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

5,452 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,452
Reviews: 1,431
rAvg: 4.33
pDev: 10.62%
Wants: 698
Gots: 1,580 | FT: 140
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: 5,452 | Reviews: 1,431 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of pourmeup
4.28/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- dark amber color to the beer with a off white head the eventually resides to a thin white ring around the pint.
S- smells of a good cognac, very oak, lots of alcohol on the nose
T- oak comes through so well, has a slight sourness, very malty and sweet
M- very creamy, coats the pallet with flavor, nice carbonation level
D- not as drinkable, but i could definitely drink two

pourmeup, Dec 05, 2009
Photo of merlin48
4.25/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I've been looking forward to this one for a long time. The bottle pours a cloudy dark copper body with a small beige head that vanishes quickly and leaves no lace.

Aroma has caramel, toffee, vanilla, and boozy bourbon.

Thick mouthfeel is medium full bodied and creamy. Subdued low medium carbonation. Some alcohol heat.

Taste is complex. Bourbon, peat, vanilla, toffee, caramel, herbal hops, and some boozy warmth. Creamy vanilla notes intensify as it warms.

Wow! Dangerously drinkable. The bourbon keeps this from being an authentic Scotch ale, but it's supremely tasty.

merlin48, Dec 05, 2009
Photo of darklordlager
4.45/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Backwoods Bastard (2009)

A-
Pours a brilliant clear dark ruby with a fine coating of bready cream colored head. Very regal looking beer.

S-
Dominated by bourbon, with a little dark fruit coming through as well. Caramel layers, with a flowery hop scent.

T--
Bourbon, caramel, peat, bourbon, caramel. A constant barrage of these flavours, keeping it interesting. Bourbon is at the forefront (to be expected, as it is very fresh), supported by an intense sweet caramel backbone. An herbal flowery hop flavour is evident throughout, and a little smokiness/peat that peeks through at parts. A pleasant sweet cookie/pancake flavour emerges as it warms. Alcohol is a bit intense in the finish. More caramel and bourbon than dark fruit (which is what I associate with a Wee-Heavy), so this reminds me of a sort of middle-ground between a Scotch Ale and Barleywine.

M-
Great balance between creamy and syrupy--Either of too much can be overwhelming, so this nice balance between the two is refreshing.

D-
Once accustomed to the upfront bourbon flavour, this brew drinks extraordinarily smooth. The alcohol is definitely present, but is impressively intertwined with the bourbon. Give this one a little age, and I think it will be phenomenal.

Edit: Re-review 1/29/10, the bourbon has mellowed the slightest bit, allowing the phenomenal vanilla barrel flavour character to come through, as well as the layered caramel malt. Truly a great beer.

darklordlager, Dec 05, 2009
Photo of indiapaleale
4.5/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pour - dark ruby in color with some brown and orange highlights. Very clean and clear with some cascading bubbles forming a tight thin head. When held to the light this gives off some beautiful colors.

Aroma - lots of vanilla, cherry, oak, bourbon and sherry in the nose. This has picked up an absolute ton of aroma from the barrels it was aged in, its one of the more vanilla-ey and bourbon-ey smelling beers I've come across. That being said, it really smells warm and inviting and I look forward to that first sip.

Taste - wow is that smooth, its like silk on the tongue. Lots of big, bold vanilla and oak flavors, the tannins come out and dry the tongue but I also notice a bit of hoppiness which I didn't expect but then again those 50 IBUs are coming from somewhere. Nice sweet and tart cherry flavors come out and mesh well with the vanilla. My stomach is warm and I have a smile on my face. I love this beer.

Overall - I am blown away by how drinkable this is at 10.2%. I have found myself trying to slow down! This is extremely smooth and creamy with a ton of flavor and complexity. The best way to sum this up is just by saying its "gorgeous" and multifaceted. You will drain that bottle into your glass more than twice to get every little drop out. One of a kind and not to be missed.

Would I buy more of it? - I bought one bottle to give this one a try and now I am kicking myself for not shelling out the $14 for a 4-pack, I believe its worth every penny. Hopefully I'll find some more before its all gone

indiapaleale, Dec 05, 2009
Photo of billab914
4/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Dogfish snifter. Poured a dark copper almost brown color with a small head that disappeared quickly.

Aroma is strong with Bourbon with some sweet vanilla and caramel notes. Taste also has a lot of bourbon flavor along with some sweetness. There is some vanilla and caramel much like the nose but also a hint of coffee or a latte in the finish.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and and light on carbonation. Drinkability is probably as good as it can be for a 10% beer that has a lot of bourbon flavor. I enjoyed one but couldn't drink this on a regular basis or more then one in a sitting. An enjoyable treat though none the less to have on occasion.

billab914, Dec 05, 2009
Photo of mirish72
4.47/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Lucky enough to pick this up the other night. Have heard great things so I was psyched to find it and didn't even flinch at the $15 price tag.

Poured into a Chimay goblet. Poured a dark copper, caramel color with a little lacing.

On the first whiff, I noticed was the amazing bourbon aroma. Upon another sniff, the beer had an incredicle mix of burnt, smokey, oakey aromas, really complex but amazing.

It has an equally complex taste, one that was multi-layered and seemed to get better with every sip. It definitely handles the impressive malts, but it also balanced the alcohol well. You can tell this is strong (10.2%), but it really works well.

I am usually not a huge fan of Scotch ales, but this is the cream of the crop. A really amazing beer, I am going to pick some more up to age in the cellar. Also, you gotta love the artwork and the labeling on the packaging. Really a perty brew.

mirish72, Dec 05, 2009
Photo of MIbeerfan
4.25/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a rich dark brown caramel color with a good two finger head

S: Muted smell of malt

T: At first I get a sweet nutty taste followed by hints of bourbon in the after taste.

M: Velvet smooth over the tongue and suprisingly light and fluffy for a scotch ale.

D: This beer overall sweeter, smoother, and lighter than "Dirty Bastard". The high alcohol content is suprisingly masked. I could definitely go for another!!

MIbeerfan, Dec 05, 2009
Photo of HopsHops
4.8/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured into a white ceramic cup because my last snifter was recently broken...

A - Very nice, dark caramel color with goldish color around the edge under a light...

S - Sweet, sugar, toffee, candy, tangy....Smells great man...

T - Powerful, Chocolate, toffee, some bitterness...well balanced... WOW

M - slightly carbonated just right, creamy, kinda coats the tongue. Excellent..

D - 10.2% abv. I'd be careful it is strong and you probably couldn't tell if youre not paying attention.

HopsHops, Dec 04, 2009
Photo of turamarth
4.2/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a tremens glass.

Appearance: Starts off with about a finger of off white creme colored head. Which dissipates rather quickly. Some small bubbles do stick to the side of the glass. The body is a very nice copper, amber color. Opaque in the center, but some nice lightness to the edges.

Smell: Mmmm malty. Starts off with the sweet hint of bourbon and alcohol. Tasty vanilla, caramel and toffee aromas then waft up to my nostrels. This nose here sort of reminds me of Boulevard's BBQ (Barrel aging aside). After another good nose dive, I got the hint of Marshmallows. Interesting. There's even a little edge from the oak.

Taste: More bourbon up front. Same malty toffee, caramel and vanilla flavors. There is even the hint of something like a sweetened latte, or a really sweetened and creamed cup of coffee. To my surprise there is even a pinch of hops, which adds a nice under lying fruitiness.

Mouth: This is a pretty rich beer, so one could think it would be rather thick. But, the carbonation is just right so that it doesn't become to coating of the mouth. It leaves a nice flavor afterwords though.

Drink: The alcohol is hidden rather well I think. You can feel it, but the taste isn't overwhelming. A sipper yes, but its a good drink.

turamarth, Dec 04, 2009
Photo of drpimento
3.88/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

MMmmmm, baby, baby - can't get enough of your beer babe. Luxuriant. Poured with fine creamy, light tan head and good lace. Color is cured cherry wood. Aroma is vanilla, sweet cherries, malt, caramel, and brandy. Flavor is sweet, a hint of roastiness, Texture is velvety with fine carbonation. Some alcohol in the finish which is fairly long and sweet with a tinge of bitterness at the very end. Not a session beer although an excellent beer.

drpimento, Dec 04, 2009
Photo of porterwoobie
4.22/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, poured into a standard pint glass.

A: brown/plum color, slightly hazy, slime tan head that dissipates quickly to a coating, pretty good lacing

S: malt and an oaky, bourbon barrel aroma.

T: it initally has a malty, caramel like sweetness, dark fruity character. the oaky, bourbon comes in at the finish with a slight hint of smoked malts. interesting flavors.

MF: medium bodied, moderate carbonation.

Drinkability: i think this beer is well-crafted, but not something i'll be buying again in the near future. i prefer the "urban" bastard.

porterwoobie, Dec 04, 2009
Photo of bonk0076
3.85/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep obsidian color with a slight beige head that quickly diminishes. Aroma is of bourbon, roasted malt, vanilla, and molasses. Taste is a good combination of vanilla, mollasses and bourbon. Finishes relatively smooth with an easy combination.

bonk0076, Dec 04, 2009
Photo of rye726
4.45/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark mahogany with a silky tan head that displays nice lacing and retention.

Nose has lots of bourbon, oak and vanilla up front followed by dark fruits, chocolate, caramel and roasty malts.

Taste has candy malts, figs, plums, whiskey, cocoa, oak and vanilla.

Medium body is a bit over carbonated, but drinks quite well once it opens up.

Another great ale from Founders, never had a bad beer from these guys.

rye726, Dec 03, 2009
Photo of sidetracked
3.9/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark amber with a thin cream head that dissipated quickly. When held to the light it looks like sediment or air bubbles are suspended in the beer.

Smells sweet and intensely alcoholic--reminds me of rum or whiskey.

Overwhelmingly tastes of whiskey with minor roasted malt, sweet caramel, and woodsy notes. A little alcohol burn at the end.

Goes down surprisingly smooth and is easy to drink. Consistency is thick, but not overly chewy.

Overall a good sipping beer, especially if you enjoy bourbon.

sidetracked, Dec 03, 2009
Photo of sinstaineddemon
4.33/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

having some good wee heavys lately, not a bad thing.

A - mahogany, with some deep crimson highlights, plenty visible carbonation feed a modest tan head

S - big malty, raisins and molasses dominate the aroma to me, plus the welcome addition of bourbon ive not found in many wee heavys

T - smoky sweet, quite a complex flavor, sweet dark fruit again, raisins and dates and such, a rich distinct woody caramel flavor at the back end, with some vanilla/toffee sweetness

M&D - smooth and supremely complex, the end of the taste makes the beer, the caramel, woodiness, it is easily quaffed, one of the better wee heavys ive had, up there with Wet Willy

sinstaineddemon, Dec 03, 2009
Photo of muskabeatz
4/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a rich brown, with ruby and copper hues when held to the light. One finger head with minimal lacing.

S- Smells of bourbon with a presence of dark cherries in the back of the nose. Slight undertones of butterscotch.

T- Big malty, caramel sweetness, with a noticable presence of bourbon. A bit of a woody, oak taste that gives way to a slightly dry, nutty finish. Slightly boozy for my taste.

F- Light carbonation up front that dissipates, so to not overwhelm the finish. Leaves behind a warming from the alcohol.

D- The alcohol content, which is obvious in the taste, makes this one a pretty slow drinker for me. Can't say I could really drink more than one. However, this beer gets better and better as it warms.

muskabeatz, Dec 02, 2009
Photo of Pencible
4/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This poured a hazy mahogany with a bit of light tan head. It smelled like sweet nutty malt with lots of bourbon and oak, along with some rich caramel and a bit of copper. It tasted like lots of bourbon and oak, with some sweet caramel and nutty malt and cooking vanilla and maple syrup, and a bit of bready yeast. It was slightly thick with a bit of carbonation, and had a bitter aftertaste. Overall this was a very powerful beer loaded with bourbon and oak. Nicely done flavor and good body, but it was a bit much to drink freely so I was happier sipping. Age might help tame this beast. In the end, I enjoyed this beer, but it seemed more like a variation on Dirty Bastard, rather than a true improvement.

Pencible, Dec 01, 2009
Photo of birchstick
4.13/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - pours a very dark, rich brown with a solid one-finger head

S - smells very sweet - a lot sweeter than I expected. There are hints of vanilla and oak, with sweet tones of leather and black licorice. There is also some caramel malt and a dash of dark cherries. There is also a very faint touch of peatiness, as an ode to its scotch ale style.

T - The taste follows the nose. There is a lot of stuff going on in this one - it has taken me a while to decipher this beer. Very sweet, toasted and caramel malts are upfront and play the leading role. The cherries that are pretty subtle on the nose stand out quite a big as well. There is bourbon and sweet oakiness on the finish as you exhale, and it lingers on the palate for a while. This is an ultimate sipper...

M - pretty thin and watery mouthfeel - very average.

D - Wow, this is a pretty hearty brew. You definitely need to sip this one and take all of its aromas and flavors in. I really enjoy the bourbon that lingers between drinks. Another fantastic brew from Founders - I have come to expect nothing but the best from these guys.

birchstick, Dec 01, 2009
Photo of ShadesOfGray
4.22/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had on tap and bottle...but draught review for this one:
Pours a nice dark shade of caramel brown. Light tannish colored head, pretty thin. Wow the scotch smell is pretty solid. Pick up a little malt and sweetness, caramel perhaps.
Taste is pretty complex. Scotch taste again is very present. Booze aspect is pretty subtle. Sweet flavors again of chocolate or caramel...malty...VERY good. A little heavy, so not a quick drinking beer.

ShadesOfGray, Nov 30, 2009
Photo of morimech
4.47/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I think this is the ultimate winter beer. Full of complex aromas and flavors and enough booze to keep you warm. Pours a ruddy brown color with a small tan head that quickly settles to bubbles around the glass. Some sticky lacing is left on the glass. The aroma is a mixture of vanilla, caramel, scotch, rich malt, and some earthiness. The flavor likewise is complimented nicely by barrel aging. Hints of vanilla and scotch along with the richness of the malt makes this a nice sipper. Alcohol warmth in the finish. Full body with carbonation that gives the beer a nice soft texture. Fits this beer nicely. This beer is a sipper so that limits drinkability.

morimech, Nov 29, 2009
Photo of johntangus
4.43/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Delivered from a keg into my Piggly Wiggly growler and then into my Duvel tulip glass. Pouring a dark ruby hue with a very thin dissapating head.

Nice bourbony smell.

While the bourbon is definitely front and center, there are some nice raisiny dark fruit tastes/smells going on.

Not too sweet, the bourbon-oak cuts the malty flavor making a very rich drinking experience. But it's also not too thick or cloying.

This is a pretty drinkable beer for the ABV. The booziness is nicely hidden - while there is a nice bourbon taste, the associated burn isn't present. The light carbonation accentuates the layers of flavors. Letting this beer warm up a bit awakes even more tastes.

I have enjoyed this beer immensely as my Thanksgiving holiday beer.

johntangus, Nov 29, 2009
Photo of TheBierBand
4.63/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the 12oz Bottle to produce a healthy 1" head of beige foam that lasted and lasted and left pronounced stickage down the glass. The beer is a deep amber/nut brown color.

Nose was pronounced .... good whiff of bourbon and carmel malt.

Taste: WOW.... good bourbon up front, with a nice sweet carmel malt... mellower than Dirty Bastard.

MF: Creamy, rich....everything I want in a wee-heavy

Drinkability: The four pack will last the long weekend.... enjoying this at a pace of about 1 per day.

TheBierBand, Nov 28, 2009
Photo of BarrelO
3.73/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Ruby red body with a decent sized head.

S: Bourbon, vanilla, and alcohol.

T: Fairly complex. Vanilla, cocount, and cherries. Also pretty boozy.

M: Medium-bodied.

D: Definitely a sipper. Not something I'd immediately go back to.

BarrelO, Nov 28, 2009
Photo of Martin2D
3.7/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - Dark red with an off white foamy head

S - Not a ton going on here, lots of bourbon and wood

T - Having to wait here to taste it...poured way too cold and don't want to waste any. Alright, here we go. It's very sweet, woody, but thin. Tons of vanilla, but not exactly bursting with flavor, but subtle malts intertwine with a strong alcohol flavor with hints of hops.

M - Very thin with a medium carbonation.

D - It's a pretty good beer, but I wish it had a little more body to match the alcohol and sweetness. A little too boozy and not enough flavor to go along with it.

Martin2D, Nov 28, 2009
Photo of cassanoj
3.75/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass. Pours a dark cherry color, with virtually no head. Spotty lacing.

Smells like scotch, cherries and licorice. Hints of caramel, raisins and maple.

Taste serious licorice, cherries, some raisins, fig and malt, a nice oak and vanilla aftertaste. A nice bitterness.

Mouthfeel is syrupy. Full-bodied and smooth with a little tingle.

Nice sipper. Not too complex on the palate, but still a really interesting brew.

cassanoj, Nov 28, 2009
Founders Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 5,452 ratings.