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Founders Backwoods Bastard - Founders Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Founders Backwoods BastardFounders Backwoods Bastard

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
96
world-class

5,344 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,344
Reviews: 1,428
rAvg: 4.33
pDev: 10.62%
Wants: 671
Gots: 1,552 | FT: 146
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: 5,344 | Reviews: 1,428 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
3.95/5  rDev -8.8%

A nice little scotch, gotten in trade. Pours medium with good lasting white head, tons of lace.Aroma is decent bourbon. Mouthfeel is easy, average and smooth, good bourbon taste, whiskeyish not too corny, not in-your-face that is well integrated and woody. Very drinkable.

Sammy, Mar 15, 2009
Photo of t0rin0
4/5  rDev -7.6%

t0rin0, Sep 29, 2012
Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.18/5  rDev -3.5%

Thanks to Exiled for sending me this one!

Pours a murky dark brown color with a 1 inch light beige head that fades to a thin cap. Rings upon rings upon rings of lace on the drink down. Very nice looking lacing with this beer. Smells of toasted coconut, some wood, alcohol, and malt. Taste has the toasted coconut, slight wood flavors, some vanilla, and malts. I am not really getting any stand out bourbon alcohol smells or tastes from this beer. Low carbonation with a thick and chewy mouthfeel. Slight alcohol burn in the back of the throat after each sip. Overall, this is a pretty taste beer with some nice toasted coconut qualities (I love coconut). I could probably only handle one of these at a time though.

UCLABrewN84, May 28, 2011
Photo of djrn2
4.25/5  rDev -1.8%

djrn2, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of Thorpe429
4.22/5  rDev -2.5%

A: Dark brown with mahogany hues to it. Small off-white, creamy head.

S: Lots of bourbon going on here. This sits atop a fairly-strong caramel malt base with some buttered notes.

T: Again, the bourbon really comes out. It layers a nice complexity on top of the underlying notes of oak, caramel, and malt sweetness.

M: Medium mouthfeel with good carbonation. Not too hot, but a pretty good alcohol warmth to it.

D: Pretty drinkable, and sips especially quickly for a beer with so much bourbon.

Thorpe429, May 03, 2009
Photo of zestar
4.5/5  rDev +3.9%

zestar, Aug 17, 2013
Photo of nmann08
4.26/5  rDev -1.6%

10/12/12 Bottle

Foamy head with a dark amber color. Honestly, its amber pushing a dark brown. Head dissipated quickly, but left some carbonation throughout the life of the beer.

Smells a faint hint of oak with an overwhelming sweetness. Definitely some vanilla.

The bourbon has faded on this, but its in a good spot. Really well balanced. The vanilla and sweet malts are working together nicely. Dark fruit comes through as well. No real alcohol taste which makes it dangerous.

A really smooth beer. A light to maybe medium body that goes down really easy.

Overall, this is a great beer, but if you prefer the taste of bourbon, drink this fresh, as the barrel disappeared quickly. Even with a few months on this, the flavors still balance nicely.

nmann08, Dec 05, 2011
Photo of acurtis
3.5/5  rDev -19.2%

acurtis, Nov 30, 2011
Photo of metter98
4.05/5  rDev -6.5%

A: The beer is clear amber in color and has a ring of beige bubbles around the edge of the glass with some lacing in the center.
S: There are light to moderate aromas of grapes and raisins in the nose.
T: The initial taste has lots of malty sweetness with flavors of raisins. There are some hints of alcohol in the finish.
M: It feels medium- to full-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
D: The beer isn't that difficult to drink although I can't see myself having more than one of these in a sitting.

metter98, Mar 06, 2011
Photo of brentk56
4.3/5  rDev -0.7%

Appearance: Pours a tawny color with russet highlights; the modest cap drops to a layer of big bubbles on the surface, leaving some dots around the chalice

Smell: Caramel, oak, vanilla, chocolate-covered cherries and bourbon - a well-crafted blend

Taste: Caramel, up front, with a growing oaky vanilla and chocolate-covered cherry presence that adds bourbon complexity by mid-palate; after the swallow, the blend that made the aroma so attractive comes together on the tastebuds; the finish is slightly boozy

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with low to moderate carbonation; some warmth in the gullet

Overall: Although the mouthfeel is a little thin for a Wee Heavy with this level of ABV, the nicely balanced flavor profile makes up for it

brentk56, Mar 04, 2011
Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.95/5  rDev -8.8%

"No poor bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making other bastards die for their country."

--General George S. Patton

Murky tawny with a hint of ruby and edges of bright orange. The golden brown sugar hued head is surprisingly small, but it's nicely creamy and is starting to lay down some lace. The score is a reflection of the appearance right after the pour, rather than how the beer looks several minutes later.

If you like bourbon whiskey, the nose is a good one. It features the caramelized sugar, vanilla and oakiness of that spirit. It would be nice if the scotch ale qualities of the beer were more evident.

Backwoods Bastard is good beer, but it isn't the incredibly good beer that was expected. My assumption is that it's Dirty Bastard that has been 'aged in oak bourbon barrels', as the label reads. A great beer (Dirty B) and a shot of bourbon should have resulted in something more amazing. Part of the problem is an overly thin, inadequately bubbled mouthfeel.

The flavor is increasingly enjoyable, which is why I want it to be fuller, rounder, deeper and more complex. For whatever reason, some bigger beer tends to shrink and simplify when it's barrel-aged. If I didn't like bourbon so much, the taste score would be at least one notch lower.

Regarding specifics, the spotlight is on boozy caramel, loads of crushed vanilla bean and sugared oak. Those flavors don't obliterate the qualities of the wee heavy, but they do pound them into submission. In the end, a better mouthfeel would have increased the scores on either side of it.

Speaking of which... what else is there to say? The beer is too thin for the style and the ABV. I'm not sure what happened since Dirty Bastard has such an enjoyable mouthfeel. Slight improvement with warming manages to keep it above average.

Every one of the above scores was barely achieved. Founders managed to take a great beer and a great concept (bourbon barrel aging) and turn it into 'merely good' beer. It would still be fantastic if they make this a regular release because the potential for greatness is definitely there. Thanks prototypic.

BuckeyeNation, Aug 02, 2008
Photo of Phyl21ca
3.95/5  rDev -8.8%

Bottle: Poured a lightly cloudy deep amber color ale with a small foamy head with average retention and minimal lacing. Aroma of bourbon and sweet malt dominates. Taste is a fine mix betwen some bourbon notes with some deep sweet marley with some light dry fruit notes. Full body with average carbonation and no alcohol ester where noticeable. Bourbon might be slightly too present and somewhat overshadows the malt but still very solid beer from this fine brewery.

Phyl21ca, Dec 22, 2008
Photo of BEERchitect
4.38/5  rDev +1.2%

An honor to finally try this beer. I'm a huge fan of Bourbon barrel aged beers. Needless to say I have high expectaitons here after striking gold with everything else that Founders makes.

A sturdy and stead pour brings about deep mohogany and medium brown colors with a significant haze. An initial 1/2" head of dense off-white head falls to half that and remains firm from then on. A nice Belgian lace persists on the sides of the glass as the beer fades.

In Kentucky, we are used to the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday Bourbon Balls. This delicate desert is very well exhibited in this beer. The aroma is chocked full of deep bourbony and cocoa aromas. Here, the maltiness doesn't end with the grains, but a malted milk note persists and inhances the intrigue. Just from the nose, this is one inviting beer.

Intense flavors of strong malts, deep chocolates, medium coffees and nuts, and bourbon-soaked fruits make for a great, great taste. Low on hop flavoring, the malts dominate here. Absolute delicious blend of molassas sweetness, bourbon undertones, cocoa, and mild campfire-ish notes make for a very well rounded and complex taste.

The body of the beer, once again, favors the malts but is well balanced with deep alcohols, fruitcake breadiness, and rich creaminess (again, like the malted milk thing- think Whopper candies soaked in bourbon). No phenolics or sharp alcohols, this beer is very well textured.

As far as Scottish Ales are concerned, this one is light on the peat and smokey notes. It emphasized the rich malty flavors and textures without becomming overly sweet. Combine all this with the robust chocolate and bourbon notes and we have a perfect desert beer for a Kentuckian.

Thanks RyanC84!

BEERchitect, Jul 29, 2009
Photo of mikesgroove
3.9/5  rDev -9.9%

Now this one was an anomaly to me. I had heard about it several times before, and received it as an extra from a BIF that I cannot remember, but that I do know contained tons of Founders at the time. This is a 2007 Vintage twelve-ounce bottle, that I do know and I have had it in the closet for at least a few months, so it has had a bit of time to relax. I am not sure what kind of concoction I am getting myself into over here; however, it looks intriguing to say the least. Retrieved the bottle from the fridge and let it warm up a few minutes, before serving it into a Sam Adams fluted pint glass.

A - Poured this one very hard into the glass, trying to elicit as much out of it as I possibly could. What I got was about a finger worth of tan head across the top, and this quickly faded before my eyes, and left behind only a thin film of lace and bubbles across the top to carry on the foam. This then faded rather quickly, and then really all that was left after that was a thin line of bubbles across the top. There was a very nice color to this, a deep hickory brown with a very cloudy and hazy consistency to it. Not bad overall, I could see some carbonation, barely making it out through the haze. Very nice looking indeed.

S - The aroma was full of bourbon and alcohol, absolutely ripe with it from the first smell I could take in. I t was really coming across quite heavy. Once I let it warm up a bit it started to take on much more character. A very nice deep malty backbone was starting to push through. Lots of sweet notes taking over on this one, with hints of caramel, vanilla and nice earthy grains starting to come to the front. Definitely, some wood somewhere in its history as the aroma of oak was huge on this one. I would really pick up the bourbon barrel clearly, and knew this was going to be a big one.

T - The flavor was a touch hot to be honest. Loaded down with alcohol a bit more then I thought it would be, and it took a good few minutes to really mellow out before I could appreciate it for what it was. Once the alcohol mellowed, some lovely sweet notes started to mingle in. Lots of caramel and vanilla starting to take shape here, really lightning it up and make it that much sweeter. Next up in the lineup was a full on assault of the oak and wood flavors that were coming through earlier. Strong hints of oak and bourbon dominating it here, really giving it a deep flavor and pronounced presence. Definitely some more alcohol in the finish now, no doubt about that, as I was left with a long drawn out flavor of rich bourbon and caramel, with the ever so slightly dry hop finish. Really quite complex and very nice indeed.

M - The feel on this one was a bit tricky to be honest. It was quite nicely nestled in the medium-bodied ale category with a nice rich profile and really complex finish. Good carbonation stayed with it till the end never letting it get dull or boring in any way. Definitely not thing, but it was a little slick to be honest. Still very nice, and smooth.

D - I could definitely have gone for another one of these when all was said and done. It was definitely a sipper due to the strong nature of it, however it was really quite complex, and the warmer it got the better it was received. Not something you would drink all night, but one or two would be no issue.

Overall, this was a really nice and quite complex wee heavy. I have had ones strong then this, but this was almost borderline on a old ale. It was just full of alcohol and really sweet tones. Very nicely crafted and definitely a quality brew. I look forward t having another one day.

mikesgroove, Feb 16, 2008
Photo of Texasfan549
4.5/5  rDev +3.9%

Texasfan549, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of kjkinsey
4/5  rDev -7.6%

kjkinsey, Dec 01, 2011
Photo of womencantsail
3.93/5  rDev -9.2%

Big thanks to tendermorsel for this bottle!

A: Backwoods Bastard pours a cloudy, muddled amber/brown color with pretty much no foam.

S: This certainly smells like a fine liquor. A lot of bourbon and vanilla. There is also a very strong oak aroma.

T: The taste has many of the same characteristics of the nose. A lot of oak, vanilla, bourbon, and maybe a touch of chocolate. There is also a bitterness in there somewhere.

M: Very smooth, creamy, and full bodied. The carbonation is on the low side.

D: I was expecting to be blown away by booze, but it really was quite manageable. That said, you still feel it after enjoying a bottle.

womencantsail, Dec 06, 2009
Photo of ygtbsm94
3.5/5  rDev -19.2%

ygtbsm94, Jan 10, 2012
Photo of GRG1313
4.03/5  rDev -6.9%

This bourbon flavored aged ale pours brown with a nice tan head. Lovely soft burnt carmel nose, with hints of fruited toffee. Smokey-campfire malty flavors with dried fruit flavors and characteristics. Desireable creamy fruit and malty mouth and long on hops in the finish. Excellent character and quality.

GRG1313, May 15, 2009
Photo of spycow
5/5  rDev +15.5%

spycow, Dec 14, 2011
Photo of kylehay2004
4.22/5  rDev -2.5%

half finger rapidly dissipating head, no lacing, on a cloudy dark brown amber body. Aroma of the bourbon barrel is right on. Nice oak and vanilla notes. Mostly oak and bourbon in the flavor. Smooth with some molasses and caramel notes. medium to full body and moderate carbonation. Just the right amount of bourbon flavoring, smooth and surprisingly drinkable.

kylehay2004, Jan 15, 2012
Photo of jaydoc
4.4/5  rDev +1.6%

jaydoc, Aug 27, 2013
Photo of ChainGangGuy
4/5  rDev -7.6%

Appearance: Pours a clear, dark reddish-brown body with a rather small, fleeting, off-white head.

Smell: A sturdy, sweet-scented caramel maltiness with a hint of maple. Oh, and with a rich, distinct bourbon barrel aroma, but you already knew that, right?

Taste: Sweet, sugary caramel maltiness with an added dose of maple syrup. Small touch of fruit. Full, punchy bourbon barrel tastes of vanilla and toasted oak wood. Light tannic astringency. Earthy hops with a medium amount of bitterness. Pleasingly sweet, bourbony finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium carbonation. Lightly sticky mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Oh, it's quite good. Potent, sure, but good! If ever anyone has some extra bottles of Backwoods Bastard they're looking to get rid of count me in.

ChainGangGuy, Nov 29, 2008
Photo of Knapp85
4.22/5  rDev -2.5%

Thanks TATURBO for the bottle of this, much appreciated!
This bottle poured out as a light muddy brown color with a soft creamy looking head on top. The lacing is thin but sticks nicely. The smell of booze, maple, some fennel, malts and wood all flood out of this beer. The taste is sweet with some light vanilla flavors, sweet malts, a light amount of bourbon and some earth in there too. The mouthfeel has some soft bubbles and a smooth creamy feel in the mouth. Overall I am very glad I finally got to try this one. I had wanted to give it a shot for a while and I did my best to enjoy each sip of this. This beer is great but isn't my favorite from Founder's.

Knapp85, Jul 20, 2011
Photo of oberon
4.03/5  rDev -6.9%

Ahh the Lions,enough said.Backwoods Bastard poured into a small tulip glass an awesome deep mahogany with with amber hue,a tight formed clingy tannish colored head atop,great clarity and a great pour.Deep complex malt aromas with the bourbon barrel showing through,vanilla and cherry notes dominate with some wood and a tinge of sweet alcohol.Obviously not a beer to start turkey day with but I did,its a sipper but not a head knocker.Flavors are pretty sweet up front with vanill,caramel and cherry flavors dominating,the bourbon flavor is prevelent but not overpowering,theere is a noticeablr drying leafy finish.A great beer,like I said asipper but it wont slow you down to much,a few of these and I might enjoy the Lions game.

oberon, Nov 27, 2008
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Founders Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 5,344 ratings.