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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.
BA SCORE
96
world-class

5,354 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,354
Reviews: 1,428
rAvg: 4.33
pDev: 10.62%
Wants: 672
Gots: 1,555 | 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: 5,354 | Reviews: 1,428 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of VaTechHopHead
4.65/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A - Nice mix of deep red and brown, clearly unfiltered, with an off-white head. Good chunks of lace down the glass left by a fast depleting head.

S - The first nose is like sticking your nose in a bourbon barrel...sweet and pungent bourbon with a great malty backbone. Hops aren't too prevalent because the other aromas dominate.

T - This is where this beer really shines. Starts off with wonderful sweet malty mash flavors but the bourbon kicks in real quick. The bourbon isn't harsh or hot at all but amazingly pleasant, it's all the flavor and none of the burn. Right at the end the hops pop in and their bitterness blends with the bourbon nicely to give a great spicy finish

M/D - Heavy body with some large carbonation bubbles but somehow still smooth on the tongue. Sweet finish but has a nice alcohol warmth. Way too easy to drink for such a high alcohol content.

For a widely available seasonal beer this one is terrific and definitely a must try for all big beer lovers.

VaTechHopHead, Feb 23, 2010
Photo of Brent
3.58/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Whap - that is the sound of this beer smacking you in the face on first sip. An immediate onslaught of bourbon and vanilla oak, some sweet malt and fusel alchohol. After a couple more sips to acclimate, the alcohol retreats but does not leave the background. Malty sweetness emerges and the beer with a shot impression lingers. A bit more boozy than I care for.

Brent, Feb 22, 2010
Photo of jdklks
4.3/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

08 vintage. I'm planning on doing an 09 immediately following this one.

Pours a very dark amber/light mahogony that displays orange hues when backlit. The head is a nice tan, but doesn't stick around long, even with an aggressive pour. The smell is absolutely phenomenal. Tons of oak, tons of bourbon. Sweet, sweet fruits. Orange, acai berry, lemon, etc. some brown sugar, syrup, and molasses. Maybe a hint of vanilla even.

Describing the smell I said "maybe" vanilla. Now I want to say "definitely lots" of vanilla. Right up front all the way through the aftertaste this is a vanilla lovers dream. Other notable flavors: oak, orange, brown sugar, and caramel. There is a nice bourbon burn on the back of the palate and the esophagus.
*Edit after opening the 2009*: The fresher version has more brown sugar, toffee, and the bourbon is more pronounced. Everything is more intense, and the beer is not as smooth. There is also an added flavor of green apple cider that is curiously missing from the 2008.

Unfortunately, the beer is undercarbonated, which is sad, because if it weren't, the flavors would come out much more and I would probably give it a five for taste. It is very nicely thick though. Given thickness, ABV, and sweetness, I'm not going to give it too high of a score in the drinkability department, though I will be drinking two of them.

Overall, one of the best scotch ales I've ever had. Another great Founders beer, go figure.

jdklks, Feb 22, 2010
Photo of RocPorterFanatic
4.68/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Sam Adams Perfect Pint glass. Its got a deep copper color with slightly rocky lacing. The smell is amazing. Its the best of both worlds, bourbon and beer. There are heavy vanilla flavors coming in from the oak and bourbon, mixed with the creamy robust flavors from the scotch ale. What a truly amazing beverage. The alcohol is present, but its not the focal point of this beer.

RocPorterFanatic, Feb 21, 2010
Photo of jeffthecheff
2.85/5  rDev -34.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Thanks to Joe for the bottle. Your just helping me beat you in the race to 200, dude. Poured into a tulip glass on a snowy day while watching the winter Olympics. It has a dark red/brown color with just a wisp of a tan head. There are some small, flaky particles floating throughout.

The nose contains some toasted, oaky wood and alcohol. Vanilla is a bit strong and reminds me of vanilla extract. I would like more subtlety here. I'm not generally in to bourbon aged beers, so I appreciated that this didn't smell like it had a straight shot of whiskey in it, but the aromas of the beer itself were a bit underwhelming.

Flavor is rich caramel up front with some oak wood on the finish. Vanilla in the middle, and a bit too strong again. Slight dark fruits on the back. I'm glad this doesn't taste like whiskey, but there is a slight burn on the tongue and throat. The mouthfeel is unimpressive, and is the low light of this beer. It has a thin impact for its size. A bit thin, which carries a slightly syrupy liquor flavor in the finish. I would prefer heavier malt in the flavor mouthfeel.

This beer took me way to long to drink. It had some decent attributes, and some nice, subtle barrel character, but the base beer didn't impress me. It feels a bit lifeless in the mouthfeel, and the flavors just weren't my bag.

jeffthecheff, Feb 21, 2010
Photo of Genghis22
4.22/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Another beautiful from beer from my great friend Stephen. Thanks!

A - Pours a syrupy caramel brown. An agressive poured yielded a nice frothy tan head. Great lacing.

S - Sweet malt in the nose. Further examination reveals oak and bourbon. Slight touches of alcohol. A bit buttery.

T - The fist taste is sweet malt. It is quickly high-jacked by the oak flavor. There is a slight taste of bourbon, but as you sip it more, the bourbon becomes more pronounced. The aftertaste is dry and slightly bitter. Other than the drying effect, the alcohol seems hidden.

M - Sticky and syrupy, coats the tongue well. The carbonation is pretty low, would have liked a bit more. Very dry finish.

D - A very nice beer. With so many stouts being aged in bourbon, it was nice to have a Scotch Ale. The style really lends itself to the bourbon. The ABV of this beers knocks it out of "session" territory, but I could drink maybe two of these in a night. It is a great sipper.

Genghis22, Feb 20, 2010
Photo of feloniousmonk
4.22/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Hazed, deep dark crimson to brown, slimmed, dunnish head.

Sweet, bourbony aromatics right off the bat. Cherry wood and leather. Spices and smoke. Rich and luxuriant.

Taste: Very complex, too much going on to take it apart at first sip. You get the wood, the whiskey, and below the sweet Scotch ale at the base. Mmm, oaky...mmm, rich and bourbony. Starts sweet, gets dry and well-rounded, nicely balanced, and oozing over with wonderful flavor. You don't feel the 10% right away, but it gets in there, oh, yes...very nice. Not too much bourbon, which can be a detriment at times. If it weren't so strong or so expensive, I'd be at this quite a bit.

feloniousmonk, Feb 18, 2010
Photo of TCHopCraver
4.35/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours dark hickory-brown into an oversized wine glass. A tiny head disappears quickly. The lacing is mostly dotty and sticky. When held to the light, this crotchety fella is impenetrable to the eye.

S: I don't really know how an aroma can be creamy, but this is. It makes me genuinely excited to partake. The bourbon/oak smells support a caramel-vanilla-maple malt aroma. I find myself taking this into my olfactory organs over and over. In Utopia, this is exactly how autumn in an enchanted forest would smell.

T: Rich. Full. Creamy. Chewy. Everything I detected in the aroma is present in the taste. Somewhat surprisingly, though, the maple sweetness that I smelled is just a little under-represented in the taste. I think the bourbon oak barrel flavor is overwhelming the malt sweetness a tad too much. The taste experience of a sip of this brew is akin to an Orchestra playing the hell out of a Mahler Symphony, only to fall about 10% short of reaching the full color spectrum at the climax of the piece.

M: Repeat the first four sentences of my taste review. I also enjoy the dryness of the finish, but I wish the sweetness of the brew would coat my palate just a a smidge more.

D: Excellent. This is a very well crafted beer. I could imagine having more than one of these in a sitting, but eventually the high a.b.v. would put an end to that.

TCHopCraver, Feb 16, 2010
Photo of wood2430
4.6/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The first incounter with this beer was remarkable. The appearance came with a wonderful copper color. The bourbon smell was right on point with taste that was an explosion of bourbon, malts, and hops. The mouth was pretter bitter and had a puckering effect because of the bourbon aging.. Overall it was an excellent experience for a seasonal brew..

wood2430, Feb 16, 2010
Photo of barleywinefiend
3.28/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured deep maroon color with decent carbonation leaving a small dirty white head.Nose of booze, caramel, oak and more booze and whiskey. Taste is just big booze, bourbon, some light vanilla but hot and how does anyone call this a Wee Heavy is beyond me. It is a Strong Ale. In that category, yes it is ok, however, way off balanced, as a strong ale it needs some time to downplay the bourbon. If you like that sort of thing then great. It just took control of this beer and left it undrinkable for me.
///
Note to richbrew. Lets clear this up?? Lets do that. Whatever floats your boat. Before you criticize reviews and taste of others you might want to review more than 17 beers. Secondly, dont bash other reviews. Its one's own taste and choice.

barleywinefiend, Feb 10, 2010
Photo of Stigs
4.05/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle, poured into a Dogfish Head signature glass...

A - small amount of light khaki foam falls quickly to some large floating bubbles accompanied by a tan ring. the beer itself is a dark burnt brown with a slight purple hue. random spotty lacing as the beer goes down.

S - bourbon everywhere, mixed with some vanilla, chocolate, cherries, plums, sweet malt...strong whiskey kick at the end. picks up a lot more bourbon as it warms.

T - bourbon again, mixed with some dark chocolate and malted candy (Whoppers)...fruits come in next, bourbon soaked cherries and raisins. definitely some alcohol heat.

M - thick and chewy, adequate carbonation aids in getting some other flavors besides bourbon their opportunity.

D - Had this once before (very fresh) and thought it was way too wild...have a few bottles left and hopefully some age will bring out even more complexities. as far as drinkability goes, abv and tons of sweetness make a single bottle almost too much.

Stigs, Feb 08, 2010
Photo of fairdinkum2
4.4/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Good looking, great tasting beer. Pours with a deep, dark copper color with a lumpy, creamy head. Good retention with excellent lacing.

Bourbon predominates on the nose with chocolate and coffee notes thrown in.

A well balanced palate. Coffee, chocolate and dried fruits, framed by a muscular bourbon character. Alcohol content is well masked. Other styles tend to sweet notes. This is a somewhat drier style, which adds to its drinkability.

Excellent effort.

fairdinkum2, Feb 07, 2010
Photo of WeedKing4
4.1/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle pours a dark hazy brown with little floaties seen in the glass. You can smell the burbon on this one, and its definately in the taste too. Mixed with a dark malt taste, and it does drink so damn smooth. The 10.20% is very well hidden. This was a decent beer and glad I got to try it. Never had a burbon barrel aged beer before. Nice offering.

WeedKing4, Feb 04, 2010
Photo of sulldaddy
4.88/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pouring a cellar temp bottle into a snifter.
The beer pours a deep mahogany with garnet highlights. Some small white particles are suspended in the brew. A tightly packed creamy tan head foams up 1 cm with an aggressive pour. The head fades to a frothy edge layer that remains through the sampling. Aroma is instantly deep brown sugar and caramel malt with heavy bourbon and vanilla notes wafting out of the glass. A little boozy scented but not fusol heat like a liquor.
The first sip reveals a slightly thick body but not syrupy or chewy texture, very smooth and EASY to drink. Next to nothing for carbonation that does fizz up when sloshed around in my mouth for a few seconds.
Flavor is all sweet malt, with brown sugar and maybe a little molasses mixing with some toffee. Hits of vanilla and a little bit of wooden dryness mixes in to the flavor. No hops anywhere to be found. I like this beer!!
The booze is very well hidden and I think this beer is dangerously easy to drink. I wish I could get access to this beer more frequently as it may have moved up into my top 5 brews.

sulldaddy, Jan 31, 2010
Photo of thain709
3.53/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Poured a deep mahogany brown with some haze to it...the head formed and was very little but I expected that from a 10% beer...some lacing was left

S - Besides the generous amount of bourbon there are very subtle notes of chocolate and vanilla lingering around...pretty inviting nose

T - Just what I expected...bourbon is present from the beginning to the end...a big alcohol burn...the vanilla from the nose is present and provides a strong sweetness to the beer which is needed...I can compare the taste to that of drinking a jack and coke...I guess you could say there's some balance to this beer but it's definitely bourbon barrel aged

M - Medium bodied...slick with a big warming alcohol effect

D - This was my first bourbon aged beer...I wasn't sure what to expect besides the bourbon flavor and this provided lots of bourbon...it smelled nice but maybe this just isn't my style...I'll have to just try more bourbon barrel aged beers!

thain709, Jan 30, 2010
Photo of GregSVT
4.3/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a Brooklyn Snifter

A: Pours a deep hazy brown with a small head that fades to near nothing and leaves a tiny bit of lacing. Not very impressive looking.

S: The nose is intoxicating, lots of vanilla on top of a chocolatey malt base and a slight roastiness. This almost smells like a Belgian with all the sweet smells arising from the glass. As it warms the whiskey aroma somes out more and more.

T: The taste has a lot of chocolate/cocoa in there with the vanilla from the nose and a slight bitterness on the finish to balance things out. There is a touch of whiskey in there but it's not overpowering. I will say a lot of the scotch ale flavor has been drown out by the barrel aging though.

M: The feel is medium to full with a slick feeling as you swallow. Not too much carbonation but I feel that it helps to bring out the flavors more than if it were very bubbly.

D: I actually like this one compared to KBS and would definitely have more. Great example of what barrel aging can do to a nice Wee Heavy.

Recomended if you can find it. I have 3 more I may age for a while to see if the scotch ale flavors come forward after a year or so.

GregSVT, Jan 30, 2010
Photo of BeerInReview
2.98/5  rDev -31.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A: A dark amber in color with a nice thick white head. Nice lacing all the way through as well.
S: Hello alcohol! Bourbon, bourbon, and more bourbon. It's hard to distinguish other aromas when the bourbon is so strong, though I can faintly smell vanilla.
T: A strong bourbon and heavy alcohol punch up front. Harsh! As the fire subsides oak and vanilla flavors are present.
M: Thin...
D: Let me put it this way, I won't be seeking this beer out again.

However...I think the bottle I had was way too young. The alcohol has not settled and melded. It seems to have some good underlying characteristics that may present themselves better in a years time once the alcohol settles down.

BeerInReview, Jan 29, 2010
Photo of WYVYRN527
4.13/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 ounce brown bottle.

A: Pours a hazy mahogany color with a thin eggshell head that has little retention. Lacing is minimal, but the beer itself coats the edge of the glass.

S: Nose is sweet, with caramel, honey, toasted oak and vanilla. There is just a slight hint of charred wood in the backround.

T: Malty notes of caramel, fig, and rasin are present upon sipping at first. It's followed by toasted oak, vanilla and some smoke, along with some warming boozy flavor. Hops do dry out the finish, but are overall masked by the intense flavors brought on by massive amounts of malt and bourbon barrel aging.

M: Massive, full-bodied mouthfeel, great viscosity, and has a long finish.

D: A very good beer for it's style, however, it's high ABV and intense flavor make it a bit heavy to sit down with and enjoy on it's own. It will be interesting to see how it ages.

WYVYRN527, Jan 28, 2010
Photo of beerjerk
4.78/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured dark with rich, creamy head. Aroma is predominantly bourbon, with hints of malt and caramel. Smokey, oak barrel flavors with a hint of mild whiskey bite over vanilla. A pleasant, drinkable brew that feels nice and warm once it settles and will have you craving another as soon as you polish off the first one. Low carbonation, this makes for a good reading ale.

beerjerk, Jan 28, 2010
Photo of ppoitras
4.1/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle purchased as parts of a couple four-packs from Julio's, Westboro, MA.

Poured into a Chimay chalice, formed a 1/4" tan head over the clear burgundy brew. Head is quickly down to an uneven skim, with heavy legs, minimal lace. Aroma is sweetness and bourbon. Taste starts sweet, a touch of fruit in the middle, and then heavy on the vanilla, with a warming close. Flavors seem very distinct and separate. Mouthfeel is smooth, and drinkability is good. I keep coming back to this one.

ppoitras, Jan 26, 2010
Photo of SpeedwayJim
4.22/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into an Ithaca tulip.

A: Moderate pour yields a quickly upward cascading 1 finger semi-coarse orangy-brown head that flattens rather quickly. Looks like there's sediment in the head too... weird. Beer is a cloudy reddish brown that reveals a bunch of floating indistinguishables. Lacing is very controlled but ample.

S: Nose is slightly boozy, sweet plums, grapes. A touch of oakiness, vanilla, and brown sugar. Also might be some caramel in there.

T: Boozy upfront, sweet, kinda like bourbon. Barrel-aged character is definitely prominent as it fades in and out with the fruitiness. This one is a lot hotter than I expected but completely delicious. Caramel and brown sugar is prominent, supporting a strong malt backbone. Hops are near non-existent though there's a hint of their presence right at the finish which is sticky. Caramel and bourbon last right up until the end.

M: Medium to full bodied, rather flat and smooth with the booziness ticking the back of the throat. Finish is messy and sticky. This one is most definitely a sipper.

D: Delicious. Complex and a real joy to have. The appearance of tiny particles in the beer really threw me off in the beginning but it recovers well. Like a barrel-aged RIS but without the soy sauciness, making it a different experience altogether, but still enjoyable nonetheless.

SpeedwayJim, Jan 25, 2010
Photo of hckyfn9999
3.95/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a murky mahogany with about a finger of cream colored head. Aroma is full of bourbon as you would expect. Caramel, vanilla and fruit also stick out.

Sweet caramel is noticeable upfront. That gives way to slightly boozey, bourbon flavor. A faint smokieness is in the background, with a dry, bitter finish. Body is medium-full. Overall a pretty solid effort and a nice concept.

hckyfn9999, Jan 25, 2010
Photo of bonkers
4.33/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I poured from a bottle into a snifter. It is murky and muddy in apperance with a slight white head. The nose is full of bourbon, vanilla, oak, and sweet caramel. The taste is bourbon heavy, but not overbearing. It is nicely rounded out with some vanilla. The finish is hot with alcohol. It has a medium/full body and has nice carbonation. I really liked this. The bourbon really works with this one.

bonkers, Jan 23, 2010
Photo of ipafool
4.75/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Aquired via trade with beerbeerbeerbeer, Thanks brother. Pours a dark copper with a nice two finger head. Smell is dominated with bourbon but in a good way. Also vanilla, oak, brown sugar, love it. The taste is a huge sweetness, plums, bourbon, toffee and caramel. Mouthfeel is perfect silky smooth coats well with a full body. Drinkability is off the charts. A sipper for sure but will seek out again and again, Founders nailed it on this one.

ipafool, Jan 23, 2010
Photo of becktone
4.68/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

From notes 11-13-09

Eye: Deep red in color with tints of brown. Maybe some yellow tinted orange highlights in there too. This beer isn't clear but its not murky either, hazy is the best word. Its got some transparency but its not great. Head formation and retention are non-existant, could be the glass...Still color is good, but I'd like to see more from the head, something thick and creamy. Although it doesn't form a nice head or keep one, it still has some lacing...as I sip on this it leaves partial walls, but mostly legs of lace adding to this beer's appetizing appearance.

Nose: Big on the dark fruits, plums rasins. Hints at chocolate too. Overall warm aroma. Vanilla tones are evident. Notes of bourbon are evident. This actually has tones of an empty bourbon barrel in it. Heavy and thick aroma, it feels syurpy. (Now I'm actually getting a slightly and faint charred or smokey aroma...maybe its just me though.) The aroma is almost intoxicating. I really can't ask for more.

Tongue: On first sip alcohol, oakiness, bourbon character, and vanilla are present. Dark fruit comes into play as well. Alcohol is definitely detectable, it adds some balance to the brew as well as create some sweetness. Hints of chocolate, smokiness, and definitely some heavily roasted or burnt flavors. This beer has a great malt backbone and a great malt flavor, but a bit more would be nice to contend with the bourbon heat, oakiness, and alcohol.

Feel and Drinkability: Overall this one feels very nice. It warms once it hits the stomach. The beer is heavy on the palate and carbonation is low as it should be, otherwise it'd be way out of balance. Although its heavy on the palate it is far from syurpy. This is one that I'll not hesitate to pick up again...another great offering from Founders, they cease to amaze me.

becktone, Jan 20, 2010
Founders Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 5,354 ratings.