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Founders Backwoods Bastard - Founders Brewing Company

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Founders Backwoods BastardFounders Backwoods Bastard

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1,587 Reviews
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Reviews: 1,587
Hads: 7,063
rAvg: 4.22
pDev: 10.43%
Wants: 911
Gots: 2,525 | FT: 243
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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 1,587 | Hads: 7,063
Photo of JamesShoemaker
4/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into my Bell's pint glass.

A - dark, but translucent throughout. Probably the deepest brown you can get before you hit black. No head, harsh pour from the bottle.

S - lots of bourbon, sweet yield from the grains. Before I started to get really into micros, I drank my whiskeys neat. Mostly rye, some bourbon and Irish; I definitely detect the whiskey in this brew. The alcohol isn't too strong.

T - wow, lots of the sweet liquor you'd expect from a Scotch/Wee Heavy. I've had a lot of BWs where this taste pervades, and, even though I don't taste much behind the whiskey, there's a lot to be said about it. Maple, sugar, sweet, sweet, sweet.

M - good, no syrup to speak of, just the right amount of booze behind the sweetness to make it seem non-artificial. The carbonation might be a tad too much.

O - a decent beer. I'm excited to age my remaining bottles and do a vert in the future. (912 characters)

Photo of StlHopHead77
4/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Pours a deep,dark ruby that is almost black with 1 1/2 fingers worth of quickly dissipating,tawny head that left gorgeous frothy,lacing.

S-The nose is big on bourbon upfront.Bourbon,toast and burnt sugar on first smelling it.Some vanilla and molasses come out as the beer warms.

T-There is a definite bourbon presence on the initial taste but it is by no means overpowering.The bourbon taste mellows to reveal
caramel,vanilla and medium bodied tobacco.The finish is all mellow bourbon sweetness.

M-This beer is full,boozey and quite smooth considering the ABV and Bourbon influence.A very well balanced Bourbon-Barrel aged beer.

D-Obviously this beer is not for people who don't appreciate a good bourbon but for those that due it is a smooth and drinkable must try. (772 characters)

Photo of foobula
4/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle date 10/5/12. Good amount of sediment in the pour. Appearance is dark reddish brown. Cold outta the fridge, nose is sweet & bourbony with some pungent notes. Sweetness is muted, mainly noticeable up front. On the sides, get some puckering bitterness. Toward the back, booze is noticeable, with a lingering sweetness in the finish. Half an hour later, and 25 degrees warmer, it's like a different beer. The sweetness dominates, with bitterness still there but taking a back seat. I know that most beers change character as they warm but this one takes it to an extreme. Barely enjoyable cold, it becomes a real treat as it approaches room temp. (650 characters)

Photo of OWSLEY069
4/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep amber to brown color with a light tan head. In the aroma, oaky and bourbon smells. In the taste, bourbon, oaky, and sweet notes of vanilla. A smooth and medium to bigger bodied mouthfeel, with a dry vanilla and bourbon like aftertaste. Like drinking bourbon, but less abrasive. (290 characters)

Photo of Maxwell
4/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a beautiful dark, syrupy caramel with terrific ruby tints. A slight ring of creamy head is present and leaves behind a light ring around the glass, but the body of the beer is dark red, bordering on black, and completely opaque. The smell of this beer is big with malty bourbon, caramel and sweet alcohol. Slight bread in the malt adds further complexity.. Peat malt is also slightly and gives the beer an ever-so-slight roasty tinge. On the taste the beer is very complex in flavor, beginning sweet and almost cloying with spicy alcohol and too sweet malts and big bourbon flavoring, but then transitions into very slight middle caramel before the finish pulls big barrel notes onto the tongue which lingers with the cloying bourbon. Mouthfeel is big and marmalade-like on the tongue, with sharp effervescence and a prickly feeling on the tongue. The mouth is left sticky but dry with very little saliva to speak of. Overall, I think I’m going to cellar the rest of this. The alcohol is a little too much in the flavor right now for my personal taste. There are some big bourbon notes which very intriguing in a sipping beer, but I’d like to get a little more malt flavor in this and less alcohol. The complexity of both the taste and the smell are superb, and show to Founder’s superb skill in brewing extreme beers, it just is not really the flavor I’m looking for. This definitely a must try for Bourbon fans, and barrel aged beers fans alike, and a superb beer, but I plan to cellar this to bring some new complexity to it. Expect a redux review in a couple months. This beer is a sipper meant to be enjoyed slowly in the evenings in front of a roaring fire, but it is definitely worth a try. (1,720 characters)

Photo of musicsherlock
4/5  rDev -5.2%

Slightly darker than ruby, almost burgundy...thin rim of cream head with wine like lacing.

Smells medicinal , in a good way. Dark fruits.

Strikingly oaky, malty, bitter. Little to no alcohol sensation at first, hotter as it warms. Subdued hint of bourbon.

Tickling of the tongue, more carbonation than expected yet smooth none the less (341 characters)

Photo of BradLikesBrew
4/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Elijah for the bottle.

An agressive pour produced a minimal and fleeting head.

Brown body with amber hues, looks muddy almost. Dense, rich, syrupy looking body. Murky and unatractive, but appropriate.

Aromas of sweet boozy oak. Bourbon and toffee are prominant.

Rich, malty and sweet. Raisiny, figy, pruny fruit notes. Oak and bourbon on the finish. Starts sweet, but finishes dry.

Syrupy, full body with little carbonation.

More like a barleywine than anything else. Reminds me of the Jubel 2010 I just had. Not balanced, its rich and sweet flavors make this a beer thats best enjoyed in small doses, but is is quite enjoyable. (648 characters)

Photo of ONUMello
4/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2013 bottling (exact date ineligible) poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass
A: Pure brown color with a one-finger head
S: Caramel, sweet bourbon, coconut
T: Sweet. Bourbon. Caramel. Vanilla. A bit fruity. Nice complexity and balance
M: Medium bodied, very smooth. Can't taste the alcohol
O: I would love to compare this to a non-barred aged version but as it is it's quite pleasant (388 characters)

Photo of cnally
4/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

backwoods bastard. must be a mean one.

the beer pours with little head. caramel brown coloring, dense looking.

smell is all whisky and malt. oaky and woodsy with a bit of cream.

the flavor is initially caramel and then a whisky malt flavor hits. that morphs into a creamy, buttery flavor with figs and nuts.

feel is full and warm with the high alcohol content.

well this is a special beer which retains much of the whisky flavor. very different and creamy. (461 characters)

Photo of stewart124
4/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My bottle says it's 10.2%. Whoa!

It pours a hazy amber to burgundy with a decent tan head.

The first hint I pick up on is of course bourbon and a vanilla. There are traces of dark caramalized malts and that figgy/tobacco character.

The taste is quite smooth and finishes with an almost peppery note. It's got some spice and tingles my throat. This is a bit thicker than I envisioned and it's quite delicious. There is a nice spice to this and I'm wondering if that is the bourbon barrel or some hops additions. Lots of caramel sweetness and a slight roasted character.

The mouthfeel is medium-full and the finish still has that spicy bite. The alcohol is fairly hidden and the the tobacco seems to come out as the beer warms. (729 characters)

Photo of illidurit
4/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle courtesy of scray24, poured into a pint glass. Deep dark amber with a small eggshell head. I’m basically getting bourbon on the nose, without much scotch ale influence. Malty caramel with oodles of toasted coconut. Not an alcoholic smell though, very smooth. Flavor is very similar. The main note here is woody bourbon, heavy on coconut, light on booze. A little vanilla and honey come through. A strong sweet beer, perfect for nightcap purposes. (464 characters)

Photo of NCSUdo
4/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle

A: Deep rusty red/brown under a medium to small tan head. Decent retention and lace.

S: Very noticeable bourbon and wood. A bit of a pine character as well. Some toasted, slightly chocolate malt mixed in.

T: Bourbon and wood apparent again. Bit of heat from the bourbon. Sweet throughout, slight bitterness. Hint of citrus hops as well. Toasted malt lingers in the finish.

M/D: Full bodied, a little creamy with a slight prick on the tongue from carbonation. Decent drinkability, a sipper but good enough to have a couple of. (542 characters)

Photo of hopflyer
4/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Not sure why I never reviewed this. The nose is heavy on the bourbon when fresh but with age it subsides quite a bit. Big caramel sweetness complimented by the bourbon notes. Fairly boozy when fresh, and almost overly sweet once it gets past 6 months or so on it. Feel is syrupy, viscous with low carbonation. What you'd expect in a wee heavy.

For my palate, about 3-4 months on it is just right. (402 characters)

Photo of leftmindedrighty
4/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed this at Founder's during a brewery road trip to Dark Lord Day

Smell, First thing out of the gate is alcohol, this one smells hot. Some fruity Belgian-esque smells, but overall, fruity and hot

Taste, the alcohol is quite noticeable, but plum, raisin, and some other dark fruits really help balance it out. All the flavors really do come together to make this one a very good "Scotch Ale." While I know the brewers are much smarter than I am about their beer, this one really reminds me of a young Quad, very fruity, but with that alcohol poking at you.

Overall, a very different beer, and one I thoroughly enjoyed. I would love to see what a year would do for the flavor of this beer. (700 characters)

Photo of clayrock81
4/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an almost blackish body with a one-finger tan head that stickss around for awhile. A rich, thick malt smell of toasted, maple, caramel, molasses, that whiskey smell (oak cask, bourbon...) mixed w/ sour/tart fruits - reminds me of a barleywine the smell is that strong. A thick, full-bodied beer that is strong and a little syrupy/sticky. The malt taste is excellent with cocoa, caramel, toffee, coffee bean, oak, vanilla along w/ minor fruit flavors like cherry (tart fruit). Overall I'd say this is a smooth and creamy scotch ale, but it does have a little dryness in it thanks to that really high ABV, which is mostly hidden. This is a grat sipper to relax with, but I couldn't session this it's so thick and strong. (724 characters)

Photo of kkleu357
4/5  rDev -5.2%

From notes on 3/25/14

On tap at the KBS release. Had this at the same time as a KBS, but still enjoyed it. Very malty with hints of caramel and oak. Good whiskey touch. Definitely a beer I would try again. (206 characters)

Photo of beermanbrian
4/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice deep mahogany color with sparkling red tinges. Thin creamy off white head that trails just a little bit of lacing. Drank this fairly warm and the smells were very bold. Lots of bourbon with some floral hop notes very faintly in the background. Also some sweet maple syrup notes. Bourbon again comes to front of the taste, it somehow manages to dominate but not give any burn on the way down. Thick mouth. This one is a good one to sip on a cold winter night by the fire with a book. Across the board good beer but i just couldn't bump it to the exceptional level. (568 characters)

Photo of treyrab
4/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Grabbed this one on a recent trip to NJ and just poured it into my snifter tonight.

A: The head on this drops faster than my girlfriend's dress on prom night. Kind of spritzy head to start. But it pours a radiant ruby copper that is brilliant. It is not opaque, yet not clear as it has some chill haze.

S: Smell starts with sweet, sweet caramel that blends nicely with the oak aging. The smell is refined but not very complex or forthcoming. The whiskey notes jump out at the very end however.

T: The taste is dry and the Kentucky mash really seems to come through as it warms. The sweetness in the smell isn't as noticeable in the taste. The caramel is blended nicely with the bourbon. This is not extremely flavorful, but it is nonetheless a good resulting beer.

Overall, this is a nice beer to have on a cold winter night like tonight, but not one I could drink all the time. Grab it if you have access. (910 characters)

Photo of starrdogg
4/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 vintage.

A: Pours a somewhat cloudy reddish brown with a small tannish-white head. Lacing is very heavy and doesn't run down back into the glass.

S: Aroma is of bourbon, oak and some sweet fruits (maybe cherries?). Very nice and unique.

T: Flavor is a nice mix of bourbon, oak, vanilla and dark fruits combined with your normal scotch ale maltiness. It's a little bit boozy, but not overwhelmingly so. Bourbon isn't as intense as I remember this beer being from the past and it's fruitier than I recall.

M: Medium-thick bodied with good carbonation.

O: I thought this beer was absolutely outstanding at first, but as I continued to drink it, it seemed to lose something. I couldn't tell if it just wore on me or if it got more boozy as it warmed up while the other flavors seemed to mellow. Still, it's a very nice beer, but not an excellent one.

2012 Update: The 2012 batch has a really nice barrel character to it, lots of bourbon, oak and vanilla. Unfortunately it kinda ends up being "bourbon barrel aged generic malty beer" as the base beer doesn't offer much other than support for the barrel flavor. It reminds me of a lesser Firestone Walker Double Double Barrel Ale. I'd probably give it a similar score but for different reasons. (1,252 characters)

Photo of zhanson88
4/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Backwoods Bastard pours a dark brown color with deep ruby highlights. About a finger of light tan head reduces down to very little lacing.

Smell: Pretty malty with a bunch of scotch flavor along with slight dark fruits and molasses.

Taste: Very malty, with some dark fruits, oakiness, and scotch flavor. Possibly some floral hops on the back end, just slightly bitter. A very unique and tasty flavor.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: Medium bodied and smooth drinking without a lot of carbonation. Very nice. Despite The nice flavors and feel of this beer, I find it very hard to put more than one down at a time. The scotch flavor and maltiness is great for one beer, but overstays its welcome after that. (712 characters)

Photo of BTPete
4/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz poured to tulip

A: Dark brown, minimal head and lacing. Lots of little bubbles rising from bottom of glass.

S: Smells like sweet booze with hints of oak/vanilla.

T: Sweet, malty, with some caramel or toffee, dark fruit. The oak gives nice hints of underlying vanilla.

M: nice medium/full bodied beer. Pretty carbonated.

D: Shockingly smooth and drinkable for 10.2%. Obviously you could have a few of these and they would sneak up on you. I think this one is another winner from Founders. (499 characters)

Photo of bleedsblu
4/5  rDev -5.2%

I gave it an aggressive pour from an ice cold bottle into a glass. It had a 2 finger head with no viable carbonation.

This was just brewed in October so its nice and fresh because its a seasonal beer. I smell freshness and it smells like a tall glass of Jack Daniels the oak punches ya right in the nose.

The mouth feel is a little tart and somewhat thick.

It has a knockout punch of aged oak barrels, I love Jack so its a big win for me.

Overall I like this beer, its my first time having this from Founders and its well worth it, the oak and only slightly bitter make it a win for me. It has a 10.2% ABV so sip it slow but this one has a way of creeping up on ya, good job Founders. (692 characters)

Photo of rhinos00
4/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a tulip glass.

2008 vintage

A- Pours a dark brown color with shades of tan throughout. Produced a fingers width of cream colored head. Reduced to a thin, foamy ring around the glass.

S- Bourbon, oak and sweet malts. Little bit of caramel. The aromas meshed very well together.

T- Upfront notes of bourbon and sweet malts come through. Complexity is added with caramel and oak barrel flavors. Finishes with great cohesion: bourbon, sweet malts attributable to wee heavys, and a bit of caramel.

M- Medium bodied with good carbonation. Could have used more viscosity.

D- Very drinkable. The bourbon was there, but very mellow. No alcohol heat for big beer.

Overall, a very nice beer. Recommended. (728 characters)

Photo of daledeee
4/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got a four pack of this on my recent excursion to the Wisconsin wonderland.

Poured a very dark nearly black body with a light tan head with some lacing

Nose is different. At first I would have called it pond water. As the beer sat out, it brought forward a sweet malty aroma. Vanilla also comes into the mix.

Taste and mouth feel were the two carrying factors for this beer. I enjoyed the sweetness and malt up front. As the beer goes down the throat it has a rather bitter finish. Also noticed some caramel and very little spice. Overall, this was quite nice. One of the best Scotch ales I have had. This one was way heavy not wee heavy due to alcohol. I don't think they are usually this strong! (701 characters)

Photo of ahq514
4/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12 oz bottle into snifter.

Pours a dark brown with a red hue. Light head graces the top of the beer. Some small bubbles slowly rise to the surface of the beer. Seems to have light to moderate carbonation. Nice ring of lacing around the glass.

Two things really stand out to me when I smell this beer, big malt and big hits of bourbon. The oak makes its way in there too, contributing obviously oak and some vanilla. Malt is very sweet smelling , with some light aromas of dark fruits.

This is a sipper for sure. Pretty boozy. Right up front I get hit with bourbon and oak. The malt comes in to provide some balance with the alcohol, but doesn't cover it up enough. Fairly sweet malt that reminds me of chewy caramel. Finishes with a healthy dose of warming alcohol. If there are other flavors, they are covered up by the bourbon and oak.

Low carbonation and medium to full body.

Enhances with warming up, bourbon mellows out a little bit. I enjoy bourbon aged beers, but they're not my favorite. I can tell which ones are quality and this is one. Will be anxious to see how this beer drinks with some age on it. (1,129 characters)

Founders Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
94 out of 100 based on 1,587 ratings.