Founders Backwoods Bastard - Founders Brewing Company

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Founders Backwoods BastardFounders Backwoods Bastard

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1,590 Reviews
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Reviews: 1,590
Hads: 7,087
Avg: 4.24
pDev: 10.85%
Wants: 930
Gots: 2,532 | 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: 1,590 | Hads: 7,087
Photo of rye726
4.45/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark mahogany with a silky tan head that displays nice lacing and retention.

Nose has lots of bourbon, oak and vanilla up front followed by dark fruits, chocolate, caramel and roasty malts.

Taste has candy malts, figs, plums, whiskey, cocoa, oak and vanilla.

Medium body is a bit over carbonated, but drinks quite well once it opens up.

Another great ale from Founders, never had a bad beer from these guys.

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Photo of sidetracked
3.88/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark amber with a thin cream head that dissipated quickly. When held to the light it looks like sediment or air bubbles are suspended in the beer.

Smells sweet and intensely alcoholic--reminds me of rum or whiskey.

Overwhelmingly tastes of whiskey with minor roasted malt, sweet caramel, and woodsy notes. A little alcohol burn at the end.

Goes down surprisingly smooth and is easy to drink. Consistency is thick, but not overly chewy.

Overall a good sipping beer, especially if you enjoy bourbon.

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Photo of sinstaineddemon
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

having some good wee heavys lately, not a bad thing.

A - mahogany, with some deep crimson highlights, plenty visible carbonation feed a modest tan head

S - big malty, raisins and molasses dominate the aroma to me, plus the welcome addition of bourbon ive not found in many wee heavys

T - smoky sweet, quite a complex flavor, sweet dark fruit again, raisins and dates and such, a rich distinct woody caramel flavor at the back end, with some vanilla/toffee sweetness

M&D - smooth and supremely complex, the end of the taste makes the beer, the caramel, woodiness, it is easily quaffed, one of the better wee heavys ive had, up there with Wet Willy

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Photo of muskabeatz
4.02/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a rich brown, with ruby and copper hues when held to the light. One finger head with minimal lacing.

S- Smells of bourbon with a presence of dark cherries in the back of the nose. Slight undertones of butterscotch.

T- Big malty, caramel sweetness, with a noticable presence of bourbon. A bit of a woody, oak taste that gives way to a slightly dry, nutty finish. Slightly boozy for my taste.

F- Light carbonation up front that dissipates, so to not overwhelm the finish. Leaves behind a warming from the alcohol.

D- The alcohol content, which is obvious in the taste, makes this one a pretty slow drinker for me. Can't say I could really drink more than one. However, this beer gets better and better as it warms.

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Photo of Pencible
4/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This poured a hazy mahogany with a bit of light tan head. It smelled like sweet nutty malt with lots of bourbon and oak, along with some rich caramel and a bit of copper. It tasted like lots of bourbon and oak, with some sweet caramel and nutty malt and cooking vanilla and maple syrup, and a bit of bready yeast. It was slightly thick with a bit of carbonation, and had a bitter aftertaste. Overall this was a very powerful beer loaded with bourbon and oak. Nicely done flavor and good body, but it was a bit much to drink freely so I was happier sipping. Age might help tame this beast. In the end, I enjoyed this beer, but it seemed more like a variation on Dirty Bastard, rather than a true improvement.

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Photo of birchstick
4.1/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - pours a very dark, rich brown with a solid one-finger head

S - smells very sweet - a lot sweeter than I expected. There are hints of vanilla and oak, with sweet tones of leather and black licorice. There is also some caramel malt and a dash of dark cherries. There is also a very faint touch of peatiness, as an ode to its scotch ale style.

T - The taste follows the nose. There is a lot of stuff going on in this one - it has taken me a while to decipher this beer. Very sweet, toasted and caramel malts are upfront and play the leading role. The cherries that are pretty subtle on the nose stand out quite a big as well. There is bourbon and sweet oakiness on the finish as you exhale, and it lingers on the palate for a while. This is an ultimate sipper...

M - pretty thin and watery mouthfeel - very average.

D - Wow, this is a pretty hearty brew. You definitely need to sip this one and take all of its aromas and flavors in. I really enjoy the bourbon that lingers between drinks. Another fantastic brew from Founders - I have come to expect nothing but the best from these guys.

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Photo of ShadesOfGray
4.22/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had on tap and bottle...but draught review for this one:
Pours a nice dark shade of caramel brown. Light tannish colored head, pretty thin. Wow the scotch smell is pretty solid. Pick up a little malt and sweetness, caramel perhaps.
Taste is pretty complex. Scotch taste again is very present. Booze aspect is pretty subtle. Sweet flavors again of chocolate or caramel...malty...VERY good. A little heavy, so not a quick drinking beer.

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Photo of morimech
4.49/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I think this is the ultimate winter beer. Full of complex aromas and flavors and enough booze to keep you warm. Pours a ruddy brown color with a small tan head that quickly settles to bubbles around the glass. Some sticky lacing is left on the glass. The aroma is a mixture of vanilla, caramel, scotch, rich malt, and some earthiness. The flavor likewise is complimented nicely by barrel aging. Hints of vanilla and scotch along with the richness of the malt makes this a nice sipper. Alcohol warmth in the finish. Full body with carbonation that gives the beer a nice soft texture. Fits this beer nicely. This beer is a sipper so that limits drinkability.

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Photo of johntangus
4.44/5  rDev +4.7%
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.

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Photo of TheBierBand
4.6/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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.

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Photo of BarrelO
3.7/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Ruby red body with a decent sized head.

S: Bourbon, vanilla, and alcohol.

T: Fairly complex. Vanilla, cocount, and cherries. Also pretty boozy.

M: Medium-bodied.

D: Definitely a sipper. Not something I'd immediately go back to.

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Photo of Martin2D
3.68/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - Dark red with an off white foamy head

S - Not a ton going on here, lots of bourbon and wood

T - Having to wait here to taste it...poured way too cold and don't want to waste any. Alright, here we go. It's very sweet, woody, but thin. Tons of vanilla, but not exactly bursting with flavor, but subtle malts intertwine with a strong alcohol flavor with hints of hops.

M - Very thin with a medium carbonation.

D - It's a pretty good beer, but I wish it had a little more body to match the alcohol and sweetness. A little too boozy and not enough flavor to go along with it.

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Photo of cassanoj
3.72/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass. Pours a dark cherry color, with virtually no head. Spotty lacing.

Smells like scotch, cherries and licorice. Hints of caramel, raisins and maple.

Taste serious licorice, cherries, some raisins, fig and malt, a nice oak and vanilla aftertaste. A nice bitterness.

Mouthfeel is syrupy. Full-bodied and smooth with a little tingle.

Nice sipper. Not too complex on the palate, but still a really interesting brew.

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Photo of soupyman10
4.45/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Deep maroon color with a small head and a touch of lacing. Nose is huge bourbon - delicious, if fairly straightforward. Flavor is similar, huge bourbon and malt. A complex taste - dried fruits, a hint of alcohol spiciness, and then bourbon all over the place again. Absolutely delicious. Body is nice and full, somewhere between syrupy and full bodied. Overall, a delicious one - glad I got to try it. Another winner from Founders.

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo of SeanRedd
4.48/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I had to review this beer...Burnt cranberry color, thick and oily, light bubbles, sappy center. Light and firm head...nose of dark berries, tons of seeds. Fig newtons, to dried strawberries, to chocolate dipped grain. A biscuity body drizzled in fruity, burnt, boozey, caramel spread, finishing dark, bitter chocolate. A touch of robitussen enters as it warms; thats fine, its the best tasting robitussen I ever drank. Excellent ale...don't need really more than 120z a sitting either.

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Photo of JRed
3.73/5  rDev -12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark amber/cloudy red sea, dirty penny topped by off white bubbly head. Aroma is frightening: whiskey anyone? Shot of bourbon, wood, spice, some sweet malt. Begins dull sweetness, toffee, woody, molasses, and then wild nights at the bar kick in with JD shots laced with a little sugar that leads into the aftertaste. A dull blade of taste, mild yet heavy. Thick in body with no carb. My face twitches a bit, I'll be honest. Gandalf is chilling in the woods with Leatherface and I got an invitation for dinner.

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Photo of Maxwell106
4.82/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is my first beer review so here we go.

12 oz bottle poured into a straight side pint glass

A: dark brown with a bit of red, not quite opaque. very little head (probably due to my pour).

S: Incredible! Great earthy aroma with a lot of vanilla, chocolate, and caramel notes coming through. the oak comes through a little bit towards the end, with some sweetness.

T: Vanilla is the first thing that hits me, followed by a rich blend of chocolate, oak, and caramel. The end is sweet with a touch of bitterness.

M: Very thick, but smooth at the same time. Towards the end my mouth started to feel a little coated.

D: For a beer that has a 10.2% ABV this is extremely smooth. Goes down very easy with very little bite from the the high alcohol content.

This is the first beer that I have drank and felt like I just had a dessert. The richness, flavors and aromas of this beer are incredible. In my opinion, I would enjoy it without the accompaniment of food, but that is me. Sadly, this one is only around in November so stock up while you can.

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Photo of AleWatcher
4.67/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: deep dark mohagany red with a tan head that retains surprisingly well for a barrel aged beer. After a few sips I'll add
that the lacing is thick and clinging hard to the sides
of my tulip glass.

S: malts. Oaky and fruity notes. Some dark fruits and a light hint of citrus? Smells kinda sweet too. Maybe like molases or thick unrefined sugar. Also a bit of alcohol on the nose.

T: wow. Very very tastey. Really has a lot going on with this one. It follows the nose but minus any citrus notes. Certainly getting some roasted malts and some alcohol on the finish. I am picking some sweetness either from brewers sugar or from plum cherry or fig flavors. Those dark fruits seem to be part of the lingering aftertaste along with the oaky wood flavor.

M: rather thick. Almost like cough syrup thick. Nice amount of
carbonation for the barrel aging... usually I find that the process makes them more flat, but not in this case!!!

D: this is one heck of a little sipper. Very enjoyable and complex beer that I would say could find a permanent spot on cold weather rotation (if I can find it for sale).

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Photo of dukedevil0
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a 4-pack from Binny's Lakeview in Chicago, IL. Bottled on 11/05/09.

A: Pours a dark brown color with slight reddish tint and two fingers of khaki colored very thick root beer float-like head that laces as it settles to a centimeter of froth.

S: caramel, brown sugar, molasses, vanilla, oak, bourbon, dark fruits, raisins

T: just like the smell, a sublime combination - caramel, brown sugar, molasses, vanilla, oak, bourbon, dark fruits, and raisins - it's a little more difficult to pick up the individual flavors and complexity, but it's there...a slight alcohol flavor in the finish

M: very full bodied and well carbonated that makes it feel somewhat creamy for a scottish ale - nothing really mindblowing here though

D: the flavor is really good and it makes me want to keep sipping and sipping, however the alcohol taste make this one hard to drink a lot of

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Photo of beertooth
4.2/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle with an upside down label into a goblet/tulip glass.

This beer pours a dark ruby amber color with a finger of off white and tan head.

The nose is rich caramel malts, vanilla, bourbon, oak, dark cherries, alcohol, brown spice, cocoa powder. It smells great!

The first sip delivers waves of lush malts, vanilla, bourbon, bitter wood notes, stone fruits. The alcohol makes itself known, but it isn't hot. This beer finishes sticky and dry.

Mouthfeel is full and slick with a low level of carbonation.

This beer is perfect for a cold November night, but one glass is all I can do in a sitting. I still wish I bought more bottles though.

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Photo of Frosty80
5/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Color: pours brown. sits dark ruby

Smell: sweet malt aroma with oak and bourbon. light alcohol and hint of sweet bread and vanilla

Taste: sweet, bready malt flavors with woody and bourbon tones. finishes sweet with some whiskey and oak flavor and hints of dark fruit, cocoa, vanilla and warming alcohol

Mouthfeel: heavy-med body. smooth with low carbonation

Notes: delicious fuckin beer! i wait all year for this and i made sure we stocked up big time at the store. one of my favorite beers and probly my favorite seasonal ANYONE puts out! decided to give it a 5 cause i cant imagine a scotch ale getting any better. i can always go back anyway

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Photo of dpnelson1978
4.32/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle into Duvel tulip.

$13.99 / 6 pk.


S: Ripe red fruit, raisins, and bourbon. Boozy but pleasant.

A: Clear dark red-brown body. Small loose tan head that leaves only a trace of lacing and a sparse creamy cover.

T: Sweet red fruit up front, followed closely by hot bourbon that somehow manages to be intense and smooth simultaneously. Label says 50 IBU but I can't detect more than a trace.

M: Medium body with medium carbonation and little in the way of bitter bite. I find myself craving a heavier body.

D: This beer is fantastic, but at 10.2% abv. needs to be enjoyed in moderation. Would be amazing with a well prepared steak. Drink slowly and enjoy.

O: Amazing beer that overtakes Dirty Bastard as my favorite offering from Founders. This beer will age well, no doubt about that.

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Photo of JohnQVegas
4.57/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

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.

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Photo of KingMoomie
2.68/5  rDev -36.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

For me, this is a classic example of how a beer can change year by year.

When I heard that Backwoods Bastard was coming in this week, I was very excited. Founders is one of my favorite breweries, and I have loved this beer since the first year it was released.

I grabbed a bottle to drink at the bar, and everything started out good. The appearance was fine, just as I remembered, with a slightly dark color and a great bourbon nose.

I was talking to someone when I took my first sip, but I immediately realized that something was different.

Keep in mind that I do love bourbon aged beers, this was different. From the first sip you get an extreme booziness that dominates the beer. I tried to think back if I had ever thought it was this way in previous years, and decided I had not.

After passing it around for others to try and coming to the same conclusion, I finished it myself, but not in the way I envisioned.

The mouthfeel was fine, but as far as drinkability, it comes up far short.

As much as it pains to do, I have to review this beer poorly, and will be waiting until next year's batch to try it again.

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Founders Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
94 out of 100 based on 1,590 ratings.