1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Founders Backwoods Bastard - Founders Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Founders Backwoods BastardFounders Backwoods Bastard

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
96
world-class

5,461 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,461
Reviews: 1,431
rAvg: 4.33
pDev: 10.62%
Wants: 699
Gots: 1,583 | FT: 140
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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Founders Backwoods Bastard Alström Bros
Ratings: 5,461 | Reviews: 1,431 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of mshannon789
4.68/5  rDev +8.1%

mshannon789, Oct 02, 2014
Photo of dieBierStube
4.68/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I've had my share of bourbon barrel conditioned beers, but none of them exactly lived up to my expectations. In light of this, tasting this beer was practically an epiphany. I really can't imagine how this beer could be improved. The balance, the mouth feel, the pour, all for me at the absolute peak of perfection. I only wish I had another!

dieBierStube, Jul 30, 2010
Photo of AleWatcher
4.68/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: deep dark mohagany red with a tan head that retains surprisingly well for a barrel aged beer. After a few sips I'll add
that the lacing is thick and clinging hard to the sides
of my tulip glass.

S: malts. Oaky and fruity notes. Some dark fruits and a light hint of citrus? Smells kinda sweet too. Maybe like molases or thick unrefined sugar. Also a bit of alcohol on the nose.

T: wow. Very very tastey. Really has a lot going on with this one. It follows the nose but minus any citrus notes. Certainly getting some roasted malts and some alcohol on the finish. I am picking some sweetness either from brewers sugar or from plum cherry or fig flavors. Those dark fruits seem to be part of the lingering aftertaste along with the oaky wood flavor.

M: rather thick. Almost like cough syrup thick. Nice amount of
carbonation for the barrel aging... usually I find that the process makes them more flat, but not in this case!!!

D: this is one heck of a little sipper. Very enjoyable and complex beer that I would say could find a permanent spot on cold weather rotation (if I can find it for sale).

AleWatcher, Nov 24, 2009
Photo of ISmith87
4.68/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 12 oz bottle to a clear plastic glass (didn't have anything better while I'm visiting here in Palm Beach). I'm excited to try this one since it's so revered by beer geeks, and is the amped up/oak aged version of Founder's Dirty Bastard, which is a great beer!
A - 4.25 - Nice looking beer. Dark brown/dark red color, with a nice tan head on it. Lacing is really good, coating the glass.
S - 4.5 - Nice vanilla, scotch, caramel, toffee, butterscotch.
T - 4.75 - Great. Vanilla, caramel, toffee, butterscotch, boozey scotch/peat flavors. Raisins and plums. Oak.
M - 4.75 - Nice medium - heavy thick creamy mouthfeel. Alcohol present but it should be at 10.2%. Aftertaste is a boozy scotch with vanilla/cream/caramel flavors.
O - 4.75 - This is a great beer. It's definitely unique, I'd love to put it next to the other wee heavy's because I think it would stand out. Glad I could score this guy at TW in WPB Florida.

ISmith87, Dec 15, 2013
Photo of becktone
4.68/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

From notes 11-13-09

Eye: Deep red in color with tints of brown. Maybe some yellow tinted orange highlights in there too. This beer isn't clear but its not murky either, hazy is the best word. Its got some transparency but its not great. Head formation and retention are non-existant, could be the glass...Still color is good, but I'd like to see more from the head, something thick and creamy. Although it doesn't form a nice head or keep one, it still has some lacing...as I sip on this it leaves partial walls, but mostly legs of lace adding to this beer's appetizing appearance.

Nose: Big on the dark fruits, plums rasins. Hints at chocolate too. Overall warm aroma. Vanilla tones are evident. Notes of bourbon are evident. This actually has tones of an empty bourbon barrel in it. Heavy and thick aroma, it feels syurpy. (Now I'm actually getting a slightly and faint charred or smokey aroma...maybe its just me though.) The aroma is almost intoxicating. I really can't ask for more.

Tongue: On first sip alcohol, oakiness, bourbon character, and vanilla are present. Dark fruit comes into play as well. Alcohol is definitely detectable, it adds some balance to the brew as well as create some sweetness. Hints of chocolate, smokiness, and definitely some heavily roasted or burnt flavors. This beer has a great malt backbone and a great malt flavor, but a bit more would be nice to contend with the bourbon heat, oakiness, and alcohol.

Feel and Drinkability: Overall this one feels very nice. It warms once it hits the stomach. The beer is heavy on the palate and carbonation is low as it should be, otherwise it'd be way out of balance. Although its heavy on the palate it is far from syurpy. This is one that I'll not hesitate to pick up again...another great offering from Founders, they cease to amaze me.

becktone, Jan 20, 2010
Photo of TallSaint
4.68/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

13/01/13 at home

Poured into a snifter with a thin head.

Brown sugar, booze, bourbon and butterscotch in the nose. Exceptional.

It's brilliantly balanced. Upfront brown sugar, shortbread and a bourbon welcome the palate. Maple-syrup, dark fruits and a touch of (good) diacetyl come through in the mid-palate. It ends with bourbon sweetness and booze.

An exceptional beer that is brilliantly balanced. Sweet caramel, shortbread, brown sugar and dark fruits are balanced by booze, bourbon and wood. I wish the mouthfeel was a bit creamier but I could not ask for anything more. A beer that is so much fun to drink, especially at 10.2% abv, wish I had more.

TallSaint, Jan 14, 2013
Photo of grayburn
4.68/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours a muddy black into the glass with minimal head to speak of. Laces like velcro.
The smell is whisky. Very good, very strong, put the kids to bed, whisky. A little oak to mellow it down, maybe some molasses.
The taste is the same, slap you in the face whisky, some oaky vanilla, a little bitterness, whisky. Delicious.
The body is huge, thick, viscous, excellent. Carbonation is light but present.
I could put back a few of these, delicious. Another impressive offering from founders.

grayburn, Mar 09, 2009
Photo of StaEva
4.68/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

truly amazing beer. Hints of bourbon, tons of vanilla, toasty oak, buttery toffe and caramel, slight Scottish roast. medium carbonation, almost syrup-like mouthfeel. tons of flavor. founders hit a BIG fucking home-run with this beer. one of the best beers I've ever had.

StaEva, Oct 19, 2011
Photo of Tufts28
4.68/5  rDev +8.1%

Tufts28, Oct 07, 2014
Photo of westlaunboy
4.67/5  rDev +7.9%

westlaunboy, Dec 18, 2013
Photo of PaulyB83
4.66/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

A- Deep garnet/brown that you can just barely see any light through. Aggressive pour yields a medium light khaki head that quickly dissipates to a thin film. Surprised how fizzy the head was at the pouring.

S- Lots of vanilla and oak. Malty sweetness and some of the alcohol coming through. Caramel and toffee.

T- Similar to aroma, big vanilla and oak. Tastes like a soft bourbon caramel, do those exist?

M- Wonderfully coats the mouth without being too heavy.

O- A great beer and one of the most cost effective bourbon barrel aged beers I've encountered. Scotch ales are my favorite style and Dirty Bastard is one of the best examples of the style. This just amplifies all that beer's greatness by adding the oak and vanilla from the barrel.

PaulyB83, Nov 15, 2013
Photo of Fcolle2
4.66/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Pours dark dark brown nearly solid with a thin half finger head that has decent retention. There are some faint deep red undertones.

Smell is awesome. There is some rich malt notes forward that are dominated by toffee aromas and slight caramel malt. Some faint dark fruit aromas are followed by the oak and bourbon that smell nicely balanced.

Taste follows nose with rich toffee and caramel flavors before a great dark fruit flavor that consists mainly of plum with some slight cherry flavors following. Some vanilla flavors and oak finish it along with a slight bite from the bourbon.

Mouthfeel is great. Medium body and moderate carbonation leave this highly drinkable and dangerous. Good stickiness from the malt.

Overall this is an awesome beer. Defiantly going to put some of these away.

Fcolle2, Nov 02, 2013
Photo of degerbah
4.65/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy deep brown with about two fingers of head after an aggressive pour. There's a fair amount of sediment swirling around in the bottom of the beer and a lot of lacing as the head dies down. The smell is tremendous. LOts of bourbon with some sweet malt as well. The taste is absolutely heavenly. Initially very smooth and sweet with a hint of oak and vanilla The aftertaste is primarily sweet bourbon. Very boozey, but unlike a lot of beers, that's not a downside. Between the alcohol content and the flavor, this is a sipper. Almost like sipping on a good whiskey. This is probably my favorite beer that I could legally buy in the state of ohio right now. If I could afford it, I'd buy out my local shops and drink it right now.

degerbah, Dec 25, 2009
Photo of zaphodchak
4.65/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This half-finger of cream tan head. Bright pink-ruby body, elegant surface memory. Bits of lacing.

Nose is incredibly bourbony/vanilla. Plenty of oak as well. Decadent. Traces of molasses and leather as it warms.

This is honestly everything I could've asked for. Super rich, oaky, tons of alcohol, bourbon, and fresh coconut. Think Dragon's Milk, but not a stout. I'm keeping some in the cellar-- this is going to get ridiculous with age and I want to be there.

Mouthfeel is smooth, creamy, decadent to match.

Knockout-- completely nails it.

zaphodchak, Oct 08, 2011
Photo of Roguer
4.65/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Extremely dark brew, actually fairly clear (non-cloudy) but almost completely black, with reddish purple highlights. Pours a small, <1 finger beige head which quickly dissipates to an oily sheen.

Smooth bourbon aroma, with some toffee or chocolate behind (I don't think there's chocolate in this beer, but that's what I get). Strong malty grains - wheat - and a hint of tartness, a la red grapes. Despite being fairly subdued, the bourbon is still doing a good job masking other aromas.

Amazingly smooth! I daresay the bourbon comes across smoother and more refined in this beer than in BCBS. Some sweetness, similar to a red grape profile, and smooth oatmeal or wheat as a dominant malt base. There's a strong cocoa finish, not unlike chewing on a chocolate bar. Despite the relatively high IBUs, any present hops are just balancing out the brew, and not providing any bite.

Full-bodied but unbelievably smooth. There's a definite alcohol warmth on the backend. Chewy feel, and nice lingering residual sweetness. Just enough sting to come across as slightly lively, but not so much that you don't want to sip and savor.

Wow, I'm really having a hard time describing everything going on in this beer, other than, "Awesome!" I absolutely did not expect this beer to live up to the hype; I was absolutely wrong.

Roguer, Dec 16, 2013
Photo of zimm421
4.65/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a shaped pint glass. Appears a dark brown color with beautiful ruby hints. Has a late developing head. The head isn't overly impressive, but leaves good lacing.

Nose is sweet malts, wonderful bourbon aromas, lots of vanilla and oak. The nose is absolutely wonderful, but that just could be the bourbon drinker in me. Taste is very bourbon-like. Starts out somewhat sweet with caramel, but quickly the alcohol hits. This tastes wonderful, and reminds me so much of good bourbon.

The mouthfeel is medium to heavy with low carbonation levels. Definitely something you have to sip. The booze holds you back a little, but the wonderful flavors constantly draw you back in. Overall, this is a great brew. For someone that doesn't like bourbon, this would be something to avoid. However, this is absolutely wonderful to me.

zimm421, Nov 17, 2011
Photo of jtierney89
4.65/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Clear tawny amber hue with about a half finger of off white head. Really sweet creamy nose. Oak, vanilla, touch of smoke, rich toffee molasses and caramel. Touches of anise and rum soaked raisins.

Wow, incredibly smooth. Like sucking down a rum raisin butterscotch sunday with toffee bits. Creamy rich vanilla oakiness throughout, caramel toffee and smoke, faint dark fruit. So smooth and so big on flavor but it seems so subtle at the same time. Alcohol heat is barely there. Simply put this is an amazing brew with incredible smoothness and a faint lingering sweetness. Balance is almost impeccable.

jtierney89, Nov 29, 2012
Photo of Treyliff
4.65/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 9/28/12 poured into a tulip

A- pours a dark brown, nearly but not quite opaque. Small light tan head that reduces to skim the top, leaving a ring if lace.

S- bourbon notes jump out right off with the oaky characteristics common to bourbon. Some caramel and dark fruity fig, finishes with some sweet vanilla.

T- sweet and malty up front with notes of bourbon and vanilla oak. It then transitions into one of the most authentic caramel tastes that I've ever tried in a beer. Pure and smooth, follows with some dark fig notes and finishes sweet with just a bit more bourbon.

M- heavy body, but not syrupy like I was expecting, moderate carbonation with a slightly creamy-yet-somewhat slick mouthfeel and finish. A little bit of heat warms you up on the finish.

O- it took me a while to get ahold of some of these and I wasn't dissapointed. The caramel notes in this were amazing, I can't wait to put a few of these away for a few years and see how they age.

Treyliff, Dec 30, 2012
Photo of mbusster88
4.65/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a dark brown/mahogany color with a yellow ish head. Good amount of head for 10% and it sticks around well. Not much light gets through this one as it is rather hazy and dark.

S: Bourbon, vanilla and tons of sweetness in the nose. Some alcohol is present but not a lot. Very big sweet malt notes though. Also get some light toasted notes, not deep but lightly on the nose.

T/M: Wow this one was not harsh up front as I thought it might be. Really great bourbon flavors and vanilla. Very impressed with the alcohol and how not over the top it is. Great sweetness in this, very heavy on the sweet. However, the alcohol balances this sweetness out well. Tastes almost like rich fudge due to the amount of vanilla and sweetness.

D: Very drinkable due to the high ABV. This is one that I can say I would highly recommend and will be getting for myself again!

mbusster88, Feb 04, 2011
Photo of VaTechHopHead
4.65/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A - Nice mix of deep red and brown, clearly unfiltered, with an off-white head. Good chunks of lace down the glass left by a fast depleting head.

S - The first nose is like sticking your nose in a bourbon barrel...sweet and pungent bourbon with a great malty backbone. Hops aren't too prevalent because the other aromas dominate.

T - This is where this beer really shines. Starts off with wonderful sweet malty mash flavors but the bourbon kicks in real quick. The bourbon isn't harsh or hot at all but amazingly pleasant, it's all the flavor and none of the burn. Right at the end the hops pop in and their bitterness blends with the bourbon nicely to give a great spicy finish

M/D - Heavy body with some large carbonation bubbles but somehow still smooth on the tongue. Sweet finish but has a nice alcohol warmth. Way too easy to drink for such a high alcohol content.

For a widely available seasonal beer this one is terrific and definitely a must try for all big beer lovers.

VaTechHopHead, Feb 23, 2010
Photo of davey101
4.65/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2011 vintage putting this bottle at about 8/9 months old. 12 oz bottle into a tulip glass. Wasn't a fan of this fresh so I decided to age a bottle. Reviewed on 07-10-2012.

A - Dark red/brown clear body. One finger high light khaki head settles down to a patchy cap and thick edging. Swirling produces a huge and tight head. Decent lacing and retention but massive alcoholic legs. 4.0/5

S - Bourbon soaked figs and raisins, roasted malts, vanilla, brown sugar, and toffee. Really decadent and rich with the perfect balance between the bourbon and dark fruit. 4.5/5

T - Bourbon soaked dark fruits and loads of scotch ale notes. Vanilla, toffee, and brown sugar. The finish is pretty abrupt with a light lingering sweetness. There's also an odd bitterness after each sip that really goes against the sweet flavors. 3.5/5

M - Alcohol is well incorporated but it does warm the mouth at cellar temperature. Light to medium mouth feel with silky carbonation. 4.0/5

O - Age had does wonders on this beer. Crazy smooth and tasty. Not a fan of the bitterness in the aftertaste though. 3.88/5

---

2012 vintage, bottled on 10/12/12. 12 oz bottle into a Founders 15th Anniversary glass. Giving this a proper re-review since I now love this beer and style.

A - Pours a dark red/brown body that almost appears purple. This particular bottle is chill hazed with some floating protein particles. I've had many bottles of this batch that were crystal clear though. Three fingers worth of tan foam fades away into a patchy cap with attractive silky bubbles. Sticky lacing with modest retention.

S - Such an amazing and inviting aroma. Gobs of rich and sweet english toffee with layers of vanilla, butterscotch, and oak. Brown sugar drenched raisins. Such a fantastic bourbon presence.

T - Sweet toffee malts. Rich brown sugar and dates. Smooth bourbon with a noticeable but pleasant alcohol burn. Finishes with some butterscotch, vanilla oak and a touch of peat. Excellent.

M - Thin to medium with silky carbonation. Drinks wonderfully and the alcohol is complimentary but never over the top.

O - This has quickly become one of my favorite beers. Just bourbon drenched toffee perfection. Absolutely world class stuff.

davey101, Jan 27, 2013
Photo of bram325
4.65/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Fantastic example of the style. I really enjoy the dirty bastard so this is jut that one step better after being in the barrels. Everything about it just sits right with me from the color to the finish. If you are a fan of Wee Heavys this is a must..

bram325, Nov 20, 2013
Photo of CraftFan5
4.65/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

CraftFan5, Jan 30, 2014
Photo of tut2528
4.65/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

smell: large amounts of sweet bourbon and oak. Vanilla, some figs are present as well. Alcohol is noticeable, but not overbearing.

taste: amazing rush of bourbon and vanilla, big malt/caramel backbone, and the finish is well balanced by a slight creaminess. The hops become noticeable after the creaminess but start to win out as the beer warms up (which is expected).

All around, Founders has done a great job with this brew. I enjoyed the uniqueness of this beer and its pretty well balanced all around. I wouldn't say its full bodied, but lies somewhere in between middle and full.

tut2528, Jan 08, 2012
Photo of ichorNet
4.65/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Appearance: Deep brown amber with some suspended solids. Patterned lacing coming down in tiers. Excellent foam and solid retention

Scent: Wooden and phenolic with maple, vanilla, roasted malt and nuttiness (walnuts?) spicing it all up. Earthy, musty and sweet

Taste: Evocative of the beer’s name and style; the oak aging lends the vanilla aspect while scotch, toffee, caramel and peaty malt provide an alluring center

Mouthfeel: Smooth drinking with low-medium carbonation rounding out a full-bodied middle. Finish is divine and evolves subtly over time

Drinkability: I could drink more than one of these in a row, but it would hurt. That said, this is a sipper and should be treated as such

Overall: This is fantastic beer. I think it would be very difficult to seek this out and find it disappointing, honestly. Founders have taken a strong, malt-forward beer and made it even more relentless in its approach and that is something I find intense and uncompromising. Wholeheartedly recommended!

Read full review @ http://blogs.lowellsun.com/beer/2012/11/22/founders-backwoods-bastard/

ichorNet, Jan 24, 2013
Founders Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 5,461 ratings.