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Founders Backwoods Bastard - Founders Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Founders Backwoods BastardFounders Backwoods Bastard

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,651 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 1,651
Hads: 7,338
Avg: 4.25
pDev: 22.59%
Wants: 955
Gots: 2,775 | FT: 260
Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company visit their website
Michigan, United States

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: 1,651 | Hads: 7,338
Photo of barfootbandit
4.52/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap, good beer. Very dark and almost black and smells oaky and scotch-y. Also tastes very oaky from the barrel aging and slightly overpowers the peated scotch-y malts. Bourbon tastes are incredibly apparent as well and this is a very boozy tasting beer. The scotch ale style has some malty sweetness to balance this out but this beer could use some aging to open up more flavors and depth. Definitely a recommended beer though.

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Photo of breadwinner
3.27/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Was really excited to get to try this one, but was immediately surprised by the hefty booze notes, both in the nose and on the palate. The purported smoky notes, which I'd hoped would balance out the booze and attendant sweetness, struggled to come through. There's certainly some dark fruit and toffee-like sweetness throughout, but they're not particularly inviting accords in lieu of the dominating bourbon. Yet another beer I just don't get.

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Photo of spacebear09
4.3/5  rDev +1.2%
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.

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

Not sure why I never reviewed this. The nose is heavy on the bourbon when fresh but with age it subsides quite a bit. Big caramel sweetness complimented by the bourbon notes. Fairly boozy when fresh, and almost overly sweet once it gets past 6 months or so on it. Feel is syrupy, viscous with low carbonation. What you'd expect in a wee heavy.

For my palate, about 3-4 months on it is just right.

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Photo of guityler83
4.7/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

bottled 09/26/14

A: Snifter pour from the bottle; Dense one finger head, cream colored, moderate retention. At first sight the beer looks dark brown to black, but held up to a light a brilliant crimson red color with a dark purple hue - excellent clarity. Swirling kicks up spotty lacing that sticks to the side of the glass for a long time.

S: moderate malt aroma - prunes, dates, plums, toast and deep mellenoidins. Mild vanilla and bourbon sweetness with a touch of chocolate and coconut. The oak blends naturally with the malt aroma. No hop aroma, moderate boozy character. Medium sweet impression overall in the nose.

T: Vanilla and sweet caramel dominate in the start (unexpectedly great). The tannin flavors from the wood add a very forward vanillin character and the bourbon slides into the background. There is a nice chocolate note that comes through in the middle along with the more complex malt flavors ( raisins, dates, toffee, toast, bread crust). No hop flavor detected but the barrel tannins add a slight bitterness that emphasis the low hopping in a natural way. Balance is on the malts / barrel but surprisingly not very sweet.

M: Medium alcohol warming with mild/low carbonation. Moderate tingly boozy sensation on the tongue. Moderately full bodied.

O: Such a perfect balance of complex malts and bourbon barrel character. It almost seems to evolve as you drink it - and the unexpected chocolate flavor was a nice surprise. Worth seeking out

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Photo of MaltLickyWithTheCandy
4.62/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Surprisingly pleasant aroma of bourbon, toffee, caramel, and wood. The smell matches the taste. Its the aroma that really makes this wee heavy stand out the most to me.

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Photo of Jeffreysan
4.85/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

12 oz bottle, 2013 edition, poured into a goblet

Appearance: Pours a beautiful, completely opaque, deep, dark, mahogany color with an eighth of a finger of white-colored head that quickly dissolved away into no head what-so-ever.

Aroma: Nice aromas of toasted malt, brown sugar, toffee, dried stone fruit such as raisins and prunes, as well as a touch of oak, a touch of vanilla and a lot of boozy alcohol.

Taste: Wow! Absolutely, fantastically, delicious! Strong flavors of bready, toasted malt up front, followed by lots of brown sugar-like sweetness, toffee, dried stone fruit, such as raisins and prunes, a touch of vanilla, a touch of oak, a touch of bourbon and a touch of booze.

Mouthfeel: Slightly chewy and smooth as hell, as there is no alcohol what-so-ever. With an ABV of 10.5%, I’m surprised at how little alcohol there is on the palate. The alcohol is really, really, dangerously masked.

Overall: This is a fantastic, outstanding beer! Awesome flavors wrapped up in an equally awesome mouthfeel. Be careful though, as with its awesome flavors and amazing masked alcohol, you might want to drink more than one at a time which could know you on your ass, real quick!

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Photo of RobPete
2.52/5  rDev -40.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 1.75 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

This is an ok beer. I didn't expect the strong bourbon presence. It was evident from the time I popped the top until the time the final remnants finished rolling off my tongue. To me, this was too overbearing. It was as though Founders took some ale and mixed it 50/50 with Beam. Beautiful deep red color and felt great on the tongue. Just couldn't get over thinking that I was drinking a cocktail.

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Photo of AllDayAdams
5/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I love this beer, i just wish they would come out with this beer more then a month. The bourbon taste at the end of a sip taste amazing!Def a great beer to buy.

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Photo of Jjski
4.55/5  rDev +7.1%
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

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Photo of CTbrew32
4.56/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance- Deep mahogany/red/brown color and opaque for the most part. About a half finger of head produced that subsides very quickly.

Aroma- Tons of sweet, bourbon, caramel, toffee, vanilla, and oak aromas in this one.

Taste- Lots of toffee sweetness upfront followed by a finish that showcases the bourbon nicely with vanilla and toasty oak flavors showing up. Very little alcohol heat if anything at all.

Feel- Full bodied, almost chewy, low carbonation, and very little residual malt in the finish.

Overall- Just from the nose I could tell this would be great and it was. Rich toffee flavors and a mellow bourbon influence makes this incredibly smooth and easy to drink. A sipper that sips very easily and isn't cloying in the least bit. Given the price and quality of this beer this will be a seasonal must have.

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Photo of 1000lbgrizzly
4.08/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: Brilliant ruby-brown, tan head that remains only as a ring, no lace.

S: Sweet, nutty toffee malt, some buttery wood. A lot of big smells, easy to overdo, but here they are balanced very well, just maybe too much diacetyl.

T: Sweet malt/grain, then nuttiness, then a mix of alcohol, wood, and whiskey spice all lingering on the palate for a while. Butter is gone!

F: My only gripe. A little too light, but pretty smooth. I could do with even less carbonation, make this thing as close to whiskey as possible!

O: With this style, it's easy to be boring, or do too much 'innovation'. This one nails it. Malt at the forefront, sweet overall but not too much, with whiskey spice and a bit of an ethanol reminder to really elevate it above the rest.

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Photo of lefty418
4.78/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This is an absolutely outstanding beer! It's powerful but not too overwhelming and I love the way it smells right after you open the bottle. Drank all mine up, so I will have to wait until next year for more.

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Photo of RStaff4
4.52/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

-Aged 6 months from cellar into snifter-

A: Black with tints of mahogany when the glass is spun a bit. Minimal head

S: Bourbon is at the forefront, lots of alcohol. Vanilla is in the background

T: On the sweeter side, sugar and caramel, with hints of vanilla. Finished with delicious roasted malts.

F: Very creamy, almost frothy feel on the palate.

Overall: The power in this is in the initial aroma. Not as much bourbon as you would expect in the taste, which I don't mind. Very drinkable scotch ale.

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Photo of Skwalk47
3.37/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Gave it a couple shots spread out over time and I just cant get into it. Wayy too much booze on both the nose and the taste. Once you get past the booze there are some nice notes hidden underneath but they are completely overwhelmed. The smell reminds me of a jack and coke. Taste is overwhelming booze then a decent bourboney finish. Will try to keep a couple in the cellar and see how it mellows with age...

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

Poured from a bottle to a nonic glass

L: Dark ruby with a tan, somewhat creamy head. Bit cloudy.

S: Very bourbony; lots of wood and vanilla and ethanol. Mild hit of rye and malt at the end. Little bit of caramel in the middle.

T: Creamy caramel and sweet. slightly Malty. Reminds me of a good caramel candy. Rye and dark dried fruit in the middle. Clean, slightly bitter ending with light hops.

F: Creamy and smooth; almost unctuous. On the light end of heavy.

O: This ended up being a mild whale for me and I'm not disappointed. It's special and robust and worth the hunt! I look forward to seeing it next year!

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Photo of letsdrink
3.99/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A – Pours a dark copper color with a reddish tint
S – Definitely Bourbon scented. Sweet scents of caramel as well.
T – Sweet, malty, caramel flavors, but most of all there is an unsurprisingly strong bourbon flavor. Surprisingly sweet and not much unexpected about this beer. Not very hoppy. The bottle says 50 IBU, but the taste would appear there is even less.
M – A reasonably light beer for something so potent. However, it feels as if the sweetness has thickened up the beer. Medium to high carbonation for a beer in its class.
O – This is a very good beer. The place where I picked it up had a limited release so I was expecting a lot from this one. I am not sure I would go out of my way to make sure I get a bottle the next time it is release, but it is certainly worth trying.

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Photo of Alex-Alkis
4.38/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

The color is almost black but with some burgundy shades. The foam is one finger high. The aroma is strong with vanilla and bourbon. The taste is sharp and sweet. Lots of vanilla and butterscotch. The finish is a bit smoky, which I personally like. It also cuts of the alcohol well. A very complex and strong ale. What I especially like about this beer is that you can really feel that it has been aged in bourbon barrels, both in taste and in the aroma.

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Photo of ONovoMexicano
4.09/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a 12 ounce bottle into a stemless wine glass.

Oatmeal colored head a finger thick, looks creamy and substantial. Body is dark amber with excellent clarity when held to light. 4.5

Oaken, bourbon-heavy, and bright caramel and vanilla. Rye notes are apparent. 4.25

Tastes of scotch and bourbon. Peaty and rich with caramel. Toasted bread notes appear and add some richness. 4

Highly creamy but still has the body of a bourbon or whiskey and similar carbonation. Alcohol burn is there but not offensive and leads to a dry finish that reminds me of sipping a heavier spirit. 4

I like this brew, but I feel the bourbon is too dominant and doesn't allow the beer to shine.

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Photo of Barnoloid
4.73/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

The color is a deep red/caramel tone with a thin-medium creamy head. Oaky and caramel, english toffee notes dominate the nose. The base beer, Dirty Bastard, is a classic Founders offering but this barrel aged version ramps up the flavor profile to 11. There are blended tones of vanilla, cherry/dried fruit and rich caramel all adding up to a complex, deep, woody ale. A phenomenal beer that shows incredible restraint on the booziness - this strikes me as one to enjoy fresh. Such complexity that demands your attention at each sip. Goes down smoothly, with a balanced body that has the perfect full feel without being sticky or too thick.

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Photo of DonovanD
4.91/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Found 2 4 packs in Nebraska in late December of all places. I'm assuming this beer is even better closer to the source. What can I say... One of the best winter beers money can buy.

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Photo of powpig2002
4.47/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

First one was good. Next night better. 3rd one...out fuckin standing. Took a couple to really appreciate what's going on. One per session for me. Will be grabbing this whenever it is seen. Glad I couldn't get a single. Wouldn't have given it a second thought.

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Photo of swedishmailman
4.47/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a fat tulip.

Appearance is a dark copper that has a slight ruby color when held up to the light. Light tan head that is relatively thin, but sticking around for awhile. Tight bubbles. No light is getting through. Looks inviting.

Aroma is sweet malt, a slight earthy tone, some vanilla, a bit of a fig smell. I get a bit of the bourbon character because I know this is aged in bourbon barrels, but it doesn't scream barrel aged.

Taste is delicious. Huge malt character. It's got a nice butterscotch flavor on the back end. The barrel character shines through here much more than in the aroma. Slight alcohol burn on the finish but nothing overwhelming. Not too boozy at all. A slight warming sensation comes pleasantly with every sip. It's got a pretty sweet finish. No hop character that I can pick up whatsoever.

Mouthfeel is medium-heavy. It's not the thickest beer I've ever drank, but definitely has a syrupy feel to it, especially as it warms up.

Overall this is a damn good beer. It doesn't have an insanely huge barrel character, but it definitely adds to the beer perfectly. One of the better offerings I've had from Founders.

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Photo of FrostyFoster72
4.79/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

It's basically a badass version of their Dirty Bastard (which is great). Bourbon is definitely the front runner on the nose and taste, but absolutely no bad tastes! Smooth my bros, smooth!

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Photo of clager
3.48/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Not bad but the high alcohol content is overcompensated for by too much sweetness resulting in a syrupy beer that leaves some hoppiness or other flavor to be desired.

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Founders Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
95 out of 100 based on 1,651 ratings.