Founders Backwoods Bastard - Founders Brewing Company

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Founders Backwoods BastardFounders Backwoods Bastard

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BA SCORE
94
outstanding

1,582 Reviews
THE BROS
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Reviews: 1,582
Hads: 7,046
rAvg: 4.22
pDev: 4.98%
Wants: 901
Gots: 2,508 | FT: 244
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
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Reviews: 1,582 | Hads: 7,046
Photo of mbudner
4.77/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from bottle into a snifter. Side-by-side with Dirty Bastard

A- Pours a murky brown w/ a ruby hue. Very thin, white head.

S- I will start off by saying that I'm a sucker for bourbon barrel-aged beers. This smells like a phenomenal one. Lots of vanilla and woodiness. There's definitely the obvious smell of "bourbon," but I find the vanilla more pronounced than much of the spice and other flavors I often get. It smells sweeter and smoother than many of the BA beers I've had. I also get some chocolate.

T- Most predominant is a sweet, luscious vanilla flavor finishing with a bourbon bite. Some chocolate (sweet, not bitter), great woody, barrel flavor. I get some Coca-cola-like flavors as well.

M- The mouthfeel is really just perfect for me, and quite unique. The sweetness upfront makes you think it might be a bit cloying, but then it dries up instantaneously. This dry finish makes way for a nice bourbon warming in the throat, leaving me wanting more and more.

D- Amazingly drinkable. I find this easier to drink than the Dirty Bastard I'm having with it (less of the cloying maltiness.) The bourbon is obviously there (in the finish, specifically), so that would keep drinkability down for some. (1,219 characters)

Photo of brian23456
4.46/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Clouded, murky brown/reddish with little to no head

S- Mmmmm, Bourbon, oak and vanilla. Smells good to me!

T- Very malty with a good dose of bourbon. There is also oak, honey, vanilla, caramel and some more bourbon. The more I drink the more complex it becomes. Sweet and very very tasty on a cold Wisconsin night, defintaley a dessert beer.

M- Slightly viscous for a Scotch ale, smooth, low carbonation.

D- Goes down easy considering the ABV, I'm having no trouble getting this down although the flavors make me want to savor this brew.

Great scotch ale, the only big complaint is the lack of carbonation, but that won't keep me from buying a couple 4 packs! A fine dessert beer. (688 characters)

Photo of Zorro
3.81/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Chill hazed reddish brown colored beer with no head formation.

Strong scent of whiskey is the first thing I notice. Lots of caramel, vanilla, chocolate, malt and especially Whiskey! Lesser scent is a little cookie dough.

Starts out malty with a strong whiskey flavor. Malt comes on after you get past the whiskey. Next to no bitterness here. Try as I might there is no way around it; this is more whiskey than beer.

Mouthfeel is a little light probably because of the alcohol content.

Personally I like this stuff, but it IS pretty strong in the whiskey department. Easy call if you like whiskey you will love this. If you do not like whiskey this will be a drain pour. (673 characters)

Photo of womencantsail
3.92/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks to tendermorsel for this bottle!

A: Backwoods Bastard pours a cloudy, muddled amber/brown color with pretty much no foam.

S: This certainly smells like a fine liquor. A lot of bourbon and vanilla. There is also a very strong oak aroma.

T: The taste has many of the same characteristics of the nose. A lot of oak, vanilla, bourbon, and maybe a touch of chocolate. There is also a bitterness in there somewhere.

M: Very smooth, creamy, and full bodied. The carbonation is on the low side.

D: I was expecting to be blown away by booze, but it really was quite manageable. That said, you still feel it after enjoying a bottle. (638 characters)

Photo of pokesbeerdude
4.09/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle from Wasatch in a recent trade. I think this may be an older vintage as the ABV is listed at 8.7%.

A: Aggressive pour yields a murky brown beer with a slightly cream colored cap that disappears into a ring of bubbles on the edge of the glass and a small island in the middle.

S: Booze, big bourbon profile, lots of malts, never really a great sign when the first thing I notice in a beer is the booze, but it actually is growing on me. Some notes of wood and vanilla, a little char. Nice.

T: Smooth syrupy malts that lend flavors of vanilla and roasted malt, which leads into a great bourbon profile. Honey, vanilla, oak, caramel, slightly astringent alcohol flavor. Man the vanilla note in this really stands out, I love the lingering aftertaste of the vanilla on this. Wow, chocolate creeps in on the back of the vanilla as well. Very sweet beer, but it serves its purpose well as dessert. Delicious.

M: Fairly thick body, very low carbonation, dry, and incredibly smooth. Just enough warming alcohol to know it's there.

D: A little sweet and strong to be a session, but this is a stellar dessert beer. Excellent. Will definitely try and revisit this beer in any way that I can. Great work from Founders, I have yet to be disappointed.

Thanks John! (1,272 characters)

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

A- dark amber color to the beer with a off white head the eventually resides to a thin white ring around the pint.
S- smells of a good cognac, very oak, lots of alcohol on the nose
T- oak comes through so well, has a slight sourness, very malty and sweet
M- very creamy, coats the pallet with flavor, nice carbonation level
D- not as drinkable, but i could definitely drink two (377 characters)

Photo of merlin48
4.22/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I've been looking forward to this one for a long time. The bottle pours a cloudy dark copper body with a small beige head that vanishes quickly and leaves no lace.

Aroma has caramel, toffee, vanilla, and boozy bourbon.

Thick mouthfeel is medium full bodied and creamy. Subdued low medium carbonation. Some alcohol heat.

Taste is complex. Bourbon, peat, vanilla, toffee, caramel, herbal hops, and some boozy warmth. Creamy vanilla notes intensify as it warms.

Wow! Dangerously drinkable. The bourbon keeps this from being an authentic Scotch ale, but it's supremely tasty. (575 characters)

Photo of darklordlager
4.43/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Backwoods Bastard (2009)

A-
Pours a brilliant clear dark ruby with a fine coating of bready cream colored head. Very regal looking beer.

S-
Dominated by bourbon, with a little dark fruit coming through as well. Caramel layers, with a flowery hop scent.

T--
Bourbon, caramel, peat, bourbon, caramel. A constant barrage of these flavours, keeping it interesting. Bourbon is at the forefront (to be expected, as it is very fresh), supported by an intense sweet caramel backbone. An herbal flowery hop flavour is evident throughout, and a little smokiness/peat that peeks through at parts. A pleasant sweet cookie/pancake flavour emerges as it warms. Alcohol is a bit intense in the finish. More caramel and bourbon than dark fruit (which is what I associate with a Wee-Heavy), so this reminds me of a sort of middle-ground between a Scotch Ale and Barleywine.

M-
Great balance between creamy and syrupy--Either of too much can be overwhelming, so this nice balance between the two is refreshing.

D-
Once accustomed to the upfront bourbon flavour, this brew drinks extraordinarily smooth. The alcohol is definitely present, but is impressively intertwined with the bourbon. Give this one a little age, and I think it will be phenomenal.

Edit: Re-review 1/29/10, the bourbon has mellowed the slightest bit, allowing the phenomenal vanilla barrel flavour character to come through, as well as the layered caramel malt. Truly a great beer. (1,440 characters)

Photo of indiapaleale
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pour - dark ruby in color with some brown and orange highlights. Very clean and clear with some cascading bubbles forming a tight thin head. When held to the light this gives off some beautiful colors.

Aroma - lots of vanilla, cherry, oak, bourbon and sherry in the nose. This has picked up an absolute ton of aroma from the barrels it was aged in, its one of the more vanilla-ey and bourbon-ey smelling beers I've come across. That being said, it really smells warm and inviting and I look forward to that first sip.

Taste - wow is that smooth, its like silk on the tongue. Lots of big, bold vanilla and oak flavors, the tannins come out and dry the tongue but I also notice a bit of hoppiness which I didn't expect but then again those 50 IBUs are coming from somewhere. Nice sweet and tart cherry flavors come out and mesh well with the vanilla. My stomach is warm and I have a smile on my face. I love this beer.

Overall - I am blown away by how drinkable this is at 10.2%. I have found myself trying to slow down! This is extremely smooth and creamy with a ton of flavor and complexity. The best way to sum this up is just by saying its "gorgeous" and multifaceted. You will drain that bottle into your glass more than twice to get every little drop out. One of a kind and not to be missed.

Would I buy more of it? - I bought one bottle to give this one a try and now I am kicking myself for not shelling out the $14 for a 4-pack, I believe its worth every penny. Hopefully I'll find some more before its all gone (1,530 characters)

Photo of billab914
4.02/5  rDev -4.7%
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. (680 characters)

Photo of mirish72
4.49/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Lucky enough to pick this up the other night. Have heard great things so I was psyched to find it and didn't even flinch at the $15 price tag.

Poured into a Chimay goblet. Poured a dark copper, caramel color with a little lacing.

On the first whiff, I noticed was the amazing bourbon aroma. Upon another sniff, the beer had an incredicle mix of burnt, smokey, oakey aromas, really complex but amazing.

It has an equally complex taste, one that was multi-layered and seemed to get better with every sip. It definitely handles the impressive malts, but it also balanced the alcohol well. You can tell this is strong (10.2%), but it really works well.

I am usually not a huge fan of Scotch ales, but this is the cream of the crop. A really amazing beer, I am going to pick some more up to age in the cellar. Also, you gotta love the artwork and the labeling on the packaging. Really a perty brew. (897 characters)

Photo of MIbeerfan
4.19/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a rich dark brown caramel color with a good two finger head

S: Muted smell of malt

T: At first I get a sweet nutty taste followed by hints of bourbon in the after taste.

M: Velvet smooth over the tongue and suprisingly light and fluffy for a scotch ale.

D: This beer overall sweeter, smoother, and lighter than "Dirty Bastard". The high alcohol content is suprisingly masked. I could definitely go for another!! (425 characters)

Photo of HopsHops
4.8/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured into a white ceramic cup because my last snifter was recently broken...

A - Very nice, dark caramel color with goldish color around the edge under a light...

S - Sweet, sugar, toffee, candy, tangy....Smells great man...

T - Powerful, Chocolate, toffee, some bitterness...well balanced... WOW

M - slightly carbonated just right, creamy, kinda coats the tongue. Excellent..

D - 10.2% abv. I'd be careful it is strong and you probably couldn't tell if youre not paying attention. (488 characters)

Photo of turamarth
4.17/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a tremens glass.

Appearance: Starts off with about a finger of off white creme colored head. Which dissipates rather quickly. Some small bubbles do stick to the side of the glass. The body is a very nice copper, amber color. Opaque in the center, but some nice lightness to the edges.

Smell: Mmmm malty. Starts off with the sweet hint of bourbon and alcohol. Tasty vanilla, caramel and toffee aromas then waft up to my nostrels. This nose here sort of reminds me of Boulevard's BBQ (Barrel aging aside). After another good nose dive, I got the hint of Marshmallows. Interesting. There's even a little edge from the oak.

Taste: More bourbon up front. Same malty toffee, caramel and vanilla flavors. There is even the hint of something like a sweetened latte, or a really sweetened and creamed cup of coffee. To my surprise there is even a pinch of hops, which adds a nice under lying fruitiness.

Mouth: This is a pretty rich beer, so one could think it would be rather thick. But, the carbonation is just right so that it doesn't become to coating of the mouth. It leaves a nice flavor afterwords though.

Drink: The alcohol is hidden rather well I think. You can feel it, but the taste isn't overwhelming. A sipper yes, but its a good drink. (1,260 characters)

Photo of drpimento
3.87/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

MMmmmm, baby, baby - can't get enough of your beer babe. Luxuriant. Poured with fine creamy, light tan head and good lace. Color is cured cherry wood. Aroma is vanilla, sweet cherries, malt, caramel, and brandy. Flavor is sweet, a hint of roastiness, Texture is velvety with fine carbonation. Some alcohol in the finish which is fairly long and sweet with a tinge of bitterness at the very end. Not a session beer although an excellent beer. (441 characters)

Photo of porterwoobie
4.2/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, poured into a standard pint glass.

A: brown/plum color, slightly hazy, slime tan head that dissipates quickly to a coating, pretty good lacing

S: malt and an oaky, bourbon barrel aroma.

T: it initally has a malty, caramel like sweetness, dark fruity character. the oaky, bourbon comes in at the finish with a slight hint of smoked malts. interesting flavors.

MF: medium bodied, moderate carbonation.

Drinkability: i think this beer is well-crafted, but not something i'll be buying again in the near future. i prefer the "urban" bastard. (556 characters)

Photo of bonk0076
3.83/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep obsidian color with a slight beige head that quickly diminishes. Aroma is of bourbon, roasted malt, vanilla, and molasses. Taste is a good combination of vanilla, mollasses and bourbon. Finishes relatively smooth with an easy combination. (251 characters)

Photo of rye726
4.45/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark mahogany with a silky tan head that displays nice lacing and retention.

Nose has lots of bourbon, oak and vanilla up front followed by dark fruits, chocolate, caramel and roasty malts.

Taste has candy malts, figs, plums, whiskey, cocoa, oak and vanilla.

Medium body is a bit over carbonated, but drinks quite well once it opens up.

Another great ale from Founders, never had a bad beer from these guys. (419 characters)

Photo of sidetracked
3.88/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark amber with a thin cream head that dissipated quickly. When held to the light it looks like sediment or air bubbles are suspended in the beer.

Smells sweet and intensely alcoholic--reminds me of rum or whiskey.

Overwhelmingly tastes of whiskey with minor roasted malt, sweet caramel, and woodsy notes. A little alcohol burn at the end.

Goes down surprisingly smooth and is easy to drink. Consistency is thick, but not overly chewy.

Overall a good sipping beer, especially if you enjoy bourbon. (510 characters)

Photo of sinstaineddemon
4.25/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

having some good wee heavys lately, not a bad thing.

A - mahogany, with some deep crimson highlights, plenty visible carbonation feed a modest tan head

S - big malty, raisins and molasses dominate the aroma to me, plus the welcome addition of bourbon ive not found in many wee heavys

T - smoky sweet, quite a complex flavor, sweet dark fruit again, raisins and dates and such, a rich distinct woody caramel flavor at the back end, with some vanilla/toffee sweetness

M&D - smooth and supremely complex, the end of the taste makes the beer, the caramel, woodiness, it is easily quaffed, one of the better wee heavys ive had, up there with Wet Willy (651 characters)

Photo of muskabeatz
4.02/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a rich brown, with ruby and copper hues when held to the light. One finger head with minimal lacing.

S- Smells of bourbon with a presence of dark cherries in the back of the nose. Slight undertones of butterscotch.

T- Big malty, caramel sweetness, with a noticable presence of bourbon. A bit of a woody, oak taste that gives way to a slightly dry, nutty finish. Slightly boozy for my taste.

F- Light carbonation up front that dissipates, so to not overwhelm the finish. Leaves behind a warming from the alcohol.

D- The alcohol content, which is obvious in the taste, makes this one a pretty slow drinker for me. Can't say I could really drink more than one. However, this beer gets better and better as it warms. (725 characters)

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

This poured a hazy mahogany with a bit of light tan head. It smelled like sweet nutty malt with lots of bourbon and oak, along with some rich caramel and a bit of copper. It tasted like lots of bourbon and oak, with some sweet caramel and nutty malt and cooking vanilla and maple syrup, and a bit of bready yeast. It was slightly thick with a bit of carbonation, and had a bitter aftertaste. Overall this was a very powerful beer loaded with bourbon and oak. Nicely done flavor and good body, but it was a bit much to drink freely so I was happier sipping. Age might help tame this beast. In the end, I enjoyed this beer, but it seemed more like a variation on Dirty Bastard, rather than a true improvement. (707 characters)

Photo of birchstick
4.1/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - pours a very dark, rich brown with a solid one-finger head

S - smells very sweet - a lot sweeter than I expected. There are hints of vanilla and oak, with sweet tones of leather and black licorice. There is also some caramel malt and a dash of dark cherries. There is also a very faint touch of peatiness, as an ode to its scotch ale style.

T - The taste follows the nose. There is a lot of stuff going on in this one - it has taken me a while to decipher this beer. Very sweet, toasted and caramel malts are upfront and play the leading role. The cherries that are pretty subtle on the nose stand out quite a big as well. There is bourbon and sweet oakiness on the finish as you exhale, and it lingers on the palate for a while. This is an ultimate sipper...

M - pretty thin and watery mouthfeel - very average.

D - Wow, this is a pretty hearty brew. You definitely need to sip this one and take all of its aromas and flavors in. I really enjoy the bourbon that lingers between drinks. Another fantastic brew from Founders - I have come to expect nothing but the best from these guys. (1,094 characters)

Photo of ShadesOfGray
4.22/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had on tap and bottle...but draught review for this one:
Pours a nice dark shade of caramel brown. Light tannish colored head, pretty thin. Wow the scotch smell is pretty solid. Pick up a little malt and sweetness, caramel perhaps.
Taste is pretty complex. Scotch taste again is very present. Booze aspect is pretty subtle. Sweet flavors again of chocolate or caramel...malty...VERY good. A little heavy, so not a quick drinking beer. (434 characters)

Photo of morimech
4.49/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I think this is the ultimate winter beer. Full of complex aromas and flavors and enough booze to keep you warm. Pours a ruddy brown color with a small tan head that quickly settles to bubbles around the glass. Some sticky lacing is left on the glass. The aroma is a mixture of vanilla, caramel, scotch, rich malt, and some earthiness. The flavor likewise is complimented nicely by barrel aging. Hints of vanilla and scotch along with the richness of the malt makes this a nice sipper. Alcohol warmth in the finish. Full body with carbonation that gives the beer a nice soft texture. Fits this beer nicely. This beer is a sipper so that limits drinkability. (656 characters)

Founders Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
94 out of 100 based on 1,582 ratings.