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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.

5,291 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,291
Reviews: 1,425
rAvg: 4.33
pDev: 10.62%
Wants: 659
Gots: 1,547 | 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: 5,291 | Reviews: 1,425 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of treyrab


4/5  rDev -7.6%

Grabbed this one on a recent trip to NJ and just poured it into my snifter tonight.

A: The head on this drops faster than my girlfriend's dress on prom night. Kind of spritzy head to start. But it pours a radiant ruby copper that is brilliant. It is not opaque, yet not clear as it has some chill haze.

S: Smell starts with sweet, sweet caramel that blends nicely with the oak aging. The smell is refined but not very complex or forthcoming. The whiskey notes jump out at the very end however.

T: The taste is dry and the Kentucky mash really seems to come through as it warms. The sweetness in the smell isn't as noticeable in the taste. The caramel is blended nicely with the bourbon. This is not extremely flavorful, but it is nonetheless a good resulting beer.

Overall, this is a nice beer to have on a cold winter night like tonight, but not one I could drink all the time. Grab it if you have access.

02-03-2009 03:25:55 | More by treyrab
Photo of Amalak

New York

3.38/5  rDev -21.9%

I had this beer off the tap at Barcade in Brooklyn.It came in a brandy snifter and had a very dark if not black color to it. It had a very strong alcohol scent to it.

This beer tastes a lot like a port, actually. Very heavy and smokey, thus the scotch ale branding. It's definitely a good beer but this is just not my type.

I had this again off the tap on Jan. 17, 2013, and I would score it exactly the same.

01-31-2009 17:44:59 | More by Amalak
Photo of Avagadro

New Jersey

4.75/5  rDev +9.7%

10.2% ABV
Notch is in the center of the bottom of the label, which I believe indicates a bottling date around november.

A: Red in color and very hazy. There are several small clusters of yeast around the head. Visible carbonation is minimal.

S: Smoke, oak, and alcohol are beautifully combined in the nose. Great bouquet, but a bit weak.

T: Delicious! Vanilla and oak predominate with caramel, dark toast, and spicy ethanol all playing supporting roles.

M: Very creamy. Similar to a good scotch.

D: I would love a lifetime supply of this brew. I've purchased it on several occasions, and I feel that it is well worth seeking out. Give it a try.

01-31-2009 02:40:00 | More by Avagadro
Photo of Wasatch


4.33/5  rDev 0%

Thanks goes out to BrewerB for this brew.

Pours a nice brown color, nice carbonation, nice one-finger creamy tan head, lots of nice sticky lacing left behind. The nose is malty, slight bourbon notes, with some toffee. The taste is very nice, malty, slightly sweet, very nice bourbon notes, and some toffee. Medium body. Very drinkable, this is a very tasty brew, thanks for the extra Brian.

01-31-2009 00:12:21 | More by Wasatch
Photo of callmemickey


3.98/5  rDev -8.1%

A: Dark brownish red body. Just a coating of off white head. Very little lacing.

S: Bourbon and all that comes with it. Vanilla, oak, alcohol... then comes the beer... dark chocolate and caramel.. not much in the way of hops, but thats ok

D: This is like jack and coke meets beer... its rather nice... the aromas in the nose are well positioned in the taste profile.. nice bourbon finish

M: Smooth. Slightly carbonated. Slightly alcoholic burn too.

D: I don't know. For as much as I enjoyed the beer I just didn't want another. I like bourbon aged beers (including KBS/oaked aged yeti/etc) and this is the first one I wasn't willing and ready to have another.

01-29-2009 01:12:08 | More by callmemickey
Photo of Pamola


4.33/5  rDev 0%

Got this brew in a trade from d0b. Very psyched to try this beer. wee heavies are a favorite of mine and he hooked me up with a great extra.

A: Poured silky smooth into a pint glass. minimal light brown head. Beer itself is a hazy dark cherry only translucent on the edges. It's not a gorgeous beer, it just screams rich. I love it.

S: Twangy sweet and sharp. Almost a prune juice scent here and there. I wish there were a little more malt character, but the nose is intriguing.

T: Holy crap. Loving this. The oakiness to the scottish malts and overt alcohol is incredibly complex. Buttery and toffee flavors with a pungent red wine finish. Bittersweet and potent and wonderful.

M: Light for a scotch ale, but perfectly rounded and complete. oak gives it a silkiness that's very nice.

D: I suppose i could drive to mass for this beer, which is becoming a distinct and imminent possibility. I would love to have this in my fridge at all times.

01-26-2009 05:14:26 | More by Pamola
Photo of travisd13


4.45/5  rDev +2.8%

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a Pike tulip.

A- Pours a dark brown / black that shows dark red color around the edges when held to the light. Head is about 1/4" and light tan in color...dissapates very quickly.

S- Vanilla/oak, carmel, and well bourbon! A little alcohol.

T- Bourbon front with a strong alcohol presents. Nice and malty with a hint of caramel. The bitter hop finish hides the alcohol better than expected...well done!

M- Smooth and silky due to the low carbonation. By silky I don't mean thick...if anything I'd call it a little thin for the style.

D- If it wasn't for the 10.2% I could drink this all night. However...I think two is my limit. I still call it drinkable!

01-25-2009 07:20:56 | More by travisd13
Photo of ejquin


4.1/5  rDev -5.3%

a: Cola brown with very thin white head that fades quickly.

S: Loads of vanilla and bourbon. Litt le bit of caramel and some molasses sweetness and a slight amount of fruitiness

T/M: Medium and chewy. Taste is of caramel and lots of vanilla, though not an overpowering bourbon character, fades to slight hop biterness. Milky sweet. Feels strong but not 10%.

D: Above average for the abv.

01-23-2009 22:55:53 | More by ejquin
Photo of madtowndmb1


4.65/5  rDev +7.4%

This is one of my favorite beers that I've had in a while! I can't get over the bourbon and dark cherry scent! I love it!

And the taste is just as great! It's a malty sweetness quickly washed out by bourbon then finished by the cherries that I smelled. When i smelled this I thought, only if it could taste like that! And it did! I wish this was a year-round brew!

I already miss this beer and can't wait for it to come around again. I have like 3 left and I'll have to ration them till next year I guess!

01-20-2009 04:03:55 | More by madtowndmb1
Photo of kbeals

North Carolina

4.08/5  rDev -5.8%

I liked the Dirty Bastard so I figured I'd give this a try.

A- A dark ruby red bottom fades into a nearly opaque black top. About three fingers of creamy light brown head.

S- Bourbon, bourbon, and more bourbon, oh and some caramelized malts come into play.

T- First the bourbon/alcohol taste comes into play, followed by a bit of malty aftertaste. Finishes with a slightly dry finish. The alcohol warms the chest after all is said and done. Very pleasing.

M- This beer was velvety smooth with little to no carbonation.

D- Due to the high ABV I probably wouldn't drink more than a few of these.

This beer was excellent and a definite recommendation.

01-19-2009 02:05:18 | More by kbeals
Photo of gabrielsyme


4.4/5  rDev +1.6%

12 oz bottle.

Pours rich mahogany, little head. Just like the Dirty Bastard in appearance.

Smell is caramel sweetness.

Taste is pretty big - molasses, syrupy, caramel, chocolate, and maybe some cherry. Alcohol is definitely noticeable (my bottle says 10.2%). The bottle says 50Ibus, but I don't taste much bitterness.

01-16-2009 02:48:45 | More by gabrielsyme
Photo of brantadid

New Jersey

4.33/5  rDev 0%

Poured a nice mahogany color with a thin white head. Beer appeared viscous in the glass. Lots of body.

Tons of bourbon and oak in the nose. Tons of malt in the nose.

Wow! Tons of bourbon on the palate. Some spicy from the bourbon barrels. Malty, burnt flavors. Lots of vanilla in the back palate.

Not much carbonation and viscous, coating mouthfeel. Very silky on the palate. Alcohol is definately present, but not in a harsh way. It is nice and warming.

Overall, a fun, slow sipper. I wish I had more.

01-16-2009 02:16:06 | More by brantadid
Photo of MCDuhamel


4.08/5  rDev -5.8%

Poured into a tulip glass at around 55 F. Thanks to Liz for the sample!

A: Pours a dark mahogany that shows a luminescent but somewhat cloudy garnet when held against light. A dark ivory head forms quickly, dissipating to a thin foam cap in short order. Some moderate lacing on the sides. Visible carbonation is more active than expected. Nice enough to look at, but nothing unexpected or exciting.

S: The nose is full of vanilla and oak, with a hint of red fruit.

T: The first impression on the palate is of oak and tannin, followed quickly by vanilla yielding to malt. Strong caramel/toffee notes are evident. The beer is supported by obvious alcohol spiciness and warmth; no subtlety to the strength here. The finish shows some hops bitterness which, with the medium carbonation, prevents the beer from being at all cloying despite its sweetness.

M: The mouthfeel is a bit light for a wee heavy, and perhaps reflects a little more carbonation than one might expect.

D: Despite its strength, this would be an easy beer to have two of in a session. There is nothing cloying or overpowering about the beer, which maintains nice balance.

Overall: Its nice to find an oak-aged beer that isn't a stout. This is a very good oaked beer that shows the wood and vanilla characteristics typical of such beers without losing proportion.

01-16-2009 01:13:23 | More by MCDuhamel
Photo of waltonc


4.35/5  rDev +0.5%

Hazy, almost but not quite murky, amber/brown color with insubstantial white head. Taste is really nice caramel, malt, toffee, and bourbon. Wow is this a nice-drinking brew. Really nice to be able to just buy 12 ounce bottles of a delicious bourbon barrel aged Scottish Ale. Contrast this with so many brewers that only sell this caliber of product in a wax topped 750 ml bottle for a lot more money. Medium bodied, medium/low carbonation, slightly sticky. I could easily have another.

01-15-2009 05:53:49 | More by waltonc
Photo of PittBeerGirl


4.45/5  rDev +2.8%

Thanks to my Secret Santa Raznug for this one!!

A- Body appears to be a dark brown color. Pours with a minimal <1/2 finger head that immediately fades to a very thin collar and no lacing is left behind in the glass. When held up to the light one can see that this is actually.

S- Sweet bourbon with an alcohol burn on the nostrils balances well with the dark malt profile offered by this Scottish ale. Sweet, like molasses and a chocolate presence added with bourbon sweetness and burn. Nice..

T-Upfront is a bit of roasted (but not quite bitter) malt that offsets the sweet caramel and bourbon flavors going on. The finish adds a touch of dark chocolate to what is already going on along with a bourbon alcohol burn. The bitterness is very well hidden the entire way through and the character of this beer is complex, slightly sweet, and very warm.

M- Low to medium carbonation and a body made up mostly of somewhat thick, very smooth, caramel and dark malt. Goes down very easily.

D- The more I acquaint myself to them the more I am loving Scotch Ales. This is a darn good one. The bourbon is a perfect compliment to this beer and I think its great. The alcohol is definitely not hidden...but it is not obnoxious either. Wonderful and definitely my favorite Founder's brew! IMO, it easily Trumps Breakfast Stout and KBS. Wasn't expecting this to be so good!

01-15-2009 03:47:16 | More by PittBeerGirl
Photo of dancinwillie


3.73/5  rDev -13.9%

Pours a very dark mahogany, with crimson around the edges. Light tan head, small, but thick. Light comes through the brew, but barely, and many suspended particles remain.

Aroma is bourbon heavy, chocolate light.

The Bourbon flavors have mellowed, somewhat. I forget when I bought this, but it was too much for me at that time. I like when the flavors start to mellow, and become more carmel tasting. This one could have used about 3 - 6 more months, but not too bad. Some carmel flavors have started to develop, along with the chocolate flavors from the aroma. Deep and rich, the bourbon is also still here, although lessened, as mentioned. Hopping bitterness is detected, although flavor is not too evident. Wow, as this warms, the chocolate/caramel flavors really start coming to the front. Bitterness also becoming more pronounced, which is nice, as to balance the sweetness. Alcohol is not evident.

Mouthfeel is medium thick/thin, about right in the middle really. Carbonation has mellowed since the first 3 from the 4-pack were enjoyed. Smooth and chewy, long bittersweet finish.

Overall, a heck of a lot better than I remember. I didn't think I would enjoy this Bastard as much as I have. A real treat, and now I know, as far as my tastes go, I should get a 4-pack, and hold of drinking it for at least 6 months. Cheers!

01-13-2009 03:27:21 | More by dancinwillie
Photo of PhillyStyle


4.13/5  rDev -4.6%

The beer poured a murky dark red, when held up to light, with noticeable particles floating in the beer. A nice light mocha color head that was dense and very well retained.

Strong whiskey aroma dominates. Also some malt and a light vanilla note, probably from the barrel, but the whiskey is heavy and dominates.

You immediately taste the bourbon, so much so that it almost knocks you over, it is that strong. There were also some hints of malt and the alcohol, but the bourbon pretty well dominates. Also, there was a slight sweetness to it that lingered in the aftertaste.

The beer is very smooth, creamy, and easy to drink, one. I am not sure that I could handle too many of this at one go. That is the only reason for the slightly lower drinkability score. Overall, a very good beer, one that I hope to encounter many more times.

01-12-2009 19:04:42 | More by PhillyStyle
Photo of Beertracker


4.47/5  rDev +3.2%

Founders Backwoods Bastard pours up with a modest carbonation that creates a low, thin creamy tannish-white colored head that just rings the slightly hazy, deep chestnut brown-dark ruby body. The aroma is quite rich with a sweet caramel character that shows hints of burnt molasses, buttery toffee & treacle candy with underlying notes of biscuits & baker's chocolate. As the beer warms, the bourbon notes (charred wood, cherry, leather, smoke, vanilla, etc...) become more apparent. The flavor starts off rather bold with a solid kettle caramelized sweetness that's offset quickly by a blast of bitterness followed by some roastiness that combines to offer a bittersweet, bourbon laced finish that is quite deceiving. This is a great little, Wee-beasty from those Backwoods Bastards in Grand Rapids!

SLAINTE! Beertracker

*Trader's Note: Many thanks to hoppymeal for this one.

01-12-2009 06:20:11 | More by Beertracker
Photo of aerozeppl

New York

4.1/5  rDev -5.3%

A: Super dark red color to the point of being black/brown. Poured with minimal white head that quickly went to the edge of the glass.

S: Hints of the barrel. Tons of malt. Hints of whiskey as well. Really nice amount of sweetness as well. The barrel really bring out what you want in a wee heavy.

T: Really nice. Nice mix of whiskey and malt. Tons of sweetness just like the nose. The malt is there no doubt all the way through.

M: Heavy medium body. Nice syrupy tone.

D: Almost too drinkable. Very nice beer.

01-11-2009 21:00:32 | More by aerozeppl
Photo of tpd975


4.38/5  rDev +1.2%

Thanks to SeaBass and Kiefdog for providing this one.

A: Pours a murky shade of brown with a small tan head. Little retention with a smattering of lace.

S: The aromas are very earty with tons of oak, bourbon, vanilla, brown sugar and dark fruit. This one is a real treat to the senses.

T: Big bold bouquet of flavors. Tons of bourbon up front with great notes of oak and vanilla. Red fruits with hints of darkened brown sugar. One tasty ass brew!

M: Full in body, rich and creamy.

D: Awesome. This one gives no hint at the ABV it packs. I had the base beer Dirty Bastard and was not impressed. Put on wood this beer becomes quite possibly the best of the style.

01-11-2009 20:08:38 | More by tpd975
Photo of dsa7783

New Jersey

3.9/5  rDev -9.9%

"Bourbon-barrel aged ale" on the front logo sticker along with a "backwoods bastard" carrying an axe...
Single, twelve-ounce bottle purchased from
Gary's in Madison...
Appearance: Dark-brown hue, giant head, minimal lacing, no carbonation...
Smell: Strong, thick aroma replete with hints of bourbon, vanilla, oak...
Taste: Flavor strongly complemented the aroma... Very rich, thick, full-bodied stuff... The bourbon flavor is very pronounced... Hints of oak, vanilla, caramel, scotch...
Drinkability took a hit due to the hefty abv and strong bourbon taste...
Otherwise, unique, good stuff...

01-11-2009 18:37:18 | More by dsa7783
Photo of ZAP


3.23/5  rDev -25.4%

...seems thin in the body...

...has a decent dose of hop bitterness on the finish...

...oak and bourbon notes are very subtle but add a little vanilla and caramel to the taste...

...more vanilla and nougat evident on aroma than taste....

...feels boozy and alcoholic...

...this is OK but far from a great beer...

...abv makes this a sipper but the body does not...

01-10-2009 22:31:56 | More by ZAP
Photo of Bighuge


4.1/5  rDev -5.3%

Dark burgandy. Thin beige head dissipates quickly. Not much for lace, but not much expected for 10.2%. Nice aroma of caramel and bourbon like vanilla notes and a little dark cherry. Definitely smells like a winner. Nice warmth to this beer. Not too boozy, which is good, but rather a "glow" to it. And the bourbon is noticeable in the alcohol notes. Nice little chocolate and caramel notes on the buds. A little bitterness coming from the 50 IBUs. This makes for a nice little nightcap. A sipper.

01-08-2009 05:14:38 | More by Bighuge
Photo of BARFLYB


4.25/5  rDev -1.8%

12oz bottle into a big snifter, late 2008 edition, 50 IBU's 10.2%

A- Founders Backwoods Bastard pours a copper to dark brown color which brings up a one finger tan head. A lot of sediment is there but i poured to quick, my bad. As it dissipates there are a few squiggly lines of head in the middle, while a lot of bubbles creep to the edges of the glass with some build up. Quite nice.

S- BB holds a very rich aroma of good bourbon up front with oak from the barrel, pretty much all I smelled for a while. Sweet and toasty malts follow with some caramel in the mix. I get some fruit (berries) and some wood is also there.

T- My first sip was a rush of bourbon and oak attacking the senses while some malts and vanilla smoothed things out. The cherry presence was also quite a nice touch. The sweetness of the caramel flavor with some spices while woody notes are there. The bourbon never leaves the forefront though.

M- Full bodied with some carbonation. The taste goes on forever while this elixir coats the mouth perfectly leaving bourbon and much sweetness along with some alcohol. A very strong feel, this bastard makes itself known.

D- Regular bastard is great and so is this. I could easily have more than a bottle of this high A.B.V brew in a sitting, no problem. This is probably not for everyone though. I want to do a side by side.

This is my first time trying this and i very much enjoyed it, BB is worth the dollars. The barrel aging in this one is spot on. I was expecting mostly bourbon but recieved much more. I drank this to quickly. Worth seeking out, will get again!!

01-07-2009 05:40:55 | More by BARFLYB
Photo of tempest


4.15/5  rDev -4.2%

Thanks to Bowman (not a BA) for sharing a bottle. This is a darned tasty and drinkable beer. I'm taking it as a sipper, but I could certainly down it faster were I in a hurry. The aroma has smooth oak and mild vanilla bourbon while mellow chocolate notes and burnt caramel come out in the back of the flavor. It drinks like a balanced bourbon-beer candy drink. It's not the most complex BB beer, but it's a fine example of what a barrel can do.

01-05-2009 23:15:53 | More by tempest
Founders Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 5,291 ratings.