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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.

5,277 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,277
Reviews: 1,425
rAvg: 4.33
pDev: 10.62%
Wants: 655
Gots: 1,542 | FT: 143
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: 5,277 | Reviews: 1,425 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of mwilbur


3.6/5  rDev -16.9%

Poured from 12 oz bottle into snifter.
A: Pours a dark red-brown with almost no head.
S: Strong wood (oak) and bourbon notes. Less strong but still prominent alcohol too.
T: Follows aroma fairly well. Strong wood, bourbon, and alcohol. A tad bitter at the finish...softens with warming. Hint of vanilla with warming.
M: Medium body. Surprisingly light for 10.2% ABV. Wish this lingered at least a little bit on the palate.
D: You can have only so much 10.2%, but if this was a better brew this would score higher here. This is a nice one, but can't hold up to other bourbon aged beers. Not sure it was worth the $4 paid for the bottle.

11-13-2009 01:28:29 | More by mwilbur
Photo of kegger22


3.95/5  rDev -8.8%

Poured a reddish brown with a small head that almost instantly dissipated to almost nothing. The aroma was musty and boozy. The taste was heavily alcohol, sweet but with a lightly bitter bite to it (may have just been the alcohol). The feel was full bodied and oily, with very little carbonation. Drinkability was decent for a 10+ ABV. Very good beer, perhaps a bit over rated because this time, the bourbon barrel aging did not significantly improve the brew.

11-12-2009 18:33:10 | More by kegger22
Photo of Katahdin


4.85/5  rDev +12%

I was totally surpriseed by this beer. At 10.2% and a Wee Heavy one would think it would be a big beer. Not all to my surprise. The beer had a great taste, wonderful texture on the mouth and went down smooth. A ver deceaiving beer, it tastes and is as smooth a s a 5% beer, the alcohol can easily sneak up on you.

11-12-2009 17:04:27 | More by Katahdin
Photo of Burl41


3.85/5  rDev -11.1%

Served in a bottle into a pint glass

Apperance- Dark brown red, with solid head from a rough pour into a 1/4 inch rention with solid lacing.

Smell- Wow an intence scotch smell, you get the alchohol upfront too, with a caramel backing. Intense.

Taste- hmmm, again caramel flavor is upfront followed by a solid bourbon taste. I don't even know how to review this, I should have put this into a brandy glass, this beer is strong and complex unlike many even in this catagory. Vanilla and alch linger on the pallete.

Mouthfeel- Thick and heavy, this is a strong brew, high gravity to be sure, almost have to chew this one.

Drinkability- Wow i'm not sure, I enjoyed it alot, but it should be served in a brandy glass not a pint glass. Thick and high abv.

I would have this one again, around a fire with friends on a cold winter night. To be savored slowly.

11-12-2009 06:27:43 | More by Burl41
Photo of Stinkypuss


4.03/5  rDev -6.9%

Backwoods Bastard pours a ruby mahogony with a dense off white head and some lace. Poured into a snifter to maximize aroma.

Nose is of sweet bready malts and a whiff of bourbon like booziness.

Flavor features some complex maltyness. There is a bourbonesque booze and a woody, earthy note from the barrel aging. Chocolate covered cherries. Vanilla. Oak.Faint resinous hops. Then some clean solvent alcohol in the warming finish.

Luxurious and smooth.

A strong, full flavored beer. Complex and a sipper for sure, though I could drink so much more in an ideal setting.

11-12-2009 05:49:30 | More by Stinkypuss
Photo of kbutler1


4.03/5  rDev -6.9%

Poured from a bottle with a bottled on date of 10/27/09.
Pours a nice deep caramel color with a slight tan head, not too much carbonation it seems. Heads settles down fairly quickly.
Wow! Smell that bourbon barrel age right off the bat. Followed by caramel, malty aroma. Maybe it's just me but kind of smells like banana too.
Bite of the tongue on the first sip. Strong flavor from the barrel aging process following by a meduim/heavy malt taste. Slightly bitter aftertaste followed by alcohol. Very little hop flavor which would be correct for this style.
Similiar to Fouder's Dirty Bastard but with an added kick of the bourbon barrel!

11-12-2009 01:04:49 | More by kbutler1
Photo of Buebie


4.43/5  rDev +2.3%

Picked up a single for $4, with a bottling date of 10/27/09

Poured from the brown stubby, with a now pop cap, no more twist off's. Went into a pub glass forming an inch of tan head. The beer is s pretty dark brown, showing reddish auburn highlights when held to the lamp. The forming head and carbonation mixture off the pour was also interesting to watch, allot of color there.
Head retention is a thick collar with foamy bubbles on the cap. Lace is sticky and coats the glass well.

Aroma is bourbon, wood, mild hops in the form of pine. Loads of dark sugar and burnt caramel malt in there. Buttery almost, in a caramelized butter sugar combination. Mild vanilla and maple syrup.

Man, this is one rich sipper. Some boozy warmth from the barrels, still plenty of sweetness shinning through. Bitters creep along with toasted wood and deep into the distance hops bite and linger. Loads of burnt caramel and some cereal grains. A touch of chocolate and vanilla, something in there is reminding me of dark Belgian candy sugar also.
Warmth into the linger after the swallow, not hot, just your very distant bourbon throat warming.

Mouthfeel is bordering a syrup slickness with just a little carbonation keeping any flat feel at bay.

This is tremendous!

11-11-2009 23:54:17 | More by Buebie
Photo of Stunner97

New Jersey

4.7/5  rDev +8.5%

Appearance- dark brownish to dark copper in color, a very thin white head slowly forms and then quick fades, low amount of carbonation,

Smell- lots of upfront malt sweetness, vanilla, caramel, bourbon, brown sugar, just smells very nice and something that pulls you into wanting that first taste,

Taste- slight hop bitterness can be noticed on the finish, overall a good amount of malt and sweetness, the flavor really livens up as it warmed a bit as it was slightly to cold to start, a lot of sweetness vanilla and brown sugar, good amount of oak and definite bourbon is noticeable and actually quite enjoyable, one of the strong points to me in the flavor of this beer is the fact that it does maintain a decent punch of hops just to keep all that malty goodness slightly in check, long lingering finish, very nice,

Mouthfeel- medium bodied not really quite as heavy in body as one might actually expect, nice tingling warmth is noticed in your mouth all the way to back of your throat,

Drinkability- To me this drinkability is extremely high, I am someone is a fan of bourbon so I would have to say this beer is definitely right up my alley, it doesn't over kill you with that bourbon but has alot of it there, it also is very sweet but doesn't over smash you with sugar maintaining a bit of bitterness, this beer to me is actually extremely well crafted and well made, one that while i can I will buy extra of to have around,

11-11-2009 16:11:41 | More by Stunner97
Photo of biggred1


4.28/5  rDev -1.2%

Dark amber with a creamy two fingers of beige colored foam that slowly melts leaving sheets of lace on the glass. This beer smells fantastic, toasty oak and nutty with vanilla and dark fruity notes. The flavors are pretty bourbon heavy, strong, toasty and woody but well balanced with sweet maltiness, dark fruit and just enough hoppy bitterness. The mouthfeel is fairly light for the style but not to a fault. A really nice beer for those that enjoy whiskey, I do.

11-11-2009 02:14:34 | More by biggred1
Photo of kkipple

South Carolina

3.53/5  rDev -18.5%

I've got well over 30 beers languishing in my notes to review, but for some reason - it could be the torrential rain on a dreary November day - I felt like something woody, something soothing, something... bourbony! Thanks to my fridge for hanging onto this one for a while. 2009 vintage.

A. Backwoods Bastard is a dirty looking, sediment-heavy, caramel red with just a touch of lacy head that eventually flattens out. Looks a bit thin and watery, the yeasty bits remain suspended in the brew. One of the odder looking brews to grace this snifter.

S. Initial nose is sweet malt and a pronounced woodiness, followed by brown sugar, a bit of char and a good amount of bourbon and alcohol heat. There's an estery, date-like sweetness that's often found in barrel aged beers, but it too seems overmuch. As it warms you get more: vanilla, a bit of heather-dirt, more nuanced roasty-sweet malt. Not bad. But as a whole the experience is sweet, sharp, and boozy.

T. Hmm... what we have here is an over-bourboned, very sweet Wee Heavy. Now, I love bourbon, but it needs to be in harmony to the beer (see BA Sexual Chocolate for a world-class example) or be so insanely tasty that you just don't care. Backwoods Bastard is not quite there. There's a big estery, brown-sugar sweetness, a LOT of barrel character, and booze to spare. This is 10% and shows. The bourbon is the heart and soul of this beer, the scotch ale (the more interesting flavor to be had) seems to work around it, filling in the cracks in the woody, sweet, alcoholic and warming base. The sweetness is just shy of being too much, and the finish is sugary, woody and warm with some distracting aspirin-like bitterness.

M / D. Strangely thin, not quite watery. Carbonation is low but adds some needed punch; I would prefer more. Not easy to drink, I'm sorry to say. The bourbon is too sharp, the sweetness distracting. Founder's own Old Curmudgeon does this thing better.

Backwoods Bastard isn't exactly a miss, but if I was doing this in a lineup I'd use it of an example of a bourbon beer that doesn't quite hit the mark.

11-10-2009 21:04:28 | More by kkipple
Photo of auroracrisis


4/5  rDev -7.6%

Wow, was surprised to see this at the beer store this afternoon! I was lazily making a mixed six pack and found these in the Founders shelf so I just had to throw one in there. Poured from the bottle into my Duvel tulip after chilling in the fridge for an hour or so.

Pours viscous with a one finger head that dissipates quickly. After the head is gone you are left with an outer rim of foam around the edges of the glass. The body of the beer is ruby red. Thin lacing as the beer is drank.

The smell is nuts. Lots of alcohol in the smell, it almost smells medicinal. The bourbony vanilla is dominant with the malts in the background.

First sip is a bourbon and malty explosion. The alcohol is hot too. My palate began to numb after the second sip but the aftertaste was still there. Lots of bourbon in this one and some scotchy malts in the background. I wish I could have tried Dirty Bastard before this one to have a familiarity with the beer before I tasted it bourbon barrel aged. Maybe I would have gotten more out of the taste. Overall, the taste is much like it smells. I think it'll taste better with some age on it due to it being so hot right now.

Mouthfeel is alright. Kind of on the thinner side of a scotch ale with minimal carbonation. The etching on this glass helps keep the bubbles going but not much. Still a good feeling to swish it around your mouth but not excellent by any means.

Drinkability is fair. I'm not too big on bourbon bombs and this one appears to be so in its youth. Maybe with 6 months or so on it, it'll be more palatable and drinkable to me. Overall though, a good beer.

11-10-2009 04:58:01 | More by auroracrisis
Photo of bamadog


4.1/5  rDev -5.3%

Poured from the bottle into a pint glass. Absolutely fabulous drink, definitely becoming more and more of a fan of barrel-aged beers and items like this are going to make this a true trend. Founders really has yet to let me down.

Appearance: Pours a ruddy coppery/caramel brown that is fairly dark and shows some deep ruby highlights when held to the light; a small one finger head that just looks creamy fades pretty quickly to a thin and uneven frothy skim that looks closer to something that would sit on top of a glass of milk; body is mostly opaque but shows some light through it and some signs of moderate carbonation; decent washes of full lacing left sporadically on the sides of the glass.

Smell: My favorite part about this drink! Bourbon - big and up front; nice and sweet carmally maltiness and strong hints of vanilla and oakiness. Nose is strong with this one, no need to breathe too deep to pull out those scents.

Taste: Bourbon, but nice and smooth because of the big malty/carmally sweetness to it that helps mask the alcohol a bit (although it's still definitely present); nice vanilla presence and the flavors are rounded out in the end with a nice earthy woodiness. Very nice and not overpowering.

Mouthfeel: Body is actually a little thinner than I thought it would be, but still maintains a nice creaminess; mouth, throat, chest and belly are left quite warm; I'm kind of surprised how watery my mouth is left as opposed to being dry from the ABV.

Drinkability: I love the smell and the flavors, but the detracting factors would be the higher ABV, the sweetness gets to be a bit much for my palate and stomach after a bit, and the cost - 14 bones for a 4 pack, while not necessarily unreasonable, would definitely dent the wallet if I wanted to enjoy this more often.

11-10-2009 04:19:29 | More by bamadog
Photo of beerman207


4.38/5  rDev +1.2%

A: Dark red brown color with a head that stays for a while leaving a nice skim.

S: brown sugar, alcohol, raisin, bourbon, vanilla, great smell

T: Bourbon dominates the taste and it is creamy, rich, dark fruit coming through with alcohol coming in towards the finish - not too much. Just enough alcohol warms the palate. Very nice.

M: Very sticky, moderate carbonation, and fantastic.

D: I have to rate the drinkability here very high. I am certainly sad that I didn't have another to follow my first. I can't say that this is a wee heavy but then again there's no wee heavy bourbon barrel category. For what it is, this is a fantastic beer. The art is cool as well.

11-10-2009 02:21:01 | More by beerman207
Photo of KarlHungus


3.13/5  rDev -27.7%

This beer pours a nearly opaque dark brown color. The head is one inch in height, and recedes quickly into a ring of lacing. The aroma is of strong candy sugar, caramel, bourbon, and wood. It is a very strong aroma, but all the candy sugar makes it seem to lack any sort of complexity. The taste is very malt, as a Scotch Ale should be. It has the same simple candy thing going on as the aroma, and although it is still strong it isn't as dominant as it is in the aroma. Still it makes the taste come across as simple. The mouthfeel is medium-full bodied with a velvety texture, and moderate carbonation. Overall, this beer is not doing it for me. I'm not sure if extra sugar was added to boost fermentation, and subsequently ABV, but is sure seems like it. And the result is a beer that taste/smells like candy aged in bourbon barrels, instead of Scotch Ale aged in bourbon barrels. I am certain I will not drink this again, and am wondering what I should do with the other three bottles I have. Maybe some of that sugar will mellow out with time.

11-08-2009 23:26:11 | More by KarlHungus
Photo of MbpBugeye


4.53/5  rDev +4.6%

A- Almost no head to speak of. What is there leaves a bit of lacing. The beer is a murky muddy red. Next to no light passes through.

S- Cherry dominates over some oak and caramely sweetness.

T- Similar to the nose. Sweet, malty, earthy with a slight twang of bourbon on the end. Its earthy and really smooth.

M- Amazing mouthfeel. Substantial body and unreal smoothness.

D- I want more of this. Aside from the booziness brought on by the bourbon this is really drinkable.

11-08-2009 02:29:30 | More by MbpBugeye
Photo of bsp77


4.43/5  rDev +2.3%

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Snifter.

Appearance: Cloudy dark reddish-brown with minimal head and spotty lacing. However, the thin head actually lasts; not often the case with high abv beers.

Smell: Strong blast of oak, cherry, vanilla, peat and alcohol.

Taste: The taste is very similar to the smell but sweeter, with strong notes of vanilla, oak, cherry, peat, as well as toffee and dark fruit.

Feel: Low carbonation and quite warming. While certainly not light in body, it is lighter than expected.

Drinkability: Fits the mold of a barrel-aged beer more than a Wee Heavy. Either way, it is extremely good and a very easy sipper, belaying the fact that it is over 10% abv.

Note to self: Stop buying singles of Founders' beers; every single time I regret it and wish I had bought the 4-pack.

11-08-2009 01:50:42 | More by bsp77
Photo of sweemzander


4.6/5  rDev +6.2%

12oz. bottle poured into a snifter. Bottled on 11/05/09. Only 2 days old, now thats fresh!

(A)- Pours a super dark mahogany that is borderline black. Produced a good off-white head that dissipated to bubbles after leaving behind some tiny bits of webbing behind.

(S)- Some light berry fruits with a toffee, fig, and a woodiness mixed together to create an interesting aroma. Definitely some smokiness present from those oak barrels.

(T)- Wow, great dark berry fruits, fig, raisin, cocoa & vanilla. Some cola-ish nuances that remind me of Dr. Pepper. A silky woodiness that has a slight smoky/mineral characteristic. Fantastic Complexity and character to it.

(M)- Great carbonation level with a great body to it. There is a slight warming sensation as it goes down, but otherwise the 10.2% abv is integrated very well. Sweet, but in a balanced way. The fruits & wood counterbalance the sweetness well.

(D)- A very good beer. I was expecting something extremely potent (it is!) but in a much more delicate/complex sense. The oak bourbon barrels really makes this brew shine. If it tastes this good fresh, this should be really interesting with a year of age on it. Well done, once again Founders!

11-07-2009 22:52:47 | More by sweemzander
Photo of DoctorDog


3.63/5  rDev -16.2%

Presentation: 12 oz bottle into a nonic. "Bottled 10/27/09" printed lightly on the neck of the bottle.

A- Pours a murky dark brown. Just barely enough head to form a cap, which is quickly gone spare a few tiny islands of bubbles.

S- Sweet and oaken, with a distinct bourbon stilt and boozy tones.

T- As expected....big bourbon flavor melds with vanilla and oak, along with hints of malty sweetness.

M- Fairly light carbonation with a medium, borderline watery feel.

D- Decent. For it's relatively high ABV and oaken notes, it's a pretty easy drinker

Future outlook: Decent and interesting, but didn't knock my socks off. Probably won't merit a repeat purchase.

11-07-2009 05:06:33 | More by DoctorDog
Photo of Bung


4.33/5  rDev 0%

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

11-05-2009 03:22:04 | More by Bung
Photo of TaddyPorter


4.35/5  rDev +0.5%

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

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

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

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

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

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

11-04-2009 23:53:48 | More by TaddyPorter
Photo of mjl21


4.33/5  rDev 0%

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

10-30-2009 16:57:33 | More by mjl21
Photo of Tee76


3.9/5  rDev -9.9%

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

A: Amber brown color, with a thin white head

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

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

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

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

10-17-2009 17:52:07 | More by Tee76
Photo of Goliath


3.43/5  rDev -20.8%

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

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

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

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

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

10-08-2009 02:30:07 | More by Goliath
Photo of kimcgolf


4.03/5  rDev -6.9%

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

Enjoyed with a nice cigar to round it all out.

10-01-2009 01:19:07 | More by kimcgolf
Photo of rapidsequence


4.38/5  rDev +1.2%

Another annoying twist off 12 ozer from Founders.

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

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

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

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

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

09-07-2009 01:28:08 | More by rapidsequence
Founders Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 5,277 ratings.