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Founders Backwoods Bastard - Founders Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Founders Backwoods BastardFounders Backwoods Bastard

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,661 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 1,661
Hads: 7,371
Avg: 4.25
pDev: 10.82%
Wants: 954
Gots: 2,790 | FT: 262
Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy |  11.60% 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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 1,661 | Hads: 7,371
Photo of DaverCS
4.75/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Pours a mahogany, almost cherry Coke like color with 1 finger of off-white caramel colored head. Some light does sneak through.

Aroma is an absolute bourbon bomb! Down-right delicious smelling beer. Tons of bourbon, charred oak, molasses, and loads of vanilla. A perfect smelling bourbon-barrel aged beer.

Taste is again dominated by bourbon, vanilla, smokiness, and oak. Middle of the mouth, a kiss of tangy hops shine through, but they quickly fade to the finishing notes. There is a beautiful toffee, caramel, and almost brown butter-like nuttiness in the finish. Alcohol heat and spice extend pass the sip. The mouthfeel is relatively thick, but thins out near the end of the sip.

Overall, this is an absolutely fantastic beer. I need to pick up more of this and would love to age a few bottles! The only thing is the carbonation is maybe a touch too much, as it makes the beer feel a bit too light or thin. While it is not thin by any means, it could be a bit thicker with a more creamy mouthfeel if the carbonation was less. Still a fantastic brew! I see this pairing well with a freshly baked, warmly-spiced fruit cake. It gets a 95/100.

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Photo of jakecattleco
4.46/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle into a tulip glass. Very dark, almost more black than red in color, with 2 fingers of tan head. The nose just screams BIG beer! However, the taste is very well balanced and smooth, almost shockingly so based on the nose. Good carbonation, and the finish seems almost a bit spicy. I will quite happily have this in my fridge for the colder months. Quite impressed, well done Founders!

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Photo of MusicBeer_1961
4.55/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I was able to score two 4 packs at one of my local bottle shops and consider myself lucky. This ale is a treat. I get the mello oak aged bourbon without the booziness..At 11.6%ABV, that's quite remarkable. I also get caramel and coconut.. Especially coconut in the aroma and taste. Everything meshes together perfectly. I'll be drinking 6 of these fresh and letting 2 age for a year.

Founders really hit a home run with the 2015 addition. We should expect nothing less from a great brewery...

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Photo of RoddyMedina
3.75/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I finally got my hands on a four pack of Backwoods Bastard and for all the hype and great recommendations it got, I wasn't impressed. Pouring it into the glass from the bottle you get a nice dark-red/brown copper like color, light head that faded pretty quickly. The smell is fantastic, I love single malts, so as soon as I got a whiff of the Backwoods I was excited. It has a very malty, sweet, scotch smell to it. My wife compared the smell of it to a whiskey and coke. Taking a drink of it, you get a malty, dark fruit taste with bourbon flavors all mashed together. Here was my disappointment with the Bastard, after a couple of sips it tasted flat, maybe I grabbed a bad 4-pack but it tasted super flat. Im gonna get another pack to give it a shot before they run out but I just hope it was a bad pack.

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Photo of 98green
4.4/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Hopcat Ann Arbor. Finally tried this elusive one. I like dirty bastard and I like BBA so this seemed a natural. Pours a deep brown, minimal head. Smell is all barrel. Taste is the same plus some toasty malts. A wee heavy might be the ideal style for a barrel since the base beer isn't overpowering. Still, there is nice complexity here. Not boozy at all for a double digit abv. As good as expected.

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Photo of oldn00b
4.84/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pours a rusty copper, thin fuzzy head forms and quickly fades.

Nose is big bourbon forward, vanilla and molasses come through big.

Flavor is fantastic - bourbon, vanilla, and caramel are huge. Slight smoke hint, clove, and pepper hints too. This is a delectable sipper. Surprisingly, "boozy" is one of the last things that comes to mind. Delicate, subtle, sweet but not cloying. Just a fantastic beer.

Feels is near perfect. It's a bit brash, in a good way, but a slightly rough edge does come through.

Overall this is a fantastic beer, one of my favorites for the season hands down.

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Photo of rorykanderson
4.34/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Outstanding beer that's rich, complex and incredibly satisfying. Maroon, dark brown pour with a frothy head. Aroma of wood, freshly dug earth, scotch, bourbon, cherries and licorice. Taste flows suit with additional notes of chocolate, smoke and vanilla. The charred-barrel flavor is awesome. Simply awesome. The lingering booze and vanilla after each sip both warms and sweetens the palette without being too hot or cloying. So smooth.

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Photo of BrownAleBollocks
4.1/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours a deep ruby, brown color with a fluffy two finger khaki color head. Aroma is scotch/bourbon, caramel, smoke, and dark fruits. Taste follows with bourbon, smoke, dark fruit, and a bit of spice. Mouthfeel is medium and smooth. Overall, a very nice take on a scotch ale, and not overwhelming with barrel presence, which helps keep everything balanced.

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Photo of frasergrove
4.36/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Nose is reminiscent of dates, plum, some barrel notes, a hint sweet and light maltiness. Warming as you sip, but not overly boozy or harsh. Extremely smooth, light vanilla touches as it crosses the palate. An outstanding barrel aged beer

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Photo of yesterdayfaraway
4.23/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

L: very dark red, almost black. A film of head with big lacing on the glass
S: bourbon and a sweet strong ale
T: fairly smooth bourbon, still a sipper though. I get the alcohol, but again it's pretty smooth. Great lasting flavors in the finish.
F: fairly thin, and carbonated
O: I ilke the bourbon presence in it, but not worth hoarding.

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Photo of JonathanR
4.58/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

No head, great lacing. If i wasn't such a stout snob, this would be my favorite beer. Barrel aged exceptionally well with a wood/oak smell. Toasted coconut and vanilla flavor with a finish of sweet caramel. NO hint of abv is simply incredible

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Photo of RacerX5k
4.52/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

One of the best values in beerdom, $13 4 pak Wegmans Allentown PA. And this beer will get better in about a month when that scintilla of cherry starts to blossom ... that's not to say age this for a year, my well known belief that beer may change but certainly does NOT get better with age. I've had this beer on draft back to back years side by side and the newer was way better.

Pretty red, amber I don't know the exact shade or color. Big aroma, malt, scotch, vanilla, hints of bourbon. That's what it tastes like, vanilla malt bomb. More bourbon in the flavor then the aroma. Smooth all day, 2 bottles and you're just where you need to be.

Overall outstanding. Will get more.

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Photo of hardysf
3.63/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is a meh beer to me. To each their own. I think this beer is like watered down bourbon. The barrel and bourbon notes really come through. Little if any other tasting notes. The bourbon flavors are good, but if I wanted bourbon on the rocks, I'd order bourbon on the rocks. Founders usually crushes it in my book, but I think this one just isn't for me. I'll have to give it another try on a different day.

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Photo of HorseheadsHopHead
4.52/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a stem glass. Bottled on 10/06/15.

Comes in a very dark reddish brown color; looks almost black in the glass but has ruby tints when held up to the light. A faint stream of carbonation is visible, as are some sediment chunks, and a semi-aggressive pours yields a finger of creamy tan head.
The aroma is very bourbon-forward. A sweet and spicy blend of kerosene, vanilla extract, pecans, and chilies. Behind the massive booze note lies oak, butterscotch, brandy-soaked cherries, figs, and raisins.
In the taste, the malt character is prominent. Butterscotch, toffee, molasses, and a hint of licorice up front, and then cherries, figs, dates, earth, and peat smoke in the middle. Finishes with heavy notes of bourbon, oak, and vanilla--warm, but not hot, and smooths out fairly well with sweetness coating the tongue.
The body is quite full, though not thick or syrupy; it flows smoothly across the palate, creamy like root beer, with only a light tingle of carbonation, and the aftertaste smacks of residual sugars, though it balances out fairly nicely and doesn't seem cloying.

This is a very nice BBA aged beer. Complex and quite drinkable for being 11.6% alcohol. Definitely worth buying. I might even buy a few packs while I have the chance.

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Photo of mfowler314
4.84/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This was the 2015 bottling and it was awesome! I'd not had it before so I can't comment on how it compares to previous years. I had it in the fridge but let it warm up to "cellar temp" before pouring. The look is a nice dark amber or light brown. Nice head that subsided fairly quickly. No lacing though. Smell was butterscotch and bourbon and the later I think I was getting some coconut. Taste was butterscotch and caramel and some bourbon flavoring... very nice. For the ABV I was not tasting the alcohol that much but it is there (if you could see how many time I have to backspace to correct my typing you'd know the alcohol was there!). Not real carbonated - at least by the time I was finishing it - so it feels real smooth. Overall this is an awesome beer and I'm glad I picked up a fair amount of it so I can have one or two every week and still spread it out over a fair amount of time!

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Photo of Social_Lubrication
5/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

look: 5
Brilliant Dark Amber.

smell: 5
sweet & malty. vanilla & oak I am also picking up the smell of fresh rye bread which gets more intense as the beer warms

taste: 5
Chocolate covered dark cherries up front with the bourbon finish

feel: 5
Excellent. Creamy & smooth. Lightly carbonated.

overall: 5
Excellent Beer. Will be on the lookout every fall for this.!!

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Photo of TH28
4.39/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Vertical comparison of 2014 and 2015 versions. Both in bottle. 2014 bottle date - 10/7/14. 2015 bottle date - 9/26/15. Appearance: Both a deep amber red/ brown, with minimal khaki foam head. 2015 version is almost perfectly clear, while the 2014 is noticeably murky and cloudy. Aroma: 2014: Rich oak and cherry dominate, with smoky tobacco and a touch of vanilla. 2015: A strong woody oak aroma with high vanilla and smoky notes. The cherry and tobacco notes picked up on the aged 2014 not present in the fresh 2015 version. Taste: 2014: Rich maltiness with strong cherrywood flavor, giving way to a distinct coconut and vanilla. Bitterness barely there. 2015: A strong punch of fresh oak wood and vanilla, with those flavors much stronger than the 2014 version. Fresh version has not developed the dark fruit/cherry flavors found in the 2014 version. Mouthfeel: 2014: Medium body with light creaminess and low carbonation and a touch of alcohol warmth. 2015: Medium body with a more syrupy character than 2014. Missing 2014 creaminess. Carbonation low, with a similar alcohol warmth. Finish: 2014: Leaves a malty finish with lingering cherry and coconut. 2015: Very malty on the finish with a lingering vanilla bean flavor. Overall: Can’t go wrong with either, both are amazing, but I prefer the 2014 aged version to the fresh 2015. 2014 has developed a softer melding of all the rich scotch ale and oak barrel flavors, with the development of dark fruit, cherry, coconut, and tobacco notes not found in the 2015. 2015 has a much sharper taste profile with fresh woody and strong vanilla that are present but subdued in the 2014 version. My advice, this is beer that is definitely better with some age on it.

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Photo of Cmun01
4.45/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Incredible beer, I agree with other reviews for the alcohol level this was very smooth. Hard to find beer, could only buy 2 four packs in my town in PA. Nice subtle taste and smell of chocolate, carmel and bourbon.

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Photo of Jaz2886
4.4/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Delectable. After the initial sniff, I was expecting a certain finish. That...I did not get. It was sweet, subtle, and smooth. Definitely a great way to end our night.

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Photo of LloydDobler
4.77/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This beer is outrageous! Never had anything over 10% that was this smooth. Light sweetness, mild warming alcohol, and just a touch of smoke. Bright garnet when held up to the light and clear as could be. I was expecting this to be overly sweet and burning with booze, but is was just the opposite. This beer walks softly and carries a big stick... errr, AXE! Everything here comes together so nicely it blows me away!

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Photo of HopHunter19
4.83/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

5 - Perfect. Dark mahogany color yet crystal clear on the edges, Ruby/blood red notes. Nice big tan head that leaves a good lacing
5 - smooth. Vanilla, caramel, butterscotch, bourbon, chocolate/caramel malts. light scotch notes.
T - Vanilla, cream, caramel, chocolate/caramel malts, bourbon, oak, very light coffee, overall a very smooth and good beer. Umami/wholesomeness.
M - medium to heavy. Alc covered (amazingly at 11.6%). Aftertaste is bourbon/chocolate/vanilla.
O - God damn this beer is near perfect. The taste is amazing. The only thing keeping me from giving it a 5 is I know if I had it next to a KBS or FW Parabola it wouldn't be as perfect as them. Maybe that's my fault for not being as crazy about this style as I am about bba imperial stouts, but give me a break - I bought a case of this today, I'm thinking about searching out another case tomorrow so I have plenty to last me throughout the year. Great beer!

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Photo of mschrei
4.65/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Brownish purple like a wine/scotch hybrid. Sweet oak and alcohol scent. Taste is totally boozy yet smooth. Very little burn. Sweet but not syrupy. Well balanced, delicious.

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Photo of MAFC_Trainer
4.65/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Look - pours almost black with little to no head or lacing. Held up to a light the body is red.
Smell - sweet malty whisky
Taste - malty sweetness upfront. There's a delicious Scotch aftertaste. The more I drink the stronger the bourbon taste. So good.
Feel - really smooth. Little carbonation.
Overall - this is my first wee heavy. It's awesome. Not overly boozie, especially with being 11.6% alcohol.

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Photo of reds2harleys
4.85/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Wow, this is one fantastic beer. Was good in the years past but to me this years is the best yet. Higher ABV then in years past but you can't taste it. No over the top booze hit here at all. Just a nice warmness. Amazing flavor and depth. Really glad I grabbed 2 - 4 packs when I could as it didn't last long before being sold out and I can surely see why. Another home run from Founders. I rank it right up there with their Stouts which coming from me is a helluva statement. Damn good. Think I'm going to have one tonight. Cheers

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Photo of 2ellas
4.08/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

When held up to the light, it's a deep crimson. Has a thin white head
smells strongly of scotch and oak. I get some coconut too
Taste matches the smell nearly perfectly
mouthfeel is a bit thin with lower carbonation
a very interesting and enjoyable sipping beer that I will drink again!

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Founders Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
95 out of 100 based on 1,661 ratings.