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Founders Backwoods Bastard - Founders Brewing Company

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Founders Backwoods BastardFounders Backwoods Bastard

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5,298 Ratings

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Ratings: 5,298
Reviews: 1,426
rAvg: 4.33
pDev: 10.62%
Wants: 658
Gots: 1,548 | FT: 143
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: 5,298 | Reviews: 1,426 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of reebtaerG


4.65/5  rDev +7.4%

Had on draft in a snifter at churchkey on 5/10/14

A-Very dark brown pour, with a large beige head. Great lacing!

S-Loads of oak, caramel malts with some roast. Notes of vanilla, cherries, plums, and bourbon

T-The bourbon really hits you immediately but this gives way to caramel, toffee, dates and raisins all featuring. There’s more than a touch of cherry sour, roasty bitterness and warming alcohol in there, but the sweetness dominates.

M-Mouthfeel is quite creamy and the carbonation relatively lively.

O-A very nice, quite complex scotch ale a great sipper.

05-11-2014 13:55:20 | More by reebtaerG
Photo of WMEugene


4.65/5  rDev +7.4%

A - Pours a very dark and rich amber color with a one-inch head tan head. Excellent lacing.

S - Bourbon smell dominates though I do pick up notes of malt and other sweet flavors (vanilla and butterscotch perhaps?).

T - Sweet vanilla/buttery flavor leads into the obvious hints of bourbon. Has a bit of a boozy taste to it as well. Though it is well-balanced.

M - Medium to thick bodied with a smooth taste to it. Low carbonation and a buttery finish.

O - The Backwoods Bastard is a unique bourbon barrel offering that combines the taste and boozyness of bourbon with sweet butterscotch-esque flavors. It's not an everyday type of beer, but it is a tasty treat.

11-06-2011 21:30:49 | More by WMEugene
Photo of KFBR392


4.64/5  rDev +7.2%

Enjoying the first of the four that I have decided to age. Bottled on date of 9/28/12.

Appearance: A bright brown color with dark red amber tones. Some decent carbonation but no head retention throughout. Really a great color on the pour which came out much darker when in the glass.

Smell: My favorite part of the brew right here. The powerful malt/caramel just explodes on the nostrils. There is so much vanilla and toffee here as well. The spicy boozy undertones keeps you on your toes. If I got knocked out and someone put this under my nose I'm pretty sure I would come back to consciousness. Powerful stuff!

Taste: Really great. Upfront the malt and alcohol presence mix very nicely. A caramelized vanilla body carries this brew for days. The sticky toffee aftertaste simply won't stop. For everything going on with this brew the body is not as heavy as I would have expected. A very easy drinker.

Mouthfeel: The flavors provide complexity while the mouthfeel is not overpowering. The mouthfeel fades away quicker then I would have hoped though. Such a clean body.

Overall: Founders always does it right. No expections here. I cannot wait to periodically pop the other three of these over the next year. I think the aging really matured this beer and settled in many of the flavors. Cheers!

02-05-2013 23:54:19 | More by KFBR392
Photo of offthelevel_bytheplumb


4.64/5  rDev +7.2%

Poured into a snifter. Pours a cloudy ruby color with only a ring of tan bubbles that leave mild lacing. Vanilla and caramel with a bit of alcohol on the nose, very typical notes for a bourbon barrel aged beer. The nose is very bold and pleasing though. Taste is very sweet with a minimal amount of heat finishing it up. Very think and creamy mouthfeel on this one, and the vanilla flavor finishes this one up nicely.

Overall: I have had this one in the past, and not only did this beer get me into barrel aged beers, but it also got me into bourbon. The barrel aging makes a huge impression on this one, and it's not for those that steer clear of that type of thing. For those that like that though, this is one of the best BA beers out there.

11-15-2013 18:39:05 | More by offthelevel_bytheplumb
Photo of Max578

New York

4.64/5  rDev +7.2%

Backwoods Bastard! I've always loved beer, but over the past 8 months or so I've really gotten into great beers. One of my staples has been Dirty Bastard. I've been waiting for this brew for a while.

Poured into a pint glass.

A- Pours a mahogany red. A small khaki head forms at the last minute.

S- Smells like creme brulee. Hits strong with caramel and brown sugar. The vanilla comes in next. A bready malt finishes. I am know primed for my first sip!

T- Everything I hoped for and more. Like the smell, a hearty caramel and brown sugar is the first thing I taste. Dried dates are present, and then the vanilla and bourbon appears. These flavors mesh for a moment, leading way to a decidedly scotch/bourbon finish. Delicious. This is what a beer should taste like!

M-Thick with little carbonation. Really lets you have it sit on your tongue while you take in its flavor.

O- DB was one of my favorites to this point, and BB has solidified itself as my favorite brew to this point in time. Would seek this out year after year. Thanks Founders!!!

11-09-2013 05:15:52 | More by Max578
Photo of Justin_Neff


4.63/5  rDev +6.9%

Bottled: 10/05/12 - poured into a CCB Snifter

A: Aggressively pours a dark, dark copper color with 2-finger light beige colored head that sticks around for a few minutes. Leaves a beautiful thin layer of foam around the top of the beer, and a nice, thick lacing on the glass.

S: Initial woft is overwhelming bourbon. Followed up by oakiness and some dark fruit scents. Definite sweet smells on the finish.

T: At the onset, there is malty, caramel, sweet tastes that smell would lead you to expect. There is definite bourbon taste, but the oak, caramel, and surprising vanilla tastes balance it amazingly. This is incredible.

M: A little thinner than you would expect from vision and smell. A low level of carbonation, but decent creaminess. Actually surprising how drinkable it is.

O: Absolutely worth the price tag. Hard to track down, but definitely worth the hunt. Probably my favorite Founders brew to date. Wee Heavy is one of my favorite styles, and this one is at the top of the style for me. It's amazing how the vanilla and caramel notes balance the bourbon and oak. VERY GOOD.

01-06-2013 01:07:44 | More by Justin_Neff
Photo of Chickenhawk9932


4.63/5  rDev +6.9%

Pours mahogany with ruby red highlights and a beige head.

Smells of oak, bourbon, caramel, vanilla, burnt sugar, slight floral bouquet with a little herb bitterness. Very fragrant with lots of earthy undertones.

Big creamy mouthfeel with a smoothness that is surprising. Notes of bourbon & caramel are balanced by an herbal bitterness & an oak dryness. The vanilla comes across as sweet & bitter. At times it reminds one of Creme Brulee or Bananas Foster. This is one big bad easy sipping smooth as hell beer that is full of flavor.

06-01-2012 23:43:20 | More by Chickenhawk9932
Photo of AndyAvalanche


4.63/5  rDev +6.9%

12 oz. bottle poured into a Sierra Nevada Tulip/Snifter style glass. Maple brown color but orange when held up to the light. It's a little cloudy and hazy, but not too bad. Light brown sugar color head, not much lacing to it and it goes away fairly quickly. Not bad looking overall, wouldn't mind a little more lacing.

Smell is really good. Very well malted, lots of sweetness going on. Bourbon has a strong presence and probably the most dominant feature, but it's not overwhelming. Vanilla, hard crystallized sugar/syrup (sort of like rock candy), and some oak. Slightly smokey, but not very strong and a hint of alcohol that tickles your nose.

Taste is pretty much perfect. Bourbon comes out first, vanilla stronger in the taste than smell and as if the oak was soaked in it. Sugar again and some caramel, but more of a caramel/brown sugar liquor. Some smokeyness again, but not that strong, overpowered by the other flavors. Call me crazy but I feel like I can taste a slight hint of maple as well. Not very bitter, but there is a feint hop presence, but malts dominate here. ABV is high, but I probably wouldn't guess it would be that high by the taste, sort of a sweet boozy.

Mouthfeel is pretty good, I feel it could be a little more carbonated, but the mouthfeel compliments the flavor profile pretty well. Ratio is in favor of the malts but a good ratio/balance, slight tingle on the tongue from the alcohol. Pretty darn drinkable, perfect after dinner drink or nightcap. Not typical to the style, but I love what Founders is doing here, knocked it out of the park.

06-22-2011 00:48:03 | More by AndyAvalanche
Photo of brianlindman


4.63/5  rDev +6.9%

On tap at Founders...

A - great appearance pours dark with a nice head.

S - Sweet malty smell.

T - sweet bourbon aroma and taste.

M - Smooth in the mouth slight alcohol aftertaste, SWEET, VERY SWEET.

Overall loved the beer taste great even after CBS. Very smooth for 10% ABV.

I will look fo it in the bottle this year!!

10-02-2011 16:53:57 | More by brianlindman
Photo of superspak


4.63/5  rDev +6.9%

12 ounce bottle into snifter, bottled 10/07/11. Pours cloudy dark red color with a small dense khaki head with good retention that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Some spotty lacing clings to the glass. Aromas of huge caramel, toffee, vanilla, coconut, toasted malt, oak, bourbon, and molasses. Simply incredible aromas here with fantastic balance. Taste of huge caramel, coconut, vanilla, toasted malt, bourbon, toffee, molasses, and a bit of spiciness. Fairly clean finish; but some lingering notes of caramel, vanilla, coconut, bourbon, and molasses on the finish for a bit. Medium carbonation and quite full bodied; with a very creamy, silky, and incredibly smooth drinking mouthfeel. Alcohol is almost completely hidden; but there is a small bit of booziness and a slight warming after the finish. Incredible balance of flavors in the taste and aromas. Overall this is definitely a world class brew. Incredible flavor balance, with some unique flavor combination thanks to the barrel aging. I am glad I have more of this; I wonder how it is in a year.

01-16-2012 08:32:34 | More by superspak
Photo of BigBearBeerBro

New Jersey

4.63/5  rDev +6.9%

This is always one of my favorites... every year... Couldn't wait to see this available... I only hope to be able to save one or two for the holidays!

A: Pours a cloudy maple with a nice creamy brown head...

S: Smell is a beautiful mix of oak-bourbon-toffee. With a hint of tobacco.

T: Matches the smell perfectly. Oak, bourbon, maple syrup, boozy finish. Delightful!

M: A nice rich creamy feel. Nice.

O: This is my absolute favorite vintage of this beer. I will definitely be buying more of this. Once again, will be tough to save a few bottles for the holidays...

12-03-2013 04:19:31 | More by BigBearBeerBro
Photo of Founders_Fanatic


4.63/5  rDev +6.9%

A: very dark ruby red, very thin later of off white head
S: Bourbon, caramelized sugars, syrup, coconut
T: Bourbon taste blends perfectly with other flavors, vanilla, coconut. Smooth start, alcohol finish.
M: very sticky, dry
Overall: Great beer, this is the third year in a row I have made a special trip to buy it. I loved the 2011 batch, 2012 was good, I am loving the 2013 batch.

11-04-2013 03:52:29 | More by Founders_Fanatic
Photo of bebopkola

New Jersey

4.63/5  rDev +6.9%

Pours a beautiful dark brown with no head retention, even after a vigourous pour.

First aromas of vanilla, caramel, and bourbon. The bourbon begins to come out more and more after the intial whiff. Extremely enticing aromas, so much going on it's great.

Flavors include vanilla, sweet almost carmel candy like flavor, toffe and definatley bourbon. I love the fact that you can taste the influence of the barrel aging in this beer, it definatley dominates the aroma and taste of the beer and comes out even more as it warms up.

I've had a few other barrel aged, either plain oak barrel or a barrel previously used with some other spirit and this is one of the best. This beer can definatley benefit from cellaring, although good now, I can't wait to revisit this beer after a couple of months.

11-10-2008 01:48:02 | More by bebopkola
Photo of yourefragile

District of Columbia

4.63/5  rDev +6.9%

12 oz bottle with a new, infinitely more menacing and creepy looking "bastard" (seriously, it's like Gandalf meets Deliverance) on the label. Neck ring says 50 IBU and 10.2 ABV. Poured into a tulip.

A: Dense, still deep brown slightly reddish color. Thin tannish head that quickly dissipates to a broken ring of tiny bubbles. Some streaks and splotches of lacing and tiny bubbles stick to the glass. It just looks thick.
S: Pretty amazing, even for a bourbon aged beer. Rich and complex as expected, but not overwhelming or too boozy like some others. Pleasing balance of bourbon, vanilla, sweet malt, sugars, light scotch, etc.
T: Entirely different flavors than Dirty Bastard. The scotch flavors are pushed pretty far into the background while bourbon and vanilla dominate from the beginning. Sugars, caramel, toffee, more bourbon, etc. Very sweet, not for everyone, but if you like booze, this is very nice, with minimal alcohol burn.
M: Very thick and smooth, minimal carbonation. Silky on the tongue and finish is sweet and slightly dry.
D: Very drinkable for the style, not something I'd necessarily want to drink more than one of or frequently, but great balance of big flavors makes this a great offering.

12-08-2008 03:45:59 | More by yourefragile
Photo of rodlavers


4.63/5  rDev +6.9%

2011 vintage, into snifter.

A. Poured hard, about a half inch head which dissipates quickly into nothing. Dark red amber coloring, definite sediment floating about, hopefully bourbon based.

S. Sweet, bourbon, vanilla, caramel malt, with a bit of booze. Fantastic.

T. Bourbon, but not overwhelming at all; sweet vanilla, wood, malt. Fantastic.

M. Smooth, no bite, but clearly some carbonation, some spice. a bit boozy, but drinkable for the style.

O. This could be my favorite beer, regardless of style. While also a fan of some bourbons, this beer strikes the right balance between beer and bourbon -- it's the balance that makes the beer. Backwoods Bastard throws it's name into the hat of my favorite beer as a STRONG contender.

I am taking the opportunity to re-review the 2011 vintage at TWO YEARS OLD. The bottle before me has a 10/13/11 bottling date imprint.

Appearance -- 4
I poured this thing too slowly for there to be any head whatsoever. Even before I opened the bottle, I noticed quite a bit of sediment resting on the bottom; I took care to store this bottle very carefully, somewhere between 40-50. The dark amber/red hues that arrive with a fresh bottle have faded somewhat, leaving a slightly browner/light root beer coloring. The amber/red is still present, but not as robust. If anything, the red has darkened; in fact, the coloring resembles more of a bourbon now, I think.

Smell -- 4.75
The overall aroma has faded only somewhat. It is sweeter now, with vanilla, caramel malt and , less booze I'd say, but definitely a little bit of sourness to it, nothing unpleasant; I notice this only barely.

Taste -- 4.75
same flavors, much more mellow and well-blended. Bourbon has cooled off a bit,

Feel -- 5
Smooth as can be; mellow, syrupy, nil carbonation. Simply excellent. Feels better with a few years on it. Completely mellowed out, just fantastic.

Overall -- 5
This beer does get better in my opinion. Fresh, it's a bit hot and harsh carbonation-wise. With this time on it, it's totally mellowed out. Even with a year on it, we get similar results. I have several bottles from 2012 vintage with 1 year on them and I plan to let them stick around for some side-by-sides down the road.

06-22-2012 23:53:39 | More by rodlavers
Photo of JohnQVegas


4.63/5  rDev +6.9%

Bottle into The Bruery tulip; a re-rate from an earlier review of what I now believe to be a bad bottle. Have had this bottle sitting in the cellar since May, so it's definitely older than that.

Pours hazy dark red brown, very little head, only really a smattering of light-khaki bubbles on top, with a collar of large bubbles around the edge.

Nose an appealing mix of rich caramel malt and brown sugar notes and beautiful spicy bourbon, so smooth. Good, but lacks the complexity and subtlety of the flavor.

Taste follows the nose, only perfected - reminiscent of a bourbon-soaked slice of dark, rich spice cake covered in caramel. Notes of oak and bourbon are there, with a beautifully light, earthy bitterness towards the finish. The bourbon balances the rich caramel notes perfectly while still adding unbelievable richness to this - stunningly good.

Mouthfeel is beautiful, light but full, crisp but delicate - exactly as it should be.

Drinkability is unbelievable. I was practically swallowing this whole. I may be unable to resist going down for a second bottle.

So glad I gave this one a second shot - am now convinced the first try was a mishandled bottle. Fantastic beer, far better than it's non-barreled counterpart.

11-19-2009 21:59:56 | More by JohnQVegas
Photo of VncentLIFE

North Carolina

4.63/5  rDev +6.9%

2011 batch, review done for cellaring purposes, but still needs to be reviewed. Ill add updates as it ages.

Pours a very deep mahogany blackish-brown with red hues. Carbonation is kind of low, and there is no head whatsoever.

Smells sweet and like alot of dark fruits (raisins and plums). Hints of caramelized sugars. Almost scary sweet, but my hopes will stay up.

I want to say it tastes sweet (and it really does), but it is backed up by the booze. It feels like a spiked raisin wintery christmas ale. I get a kind of nutty feeling that compliments the dark fruits really well. Maybe its more of a spiced cake. As i meandered through this beer, it transforms with more and more spices. The booze is warming, and makes it a nice sipper. I get more of the bourbon as it warmed for about 30 minutes. It became very smooth with notes of vanilla and bourbon.

It has a syrupy sweet feel, probably from all the non-fermentable sugars. Full bodied.

Ive had Wee-Heavies that are more on the smokey end, but this one leans more toward a doppelbock. I rather like it. What a great idea to open this while I was marinated pork chops in GLBC Christmas Ale. Lets see how this puppy ages!

Update at 2 months

Pour is the same, but the smell has lost some dark fruits and gained a barleywine smell. carbonation leaves what looks like a film at the top. It has actually gained more vanilla and beautiful oak barrel notes. I actually like it more now than before.

11-04-2011 22:51:29 | More by VncentLIFE
Photo of TheBierBand


4.63/5  rDev +6.9%

Poured from the 12oz Bottle to produce a healthy 1" head of beige foam that lasted and lasted and left pronounced stickage down the glass. The beer is a deep amber/nut brown color.

Nose was pronounced .... good whiff of bourbon and carmel malt.

Taste: WOW.... good bourbon up front, with a nice sweet carmel malt... mellower than Dirty Bastard.

MF: Creamy, rich....everything I want in a wee-heavy

Drinkability: The four pack will last the long weekend.... enjoying this at a pace of about 1 per day.

11-28-2009 21:53:04 | More by TheBierBand
Photo of mynie


4.63/5  rDev +6.9%

On tap at the Blind Pig in Champaign, Illinois. Kudos to them for serving up whole pints of the stuff.

Pours like a thick glass of fluffy, opaque ink. I almost don't want to drink it, it's so pretty.

Smells like sweet, smooth vanilla, burnt caramel, butter, brown sugar, porter barley, chocolate, and scotch.

Tastes like sweet, smooth vanilla, burnt caramel, butter, brown sugar, porter barley, chocolate, and scotch. It's like an imperial stout for kids. There is absolutely no burniness nor any other hint that this is any way alcoholic. (When I say this taste like scotch, I mean it tastes like the very beginning of your fifth sip of a nice, smooth blend, when all you get is the sweetness and warmth since the rest of us has become numb).

This beer's name is inexplicable--it's defined by its smoothness and approachability, which makes it the least bastardly thing I can think of. I can see this easiness actually turning off some beer geeks, it does nothing but excite me since I got a creepy thing for neoteny.

I can't account for the good-but-not-great reviews for this beer. There's a big disparity between the tapped and bottled version, maybe? I dunno. What I do know is that this tasted like a world class brew, and I'd love a chance to try it again.

11-23-2010 22:50:43 | More by mynie
Photo of Danny1217


4.61/5  rDev +6.5%

Pours brown, with a ruby tint. Not a lot of head, but scotch ale isn't a very highly carbonated style. Some lacing. Excellent clarity.
Huge bourbon aroma. Vanilla, caramel, toffee, spice, coconut? Lots of complexity. Very inviting.
Some bourbon on the palate too, but very balanced. Sweet caramel malts, biscuits, vanilla, dark fruits. Yum. Medium body and low carbonation. A flawless beer.

A wonderful barrel aged beer at a reasonable price point. Greatest thing ever? One of them.

11-16-2013 05:36:14 | More by Danny1217
Photo of mwgroove23


4.61/5  rDev +6.5%

2013 bottle
Pours a murky mahogany brown with almost no head or lacing.

Smell - Lots of bourbon & heat. Drank this year a bunch, but this one is really cold - maybe giving different nose. Some fruit (raisins, maybe grapes), caramel, toffee, vanilla

Taste - So much bourbon, vanilla, a little leather & maple, fig, & small bit of peat. Love this flavor! I could drink this all day!

Mouthfeel - Medium - not a ton of carbonation and very smooth

Overall - One of my favorites from these guys. I might say I enjoy it more than kbs. I get more bourbon out of it, and it ages better IMO (the bourbon stays intact).

01-18-2014 06:11:00 | More by mwgroove23
Photo of beatenbyjacks


4.6/5  rDev +6.2%

Appearance - dark caramel colors with very little head and lacing, but what can you expect from a BA ale

Smell - I got lots of syrupy oak flavors at first. Once it warmed up I got a bunch of bourbon smells

Taste - hides the 10.2% quite well. Very smooth and easy to drink with a backbone of bourbon

Mouthfeel - leaves your mouth really easy and hides the booze very well

Overall - quite a tasty BA beer for sure. Wish they made it in bomber form to share.

08-18-2013 12:08:19 | More by beatenbyjacks


4.6/5  rDev +6.2%

Pours to a murky dark brown body hosting a creamy tan head that stands at one finger but fades quickly to just a skim leaving no lace. Right up front on the nose you are greeted by huge bourbon tones wraped around dark fruit, coco, and carmalized malt. Oh wow! is all I can say after first sip, this is so right. Take Dirty Bastard, mellow it out, perfectly develop all the flavors and then add a pinch of Bourbon. Creamy on the mouth are a mix of flavors including hot buttered rum, toffee, dark fruits and bitter chocolate. A bitter bourbon hint shows off a hop profile as well as aged bourbon on the end of the palate. Bourbon is big on the finish and the mouthfeel. This is a wonderful sipper that should be savored. Definitely for bourbon fans.

04-05-2008 16:34:12 | More by SPLITGRIN
Photo of EgadBananas


4.6/5  rDev +6.2%

Many thanks to OakedCanuck for this surprise!

Murky creamed coffee color on the pour, with a beige-yellow-tinted finger of head that laces nicely.

Big bourbon notes on the nose, lightly sweet and nutty, caramel and malt sweetness. Hints of bourbon booze rounds it out.

Toasted malts, hints of chocolate, bourbon, oak, woody, nutty sweetness and some really dark dried fruit notes. The bourbon is pronounced, but doesn't over power, leaving room for the plethora of other tastes to shine as well.

Feel is somewhat heavy and full, creamy, low carbonation, and slightly coating. Finish is clean though.

Drinkability is good. This is a heavy hitter, but it's not hard to put away... it's a phenomenally tasting beer, which helps in that respect!
On to the Wants you will go!

02-06-2011 01:20:28 | More by EgadBananas
Photo of smakawhat


4.6/5  rDev +6.2%

Poured from the bottle in to a thistle/tulip bulb glass

In appearance, this bastard resembles a great head of a nutty light brown with tight bubbles. Head foams almost like a guiness quality creeping up slowly but staying compact. Your typical dark midnight brown color if I could call it that.

The bouquet is fantastic. Giant cream smell, HAZELNUT, chocolate, pralines, light brown sugar, milkshake consistency sweetness on the nose, malt is not noticeable, no smoke, it smells like warm creamy hazelnut hot chocolate.

Taste is fabulous, mild carbonation giving way to some malt and this giant cream finish of nutty hazelnut chocolate and pralines coming through a buttery finish with maple syrup. Medium bodied, not syrupy not wet either. Just a flat out joy.

I am a big bourbon fan, and its sometimes hard to find THIS much flavor, bouquets, and tastes just coming from ONE bourbon. Ironically, the beer does not remind me of whiskey, but that's fine with me because it is flat out exceptional. You don't even notice the high ABV content. What the heck is up in the water in GRAND RAPIDS!!!!

Drinkability is stratospheric!

12-04-2010 20:09:22 | More by smakawhat
Founders Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 5,298 ratings.