. Flavors pretty much mimic the aroma. They also smooth out in time and seem less harsh, but the emphasis on alcohol remains too great for my tastes.
This has a great feel. Soft yet full. Heavier body and very smooth.
This actually comes to drink lighter than the initial alcohol blast would propose.
Three out of five categories this is a very good beer.

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

Acquired at a DLD trade, I believe from my man EliteDigger, but feel free to speak up if I'm wrong!

Pours an cloudy orange/red, a bit muddy, nice thick tan head forms, slowly settles to a thin layer, nice ring, some lace spots on the glass, a fine looking head! Smell is nice, buttery, toffee, bourbon, alcohol, vanilla, oak, touch of chocolate and coconut, brown sugar, boozy but rich, I like. Taste is similar, buttery beginning, some citrus, toffee, heavy vanilla/coconut, brown sugar, alcohol, bit spicy, woody, chocolate, toast and bourbon in the finish. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, low to medium carbonation, some alcohol warmth, but nicely drinkable, and pretty balanced, even though I think the bourbon is a bit heavy.

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

This beer poured a clear very dark red amber color and formed a nice foamy off white head that left laticed lace as it subsided. Very little carbonation was present. An aroma of malt, smoke/wood, caramel and lightly of cherry. The flavor was of malt, chocolate and again the woody/smoke probably from the cask aging. The the body was medium light and the finish was slightly burnt.

Photo of Duane_Opfer
4.03/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a stemmed goblet. Bottled on 9/27. Consumed on 11/17. Written from notes.

A - Brown approaching black with a purplish tinge. No head. Off white ring of foam on edges of glass. Light carbonation.

S - Bourbon, caramel, toffee, and molasses. Very boozy, but expected.

T - Boozy, but not as strong as I expected. Bourbon, vanilla, toffee, and brown sugar. Very warming.

M - Low point of beer. Lightly carbonated. Somewhat thick. Not much going on here.

O - Other than mouthfeel, a solid beer.

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

Poured to a caramelish head and about 1 fingered at that. Head hung around and left some good lacing with every swallow. Brew itself was a dark brown in color. Boozy smell was very evident with the opening of this bottle. Also smelled of caramel and hops. When opening, I didnt think I was going to enjoy this brew. But I was wrong. Strong bourbon taste at first. Then you got a nice creamy slightly bitter taste of booze, caramel and dark roasted coffee. Flavors blended pretty good. Felt thicker in the mouth. Carbonation was good. You couldnt make this a session beer. After drinking I sure had a good buzz. But it wood be nice to enjoy every now and then.

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

12 ounce bottle in a tulip glass

Appearance: The color is a rich mahogany red-brown. The head is thin and disintegrates quickly. The opacity is very low, I can see right through the beer when held up to the light.

Smell: Sweet bourbon hits first (slightly hot), next I noticed the earthy tones of the oak followed by maple and caramel with a hint of fruit.

Taste: very delicious, there is an obvious bourbon influence with caramel, vanilla, and cocoa undertones. The alcohol is apparent in this beer, and it works nicely. After drinking I can still feel the heat from the alcohol on my breath, but it is a positive aspect for the flavors.

Mouthfeel: Very tingly!! Meaning carbonated. There is a creamy taste while drinking this beer from the flavor but it has a low viscosity as seen from the pouring.

Overall: This beer is delicious. This is my first review and I'm excited that it is for this! I usually don't enjoy too heavy of an alcohol flavor but in this beer it is accentuates the other flavors and is fantastic.


Photo of kbutler1
4.03/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle with a bottled on date of 10/27/09.
Pours a nice deep caramel color with a slight tan head, not too much carbonation it seems. Heads settles down fairly quickly.
Wow! Smell that bourbon barrel age right off the bat. Followed by caramel, malty aroma. Maybe it's just me but kind of smells like banana too.
Bite of the tongue on the first sip. Strong flavor from the barrel aging process following by a meduim/heavy malt taste. Slightly bitter aftertaste followed by alcohol. Very little hop flavor which would be correct for this style.
Similiar to Fouder's Dirty Bastard but with an added kick of the bourbon barrel!

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

Pours a great, deep ruby that stubbornly lets a little light pass through it. Makes me think of a mans cognac or brandy. No head or lace to speak of. Very meaty aroma of sugared fruits, like pruins, figs, and apricots with a definite touch of oak and alcohol. The taste starts with vanilla and malty figs. A good oaky finish but with a bit too much alcohol that lingers a little toolong. Still a good sipping beer. The palat is thick and fruity with an undeniable oak and creamy standard vanilla tone. Good for a long sipping night cap. No more than one a day. I'm glad I got to try this beer. Considering I really like the old dirty bastard.

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

Poured into a Foothills tasting glass. Forms two fingers worth of creamy off-white head that rests on top of an amber-copper body. Leaves nice waves of lacing. Looks quite good.

Sweet malts, honey, bourbon and vanilla rise up from the glass. A little earthy and oaky with a touch of alcohol.

Sweet and bready with light bourbon and vanilla. Malt backbone has a little bit of spice to it and plays nicely with the barrels. Tastes like there is a bit of rye in here as well. Nicely done.

Body is smooth with a good helping of warming booze. Almost creamy, but the carbonation on the finish breaks it up a bit. Touch of bitterness on the finish.

Drinkability is good for 10.2% barrel-aged scotch ale. Sweet and boozy, but there is some nice bitterness that evens things out. One bottle is enough for me, but quite enjoyable on a cold night. I like this just a touch more than the non-barreled offering. As usual, Founders brews tasty beers.

Photo of Gmann
4.02/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a ho-hum murky brown color with a rather small head that settles into a light ring. The aroma is of brown sugar, vanilla, some sour oak and some sweet bourbon. Pretty much all bourbon barrel in the nose, but it does smell quite nice. Very much like the aroma, the taste is dominated by the bourbon barrel. I like to see a sturdy malt and some smoke or wood flavors in a scotch ale but this doesn't seem to have it. It does have a very tasty bourbon flavor with good vanilla and sour oak flavors to go along with the bourbon flavor. The malt bring some brown sugar flavor and perhaps the lightest touch of peat. The feel is light with tingly carbonation; finishes quite sweet and a bit sticky, not cloying for a 12oz bottle. There is some boozy vapors going on. This is a very tasty brew due to the bourbon barrel aging and I scored it as such. However I would like to see more of the malt pop through especially for a 10.5ABV brew. If you are going to make it that boozy, beef up the malt. If you like the taste of bourbon is a light body this is for you. I like this beer don't get me wrong just needs to be a tad thicker.

Photo of GRG1313
4.02/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This bourbon flavored aged ale pours brown with a nice tan head. Lovely soft burnt carmel nose, with hints of fruited toffee. Smokey-campfire malty flavors with dried fruit flavors and characteristics. Desireable creamy fruit and malty mouth and long on hops in the finish. Excellent character and quality.

Photo of jhoban19
4.02/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle poured into a tulip.

A: deep reddish-brown, hazy with light brown head. Foam settles rather quickly but leaves a strong amount of lacing that holds strong all around the glass.

S: Backwoods Bastard has initial aromas of molasses. As it warms strong aromas of caramel, vanilla and bourbon come forward. Further warming reveals some dark fruit, cherries I think, and some very subtle roasted and chocolate malt.

T: Flavors are heavy on the caramel, bourbon and cherries. Subtle hints of vanilla and molasses linger in the aftertaste. As I approach the bottom of the glass, a mild bitterness from the roasted malts swirl around the back of the tongue.

M: Medium bodied and syrupy with a long, lingering finish that has just the right amount of sweetness and carbonation. That sweet finish is followed up with a snap of boozy dryness and a gentle tingle / numbness that I associate with a good scotch.

D: I've done this a little bit backwards- I haven't yet had Dirty Bastard to compare with its barrel-aged brother. On its own I'm really enjoying this brew. The combination of flavors and finish are just right. The 10.2% is definitely noticeable but not overly hot. I think it would be even better with some grilled pork in a rich mushroom sauce- perhaps next time.

Photo of CrazyDavros
4.02/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours very dark brown with a large fading off-white head.
Nose shows caramel, vanilla, woody oak, bourbon, chocolate and a port note.
Very rich flavours, more bourbon and chocolate, some harsh booze and a woody note.
Carbonation could be a bit higher.

Photo of emerge077
4.02/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2008 label with a sinister, axe-wielding dwarf on the front. Neck label lists 50 IBU, and 10.2% abv.

Poured half the bottle into a 12 oz. snifter. Thin cap of tan foam, that receded after five minutes, leaving a ring of bubbles at the edge, and a cool spiderweb pattern across the mahogany surface.

Big bourbon aroma. A swirl kicks up a sweet maltiness behind it, hinting at the base beer's character. Otherwise it's sweet, woody whiskey and sour mash fumes: hints of corn, cherry, and fried plantain.

Full fledged bourbon flavor too, more or less steamrolling the whole thing. Luckily not as harsh as straight bourbon, but the full flavor is there. Flashes of sweet malt underneath, with a growing warming sensation in the gut with every sip. Low carb and medium body, the strong flavor takes centerstage. Pretty much only good for sipping, even splitting a bottle if you aren't prepared for alot of whiskey in your beer.

1-12-2010 Vintage 2007 bottle, "7169" roughly may '07

Slightly murky red, decent amount of foam. Clear and strong bourbon aroma. Alcohol has mellowed, oxidation is creeping in, but doesn't interfere. Bourbon flavors are front and center, woody sweet maple syrup, brown sugar, drizzled in caramel toffee. Really tasty without the alcohol heat.

Founders Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 7,032 ratings.