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Founders Backwoods Bastard - Founders Brewing Company

Founders Backwoods BastardFounders Backwoods Bastard

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

4,749 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4749
Reviews: 1404
rAvg: 4.33
pDev: 10.62%

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:
Scotch Ale aged in bourbon barrels.

(Beer added by: CortexBomb on 01-30-2007)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 4,749 | Reviews: 1,404 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of WunderLlama


4.09/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into a glass

Clear Dark ruby brown with carbonation leading to a thin taupe layer of foam. Nice lacings.

This beer smells great. Bourbon over sweet malts.

Bourbon notes on the first sip. Alcohol present. Sweet & smooth . Big mouthfeel.

A winter warmer for those cold, cold days.

Serving type: bottle

02-02-2014 23:41:36 | More by WunderLlama
Photo of Kramerbarthomer


3.98/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Solid appearance, dark brown-orange hue

The smell is the best part of this beer. Light bourbon overtones

Taste - Somewhat underwhelming to me, it's a very nice beer and the bourbon is present, but the scotch ale flavor is somewhat lost

Mouthfeel - Solid

Overall - A very good BB aged scotch ale, but I've had better (St. Arnold Bishops's Barrel 5 trumps this one big time.)

Serving type: bottle

02-02-2014 22:45:58 | More by Kramerbarthomer
Photo of Tonerelia

New Jersey

3.88/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

First ever Scotch Ale /Wee Heavy brew

A: A burnt caramel color with a very fine quickly dissolving cream colored head. Has small little remnants floating around .

S: Starts off when cold to smell very malty with a strong smell of alcohol, as it warms though the smell of vanilla, caramel, and bourbon start to emanate and get stronger the warmer the beer gets.

T: Just as it initially smelled very malty the initial taste of it is very malty. As you drink more and more you get the vanilla, bourbon, maybe a small hint, as it warms up, of toffee/caramel. The aftertaste thankfully and unlike many heavy beers such as this is very very pleasant you get a nice malty and strong vanilla flavor.

M: For the style and ABV this beer is remarkably smooth and very enjoyable, it doesn't leave a lingering taste on your tongue.

O: It is a very warming beer and certainly a great sipper, much like scotch is. This is a very pleasant and well crafted beer. Do not let the styles name deter you from drinking this beer, even if you don't like scotch you will certainly enjoy this beer.

Serving type: bottle

02-01-2014 04:14:55 | More by Tonerelia
Photo of Ieatlambfries

New Jersey

4.56/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a Growler. Deep mahogany color. Half inch head of tan bubbles. Lace dissipates quickly.

Smells of molasses and vanilla. Undertones of whiskey, oak, and roasted malts.

Highly complex flavors ranging from caramelized sugars, molasses, caramel, and vanilla. Dried dark fruits such as raisins and figs. Toasted oak and whiskey on the back end with some warming alcohol on the finish. Very intense.

Not highly carbonated. Velvety smooth.

Overall an amazing brew. So many interesting characteristics in the smell, taste, and mouthfeel. Happy to have been able to grab a growler fill of this.

Serving type: growler

02-01-2014 03:42:57 | More by Ieatlambfries
Photo of BarrelAgedG


4.78/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from 12 oz bottle(dated 10/3/13) into a brewery labeled snifter. Served out of beer fridge at approximately 50 degrees

A: mahogany brown with a very minimal head

S: smells of caramel, bourbon, and oak(aka god's vagina)

T: very much the same as the smell. Caramel and bourbon come together with a bit of vanilla and oak

M: I guess I would say "medium"? It's not a syrupy stout but its not an ML either.

O: Unrealistically amazing. Founders has produced a world class BA scotch ale. Thank you Founders for this creation and much love for distributing to WI. Too bad I can not enjoy one of these daily

Serving type: bottle

02-01-2014 02:14:08 | More by BarrelAgedG
Photo of BeerFMAndy


4.86/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

12 oz bottle poured into a Founders tulip.
10.2% ABV, 50 IBUs, and Bottled on 10/24/13.

A - It's difficult to see any clarity through this dark beer but it's ruby-hued mahogany color looks beautiful when held up to light. Little head forms over the surface of the beer but the tan skim and ring of foam stick around and dot the glass in specks of lace.

S - Building in intensity as it warms, Backwoods Bastard transitions from bold vanilla and warm bourbon oak nuances to a depth of malt complexity characterized by molasses, dark chocolate covered raisins, and a colossal bready, caramel and toffee sweetness.

T - The aroma suggests Backwoods Bastard to be barrel-forward but it's flavor profile relies heavily on the rich maltiness within, which mimics the aroma quite wonderfully. Pepperidge Farm Milano cookies and gooey caramel covered raisins make for a desert-like flavor that's paired with toffee slivers and finished with oaky bourbon balls; divine.

M - Smooth, delectable, and warming, Backwoods Bastard is anything but rough around the edges as it crosses the palate with simplistic ease, only to finish with a touch of carbonation and alcohol warmth.

O - Backwoods Bastard may have a rough, grizzly exterior, but it's a gooey, soft-on-the-inside sipping dessert beer that's seeping with malty sweetness reminiscent of Milano cookies and home-made bourbon balls. It's moderate barrel-aging makes it great fresh but also allows it to age gracefully for a beer that develops for years to come.

Serving type: bottle

01-29-2014 00:25:40 | More by BeerFMAndy
Photo of Fieldzy27


4.76/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a snifter

A-Pours a very dark brown like a traditional english porter, hard to see through because of the color but the actual clarity of the beer is very high. A gentle pour left the sediment at the bottom of the bottle. a large bubbled foamy head sat on top for a minute or so but quickly deflated leave some trailing sudsy swirls hanging out on top. good looking beer. This bottle could have as much as 6 months of age on it, that combined with a higher abv could be the reason for the lack of head retention. nothing to complain about.

S-No holding back here, sweet toffee and caramel erupt from the glass followed by hints of chocolate and lightly baked bread. Mostly a barrage of desert like aromas, no hops to speak of. Certainly has me interested in tasting it.ill come back if it opens with warming.* Nose didn't change too much after warming.

T-This has a lot going on. First is the initial toffee caramel sweetness which dominates the palate in the beginning, after hits strong vanilla presence hinting at oak which then melds into a brown sugar syrupy flavor that is reminiscent to molasses. On the finnish a warm boozy bourbon like alcohol slightly stings the tongue upon swallowing. All that in the first sip?!? if this beer doesn't define complexity I don't know what you have been drinking. As it warms the initial sweetness and the oak character melt together and the alcohol opens up a bit more.

M- luscious and smooth, this beer coats the mouth without being "oily". As it washes over your mouth you feel extremely tiny bubbles exciting your taste buds. Full and satiating , reminiscent of a meal in a glass without being fizzy or "bloating". A true luxury to sip on.

O-This beer hits the nail on the head across the board. Big but not overpowering. Its complex without being overdone. Sticks to the guns of a good classic scotch ale/weeheavy but brining a good modern twist with the oak barrel aging. Lets see this bad boy aged in an Islay scotch barrel with a heaping dose of smoke and salt water. sounds like heaven on earth to me.

Serving type: bottle

01-28-2014 22:56:05 | More by Fieldzy27
Photo of thedoubler55

New Jersey

4.49/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured a very dark brown, almost black in color, not to much head or lacing around the glass.

S: Slight hint of scotch and oak, and some brown sugar. Malts are present on the nose as well.

T:The alcohol is not so present, hints of maple and oak, very easy drinker for the high abv, and good taste as well.

M: Not to much carbonation, a bit sticky and good heavyness on the mouthfeel.

O: Very good scotch ale, great tasting and smooth, founders does it again.

Serving type: bottle

01-24-2014 19:59:35 | More by thedoubler55
Photo of henrichsj


3.68/5  rDev -15%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A - Creamy head quickly forms then dissipates on top of a rich caramel, amber, mahogany color.

S - Strong smell of bourbon, along with licorice; kind of a chocolaty, caramel-like, cherry smell; very cool!

T - More bourbon than beer; Not my particular taste but done well here; Lot of alcohol, tastes very warm going down, like a shot of liquor!

M - Strong sense of alcohol in my opinion, not a regular bourbon drinker though; light to medium carbonation

O - Love the smell of this and wish I liked it more than I did, but I'm not a regular drinker of heavy liquor. This is a very high quality beer and even though I'm not a bourbon-guy, it's obvious that this is done well! More personal taste than anything...

Serving type: bottle

01-24-2014 00:04:05 | More by henrichsj
Photo of don1481


4.16/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

On tap here at Stubbys in MKE. Got the very last one - keg blew right as this finished pouring onto a globe.

Appearance: Pours a caramelish color with a nice head that retains for a couple minutes.

Smell: chocolate. Little bit of booze. Luxurious. Yeah, that's a good word for this.

Taste: slightly boozy, definitely not obnoxiously so. Chocolatey, caramel, melts in your mouth taste.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth. Oh, so smooth. Right up there with the Skull Splitter in this department.

Overall: very nice. Wish they didn't run out here, but happy I got to review it!!

Serving type: on-tap

01-21-2014 23:45:40 | More by don1481
Photo of NCalement

North Carolina

4.65/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

2013 poured into a globe.

A- Deep, rich amber brown. Fast head that barely coats the surface and dissipates quickly. Lacing is then, no retention, nice legs.

S- Bourbon, vanilla, toffee, brown sugar, malt, alcohol, dark fruit, raisin, tobacco, leather and light oak. These are all my favorite qualities to a barrel aged beer, and there all present!! What a nose.

T- Bourbon, vanilla, oak and alcohol are the dominate flavors. Brown sugar, leather and tobacco on the back end. Some smoke and peat flavors as well. As it warms the alcohol hides and the sweet aspect comes forward. Very good

M- For the style it is perfect. Medium carbonation, sticky body and smooth alcohol burn.

O- One of the best there is. As always Backwoods delivers. I like it with about a year to a year and a half on it but still amazing fresh. I will always seek this beer out and grab a case or two, it's that good.

Serving type: bottle

01-21-2014 18:04:40 | More by NCalement
Photo of jbwimer


4.31/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Have had an aged version of this beer. Wanted to review one that was fairly fresh. Bottled on 10/12/13. Extra in a trade from the other site. Served a few degrees below cellar temp.

A- 12 oz. bottle poured aggressively into a Bell's snifter. Finger of a beige head gradually fades over a few minutes to leave a thin film on top of the beer. This is a very dark beer. When held to the light, it gives off a faint glow of deep ruby. Beautiful bastard.

S- This isn't an overly aromatic beer. But what smells are there are really nice. Bourbon and wood dominate, but not in an offensive way. It's really nice and smooth. I'm getting faint hits of cherry and vanilla. Some caramel. Figs, dates, raisins. Something along those lines.

T- Money. Bourbon is present the whole way through, and I love it. A mix of vanilla, figs/raisin/dates, wood. Really well done. Good job of masking the alcohol, except for the warming sensation. Which is usually a plus.

M- Really smooth. Not much carbonation. I would put it towards the heavier end of a medium mouthfeel, bordering on heavy. Quite nice.

O- It's obvious why people look forward to this release every year. I should have bought more. Maybe there's still some laying around. Would love to start a vertical of this beer. Tasty, well-balanced offering from Founders.

Serving type: bottle

01-20-2014 01:45:31 | More by jbwimer
Photo of ADZA


4.08/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

Was just gonna go to bed but after walking the dogs off the lead only for the bitch to go walkabout on me an hour later after I return with the bitch in tow and after thinking the worst only to return achieved instead of finishing with a cool drink I'm drinking a beer for the moment name appropriate and after visiting the backwoods to find that bitch man it's appropriate and pours a dirty dark ass brown hue with a fast vanishing two finger head and and a rim of lacing along with sporadic clingers,the smell is strong bourbon along with feint oak and an undercoat of sticky toffee,the feel is medium bodied with above moderation and could use a little work but the tastes are a happy medium Oaked bourbon and sticky chewy caramel and finished with a dried fruit booziness but no boozy heat which is good and I'm always surprised at the ABV when drinking this and looking at it as it's hidden so well and overall the hype is right on the money for once this is definately something I could get used to being on our shores shelves as an option as it's tasty and nicely priced.

Serving type: bottle

01-19-2014 15:54:22 | More by ADZA
Photo of mwgroove23


4.61/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

2013 bottle
Pours a murky mahogany brown with almost no head or lacing.

Smell - Lots of bourbon & heat. Drank this year a bunch, but this one is really cold - maybe giving different nose. Some fruit (raisins, maybe grapes), caramel, toffee, vanilla

Taste - So much bourbon, vanilla, a little leather & maple, fig, & small bit of peat. Love this flavor! I could drink this all day!

Mouthfeel - Medium - not a ton of carbonation and very smooth

Overall - One of my favorites from these guys. I might say I enjoy it more than kbs. I get more bourbon out of it, and it ages better IMO (the bourbon stays intact).

Serving type: bottle

01-18-2014 06:11:00 | More by mwgroove23
Photo of Aficionado_Shawn

New York

4.69/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

Bottled: 10/6/13
Reviewed: 11/29/13
12 oz. bottle poured into snifter
Purchased 4-pack for $14.99

Another awesome portrait-style label from Founders. A wrinkly old man in a tan brimmed hat with a long grey beard and white eyes. He's wielding an axe and standing in a foggy, eerie-looking forest. He IS the Backwoods Bastard! Great branding, and a bottled on date is present.

Opaque dark brown with a small off-white head. Alcohol legs and decent lacing.

Big caramel and vanilla. Some butterscotch, smoke, oak, and sweet dark fruits.

Vanilla, oak, and some smoke up front. Caramel, butterscotch, dark fruits, burnt sugar, and some toffee in the middle of the mouth. Sweet finish of caramel, smoke, and bourbon characteristics Pleasant warming from the alcohol.

Thick, slick mouthfeel with a full body and minute carbonation.

Sweetness of the scotch ale is nicely accentuated by the bourbon barrel characteristics. Easily one of my favorite barrel-aged beers. You must try this when it's released. I will definitely be picking this one up every year. It's so delicious, complex, and an amazing sipper. Not much more needs to be said. Just sit back, relax, and enjoy it for yourself.

Serving type: bottle

01-16-2014 20:43:00 | More by Aficionado_Shawn
Photo of Oxymoron


4.4/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

Pours a mahogany color of brown with a slightly off white head. Good retention and lacing through out. Some floaties but not bad.

The nose is complex with a big caramel and bourbon aroma. A good balance between the malt and the oak and the bourbon. Some fruity esters are noticeable with a light earthy note on the back end. A minor coco/chocolate malt as well.

The taste is similar. Fantastic balance from malt bourbon and oak. A big caramel malt flavor up front that is a bit sweet for my taste. More of a kettle caramel than candy. The esters back off vs noses but still there. A slight metallic finish. Good use of bourbon as it adds complexity and a bit sweetness.

The body is mod-full to full. The sweetness is a bit much but great complexity overall. A fantastic beer and should be shared.

Serving type: bottle

01-16-2014 01:26:54 | More by Oxymoron
Photo of d5001986


4.2/5  rDev -3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle poured into tulip.

Pours dark brown with almost no head.

The smell is a bit faint. The first thing I detect is dark fruit, followed by chocolate and booze.

There is just an explosion of flavor here. I get chocolate, maple syrup, vanilla, and dark fruit. It's sweet, not overly boozy, but just perfect. This is really good!

Body is quite viscous. Quite smooth with not much carbonation.

Overall a very tasty offering from Founders, I'm glad to have had the opportunity to try this. This may be my new favorite from them. Grab some if you get a chance.

Serving type: bottle

01-13-2014 01:38:03 | More by d5001986
Photo of sbxx


3.5/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Apple cider. Light ring of khaki head that settles into a thin ring.

Smell - That sweet spice of Jim Beam with hints of cocoa, brown sugar and caramel.

Taste - Bourbon up front, fades into the classic Dirty Bastard flavor.

Mouthfeel - Thin body, light carb, slick & sticky finish.

Overall - A little too thin and bourbon forward, but still decent. Might rather just have a classic Dirty Bastard. The barrel doesn't seem to do much for this one, unlike KBS, which I think is excellent.

Serving type: bottle

01-12-2014 01:45:03 | More by sbxx
Photo of falloutsnow


2.83/5  rDev -34.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.75

From: Binny's, Champaign, IL
Date: 2013-08-09
Glass: Tulip

I've had this fresh and aged, on tap and in bottles, and I'd say this is one that shouldn't be aged and is comparable on tap and in bottles.

As far as bourbon barrel aged beers go, Backwoods Bastard is a "balanced" attempt at the style, the bourbon not being excessively present, though it is still the dominant aroma and flavor here, aside from the ethanol. While not ridiculously one-dimensional as other bourbon barrel aged beers, this is still a fairly boring base of flavors, mostly of bourbon, ethanol, and behind-the-scenes caramel-like Maillard reaction sweetness. For me, nothing essential.

Pours a 1cm tall head of medium and large-sized bubbles, yielding an appearance something like cola foam, but somewhat longer lived. Retention is below average at under one minute, the head fading to a thin ring around the perimeter of the glass and a small island of thin foam atop the body of the beer. Body is a very dark amber brown color, with light bringing out slightly brighter amber brown hues. Carbonation not visible through the nearly opaque (90% opacity) body.

Aroma of bourbon that has been "smoothed out" substantially by what was initially a malt-forward beer, with very faint hints of dark caramel-like sweetness, brown sugar, and cocoa. Not unpleasant, but the bourbon far outweighs any other element here, and thus this exhibits the same problems as many other one-dimensional bourbon beers.

Taste is predominantly of bourbon and ethanol, with the underlying heavy caramel malts smoothing this out and providing a semblance of sweetness. Front of palate of bourbon-soaked heavy caramel malt, ethanol, and slight vanilla. Mid-palate of substantial bourbon, heavy and spicy ethanol, and notably heavy caramel malts to sweeten and smooth out these other two large flavors, though failing somewhat. Back of palate detects heavy ethanol and bourbon, with little traces of vanilla and heavy maillard reaction products. Aftertaste of bourbon, ethanol, and caramel-like maillard reaction byproducts.

Beer is medium bodied, with carbonation of medium-low intensity, resulting in a somewhat foamy (1/2) and smooth (1/2) mouthfeel that's a bit light and even slightly watery for the style. Ethanol easily felt in the nostrils as heat and as burning on the throat and tongue, Closes dryly, with heavy stickiness clinging to the lips and palate.

Serving type: bottle

01-10-2014 04:22:32 | More by falloutsnow
Photo of NiceTaps

New Jersey

4.11/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12oz bottle in an Imperial pint glass.

A- Pours a rich reddish-brown color with a deep brown core. The hardly-there-at-all head is off-white in color; it leaves some lacing. Not much in bubbles, either. For such a big ale, it looks sheepish.

S- Thankfully, the bourbon and booze are not overpowering. It smells like "beer". There are vanilla, oak notes, sweet and roasted malts. Not smoky, but there's a buttery char in those malts.

T- There's no denying the bourbon, but there's more. The vanilla, oak, sugar, and malts are all there, not hidden by the barrel aging. I get some white chocolate, too.

M- Surprisingly good , the lack of head and bubbles is overcome. There's some tingle to go with the velvety smooth body that the barrel aging imparts. No booze burn, that could be a result of the 50 IBUs. Taste and aroma improve as the beer warms.

O- This beer is better than my rating. Its appearance holds back the number here, but that's a mere technicality. As BBAs go, this one's done right.

Serving type: bottle

01-05-2014 21:49:28 | More by NiceTaps
Photo of macrosmatic


4.06/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes. Poured from 12 oz. bottle into a Cigar City pint glass.

A: Very rich, deep brown, moderately hazy, with a thin off-white and low visible carbonation.

S: Rich buttery toffee (not diacetyl), vanilla and oak, with toasted malts and just a hint of boozy bourbon. Hints of dark fruit and leather show up as the beer warms a little bit.

T: Very malt-forward at first. Sweet toffee, tons of vanilla and sweet oak, a more mild amount of bourbon than I expected, and restrained dark fruit flavors (raisins and plums). Sweet vanilla and bourbon flavors in the hang.

M: Smooth creamy body, very restrained alcohol presence both for style and listed ABV. Low carbonation sensation.

O: This was a good beer, especially for a BBA Wee Heavy that you can pick up off the shelf. That said, it doesn't hold a candle to the best beers in that category.

Serving type: bottle

01-05-2014 18:42:27 | More by macrosmatic
Photo of tbeckett

Ontario (Canada)

4.09/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

A - Pours near black, sort of a deep red colour. Not opaque. Two finger beige head on top fades to an island. Good carbonation coming up. Lot's of bits floating in the body. Little lace which is fine given the ABV, island of retention remains.

S - Sugar, mild wood, a little vanilla and bourbon but faint. Some dark fruit.

T - Very tasty. Sugary, dark fruit, barrel present but doesn't dominate. Sweet, but not cloying.

M - Sweet alcoholic finish. No burn. Good carbonation, medium body.

O/D - This is a pretty cool Scotch ale. The barrel aging definitely shows but doesn't overpower the base, which is quite pleasant. A good sipper.

Serving type: bottle

01-04-2014 23:18:37 | More by tbeckett
Photo of Or80rowley


4.6/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A. Dark red, nice two finger head

S. Sweet bourbon, oak, toffee

T. Just like it smells, but I also pick up a little coco and light coffee, nice sweet oak. Reminds me of bourbon with coke

M. Smooth, dry finish

O. I was impressed, you can't go wrong with founders

Serving type: bottle

01-04-2014 21:32:53 | More by Or80rowley
Photo of LambicPentameter


4.58/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed on tap at Bier Station in Kansas City. Poured into a small Belgian tulip glass.

Appearance - Body is a dark maroon and burgundy with some reddish clay right around the edge of the bottom of the glass. Atop the dark slightly hazy-looking body sits a half-finger (if that) head the color of cappuccino foam, but not nearly as dense as cappuccino foam. Density is silky and thin, with a couple of giant air bubbles from the pour. Lacing is pretty much nonexistent--just a spitting of small foam splatters intermittently around the glass.

Smell - Hard to draw much out other than generic toasted malt at first, but as it warms, the aroma becomes more detectible. Taking a few deep inhales to get the full sense, I get pleasant notes of french vanilla, dulce de leche, roasting marshmallow, lightly toasted malt and some rye-like spiciness. Very pleasant and complex, but far from overbearing. Makes me reluctant to drink it, lest I ruin the wonderful balance of the smell.

Taste - More forceful than the aroma, but still restrained in a really good way. Caramelized sugar, light peat, roasted malt, pinch of black pepper, vanilla, brandy and scotch whisky are all essences I get a sense from in the taste. The predominant notes are from the vanilla and whisky, but it's wonderfully blended. It's amazing just how much variance there can be from one barrel-aged beer to the next. Some are harsh and astringent, like booze was just directly added to the beer, and other times, they come together beautifully in a way that brings to mind a fine strong liquor that is meant to be consumed in a straightforward manner. This one is definitely the latter.

Mouthfeel -Medium-bodied and low carbonation with a sweet and just barely smokey finish.

Overall, this is yet another home run from Founders. I love how they have stellar beers all over their lineup--some in the year-round, some in the seasonal, some in the specialty or limited releases--I could name several that I just love, and this one is no different. A really tasty take on a style that doesn't seem terribly widespread amongst American brewers.

Serving type: on-tap

01-03-2014 04:57:29 | More by LambicPentameter
Photo of StJamesGate

New York

4.36/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Leather brown with ruby highlights and French vanilla yellow creamy head that clings.
Honey nut corn flakes, caramel apple, hot rum toddy, chocolate almond bark - stupefying woody-sweet deep nose that smells like all good things and makes my mouth water with every sniff.
Salted caramel, chocolate fudge candy, cosy wood smoke, plum and fig, vanilla ice cream, and a speck of orange oil.
Goober finish and smoked almond linger.
Round, silky, chewy, medium, some heat but nothing up to 10%.

Beer words just fail - this is like a cross between a candy bar and an aged whiskey. Sure, there's oaky vanilla and some chocolate malt, but never mind the breakdown, this is just so darn tasty. Heard you need this fresh to get the hops, and I'm not, but I don't know it matters. It also might sub residual sugars for big body, but it gets away with it. Great beer to welcome 2014 and to carry its impressions through a dry January.

Absolute homerun of a beer.

Serving type: bottle

01-02-2014 01:25:58 | More by StJamesGate
Founders Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 4,749 ratings.