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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.

6,063 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 6,063
Reviews: 1,489
rAvg: 4.34
pDev: 10.6%
Wants: 733
Gots: 1,920 | FT: 176
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: 6,063 | Reviews: 1,489 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of eerbayman
5/5  rDev +15.2%

eerbayman, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of Brianito
5/5  rDev +15.2%

Brianito, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of Josiah2729
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

Josiah2729, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of Jspriest
4.75/5  rDev +9.4%

Jspriest, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of klipper
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

klipper, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of larsenju
5/5  rDev +15.2%

larsenju, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of tbeq00
5/5  rDev +15.2%

tbeq00, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of Duff27
4.13/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a thin off white head on a brown beer. Average hea retention and above average lacing for the style.

Very sweet smelling, slight booze and peat.

Peat, small hint of smokiness. Booziness is kept in check. Very tasty.

Smooth and creamy mouthfeel, slightly thick. Good carbonation.

Another great seasonal from Founders. Been awhile since I've had this one but just as good as I remember. Worth hunting down a bottle or two a year. Thanks kawilliams81!

Duff27, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of agomega
4.2/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle served in a pint glass.

Appearance: pours a clear dark amber. Not much of a head.

Smell: sweet bourbon aroma including caramel, toffee and vanilla. Slight toasty malt aroma in the background.

Taste: a little harsh and one dimensional straight from the fridge. I allowed it to sit for about half an hour and it is amazing. The favors are much smoother and well blended. Flavors of toffee and vanilla dominate.

Mothfeel: medium heavy mouthfeel. Goes down smooth.

Overall: A wonderful beer as long as you let it warm up so that you can appreciate all of the subtle flavors.

agomega, Nov 13, 2011
Photo of soughtbygod
4.55/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

this beer pours a dark muddy brown that is very cloudy and thick with an off white two finger head.

The smell is boozy, bitter chocolate, oak, and vanilla

The taste is awesome, so awesome its like barrel aged tootsie rolls i totally get chocolate, rum, even cherries

mouthfeel is smooth, warm high in alcohol

overall a very good beer will be looking for more of this

soughtbygod, Nov 13, 2011
Photo of Thickfreakness
4.2/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thank you match1112 for the fantastic extra!

A- Pours a deep mahogany/chestnut brown into my DFH glass. Just a little creamy tan head that floats upon this dark wonder. Little bits of sticky foam cling to the glass.

S- Oaky vanilla, burnt sugar and dark, dried fruits! Some smokey notes of charred wood. Malty as all hell! This is really nice, and it keeps getting nicer as it warms up! Dark cherries, figs, barnyard yeast and toasted oak.

T- Sweet caramel and smokey oak. Threaded with notes of dried figs, roasted nuts, raisins, vanilla and smoke. Nice bitterness on the backend that doesn't overwhelm... but sits there and reminds you of the hops. Has a bit of cocoa and bitter sweetness that I'm loving.

M- Bitter, yet sweet! Nice smokey caramel and dried fruit wrapped in belgian chocolate! Creamy and delicious! Nice bready yeastiness on the backend! The alcohol is sweet and well hidden.

O- This is really nice! Burnt sugar and wood... vanilla, dried fruit and cocoa. It has a nice funky yeastiness on the nose and the back of the tongue. Has some candycorn and caramel popcorn notes. I'm really glad I have a second bottle to cellar for a couple of years!

Thickfreakness, Nov 13, 2011
Photo of Humulus85
4.22/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 vintage poured from a 12oz bottle into my Darkness snifter.

Produced a 2" off-white head. Decent retention with minimal lacing. Poured a kind of murky mahogany with vibrant ruby tones when held to light. A very interesting looking brew.

Bourbon, wood, and roasted malt in the nose. Pretty powerful smelling stuff, like I stuck my head in a whiskey barrel.

The bourbon is pronounced throughout, but is never overpowering. Surrounding it are some very nice, rich, roasted malts with vanilla and nutty notes. There is also a subtle smokiness that seems to kinda tie everything together. The aftertaste is what wins me over: it's like I just took a shot of scotch chased with a good red ale.

It's medium bodied with slight carbonation. Smooth for over 10% and it doesn't finish too sweet. Love the aftertaste.

Overall I really liked this brew. I'm far from familiar with Scotch Ales but I think this is a great example. To my ignorant pallet this seems like a "double" Scotch Ale, so maybe not the best choice to someone new to the style. Love the prominent, but clean, bourbon taste. Cheers!

Humulus85, Nov 12, 2011
Photo of harrymel
4.43/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottled: difficult to read with new wax. 06/2011? A: dark brown with a transient finger of toast foam falls to a scatteredsheet of the same. Where able, excellent clarity. Spotty lace. (4) S: caramel, oat, leather, toffee. Hints of raisin. (4.5) T: sweet with tones of English yeast and subtle clove and molasses. Really great tasting scotch ale. (4.5) M: full and creamy with just a hare too much carb. Semi dry finish. (4) O: one of the best of the style I’ve had. Yummy. (4.5)

harrymel, Nov 12, 2011
Photo of jar2574
4/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thick brown beer that looks red if held up to light. Some lacing, but not tons, on the way down.

Sweet caramel smelling but with a tiny hint of metal. Honestly, not digging the smell that much. I almost wondered whether this beer was flat, until I took a sip.

Beer is bourbon, caramel goodness. The bourbon taste is really strong but there is no alcohol burn, which is surprising on a 10.2% ABV beer. This is really, really tasty. It is rare for me to like the taste of a beer so much more than the smell.

Mouthfeel is sticky sweetness, higher than average density, well-hidden alcohol.

A darn good beer. I'm liking this Wee Heavy style.

jar2574, Nov 12, 2011
Photo of sdmvd6
4.8/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Deep brown with red and orange hues. There is a ring of carbonation around the edges of the glass but that’s about it as far as head. No lacing is left.

Smell: Sweet whiskey initially intermingled with vanilla, caramel, and sweet, malt. There is some earthy woodiness at the back of the nose.

Taste: Sweet, rich bourbon transitioning to raisins, prunes, and then sweet cinnamon bun. It finishes with oak, peat smoke, and lingering sweet caramel malt. What a superb profile, it’s like whiskey desert.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied with medium carbonation. It finishes with a sweet, sticky feel and the alcohol warms me on this chilly November night.

Overall: This is easily the best Scotch ale I have had. The way the bourbon works with the smoke and malt is absolutely superb. I highly recommend this to anyone who is a fan of bourbon barrel-aged ales

sdmvd6, Nov 11, 2011
Photo of ahq514
4/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12 oz bottle into snifter.

Pours a dark brown with a red hue. Light head graces the top of the beer. Some small bubbles slowly rise to the surface of the beer. Seems to have light to moderate carbonation. Nice ring of lacing around the glass.

Two things really stand out to me when I smell this beer, big malt and big hits of bourbon. The oak makes its way in there too, contributing obviously oak and some vanilla. Malt is very sweet smelling , with some light aromas of dark fruits.

This is a sipper for sure. Pretty boozy. Right up front I get hit with bourbon and oak. The malt comes in to provide some balance with the alcohol, but doesn't cover it up enough. Fairly sweet malt that reminds me of chewy caramel. Finishes with a healthy dose of warming alcohol. If there are other flavors, they are covered up by the bourbon and oak.

Low carbonation and medium to full body.

Enhances with warming up, bourbon mellows out a little bit. I enjoy bourbon aged beers, but they're not my favorite. I can tell which ones are quality and this is one. Will be anxious to see how this beer drinks with some age on it.

ahq514, Nov 11, 2011
Photo of BlastBeats
4.43/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

My first time venturing into the Backwoods..

Appearance: the Backwoods Bastard has a very dark and murky reddish brown color.. I hard-poured it to generate some head.

Smell: this bastard has one of the most interesting and complex aromas I've yet to smell. Tons of bourbon, toasted oak, and earthy spice.

Taste: there's a lot of bourbon up front.. then, the other flavors from the barrel shine through; oak, vanilla, and smoke. Couple that with a huge malt bill and some dark fruits and you have, what I believe to be, the preeminent scotch ale.

Mouthfeel: full bodied and smooth, with little carbonation due to the barrel aging.

Overall: no doubt about it, this beer is excellent. The bourbon barrel treatment works wonders for the Backwoods Bastard.. my favorite scotch ale to date.

BlastBeats, Nov 10, 2011
Photo of rudzud
4.47/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Shared by jlindros so I wouldn't have to crack one of my bottles. Poured into a snifter.

A - Poured into a snifter a clear ruby with a nice head that faded to leave a nice, slightly thick blanket.

S - Wow, the aroma...magical. Butter, oak, bourbon, with light sweet malts.

T - Very nice bourbon notes here with more oak. The ABV isnt noticeable at all...very smooth and creamy tasting with great harmony between flavours.

M - Smooth and creamy, this stuff is deliciously drinkable.

O - Overall this beer was delicious. Sad I only have two bottles of this. Wish I had more.

rudzud, Nov 10, 2011
Photo of muletrane
4.28/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2011 Vintage

Poured from a 12oz bottle (no date that I can see) into a snifter.

A: Pours a clear dark brown color (almost black). 1 finger of light tan head with a little bit of lace.

S: Bourbon pretty much dominates the nose. Some sweet malts in there as well.

T: Nicely balanced and smooth. Not as bourbon heavy as the nose. A touch of carmel sweetness mixed with the bourbon flavor is real nice. Nice clean dry finish.

M: Thin body with light carbonation. Nothing spectacular here.

Overall this a fine beer. Very smooth and easy to drink considering the abv and the fact that it's aged in bourbon barrels. A real nice beer that I will revisit for sure!

muletrane, Nov 10, 2011
Photo of BarryMFBurton
4.05/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

After a bout of disappointment while searching for this one, I was happy (though surprised) to find this at a rarely-visited bottle shop in town. Yep, I’m a happy man.

Brewed a month before the date of this tasting (“BOTTLED 10/07/11”).

A: Looks great – just like their original Dirty Bastard, the body on this one is a dark mahogany-brown in the shadows, but a rich ruby-red as soon as you hold it up to the light. Tan and bubbly, the head runs to a solid finger-and-a-half before settling into a short, creamy retention. The lacing is thick and film-like, too; excellent.

S: Right at the onset is a big Scotch Ale kick, full of black licorice, dark malts, and bittersweet fruits. The alcohol is undeniable as well, with its characteristic whiskey-tang and peppery spice. Everything is quite normal when compared to the last Dirty Bastard I had; everything, of course, except for those incredible barrel-aged aromas! That warm, oaky Bourbon aroma dominates this profile, filling the nostrils with vanilla, earthy leather, and smooth caramel. Damn, what a wonderful addition to the ol’ Dirty Bastard!

T: Superb; a wonderfully-executed palate. As soon as the first drops hit your tongue, it’s all just rich, sexy flavors: caramel candy, vanilla icing, maple, and a lightly dry fig-fruitiness, which leads well into a grainy hop bitterness (mild, but nice). The barrel-aging leads to an excellent woody taste, with a fantastic oak character that I haven’t tasted since DFH’s Palo Santo Marron; it even leaves a distinct cherry-vanilla flavor after. Wonderful. The aftertaste is unexpectedly mellow, mostly cinnamon-sugar and a hint of dry breads.

M: Pretty smooth, yet still noticeably fiery. Like the original incarnation of Dirty Bastard, this one can be a bit thin at times. Too bad, because it’s the only thing keeping me from falling head-over-heels for this beer.

O: What a difference barrel aging can make – this is a much more enjoyable bastard-in-a-bottle! This beer has a hell of a kick, but enough mellow flavors to counteract it with incredible smoothness. I’d really love to have this on-tap; that version of Dirty Bastard was even better than its bottled counterpart.

BarryMFBurton, Nov 09, 2011
Photo of axeman9182
3.45/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz pour in a tall thin glass, I had this one at the Rattle n Hum.

Backwoods Bastard pours mahogany to a deep red, with about a finger of beige foam. It displays good retention, and there's a small amount of lacing left clinging to the glass. The nose is fantastically sweet/malty. Vanilla ad caramelize sugar immediately jump out at my nose, eventually making room for subtle bourbon and oak scents to show themselves and add a layer of complexity. The flavor takes that great balance though and turns it on its ear, as bourbon and wood trample all over the malty flavors present in the beer. Those spirit and oak notes work much better in a supporting role, and aren't great acting as the focal point of the beer. The beer's carbonation is alright, tending towards the less intense side of things. The body though is inexcusably light, not nearly as full and rich as such a big beer brewed in a malt forward style requires. Backwoods Bastard is an alright beer, and it has some potential, but as is I think this is one case where I prefer the base beer to the barrel aged version.

axeman9182, Nov 09, 2011
Photo of HardTarget
2.93/5  rDev -32.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Appearance: Hazy dark brown glass holds a trace of head that gives some lacing to the glass.

Smell: Boozy bourbon. Oak is heavy and a bit raw. As some of that off gasses, some raisin sweetness is noted.

Taste: Bourbon is hot and forward and overwhelms most of the other flavors except the oak, which lingers well after the swallow. Hard to get any beer flavor here, every sip is a shot of bourbon.

Mouthfeel: Medium heavy body, firm but not fizzy carbonation, oily slick finish.

Overall: Gratuitous oaking, 15 yard penalty, repeat the down. A little disappointed, expected a better beer from Founders. This might mellow out in a cellar for a while, but I don't think that much wood is going away. I also think they left half the bourbon in the barrel, it drowns out anything else that might have contributed to the taste. Not being a real Bourbon fan, this kills the review.
Thanks to Illudium for the bottle.

HardTarget, Nov 09, 2011
Photo of jmich24
4.9/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottled 10/13/11

A:Very dark murky brown with red edges. One finger head that dissipates quickly.
S: Bourbon, oak ,vanilla, dark fruits, touch of chocolate.
T: Big bourbon flavor, oak, vanilla, lots of sweet dark fruits, bittersweet chocolate. Long bourbon like alcohol tastes I enjoy very much. Very light bitterness to balance everything out.
M: Medium mouthfeel, Touch of bitterness to counter all of the sweet malts. Nice bourbon alcohol finish. Dangerously drinkable.
O: This is a world class wee heavy. The bourbon notes are just outstanding. One of the seasonal I look forward to every year.

jmich24, Nov 09, 2011
Photo of FoundersFanatic
4.45/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- dark brown/ruby color, looks very appealing

S- smells like booze. Bourbon or whisky smell pretty much dominates

T- tastes like bourbon/whisky, a bit of caramel maltiness, and finishes with a bit of a spicy note. Very boozy

M- alright, pretty smooth, but a bit thin for the taste

O- a very good beer that will sort of remind you of CBS or KBS without the coffee and deep complex flavors. It's basically 3 flavors of bourbon/whisky, caramel malt, and spice note finish. Very strong and will knock you out. A very good beer

FoundersFanatic, Nov 09, 2011
Photo of sevenarts
3.63/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I've had this both fresh and about a year old. This review reflects both experiences.

A: Dark red/brown.

S: That heavy alcoholic bourbon aroma hits right away, letting you know that this is going to be a serious drink. Once it ages, the alcohol seriously drops off in favor of a rich, strong caramel sweetness.

T/M: And it sure is serious as a fresh beer. Very heavy alcohol/bourbon taste with just a hint of sweet malts around the edges to soften the blow. The bourbon taste is perhaps a little overwhelming, but it's still good. After some age, it's a much calmer drinking experience, with lots of butter and caramel, very smooth and sweet and tasty. It perhaps loses a little of its distinctiveness but it's still good.

O: An intense and overwhelming beer fresh, and a tasty caramel bomb after a year of aging. I've got 2 more bottles aging and I'm curious how it'll be after sitting for another year or two.

sevenarts, Nov 09, 2011
Founders Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 6,063 ratings.