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Founders Backwoods Bastard - Founders Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Founders Backwoods BastardFounders Backwoods Bastard

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,709 Reviews
no score

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Reviews: 1,709
Hads: 7,586
Avg: 4.25
pDev: 22.59%
Wants: 972
Gots: 2,980 | FT: 277
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: 1,709 | Hads: 7,586
Photo of Bung
4.32/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz, 2008. Cloudy dark amber/brown/orange pour. Minimal cream head, disappears quickly, but sticks nicely. Heavy aroma of charred oak. Some malt and caramel/toffee and booze. Taste is excellent and smooth and really comes out as it warms. Oak and bourbon, vanilla, toffee, some charred peat, a little vanilla and just hints of vinuous fruits. A warming sipper, good medium body. Finishes a little ashy bitter, with some warming whishy barrel. Pretty darn good wee heavy. Year of age has brought out some refinement and mellowed the heat a bit. It was very good fresh though as well.

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Photo of TaddyPorter
4.3/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Just noticed this at Brews Café while I was getting a growler filled with Great Lakes Nosferatu. I knew I'd heard of it but wasn't sure what it was about. I asked the bartender and he said they'd just gotten it in today. Does Brews sell singles to go? They do. And cheap...$2.50 if I'm not mistaken. That has to be cheaper than in just about any store.

A frothy, bubbling eruption of creamy cappuccino-colored froth settles into a silky coating with big, nearly solid bubbles floating on top. Color is very dark, almost looks like a stout or porter from a distance, but shows tantalizing ruby and burgundy hues when held to light. Sticky lacing gives way to a soapy after-foam on the glass.

So much bourbon at first that it's almost like smelling a glass of whisky, masking the underlying aroma of bitter hops. Then comes...get ready for this...a very distinct wave of bleu cheese, followed by malt sweetness and a grainy but still sweet whiff of dark bread.

A big splash of bourbon, but it quickly fades into hop bitterness and then melts into caramelly molasses sweetness. Finishes with more hop bitterness at the sides and back of the tongue, and a final burst of a little more whisky. What is going on in my mouth? It's very hard to pin down, but is utterly amusing to the senses and fantastical in its mix of crazy flavor profiles.

Light effervescence spreads around the sides of the tongue, leaving behind a silky smooth layer of milk-stout-like elixir. Leaves the tongue feeling coated, caramelly, and sweet.

Other than the very strong taste of the bourbon, the 10+% alcohol is surprisingly well masked, and it goes down rather smoothly. I had to give this one time to warm up, which only revealed its depth and flavorful creativity that much more, but it wasn't easy to do! This would be amazing with some dark raisin toast spread with bleu cheese.

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Photo of mjl21
4.32/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Acquired via trade...thanks Mikey. 12 ounce bottle poured into a snifter. Comes in at 10.2% and 50 IBUs. No bottling info is given, although the artwork is different than is pictured on BA.

A-Pours a muddy dark brown. It has an extremely minimal head that quickly forms a small ring and a few foam splotches. It looks like a barleywine. Suspended yeast floats near the surface.

S-It certainly smells like a BA Scotch Ale. Lots of caramel, oak, and chocolate. The bourbon is definitely noticeable and the smell reminds me of a bourbon and Coke. The barrel also imparts a mustiness to the aroma. There are also notes of dark stone fruits.

T-Lot of chocolate and molasses sweetness. The bourbon barrel notes hit in the middle and impart lots of oak and vanilla. As it goes down the sweetness lessens. It has a nice bourbon aftertaste, but it not burning hot alcohol.

M-It is definitely thick and has a light level of carbonation.

D-It is a true nightcap. It is big and sweet and is definitely one to savor.

Another great beer from Founders. This is one of the better BA beers I have tried in a long time. Perfect for a cold night.

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Photo of Tee76
3.88/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The label on the beer intrigued me, though the price $10.99 for a 6 pack was painful..lol

A: Amber brown color, with a thin white head

S: Heavy bourbon smell with a small hint of malts.

T: Very sweet with a strong bourbon taste.Not much of an after taste though, which is good.

Ml: Full mouth feel that goes down smooth, medium carbonation

D:Very enjoyable, though i couldn't drink too many at one sitting, all in all a great Scotch Ale that i would buy again.

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Photo of Goliath
3.43/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy dark amber/brown color with a half inch of tan colored head sitting on top. Poor retention nd no real lacing.

The aroma is decent. I got a nice bourbon note before I even started to pour. Vanilla and oak are present, Some dark fruit, and a touch of molases.

The taste is pretty good. A nice malt forward beer with notes of bourbon, oak, vanilla, molases, raw grain, and a bit of fruit.

The mouthfeel is a bit weak for me. It's a little on the thin side with an ample carbonation. It feels about medium bodied, so I guess maybe it's a little watery which gives the illusion of being thin.

Drinkability is moderat. The flavor profile is pleasing, but not overwhelmingly good. The moutfeel was the major flaw in the beer, at least to me. The could definitely ramp up the complexity of the beer as well. All in all a decent effort, but I wouldn't go out of my way to have it again.

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

Poured from the bottle to a hazy dark borwn-red with a strong aroma of bourbon, malty dark fruit and a hint of molasses, with the 10.2% alcohol entering the fray at mid-glass. Mouthfeel is full, slightly chewy and a tad tingly, as the taste perfectly accentuates the scents of the nose. Rounds to a nice long warming finish.

Enjoyed with a nice cigar to round it all out.

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Photo of rapidsequence
4.35/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Another annoying twist off 12 ozer from Founders.

Appearance: Looks like lake water when you pour it, but clears up to a reddish brown. Thin white-off white head with scant retention but decent lacing.

Smell: Lots of bourbon. Oak, vanilla, bourbon. Sweet malt underneath. The nice complexities of the regular dirty bastard are completely covered up by bourbon. Fortunately, the bourbon and malt sweetness still smell delicious.

Taste: Very sweet, malty and bourbony. I don't know where they get their barrels, but I might enjoy urine aged in them. Like the smell, the Scotch ale flavors are kind of lost, but it tastes great.

Mouthfeel: Very full, thick, syrupy. Its not overly carbonated, but doesnt seem too flat. It almost gets creamy.

Drinkability: Very high. I love it. The last one of my four pack. I'll buy another.

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Photo of mikey711
4.15/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I poured a bottle to find a deep maroon, almost purple color. It has only a finger of head ontop with a very faint ring of lace remaining on top of the brew. It smells of vanilla, bourbon, coconut, and caramel. Fairly intense but I enjoy it. Quite mellow tasting now with the sweetness and bourbon blending quite nicely together. The finish is very bourbony, but quite enjoyable. Much lighter than expected and one that continues to get better as it warms up

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Photo of corby112
4.34/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very dark chestnut brown, almost black color that is completely opaque with only the slightest of mahogany edges and a thin coffee colored head that slowly fades into a lasting ring.

Roasted malt aroma with an awesome oak presence that gives off a nice wooden aroma with sweet vanilla notes and a good dose of bourbon/whiskey. Hints of burnt toast, chocolate, toffee and oatmeal.

Full bodied with a nice roasted malt flavor that is kind of nutty with a big oak, vanilla and whiskey presence. Chocolate malt, caramel, toffee, burnt toast and oatmeal notes are also detectable. Kind of sweet up front with a silky malt backbone with a very nice touch of bourbon and a bitter dry finish.

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

Thanks to Portia99 for supplying this baby on the 08, now time to review the 09. Poured into Allagash tulip glass.

The new 2009 release, and I have refined my reviews and palate a lot since my last review.

A: Rich thick 1 finger head that doesn't seem like it wants to leave at all, and I don't blame it. Super dark molasses brown color that barely lets light through, but when it does it leaves a slight reddish hue with lots of haze.

N: Wow bourbon up the wazzoo! Also lots of oak aromas to dominate the nose. I start to get some brown sugar and molasses or some sweet syrup like aroma behind it, but heavy on bourbon and oak. Judging from my last review I didn't mention the bourbon and oak, so I wonder if it ages by lessening these aromas. I have more 2008 of this so I will have to compare them soon. Also on the nose is slight vanilla and a little alcohol. Then there are some creamy heavy malts, but way on the back side.

T: Taste starts with some rich creamy malts, very delicious malts though, wow! Then adds some interseting fruits like raisin and perhaps fig or date. After that comes the bourbon, which is still adding to the tastes. Next up is oak and vanilla, which round off the flavors well. Its really rich and complex. The vanilla seems to creep up and get stronger as the taste lingers and as the beer warms. Then some burnt brown sugar really takes a punch to this beer. I almost get a slight cream soda like taste. A slight alcohol taste as well, but very light. The flavors are dancing around in my mouth like ecstacy.

M: Pretty thick, almost syrupy, slightly velvety, some alcohol warmth and burn, decent carbonation.

F: Finishes slightly dry but still semi sweet. The alcohol leaves a fresh clean feeling in the mouth like you just finished mouthwash. The vanilla and oak also seem to stick around for a little while adding some nice lingering tastes in the memory. The bourbon also remains, but much less than before. It adds some bitter qualities that seem to stem from some possible hops. The creamy feel and taste also lingered for a little bit. Some oak esters stick around your tongue, or my tongue since I'm the one tasting it dammit. Damn this is such an awesomely awesome beer!

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Photo of ritzkiss
3.93/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle from a trade with Viggo - thanks bro!

Pours a dark mahogany/toffee color with a touch of head lingering on the top, dropping to a patchwork.

Nose is heavy on the bourbon, licorice, brown sugar, ethanol, a touch of peat.

Taste is probably the closest thing in beer I've had to drinking bourbon. Mixed with a nice peat/earthiness, caramel malts, toffee, brown sugar and molasses, a touch of roastiness, woodiness. A nice alcohol warming in the finish to add to the bourbon similarities.

That said, this is still fairly drinkable - though, a sipper nonetheless. No rough edges, no burn, not overwhelming on any front, well integrated, bold.

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

An honor to finally try this beer. I'm a huge fan of Bourbon barrel aged beers. Needless to say I have high expectaitons here after striking gold with everything else that Founders makes.

A sturdy and stead pour brings about deep mohogany and medium brown colors with a significant haze. An initial 1/2" head of dense off-white head falls to half that and remains firm from then on. A nice Belgian lace persists on the sides of the glass as the beer fades.

In Kentucky, we are used to the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday Bourbon Balls. This delicate desert is very well exhibited in this beer. The aroma is chocked full of deep bourbony and cocoa aromas. Here, the maltiness doesn't end with the grains, but a malted milk note persists and inhances the intrigue. Just from the nose, this is one inviting beer.

Intense flavors of strong malts, deep chocolates, medium coffees and nuts, and bourbon-soaked fruits make for a great, great taste. Low on hop flavoring, the malts dominate here. Absolute delicious blend of molassas sweetness, bourbon undertones, cocoa, and mild campfire-ish notes make for a very well rounded and complex taste.

The body of the beer, once again, favors the malts but is well balanced with deep alcohols, fruitcake breadiness, and rich creaminess (again, like the malted milk thing- think Whopper candies soaked in bourbon). No phenolics or sharp alcohols, this beer is very well textured.

As far as Scottish Ales are concerned, this one is light on the peat and smokey notes. It emphasized the rich malty flavors and textures without becomming overly sweet. Combine all this with the robust chocolate and bourbon notes and we have a perfect desert beer for a Kentuckian.

Thanks RyanC84!

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Photo of rawrgasaurus
4.79/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

serving type: bottle at The Oak in Wyandotte, MI

appearance: poured extremely dark, almost black into a tulip glass with minimal to no head.

smell: caramel, smoke and wood

taste: creamy and smooth

mouthfeel: thick and creamy with little carbonation

Dangerously drinkable. I can see why people rave over it. I think I prefer this to Founders Dirty Bastard, but honestly, I'll drink anything from this brewery.

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

Reviewed from notes. Enjoyed 11/29/2008

Pours a deep amber. Two finger white frothy head. Decent retention with sticky lacing through out.

Strong vanilla aroma with noticeable bourbon and woodiness. Barrel notes mask most of the other smells.

Roasted malt and smoke flavors. Definite woodiness. Sweet vanilla and bourbon flavors.

Drinks smooth and creamy. Light carbonation.

Tremendously drinkable. alcohol is masked. Enjoyable and easy to drink.

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Photo of taez555
4.22/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a clear, but extremely dark, ruby body with a non existant head.

Nose screams of raisins and fruity tobacco. Touches of boot leather, strong vanilla and whiskey. There's a milk musty funk and a touch of earth flavors. May not be the most inviting nose, but DAMN is big and intense.

Taste is medium to medium full bodied with an immediate fruity vanilla flavor. Almost like drinking vanilla or cream soda. Not at all what the nose suggests. Caremel, leather, raisins, strong fruit juice, passion fruit, did I mention tons and tons of vanilla. No strong hop flavors or any strong bitterness, mostly just big very earthy, extremely strong vanilla beer flavor with a touch of backwoods.

I don't think founders can make a bad beer. Simply amazing as always. Vanilla times ten. Not so much a bourbon touch as it is a vanilla monster. Good beer though.

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Photo of clvand0
4.32/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It seems the label is different from the picture, I like the new label better. Pours a cloudy brown color with very little head and doesn't leave much lacing on the glass. The aroma is full of chocolate, caramel, toffee, nutty, and alcoholic notes with a touch of bourbon. Smells great. The flavor is all malts, no trace of hops here. Fairly sweet with a pretty heavy bourbon character. Chocolate and toffee compliment the bourbon very well. The body is quite full and the drinkability is pretty good for the level of alcohol.

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Photo of zeff80
4.09/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a cloudy, dirty brown color with a small, thin head of off-white, foam. It left soapy residue.

S - It smelled of bourbon, scotch and rich, sweet malt.

T - This really had a good dose of bourbon flavor with touches of raisin. It had a rich, sweet malt backbone.

M - It was soft and smooth. A medium to full-bodied beer.

D - This is a great tasting brew. Potent and rich.

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

A - Murky, dark mahogony w/ almost no head but thin lacing

S - Burbon, earth and oak leading to hints of vanilla sugar

T - Vanilla oak with a nice burbon taste. a complex boozy balance of flavors

M - Thick and full bodied, mild carbonation but perfect warmth and smooth as can be.

D - Have one of theese and you will be good for a while. No need to rush to finnish this one.

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Photo of route66pubs
3.84/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2008 bottle opened 7/6/09.

Poured a deep brown with a small, light tan head. Tiny bubbles show just the right amount of carbonation.

Bourbon aroma wreaks havoc on the senses, in the best possible way. There's no denying from the scent where this beer has been and where it is going.

Something other than bourbon comes in on the taste ... is that raisin? Not as robust from the get-go as you would expect, the bourbon kicks in at the back. Very fruity and chewy from the get-go, especially for a bourbon-aged ale.

Slight burning heat throughout is nice, but quite mellow for an high ABV barrel-aged old ale. Nice light carbonation provides an extra spark from the front to the back, helping with a nice even-ness throughout.

Could still use some age to mellow more. Despite its high marks on aroma and taste, a little more of a straight-line-graph-effect could probably help this ale out a bit more. Definitely a sipping and savoring brew that warms out well.

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

A- dark red and crimson some light shining though

S- bourbony goodness vanilla oak sweet malts carmel toffee and some booze

T- delicious much like the smell vanilla oak sweet malts carmel toffee and booze but very well balanced

M- smooth good carbonation

D- great hides the 10% AVB quite well i could see my self having another

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

12 oz. bottle into a Brooklyn snifter. Scary ass wraithlike, bearded, in-fog old guy holding an ax on the label. Wow.

Appearance: A deep amber with a lighter mocha-colored head. Lots of bubbles and carbonation and sticky lacing and head retention. Hopefully this lends itself to a good creaminess. Swirl the beer around a bit and you can see the sheen of lacing left around the glass, which is a great sign.

Smell: Hello, bourbon. Right out of the gate this hits pretty hard, but lovingly. Lots of wood, vanilla, sugary caramel, smoke, hints of ripe dark fruit, and just-starting-to-bake sugar cookies.

Taste: Bourbon flavors initially, with vanilla, wood, smoke, raisins, honey, cookie dough, and hints of dark cherries. Then into some woody bitterness, but what's a tad bit disappointing is how short the finish seems, especially with the packed flavor of each initial sip. There's a bitterness that seems to curb it a little too much, then masks it, and then it's gone. What that's doing is making me drink it faster to taste everything again, which is certainly good and bad.

Mouthfeel: Ultra creamy and bubbly, though it's not heavy or cloying in the least, maintaining a pretty fantastic balance. Not sure how this is done.

Drinkability: Way too deceptively drinkable at over 10%. I knew I should've picked up a 4-pack instead of a bottle. Seek this out, as it seems to be a younger, lighter cousin of KBS in my opinion.

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Photo of philbe311
4.57/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap, this is one of my all-time favorite beers... I'm very eager to try this bottled version...

A - Deep rich mahogany color... Close to opaque, but a little light sneaks in through the top around the edges... Little or no head, just a brief lacing, and that fizzes away in a matter of seconds... Lots of suspended sediment throughout the glass...

S - The boozy scent of bourbon hits the nose first and while quite powerful it draws you in... Caramel... Vanilla... Oak... Burnt sugars... Some minor hints of dark fruit...

T - True to the nose, the bourbon burns on the tongue first... This is followed up by a wonderful malt assault... Caramel... Oak... Vanilla... Brown sugar... Raisins... Faint coffee... The rich booziness is even more pronounced in bottle form...

M - Medium to full bodied... Perfect amount of biting carbonation on the tongue... Thick and chewy... Syrupy... A small sip fills the entire mouth... Even and consistent... Warming effects of the alcohol is undeniable... Ridiculously smooth for a barrel aged brew with ABV in excess of 10%...

D - A sipper in the truest sense of the word... As one would expect - Founders + Barrel Aging + Scotch Ale = a tremendous brewing triumph... Whether on tap or in bottle, this is a stellar creation...

Note - Overall, while still a world class brew, this bottle version is a slight step down from the draft version... The bottle version seems to be slightly more dominated by the booziness and some the terrific complexities of the draft versoin tend to get lost...

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

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a New Belgium goblet.

Appearance: Very dark amber / medium brown. Translucent with tons of floaties throught the beer. A very thin ring of off-white head.

Aroma: The nose is filled with scents of caramel, toffee, milk chocolate, bourbon, and alcohol.

MF - medium to medium full. Medium carbonation

Taste - The strongest malt flavors are toffee, mixed in with some chocolate and caramel. Also mixed in there are a strong alcohol flavor and a hint of bourbon. The alcohol flavor overpowers the malty flavors and lingers after the swallow.

Drinkability - I would like this even more if the straight alcohol flavor was more subtle, and the bourbon and malty flavors were stronger. It still a very enjoyable beer, even with all the floaters in the glass.

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

Founders really does know how to make a kickass and unique brew. I don't typically swear in my reviews, but damn, Founders knows their shit. This beer is great.

A: This pours a real murky brown color. Lots of suspended sediment and almost no head at all. This actually reminded me of diarrhea in a glass.

S: Lots of Bourbon on the nose. Oak, sweetness, and alcohol.

T: Alright, the star of the show here. This beer is super complex and awesome. There is bourbon, woody oak, chocolate, alcohol, vanilla, tobacco, and a hint of sweetness. The flavors are blended to perfection.

M: Medium bodied with very low carbonation. The beer coats your mouth with the wonderful flavors. Not cloying at all. There is also hardly any alcohol detection. Super smooth brew.

D: This brew is over 11% ABV, so you can't have too many of these gems. But, this beer is exceptionally smooth and the flavor keeps you coming back for more.

I usually do not care for Scotch Ales as they tend to be overly sweet and cloying. But this brew does not go overboard on the sweetness and I think the barrel aging did wonders for this one. It is seasonal, I believe, but go out of your way to get some when it is available. Great brew.

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Photo of jsh420
3.85/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours cloudy redish brown with 1 finger head that fades fast

smells very sweet reminds me of a dark belgian

taste - this bottle has some age on it and has mellowed the booze nicely - woody vanilla sweet dark fruit with an after taste of roasted chocolate malts - a much much different beer fresh

mouthfeel is good with just enough carbonation to leave a nice creamy finish

drinkability is good even at 10.2% but i would not drink more 1

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Founders Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
95 out of 100 based on 1,709 ratings.