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Founders Backwoods Bastard - Founders Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Founders Backwoods BastardFounders Backwoods Bastard

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
95
world-class

1,710 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 1,710
Hads: 7,594
Avg: 4.25
pDev: 10.59%
Wants: 972
Gots: 2,989 | FT: 276
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: 1,710 | Hads: 7,594
Photo of NeroFiddled
4.12/5  rDev -3.1%
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!

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4/5  rDev -5.9%
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.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.85/5  rDev -9.4%
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.

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Photo of Rifugium
2.24/5  rDev -47.3%
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.

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Photo of Slatetank
4.3/5  rDev +1.2%
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.

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Photo of russpowell
4.45/5  rDev +4.7%
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

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Photo of superspak
4.64/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle into snifter, bottled 10/07/11. Pours cloudy dark red color with a small dense khaki head with good retention that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Some spotty lacing clings to the glass. Aromas of huge caramel, toffee, vanilla, coconut, toasted malt, oak, bourbon, and molasses. Simply incredible aromas here with fantastic balance. Taste of huge caramel, coconut, vanilla, toasted malt, bourbon, toffee, molasses, and a bit of spiciness. Fairly clean finish; but some lingering notes of caramel, vanilla, coconut, bourbon, and molasses on the finish for a bit. Medium carbonation and quite full bodied; with a very creamy, silky, and incredibly smooth drinking mouthfeel. Alcohol is almost completely hidden; but there is a small bit of booziness and a slight warming after the finish. Incredible balance of flavors in the taste and aromas. Overall this is definitely a world class brew. Incredible flavor balance, with some unique flavor combination thanks to the barrel aging. I am glad I have more of this; I wonder how it is in a year.

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Photo of chinchill
4.3/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Cellared 2012 bottle served in a St. Bernardus snifter at a temperature of about 58F.

Dark red-brown body with a small head that quickly reduces to a thin ring.
Slightly under-carbonated but very smooth body with only a bit of warmth from the alcohol.
Boozy and sweet aroma with notes of prunes, vanilla, bourbon and toffee.
The flavor also carries a bit of bourbon and faint wood (barrel), and is lightly sweet.

O: I've now had this both fairly fresh and aged for nearly 3 years: excellent on both occasions.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
4.08/5  rDev -4%
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.

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Photo of smcolw
3.8/5  rDev -10.6%
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.

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Photo of mdfb79
4.3/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I very rarely review a beer twice (first time in bottle and now on draft), but I have had this on draft 2 times in the last 2 weeks (10/4 and 10/11) and it has been signicantly better than the bottle or two I have had, so I figured I would re-revoew this on tap. From notes.

a - Pours a nice dark mohogany brown color with moderate carbonation evident and and two inches of off white head evident. Light lacing left on the glass.

s - Smells of caramel malts, bourbon, chocolate, sugar, maple, dark fruits, and light alcohol. Bourbon is up front but not overpowering; very enjoyable.

t - Tastes of caramel malts, bourbon, chocolate, bready malts, dark fruits, and booze. Again, bourbon is there and very nice, just the right amount.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation. Pretty easy to drink for over 10% and not too hot considering the bourbon.

d - Overall I thought this was a great scotch ale, and much better on tap than in bottles. Bourbon is there mixxing with sweet caramel malts and dark fruits, and it isn't nearly as alcohol-dominated as I remember it. Would love to have it again.

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Photo of mothman
4.17/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into Town Hall Chalice.

Pours a small beige tan head. Fades to a thin layer. Color is a murky ruby hued bark brown.

Aroma: Oak and bourbon with vanilla right up front. Lots of malts, caramel, molasses and cherries. I really like this, but the bourbon is so dominate.

Taste: Right away, I get bourbon, oak, vanilla, and cherries. Then the caramel comes in and at the end I get some molasses and a touch of booze.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, creamy, and a some heat from the bourbon. Medium bodied with a lower amount of carbonation. Ends slight boozy, but fairly clean.

Overall, a solid beer, but the scotch notes were not as apparent as one would expect. I do like it, but I am very curious to what would happen with some age on it. I recommend this one.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.32/5  rDev +1.6%
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.

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

A: Pours a crystal clear dark amber in color with some mahogany highlights and very light amounts of visible carbonation. The beer has a finger tall beige head with some orangish highlights in it that quickly fades to a very thin ring at the edges of the glass. Light amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate to strong aromas of bourbon (from the barrel aging) with some more moderate notes of vanilla, peat smoked malts, and brown sugar/molasses.

T: Similar to the smell, the taste of this beer has a lot of bourbon from the barrel aging. There is some smoked peat malts upfront with brown sugar and molasses sweetness - just a touch of dark fruits hiding in there as well. Lighter notes of vanilla with just a touch of alcohol in the finish. Overall, the flavor is lightly sweet.

M: A little bit heavier than medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Very light notes of alcohol heat in the finish.

O: Overall a very enjoyable beer and one of the best in the style that I have come across - though I might be a little biased as I really like bourbon barrel aged beers. Definitely one I will be getting again (and this is not even one of my favorite styles).

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Photo of mdaschaf
4.37/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass

A: Pours a dark brown color with a very small head that dissipates very quickly. Decent lacing down the sides.

S: Lots vanilla and some of the bourbon, which gives a slight alcohol aroma. Also get some oak and a little caramel.

T: The alcohol is very hidden on the taste. Bourbon and caramel upfront. The middle has some darker fruit and a really nice vanilla flavor. Has a warm finish.

M/D: Medium to full bodied. Overall I really like this beer. While very easy to drink considering its abv, I prefer to sip and savor it. Very complex, with a lot of flavor.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.22/5  rDev -0.7%
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.

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Photo of MasterSki
4.42/5  rDev +4%
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!

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Photo of jwc215
4.19/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to BrewerB for this one!

Poured into snifter:

Pours hazed brown with a thin tan head that immediately becomes wispy. Some slowly vanishing lace sticks.

The smell is of raisins, toffee, bourbon (don't know which - but it's a nice one!), and vanilla/oak.

The taste is of raisins, toffee - towards chocolate with some peat. A nice bourbon character comes through strongly, but not overwhelmingly. As it progresses, some cherry and more vanilla come through. Sweet turning to a dry whiskey-like finish. Seems as though the bourbon were added directly to the beer.

The body is medium, but on the fuller side. I would have expected a but more fullness, but this works well enough to (barely) get the given score. Pretty smooth, though with a kick.

This is a nice sipper, to say the least. A tasty maltiness combined with bourbon. I'm a happy man to have tried this one!

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Photo of stakem
3.88/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is a 2010 bottle poured into a snifter. The brew appears a hazed brown color with some hints of crimson through the body. A yellowish tan froth sits atop the brew and quickly fades to a thin layering atop. Spotty lace work clings all over the glass and a light swirl easily revives just under a finger of froth.

The aroma of this brew includes an immediate punch of bourbon reinforced alcohol along with a bunch of subtle barrel aromas. The oak displays a bit of woody quality that melds into burnt sugars and vanilla. This is quite a sweet and enjoyable smelling brew.

The taste has expected bourbon accented alcohol flavor that is mildly tangy. It also includes a warmth that isn't noticed right away but it creeps into play. Mild fruit almost like raisins mixes with toffee, caramel, and prunes. Just like the aroma indicated, there is a solid amount of barrel character present. The oak comes off with a drying tannic quality that is midly medicinal. The oak is almost raw in nature but blends into some mild spice and vanilla. Across the back is a bit of herbal tinge which starts the constant interplay between sweet verse hoppy verse warming with alcohol.

This is a medium bodied brew with a moderate amount of carbonation. It is a little light in the body for the style but still very enjoyable. I enjoy a little bit of smoked aspect in this type of offering and I didnt really pick up on any of that. Instead, I was left with an enjoyable barrel aged beer that could easily be mistaken for a barleywine/strong ale. Overall a pretty solid offering, I wouldn't mind trying one of these fresh to see if there is any big difference.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
3.95/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Adam for sharing this brew.

A: The beer has a brown transparent appearance, with tinges of crimson. There is a small head and a touch of lacing.

S: Scents include sweet malts, toffee, oak, and bourbon.

T: The beer packs some flavor. The initial taste brings oak and bourbon flavors, followed by a malty sweetness and peat from the scotch ale lurking beneath the wood and booze.

M: The feel is moderately thin, with a slight alcohol burn in the finish.

D: Drinkability is somewhat limited, as the strength and sweetness make this a slow sipper.

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Photo of billab914
4.02/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Dogfish snifter. Poured a dark copper almost brown color with a small head that disappeared quickly.

Aroma is strong with Bourbon with some sweet vanilla and caramel notes. Taste also has a lot of bourbon flavor along with some sweetness. There is some vanilla and caramel much like the nose but also a hint of coffee or a latte in the finish.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and and light on carbonation. Drinkability is probably as good as it can be for a 10% beer that has a lot of bourbon flavor. I enjoyed one but couldn't drink this on a regular basis or more then one in a sitting. An enjoyable treat though none the less to have on occasion.

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Photo of drabmuh
4.55/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Beer is poured from a dateless bottle (start dating your shit Founders) into a Bruery tulip. Beer is brown and mostly clear. Forms a good one finger head of offwhite bubbles, tiny bubbles, that leaves a ton of lacing on the glass. Carbonation is low but steady. Looks really good.

Aroma is strong caramel and bourbon, nicely boozy.

Beer is medium body, minimal carbonation on the palate. Pretty sweet, mildly dry, creamy mouthfeel, easy drinking. This is a very very good beer. Probably my favorite Scotch to date. Amazingly smooth and completely enjoyable start to finish. Thanks Dustin.

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Photo of tdm168
4/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to jtd1969 for sharing a bottle with me.

A - dark amber with a soft, off white head leaving a thin lacing

S - big bourbon aromas, some fruit, caramel

T - caramel, huge bourbon flavors, alcohol, dark fruit

M - warm, medium to full bodied, well carbonated

This is a decent beer. It's a bit simple, but it's good. The bourbon is a bit heavy and the underlying scotch ale at times seems to struggle with it. On the whole, this is a very nice beer that is worth trying.

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Photo of woodychandler
4.37/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I (finally) reviewed Dirty Bastard from a CAN, but I hold out NO hope that they will ever CAN this one. That's okay, since it still helps me to reduce the bottle backlog here at Chez Woody.

From the bottle: "Ale aged in Oak Bourbon Barrels"; "Bottled 10/10/2014".

I Pop!ped the cap and just let it sit for a moment. I went with a light pour, producing a brief finger of tawny head that quickly reduced to wisps. Color was a hazy Brown to Dark Brown (SRM = > 22, < 27). I tried not to rouse the lees, but (un)clearly, I was unsuccessful. 8=( Nose smelled like straight up, straight on bourbon! I am not a huge liquor drinker, although I have an affinity for rye whiskey. Bourbon is not really my thing, but I know it when I smell it. Mouthfeel was medium. The taste was definitely of bourbon, but it was much less than I remember it being a year ago. I may be losing my mind, but man, this was smooooth for 10.2% ABV! It tasted of wood, coconut, caramel,but not at all sweet. It was impressive, really. The finish was smooth, in the twilight zone of semi-sweet and semi-dry. You tell me. Wow! Just ... wow. I just kind of sat back and licked my lips and contemplated how I might possibly follow this one.

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Photo of ShanePB
4.49/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2011 bottle less than two months old. Served from the bottle at Canal St Pub, poured into a 12 ounce goblet.

A: Rustic amber bronze colored body, fairly clear though not completely. Tiny tan head forms but quickly dissipates, leaving almost no lace behind unless you have it a vigorous pour to form more of a head.

S: Boozy bourbon notes, wood, oak, vanilla and some roasted malts. The bourbon is the focus all while the Scotch Ale style aromas try to break through. If you love bourbon, this is probably one of the most aromatic non-stout barrel aged beers I've come across. Intoxicating, smooth and boozy; wonderful.

T: Bourbon dominates yet again, but it's not harsh or overly boozy. You know it was bourbon barrel aged on first sip, and if you don't care for the spirit, you won't like this. Complex toffee, vanilla and faint yeasty notes are mid-palate. Warming on the swallow and into the linger in the back of the throat to the chest. Ridiculously smooth, blended and balanced. Hands down, this is my favorite Scotch Ale I've ever tasted.

M: Incredibly smooth, lower on the carbonation but enough to break up the flavors and provide balance. Feels like drinking a very well made, crafted bourbon whiskey.

Backwoods Bastard was a very early beer I had when I first started drinking craft beer, and while I do remember enjoying it I don't think I appreciated it as I do now. It's so complex, flavorful and smooth; unlike many other bourbon barrel aged beers. One of my Fall favorites that I cannot get enough of.

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Founders Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
95 out of 100 based on 1,710 ratings.