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Founders Backwoods Bastard - Founders Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Founders Backwoods BastardFounders Backwoods Bastard

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,709 Reviews
no score

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Reviews: 1,709
Hads: 7,586
Avg: 4.25
pDev: 22.59%
Wants: 972
Gots: 2,980 | FT: 277
Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company
Michigan, United States | website

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: 1,709 | Hads: 7,586
Photo of JoePat
4.1/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dirty brown with a thin off white head that dissipates pretty quickley.
Smells of sweet vanilla and oak with a tiny bit of bourbon. I do pick up some of the caramel.
Very earthy taste but with a sweet malt backbone, gram crackers. A little boozy on the end. This beer is big and flavorful.
Mouth feel is thick and with everything going on in this beer it is a sipper.

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Photo of generalnotsew
4.18/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: Barely any head on this one. Gone in the blink of an eye. Coloring is very coca-cola like. Could all fit the style though.

S: Nice bourbon smell with a lot of oak notes. I had to check to see if it was barrel aged. Did not see anything because it sure smells that way. Hints of caramel. It is like a GOOD bourbon. A bit like the Buffalo Trace I had awhile back.

T: If I had to compare this to anything I would go with a bourbon and coke mixture. I honestly can't describe it any better. Damn warm on the throat too. This is honestly a good alternative to Jack and Coke. I think you could almost fool someone with this.

M: Quite chewy actually. Very thick and warm on the tongue. Carbonation is quite good. And do I mention this stuff warms your tongue and throat?

D: Hmmm. Where do I go with this? It is high if you are a sipper. However I don't see being able to hammer these down but I have to give it a middle score since it is easier to drink than whiskey.

I don't think my score will really reflect how much I am enjoying this. It is my first Wee Heavy. Appearance I gave average but I honestly don't know what these are supposed to look like. Drinkability took a hit but this is a really awesome smelling and tasting beer. Bourbon lovers should really check this out. Get a few for your bourbon loving non craft beer drinking friends. I think this will make then see craft beer in a different light.

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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 Ungertaker
4.7/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 vintage poured into a New Belgium globe.

A- Deep burgundy with a khaki head that faxes to 1/8" and leaves a sticky lacing on the glass.

S- Bourbon, oak, cherries, molasses

T- It starts with bourbon, then gains a dried fruit character. All the while, a subtle sweetness lingers. The bourbon comes back heavier in the end and is joined by a faint boozy burn.

M- Thick and viscous at cellar temp. The carbonation is at a level similar to that of other barrel-aged beers, low.

O- Phenominal; This is my favorite Founder's beer. I love the complexity that the barrel-aging brings to it. I am disappointed that it will not be as abundant this year as it was last.

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Photo of musicsherlock
4/5  rDev -5.9%

Slightly darker than ruby, almost burgundy...thin rim of cream head with wine like lacing.

Smells medicinal , in a good way. Dark fruits.

Strikingly oaky, malty, bitter. Little to no alcohol sensation at first, hotter as it warms. Subdued hint of bourbon.

Tickling of the tongue, more carbonation than expected yet smooth none the less

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Photo of itsscience
4.76/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Served in a snifter

Pours a very dark mahogany color that looks ruby red around the edges, producing a half finger of off-white head that fades quickly and leaves little lacing. The nose is not that of a beer but a bourbon. It has a huge bourbon characteristic along with oak, vanilla, butterscotch candy, and roasted malts. As the nose has promised, so the beer delivers: I get a lot of vanilla and oak char up front blending into a sweet butterscotch/toffee sort of taste with a hint of raisin and dark fruit. The mouthfeel on this beer is absolutely perfect: creamy and full-bodied with just the right carbonation. It's quite boozy in the aftertaste and I'm getting a warming in my chest as I work my way through the glass, so it's definitely a sipper.

Founders just rolled into Florida last month and I've been blown away by one beer after another from them. Breakfast Stout, Red's Rye, and their porter have all been great, but this is my favorite Founders brew out of the ones that I've tried, and it's not close. It's just a phenomenal, massive beer with a ridiculous flavor profile and great balance. One of the best beers I have ever had.

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Photo of Justin_Neff
4.58/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled: 10/05/12 - poured into a CCB Snifter

A: Aggressively pours a dark, dark copper color with 2-finger light beige colored head that sticks around for a few minutes. Leaves a beautiful thin layer of foam around the top of the beer, and a nice, thick lacing on the glass.

S: Initial woft is overwhelming bourbon. Followed up by oakiness and some dark fruit scents. Definite sweet smells on the finish.

T: At the onset, there is malty, caramel, sweet tastes that smell would lead you to expect. There is definite bourbon taste, but the oak, caramel, and surprising vanilla tastes balance it amazingly. This is incredible.

M: A little thinner than you would expect from vision and smell. A low level of carbonation, but decent creaminess. Actually surprising how drinkable it is.

O: Absolutely worth the price tag. Hard to track down, but definitely worth the hunt. Probably my favorite Founders brew to date. Wee Heavy is one of my favorite styles, and this one is at the top of the style for me. It's amazing how the vanilla and caramel notes balance the bourbon and oak. VERY GOOD.

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Photo of gabeerfan
4.22/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a tulip glass with a hazy caramel brown with a nice light tan/off white head.
Aromas are pretty much all bourbon. Lots of vanilla, caramel, and candied orange peel. Very boozy, but more subdued than just straight bourbon. Almost no "traditional" beer aromas make it through.
Taste is about the same. Lots of bourbon flavors: vanilla, caramel, candied orange peel. Lots of alcohol flavors. Again, almost no traditional beer flavors in this.
Full-bodied, but pretty smooth mouthfeel. A little syrupy, but not cloying.
Drinkable in the flavor dept., but at 10.2%, it is a definite sipper or night cap.
Great beer. Not sure I could have more than one in a night, but this is a great alternative to regular bourbon.

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Photo of BigIrishman
4.22/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed in a thistle glass

Appearance: Pours dark ruby with zero visibility and almost no head.

Smell: Sweet oak over smooth malty background. Hints of vanilla, licorice, and even some caramel. This is pretty complicated and very good.

Taste: Like candy. Seriously though, this beer is hugely complex. It starts sweet and develops smooth caramel malts before a twinge of plum, raisin, and grapes come through. There is a slight bitter finish that cleans the palate.

Mouthfeel: Creamy and almost oily.

Drinkability: It's going to be tough for a barrel aged wee heavy to be very drinkable but this one definitely pushes that limit.

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Photo of BlackBeerPirate
4.17/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Taste: big and bold spiced peat and malts, warming bourbon moth feel of alcohol.
Clear deep red copper color.
Big oaked malt nose.
Full body.
Tan refined head with nice lace.
50 IBUs

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Photo of don1481
4.18/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

On tap here at Stubbys in MKE. Got the very last one - keg blew right as this finished pouring onto a globe.

Appearance: Pours a caramelish color with a nice head that retains for a couple minutes.

Smell: chocolate. Little bit of booze. Luxurious. Yeah, that's a good word for this.

Taste: slightly boozy, definitely not obnoxiously so. Chocolatey, caramel, melts in your mouth taste.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth. Oh, so smooth. Right up there with the Skull Splitter in this department.

Overall: very nice. Wish they didn't run out here, but happy I got to review it!!

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Photo of Yagman3000
4.07/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served from a 12 oz. bottle into a Dogfish Head goblet.

Appears a rich dark brown, deep in color, with a small foam layer refusing to subside.

Smells of bourbon with a nice fig and prune background.

Taste is strong of the bourbon with some vanilla and burnt sugar at the forefront. Mouthfeel affects experience.

This beer needs to be thicker and heavier. While the barrel aging has given it a certain warm appeal, I wish it had more on the tongue.

Unfortunately I've had different experiences with Founders. I want to really like their beers but I find them sometimes falling a bit short.

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Photo of AmishLightning
4.16/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: A dark reddish brown with a little bit of head. I am guessing the high alcohol and aging have a tendency to eliminate any head that may form.

Smell: Lots of bourbon with the more darker caramel malts mixed in. The bourbon has a overpowering trait.

Taste: There is a lot of vanilla and oak in the taste. I don't feel like it is the traditional bourbon aged beer. The malts seem to be better balanced with the bourbon than others that I've had. I would still like to see more of the malts making an appearance other than just adding sweetness to the taste profile.

Mouthfeel: Thick and lightly carbonated, as the norm.

Overall: Not a bad beer, but I feel like the hype kind of ruined the experience for me. I wouldn't say this is a standout in its style, but it is a bit more unique than others because of the emphasis of the vanilla taste.

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Photo of jim102864
3.9/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a cloudy copper brown in me allagash tulip glass. Why must Founders use twist off caps? A scant head but a suprising level of carbonation with a swirl or two. Part of a trade with Hoppymeal. A noticable bourbony nose. Not overwhelming, mind you with a caramel malt base. Big bourbon influence in the taste to go along with a Jim Beam-like alcohol burn in the finish. Very carbonated brew with an alcohol burn that won't quit. It' big at 10.2 abv . The yeast clouds the glass. A little vanilla. Nice brew. A sipper.

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Photo of paxchristi
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottle dated 10/13/2011 into crystal snifter.

Appearance: Pours a fairly cloudy, dark amber color with very little head. Should be expected for a bourbon aged Wee Heavy at 10.2%ABV. Pretty dirty looking, although I must say that it looks a bit less cloudy and "dirty" than the dirty bastard to my eye. Looks like a good Wee Heavy.

Smell: Wow, there is a huge bourbon on the front end of this nose. Underneath there is a rather big oaky vanilla note. After this there is a big scotch malt reminiscent of the Dirty Bastard.

Taste: HUGE bourbon on the front end. Its followed by a semi-sweet and semi-bitter vanilla note underwritten by a beautiful, rich, complex oakiness that holds the entire front end together. In the middle is a big, dirty malt bomb followed by some booze. I also catch some raisins and other dark fruits on the end and perhaps the slightest bit of hop bitterness. The blend is master craft.

Mouth: I can see where some may have wanted a bit more carbonation on this one. The carbonation was good for me, although as it warmed in the glass, it seemed to have more of the consistency of a liquor the glass more than a beer. It reminded me of my experience with DFH WWS in this respect. Moderate to heavy in the mouth and very smooth. After about three of these, my mouth begins to numb.

Overall: Simply a masterpiece. Most people talk about KBS and CBS but personally I like the Backwoods Bastard twice as much as CBS or KBS. I think the big malts and the big bourbons are a flavor preference (and perhaps a bit less accessible than the smoothness of a stout), but this is simply a big, complex brew that hits on all the right notes for me. Its a big boozy malt bomb that shows enough restraint to provide some balance.

Quite simply my new personal favorite. Founders has reached legendary status with this one in my book. \m/m/

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Photo of danielocean03
4.7/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass. The bottle reads "50 IBU's" and "10.2%" around the top of the bottle's neck label. Appearance is a semi-translucent dirty dark brown with a thick foamy head of light tan that is a full two fingers high before slowly falling back to a moderate ring of lace. Aroma is rich, full of oakiness and vanilla, bourbon comes through strong. Also notes of earthy grains and smokiness, sweet dark fruits also present. The taste opens with a big warming bourbon flavor that makes a transition to the vanilla and smoky oak flavors, buttery diacteyl notes, slightest hint towards the big abv% which this beer hides quite well. Aftertaste is lightly sweet but clean. Mouthfeel is silken-smooth, lightly carbonated with a medium body, syrupy in texture, coats the mouth and throat. Drinkability is outstanding for a 10% brew, you are tempted to follow one with another as wonderful as this beer is. This is a beer you sit and sip quietly to appreciate; I would suggest limiting it to one of these per sitting. Easily one of my top ten, highly recommend trying, definitely worth the higher price tag.

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Photo of sgoodship
3.93/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to d0b for pointing me in the right direction to pick this up at Evanston 1st Liquors.

A: Very dark, hazy brown. Nice dark reddish edges against the light. A vigorous pour hardly generates a head. Nice spotting on the glass. A very delicate ring and a wispy head.

S: Candy sweet roasted malt. Alcohol - of the bourbon persuasion of course. Some dark cherry. A little medicinal.

T: There is definitely a hint of vanilla, some dark cherry type fruit. More dominant is the great roasted sweet malt but it gets dominated by the alcohol. I like the bourbon essence but the alcohol burn takes away from some of the enjoyment for me. The aftertaste is a combination of tea and alcohol bitterness.

M: A touch of carbonation prickliness, a medium/light body. Pretty smooth overall but a little sharp with the alcohol at the finish.

D: This is not my favored style of ale but I did enjoy it. It was nice to drink it out of a thistle glass and just sip away. The kind of beer that makes you question what beer is - a sophisticated and acquired taste. I tend to enjoy high ABV brews that mask the alcohol a little better but I will look forward to the other 2 bottles I have left. It's a quality brew and I would recommend giving it a try. I ate some Gouda with this - good call. It balances it out very nicely.

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Photo of DrewZ926
4.05/5  rDev -4.7%
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

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Photo of LadyOfMuchBeer
4.57/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into my delirium tremens tulip-yeah the one covered in pink elephants!

Barely any head, dark brown, light shines very red right through when held up, clear. Beautiful. Slow and steady stream of carbonation.

Smells is a caramel, malty scotch scent, very bourbonesque. some nice light florals and spice really balance the nose. lots of vanilla bean. I can tell I am going to love sipping on this one, or trying to sip and not devour it.

VERY tannic, without the massive burn. Malts are really shining in this, more spice than sweet. I am in love with this beer at this point. It is so well balanced! Slight note of licorice-ishness. Flavors seem pretty simple, and perfectly so!

Feels cleaner and smoother than I expected. Light stickiness.

Overall, one of the most drinkable ones I have had in a while. I sure wish we got this stuff locally. I was lucky to get this as an extra in a trade. Cheers!

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Photo of tedpeer
4.12/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce poured into a pint.

A - Pours a deep red/brown with a sand colored head that quickly settled to a thin layer. Light lacing.

S - Bourbon, malt, vanilla.

T - Roasted malt, dark fruits, Alcohol warmth.

M - Thick, medium carbonation, smooth.

D - Good beer.

I really enjoy both this and Dirty Bastard, although this is better.

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Photo of beertooth
4.2/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle with an upside down label into a goblet/tulip glass.

This beer pours a dark ruby amber color with a finger of off white and tan head.

The nose is rich caramel malts, vanilla, bourbon, oak, dark cherries, alcohol, brown spice, cocoa powder. It smells great!

The first sip delivers waves of lush malts, vanilla, bourbon, bitter wood notes, stone fruits. The alcohol makes itself known, but it isn't hot. This beer finishes sticky and dry.

Mouthfeel is full and slick with a low level of carbonation.

This beer is perfect for a cold November night, but one glass is all I can do in a sitting. I still wish I bought more bottles though.

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Photo of dismal
3.98/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a real nice dark red color with a small white head that quickly dissapears but leaves some head around, enough to leave some pretty good lacing down the glass. The smell is very caramel and very malty. There is also some chocolate that is pretty apparent in the smell as well which starts to stand out more the more I smell it. The taste is very malty and pretty chocolatety. There is a hint of vanilla and if you look for it the taste of the bourbon barrels is right there and adds a nice touch to the taste. The mouthfeel is pretty average, but is good for the style. A high ABV but noticeable in the taste. I'd do this whole four pack in a night easily. Overall this is one I've been wanting to try for a while and am glad I did. I've been getting more into this style lately and this one is up there with the better ones I've had lately. Great stuff but then again what do you expect from Founders!

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Photo of brstls4drmrs
4.3/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A---Pours a brown light coffee/caramel color with a tan froth. Leaves a thin ring around the glass that sticks.

S----Bourbon, spice which is almost cider-like but not heavy, some fig and dates in there too with a small hint of booze. Maybe even hints of apple.

T – Bourbon and some fruits in there as well. Just a nice balance of flavors and smell that doesn’t have one distinct characteristic as a dominant one.

M – Smooth and mildly carbonated. 4.5. Gets better as it warms up.

O – This is a great ale. I will definitely get more of these.

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Photo of JTSbeerislife
4.04/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle, no date code on bottle that I can find. Online info states there should be a date code in black ink.

Thanks to Kevin at The Fridge, Lancaster PA for this one.

Poured into a Corsendunk Tulip

Pours a nice thick head, which reduces to a thin cap after a bit of time, easily revived with a swirl of the glass. A live Ale
Very deep, brownish amber color, with a definite yeast presence, old style ale appearance.

Light to medium aroma of chocolate and maple, no hops. What’s here is very refined and of obvious quality, but it needs to be a little more aggressive.

Very crisp, very rich, malt entry onto the palate, followed by caramel and roasted/candied malts, full mouth feel. As this ale warms the chocolate flavors take the lead, even more overall richness emerges. Lots of complex chocolate/caramel flavors. This ale is incredibly delicious.

Very long, rich, finish of chocolate and caramel and malt flavors.

This was a great ale and a treat to drink. One of the best Scotch Ale Style offerings that I have had.
That being said I believe that this was last year’s production and I do not know the storage history of this bottle.
It seems aroma wise to have lost a little something, or maybe this is its style. I do not know as this is the first bottle I have ever tasted.

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Photo of semibaked
4.15/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into yet another pint glass

A - Pours a very nice hazy toffee color with about 1 finger of caramel colored foam with some good lacing.

S - A Terrific smell of bourbon, toffee, caramel, dark bread, and malty sweetness, great aroma!

T- The strong taste of bourbon comes through along with the sweet malts and caramel flavors.

M - Full mouthfeel with some buttery creaminess.

D - I definitely enjoy this beer and glad I have a few more left. Congrats to Founders for another outstanding effort.

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Founders Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
95 out of 100 based on 1,709 ratings.