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Founders Backwoods Bastard - Founders Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Founders Backwoods BastardFounders Backwoods Bastard

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

5,344 Ratings

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Ratings: 5,344
Reviews: 1,428
rAvg: 4.33
pDev: 10.62%
Wants: 671
Gots: 1,552 | FT: 146
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: 5,344 | Reviews: 1,428 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of garbercury
4.58/5  rDev +5.8%

Poured into a snifter...

A--sticky lacing, beige head, deep, dark amber color...

S--Just a wonderful aroma on this one. Bourbon notes of course, but the oak is complimented with a fruity background along with a nice bit of vanilla...

T--Heavy on the bourbon. Still nice bits of oak in the profile, but a think a little age to mellow this bourbon would do wonders, and make it a near perfect score.

M--Velvety mouthfeel, good carbonation, but not too much.

D--This a boozy brew, and if you are not into bourbon aged beer, dont bother. This is a great beer, a truly exceptional brew by an incredible brewery.

garbercury, Jan 06, 2011
Photo of ms11781
2.75/5  rDev -36.5%

Bottled on 10/02/2010. Poured from a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass.

Pours a very cloudy, very dark brown color with a small tan head that doesn't last very long. No real lacing to speak of.

Nose is a lot of bourbon up front. Not really overpowering as the scent isn't strong at all. But it is all bourbon. Slight oak and maybe a hint of sweet malt but not much at all.

Taste is some bourbon up front but it fades quickly to reveal a very sweet malt that is almost candy like. Slight warming from the alcohol as each sip finishes. Not really the malt flavor I expect from a scotch ale. Not even close actually.

Feels medium to thick in the mouth. Low carbonation that doesn't seem out of the ordinary for a beer of this ABV and style.

Drinkability is ok. Goes down smooth enough and, while the alcohol is high, it's not really a problem. Definitely a one and done due to the ABV though.

This is a difficult beer to rate for me because I do like some things about it but it doesn't have any characteristics of a scotch ale. Tastes like a decent bourbon barrel "something", just not a decent bourbon barrel aged scotch ale.

ms11781, Jan 04, 2011
Photo of jmdrpi
4.53/5  rDev +4.6%

stamped bottled on 11/05/09, aged for a little over a year.

opaque dark brown, with ruby highlights when held to the light. thin white head, slight lacing.

smells just as advertised - oaky whiskey aroma, a little vanilla. very pleasant as it warms.

in the taste, bourbon flavor with a little smokiness. like an ultra smooth version of scotch ale. lower carbonation, medium to thick body.

although a bit of bourbon flavor, there is no booziness or alcohol burn. great to sip, very tasty

jmdrpi, Jan 04, 2011
Photo of tburus
4.72/5  rDev +9%

Poured into the Duvel tulip.

Appearance: Pours a deep mahogany with small amount of lacing that lingers throughout.

Smell: Beautiful vanilla/bourbon smell. Not as strong as the real thing, but among the best I've smelled from a barrel-aged beer. From the first whiff I knew I needed to go buy another 4-pack of this stuff.

Taste: Yeah! Great bourbon front with the sour and malt finish of a scotch ale (i.e. it's Dirty Bastard counterpart).

Mouthfeel: Nice sour and malt scotch ale aftertaste with hints of bourbon and that wonderful warming sensation right in the center of my chest.

Drinkability: Okay, so I know for the regular beer drinker this may be way too strong, but as far as barrel-aged goes, I find this one to be highly drinkable. It really doesn't give off a heavy booziness unlike some other offerings, which is nice. If I could only drink one barrel-aged beer this might very well be it. Great job!

tburus, Jan 03, 2011
Photo of dtivp
4.2/5  rDev -3%

Poured a deep brown with a very nice light tan head with good retention that settled into a nice collar with very good lacing on the glass.

Aroma was sweet with dark fruits, some vanilla, oak and bourbon.

The taste follows the nose with a very nice smoked oak with bourbon. There is a sweetness of fig, brown sugar and a very slight hint of mocha.

Mouthfeel is a rich and smooth medium bodied beer with light carbonation. Even though the bourbon is very dominant, the alcohol is not over whelming for a 10% plus ABV.

This is a very nice enjoyable beer to be enjoyed at a slow pace, the sweetness dies down as the beer reaches room temperature making it a little more enjoyable to me. Great job Founders.

dtivp, Jan 02, 2011
Photo of AdamBear
4.25/5  rDev -1.8%

A-very dark brown with a thin white head

S-some mocha and bourbon, but its a mild strength

T-mmm this is quite interesting!! it starts with an amazing hit of bittersweet chocolate. the after-taste is like a dark chocolate milk shake. the flavoring in this beer is extremely strong and rich. this is a great one!

M-this is very thick and heavy, medium but soft carbonation with a dry finish

D-high ABV? i think not. the taste is amazing and it stays so well. there is no alcohol note whatsoever. i loved this beer and i hope to have a lot more of it!

AdamBear, Jan 01, 2011
Photo of kk73
4.13/5  rDev -4.6%

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into my glass. Thanks to BA Wisconsinality for this bottle.

A - Pours a very rich dark brown, deep mahogany. A nice carmel colored head forms and slowly dissipates leaving some lacing.

S - Oak, lots of bourbon, and sweet candied sugar.

T - What you get in the nose is what you get in taste. Lots of oak and bourbon. Sweet candied sugar and some vanilla notes. Nicely balanced and I do not find this one to be very hot.

M - Rich and creamy medium bodied, and lightly carbonated. Every sip seems a mouthful of bourbon but not overpowering, a real pleasure to drink.

D - This beast qualifies as a nice a slow sipper. High abv and bourbon foward make this one to seek out for those who love bal-aged beers. Very good and well crafted makes this one worth revisiting again.

kk73, Jan 01, 2011
Photo of psuKinger
2.88/5  rDev -33.5%

Bottle poured into standard shaker pint glass because I need to save my snifters for New Year's Day football/friends tomorrow. No freshness date readily visible on the bottle, but for a big 10.2% scotch ale like this I don't anticipate age to be an issue.

A: Hazy dark brown color with a nice bubbly 1 finger white head that dissipated quickly.

It did leave a moderate amount of nice lacing on my glass as I worked through it.

S: Huge sweet smell of prunes, licorice, and other dark fruits and candied sugars is detectable even as I pour, before I even try to put my nose to the glass for a test.

When I go to my nose I can pick up a little alcohol as well.

T: Taste follows the nose, dark fruits and candied sugar with an alcohol presence. I can definitely pick up on the bourbon-barrel flavors. This is only my second bourbon-barrel aged brew, but the Goose Island Bouron County Stout that I'd had before this had similar charachteristics, so I think that's a good indication that I'm picking up on the *notes* that I should be.

The taste quickly turns from cool, light, and carbonated to full as the dark fruits and candied sugars move in quickly at the middle of the taste. The beer finishes with the distinct sweetness/pucker of bourbon and a warm booziness on the tongue.

M: This beer is well-carbonated and sticky sweet in the mouth, and finishes with a boozy-warm feeling.

D: I think I just don't much care for bourbon-barrel aged beers. This beer has a lot of interesting things going on, but it's just "not for me". A little boozier than I'd like, but it's really that overwhelming bourbon-sweetness that turns me off here. And at 10.2%, you probably wouldn't want to pound several of these in a given night even if you liked it.

psuKinger, Dec 31, 2010
Photo of tewaris
4.22/5  rDev -2.5%

This beer is the bourbon barrel aged version of Dirty Bastard. 12 oz. bottled 11/16/09 poured into a 3 Philosophers glass on 12/20/2010.

Appearance 4/5
Deep with the gravity of molten lava, and yet so clear. Viscous and mighty looking with a murky, bubbly head that left excellent lacing as it receded. This one also has lots of floaties, but not as disgusting as Dirty Bastard.

Aroma 4/5
Sweet like bourbon, but lots of Scotch like notes, caramel, toffee, perfume. Complex, but weak.

Taste 4.5/5
Hard to say if mixing Scotch and Bourbon is always a good idea, but I think it works for this ale. There are distinct smoky notes of Islay whisky. Slightly sweet with roast and smoke in finish with a distant, but present, Single Malt purity. Finishes a little astringent (welcome) but still very smooth, and sweet. Alcohol is softly present. Some dry fruit notes as well. A fine, complex, and subtle beer but doesn't achieve greatness, in my opinion.

Mouthfeel 4/5
The body is thinner than what I would have preferred, but alright given the base beer. Carbonation is low and fitting.

Drinkability 4/5
Good. The impression of Scotch whisky is very well done.

tewaris, Dec 31, 2010
Photo of cdkrenz
4.25/5  rDev -1.8%

My thanks out to drizzam for the gift of fine beverage.

A - Deep brown body topped by a light brown head with nice stamina and fine lacing.

S - Plums, figs, brown sugar, and a hint of black licorice are all accented by the constricting shape of the snifter.

T - Rich malt base with flavors of chocolate, sweet plums and sugar cookies. It has a slightly bitter accent to it that really makes this an interesting brew. I really like the flavors and the and complexity of the taste.

M - The feel is soft and rather silky in the beginning and middle. The ending and finish has a slight coarse touch to it that helps to bring out some of the complex flavors.

~ For a beer with an ABV over 10% the alcohol is caped very well. The complexity of the characters in this beer make it one that I wish I had more of to enjoy. Overall this is a very good beer and one you should certainly get your hand on.

cdkrenz, Dec 30, 2010
Photo of TriGuy20
4.08/5  rDev -5.8%

2010 Backwoods Bastard poured into goblet

A: Dark mahogany/ Touch of head/ nice lace clings to side of class
S: Carmel/ Maple/ Oak/ Booze-Scotch/ Vanilla/ Malt
T: The caramel comes though nice on the palate with a nice vanilla accent. The booze/ scotch is quite prominent but does not overpower. On the finish there is a nice alcohol burn, very warming.
MF: Full body with a mild creamy texture. Coats the mouth nicely.
D: One bottle of this does me just right. Definitely a sipper

Really enjoy this beer! I feel that it will be better with a little age; the alcohol will have a chance to balance out. The finish could be a little longer. For a sipper I wish this beer displayed a little more complexity as it warms.

TriGuy20, Dec 29, 2010
Photo of Pahn
4.25/5  rDev -1.8%

12oz bottle into Duvel tulip. Thanks to fellow BA morningthief for the bottle.

Appearance: Free pour yields a half inch, foamy, off-white head that dissipates quickly. Pours a semi-translucent dark red brown, with what appears to be some small bits of sediment. Leaves small, occasional spots of lacing.

Smell: Strong bourbon, vanilla and coconut. Chocolaty, with a little dark fruit (date) aroma along with the sweet maltiness and oak/bourbon. Good.

Taste: Follows the nose, but somehow it's so mild and smooth. It reminds me of Bourbon County Stout, not in that they taste remotely similar but in how perfectly the influence of barrel aging is integrated with the rest of the beer. There's very clear flavors of bourbon and oak, along with some chocolate and sweet, creamy malt flavors. Gets hot for a second, but stops leaving very little aftertaste.

The flavor is not very complex, but what's there is excellent. Tempted to give it a 4~ for being a little simplistic and not providing a long, warming and satisfying aftertaste, but also tempted to give it a 5 for how it perfects the balance of big malty scotch ale with bourbon and oak.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied. Creamy, but not very. Could stand to be fuller bodied. Mild carbonation.

Drinkability: Almost too easy to drink. Alcohol catches up on you, and the glass empties fast.

Backwoods Bastard is a very enjoyable beer. It simultaneously gives a tutorial as to why people age beer in bourbon barrels, and a benchmark against which one can measure the success of other barrel aged beers. Worth the large pricetag (around $15~ per 4pack if I'm not mistaken).

Pahn, Dec 29, 2010
Photo of Slatetank
4.33/5  rDev 0%

Thanks to weeare138 for this growler shared with tenderbranson69, consumed from a duvel tulip.

A dark ruddy brown with translucent clarity and thick beige cap which leaves a film of spotty lace and settles to a ring of fine beads. The smell is loaded with lots of wood and caramel w/ vanilla and bourbon providing a strong ester and slight spice w/ gentle alcohol indicating a high gravity brew awaits. The smell has light maple and nutty toffee accents in the mix. The feel is thick and rich w/ substantial strength apparent w/ mildly sweet texture and semi-high bitterness w/ a lot of astringency. The alcohol has a slight drying effect as it finishes w/ moderate roastiness.

The flavor of the Scotch ale is strong and rich with a toffee quality w/ pine from the hops and lots of vanilla from the barrel. The taste is nutty with earthy flavor and mild woody taste like a vanilla toffee spice with a moderately strong bourbon flavor. There is a bitter presence that dominates w/ a caramel candy and bitter presence w/ more sweetness evident in the taste as it warms. I was overjoyed when Mike offered this growler to me -A wonderful oak and bourbon element presents itself so well w/ lots of roasted and candy-like notes yet strength is high in the flavor and feel. It fits the style well and has exceptional drinkability in my opinion. I was truly grateful for the gift -I almost drank a whole growler save for 2 pints.

Slatetank, Dec 28, 2010
Photo of SASN
4.7/5  rDev +8.5%

A : very nice dark brown with a golden tint with a small amount of head

S: caramel and bourbon-milder bourbon aroma than I would have guessed

T: excellent, smooth, with a very well balanced amount of bourbon with a trace of caramel like sweetness

M: again, smooth with a medium body

D: you can have more than one but eventually the alcohol will limit you

Conclusion: one of my favorite beers

SASN, Dec 28, 2010
Photo of Pellinore1
4.03/5  rDev -6.9%

Pours deep, cloudy amber, with about a finger of tan head.

Powerful nose of oak and bourbon, with a bit of fruit as well.

The smell does not lie. This beer starts with flavors of bourbon and wood aging, and follows with vanilla, caramel, a bit of fruit, and alcohol warmth at the end.

Smooth and thick, this is pleasant to drink. The alcohol is clearly there, but not overwhelming.

Pellinore1, Dec 25, 2010
Photo of AllFineThings
4.7/5  rDev +8.5%

Poured a coppery dark dark red hue to almost black, but not quite there and the head comforms to a whisp that lingers.

Smells like bourbon, vanilla, and raisins.

Sweet bourbon and beer, delicious!

Medium to heavy and just right.

An excellent winter warmer that is good from start to finish!

AllFineThings, Dec 25, 2010
Photo of afksports
3.18/5  rDev -26.6%

This bastard was the best looking thing in the bar, so I'm sippin it in.

That said, I'm tired of drinking bourbon beers. It's almost like soup - choose what you are! Solid or liquid!

This bastard smells sweet, caramel, bourbon. Can't detct the bitter. Dark dark amber. Deep. Normal lacing, quickly fading head that sustains.

Taste follows nose. Sweet, bourbon, caramel, malts. Tons of them. It overshoots and misses the mark, IMO. But maybe I'm not suited for a "wee heavy" style scotch strong ale like this one.

Maybe I'm a lightweight low abv smooth drinking bastards. Not from the backwoods. Still well made though. Can never deny Founders that. Cheers!

afksports, Dec 24, 2010
Photo of jmacpher
4.47/5  rDev +3.2%

Wow! This is a great beer! So great that I bought 11 packs when it released in late fall.

It pours a deep copper red with very little head that disappears quickly. It has an incredible smell to it, vanilla and bourbon are the dominant aromas here.

The taste is even better, very deep vanilla and bourbon taste with a bit of bready, yeasty taste. The finish is dry with a lingering vanilla aftertaste. The warming sensation of the alcohol sticks with you, although it's extremely well hidden for a 10 percenter.

This is an all-time favorite! I just wish it wasn't a once-a-year release!

jmacpher, Dec 23, 2010
Photo of wfrigsby
4.38/5  rDev +1.2%

Appearance: Cloudy, unfiltered. Dark brown honey appearance. Makes one anticipate a serious, full-bodied brew.

Smell: Initially caramel/toffee aromas, along with oak, bourbon and a hind of scotch-like smoke. The longer it opened up, however, the more submerged these aromas were by a rather strong alcoholic nose.

Taste/Mouthfeel/Drinkability: Really enjoyed it. The flavors tracked the initial nose, not the later more alcoholic aromatic shift. Got hints of coconut as well as toffee, oak and scotch. Bourbon element was nicely balanced, not overpowering as in some ales (though I really like good bourbon). Nice medium/heavy volume. Extremely drinkable, though you would not want several in a row. Nice for sipping.

wfrigsby, Dec 19, 2010
Photo of BeerLover99
4.43/5  rDev +2.3%

A - clayish brown, little amount of head, nice lacing.

S - powerful barrel, bourbon, smoked peat, mild sweet, alcohol.

T - bourbon, vanilla up front, boozy, with smoky smooth bitter finish.

M - med. body, with low-med carbonation almost feels like beer in scotch form.

D - This powerful beast is a SERIOUS sipper and not for everyone. I would like to have another and perhaps age it.
This is still a must try, come on now, it's Founders!

BeerLover99, Dec 19, 2010
Photo of vtfan77
3.63/5  rDev -16.2%

A- Pours a beautiful deep garnet with a nice half-inch of light tan head. The only thing is there seem to be quite a few, um, "floaties" in the beer. I'm pretty sure it's the most recent batch of the beer and I literally just washed out the glass, so I don't know where these came from. I guess just sediment or something? Who knows. Anyway, it's not that big of a deal, but it does impact the appearance slightly.

S- Majorly bourbony. Big time oak, vanilla, and bourbon aromas leap out at first. In fact, it's tough to dig past all of those to find the malt, which is most certainly there with a syrupy caramel character but struggles to compete with the bourbon. I'm not complaining, though.

T- Sweet malt upfront segues into a big bourbon character before suddenly going dry and oaky. Finishes quite dry and woody with a rather strong dose of bitterness that seems a bit out of place.

M- Medium-bodied, which is actually a bit thinner than I would like for a big beer like this. Carbonation is rather low, which is appropriate.

D- It's fairly rich, although not overly so. The alcohol and perhaps the bitterness are what's holding this beer back in drinkability. As a sipper it's not bad.

An interesting stab at an oak-aged Scotch ale. It seems, though, that the bourbon character overwhelms the other flavors (and aromas) at times. It's still very good; I'd just like a little more Scotch ale flavor to come through. Recommended, but steer clear if you don't like bourbon.

vtfan77, Dec 17, 2010
Photo of seeswo
4.18/5  rDev -3.5%

Pours minimal head and smells of booze...not really sure what I am going to be getting myself into. Holy cow! This is insanely good. Words come to mind are creamy, boozy, vanilla, a bit smoky. Trying this fresh, I know it is going to be even better in 6 months. While huge, strong in flavor and boozy, it still seems to have this odd balance. The booziness is not offensive like it often can be, and seems to meld well with smoke and malt.

I bought one 4'er and then immediately bought 3 more, with the intent of aging some. So, I guess you can imagine how I feel about it.

seeswo, Dec 15, 2010
Photo of crossovert
4.47/5  rDev +3.2%

12 oz brown stubby bottle. 2010 vintage.

It pours an extremely deep and dark plum color. Just sitting there it looks black. The head is thick and tightly foamed and has a bit of creaminess. It is off-white and sticks for a nice while before receding with some nice lacing.

The bourbon and oak dominate the smell, though you can smell traces of the scotch ale underneath. It has a subtle fruitiness that provides a bit of freshness to the tried and true bourbon oak scent.

The flavor is very smooth and nice. It has a rich flavor of buttery toffee that meshes very nicely with the bourbon. There are notes of vanilla and milk chocolate caramel as well. The 50 IBUs are nice and keep this one pretty balanced. The bitterness is slightly tannic with a good deal of woodiness, hops, and a slight roasty bitterness. the fruitiness isn't as pronounced in the taste, but there is a nice bit of prune underneath it all that adds an extra layer of depth.

The mouthfeel is rich and full-bodied with an exquisite carbonation. It has an alcohoic punch but it isn't overt.

After having Dirty Bastard I didn't think this one would be this good, but this is exquisite.

crossovert, Dec 14, 2010
Photo of stawn
4.33/5  rDev 0%

12oz bottle poured into my Bruery tulip. Thanks to BucketBoy for this one!

A - Pours a muddy brown with a small head that vanishes as quick as it forms.

S - A little cold when poured, so I'm not getting much aroma. Some subtle caramel notes in the background...will revisit once it warms.
More dark malty scents emerge as this comes to temperature.

T - Smooth creamy toffee. Wow, this is fantastic. Alcohol is well hidden in this 10+% beast. Each sip intrigues me as this mellifluous fluid dances across my palate. Vanilla and bourbon definitely make their presence known.

M - Low carbonation but works very well for the style. Silky mouthfeel, quite the pleasure to drink.

D - Off the charts. Probably the smoothest Wee Heavy I've had. The barrel aging in this beauty was masterfully crafted. I highly recommend getting your hands on some of this goodness!

stawn, Dec 14, 2010
Photo of tavernjef
4.65/5  rDev +7.4%

Heavy looking and dully lit crimson rust hue. A small lift of dark beige foam appears briefly before sliding to a thin collar and a few spots and globs of lace stick to the glass.

Deeply dark, wafty, and sweet of bourbony thick maple syrup and brown sugar dashed with cinnamon and vanilla. Quite breakfasty...hmmm...a medley of CBS and Old Crum?

Excellent taster! Lots of yummy oily, greasy, thick play of malts and warmth. Deep dark bourbon soaked caramel oatmeal bread smoothered in maple syrup makes a huge core of malt to drench the palate. Nice little touches to cinnamon, vanilla, peet, and tobacco. Really diggin' the bourbon aspects and malt complexity mixing with the spices. Amazingly yummy stuff!

Thick, smooth, chewy, warm, oily body of malt laden perfection. Ecellent additions of dark bakery spices mingle about with a nice tone over the maple bourbony center. It really sinks in from first sip to the dizzying last. Yum!

Backwoods Bastard is some damn yummy stuff! Founders astounds with this one. If there is a bastard who lives in the backwoods somewhere in Michigan, probably the U.P., this would be what's for breakfast.

tavernjef, Dec 14, 2010
Founders Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 5,344 ratings.