Founders Backwoods Bastard - Founders Brewing Company

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Founders Backwoods BastardFounders Backwoods Bastard

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BA SCORE
96
world-class

7,027 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7,027
Reviews: 1,650
rAvg: 4.34
pDev: 10.37%
Wants: 891
Gots: 2,495 | FT: 248
Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy |  10.20% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: CortexBomb on 01-30-2007

"Wee Heavy", cave aged in oak bourbon barrels.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 7,027 | Reviews: 1,650
Photo of Kelp
4.12/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ok so this brew is probably better than I am giving it. Not to say that it wasn;t a very enjoyable brew. It's just that i had bourbon county earlier today and yes i know stout vs. ale is different, but i did and so be it. The appearance is a nice medium golden hue. Has a nice mellow smell of bourbon with a wee bit of vanilla and toffee. A nice mellow bourbon taste followed by vanilla and spice. Feels a bit heavy for an ale, but still easily drinkable. I enjoyed this brew just not as much as the previous brew i had. I could have a had one or two more but that would be it before the bourbon sweetness got to me. Definitely worth a try though.

Photo of jaxon53
3.87/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to FishGetter for grabbing me this brew. Served this brew cold, but waited to sample after it warmed a bit. Served in a snifter, from a brown twelve ounce bottle. Always excited to try a Founders release.

Appearance: Backwoods Bastard pours out a deep almost ruby brown color. A somewhat hard pour resulted in about a half inch of tan colored head. Head faded rather quickly, leaving very little lace behind on the glass. Not a bad looking brew.

Smell: Big bourbon aroma leads the nose, followed by some mellow oak. Touches of vanilla and some sweet toffee. Nice nose, quite bourbony.

Taste: Pretty sweet in my opinion. Bourbon seems more mellow than in the nose. Smooth and boozy. Nice buttery oak flavor. Faint vanilla and spice in the background. Slightly bready. Has an almost musty flavor that lingers in the finish. Hit you with a dry booziness that warms as it goes down.

Mouthfeel: Creamy, full bodied, thicker mouthfeel that is quite pleasing to the palate. Carbonation is low, but is perfect for this beer. Very smooth.

Drinkability: A somewhat tough drink in my opinion. Definitely a sipper. The strong bourbon and higher ABV hamper drinkability. Pretty good overall, but one glass is enough.

Photo of timtim
4.4/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

wow. what a monster. this is a very well executed experiment and definitely seems like a special occasion beer. dark mahoganyish brown with a creamy, tan colored head that holds very well and leaves tons of splotchy, webby lace as it goes. nose is really reminicent of the backwoods moonshine we get here in virginia. it's super top shelf, often aged for many years, and always comes with fruit in it. backwoods bastard reminds me of the cherry kind. booze, caramel, burnt toffee, cherry, wood, earth, brown sugar... all kinds of stuff going on here. taste is peaty booze up front, dark sugar laced fruit in the middle, and musty celarish (like a musty celar that is) woody booze in the back. mouthfeel is slick and creamy at the same time with a long, boozy finish that really isn't all that dry, it's just boozy. this is a nice one that i feel is executed well because the beer and the barrel get to share the stage as opposed to the barrel taking over. the fruity, roasty, malty goodness of dirty bastard is here and the sweet, peaty, earthy, boozy, woody goodness of the barrels are here, and they come together in fantastic balance to create a bastard bastard. amazing. can't drink more than one, and maybe should have shared this one with someone, but amazing none the less.

Photo of degerbah
4.62/5  rDev +6.5%
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.

Photo of Andrewtherooster
4.32/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured hard from a 12oz. bottle into a Ball mason jar. Very little head here, though nice retention of it. The beer's a dark dark brown. I get a ton of vanilla in the nose, along with prunes and a slight aroma of cloves. Upon tasting, I get strong flavors of cherries, caramel, and the aforementioned prunes and vanilla. The bourbon barrel flavor is very apparent, though contributes in much different way than it would in a beer like Founders KBS. Here it deepens those dark fruit flavors and the vanilla aroma, whereas in KBS it adds more to rounding out the dark chocolate and coffee aspects.

I must say I love this beer. It smells incredible, tastes just the same, and is smooth and deep. The alcohol is very well-hidden. In many ways, it's a less hoppy, more malt-focused cousin to Founders Curmudgeon, which is one of my favorite beers.

Photo of br3wmeister
4.22/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours with a medium sized light brown head that sticks around for a few minutes and leaves light lacing. The beer itself is a brownish red color with nice orange hues. Smelling this beer is like putting your head inside an oak bourbon barrel. Large vanilla, oak and whiskey notes. There is also a lot of nice malt character int he aroma, caramel, roasted nuts and Light biscuit. The hops are really an after thought in the aroma, very light bitter presence. This beer has a wonderful flavor again a lot of the character is coming from the barrel. Huge vanilla, chard wood, and nutty flavors. Hints of caramel, butter, cherries. This beer is well balanced, the hops add just enough bitterness but do not take over. The flavor is really about the barrel. This is one of the better barrel aged beers I have had. I would like to see more Wee Heavys aged in barrels. Mild complex and smooth drinking, this is a great beer.

Photo of argock
4.44/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12oz brown bottle into a clear glass snifter. No clear freshness date, but there is some code on the bottle neck. Single purchased at Wine Warehouse (Charlottesville, VA) for $3.60.

A: Piercing rusty-amber with short, small bubbled tan head with tangerine tint. Thin streamers of lace round the glass.

S: Bourbon, vanilla, wood, cherry and toffee are the upfront aromas

T: Bourbon is the first component but it is overtaken by vanilla, oak, and a soft warming cherry alcohol note. Malt is present but a little wanting but caramel and toffee are both there. Not much to say about hops.

M: Also not a full as expected, but the bourbon and alcohol are caressing. Carbonation is active which props this department. Aftertaste is strong on vanilla oakiness.

D: Surprisingly drinkable for 10.2% ABV, but the maltiness and dirtiness of Dirty Bastard are diminished. I think I like DB a little better. The evenness of the bourbon component makes me glad I drank this fresh. I'm not sure that cellaring this brew is a great idea because of the marginal nature of the maltload.

UPDATE: Definitely don't cellar more than a month or two. There is little to no heat. Buy as much of this as you can -- delicious top tier BBA ale. Stellar aroma and flavor. I have not had Dirty Bastard for a while and will have to revisit to see the connect as I have drank a case of Backwoods Bastard since my last DB.

Photo of gatorhophead
4.49/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Cracked my first bottle tonight and poured half the bottle aggressively into a 13oz snifter.

A.) Pours a dark reddish-brown with about a 1/4" head which fades pretty quickly, but leaves a nice lacing on the glass,

S.) A total assault on the olfactory receptors, cherries, molasses, bourbon, oak, chocolate, and boozy. Is this really beer?

T.) Just like it smells, starts out with with sweet dark fruit flavors and bourbon giving way to hints of molasses, chocolate and oak with a boozy warmth at the finish

M.) Slightly creamy, but not syrupy as the smell might suggest and just the right amount of carbonation.

D.) Certainly not the most drinkable 10% beer I've had, could probably drink one more, but it's one of the most unique.

This is one fantastic beer and I'll be buying some to cellar

Photo of projectflam86
4.08/5  rDev -6%
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.

Photo of portia99
4.49/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, 2009 release. Poured into a Portsmouth goblet.

A - Pours a thick, deep amber color, almost brown until held to the light...nearly opaque. No head at all, just a thin collar of cream colored bubbles around the edges.

S - Sweet and caramelly up front. Sugar, bourbon and an overall fruitiness make up the aroma profile on this one. As it warms, vanilla becomes much more dominant. Reminds of a night in a bar in SF with Noa Noa rum...total vanilla goodness. Amazing aroma on this beer.

T - Bourbon up front, followed by a big hit of vanilla. Alcohol makes it presence well known. Sweet and malty, lots of caramel, leaves a sugary sweetness coating the lips. Some oaky wood flavors too. Very complex, and quite good.

M - Thick and full bodied. I wouln't call it syrupy though. Carbonation is low to medium, which is appropriate, and I feel complements the flavors in this beer. Smooth and thick, coats the mouth with sweet, sugary, and vanilla bourbon flavors...really nice.

D - Hmmm...hard to say totally. I think this ultimately is a sipper...10.2% alcohol and plenty of bourbon in the nose and flavor...but it is so smooth, it really begs you to take sip after sip after sip. On a really snowy day, sitting in front of the fire after dinner with one of these is just the right combination. For what it is, really good...but more than one of these will cause me some problems for sure.

Photo of tipnsip
4.44/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It's like Founders crafted the Backwoods Bastard just for me! I'm a bourbon guy and when I got my first whiff of it I knew it'd be one of my faves.

The tall glass was all dark reddish-brown with a tan head. The aroma is fantastic! It's like hovering over a Maker's mark manhattan with foam on the top. Taste-wise, it's like a "soft" shot & a hearty beer all in one. It's not a boilermaker - it's a well balanced combination of the two. It's on the sweet side but not overbearing, has a strong oak under-flavor, is medium bodied and I found it very drinkable.

Granted, if you're not a fan of bourbon - you will most likely not care for this brew. But if you are a fan ... Merry Christmas!

Photo of Mdog
4.42/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Cloudy red-brown, small but dense head.

Smell: Dark fruit, then bourbon-boozy, oak, vanilla.

Taste: Brown sugar sweetness, then the bourbon comes along without being overpowering. Nice vanilla and oak flavors.

Drinkability: Dangerously drinkable, doesn't seem as strong as it is.

I didn't get a lot of peat or smokiness in this beer so it seems to be more of a straight "strong ale" than a scotch ale, but it is tasty none the less. Nice bourbon flavors without dominating the beer. Good stuff!

Photo of MetalHopHead6
3.71/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Founders Backwoods Bastard poured dark brown with a hint of red, a nice two-finger head that left a moderate but nice amount of lace.

This was a difficult review. I couldn't finish my first bottle and wondered how I could possibly choke down the rest of the relatively expensive four-pack. The next day, I gave it another try and enjoyed it much more. The trick is you must know what you're getting. This is like a very smooth and creamy whiskey and, as such, must be sipped slowly. The smell and taste are boozy, with hints of very sweet cherry vanilla. The sweet flavor lingers at the finish and is a little too artificial and over-powering. The feel is creamy and it's very drinkable if enjoyed for what it is.

Founders Backwoods Bastard is not as good as good scotch ale, because it's too boozy, and it's not as good as good scotch whiskey if you want to sit back and sip, because it's too thick; but it is a nice creamy after-dinner experience if you have someone with whom to share a 12-ounce bottle.

Photo of kiddynamite920
4.37/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Beautiful deep brown with minimal head, has the appearance of an ale aged in oak. Perhaps the oak contributed to some of the dark color here. Swirling the glass provides a small amount of carbonation and the head appears a tan, mocha cappucino froth color. The aroma coming off this beer is delightful, full of dried fruits, huge oak presence and a big hint of booziness. Nice caramel and toffee aromas as well. Malty beast here I suppose. Absolutely delicious, oak and caramel right up front. Alcohol carries the flavor across the tongue. Super rich and malty, the oak is wonderful in this beer...more than I've ever realized in another oak aged beer. Never got a deep wood taste from any other beer before this. Pairs so well with the toffee and burnt sugar flavors. Vanilla is a huge flavor going on here too, each sip is wondrous. Huge and syrupy mouthfeel, great aged Scotch ale. Hope I can find more of this in large quantities. A bit too heavy to be easily drinkable, only cracked this one out because Philly got hit with a wicked snowstorm tonight. Great beer!

Photo of MaltyHoppyGood
4.27/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Dark copper with red hues. Not much head. Really deep color, like a light barleywine. Nice crusty lacing as the beer disappears from the pint.

S: Complex. First thing I noticed was bourbon whiskey. Then scents of vanilla, spice and thick and tangy malt.

T: Much like the smells. The alcohol is magically hidden in this one. Magic I say. It has such a nice bourbon character with the depth and body of big scotch ale. All the flavors meld harmoniously. Doesn't take long to drink one, surprisingly. The glass continues to smell wonderful even as the beer nears the end of the pint.

M: Round, sweet, but not too sweet. Extremely well balanced for the style and abv. Really happy to have been able to try this. Carbonation was low, just right for the style.

D: I enjoyed my first one. I like to switch it up from pint to pint. Might have another one after I finish this Oatmeal Stout. Might not. Could go either way really. An easy drinker though. Better to appreciate this type.

Overall: This is genius really... You take a scotch style and age it in bourbon barrels? Two Scottish specialties in one mouthwatering drink. Makes me giggle, just how smooth the bourbon is with the beer. Maybe I will have that second one.

Photo of samie85
4.2/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours a rich colored auburn brown with a light tan, one finger head. I don't normally figure in the bottle's appearance, but I love the label on this one.

S- I'm getting a lot of oak and vanilla with some rich bourbon and some mild, sweet alcohol. I also get some dark fruit notes. It reminds me of GI's Imperial Brown Goose.

T-It follows the nose with vanilla, oak and bourbon with some caramel. Nothing is standing out, it's really nicely balanced. A little alcohol on the finish.

M- Really smooth and creamy with low carbonation. It's medium bodied with some warm alcohol in the throat.

D-Wow, this beer is really mellow for being 10%+. That being said, it's still definitely a sipper.

Photo of ManVersusBeer
3.97/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Wee 12 oz. bottle pours a reddish brown color; copper could be how some might describe it. A big, bold, light, light brown head comes up and lasts leaving a sticky lacing around the glass. This beer smells sweet and heavenly. There is honey and caramel covered fresh cherries and smoky firewood. Smells like sitting by the camp fire sipping on a flask of Jack Daniels.
Tastes strong and powerful. A manly flavor of dark malt and caramel tones with some vanilla oak and tea-like herb honey accents. Definitely get that bourbon flavor and comes in a bit sticky although not overpowering.
There is a smooth feeling going down the mouth, a little spicy, but not like the heat of an alcohol burn. Ends a bit syrupy with me smacking my lips in overall satisfaction. If I was hiking, though, I can assure you I would not want to run into the Backwoods Bastard--as he looks scary--but I would drink his beer again.

Photo of machostacos
4.82/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

First time I've tried the Backwoods Bastard; poured from a chilled bottle into a pint glass.

A: Dark, rich amber with a small tannish-beige head that disappears quickly, leaving a thin layer with a little collar that sticks around. Not much lacing.

S: Rich woody vanilla, some caramel, sweet with a nice kick of smokey bourbon, followed by a wisp of dark cherry. The bourbon is definitely featured, but is not so prominent to overpower the more delicate notes. The alcohol is noticeable, but only just.

T: Very full. Foremost was the oaky vanilla and caramel sweetness of the malts, followed immediately by the bourbon. Definitely wakes up the tastebuds. The sweet smokiness stays with you, lightly penetrated by a citrusy bitterness that I could savor all night. Finishes long and slow, bitter but not too bitter, smokey but not too smokey. Absolutely delightful.

M: So rich, creamy, and thick - I was in heaven. Did not expect that at all.

D: I could easily drink 2 or 3 of these, but with the 10.2% ABV, 1 is certainly enough. Absolutely perfect on a winter evening - warms you right up.

This is my second attempt at a bourbon beer - I'm not much of a whiskey drinker so I was a little skeptical, but boy am I glad I tried the Backwoods Bastard. An absolutely fantastic beer. I'll definitely be buying more of these.

Photo of blackenmn
4.42/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a chilled 12oz bottle into a snifter:

Appearance and Smell:Poured a nice deep amber/brown with a small off white head which faded fairly quickly but really stuck to the glass. Smelled of vanilla, warming bourbon, and plenty of sweet caramel malt with a feint oaky scent. Great strong, complex, warming scent.

Taste and Mouthfeel:Tasted of extremely sweet vanilla, and some burned cane sugar. Definitely some caramel malt noticed throughout. The bourbon is definitely present in this but doesn't warm the tongue like it does the nose. Not a whole lot of hop presence to this thick, sticky brew.

Drinkability:I really enjoyed drinking this. I'll probably pick up another 4-pack before it goes out of season. This is a great cold weather brew. Really a pleasant improvement to it's predecessor Dirty Bastard, definitely worthy of a seperate seasonal release.

Photo of Maction
4.28/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A:  Keep this away from children!  It looks exactlty like cola - transparent brown with big clinging bubbles and a tan head that quickly dies. 

S: Sweet bourbon and soda with a twist of lemon, and a little creamy as well.

T: Bourbon and raw sugar, unsweetened cocoa, earthy spice at on the finish.  Really nice and balanced.

M: Mouthfeel is medium/heavy but very clean and not heavy or clingy.

D: It goes down easy, very easy, too easy?  

Notes: Reminds me of the time when I found an old bottle of Double Crooked Tree and poured in a shot of rye to cover the dead hops. 

Photo of hooliganlife
4.42/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

pour is deep black with a light creamy head, decent retention and even some lacing.

mainly vanilla and bourbon. slightly sweet with a light candy cherry scent.

lots of vanilla and bourbon and a slight hint of oak. well blended with sweet malts and some citrus hops coming through. not so much complex but so smooth that this works very well.

a fairly full body with a light carbonation. a bit chewy but nothing drastic

i am shocked this is a 10.20% ABV. I could down this glass with no issues and pop another bottle which would lead me to sleeping on the floor. this is one hell of a bourbon beer. works quite well fresh, cannot wait to see what some age does.

Photo of techfed87
4.48/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured a very nice head to it, light in color, but with a very tempting scent to it. Is very slow to dissipate. Scent is very malty, with hints of bourbon.

Taste is much sweeter than I thought it would be. It's kind of an oatmeal with brown sugar kind of sweet. Big mouthful, very malty, a very light, tight flavor. Coming into this, I was expecting something bitter, but it's anything but.

The taste is very light, not to say that it doesn't have body to it, but in the sense that the flavor is quick to disappear once you've done drinking. And with it being a solid 10.2% ABV, this can get you into trouble. This does not taste like a 10% beer.

For only being a seasonal release, I would like nothing more than to see this be available more often. It's just excellent. My only complaint may be that the flavors that I would have expected from the aging in bourbon barrels was not there. Instead, there was something unique to the beer that I like immensley.

Photo of atsprings
4.2/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Flying Saucer served alongside Slappy Sappy Bastard on 12/10/09 and reviewed from notes. The beer was served in a tulip glass a murky brown with a decent khaki head that diminished to a thin layer. The aroma is Bourbon in front of dark malts, burnt caramel and slight dark fruits. The taste is dark malts, dried fruits, bourbon and vanilla. The beer is slightly heavy with a decent alcohol presence, but an enjoyable sipper. This is a very enjoyable beer, I'm looking forward to opening a one year old bottle I've been holding.

Photo of steve8robin
4.14/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Got this one from a friend, '09 release...

A: Dark like a black iced coffee. Small white head that dissapates quickly

S: Smells almost like walnuts. Must be the smell of the oak bourbon. Small hints of hard liquor.

T: Hints of walnuts with a strong taste of coconut. I'm not a huge fan of coconut, so that's why I gave this one a 4. It's good, but too much coconut for me.

M: Fantastic amount of carbonation. Not too heavy, but not too light.

D: Goes down very easy. Just have to get past the coconut flavor on this to get it down.

All in all, if you like roasted nuts and coconut, then this is your brew. I love walnuts, but don't like coconuts, so this one is good for me, but not great. You might think otherwise.

Photo of sprucetip
4.12/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep dark mahogany with ruby highlights when backlit, clear, very active, 1 finger tan head, modest retention, spotty lacing.

SMELL Lightly smoky, oak, malty sweet, boozy, balanced mostly but with bourbony heat coming on strong late. Has legs.

TASTE malty sweeta, peaty, dark fruity, only mildly boozy compared to nose. Mild bitterness in the finish. Smooth, balanced and complex.

FEEL Brief acloholic bite then creamy, thick, rich, full and viscous.

OVERALL pretty easy drinking big beer. Alc not really so evident other than the nose.

Founders Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 7,027 ratings.