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Founders Backwoods Bastard - Founders Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Founders Backwoods BastardFounders Backwoods Bastard

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,709 Reviews
no score

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Reviews: 1,709
Hads: 7,583
Avg: 4.25
pDev: 22.59%
Wants: 972
Gots: 2,976 | FT: 277
Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company
Michigan, United States | website

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
Reviews: 1,709 | Hads: 7,583
Photo of kranker23
4.09/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Dark amber with a slight red hue. Almost root beer color.

S - Great nose, vanilla, caramel. Poured slightly cold from the cellar. This should open up wonderfully as it warms.

T - The booze comes through strong but pleasant. it might be the hops that throw this a little bit off balance. There are hints of whiskey and vanilla.

M - Medium mouthfeel, nice and not at all sticky.

D - Very complex, a definite sipper.

O - Glad I got this one, this was appropriate as a long slow sipper. The hoppiness surprised me, but this was a well made beer.

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Photo of TriGuy20
4.09/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 Backwoods Bastard poured into goblet

A: Dark mahogany/ Touch of head/ nice lace clings to side of class
S: Carmel/ Maple/ Oak/ Booze-Scotch/ Vanilla/ Malt
T: The caramel comes though nice on the palate with a nice vanilla accent. The booze/ scotch is quite prominent but does not overpower. On the finish there is a nice alcohol burn, very warming.
MF: Full body with a mild creamy texture. Coats the mouth nicely.
D: One bottle of this does me just right. Definitely a sipper

Really enjoy this beer! I feel that it will be better with a little age; the alcohol will have a chance to balance out. The finish could be a little longer. For a sipper I wish this beer displayed a little more complexity as it warms.

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Photo of Boitnott
4.08/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was poured from a bottle into a tall tulip class. It had been aged for about a year. The ageing may confound so of the results of this review. I was told that it was stored properly but I have heard that it is never a guarantee. This is my first try with an aged beer so here we go...

A: An opaque red brown color. Literally not light comes through the beer. Not much head on the beer which may be an after effect of the aging. Pretty light lacing as well, once again may be indicative of the aging. Very nice looking beer.

S: Pure scotch whiskey. I can also smell some of the sweet malts used and maybe same distant hop smells as well. Smells so close to scotch that is is hard to smell anything.

T: Wow. There is so much going on with this beer. The nose is reminiscent of the medium hops and sweet malts. There is also a bit of caramel, but only a touch. The finish of the beer is where it really shines. It finishes in three stages: (1) the sweet caramel taste becomes apparent, very sweet for a dark ale; (2) next the slight bitterness of the hops comes to the surface but does not eliminate the sweetness; (3) finally the scotch whiskey barrel aging process becomes the dominant flavor, this flavor lingers for about five seconds after you sip the beer. As opposed to other beers, these tastes do not polarize each other. They integrate very well and create a nice combined flavor on the palate that lingers for longer than any beer that I have tried.

M: The beer is amazing smooth and medium bodied. I expected a "Wee Heavy" to be much thicker (like Dirty Bastard) but this is not the case with this beer. The only issue is the lack of head on the beer. It would have been nice balance the powerful tastes of the beer. Once again this may be due to the aging process. This is not to say that there was no carbonation. The beer even leaves a tingly feeling on your lips as you sip it, which is probably because of the ABV.

D: At 10.2%, the drinkability is astounding. With the smell I assumed the beer's scotch taste would be overpowering but it is actually more subtle than I thought, making the beer much more enjoyable. I could absolutely have a lot of these in one sitting, which is dangerous at 10.2%. I recommend this beer to any fans of the style, or to anyone who simply enjoys good beer.

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Photo of kbeals
4.08/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I liked the Dirty Bastard so I figured I'd give this a try.

A- A dark ruby red bottom fades into a nearly opaque black top. About three fingers of creamy light brown head.

S- Bourbon, bourbon, and more bourbon, oh and some caramelized malts come into play.

T- First the bourbon/alcohol taste comes into play, followed by a bit of malty aftertaste. Finishes with a slightly dry finish. The alcohol warms the chest after all is said and done. Very pleasing.

M- This beer was velvety smooth with little to no carbonation.

D- Due to the high ABV I probably wouldn't drink more than a few of these.

This beer was excellent and a definite recommendation.

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Photo of projectflam86
4.08/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a deep amber/copper color with a thick off white foam head that leaves some lacing.

S- Rich sweet bourbon aroma.

T- Huge rush of bourbon whiskey flavor. Nice vanilla bean and oak flavors are present in the finish along with a strong sting of alcohol.

M- Creamy feel with nice carbonation and a medium/full body. The alcohol was a bit too strong for my tastes.

D- Overall this beer tastes just like I expected. This seems to be Dirty Bastard aged in bourbon barrels and that is exactly what I got.

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Photo of 1000lbgrizzly
4.08/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: Brilliant ruby-brown, tan head that remains only as a ring, no lace.

S: Sweet, nutty toffee malt, some buttery wood. A lot of big smells, easy to overdo, but here they are balanced very well, just maybe too much diacetyl.

T: Sweet malt/grain, then nuttiness, then a mix of alcohol, wood, and whiskey spice all lingering on the palate for a while. Butter is gone!

F: My only gripe. A little too light, but pretty smooth. I could do with even less carbonation, make this thing as close to whiskey as possible!

O: With this style, it's easy to be boring, or do too much 'innovation'. This one nails it. Malt at the forefront, sweet overall but not too much, with whiskey spice and a bit of an ethanol reminder to really elevate it above the rest.

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Photo of Steaks
4.08/5  rDev -4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

god damn i'm drunk. it tastes like you're drinking hard liquor. 10.2%. the smell is straight up bourbon, but it doesn't have the burn you'd expect. it pours black as hell and is easy to drink, but i stumbled several times while drinkin this and lookin at some fine ladies. i haven't thrown up yet. founders is delicious, but i think this beer might be a little much for me. wooo

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Photo of Duff27
4.08/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a thin off white head on a brown beer. Average hea retention and above average lacing for the style.

Very sweet smelling, slight booze and peat.

Peat, small hint of smokiness. Booziness is kept in check. Very tasty.

Smooth and creamy mouthfeel, slightly thick. Good carbonation.

Another great seasonal from Founders. Been awhile since I've had this one but just as good as I remember. Worth hunting down a bottle or two a year. Thanks kawilliams81!

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Photo of RblWthACoz
4.08/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark ruby hued brown with a thin tan head. Nose is malty with an almost cardboard tree kind of thing going on. The first thing I thought when I took a sip was: boozy! Thankfully that seems to fade away as time goes on. What I get after that is a thick malty backbone with a sweet earthy edge. Peaty edge on the backside. Full flavor profile, not a mass of complexity. Feel is smooth on liquid and carbonation is lower. After the booze calms down here this gets better.

Thanks to tburkhart for this one.

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Photo of Bitterbill
4.08/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I got this bottle as an extra in a trade with hoppymeal. Thanks Derek!

This pours from 12oz bottle a clear deep amber with a 2 finger head of off white foam. Lots of lacing and the foam just doesn't want to quit. Nice.

The smell isn't strong but I get good notes of carame and roasted malt.

The taste is a malty delight! Big caramel malt up front with notes of bourbon(done very nicely), chocolate, fig, and when I swish the beer in my mouth, I notice that it's very (dark) fruity. D licious. The alcohol is hidden pretty well with just some warming after the swallow. It borders on sweet but there's some burnt flavour there that adds just enough bitterness to balance the flavours. Very nice and it has a medium mouthfeel and it finishes with a slightly woody flavour. This is some good stuff!

Thanks again, Derek!!

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Photo of billshmeinke
4.08/5  rDev -4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured into a Bruery tulip. Served at approximately 50 degrees. Sick extra from Kelly88.

Heavy handed pour produces a finger of off white head with mostly tiny bubbles tight concentration and bigger bubbles on the top. Dark ruby color bordering on brown. Can't see through this one, no light getting through. Initial head dies down to a bubbly layer of foam around the edge and a slim layer of foam on the surface. Some oily legs, but not oily enough to pull spots of lacing back into the beer.

Smells is of oaky vanilla, boozy bourbon, raisins, figs, and sweet caramel malts. Nutty/fruity bourbon notes reveal themselves with some agitation as the brew warms. Comparisons to a bourbon barrel aged old ale would make sense based on the nose. Very enticing.

Taste is comprised of boozy bourbon up front that melts into oaky vanilla which quickly transforms into toasted caramel malts that end on a boozy nutty bourbon note with a resin/leafy hop bitterness. Bitter nutty flavor lingers on the palate.

High end of medium bodied, flavors aren't super rich which is one of my only complaints with this beer. Low carbonation. A bit coating, but not to syrupy/thick. Slightly hot on the way down.

I could definitely knock back a few of these without being overwhelmed or getting sick of it.

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

A: pours a dark brown ruby color with a decent head that quickly dissipates in to a thin lacing around the edge of the glass.

S: dark fruits, plums, raisins, heavy malts, some licorice, caramel, all this makes up for a very pleasent aroma indeed.

T: the first flavor to hit is some high notes of booziness but not in an unpleasent way, more in the way a liqueur would be drunk. Most of the aromas fade on the palate and in their place they leave a pleasent heavy ale adorned with flavors of raisins and dark fruits, leaving no aftertaste behind.

M: full bodied to a great delight, for such a big beer it falls pretty well on the stomach and it doesn't leaves you feeling bloated; no dryness, no harshness and no off notes.

O: can't say anything asides from the fact that this is a pretty great built beer by an even better brewery. Would enjoy to see more experiments with this base for a beer.

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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 rtepiak
4.08/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

age this boozy doggy. a interesting merge between beer marshmallow maltiness and bourbon hints. some walnut and zucchini bread hints. pour is sticky and nice head of mahogany with an off white head. nose of bourbon and caramel. palate is hard on the tough like bourbon and then cuts clean. this is not syrupy at all. its a bit hot. its a nice blend of flavors. that ends sooner than the expected barrel ages stout. dry mineral tongue. dessert that doesn't let itself linger.

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Photo of 2ellas
4.08/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

When held up to the light, it's a deep crimson. Has a thin white head
smells strongly of scotch and oak. I get some coconut too
Taste matches the smell nearly perfectly
mouthfeel is a bit thin with lower carbonation
a very interesting and enjoyable sipping beer that I will drink again!

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Photo of CurtFromHershey
4.08/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours a deep brownish red with smooth head comprised of exceptionally small bubbles, a sign of quality. Head fads to a thin rim.

Smells strongly of Bourbon, cedar, pine sap, and cherries.

Taste is similar to the nose, although Tue bourbon presence feels a bit heavy hands to be honest. As much as I like bourbon in beers, I think this guy would he better with a shorter time in the barrels.

Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy. Ever so slightly too viscous for me for this style.

Overall I would certainly buy this again, but it feels just short of something really brilliant.

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Photo of dogfishandi
4.07/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

recieved this in a trade with jpmclaug. thanks again!

12oz stubby bottle pulled from my cellar floor. tough to read date stamped on the neck. *0/08/10?. poured into a standard pint.

pours out a dark ruby red, dark dark brown color. half a finger of tannish fizzy head that disappaited completely after about 5 minutes. no lace to speak of, but has decent legs on the side of the glass.

big bourbony, boozy alcohol is most obvious. with that there is lots of burnt caramelized malt. also bits of maple, vanilla, and oaky woodiness.

lots of boozy bourbon, but behind that theres some complexity to it. lots of burnt caramelized malt. maple, oaky, woody, just bits of smoky peat, maybe not enough. bits of honey and lots of sweetness. the barrel aged qualities of this beer really show strong, not so much the scotch ale qualities. still damn tasty non the less. went very nice with some sharp cheddars as always.

thick viscous, chewy mouthfeel. very light carbonation which definatly compliments the beer.

this is definatly a sipper at 10.2%. one bottle per session is enough. good to share with friends, and definatly a nice night capper.

im very glad i got a chance to try this. if this was readily available to me, i might get some to age, but i prolly wouldnt go out of my way to trade for this. im not sure of the price, but its worth a try.

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Photo of jbphoto88
4.07/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A deep leathery brown beer with loads of red when held up to the light. A simple head the color of buttermilk rises and falls without much show. The beer is slightly hazed but you can see through it, just barely.

The smell starts out with a distinct bourbon whisky character. Caramelized grains, vanilla and a healthy dose of oaky goodness. Absolutely delightful (did I forget to mention that I love bourbon.)

The taste doesn't disappoint either with the characters of the nose following through. Again vanilla and oak dominate the scene and add a nice earthy depth to the malt backbone. Caramel covers up a boozy note that at times can be harsh as well as enjoyable.

The mouthfeel slips a little for me. Such a big beer with heavy flavors has a surprisingly thin mouthfeel. Firm carbonation sizzles my tongue and distracts from my overall enjoyment. I like this brew but think a little more malt flavor and less oak could balance things out better. A tasty sipping beer.

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Photo of Stigs
4.07/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle, poured into a Dogfish Head signature glass...

A - small amount of light khaki foam falls quickly to some large floating bubbles accompanied by a tan ring. the beer itself is a dark burnt brown with a slight purple hue. random spotty lacing as the beer goes down.

S - bourbon everywhere, mixed with some vanilla, chocolate, cherries, plums, sweet malt...strong whiskey kick at the end. picks up a lot more bourbon as it warms.

T - bourbon again, mixed with some dark chocolate and malted candy (Whoppers)...fruits come in next, bourbon soaked cherries and raisins. definitely some alcohol heat.

M - thick and chewy, adequate carbonation aids in getting some other flavors besides bourbon their opportunity.

D - Had this once before (very fresh) and thought it was way too wild...have a few bottles left and hopefully some age will bring out even more complexities. as far as drinkability goes, abv and tons of sweetness make a single bottle almost too much.

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Photo of cannabanaceae
4.07/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Color was murky,dark red. Little brown head. Yeast and char at bottom.

Smell was BOURBON! Vanilla maybe some spicy hops and malts in the mix.

Taste was alcohol, carmel,bisquity malt. mild vanilla notes from oak. Hop bitterness detected in the end. Left a choppy bitter taste in mouth. Got sweeter as it warmed.

This was a great wet barrel bourbon Scottish ale. Glad to get this in trade!

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Photo of shbobdb
4.07/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I like this beer, it is a "rounder" version of their dirty bastard complimented by a nice bourbon twang.

That said, the original beer is a little bit overwhelmed, instead of a dirty bastard that has been lightly complimented by the barrel-aging process, this beer is nearly completely unrecognizable. I mean, sure, there is that initial malty-sweetness that is unmistakable bastard on the tongue but that is followed by a blast of vanilla and black currant and as it sits in your mouth the vanilla wins out and it is just, wow, vanillia-y. There is also a very instresting "chloraseptic" finish. It isn't a bad thing, but it does bring the beer to an unmistakable close.

Overall, I like this beer. It warms you and is very "digestive" in the Belgian sense of the word. But I do think the bourbon-barrel aging process overwhelms the original beer.

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Photo of OldIronLungs
4.07/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter a thin dark soda color, essentially no head save for a very thin ring.

Nose is bourbon. Some vanilla and toffee, sweet malt.

A sip is like drinking an exceptionally mellow bourbon and cola. That's not a knock. A slight oak presence emerges mid sip followed by a little carbonation. Medium body last through the end and coats an oily bourbon and alcohol heat to the palette.

Glad I chose a snifter. This one warms up nicely to bring out the notes from the nose and it's definitely a one-and-done! Big!

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Photo of akorsak
4.07/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A 12 oz stubby bottle from a case split with my good friend Deuane. Last time I had this, it was Dark Lord day from a growler.

A: The ale is a dark tawny color, a few shades browner that a nice port. The darkness of the ale makes discerning the clarity difficult. A finger of head did muster out of the glass but it doesn't stick around.

S: The aroma is bourbon, with vanilla and pepper notes, oak and just a wee hint of smokiness. The bourbon is definitely the star of this part of the show.

T: The sip is rather interesting, with strong bourbon up front before transitioning to a rather focused malt body. The barrel has done a number on the beer, overtaking the entire front of the sip, adding oaken bourbon and vanilla notes. The back end of the beer has a green grape-like tartness, not sour tart, but concentrated grains tart. The flavor is not as strong as the nose or the front of the sip would suggest. In fact, it quickly leaves the palate behind.

M: The mouthfeel upfront is glorious in the bourbon revelry. The back end drops off too significantly, dragging the overall feel down.

D: The abv is too far to make this a go-to beer. If you like the punch of a bourbon aged beer, this is worth a visit. The bottle is not as powerful as I remember the growler being, but that could just be the passage of time.

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Photo of Etan
4.07/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, 2012 release.

A: Pours a burnt auburn with a nice off-white head.

S: Cream, light peat, caramel, plenty of bourbon and oak.

T: Some vanilla, caramel, cooked lactose over a slightly astringent bitterness. Sweet, but dries out quickly. Oaky booze peeps out mid-palate. Somewhat nutty. Tannic vanilla and some bitterness lingers.

M: Medium-bodied with slight carbonation.

O: Not mind-blowing, but pretty tasty.

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Photo of BarryMFBurton
4.07/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

After a bout of disappointment while searching for this one, I was happy (though surprised) to find this at a rarely-visited bottle shop in town. Yep, I’m a happy man.

Brewed a month before the date of this tasting (“BOTTLED 10/07/11”).

A: Looks great – just like their original Dirty Bastard, the body on this one is a dark mahogany-brown in the shadows, but a rich ruby-red as soon as you hold it up to the light. Tan and bubbly, the head runs to a solid finger-and-a-half before settling into a short, creamy retention. The lacing is thick and film-like, too; excellent.

S: Right at the onset is a big Scotch Ale kick, full of black licorice, dark malts, and bittersweet fruits. The alcohol is undeniable as well, with its characteristic whiskey-tang and peppery spice. Everything is quite normal when compared to the last Dirty Bastard I had; everything, of course, except for those incredible barrel-aged aromas! That warm, oaky Bourbon aroma dominates this profile, filling the nostrils with vanilla, earthy leather, and smooth caramel. Damn, what a wonderful addition to the ol’ Dirty Bastard!

T: Superb; a wonderfully-executed palate. As soon as the first drops hit your tongue, it’s all just rich, sexy flavors: caramel candy, vanilla icing, maple, and a lightly dry fig-fruitiness, which leads well into a grainy hop bitterness (mild, but nice). The barrel-aging leads to an excellent woody taste, with a fantastic oak character that I haven’t tasted since DFH’s Palo Santo Marron; it even leaves a distinct cherry-vanilla flavor after. Wonderful. The aftertaste is unexpectedly mellow, mostly cinnamon-sugar and a hint of dry breads.

M: Pretty smooth, yet still noticeably fiery. Like the original incarnation of Dirty Bastard, this one can be a bit thin at times. Too bad, because it’s the only thing keeping me from falling head-over-heels for this beer.

O: What a difference barrel aging can make – this is a much more enjoyable bastard-in-a-bottle! This beer has a hell of a kick, but enough mellow flavors to counteract it with incredible smoothness. I’d really love to have this on-tap; that version of Dirty Bastard was even better than its bottled counterpart.

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Founders Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
95 out of 100 based on 1,709 ratings.