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Founders Backwoods Bastard - Founders Brewing Company

Founders Backwoods BastardFounders Backwoods Bastard

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

4,744 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4744
Reviews: 1404
rAvg: 4.33
pDev: 10.62%

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: 4,744 | Reviews: 1,404 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Ieatlambfries

New Jersey

4.56/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a Growler. Deep mahogany color. Half inch head of tan bubbles. Lace dissipates quickly.

Smells of molasses and vanilla. Undertones of whiskey, oak, and roasted malts.

Highly complex flavors ranging from caramelized sugars, molasses, caramel, and vanilla. Dried dark fruits such as raisins and figs. Toasted oak and whiskey on the back end with some warming alcohol on the finish. Very intense.

Not highly carbonated. Velvety smooth.

Overall an amazing brew. So many interesting characteristics in the smell, taste, and mouthfeel. Happy to have been able to grab a growler fill of this.

Serving type: growler

02-01-2014 03:42:57 | More by Ieatlambfries
Photo of pmlondrigan

New York

4.25/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'm surly bumbed this is gone. Rudy reddish brown and opaque in the glass. Light tanish head which leaves sheets of lacing down the glass. Aroma is slightly one dimisional and whiskey based. Not much wood or oak, just high spirit aroma, vanilla, caramel and brown sugar. My taste buds tingle with tasty brown sugar, sweet vanilla, creme brulee, cheap whiskey, and faint oak notes. This beer reminds me of liquid bread pudding. Somehow it isn't cloying, but there is a lingering flavor. silky. I'd say damn, wish I had more of this. Founders truly knows what they are doing with bal aged beers.

Serving type: growler

04-04-2011 02:19:47 | More by pmlondrigan
Photo of cosmicevan

New York

4.75/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Simply could not resist picking up a 16oz growler fill at North Babylon Superstar yesterday at a Cigar City event.

a - Through the glass...deep rich thick mahogany. Deep, ominous. Cracked the growler and emptied into my oversized snifter. Looked even deeper and darker in the glass. No head whatsoever to speak of as in the case with -bal aged brews. The excitement of having this in a fresh growler fill is mounting.

s - Much like the bottled version, spices, and potpourri jump out to me. much more subtle, much more woody and oaky with a sweet bourbon overtone. oozy fresh caramel.

t - OH YEAH. again, this is just like the bottled version and tastes like it smells but the wood is more present. the freshness is really a good thing for this beer.

m/d - if given the chance to get this on tap I would jump at the chance. I really love this beer and have enjoyed many a bottle, but the freshness from the growler/tap pour does wonders for this beer. founders doesn't make a bad beer, but this is one of the highlights of their catalog.

Serving type: growler

03-04-2011 02:15:22 | More by cosmicevan
Photo of JizackFH

New York

4.85/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - This beer pours a slightly hazy dark ruby brown color. It has a small 1/2-finger light tan head on it. The head left some lacing on the glass.

S -Smells of bourbon, brown sugar, vanilla, caramel, and booze.

T - The taste is of bourbon with definite vanilla and oak notes. There are good notes of caramel, candied fruits?, and toffee. There is also a kick of bourbon alcohol presence that reminds me of sipping some nice whiskey. This has a very nice deep complex flavor.

M - medium mouthfeel with lower carbonation. This beer is smooth as all hell. It has just a bit of a boozy kick that adds some warmth to it. This goes down very easy.

D - Awesome drinkability. It is sort of a sipper, but I can hardly keep from drinking this quickly. The flavor is great and it is very smooth. I think this is a great beer and will definitely be trying it again. I highly recommend.

Serving type: growler

01-23-2011 12:10:44 | More by JizackFH
Photo of Slatetank


4.33/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to weeare138 for this growler shared with tenderbranson69, consumed from a duvel tulip.

A dark ruddy brown with translucent clarity and thick beige cap which leaves a film of spotty lace and settles to a ring of fine beads. The smell is loaded with lots of wood and caramel w/ vanilla and bourbon providing a strong ester and slight spice w/ gentle alcohol indicating a high gravity brew awaits. The smell has light maple and nutty toffee accents in the mix. The feel is thick and rich w/ substantial strength apparent w/ mildly sweet texture and semi-high bitterness w/ a lot of astringency. The alcohol has a slight drying effect as it finishes w/ moderate roastiness.

The flavor of the Scotch ale is strong and rich with a toffee quality w/ pine from the hops and lots of vanilla from the barrel. The taste is nutty with earthy flavor and mild woody taste like a vanilla toffee spice with a moderately strong bourbon flavor. There is a bitter presence that dominates w/ a caramel candy and bitter presence w/ more sweetness evident in the taste as it warms. I was overjoyed when Mike offered this growler to me -A wonderful oak and bourbon element presents itself so well w/ lots of roasted and candy-like notes yet strength is high in the flavor and feel. It fits the style well and has exceptional drinkability in my opinion. I was truly grateful for the gift -I almost drank a whole growler save for 2 pints.

Serving type: growler

12-28-2010 15:14:34 | More by Slatetank
Photo of cpetrone84


4.33/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Fresh Growler from Fatheads

A-pours a slightly hazy sunset red color, hues of orange shining through. The head is a light tan color, tight, about one finger with some retention and a little lace.

S-notes of bourbon right up front, light hints of oak and vanilla in the middle, dark fruity sweetness in the back. Plums, figs, and rum soaked raisins.

T-the taste has a lot of great components that work really well together, it isn't huge but it is extremely well done. The bourbon is faint and the oak and vanilla are more pronounced. Hints of chocolate at first, toffee and caramel take over. The vanilla oakiness and hints of bourbon are in the middle with some sweeter dark fruits in the back. Ripe plum is quite nice with notes of slightly rum soaked raisins. The finish actually adds a touch of herbal hoppiness and a hint of bitterness to throw even more complexity but not over-doing anything, it works so well!

M-medium body and extremely smooth; but the carbonation is just a little light. The soft smooth feeling on the palate is enticing, it coats the mouth completely and again very softly. The finish is a little bit thin, not quite enough carbonation taking away slightly from the overall feel of the beer; but the smooth, syrupy, soft texture is quite nice.

D-this is actually insanely drinkable for a 10%+ beer. The alcohol is so well hidden, slightly warm at the very back but not at all detracting from the beer, just letting you knoww this is a beast. The complexity is a beautiful blend or flavors that work well together and transition so nicely. Glad I have a whole growler for the evening!

Serving type: growler

04-21-2010 01:19:07 | More by cpetrone84
Photo of johntangus

South Carolina

4.43/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Delivered from a keg into my Piggly Wiggly growler and then into my Duvel tulip glass. Pouring a dark ruby hue with a very thin dissapating head.

Nice bourbony smell.

While the bourbon is definitely front and center, there are some nice raisiny dark fruit tastes/smells going on.

Not too sweet, the bourbon-oak cuts the malty flavor making a very rich drinking experience. But it's also not too thick or cloying.

This is a pretty drinkable beer for the ABV. The booziness is nicely hidden - while there is a nice bourbon taste, the associated burn isn't present. The light carbonation accentuates the layers of flavors. Letting this beer warm up a bit awakes even more tastes.

I have enjoyed this beer immensely as my Thanksgiving holiday beer.

Serving type: growler

11-29-2009 05:26:27 | More by johntangus
Photo of kajerm


4.38/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Surprise growler pour at DL day 2007. This is officially the best day ever.

Pours dark reddish-brown. The aroma is woody with a strong malt presence; vanilla and alcohol are also present. Tastes like it smells, malty, complex, and awesomely balanced.

Mouthfeel is thick and creamy. This is an awesome Wee Heavy.

Can't remember who it was who was roaming around with a growler of this, but thank you very, very much.

Serving type: growler

05-01-2007 05:28:06 | More by kajerm
Photo of aforbes10


4.83/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is just one of 2 beers im reviewing from tastes at Dark Lord day...this one because of how amazingly good it was and because i actually took notes on it. Pours dark, dark brown with reddish hues and a thin wisp of a head. looks exciting. Odor is full of bourbon, oaky and ethanol-laced with chocolate and peat smells too. Taste is absolutely sublime. Bourbon, some vanilla (not too much), oak, cherries, peat, toffee, prunes, other dark dangerous fruits. obvious alcohol warming. i think dirty bastard is definitely a beer that lends itself to barrel aging. what a great beer this is, ill have to head on up to Founders soon. Don't know who brought the growler but thanks!

Serving type: growler

04-30-2007 14:28:27 | More by aforbes10
Photo of blankenhoney


4.29/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle from 10/3/13, poured into a snifter. Thanks to Nick for throwing this in as an extra.

A: Dark amber coming out of the bottle, but nearly black in the glass. Light khaki lacing.

S: Oak, dark fruits, caramel, and booze; light vanilla; lots of barrel and alcohol.

T: Bourbon-soaked butterscotch; sweet and malty; slight bitterness from the hops; oaky and vanilla sweetness on the aftertaste.

M: Smooth and oily; coats the palate nicely.

O: Not much of a wee heavy fan, and I didn't enjoy this beer the first time I had it. But after having it on tap and again in the bottle, it's really grown on me. Smell is fantastic, and taste and mouthfeel work together for a great drinking experience.

Serving type: bottle

04-17-2014 00:53:27 | More by blankenhoney
Photo of CrazyDavros


4/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours very dark brown with a large fading off-white head.
Nose shows caramel, vanilla, woody oak, bourbon, chocolate and a port note.
Very rich flavours, more bourbon and chocolate, some harsh booze and a woody note.
Carbonation could be a bit higher.

Serving type: bottle

04-07-2014 06:12:10 | More by CrazyDavros
Photo of KornWallace

New York

4.39/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Date: 3/26/14
Location: Skibbo's
Glassware: Tulip
Appearance: Black to a hint of brown. The edges are a bit opaque. A wisp of carnation in all that's left of a momentary head.
Aromatics: Bourbon is the big flavor. And the alcohol from the bourbon. There is vanilla and carmel as well.
Flavor: The beer is overpowered by the bourbon in a very good way. (If you love bourbon). After that you get vanilla, toffee, burnt sugar and alcohol. The mouthfeel is very oily and coats the tongue.
Finish: Carbonation sticks to the roof of my mouth while the oil coats my tongue and lips. The oil leaves some alcohol and sweet.

Serving type: bottle

03-26-2014 23:21:16 | More by KornWallace
Photo of datalager


4.23/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Founder’s always impresses me. They simply don’t make a bad beer. Let there be no mistake, though. Backwoods Bastard is a great beer.

The pour flaunts a deep Tuscan red body, with a scant trace of bone white froth at the surface. This is a gorgeous 10.2% ale. Yes, we are stepping into deep ABV territory.

The immediately dominant fragrance is all oak. Then some dried fruits, probably from the bourbon. I took several sniffs over a period of, I don’t know, five minutes maybe? I struggled to get anything other than those aromas out of this glass. If I were blindfolded I might believe that I was smelling scotch from a foot away. Then, after burying my face in some coffee grinds for a moment (to reset those olfactory sensors) I went back and pulled out just a hint of yeast, and just a weeee little presence of hops. So yeah, I guess this is a beer.

First sip, very oily. Sweet and silky swallow. Minimal carbonation. Perhaps some caramel?!? Abrupt rise of esters fill my upper airway.

Second draw brings the caramel back even stronger, with just a touch of char. In the aftertaste resides baker’s chocolate. Nice. Repeated consumption gives a feeling of a strong malted porter, but not quite like an imperial. It’s certainly just as pronounced, yet it’s driven by those wood and whiskey notes, and so it comes across as a more sophisticated dark ale. After a brief intermission, returning to this “bastard” reveals moderate traces of vanilla, perhaps because the glass had warmed a bit.

So, I would definitely grab this again, given the chance.

Serving type: bottle

03-26-2014 17:16:19 | More by datalager
Photo of Uanof


4.06/5  rDev -6.2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

03-25-2014 08:13:36 | More by Uanof
Photo of Spiral517


4.69/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Truly wonderful beer. Bourbon and caramel dominates the nose and taste. Little to no head or lacing. Light carbonation. Rich, buttery mouthfeel. So smooth and delicious. But this beer is all about the taste. Perfect blend of scotch ale and bourbon flavors. One of my very favorite beers!

Serving type: bottle

03-22-2014 02:21:15 | More by Spiral517
Photo of millertime5125


4.19/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Absolutely delicious! Had it for lunch and loved the smooth drinking caramel taste and smell. I'm not the most well rounded beer drinker but I will certainly be having this one again with a thick juicy burger. Complements a savory meal perfectly with its semi-heavy, sweet and very drinkable qualities. Brilliant work Founders!

Serving type: on-tap

03-21-2014 16:42:09 | More by millertime5125
Photo of byronic

Ontario (Canada)

3.53/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2013 bottle from the LCBO

Pours a nice ruby brown with a thin head forming around the rim.

Unbelievable smell. Caramel and Bourbon. Definitely one of the nicest aromas I've come across.

Bourbon, Bourbon, Bourbon. Far too sweet and all I can taste is the Bourbon and oak barrel aging. It's overwhelming to the senses.

Warming, sipping beer almost like a scotch. Very smooth with low carbonation.

Serving type: bottle

03-18-2014 12:49:49 | More by byronic
Photo of Bubba569


4.85/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Had it at Founder's Brewery! The perfect place to taste a near perfect brew!!
Look - Had a small whitish head not long lasting at all.
Smell - Oh my...great mouth watering sweet caramel & bourbon aroma.
Tast - Heaven in your mouth...a lot like Sweet Repute but with more of a Oak "Backwoods" aftertaste, caramelly with a lasting bourbon finish!
Mouth feel - Awesome long lasting sweet, smooth Bourbon taste that coats your pallet.
Overall - Outstanding beer that you'll be sad when it's gone! Founder's did it again!

Serving type: on-tap

03-16-2014 17:58:02 | More by Bubba569
Photo of gangstafaceclay


4.95/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I finally got my hands on this brew that I've been dying to try at a local bar/restaurant and I was my disappointed.

Smell- oak, coco, Carmel, bourbon

Taste- wow..I was blown away, like the nose oak, Carmel, coco, some vanilla, smokiness, scotch. One of the best tasting brews I've had, hands down.

Mouthfeel- full bodied and smooth with some creaminess. So good.

Overall- this was exceeded my expectations..so complex and tasty..I didn't want to stop drinking it. Definitely one of my favorites.

Serving type: on-tap

03-15-2014 02:33:21 | More by gangstafaceclay
Photo of KrisDLSmith

Ontario (Canada)

4.39/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Refrigerated but served after sitting on counter for 40 minutes. Poured into Spiegelau tulip from 355 ml bottle. Best before date on bottle 09/17/2014.

Middle of the road pour, not too gentle or aggressive. Very minimal head. Collar maintained throughout the drink. Very deep ruby red in colour. Very murky.

Smells like oak and bourbon. With a very deep inhale, I feel a burn in the back of my throat. Very oakey.

Tastes very oakey from the barrel aging. Oak is very prominent I the flavour profile. Bourbon flavours very present. Boozy. Slight caramel flavoured sweetness.

Carbonation is a bit biting which enhances the alcohol burn. Slightly astringent.

Overall, while Scotch ales are not my favourite style, this is easily the best of the style I've had to date. Glad I picked up 4, hope I can get my hands on more eventually.

Serving type: bottle

03-14-2014 02:14:32 | More by KrisDLSmith
Photo of cratez

Ontario (Canada)

3.48/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Founders Backwoods Bastard - 10.2% ABV - 2012 Vintage, consumed November 17, 2013
Pours a dark ruby-brown hue with a sliver of tan froth and a few dots of lacing on the snifter. Head subsides after a couple of sips. Smell and taste are oak barrel, bourbon, slight smoke, cocoa, apple, ethanol, brown sugar, caramel and molasses-like sweetness, earthy-peaty notes, dark pit fruit, and a warm booziness to end. The nuanced aromas appeal to me but the flavour is a little too sweet and boozy for my liking. Mouthfeel is full side of medium-bodied, lush and silky middle, low carbonation, some alcoholic warmth going down. Not nearly as robust and full-bodied as you would expect for the style and weight. Overall, this was fun to try but I wouldn’t seek it out again.

Serving type: bottle

03-10-2014 01:18:22 | More by cratez
Photo of Moheban


4.5/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark ruby color. Thin white head around the rim. Strong aroma of vanilla, caramel and bourbon predominate. Intense favors which all work together into a very complex taste that follows the nose. Quite a bit of heat fom the alcohol. The mouthfeel is one of my favorite parts of this beer, very creamy, rich and buttery. Overall a fantastic sipper, rich in complex flavors.

Serving type: bottle

03-08-2014 03:50:18 | More by Moheban
Photo of craftbeersweden


4.89/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Wow! This is truly a masterpiece!
Clear dark amber-red with a beige, fluffy head.

Nose: Honey, vanilla, single malt whisky, oak, dried fruit, toffee, caramel malt, bourbon and licorice. Oh! It's so complex! I love it!

Taste: Butter, fudge, bourbon, oak, vanilla, caramel, alcohol, nuts and brown sugar.

A full body with a great complex texture. Little carbonation.

As a lover of great single malt whisky and a good bourbon I naturally fall as a rock for this. It's heaven on earth...

Serving type: bottle

03-07-2014 23:58:21 | More by craftbeersweden
Photo of mtomlins

Ontario (Canada)

4.26/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a stemmed tulip glass.

Pours a dark amber with a reddish hue to one finger of creamy, khaki head that falls quickly to a thin collar and leaves minimal lace. The nose is dominated by the barrel, lots of vanilla, oak, bourbon and alcohol, but there is still a big malt character with big ripe fruit (prunes, raisins). The taste is very similar and starts off dominated by the grain bill highlighting swet rich malt and lots of luscious dried fruit (figs, prunes and raisins). The barrel warms the palate and delivers lots of warm bourbon, vanilla and a touch of oak as well as brown sugar and molasses. The body is full, creamy and rich with just enough carbonation to pull it all together. That is a really great beer!

Serving type: bottle

03-07-2014 18:36:46 | More by mtomlins
Photo of dank203

New Jersey

4.2/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

big thick sweet , molasses, syrupy. little bit of hops. could use some sitting. thick and warming. overall, doesn't remind me too much of the dirty bastard, in my opinion much better balanced. just another example of founder's ability to make big , smooth beers

Serving type: bottle

03-06-2014 23:48:15 | More by dank203
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Founders Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 4,744 ratings.