1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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

5,388 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,388
Reviews: 1,429
rAvg: 4.33
pDev: 10.62%
Wants: 680
Gots: 1,565 | FT: 142
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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Founders Backwoods Bastard Alström Bros
Ratings: 5,388 | Reviews: 1,429 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of kylehay2004
4.22/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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%
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.

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

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

oberon, Nov 27, 2008
Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
4.25/5  rDev -1.8%

westcoastbeerlvr, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of TMoney2591
3.83/5  rDev -11.5%
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.

TMoney2591, Nov 07, 2011
Photo of largadeer
4.33/5  rDev 0%
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.

largadeer, Jan 01, 2009
Photo of emerge077
4/5  rDev -7.6%
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.

emerge077, Nov 01, 2008
Photo of zeff80
4.08/5  rDev -5.8%
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.

zeff80, Jul 14, 2009
Photo of JAHMUR
4.5/5  rDev +3.9%

JAHMUR, Nov 27, 2011
Photo of SocalKicks
4.25/5  rDev -1.8%

SocalKicks, Mar 29, 2014
Photo of NeroFiddled
4.1/5  rDev -5.3%
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!

NeroFiddled, Jan 02, 2009
Photo of Jason
4/5  rDev -7.6%

Jason, Mar 17, 2013
Photo of WVbeergeek
4.33/5  rDev 0%
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.

WVbeergeek, Dec 26, 2009
Photo of nickfl
4/5  rDev -7.6%
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.

nickfl, Dec 08, 2009
Photo of TheManiacalOne
4/5  rDev -7.6%
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.

TheManiacalOne, Jan 09, 2012
Photo of RblWthACoz
4.08/5  rDev -5.8%
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.

RblWthACoz, Dec 14, 2008
Photo of Kegatron
4.38/5  rDev +1.2%
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.

Kegatron, Nov 19, 2007
Photo of russpowell
4.45/5  rDev +2.8%
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

russpowell, Jun 03, 2008
Photo of StonedTrippin
4.05/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

super different for a beer in this genre. it pours a slightly cloudy pale amber color, with a dense nearly pure white head, lots of lacing left behind as it sips down. the nose is a little fruity, a lot boozy, and entirely different again from most scotch ales. its too light. the taste is awesome, like a tasty hybrid of licorice and fresca soda, thats what i taste. more fruit than ever for a scotch, and the same effervescent carbonation as that artificial grapefruit flavored soda pop. its really good, but i am missing that smoke and hefty malt base ive grown used to in these beers. anyone else get that? bright bubbling medium body, again too light for the style, but this is a damn good beer. living up to its name for all the wrong reasons, this is something unique and to be cherished. i never in a million years would have put uts abv over 10% on a blind tasting, its far too delicate to be that potent, but it all seems to work out just right. on tap at j. ryans in syracuse, a place you must visit as a beer enthusiast. what a treat from founders!

StonedTrippin, Dec 04, 2012
Photo of Slatetank
4.33/5  rDev 0%
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.

Slatetank, Dec 28, 2010
Photo of MasterSki
4.43/5  rDev +2.3%
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!

MasterSki, Nov 14, 2008
Photo of feloniousmonk
4.22/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Hazed, deep dark crimson to brown, slimmed, dunnish head.

Sweet, bourbony aromatics right off the bat. Cherry wood and leather. Spices and smoke. Rich and luxuriant.

Taste: Very complex, too much going on to take it apart at first sip. You get the wood, the whiskey, and below the sweet Scotch ale at the base. Mmm, oaky...mmm, rich and bourbony. Starts sweet, gets dry and well-rounded, nicely balanced, and oozing over with wonderful flavor. You don't feel the 10% right away, but it gets in there, oh, yes...very nice. Not too much bourbon, which can be a detriment at times. If it weren't so strong or so expensive, I'd be at this quite a bit.

feloniousmonk, Feb 18, 2010
Photo of jlindros
4.72/5  rDev +9%
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!

jlindros, Aug 21, 2009
Founders Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 5,388 ratings.