1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Founders Backwoods Bastard - Founders Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Founders Backwoods BastardFounders Backwoods Bastard

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
96
world-class

5,386 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,386
Reviews: 1,429
rAvg: 4.33
pDev: 10.62%
Wants: 680
Gots: 1,564 | FT: 142
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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Founders Backwoods Bastard Alström Bros
Ratings: 5,386 | Reviews: 1,429 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of OakedCanuck
3.98/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a cervoise. 2009 vintage.

A - Pours a murky, swamp brown with dark tan head. Dissipated fairly quickly and left a couple of lace rings.

S - Oak, wood, musty. Faint but present bourbon in the background. Sweet caramel malt, minor pine

T - The bourbon is in the background and muted. I did have a fresh 2010 Backwoods and the bourbon in that was waaaayyyy over the top. I opened this 2009 as a comparison and the bourbon was a lot more tame giving way to the nice oakiness, vanilla, some bittersweet chocolate and caramel.

M - Soft, medium, tacky. The 2010 was very alcohol-hot but the 2009 was nice and subdued.

O - A solid barrel aged beer. I actually liked both versions equally. I liked the strong bourbon flavour in the fresh one (only cuz I love bourbon) but it was very alcohol-hot. And I like the 2009 because it had mellowed out and allowed the oakiness and vanilla to shine through, but less bourbon flavour. Great beer!

OakedCanuck, Jun 08, 2011
Photo of hoptualBrew
4.58/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into snifter with minimal head. A luminescent semi murky cola brown color. Smell is of dark chocolate malt with bready & woody oak notes. Definitely can tell it was aged in oak bourbon barrels. Smell is almost addicting, I can tell this is going to be heavy sweet. Oak & bourbon both come through nicely in the taste & just as in the smell I am guessing use of chocolate malts? There is a nice bite to the swallow reminiscent of a sip of bourbon, but not too much. Malty sweetness agglutination on the back of my tongue. Seemingly just the right amount of carbonation for the style.

Loved it! I am thinking I need more of this to share with my buddy who frequents his bourbon bottle as a nightcap.

hoptualBrew, Jun 08, 2011
Photo of dcloeren
4.33/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep burgundy with ruby edges and about half a finger of carmel colored fizzy head that quickly recedes to a thin film

I'm catching bourbon right off of the bat with very sweet and sticky carmel and brown sugar. Also getting subtle notes of vanilla and oak. This beer is smelling very warm and inviting. If you like bourbon, this beer smells exceptional. I guess its a good thing I do!

Caramel malt, brown sugar and bourbon dominate the palate with very smooth touches of vanilla and some serious heat! This beer is pretty boozy and I like it! Once the beer warms up I got a little more vanilla and the oak came out as well.

Medium bodied with medium carbonation (which I think is just the right amount for this beer) This beer is pretty slick on the tongue, not as sticky as the smell leads it to be. Very warming boozy aftertaste that somewhat numbs the tongue with each sip

Overall this was an excellent bonus. Thanks to prototypic for this gem. I loved every sip of this beer. This beer had the right amount of sweetness and some serious boozy notes. Bottom line: if you cant take the heat get out of the kitchen son. This beer will eat your lunch!!!

dcloeren, Jun 07, 2011
Photo of errantnight
4.13/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A smooth, easy sipper... once it's had a little bit of time. This beer just needs some time... time to round off the rough edges, time to tame any loose high alcohols.

Once it does, this beer is an absolute delight.

A rich, deep, lightly hazed amber brown with a tenacious little head.

The aroma brings big, delightful bourbon notes, forward but not searing, brown butter, brown sugar and vanilla.

On the palate this is rich, creamy and smooth, the bourbon dropping away to a caramel, vanilla, brown bread with toast. Whatever the bourbon barrels have stripped away in body with the wet from the barrels has been delicately laid back in with soft, supple tannins. And like a good bourbon, this warms gently as it drinks. And like a good barrel aged beer, presents no noticeable heat on the back palate as it swallows.

I have long been critical of over-barreled beers, and I imagine in previous years, or exceptionally fresh, that this beer could suffer from the traits it plays with here, but pulls off. I've had several over the last few months, and it's a beer that I'd always be glad to dust off from the cellar and pour into a snifter or tulip and nurse as the evening's cool settles in.

errantnight, Jun 01, 2011
Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.43/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into a HotD tulip.

Appearance - Dark brown with a slight red tint. Small thin tan head that lingers. Good Lacing.

Smell - Brown sugar and fruit.

Taste - Carmel - Strong brown sugar.

Drinkability - Low carbonation.

Overall - Smooth and delicious.

HuskyinPDX, May 31, 2011
Photo of output01x
3.85/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle (Bottled On 09/30/10) into a snifter glass.

A moderate pour yields a 1/2-finger off-white head that quickly recedes to nothing more than a thin foam ring. The body is a cloudy reddish mahogany with a few rising carbonation bubbles. Very little lacing can be seen throughout consumption.

Bourbon aromas dominate the nose with notes of oak and vanilla. Sweet caramel malts compliment the bourbon well. A black cherry note is also present in the background.

Sweet malts start each sip with notes of caramel, vanilla, and oak. A black cherry and plum flavor then takes over just long enough to be dismissed by a sweet bourbon aftertaste with a decent alcohol warmth that manifests in the back of the throat. An odd bitter woodiness is persistent on the edges of the tongue throughout the majority of each sip.

Full bodied with moderate carbonation, this beer has a rather thick mouthfeel. It is easily drinkable despite its slight stickiness.

output01x, May 28, 2011
Photo of zrab11
3.88/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a purpley brown color with nice foamy 2 finger head. Great lacing

S- Smells of alcohol, dark fruits and some toffe are carmel too

T- Has a barrel flavor right up front followed by some dry fruits and finishes with a strong boozeness

M-medium body with good carbonation

D-Overall it was not the wee heavy scotch ale i was hoping for. Def. a good brew but just alittle too dry and boozy for me. I wanted a tab bit more sweet and refreshing. But still a good beer. Would drink again. But i think their are better wee heavy's

zrab11, May 27, 2011
Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
3.93/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into tulip glass.

Appearance: between mahogany and ruby colored body with a tan colored head. Very sticky lacing on side of glass.

Smell: Vanilla, malts and some bourbon.

Taste: Vanilla, toffee, bourbon and caramel. a slight hint of smoke and oak. Nice malty beer here! Got some alcohol heat in the finish of this beer.

Mouthfeel: This is a full bodied ale with low to moderate carbonation. It is a bit chewy and creamy.

Overall: Another great offering from founders! i am going to let a few bottle sit for a while and this beer should be perfect. Still a bit hot, but delicious. Reminds me of Tyranena BGW Shaggin in the Woods, but heavier.

4DAloveofSTOUT, May 27, 2011
Photo of gregshead
3.95/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to NickD717 for providing this want. Tasted on 4/24/11, reviewed from notes:

A: Pours a copper red w/ very little head

S: Lots of sweet bourbon smell mixes in with caramel malt

T: similar to nose oak/bourbon flavors, Nice sweet caramel finish. Not very hot in taste. Smooth but complex and put together.

M: Very smooth with small carbonation. Surprisingly smooth without a syrupy feel.

O: Very enjoyable. Look forward to getting my hands on more of this one. Easy to drink, especially for a scotch ale which I usually find very hot.

gregshead, May 24, 2011
Photo of robwestcott
4.22/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

initial review 6/2/10:
3.5 / 4.5 / 4.5 / 4.0 / 3.5
poured a deep reddish brown from the bottle to a dogfish head signature glass with a thin tan tight foamy short lasting head that left minimal lacing.

strong caramel, toffee, verrry boozy long lasting nose.

strong boozy taste up front, thick, smooth, sweet, brown sugar-y, no bitterness whatsoever.

very nice scotch ale.

two thumbs up. drinikability be damned.

...
** 11 months later, and opening a bottle from 2009:

poured cold and aggressively from the bottle to a founders brewing company snifter a rich, dark caramel, syrupy brown with a 1/2 finger, short lasting tan head that left a rim of lace on the surface clinging to the glass and a sticky rim of lace after each sip.

rich, complex aroma of vanilla, toffee, oak and bourbon that's a bit settled in and not as up front as before.

great big vanilla, maple and toffee up front followed closely by a warm, thick bourbon. not as boozy-y as i'm recalling the previously reviewed bottle. still hot, but much more balanced.

big bodied, warm to hot, sweet, subtle carbonation.

drinkable - one, maybe two.

overall - great beer. i like this one alot. warm, complex, a sipper. better with a year or two on it.

robwestcott, May 24, 2011
Photo of woosterbill
4.18/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle (2010 vintage, I presume) into a wine glass. Shared in line at DLD; thanks to the provider!

A: Clear, warm rosy-brown body with a 1/2" of fine tan foam. Ok retention and lacing. Attractive.

S: Soft, oaky bourbon is front and center, with vanilla, toffee, and dark fruits underneath. NIce, but not quite incredible.

T: Tons of barrel, with vanilla-drenched oak and straight bourbon dominating. Caramel, toffee, coconut and leather undertones. Boozy finish, but boozy in a good, bourbony way. Tasty.

M: A little thinner than expected, but in a pretty good way - smooth + slick. Light carbonation.

O: Excellent beer, but not as transcendent as I was hoping for from Founders. I'd love to drink it again, but won't be going out of my way for it any time soon.

Cheers!

woosterbill, May 22, 2011
Photo of OldIronLungs
4.08/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter a thin dark soda color, essentially no head save for a very thin ring.

Nose is bourbon. Some vanilla and toffee, sweet malt.

A sip is like drinking an exceptionally mellow bourbon and cola. That's not a knock. A slight oak presence emerges mid sip followed by a little carbonation. Medium body last through the end and coats an oily bourbon and alcohol heat to the palette.

Glad I chose a snifter. This one warms up nicely to bring out the notes from the nose and it's definitely a one-and-done! Big!

OldIronLungs, May 22, 2011
Photo of SummitVA
4.47/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Deep mahogany pour with ample carbonation.

S - Vanilla, bourbon, oak, toffee, wonderful malt complexity, and a little booze.

T - Vanilla and oak foremost, followed by sweet toffee, burnt sugar, and bit of coconut--this lingers along with the vanilla and bourbon. Somewhat boozy. Tannic quality in the finish that lends a dryness.

M - Heavier side of medium. Definitely chewy, but not overpoweringly so.

O - Another fantastic barrel-aged brew from Founders. Wish I would have bought more.

SummitVA, May 20, 2011
Photo of BigE90
3.8/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: A great dark amber color, poured into a pint glass, 1/2 finger head that dissipated quickly

S: Not much to smell, hint of barley though and oak

T: Alcohol was present immediately. Tannins are present too. Taste a lot like a hard liquor with a splash of beer vs beer with a splash hard liquor. Kind of addicting flavor though, definitely improves as it warms up.

M: Hot! The high alcohol is very warming to the mouth. Very clean finish

O: Great for a strong ale. The only negative for me is just little to strong on the Bourbon. Enjoy the subtle oak notes though.

BigE90, May 08, 2011
Photo of turfy
4.47/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Duvel tulip.

A - Poured a deep brown with a touch of mahogany. A small half finger tan head soon dissipated into a film with heavier ring.

S - Complex aroma of bourbon, caramel and vanilla.

T - First impression was of smooth bourbon and brown sugar with some alcohol heat. Lots of other traces going on here - caramel, oak, maybe some dried fruit?

M- Very smooth and creamy with perfect carbonation. Not too sticky - just right!

O - I like this a lot! This would be a perfect cold weather sipper. A very high quality complex brew, once again, from Founders.

turfy, May 06, 2011
Photo of KidsDoc
4.03/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into tulip

A: dark orange/brown with full tan head that sat tight and left pure residue down the glass

S: very sweet: toffee aroma, woody, a coconut smell I can't explain. Very subtle bouron aroma

T: Much stronger with the wood/oak flavor but even more pronounced in the taste is this "coconut" that I couldn't get past. It certainly wasn't bad, but nothing I expected from this - it truly was reminiscent of a pina colada with the mix of bourbon (in place of rum)/coconut. This all set on a huge sweet, malt backbone.

M: light to medium body with full but soft carbonation

O: alcohol incredibly well-hidden. Not at all the tast profile I anticipated but certainly enjoyable. For the price (at least in my area), this will not be a yearly must-have but I will no doubt enjoy this beer another time or two.

KidsDoc, May 01, 2011
Photo of mavbrew
4.1/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a mahogany color with reddish tint when held up to light. The head is a finger thick and light tan in color, slowly dissipates and leaves little lacing.

S: The scent is pretty complex, the bourbon/scotch scent hits you right up front. Caramel malts are present as well and hints of vanilla and oak/wood characteristics.

T: The upfront taste is without question a massive bourbon flavor that punches the back your palette and sticks around for a while. Following is the oak taste and well as slight malty backgrounds and a bit of alcohol which is expected. The finish is dry and has bourbon flavor.

M: Medium bodied with low carbonation. The feel is woodsy and bourbon.

D: This is not a beer for the average beer drinker. This is a gnarly beer, very strong bourbon presence and the 10.2% does not go unnoticed, definitely a sipper. However, if you like bourbon and aggressive beers then give this one a try.

mavbrew, Apr 29, 2011
Photo of deebo
3.03/5  rDev -30%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Keg from 2009.

A-Tan head that sticks. Cloudy brown and dirty looking.

S-Oaky wood aroma is strong. Not much else comes through.

T-Smoked malts predominant, wood/oak, and a definite bourbon taste.

M-Alcohol vapors are very noticeable. Medium bodied with moderate carbonation.

D-Too much bourbon flavor to make this one more than a sipper for me. Bourbon whiskey lovers will like this one.

deebo, Apr 23, 2011
Photo of PEBKAC
3.08/5  rDev -28.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Bottle courtesy of the ugly duckling a year or so back. Been settling in my fridge for most of that time. Still managed to deposit all sorts of nasty in my glass though.

Spritzy pour, though not much residual head after the first few seconds. Beer is brown with a cherry tone to it. Slightly hazy, even after everything dropped out of suspension.

Nose is very penetrating. Rich malt, more scotch then bourbon. Anise, rawhide, & a sharp, slightly charred base ale.

Leather & a twiggy bitterness are the most upfront flavors. Licorice, oak, ink, scotch.

Feel is heavy, with decent carbonation, but oh so boozy.

Beer is too overloaded to be enjoyed as more then a novelty.

PEBKAC, Apr 17, 2011
Photo of colts9016
3.73/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I got this from E, Thank you for the beer. Poured into my Delirium Tremens glass at 47 degrees.

Appearance: A hard pour produced into a thin white that is foamy and bubbly. The head did not produce any lacing on the glass. The color of the beer is a dark ruddy brown color with dark brown hues. The clarity of the beer is opaque and there is some carbonation upon the side of glass.

Nose: A very strong oak bourbon aroma that segways into a peaty heavy sea, and earth. The malt is roasty, toasty with caramel notes and a bit of bready notes. The other aromas are pepper, phenols, alcohol, vanilla, a touch of brett, subtle sweetness, and floral.

Taste: Holy moly a very strong oaky bourbon, peaty, earthy, sea water, and floral. The malt is strong it is roasted, toasted, caramel, and yeast. Other flavors are alcohol, brett, floral, pepper, honey like sweetness, vanilla, and phenols.

The mouth feel is warm, carbonated, chewy, and coating.

Overall: The body of the beer is medium thick and the finish is full. This beer is almost too much. There is no balance in the beer, it has too much booze in the beer. The beer needs to age for a couple of years to mellow it out. The beer is just too strong to drink, it is a sipper.

colts9016, Apr 16, 2011
Photo of crashdavisinoh
4.18/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A-pours black and has a thick appearance w/ little to no head.

S-Sweet bourbon...vanilla...oak

T-Picked up the alcohol immediately...very creamy taste. The taste of the alcohol progesses nicely...not overpowering but definitely the star. Sweet taste.

M-Little to no carbonation...very pleasant mouth feel...even holding in the mouth...the alcohol was not overpowering and I detected the other flavors...the oak...caramel.

D-I enjoy this beer each time I have it...this years vintage is no exception. I can put down mulitples on this.

crashdavisinoh, Apr 14, 2011
Photo of ploobs
4.43/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a light brown/rusty opaque color with minimal head.

S: Sweet. Scent of bourbon and scotch.It was good, but I was hoping for more.

T: My favorite part, has a wonderful sweetness with tastes of bourbon and scotch with a slight tang at the start.

M: Smooth, with a great aftertaste.

Loved this beer, will definitely look to buy again. Is very much a sipper and I look forward to finishing this glass.

ploobs, Apr 05, 2011
Photo of gfreed
5/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Rarely am I given the chance to rate a beer so highly. This is so far beyond any other American Scotch ale, it is the standard for American beers in this style. Bourbon to the fore! Add to that the gentle aroma of citrus with a heavy malty tang; a dense taste of orange peels, lemons, rope, cocoa, butter, oak, new leather shoes... is there anything *not* to envy in this beer? This can go head to head with any UK Scotch ale. Best enjoyed in a snifter or a thistle while playing the piano, or on one's front porch on an almost-spring New England afternoon. An incredible beer by any standard.

gfreed, Apr 05, 2011
Photo of pmlondrigan
4.25/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'm surly bumbed this is gone. Rudy reddish brown and opaque in the glass. Light tanish head which leaves sheets of lacing down the glass. Aroma is slightly one dimisional and whiskey based. Not much wood or oak, just high spirit aroma, vanilla, caramel and brown sugar. My taste buds tingle with tasty brown sugar, sweet vanilla, creme brulee, cheap whiskey, and faint oak notes. This beer reminds me of liquid bread pudding. Somehow it isn't cloying, but there is a lingering flavor. silky. I'd say damn, wish I had more of this. Founders truly knows what they are doing with bal aged beers.

pmlondrigan, Apr 04, 2011
Photo of KevSal
4.4/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

ive really wanted to try wee heavy's lately but the ones if tried didnt do it for me, and later i find out they are low Bs and Cs on BA.
i want to try something thats ranked very well on here to see if i truly like the style, granted this is barrel aged, but the other wee heavys ive tried were barreled as well.

excited and intrigued to open this one up, thanka again birchstick for this awesome extra. props on hitting my more overlooked and less wellknown wants.

2010 12oz into an sn tulip

a- wow i have no idea what to expect and this one is already looking real good! amazing clear dark maroon hue, half inch foamy head

s- not sure what to expect here ( and with my past bad experiences in mind), mmmm smells really good. you can smell the bourbon and the barrel. i picked up some subtle cherry notes, good stuff. barrel sweetness when it warms

t- the real test, YES is taste good. you can taste a flavor reminiscent to a strong scotch, but with the bourbon sweetness, works really well together. sweet flavor in the finish, i get very subtle cherry here as well. i find this one refreshing. there is a bit of bite there that fits in perfectly with each sip.

m- on target with a a heavier 10% brew. feels thick and heavy in the mouth, but not too creamy. remenscent to a big barelwine in texture (think old gaurdian)

o- awesome experience. really didnt know what to expect but what i found i liked. i had a feelin i was going to like this guy by all the info i read about it, and im very glad i got the chance to. i can sip this guy all night

oh man i wish i had more! i bet these guys age really well too. im surpirsed theres not more talk about this guy, another world class beer on the founders lineup.

looking forward to trying it again someday.

KevSal, Apr 02, 2011
Founders Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 5,386 ratings.