Dismiss Notice
Subscribe to BeerAdvocate magazine and get 12 issues / year of fresh beer content delivered to your door each month.

Already subscribe? to manage your subscription.

Founders Backwoods Bastard - Founders Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Founders Backwoods BastardFounders Backwoods Bastard

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,586 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 1,586
Hads: 7,062
rAvg: 4.22
pDev: 10.43%
Wants: 911
Gots: 2,520 | FT: 242
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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 1,586 | Hads: 7,062
Photo of beerbully
4.67/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into snifter

A-dark copper /brown cinnamon color with a mocha color 1/2 inch head that quickly dissipates mild lacing the quickly runs down the side of the glass

S-boozy bourbon, vanilla, charcoal wood, sweet caramel, brown sugar or molasses

T-follows the nose...booming with flavor. Sweet boozy bourbon but not a lot of alcohol burn, notes of vanilla, caramel, molasses, toffee, pecan pie

M-not much carbonation, medium bodied, leaves some sweetness on the finish, maple syrup,

O-Great tasting beer, all time favorite, good balance of style with the barrel aging, not much alcohol burn given the ABV...great sipper on a cold day... (644 characters)

Photo of negroobserver
3.72/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance... Dark brown. Hazy. Pours with barely any sign of carbonation. Thin rim of bubbles around the edge of the glass, no more.

Smells.... Malty. The alcohol is at the forefront here. Hint of banana and coconut.

Taste... Malty. Sweet. Light smokey bitter residue on the tongue at the back end. Bitterness that lingers a bit in the mouth. The alcohol is definitely the strongest note here.

Mouthfeel... Hardly any carbonation here. Very flat. No alcohol sting. It's balanced very well with a malty sweetness.

Overall... A nice complex and enjoyable beer. I like it, but I wouldn't recommend it over other beers that are of a similar style. The weak carbonation is very disappointing and really takes away from the experience of enjoying a beer.

(758 characters)

Photo of 33nickadams
4.1/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

a- amber brown color, not much head, not any real retention, translucent
s- slight bourbon smell
t- not as overpowering in bourbon as I though it would be. I'm not a big bourbon barrel fan, but I'm enjoying this
m- full and thick
d- probably could only have 1 a night. But I bet it would age supremely

I really enjoyed this experience. When I started I didn't even think I could finish it, but as it warmed, it took on entirely different characteristics. Like I said, I'm not a big bourbon barrel fan, but this was a nice surprise.

Edited on 2/4/12- I love this beer now. It's one of my favorites. I'll try to get it every year. (630 characters)

Photo of krustster
5/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance: one of the best-looking beers I have ever seen, if not the very best. I always say this isn't an important category, but this is one of those beers that you really have to see in the glass to fully appreciate. Dark, dark brownish red. Held up to the light it's almost a blood red. Mostly clear with fine sediment suspended in the bottom of the glass. Very generous brownish-white head that lasts for a very long time. Tons of sticky lacing. Incredible appearance. I've had many bottles of this before now, but just looking at it is raising my expectations for this review.

Smell: Incredibly rich, bourbon, oak, candied nuts, caramel, vanilla, toffee, every "sweet" and "rich" adjective you can think of applies here. I'm sure there are some references to dark fruits and whatnot that I'm missing, but to me, it's all about the caramel and pecan pie. In any case, it's a magical experience. I've been just smelling it for about half an hour, and this is my 13th bottle so far this year. It never gets old. Absolutely unreal!

Taste, in accordance with tradition, is similar to the nose. Delicious, rich, decadent, any over-the-top adjective you want to apply will fit in here. Huge bourbon, oak, caramel, toffee, dried fruits or whatever, incredible. This is one of those beers where you go "oh my god bourbon barrels must be actually magic!" and buy a bunch of bourbon barrel stuff that isn't very good, in hopes of duplicating the miracle your mouth just experienced. More than anything else, the flavor I get is pecan pie. And that's one of my favorite types of pie! Oh man. Maybe even french toast. This is so sweet, so rich, so balanced. But not over the top! I like over the top things, but this one is so balanced in spite of how rich and sweet it it is, that it reaches another level. It's almost like a religious experience. What a treat. I could drink this all day... but given its limited nature, I'll say that I could have this as a dessert after any meal.

Mouth feel... a hard category to rate, but I have to give it a perfect score again. It's so sticky, like a syrup. Like maple syrup on french toast! Viscous, but creamy, and with just the right amount of carbonation.

Overall, it would appear that I've given this beer a perfect score. I don't have a ton of reviews, but this is one of only two so far that has gotten such a rating from me. I dunno, for me, most beers fall behind in either mouth feel or appearance, but this one is quite simply perfect all around. I cut myself off once I'd purchased 16 bottles. I have 3 left, and I feel like I made a grave mistake buying as "few" as I did. This beer is an utter masterpiece. (2,660 characters)

Photo of ipafool
4.72/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Aquired via trade with beerbeerbeerbeer, Thanks brother. Pours a dark copper with a nice two finger head. Smell is dominated with bourbon but in a good way. Also vanilla, oak, brown sugar, love it. The taste is a huge sweetness, plums, bourbon, toffee and caramel. Mouthfeel is perfect silky smooth coats well with a full body. Drinkability is off the charts. A sipper for sure but will seek out again and again, Founders nailed it on this one. (444 characters)

Photo of AshleyMiller
4.22/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

thanks to G311 for this dandy. poured into my stone snifter.

a - pours a dark red mahagony (much more so red than i anticipated) with minimal head on it

s - strong smell of bourbon, vanilla, oak, brown sugar, with ... amazing!

t - definitely resembles the smell. strong bourbon taste that isn't as overwhelming as it sounds. clear malt and vanilla in there.

m - medium body and minimal carbonation that works well with this slow sipper

o - i'm really enjoying this beer - strong bourbon flavor without the heat. will definitely seek out more of these. (556 characters)

Photo of radioscooter
4.13/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Got this in a trade with Baltimorebeerguy. I've been wanting to try it for a while, as I work my way through the wee heavys. Hard to find around here.

Aggressive pour into a pint glass. 2 finger head that drips down beautfiully with complex, syrupy lacing.

Stays firm after a few minutes. Pits and valleys. Dark copper, auburn, mahogany color. Slightly cloudy. Aroma weighs heavily on the bourbon side. Nothing Scotchy here. Getting vanilla and burnt sugar.

Let warm for 5 minutes.

Hit with the bourbon boozines right off the bat. Sticky, toffee, vanilla, malty, chewy creamy,

Nothing wrong with that, I like many bourbon beers. But it seems that when you age things in b. barrels, it either marries up to the style of brew, or it doesn't. When it does, you've got amazing things like Goose Island Rare stout. When it doesn't, you get things like Kentucky Bourbon Ale that just taste like you poured bourbon in with the original beer.

This one is somewhere in between. Yeah, I'm getting the malty, dark ale feel but it doesn't really say Scotch Ale to me a whole lot.

It IS delicious though and my only complaint is a slightly dry, phenolic finish. I'm not grabbing this when I want a Scotch Ale, but it's a wonderful sipper when you want that Bourbon feel but don't want the heaviness of a stout. (1,308 characters)

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

Enjoyed this at Founder's during a brewery road trip to Dark Lord Day

Smell, First thing out of the gate is alcohol, this one smells hot. Some fruity Belgian-esque smells, but overall, fruity and hot

Taste, the alcohol is quite noticeable, but plum, raisin, and some other dark fruits really help balance it out. All the flavors really do come together to make this one a very good "Scotch Ale." While I know the brewers are much smarter than I am about their beer, this one really reminds me of a young Quad, very fruity, but with that alcohol poking at you.

Overall, a very different beer, and one I thoroughly enjoyed. I would love to see what a year would do for the flavor of this beer. (700 characters)

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

Got this from the good guys at Royal, gotta thank the guy i talk to on the phone for saving me one while i was in class at UMKC.

This thing immediately smells of bourbon. I will say that i was turned off a bit in the fact that the previous night i had had a little too much to drink and this brought back some of the spins for me. Now getting on to it. This is an amazing brew. The bourbon is nice and mellow once it warms and this is extremely drinkable for a nice 10% er. A nice dark red to brown hue, no head at all, it was really fresh so a little carbonation was noticeable. I will say that the feeling is a little think for my taste overall, but this is worlds above some of the other wee heavies ive had. (713 characters)

Photo of Kelly88
4.37/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at the dilly deli. Served in a great lakes snifter.

A- dark ruby mahogany with a minimal beige cap that is slithering away to a wispy thin skim. I like this look but I could use a little more body in the head.

S- first thing that comes to mind is vanilla as you really put your nose in the glass you can start to pick up some wood and very slight cherry. Intoxicating

T- lot more complex than the nose. Caramel toffee mixes beautifully with the vanilla and wood. Alcohol shows it head to add some kick to the finish. Great.

M- suprisingly light for all of the strong flavors. Perfect carbonation that has the perfect feel on the tongue. Maybe perfect

Overall a fabulous beer. Huge flavors that you are prepared for by the aroma wafting out of the glass. Then it lives up to the anticipation with expertly executed tastes and mouthfeel. (854 characters)

Photo of justjonas
4.27/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Do u like bourbon? Cuz theres a ton of it to be had in this founders offering. Has opened my eyes to what can be done with a bourbon barrel aside from the usual (stout) suspects. Delicious! (189 characters)

Photo of schusterbauer
4.65/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sweet aromas of brandy, smoke, and caramel, just strong enough to tickle the sinuses, but no burning sensation. Soft, smooth body, tastes of custard, caramel, rotten apple peels, and Makers Mark. My burps taste like the Creme Brulee I had at Assagi last night.

Some might call this the latest Founders monstrosity, but I promise it's nowhere near as bruising as other "big" Founders beers, and it's a nice escape from a dreary fall afternoon. (Leave it to Michiganders to know the antidote to Michigan weather!) (512 characters)

Photo of tigerbeer90
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%

This is an update, so I will keep this brief

Loved this beer fresh, but now that it is pushing a year old, I think I like it more! The bourbon barrel is there, but its a more blended and subdued flavor. The heat is completely gone and notes of vanilla and caramel are brought to the forefront. (296 characters)

Photo of SafeAtFirst
4.11/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

10/13/11 bottle

Deep ruby color (back lit by my tablet) slow pour no head.

Nice mix of caramel malt and oak/bourbon. Some dark fruits. Real nice smells.

Flavor follows aroma. Caramel but not really sweet. Dark, dry fruits. Whisky. Touch of pepper.

Some heft coupled with some tannin. Finish is some what dry, chalky. Warming alcohol on the trip down.

Pretty good over all. Wish I had more. (395 characters)

Photo of DrewZ926
4.05/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A- deep brown with some golden highlights, minimal head that fades fast, no lacing

S- a wallop of savory bourbon, maple, caramel, molasses, sweet malt

T- really complex and balanced surprisingly, big bourbon flavors, not overly sweet though, lots of intense malt and caramel, toffee, a bit of mint and cocoa too

M- full bodied and fairly viscous

O- a great barrel aged offering from founders. Very bourbon-centric though, which to some may be off-putting. That being said I think the base beer melded great with the aging and preserved its integrity while taking on an even more complex flavor profile (606 characters)

Photo of Jaxbrew
4.75/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2013 vintage. Really nice barrel influence on this to have such a presence after more than a year's aging. Nice cherry/plum flavors and hints of vanilla from the oak. (166 characters)

Photo of spacebear09
4.3/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This is a very interesting and unique ale, never had anything quite like it before. The scent hints at massive bourbon flavor, but the taste is surprisingly mild. Very smooth and easy drinking. Flavors are primarily toffee, caramel, creme brulee, bourbon, and a hint of chocolate. Very refreshing and doesn't have the bite associated with most bourbon aged beers. (363 characters)

Photo of mjwellman
4.89/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

I think this may be my favorite beer now. Dark brown in color but somewhat clear. Sweet nutty aroma with bourbon. The tast is carmel and bourbon with a lite sweet taste. No bitterness. This is one of the quintessential beers. I could drink this everyday. (260 characters)

Photo of Jjski
4.55/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Very fine indeed, and a personal favorite.

IMHO this been has a "window" of greatness from 3-9 months after brewing. The barrel heat diminishes and the oak and vanilla rise up. I've not had good luck aging past a year. Still very good, but thins a bit. I find the same to be true of KBS. The aromatics in these beers seem ethereal, they are definitely present but are fragile compared to thicker, malt heavier beers.

Malted candy, warm toffee, dark bread with molasses, whiskey on the backside

To me any Scotch Ale is tasty, but this one with its lighter mouthfeel goes down very easily for 10.2%. Take care. If u have more willpower than me, it may make a "great sipper", but I have to watch myself. It is so smooth and balanced

Others in the class -barrel aged: Wulver ( fantastic but needs a lot more time to settle) and Ride the Lion (I have mixed feelings on this) are both great/good beers, if you like the style. Alesmith Wee with a year on it is a delight (972 characters)

Photo of DrewV
3.18/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark reddish-amber with a thin 1-finger tan head.

S: Malt up front with some minor vanilla/oaky notes peeking through. Nothing aggressive, but nothing impressive, either.

T: First sip hits you with a blast of sharp bourbony alcoholic bite. Not much "beer" flavor here, just mostly alcohol and sharpness. As the beer warms, the flavors come through a bit more, particularly in the aftertaste, but nothing very fulfilling. Just sweetness, bite, and hints of other flavors mixed in.

M: Adequate carbonation, but lacking in fullness. Mostly just bite.

O: I'm not sure what to do with this brew, quite honestly. I love my beers aggressive, but this one just didn't cut it for me. There just wasn't much beyond the bourbon bite. Not much flavor overall, just "hints" of various other flavors. Perhaps some aging would do wonders for this beer, but I'm not so sure I'm willing to give it another shot quite yet. Above average brew, but nothing more. (949 characters)

Photo of StaEva
4.65/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

truly amazing beer. Hints of bourbon, tons of vanilla, toasty oak, buttery toffe and caramel, slight Scottish roast. medium carbonation, almost syrup-like mouthfeel. tons of flavor. founders hit a BIG fucking home-run with this beer. one of the best beers I've ever had. (270 characters)

Photo of drrone
4.81/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a bottle on 3/1/13. Bottle Dated 10/13/11.

A - Gorgeous hazy dark amber/brown color. Very little head and minimal lacing. It had some floating particles in it.

S - Wonderful nose to it. Bourbon, vanilla, and I think caramel/butterscotch. It makes my mouth water. Fantastic.

T - The taste is amazing. It follows the nose very well with an explosion of bourbon, vanilla, caramel/butterscotch, with an oak and malt finish. Nice balanced booziness to it.

M - Smooth, very easy to drink.

O - I love this beer. I only wish I could have found more of it. Founders did a wonderful job. (598 characters)

Photo of tedsox31
4.42/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into my snifter, the color is a dark brown with off-white head that dissipates relatively quickly. Lots of lacing left behind.

The aroma is delicious. Right up front is a nice bourbon presence that isn't overwhelming. Alongside of that is vanilla, oak, caramel, chocolate, and the slightest hint of fruit.

The taste is boozy, along with all of the other flavors mentioned in the aroma: lots of caramel and chocolate, vanilla and oak are in the middle-ground, and a smooth sweetness at the end.

Mouthfeel is medium-bodied, surprising for a beer like this, but very smooth and low carbonation. The bourbon lingers on my tongue a bit.

This is a sipper, although I'm tempted to have two in one sitting despite the high alcohol. The flavors are so well-blended they just invite you back for sip after sip after sip. Would be interested to age this one for a year and see how it develops. (915 characters)

Photo of MCDuhamel
4.04/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip glass at around 55 F. Thanks to Liz for the sample!

A: Pours a dark mahogany that shows a luminescent but somewhat cloudy garnet when held against light. A dark ivory head forms quickly, dissipating to a thin foam cap in short order. Some moderate lacing on the sides. Visible carbonation is more active than expected. Nice enough to look at, but nothing unexpected or exciting.

S: The nose is full of vanilla and oak, with a hint of red fruit.

T: The first impression on the palate is of oak and tannin, followed quickly by vanilla yielding to malt. Strong caramel/toffee notes are evident. The beer is supported by obvious alcohol spiciness and warmth; no subtlety to the strength here. The finish shows some hops bitterness which, with the medium carbonation, prevents the beer from being at all cloying despite its sweetness.

M: The mouthfeel is a bit light for a wee heavy, and perhaps reflects a little more carbonation than one might expect.

D: Despite its strength, this would be an easy beer to have two of in a session. There is nothing cloying or overpowering about the beer, which maintains nice balance.

Overall: Its nice to find an oak-aged beer that isn't a stout. This is a very good oaked beer that shows the wood and vanilla characteristics typical of such beers without losing proportion. (1,333 characters)

Photo of brian44556
4.42/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured a 12oz bottle into Founder's snifter. Bottled 10/2/2013.

Pours an almost opaque black with a thin chocolate head. A steady ring of lace lines the outside of the glass and leaves its sticky presence with each sip. Strong bourbon, vanilla, oak, and slight hints of chocolate highlight the aromas. The taste is right in line with the smell. My palate is met with a mild, upfront bourbon flavor, then catches a hint of vanilla and oak in the middle that finishes with a nice boozy burn. Light carbonation with a warm mouthful from the bourbon makes this a very well-balanced beer. A great, complex, barrel-aged offering from Founder's. The accessibility, cost, and overall complexity make this one of my favorites from Founder's. This ranks up there with KBS minus all of the hype! (786 characters)

Founders Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
94 out of 100 based on 1,586 ratings.