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Founders Backwoods Bastard | Founders Brewing Company

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Founders Backwoods BastardFounders Backwoods Bastard

Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company
Michigan, United States | website

Style: Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.60%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
"Wee Heavy", cave aged in oak bourbon barrels.

Added by CortexBomb on 01-30-2007

User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,739 | Ratings: 7,720
Photo of CHADMC3
3.76/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy walnut brown with a thin tan head, packed densely with carbonation but patiently subsiding to leave little lacing behind.

Sweet malt aroma is second to the aggressive bourbon/wood notes with hints of vanilla and caramel as well as pepper and similar spices.

The palate is similar to the nose, more spice, significant bourbon flavors, faint sweet malt, and just a touch of earthy hops.

I guess the body of this beer would be considered medium, but the palate is certainly aggressive. Medium to little carbonation, and as smooth as a brew of this assertiveness can be.

This beer is antagonistic for lack of a better word. Certainly worth a try, it stands out among some of the barrel-aged brews I have enjoyed recently. The "bastard" on the label pretty much summarizes the beer. If you are a scotch/bourbon/whiskey, etc. drinker, you will enjoy the intricacies of this brew.

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

pours a beautiful, ruby amber with a ruby tinted two finger. flakes of sediment throughout the glass. the smell is strong and boozy, dominated by bourbon, oak, caramel, and vanilla, with backrounds of malt. complex and lovely. I found myself smelling this one for awhile, a little hesitant to try it. didn't want a mouthful of bourbon i think. the taste is not as strong as the smell, with flavors of vanilla, sweet malt, scotch, and booze with a hint of a bitter finish. the mouthfeel is so velvety and silky. definitely a slow drinker. i could see not liking this beer a few years ago. some people around the room both loved it and disliked it, but it is a experienced nerds beer i think.

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Photo of Daniellobo
4.25/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Nice and rich sipper. Stimulating balance of malt and bourbon aged notes.

Presentation: 12 oz bottle. Old fashion design around the portrait of an old bearded man holding an axe in the forest, mixed with the Founders branding. Short description as "Ale aged in oak bourbon barrels". Shows date of bottling (11/16/09), IBUs (50), and Alc. (10.5%) Poured into a snifter.

A - Amber brown with a faint haze, and a thin head that fades quickly with a few notes of lacing.

S - Bourbon, oak and vanilla notes over the malt heftiness. Not too assertive or remarkable but nice nevertheless.

T - Here it works best with the vanilla, oaked bourbon notes taking center stage, dried fruits and malt notes in the background.

M - Medium leaning on a fuller side, with a smooth and dry finish. Little but adequate carbonation.

D - Nice sipper, and enticing enough to follow with another one. Great to share too.

Notes: A nicely aged scotch ale. Pleasing and memorable.

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Photo of ibbjamin
3.02/5  rDev -28.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Paid $5.99 for a 12oz bottle from Perry's Liquor in Livermore, CA. Poured into a Bruery tulip to review.

Half inch tan head consistent of relatively large sized carbonation bubbles. No retention. Dark raisin brown in color. Minimal lacing.

Aroma is (in order) molasses, caramel malts, brown sugar, bourbon, oak and toffee.

Oak and caramel malt hold up the dominating bourbon flavor. Quite boozy.

Mouth is better carbonated than I was expecting. Alive and even some crispness. Medium body, medium finish of oak and bourbon. Proper drinkability.

With this beer rated quite well, I am beginning to think I should take a break altogether from purchasing bourbon barrel aged beers. This is another example of one that is just too boozy. I guess I like to separate my bourbon and beer drinking habits.

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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 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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Photo of Mora2000
4.32/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Exiled for sharing this bottle.

The beer pours a dark brownish-red with a small white head. The aroma is awesome, lots of cherry, vanilla and bourbon. The flavor is just as great, with the same cherry, vanilla and bourbon notes, with the vanilla being the most dominant flavor. There is very little detectable alcohol. The mouthfeel is medium and the carbonation is low.

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Photo of Mavajo
4.65/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a copper color with a moderate off-white head. Great taste of vanilla with a definite bourbon characteristic. Sweet and malty, with notes of brown sugar. Extremely tasty! Carbonation is a bit subdued, but it's smooth and fairly full. There's a definite alcohol burn, but it's not offensive.

Truly a fantastic brew. Wish I had bought more than one - now I have to wait 6+ months for more! Dammit.

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Photo of VaTechHopHead
4.62/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A - Nice mix of deep red and brown, clearly unfiltered, with an off-white head. Good chunks of lace down the glass left by a fast depleting head.

S - The first nose is like sticking your nose in a bourbon barrel...sweet and pungent bourbon with a great malty backbone. Hops aren't too prevalent because the other aromas dominate.

T - This is where this beer really shines. Starts off with wonderful sweet malty mash flavors but the bourbon kicks in real quick. The bourbon isn't harsh or hot at all but amazingly pleasant, it's all the flavor and none of the burn. Right at the end the hops pop in and their bitterness blends with the bourbon nicely to give a great spicy finish

M/D - Heavy body with some large carbonation bubbles but somehow still smooth on the tongue. Sweet finish but has a nice alcohol warmth. Way too easy to drink for such a high alcohol content.

For a widely available seasonal beer this one is terrific and definitely a must try for all big beer lovers.

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Photo of Brent
3.6/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Whap - that is the sound of this beer smacking you in the face on first sip. An immediate onslaught of bourbon and vanilla oak, some sweet malt and fusel alchohol. After a couple more sips to acclimate, the alcohol retreats but does not leave the background. Malty sweetness emerges and the beer with a shot impression lingers. A bit more boozy than I care for.

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Photo of jdklks
4.32/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

08 vintage. I'm planning on doing an 09 immediately following this one.

Pours a very dark amber/light mahogony that displays orange hues when backlit. The head is a nice tan, but doesn't stick around long, even with an aggressive pour. The smell is absolutely phenomenal. Tons of oak, tons of bourbon. Sweet, sweet fruits. Orange, acai berry, lemon, etc. some brown sugar, syrup, and molasses. Maybe a hint of vanilla even.

Describing the smell I said "maybe" vanilla. Now I want to say "definitely lots" of vanilla. Right up front all the way through the aftertaste this is a vanilla lovers dream. Other notable flavors: oak, orange, brown sugar, and caramel. There is a nice bourbon burn on the back of the palate and the esophagus.
*Edit after opening the 2009*: The fresher version has more brown sugar, toffee, and the bourbon is more pronounced. Everything is more intense, and the beer is not as smooth. There is also an added flavor of green apple cider that is curiously missing from the 2008.

Unfortunately, the beer is undercarbonated, which is sad, because if it weren't, the flavors would come out much more and I would probably give it a five for taste. It is very nicely thick though. Given thickness, ABV, and sweetness, I'm not going to give it too high of a score in the drinkability department, though I will be drinking two of them.

Overall, one of the best scotch ales I've ever had. Another great Founders beer, go figure.

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Photo of RocPorterFanatic
4.65/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Sam Adams Perfect Pint glass. Its got a deep copper color with slightly rocky lacing. The smell is amazing. Its the best of both worlds, bourbon and beer. There are heavy vanilla flavors coming in from the oak and bourbon, mixed with the creamy robust flavors from the scotch ale. What a truly amazing beverage. The alcohol is present, but its not the focal point of this beer.

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Photo of jeffthecheff
2.87/5  rDev -32.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Thanks to Joe for the bottle. Your just helping me beat you in the race to 200, dude. Poured into a tulip glass on a snowy day while watching the winter Olympics. It has a dark red/brown color with just a wisp of a tan head. There are some small, flaky particles floating throughout.

The nose contains some toasted, oaky wood and alcohol. Vanilla is a bit strong and reminds me of vanilla extract. I would like more subtlety here. I'm not generally in to bourbon aged beers, so I appreciated that this didn't smell like it had a straight shot of whiskey in it, but the aromas of the beer itself were a bit underwhelming.

Flavor is rich caramel up front with some oak wood on the finish. Vanilla in the middle, and a bit too strong again. Slight dark fruits on the back. I'm glad this doesn't taste like whiskey, but there is a slight burn on the tongue and throat. The mouthfeel is unimpressive, and is the low light of this beer. It has a thin impact for its size. A bit thin, which carries a slightly syrupy liquor flavor in the finish. I would prefer heavier malt in the flavor mouthfeel.

This beer took me way to long to drink. It had some decent attributes, and some nice, subtle barrel character, but the base beer didn't impress me. It feels a bit lifeless in the mouthfeel, and the flavors just weren't my bag.

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Photo of Genghis22
4.22/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Another beautiful from beer from my great friend Stephen. Thanks!

A - Pours a syrupy caramel brown. An agressive poured yielded a nice frothy tan head. Great lacing.

S - Sweet malt in the nose. Further examination reveals oak and bourbon. Slight touches of alcohol. A bit buttery.

T - The fist taste is sweet malt. It is quickly high-jacked by the oak flavor. There is a slight taste of bourbon, but as you sip it more, the bourbon becomes more pronounced. The aftertaste is dry and slightly bitter. Other than the drying effect, the alcohol seems hidden.

M - Sticky and syrupy, coats the tongue well. The carbonation is pretty low, would have liked a bit more. Very dry finish.

D - A very nice beer. With so many stouts being aged in bourbon, it was nice to have a Scotch Ale. The style really lends itself to the bourbon. The ABV of this beers knocks it out of "session" territory, but I could drink maybe two of these in a night. It is a great sipper.

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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 TCHopCraver
4.39/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours dark hickory-brown into an oversized wine glass. A tiny head disappears quickly. The lacing is mostly dotty and sticky. When held to the light, this crotchety fella is impenetrable to the eye.

S: I don't really know how an aroma can be creamy, but this is. It makes me genuinely excited to partake. The bourbon/oak smells support a caramel-vanilla-maple malt aroma. I find myself taking this into my olfactory organs over and over. In Utopia, this is exactly how autumn in an enchanted forest would smell.

T: Rich. Full. Creamy. Chewy. Everything I detected in the aroma is present in the taste. Somewhat surprisingly, though, the maple sweetness that I smelled is just a little under-represented in the taste. I think the bourbon oak barrel flavor is overwhelming the malt sweetness a tad too much. The taste experience of a sip of this brew is akin to an Orchestra playing the hell out of a Mahler Symphony, only to fall about 10% short of reaching the full color spectrum at the climax of the piece.

M: Repeat the first four sentences of my taste review. I also enjoy the dryness of the finish, but I wish the sweetness of the brew would coat my palate just a a smidge more.

D: Excellent. This is a very well crafted beer. I could imagine having more than one of these in a sitting, but eventually the high a.b.v. would put an end to that.

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Photo of wood2430
4.62/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The first incounter with this beer was remarkable. The appearance came with a wonderful copper color. The bourbon smell was right on point with taste that was an explosion of bourbon, malts, and hops. The mouth was pretter bitter and had a puckering effect because of the bourbon aging.. Overall it was an excellent experience for a seasonal brew..

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Photo of barleywinefiend
3.33/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured deep maroon color with decent carbonation leaving a small dirty white head.Nose of booze, caramel, oak and more booze and whiskey. Taste is just big booze, bourbon, some light vanilla but hot and how does anyone call this a Wee Heavy is beyond me. It is a Strong Ale. In that category, yes it is ok, however, way off balanced, as a strong ale it needs some time to downplay the bourbon. If you like that sort of thing then great. It just took control of this beer and left it undrinkable for me.
Note to richbrew. Lets clear this up?? Lets do that. Whatever floats your boat. Before you criticize reviews and taste of others you might want to review more than 17 beers. Secondly, dont bash other reviews. Its one's own taste and choice.

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

12oz bottle, poured into a Dogfish Head signature glass...

A - small amount of light khaki foam falls quickly to some large floating bubbles accompanied by a tan ring. the beer itself is a dark burnt brown with a slight purple hue. random spotty lacing as the beer goes down.

S - bourbon everywhere, mixed with some vanilla, chocolate, cherries, plums, sweet malt...strong whiskey kick at the end. picks up a lot more bourbon as it warms.

T - bourbon again, mixed with some dark chocolate and malted candy (Whoppers)...fruits come in next, bourbon soaked cherries and raisins. definitely some alcohol heat.

M - thick and chewy, adequate carbonation aids in getting some other flavors besides bourbon their opportunity.

D - Had this once before (very fresh) and thought it was way too wild...have a few bottles left and hopefully some age will bring out even more complexities. as far as drinkability goes, abv and tons of sweetness make a single bottle almost too much.

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Photo of fairdinkum2
4.4/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Good looking, great tasting beer. Pours with a deep, dark copper color with a lumpy, creamy head. Good retention with excellent lacing.

Bourbon predominates on the nose with chocolate and coffee notes thrown in.

A well balanced palate. Coffee, chocolate and dried fruits, framed by a muscular bourbon character. Alcohol content is well masked. Other styles tend to sweet notes. This is a somewhat drier style, which adds to its drinkability.

Excellent effort.

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Photo of WeedKing4
4.1/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle pours a dark hazy brown with little floaties seen in the glass. You can smell the burbon on this one, and its definately in the taste too. Mixed with a dark malt taste, and it does drink so damn smooth. The 10.20% is very well hidden. This was a decent beer and glad I got to try it. Never had a burbon barrel aged beer before. Nice offering.

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Photo of sulldaddy
4.85/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pouring a cellar temp bottle into a snifter.
The beer pours a deep mahogany with garnet highlights. Some small white particles are suspended in the brew. A tightly packed creamy tan head foams up 1 cm with an aggressive pour. The head fades to a frothy edge layer that remains through the sampling. Aroma is instantly deep brown sugar and caramel malt with heavy bourbon and vanilla notes wafting out of the glass. A little boozy scented but not fusol heat like a liquor.
The first sip reveals a slightly thick body but not syrupy or chewy texture, very smooth and EASY to drink. Next to nothing for carbonation that does fizz up when sloshed around in my mouth for a few seconds.
Flavor is all sweet malt, with brown sugar and maybe a little molasses mixing with some toffee. Hits of vanilla and a little bit of wooden dryness mixes in to the flavor. No hops anywhere to be found. I like this beer!!
The booze is very well hidden and I think this beer is dangerously easy to drink. I wish I could get access to this beer more frequently as it may have moved up into my top 5 brews.

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Photo of thain709
3.55/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Poured a deep mahogany brown with some haze to it...the head formed and was very little but I expected that from a 10% beer...some lacing was left

S - Besides the generous amount of bourbon there are very subtle notes of chocolate and vanilla lingering around...pretty inviting nose

T - Just what I expected...bourbon is present from the beginning to the end...a big alcohol burn...the vanilla from the nose is present and provides a strong sweetness to the beer which is needed...I can compare the taste to that of drinking a jack and coke...I guess you could say there's some balance to this beer but it's definitely bourbon barrel aged

M - Medium bodied...slick with a big warming alcohol effect

D - This was my first bourbon aged beer...I wasn't sure what to expect besides the bourbon flavor and this provided lots of bourbon...it smelled nice but maybe this just isn't my style...I'll have to just try more bourbon barrel aged beers!

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Photo of GregSVT
4.29/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a Brooklyn Snifter

A: Pours a deep hazy brown with a small head that fades to near nothing and leaves a tiny bit of lacing. Not very impressive looking.

S: The nose is intoxicating, lots of vanilla on top of a chocolatey malt base and a slight roastiness. This almost smells like a Belgian with all the sweet smells arising from the glass. As it warms the whiskey aroma somes out more and more.

T: The taste has a lot of chocolate/cocoa in there with the vanilla from the nose and a slight bitterness on the finish to balance things out. There is a touch of whiskey in there but it's not overpowering. I will say a lot of the scotch ale flavor has been drown out by the barrel aging though.

M: The feel is medium to full with a slick feeling as you swallow. Not too much carbonation but I feel that it helps to bring out the flavors more than if it were very bubbly.

D: I actually like this one compared to KBS and would definitely have more. Great example of what barrel aging can do to a nice Wee Heavy.

Recomended if you can find it. I have 3 more I may age for a while to see if the scotch ale flavors come forward after a year or so.

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Photo of BeerInReview
2.99/5  rDev -29.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A: A dark amber in color with a nice thick white head. Nice lacing all the way through as well.
S: Hello alcohol! Bourbon, bourbon, and more bourbon. It's hard to distinguish other aromas when the bourbon is so strong, though I can faintly smell vanilla.
T: A strong bourbon and heavy alcohol punch up front. Harsh! As the fire subsides oak and vanilla flavors are present.
M: Thin...
D: Let me put it this way, I won't be seeking this beer out again.

However...I think the bottle I had was way too young. The alcohol has not settled and melded. It seems to have some good underlying characteristics that may present themselves better in a years time once the alcohol settles down.

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Founders Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
95 out of 100 based on 1,739 ratings.