Founders Backwoods Bastard - Founders Brewing Company

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Founders Backwoods BastardFounders Backwoods Bastard

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BA SCORE
96
world-class

7,030 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7,030
Reviews: 1,651
rAvg: 4.34
pDev: 10.37%
Wants: 891
Gots: 2,494 | 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: 7,030 | Reviews: 1,651
Photo of jampics2
4.32/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle of 2009 vintage, split with friends courtesy of Cookie.

Pours a nice shade of brown with red highlights. What small head was forced with the vigerous pour quickly dissapears.

Smell is amazing. Wood supplies a ton of coconut and vanilla. Bourbon also, but it's far more subdued in the nose than in the taste.

Taste is straight-up bourbon at first, then a nice caramel malt base and the sublime wood flavors of coconut and vanilla come shining through. Wow, this is a booze bomb fresh, I much prefer it with a year or so on it to taste more subtle flavors. But still very good, just be prepared for the bourbon heat!

Mouthfeel and drinkability are both excellent for the style. I've been fortunate enough to try several bourbon barrel aged malt heavy beers in the past year, and this is towards if not at the top of the list. Great beer from Founders!

Photo of shanecb
3.7/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Murky brown, rather dark at the center but lighter at the edges. Medium tan , frothy head when poured that leaves a layer on top for quite awhile. The color looks a little more on the red side if you can get some decent light through it. Very appealing appearance!

S - Wow, how fantastic! Up front is notes of caramel, malt, vanilla, and definitely bourbon. Smells a little bit like chocolate when it all melds together, or maybe a chewy toffee. Some earthy backbone to it also, with just a hint of alcohol detectable. It's such a delightful smell. The maltiness you would expecct from a Scotch ale blends so well with the plethora of aromas from the bourbon.

T - Quite a bit of what is in the aroma. At first it seems sort of sweet, with that vanilla and caramel I was hoping for. The maltiness accompanies these flavors. Next up the bourbon flavor really seems to kick in, and is pretty enjoyable. Some light alcohol flavor, with the smoothness of a quality bourbon. Aftertaste seems rather earthy to me, maybe a little woody. The bourbon seems to stand out quite a bit in some sips. It's a very good flavor, but I would almost prefer the bourbon toned down just a little bit. It's okay how it is, but I think a little muted, with smooth bourbon undertones would be nice as well. In fact, the more I drank, the more the bourbon taste seemed to be just too much. I would love to give taste a better rating, but the bourbon taste was a little much after awhile. The is almost the only part of this beer I think needs better balance.

M - Really not a ton to say about mouthfeel. It's pleasant; smooth and malty like I would expect from a Scotch ale, with not a whole lot of carbonation on the tongue.

D - One or two are very drinkable, but it reminds me a little too much of bourbon to drink a few. It's not a fault of the beer at all, it's just a personal preference. I would definitely want to break up drinking multiple bottles of this with something clean and crisp.

Overall, a really fantastic brew!

Photo of NYCWheatFanSC
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A - murky light cola brown color that fades around the edges when held to light. Small dark eggshell head that somewhat slowly fades to a collar around the glass, leaving significant lacing.

S - Dark fruits and earthen nuts, with a bit of a sweet kick given by hints of brown sugar and vanilla. Reminds me a bit of a "Papier lite".

T - Similar to the nose: brown sugar and vanilla dominate, with some datey, raisiny goodness in the back accompanied by wood. The alcohol and bourbon are extremely well hidden, had no idea this weighed in at 10% until I read the BA breakdown.

M - Perhaps a bit overcarbonated, creates a bit of a sting but not too distracting.

D - A great scotch ale, and one that I would happily return to again.

Photo of mothman
4.17/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into Town Hall Chalice.

Pours a small beige tan head. Fades to a thin layer. Color is a murky ruby hued bark brown.

Aroma: Oak and bourbon with vanilla right up front. Lots of malts, caramel, molasses and cherries. I really like this, but the bourbon is so dominate.

Taste: Right away, I get bourbon, oak, vanilla, and cherries. Then the caramel comes in and at the end I get some molasses and a touch of booze.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, creamy, and a some heat from the bourbon. Medium bodied with a lower amount of carbonation. Ends slight boozy, but fairly clean.

Overall, a solid beer, but the scotch notes were not as apparent as one would expect. I do like it, but I am very curious to what would happen with some age on it. I recommend this one.

Photo of thirtysixbelow
4.52/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a - dark reddish brown color with a thin dark tan head.

s - cherry vanilla with woody notes and a hint of whisky/alcohol.

t- whisky, woody, sweet heavy caramel malts up front. something in the middle that I can't put my finger on, kinda chocolate cherry maybe, but it's great. A slight bitter finish.

m - well carbonated for such a high alcohol content

d - just when you think you have tried everything! i've had some beers before that were aged in bourbon barrels but none have had whiskey notes like this one. i'm not a huge fan of really malty caramel beers like double bocks and wee heavies but this one gets balanced out nicely with the whiskey bite and slight hop bitterness. if you like whiskey you must try this.

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

Got a bottle, poured it into the Sam Adams perfect pint glass.

A: IT poured a smooth, rich deep amber with a reddish center, with a thin beige head, of which the lace was very delicate.

S: I was hit by the aroma, which smelled of oak, vanilla, paint thinner and bourbon.

T: It seemed like I had taken a shot of whiskey and dropped it into an ale. Very strong evidence of bourbon and tannins.
Very strong vanilla and raisins, and a hint of fig.

M: Mouthfeel is mushy, and makes the tongue work a bit to get through it, like dream walking. Not too thick, just enough to let you know it's taking over your mouth for the next 19 minutes.

D: A very unique bourbon,er, beer. It goes down like a shot, but sips like a beer. Sipped it while making a good chicken dinner. Perfect for a snowy winter night.

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

Consumed 12/30

A: This beer pours a nice murky deep dark amber, lighter hues around the edges. 1/4 inch of light khaki color head that recedes immediately leaving spotty lacing.

S: Nose is of caramel malts, muted bourbon, dark fruit, vanilla and booze.

T: Taste is very sweet upfront - caramel malts that quickly move in to dark fruits, raisin is the most apparent. A nice oaky flavoring comes in with a taste of bourbon and the finish is all vanilla.

M: Medium body, medium carbonation, rich and creamy feel.

D: Very tasty, nicely balanced, goes down easily, one or two would do me, but a nice one to sit and enjoy.

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

love the label, love that founders is in va. after having drank one from the bottle, i didn't realize how light in color this would be. it is, after all, a scottish, but silly me, here i thought i had a stout in my belly. somewhere around carnelian in color and reaking of bourbon, vanilla, caramel, oak, and alcohol. caramel and vanilla up front then washed back with bourbon. a little sweet. much better in a glass. i could drink eleven of these if it were prudent.

Photo of burnstar
4.41/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an opaque deep reddish mahogany with a small head that recedes quickly. Big sweet complex bourbon aroma with notes of fruit and oak. Taste is quite sweet. Again a very pleasant bourbon flavor. Carmel malt. A tiny bit of bitterness in the finish. Medium bodied. Finishes dry with a hint of warming alcohol. Pretty easily drinkable although this is a sipper given its flavorfulness and abv. Really nice and interesting beer overall.

Photo of ColForbinBC
4.32/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a snifter

Pours a chestnut amber with a distinct haze and a cream colored head that rose and fell quickly. Slight delicate lace develops over time.

The aroma is ripe with vanilla and oak. Sweet sticky caramel with bourbon dipped cherries. Very appealing to me.

Loads of caramel and cherries with a vanilla sweetness throughout. Oak and brown sugar with a sturdy alcohol base. The bourbon is really front and center here.

Medium to full bodied with a chewiness and heavy dose of bourbon in the finish.

I found this to be very drinkable given the heartiness of this ale. The sweetness complemented the dryness of the wood enough not to be overbearing.

Photo of swizzlenuts
4.32/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

When pouring this beer I get a ruby highlight, but it's mostly a deep copper/brown. There is also an off white head that lingers for most of the beer. The best part of this sweet nectar is the nose though. It's filled with bourbon, oak, vanilla, caramel, and bready malts. It's an absolutely great nose. The flavour is pretty god damned good as well. There is a rich malty flavour mixed with a bunch of caramel flavours and great bourbon/oak flavour. This is one of those beers that mixes all the flavours but nothing over powers. Initially there is a lot of bourbon, but it quickly meshes with all the other flavours. There is also a great sweetness that is quite pleasant.

This is definitely a great beer, but it's one of those beers I'd only have one maybe two in a night.

Photo of PhunkyBeerGuy85
3.67/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

A Poured this beer hard (and i mean hard) into a sam adams perfect pint glass and still got only a finger's worth of head. Very dark, muddy brown that sor of reminds me of maple syrup.

S Smells of strong bourbon and fruit. Vanilla, cherry, and slight hints of spicy herbs. Very bitter, but undeniably pleasant.

T This beer is a whiskey lover's dream. Reminiscent of a boiler-maker, but so much smoother. The light cherry and vanilla flavors tickle the tongue at first, then the dark, malty flavors of the whiskey and (almost) chocolate flavors take over all the way to the finish.

M Burns slightly. Leaves the smoky flavor of bourbon lingering in the back of the throat. not for the light-hearted, but all-in-all very enjoyable.

D Personally, I can't drink very much whiskey. Sadly, I also can't drink very much of this beer. The flavors are amazing, the brew is expertly crafted, but there is simply too much of a bite for this beer lover. I enjoy the strong, flavorful beers as much as the next person, but one or two will do.

O Very good brew. One to consider on those long, cold, winter nights.

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

An aggressive pour gets you maybe a half finger of deep tan foam, swift to evacuate the premises, nothing close to lacing present. Super-cloudy brown-red mud in appearance, barely lightens at the rims, looks like you could catch a catfish in it. Smells like someone hit you in the face with a coconut custard pie, butterscotch, caramel, no kidding about those bourbon barrels, plum to prune, date and maraschino cherry fruit scents, close to zero room for anything else. Full-bodied, thick and treacly, you almost spoon it into your mouth. again, the coconut custard, butterscotch, caramel, vanilla fudge, caramelized brown sugar flavors far and away dominant. Candied orange peel is there. Cherry, plum fruit, once more, in a candied, boozed up fashion. Splash of ginger and allspice. There is nothing subtle about this beer, it's on you like white on rice. You must drink it under carefully thought out circumstances. You have been warned.

Photo of Fish113d
3.64/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served chilled into a tulip glass.

Pours a dark mahogany color with little head forming. A tannish surface layer does form and seems to sit on top like oil on top of water.

Definitely some booze on the nose up front. Sweet vanilla and oak also hits my nose with just a bit of fruit (cherries or plums).
Nothing too fancy, but nice and subtle.

Sweet fruit flavors come first with a bit of oak and some booziness. The bourbon flavors are definitely there, and so is the malts, but nothing over the top fancy with this one...straight shooter.

Fairly dry medium body with plenty of alcohol coming through to burn my palate. Chewy actually and not as dry as expected on the finish, but definitely the aftertaste sticks around.

Fairly drinkable brew...fair offering by Founders. A bit too "boozy" to drink more than 1 or 2, but enjoyable.

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.32/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Backwoods Bastard I've been wanting to try this for quite sometime now, I liked last year's label with the Banjo player adorning the label. Pours a murky mahogany brown amber hue with a large off white tan khaki head forming fine even lacing down the sides of my glass. Aromatics come straight from the barrel, soakin with vanilla/oak and mild charred bitter notes. Peated malt smokiness entertaining me upon a big malty alcoholic Scotch Ale like Dirty Bastard. Whiskey stands out in the nose and in flavor with vanilla/caramel soaked malts bringing in sweetness this beer is pretty amazing. I'm not crazy on either scotch whiskey/bourbon/scotch ale but the flavors combined do much better than each individual for me. Alcohol is so warming it pretty much overbears the carmel/vanilla/charred oak combo in my book this beer is so big I haven't tasted anything like it to date as far as craft beer goes. Carbonation surprisingly smooth and well represented, while the body is thick with residual sugars that didn't make it past residual sugars. Drinkability overall is an intense scenario that I'm sure will be passed on from generation to generation within the beer community.

Photo of champ103
4.52/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a nearly opaque ruby/brown color. A large light beige head rises to over two fingers. The foam has good retention, and lots of sticky lace is left behind.
S: At first an interesting mix of vanilla oaky sweetness and peat/smoke aromas that is just awesome. Toasted caramel malt and molasses. Cherries and other dark fruits. The nose really balanced and develops a lot more as this warms up.
T: Again, lots of vanilla and oak from the bourbon barrels. Sweet caramel malt. Peat and smoke. Sticky molasses. Dark fruits that follow the nose. Some boozey alcohol as well.
M/D: A full body that is thick, creamy and rich. Velvety smooth. The ABV is huge, but this is a great beer to sip on.

The bourbon aging really works well here, and is extremely well balanced with with everything else that is going on. I love how the barrel aging has not taken away from the Scotch Ale base. Highly recommended.

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.

Founders Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 7,030 ratings.