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Founders Backwoods Bastard - Founders Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Founders Backwoods BastardFounders Backwoods Bastard

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,662 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 1,662
Hads: 7,372
Avg: 4.25
pDev: 22.59%
Wants: 953
Gots: 2,795 | FT: 263
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: 1,662 | Hads: 7,372
Photo of jim102864
3.9/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a cloudy copper brown in me allagash tulip glass. Why must Founders use twist off caps? A scant head but a suprising level of carbonation with a swirl or two. Part of a trade with Hoppymeal. A noticable bourbony nose. Not overwhelming, mind you with a caramel malt base. Big bourbon influence in the taste to go along with a Jim Beam-like alcohol burn in the finish. Very carbonated brew with an alcohol burn that won't quit. It' big at 10.2 abv . The yeast clouds the glass. A little vanilla. Nice brew. A sipper.

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Photo of stewart124
4/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My bottle says it's 10.2%. Whoa!

It pours a hazy amber to burgundy with a decent tan head.

The first hint I pick up on is of course bourbon and a vanilla. There are traces of dark caramalized malts and that figgy/tobacco character.

The taste is quite smooth and finishes with an almost peppery note. It's got some spice and tingles my throat. This is a bit thicker than I envisioned and it's quite delicious. There is a nice spice to this and I'm wondering if that is the bourbon barrel or some hops additions. Lots of caramel sweetness and a slight roasted character.

The mouthfeel is medium-full and the finish still has that spicy bite. The alcohol is fairly hidden and the the tobacco seems to come out as the beer warms.

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Photo of DavoleBomb
3.96/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass. Received as part of "extras" in a HB BIF from Hogie.

3.0 A: Really dark brown and rather opaque. I couldn't get a good head (about one finger), and not good retention of that either. Head is light brown in color. Decent amount of lacing. There is a bunch of variable sized crap throughout all layers of the brew.

4.5 S: Damn good aroma. Easily makes up for the sloppy appearance. Bourbon barrels come through quite well and also a tinge of alcohol. Dark roasty malts and dark fruits.

4.0 T: Tastes a lot like it smells. Woodiness and alcohol tinge are present foremost. Lots of raisins and tobacco as well, followed by plum. Roasted malt and caramel.

4.0 M: Heavy Medium body. Except for the bite of alcohol, this is otherwise very smooth.

3.5 D: Though I enjoy a wee heavy/barleywine/olde ale now and again, I haven't found one that I find very drinkable.

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Photo of brokenleadedcask
4.49/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Stored for 3-4 months and poured into a snifter

A- Pours deep amber but still is translucent

S- Single barrel bourbon, Werther's caramel candy

T- Oak, vanilla, tobacco, a pinch of smoke, notes of coconut (is this right?) and a little spicy

M- Great mouth feel, flavorful but still light enough. For my taste not hot at all

D- I love the flavor profile on this one, sentimental beer for me. I am completely content with drinking 2 of these and nothing else, then going to bed a happy man

Overall- My favorite Wee Heavy/Scotch ale and was lucky enough to drink quite a bit of it in 2008

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Photo of czfreeman
4.52/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Founders is rapidly moving up my ranks into my favorite breweries. Having sampled the stellar Breakfast Stout, picked up some Kentucky Breakfast yesterday, and just drank a superb Centennial IPA, bring on some Backwoods!
Pours out a deep caramel burgundy mahangony color, light carbonation. The weight of the beer simply pulls the head back into the glass before it even has a change to emerge, nice. Lacing is kept to a minimal.
Smells of candied apple, malts,caramel, vanilla, Burbon, smells like a good snifter of Woodford reserve. Cherry, oaks follow through. Smells exactly what I wanted. A Hillbilly with his distillery created something like this, a Backwoods Bastard indeed.
Wow. This is incredibly balanced. Musty, cherries, oaks, vanilla, all with a huge Burbon complexity. Smooth, caramely sweetness takes the edge off the impending alcoholic burn of a sip of burbon. Smoky leather plays a role in the complexity, all with the over-undertone of a beer increadibly balanced with Burbon.
Drinkablitiy is a sipping level, because it's simply that warming and complex. Burbon is utlilized here with a talent Ive only seen exibited thusfar in Goose Island Burbon stout.
Whereas Wee Heavy ales are generally too sweet for my taste, Founders has incorporated the warming and spicy effect of burbon to provide the seemingly perfect touch of alcholic warmness vanilla-oak complexity. Mouthfeel borders near perfection for the style description and steps taken to craft this brew.
This seemingly perfectly named beer will only grow better with time. I will be making a beeline to my beer store to secure a four-pack for my cellar. In the meantime, this has gotten me even more excited(if possible) about the Kentucky Breakfast Stout chilling in my fridge. Well done Founders.

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Photo of ckeegan04
4.05/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Deep, caramel brown with mahogany shades throughout. At the thinner part of the glass the beer takes on an almost iridescent orange. One finger foamy cap, light brown in color. Excellent retention and leaving a thin sheet of lace behind.

S - Strong boozy aroma of bourbon dominates the nose. Vanilla and a little oak. The bourbon aromas do not let much else come through at all. Hints of some roasted maltiness underneath, but very muted.

T - Wow...bourbon. Lots and lots of bourbon. Big vanilla and oak notes and a very noticeable alcohol burn. This is one of the most bourbony of bourbon aged beers I have ever tried. A light smokiness underneath. Is there a wee heavy in here somewhere or is this just bourbon mixed in with a little caramel? While missing the mark on 'wee heavy', this is still a fine beer. If there was a category for "Bourbon Beer" this would be a 5. I bring it down to a 4 because I would like to taste a little Scotch ale in here.

M/D - Medium to full bodied and surpirsingly viscous. Almost like liquid caramel mixed with a bourbon thinner. Very tasty, but t he alcohol and tastes are very strong, thus knocking the drinkability down a notch.

A very interesting beer and another fun drinker from Founders.

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Photo of jwhawkins81
3.74/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Aroma - Cherries, vanilla, a hint of sweet maltiness, and raisins

Appearance - Dark red with a thin light brown head. Not too much carbonation.

Taste - Definitely can get a sense of the base beer Dirty Bastard (a beer I am less than fond of) with a lot of bourbon flavor added.

Mouthfeel - Surprisingly thin thanks to the light carbonation. However the weight of the alcohol was evident.

Drinkability - A sipper not really worth the trouble in my book. However if you're a fan of Scotch Ale's this is something interesting you should try.

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Photo of robbyc1
2.67/5  rDev -37.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5

Clear amber, decent lace. Nothing special.

Nose has an intriguing oak waft, like fresh oak, with a slight bit of bourbon. Not sure where the actual beer is.

The Oak hits hard up front, with the bourbon to follow, but they linger because the actual beer does not hold up - the storage tastes dominate, and leave this taste very unbalanced, some hops noticiable at the end with slight malt, but malt looses the battle here.

Mouthfeel is good with heaviness, but the drinkability suffers greatly from the lack of balance, you would have to be eating a wood grilled fish to enjoy this, couldn't finish the bottle.

The un-oaked version of this is much better.

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

A: Red, big head

S: Winey, bourbon, oaky like a chardonnay, highly malty

T: Very strong oakiness and bourbon flavor; in fact it's almost all bourbon and oak, and hard to find the beer in the beer. This is, to me, bourbon barrel aging gone over the top.

M: Persistent, very dense, but again, overwhelming bourbon taste stays on the tongue, and is too much.

D: Good once. Next.

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Photo of thequeen711
4/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Backwards Bastard is a fine brew from my friends at Founders. Nice frothy head out of the tap, beautiful bourbon aroma/taste with hints of oak, malt, caramel, toffee, and vanilla. With a mix like that who could not like this!!! Mouthfeel is refreshing and satisfying, sip after sip.
Drink up and enjoy!

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Photo of clayrock81
4/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an almost blackish body with a one-finger tan head that stickss around for awhile. A rich, thick malt smell of toasted, maple, caramel, molasses, that whiskey smell (oak cask, bourbon...) mixed w/ sour/tart fruits - reminds me of a barleywine the smell is that strong. A thick, full-bodied beer that is strong and a little syrupy/sticky. The malt taste is excellent with cocoa, caramel, toffee, coffee bean, oak, vanilla along w/ minor fruit flavors like cherry (tart fruit). Overall I'd say this is a smooth and creamy scotch ale, but it does have a little dryness in it thanks to that really high ABV, which is mostly hidden. This is a grat sipper to relax with, but I couldn't session this it's so thick and strong.

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Photo of coldmeat23
4.82/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

GLASS: 22 oz. Snifter
TEMP: Cellared @ approx 50 degrees

This one pours a beautiful, deep, rich, copper/amber color. So deep that it's almost opaque. One-finger head of tan colored foam. Retention is decent. Lacing is spotty, but slightly sticky.

Man, the oak comes through in this one. A huge butteriness is also present. Very nice notes of vanilla and bourbon. Nice presence of caramel malts.
This one smells so good. I almost don't want to drink it, for fear that it won't be able to match this nose.

God, that's good.
Rich caramel maltiness blends with a beautiful bourbon flavor. Hints of very ripe dark fruits. Good level of oak flavor, without being smokey. Rich brown sugar and vanilla notes. All of this is covered in a wonderful butteriness.

This one is definitely in the 'full-bodied' category. It's thick and viscous. Just short of 'chewey'. Minor level of carbonation, which works well. (Although, I think a touch more would provide a wonderful creaminess and this one would be perfect.)

Very drinkable. So well balanced and smooth. It's hard to believe that this has 10.2% ABV. Where is it? All that I get is a nice mellow warmth, in my belly. One of the best 'hidden ABV' brews that I know of.

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Photo of youngblood
4/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

50 IBU and 10.2% on neck. Needs to be updated on here. First scotch ale here.
A- Poured with small head (only had 5 oz. pour). Deep amber color.
S- Smells very much like bourbon. I knew I was in for a treat just by the smell. Semi-sweet, obviously upfront alcohol notes.
T- It was like a less potent bourbon. Simply amazing. Sweetness was fit right in between initial alcohol punch and slight hops at the backside.
M- Very nice feel. Crystal smooth and gentle feeling.
D- ABV is a knock out.
Overall, fantastic beer.

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

50 ibu, 10.2% abv from the neck label.

poured from a bottle to a clear pint glass gave a 1.5 finger head which settled down quickly to a ring of foam on the top. some lacing here and there as small bubbles rush to the surface and keep the sediment from settling quickly. a nice clear deep amber, well clear if i hadn't poured all that sediment in there.

smells nice. bourbon? check. alcohol? check. some sweet malty goodness? check. woody? check. i think i like what i'm getting into...

wow. bourbon... i think there's some beer in here somewhere... oh, there it is. a vanilla taste, some hot alcohol (which reinforces the bourbon taste), and some malts. a woody touch as well, but no smoke. tasty. mouth-warming.

a creamy mouthfeel. again, reinforcing bourbon ideal, it gives your mouth a coating of goodness that makes you feel like you're having a tall glass of beer that might be mistaken for a bourbon-like concoction if it were flat.

this is quite drinkable for what it is. but not something i'd really wanna drink more than one of per session... ok, maybe two. a sipper for certain. guess i'll need to find some fancy snifters or tulips for next time.

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

A nice little scotch, gotten in trade. Pours medium with good lasting white head, tons of lace.Aroma is decent bourbon. Mouthfeel is easy, average and smooth, good bourbon taste, whiskeyish not too corny, not in-your-face that is well integrated and woody. Very drinkable.

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Photo of ffejherb
4.42/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Brass Rail Deli, Campbelltown, PA on 3/12/09.

A - Poured a cloudy, earthy brown akin to iced tea with sparse carbonation and a creamy tan head that receded to a thin, patchy veil and deposited adequate lacing around the glass.

S - Oaky nose with plenty of sweet vanilla notes and caramel malt, as well as a hint of alcohol and a nice bourbon presence that isn't overwhelming at all.

T - Huge bourbon presence in the flavor, but it is cooled down considerably by the vanilla and caramel sweetness. Finishes with a touch of bitterness and more woody/oaky notes.

M - Medium body with a syrupy texture and pretty soft carbonation overall. Finish is sweet on the tongue and is accompanied by some alcohol warmth and traces of hop bitterness.

D - Overall, I was really impressed with this offering from Founders. Backwoods Bastard boasts plenty of borubon flavor with a big vanilla presence, resulting in a bourbon barrel aged brew that isn't too boozy. Drinkability is fantastic for a 9.2% beer.

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Photo of Gyle41386
4.28/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a tulip.

Pours a darkish murky amber. Very little head that quickly comes and goes.

Aroma is of bourbon and oak. Sweet malts, and hints of vanilla from the oak.

Taste pretty much follows the nose, but with more bourbon. Big warming sensation in this one. Pretty sweet. Even more bourbon in the finish. Very smooth, creamy feel. Dangerously drinkable. Didn't really like this after my first couple of sips, but then it grew on me in a huge way.

Founders can't miss with me. Bring on Kentucky Breakfast Stout!

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Photo of ToddT
4.2/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Bright mahogany color with a small off white head. A few dark colored bits floating in the beer and sprinkled over the head. Head falls fast and leaves minimal lacing on the glass.

S- Bourbon and oak dominate the smell. A few notes of roasted malt, vanilla, and toffee as well.

T- Nice bourbon taste carries throughout, prominent but not dominating. Caramel, vanilla, molasses, and oak notes swirl through the backbone of the bourbon. Finish is sweet and dry with a second hit of the oak notes. The sweetness feels slightly out of place next to the bourbon and the oak.

M- Very smooth drinks more like a mixed drink with a carbonated mixer than a beer.

D- Very drinkable for a 10.2% ABV (2008 bottling). Again it feels more like a mixed drink than a beer to me, but a very drinkable mixed drink. Well done.

An interesting well done beer, complex in character and drinkable to boot. Slightly sweet at the finish and high in ABV but otherwise flawless.

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Photo of oracle
3.94/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

another gravity head find 10 oz draft pour

Beer arrived with almost no head at all, just a few bubbles clinging to the glass. No lacing left to mark the passage this most unusual beer.

Color was a deep dark copper brown, without a hint of cloudiness.

Aroma was quite mild, mostly sweet maltiness, without a hint of the suprises to come.

OK, maybe it was a surprise only to me. The chalkboard indicated it was a scotch ale, not a whiskey barrel aged scotch ale.

Normall I don't care for whiskey/bourbon barrel aged ales, but I did like this one. The whiskey flavor was not quite overpowering and the smokiness of the scotch ale shone through nicely.

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Photo of drgonzo3705
4.8/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a nice dark brown with slight ruby hues and a decent head that recedes to a thin film but leaves very nice lacing in the glass.

S: Nice soft bourbon smell fills the nose with the candied malts hiding in the back.

T: A sweet caramel taste with the bourbon riding along. The bourbon is pretty well balanced here.

M: Smooth, thick, and creamy makes this beer oh so good.

D: The only place where this loses points is the ABV. The 10.2% it clocks in at this year (2008) is pretty well hidden but a few could easily catch up to you. I love this beer though and plan on stocking up on the next release!

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Photo of grayburn
4.66/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours a muddy black into the glass with minimal head to speak of. Laces like velcro.
The smell is whisky. Very good, very strong, put the kids to bed, whisky. A little oak to mellow it down, maybe some molasses.
The taste is the same, slap you in the face whisky, some oaky vanilla, a little bitterness, whisky. Delicious.
The body is huge, thick, viscous, excellent. Carbonation is light but present.
I could put back a few of these, delicious. Another impressive offering from founders.

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Photo of marvin213
4.1/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Seriously--dude with long gray beard and no irises just staring at me from the bottle begins this unique experience. Oh yeah--dude's holding an ax. Does anybody (consciously, anyway) consider bottle label when judging appearance? The beer itself is much better looking, and certainly less creepy. It's like a thick lookin' syrup as I gently pour this one into a pint glass and, unlike most beers, the head forms more as the brew just settles into its holder.

The smell is friggin' awesome. Now--full disclosure--I enjoy a good bourbon now and again, but as I ease into adulthood in part by transitioning into relatively tame beer, I'm enthralled by the return of this aroma. It smells like my old fraternity house...but without the cig smoke. Less beer, more bourbon. Like a baby's smile, it's oh so sweet!

This bottled beer looks and smells so cool that I knew it'd be difficult for the taste to meet the bar, and I'm afraid it doesn't. Don't get me wrong--this is a good beer, but it's so like bourbon that it's as if it's not quite grown. Back to my baby theme, I feel like I robbed the cradle by opening and drinking a bourbon before it was fully grown! I actually love this drink...it's just kinda wierd for a beer. I've had the Allagash like this, and I think this one is better. Where in the Allagash the bourbon (as I recall) is over the top, this is simply a good, well-blended, bourbon-influenced ale.

The mouthfeel is okay with a sweetness. Sweetness makes it a wee bit better than average in my book. Carbonation is good. As the liquid sits in my mouth and I can no longer smell it, it begins to lose that bourbon touch. It returns a tad in the aftertaste.

Now, this is a genuinely bourbon-influenced beverage. I've noticed it's different than the wee-heavy in the descriptor above, if for nothing else than the ABV on this joker is 10.2%. As such, I don't recommend you funnel this one. Tell ya what, though--this beer is unique and tasty enough to include in any tasting. I think it demonstrates a little about how versatile a beer can be. That being said, I probably won't ever drink two back-to-back. I will, however, strive to always keep one on hand.

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

12 oz single purchased for me by a friend from Jungle Jim's in Ohio. Poured into a standard pint glass.

A: Pours a nice mahogany brown with red highlights. An aggressive pour delivered just a very slight head that disappeared quickly into a light haze. The aggressive pour also caused a lot of floaties. I didn't realize it was bottle conditioned. The scarce bubbles do leave more lacing than you would expect.

S: The aroma is a beautiful mix of bourbon and scotch. Multiple other aromas seem to come along for the ride. I do not know if I trust my nose, but I am picking up oak, brown sugar, and caramel. It is one of the most complex beer aromas I ever recall. Truly outstanding.

T: The taste seems to follow the nose pretty well. Caramel, brown sugar, and quite a bit of bourbon flavor. There is a bit of an oak woodiness as well. What a complex and tasty brew this is. It is by far the best tasting example of the style I have had.

M: It is nice and creamy in the mouth. However, as complex and bold as it is, it seems a bit thinner than I would expect.

D: The ABV is well hidden in this one. It smells and tastes of bourbon, but there is no alcohol burn for a 9.2% beer at all. It is a bit of a sipper, but that's because you want to enjoy each sip.

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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 gmcfarre
3.97/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into St. Bernardus chalice
Cap seems a bit oxidized, which is strange since I bought this in November.

A - Pours a chocolate brown color with ruby highlights. Head is minimal, as is the lacing (even when tipped).

S - Strong caramel and molasses scents make this a sweet dark malty bomb. A woody alcohol flavor creeps in, especially once this beer warms.

T - Starts with some dark caramel sweetness that is quickly adjoined by a woody & earthy peat flavor. The peat adds a great deal to the complexity. Some alcoholic spice and warmth becomes evident as it warms. Lots of residual sweetness at the finish with some slight bitterness.

M - Smooth with a heavy, viscous body. Some alcoholic bite and slight bitterness near the finish, but overall its very smooth and full.

D - Good flavor and drinkability, but nothing amazing in this one. Still, its worth trying especially if you are into barrel aged ales and/or scotch ales.

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Founders Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
95 out of 100 based on 1,662 ratings.