Founders Backwoods Bastard - Founders Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Founders Backwoods BastardFounders Backwoods Bastard

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
94
outstanding

1,584 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 1,584
Hads: 7,050
rAvg: 4.22
pDev: 4.98%
Wants: 901
Gots: 2,510 | FT: 244
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: 1,584 | Hads: 7,050
Photo of Knapp85
4.2/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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. (664 characters)

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.94/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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. (465 characters)

Photo of largadeer
4.32/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Dark, near-opaque ruby-amber with pretty much no head, just a thin ring of foam.

Smell: Big whiskey barrel flavors up front, toffee sweetness, burnt sugar. Faintly earthy. Roasted corn, slight sherry-like oxidation. Very pleasant.

Taste & mouthfeel: Rich caramel malt flavors meet whiskey heat. Medium in body, low carbonation. Earthy bitter finish, hints of burnt grain. Light tannins. Really nice stuff. (419 characters)

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.95/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

"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. (2,135 characters)

Photo of emerge077
4.02/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2008 label with a sinister, axe-wielding dwarf on the front. Neck label lists 50 IBU, and 10.2% abv.

Poured half the bottle into a 12 oz. snifter. Thin cap of tan foam, that receded after five minutes, leaving a ring of bubbles at the edge, and a cool spiderweb pattern across the mahogany surface.

Big bourbon aroma. A swirl kicks up a sweet maltiness behind it, hinting at the base beer's character. Otherwise it's sweet, woody whiskey and sour mash fumes: hints of corn, cherry, and fried plantain.

Full fledged bourbon flavor too, more or less steamrolling the whole thing. Luckily not as harsh as straight bourbon, but the full flavor is there. Flashes of sweet malt underneath, with a growing warming sensation in the gut with every sip. Low carb and medium body, the strong flavor takes centerstage. Pretty much only good for sipping, even splitting a bottle if you aren't prepared for alot of whiskey in your beer.

1-12-2010 Vintage 2007 bottle, "7169" roughly may '07

Slightly murky red, decent amount of foam. Clear and strong bourbon aroma. Alcohol has mellowed, oxidation is creeping in, but doesn't interfere. Bourbon flavors are front and center, woody sweet maple syrup, brown sugar, drizzled in caramel toffee. Really tasty without the alcohol heat. (1,272 characters)

Photo of mikesgroove
3.88/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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. (3,610 characters)

Photo of zeff80
4.09/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a cloudy, dirty brown color with a small, thin head of off-white, foam. It left soapy residue.

S - It smelled of bourbon, scotch and rich, sweet malt.

T - This really had a good dose of bourbon flavor with touches of raisin. It had a rich, sweet malt backbone.

M - It was soft and smooth. A medium to full-bodied beer.

D - This is a great tasting brew. Potent and rich. (388 characters)

Photo of oberon
4.05/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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. (730 characters)

Photo of womencantsail
3.92/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

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. (638 characters)

Photo of ChainGangGuy
4/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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. (767 characters)

Photo of nickfl
4/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - One finger of light brown head on top of a slightly hazy, amber-brown body. The foam settle quickly to a thin layer and leaves moderate lace.

S - Sweet caramel malt that blends with, and becomes indistinguishable from, bourbon barrel aromas of oak, coconut, cherries, and booze. Lots of burnt sugar notes with a little bit of pine sap character.

T - Strong, thick malt up front with toffee, caramel, and brown sugar notes. The bourbon character comes in fast and hard with a lot of spicy alcohol notes and more complex, dark sugars. The finish is spicy and alcoholic with a strong, phenolic smoke note that brings out a lot of the woody, boozy, harshness of the bourbon. Lingering notes of smoke, char, brown sugar, and pine sap stick to the back of the tongue.

M - Moderately thick body, low carbonation, and an only slightly sweet finish with some alcoholic warmth working its way down my throat to settle in the pit of my stomach.

D - I expected something big, round, sweet, and bourbon like, but what I got is something far leaner and meaner than one would expect from a scotch ale. There is a lot of phenolic smoke character in this beer, either from abused yeast or from peat, and it does some strange things when it meets the bourbon. The phenolics seem to bring out a lot of the boozy and astringent qualities of the whiskey that are usually not present in barrel aged beers; combine this with the relative dryness of this brew, and the fact that it is not at all shy about its 10% abv, and you have a weirdly convincing bourbon beer. I'm still not quite sure what I think about this one. It has managed to capture a lot of the harsher qualities of distilled spirits that I prefer not to see in a beer; on the other hand, I have to respect the fact that they have brewed what I can only regard as the liquid equivalent of the grizzled, scotch-irish mountain man that graces the label of the bottle. This is quite a unique beer, and while I won't be rushing out to buy another one, I am certainly grateful for the opportunity to try it. (2,051 characters)

Photo of TMoney2591
3.85/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in a flared pokal at Bliss.

Scott is the absolute man for cracking some of these for us during this Bliss tasting. Seriously. It pours a clear dark russet-amber topped by a finger of dirty light-tan foam. The nose comprises bourbon, oak, light vanilla, caramel, toffee, light peat moss, raisin, dates, and a touch of cocoa. The only thing holding this smell back is the strength of the bourbon, which comes close to singeing my nosehairs with every sniff. (But this ain't enough to deter me from going further, mind you.) The taste brings in more of the same, but with a decidedly stronger and boozier bourbon component, which threatens to overtake everything else in a blaze of usurpatory glory. It's still pretty tasty, but much more one-dimensional than it could have been. The body is a stolid medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a lightly syrupy feel. Overall, yeah, it's heavy on the bourbon, but it's still a damn fine, tasty brew. It's not amazing, but it's more than an experience. (1,008 characters)

Photo of oline73
4.25/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A 2009 bottle poured into a sam adams perfect pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a cloudy, dark reddish amber with a small layer of off white head. Some lacing.

Smell: Sweet malt, dark fruit, vanilla, some warm alcohol and bourbon.

Taste: Sweet malt with some caramel and vanilla. Incredibly smooth bourbon with some brown sugar and a slight alcohol burn in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with smooth carbonation and a dry finish.

Overall: The age has done this one very well. Extremely smooth and complex. I'll definitely have this one again. (547 characters)

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.12/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy deep-amber-red-chestnut. Surprisingly, the off-white head drops shortly.

The aroma is bourbon-like, but also caramelish and sweet. It's sweetish and woody, and welcoming.

In the mouth it's medium bodied with a median carbonation, leaving it smooth and gently creamy.

The flavor is initially caramel malt, brown sugar, and Bourbon, followed by drying notes of woodiness and a snap of alcohol. In the end, although it lingers for quite some time, the maltiness basically evaporates leaving just the wood, bourbon, and alcohol behind.

An interesting and engaging ale! (582 characters)

Photo of Kegatron
4.37/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a snifter.

Pours a deep, murky brown with light plum colored notes around the edges. Very minimal white head that quickly dissipated into a smallish circle around the outer rim with a few wispy traces in middle. Lacing was surprising good considering the small amount of head. Aroma is strong bourbon up front and coats the underlying currents of sweetness, spice, dark fruits, vanilla, and oak.

Taste is very complex. All kinds of stuff going on here. First up is a spicy sweetness melding into hints of vanilla oak and dark fruits. The bourbon flavor is very subtle and nicely compliments the other flavors. Finishes with a bitter hop, smoke, and alcohol combo that completely coats the back of the throat. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a smooth viscous nature. Very nice.

Wow, Founders comes through with another oak-aged wonder. Definitely one to sip and savor to fully enjoy it's complex and warming characteristics. I just wish that I had more than just the one bottle. (1,003 characters)

Photo of TheManiacalOne
4/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep reddish brown color, with a thin off-white head, that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains bourbon, vanilla, brown sugar, some fruit, caramelized malts and a touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out with sweet flavors of vanilla, bourbon, caramel and some fruit followed by a very hearty malt character. There’s a significant alcohol sting that comes in next. The hops presence is mild but complementary and brings some balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Smooth and crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, slightly filling, strong kick, good representation of style, this is a solid beer to drink for a while if you’re in the mood for the style but there are others I would drink first including Founders Dirty Bastard. (907 characters)

Photo of jlindros
4.7/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Portia99 for supplying this baby on the 08, now time to review the 09. Poured into Allagash tulip glass.

The new 2009 release, and I have refined my reviews and palate a lot since my last review.

A: Rich thick 1 finger head that doesn't seem like it wants to leave at all, and I don't blame it. Super dark molasses brown color that barely lets light through, but when it does it leaves a slight reddish hue with lots of haze.

N: Wow bourbon up the wazzoo! Also lots of oak aromas to dominate the nose. I start to get some brown sugar and molasses or some sweet syrup like aroma behind it, but heavy on bourbon and oak. Judging from my last review I didn't mention the bourbon and oak, so I wonder if it ages by lessening these aromas. I have more 2008 of this so I will have to compare them soon. Also on the nose is slight vanilla and a little alcohol. Then there are some creamy heavy malts, but way on the back side.

T: Taste starts with some rich creamy malts, very delicious malts though, wow! Then adds some interseting fruits like raisin and perhaps fig or date. After that comes the bourbon, which is still adding to the tastes. Next up is oak and vanilla, which round off the flavors well. Its really rich and complex. The vanilla seems to creep up and get stronger as the taste lingers and as the beer warms. Then some burnt brown sugar really takes a punch to this beer. I almost get a slight cream soda like taste. A slight alcohol taste as well, but very light. The flavors are dancing around in my mouth like ecstacy.

M: Pretty thick, almost syrupy, slightly velvety, some alcohol warmth and burn, decent carbonation.

F: Finishes slightly dry but still semi sweet. The alcohol leaves a fresh clean feeling in the mouth like you just finished mouthwash. The vanilla and oak also seem to stick around for a little while adding some nice lingering tastes in the memory. The bourbon also remains, but much less than before. It adds some bitter qualities that seem to stem from some possible hops. The creamy feel and taste also lingered for a little bit. Some oak esters stick around your tongue, or my tongue since I'm the one tasting it dammit. Damn this is such an awesomely awesome beer! (2,217 characters)

Photo of Slatetank
4.3/5  rDev +1.9%
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. (1,427 characters)

Photo of RblWthACoz
4.08/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark ruby hued brown with a thin tan head. Nose is malty with an almost cardboard tree kind of thing going on. The first thing I thought when I took a sip was: boozy! Thankfully that seems to fade away as time goes on. What I get after that is a thick malty backbone with a sweet earthy edge. Peaty edge on the backside. Full flavor profile, not a mass of complexity. Feel is smooth on liquid and carbonation is lower. After the booze calms down here this gets better.

Thanks to tburkhart for this one. (511 characters)

Photo of russpowell
4.45/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Revize after drinking this year's offering, this is a great/epic tske on the style, period!

Cheers to Bitterbill ( I think) for this one! Mine is 8.7% abv

Pours caramel/chestnut with 1 finger of tan colored head. Good head retention & outstanding lacing

S: Bourbon sweetness, some oaky notes

T: Toffee, oakyness, & whisky/bourbon up front. Vanilla follows as this warms, dryness, plus a touch of leafy hops, more toffee, raisins & a bit of booze. Finishes dry with whisky notes, & some leafy & herbal hops. Good flavor, but the oakyness is just bit much for me, almost seems artificial

MF: Medium bodied, slightly overgassed, skews a bit too sweet & oaky for me

Drinks good for the abv, & style. This is a bit off style to me, but tasty enough (751 characters)

Photo of Rifugium
2.24/5  rDev -46.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

First had: bottle from Pinocchio's beer garden, Media, PA

Definitely the "least good" of any Founders brews I've had. Poured a reddish-mahogany color, muddy, with a spotty white head that receded to a layer of patchy bubbles. Booze-heavy aroma, almost straight bourbon, big and woody (there's a B&B joke in there somewhere). Let's be honest: this tasted like a cheap boilermaker, big on the booze, eliminating almost all complexity that might exist. Tones of oak-aged vanilla come through, but the bourbon just kills the palate almost completely. Tasted way higher in alcohol content than it actually was. Thinner than most Scottish ales I've had, but certainly not as good as some. The texture is more what I'd like to have in that it wasn't too syrupy, and certainly not as peaty, but it just didn't work with the intensity of the booze flavor. Not very good, not very drinkable, and I'll be happy never having it again. Sorry, Founders. (940 characters)

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.32/5  rDev +2.4%
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. (1,176 characters)

Photo of kojevergas
4.02/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Lucked out and picked this one up locally - albeit for $7.00. 355ml brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a New Belgium stem-goblet in me gaff in low altitude Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are through the roof; heard nothing but great things about this one. 10.20% ABV confirmed. I dig the label.

Served after a period of rest to warm up after leaving the fridge. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a half finger khaki colour head of nice cream and thickness but underwhelming (~20 second) retention - though this is more than excusable for the style. Colour is a very dark ruby-amber; it's not black or brown. Very appealing sleek velvety colour; even if it is quite dark. Nontransparent and (surprisingly) non-opaque. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show. There's a certain luxurious quality to its dark hue.

Sm: Vanilla, alcohol (but a warm, inviting type of alcohol aroma), caramel, dark sugars, dark malts, heavy oak chips, fine bourbon, raisin, and more bourbon. Wow. Rich and decadent. A fantastic aroma; I'm really interested in this one. I can't wait to try it. Complex, subtle, and nuanced. Some of the most vibrant oak in an aroma I've ever experienced. Really appealing. No yeast comes through.

T: Vanilla and oak chips up front, with dark raisiny malts forming the near-perfectly sweet clean body. Fine bourbon undertones are evocative throughout, joining with the oak in the climax for a lovely delivery of more vanilla and fine dark fruit. The bourbon and oak aging here is top notch, with the tones complementing the flavours rather than competing with them. Some caramelized sugar throughout. Malty caramel is fantastic and understated; not overbearing like many beers in the style. Some hints of maple syrup in the early second act. Hop presence is minimal to nonexistent. I don't even get floral character off it. I keep wanting to detect chocolate but there's just a fleeting whisper of it and it's gone. Same with some sort of fruity note in there; almost the slightest hint of plum or perhaps even fig. About as subtly done as they come. That's one tasty beverage. Obscenely well balanced. Quite tasty. I can tell she'll drink better as she warms. The alcohol is present as a light touch of heat to warm the stomach; about as pleasant an alcohol presence as is possible. Wow. This redefines how I look at this style.

Mf: Perfect thickness. Slight undercarbonation. Good rolling smoothness and wetness. suits the flavours quite well. I could use a bit more dryness and coarseness on the finish to encourage the next sip. The biggest flaw with this beer is the mouthfeel; which is too smooth and wet overall (though this does bolster drinkability).

Dr: Sweet mother of fuck that's good stuff. Definitely lives up to the hype. Drinks like a fine bourbon but with improved drinkability. This changes the game for the style in my book. Replaces Old Chub as my idea of the ideal Wee Heavy. Drinkable as hell for the ABV - which is itself very well hidden. The vanilla is delightfully subtle and incredibly well executed. I'd definitely have this on draught, well worth aging as well. Another glowing success from Founders. This is one brewery that really lives up to the hype.

Serve a bit warm. She drinks best that way.

High B+

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03.23.14: Truncated notes from a 2013 vintage bottle served chilled.

Just has one of the finest bourbon aromas out there. The oak, the vanilla, the toasty character...wonderful. Plenty of cream and sweet Wee Heavy malting too.

Doesn't taste quite as good as the 2012 bottle I initially reviewed. The bourbon is there, but it doesn't blend quite as well with the base beer as I remembered. The malting is actually a bit distracting.

Smooth and wet. Near perfect carbonation.

Overall, not the world class Wee Heavy I remember it as. Chalk it up to batch variation. That said, it's still real tasty. I'll be buying it up in future years.

High B

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Some brief notes on 2014's vintage:

Has a sanguine-amber body.

Bourbon beckons in the aroma.

Creamy, with great vanilla and the rich toasted oak note that keeps me coming back to this beer again and again. Touches of peat really set it off nicely. Scottish malting is a treat here.

Creamy, supple, rich, and refined. What a treat of a texture. Exquisite.

Hat tip to Founders for another great vintage.

Low B+ (4,443 characters)

Photo of MasterSki
4.42/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bought a 4-pack from Armanetti's.

A - Murky brown color. Pours with a thin head that dissipates quickly to an attractive lace. Small amount of carbonation is present.

S - Whiskey & oak. Sweet and malty, some chocolate and molasses in there too. Needs to warm a little from fridge temperature before the flavors come out. Rich!

T - Mmm...bourbon & caramel. Leaves me with an aftertaste of Werther's. Oak and brown sugar flavors in there too. There's a little bit of hops too, although not as much as I'd expect for a beer with 50 IBUs.

M - Not as viscous as I expected for a beer that has heavy caramel taste - a little watery. Nice tingle from the carbonation that complements the bourbon. Smooth finish, without heavy alcohol burn.

D - Drinks awfully well for a 10.2% brew. I'd totally have a couple, even if it results in a short night!

Another great brew from Founder's! (879 characters)

Photo of smcolw
3.8/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Cloudy brown color. Modest head to begin with--it settles to a single layer of fine bubbles. Touches of shapely but random lace.

For the smell, there is the typical caramel, candy sugar notes (of course). But there's also an unusual sourness.

The taste is chocolately sweet. Strong alcohol presence. It's like a brown ale with a shot of rum. Rich body, like a true wee heavy. (377 characters)

Founders Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
94 out of 100 based on 1,584 ratings.