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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.

5,342 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,342
Reviews: 1,428
rAvg: 4.33
pDev: 10.62%
Wants: 669
Gots: 1,553 | 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: 5,342 | Reviews: 1,428 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of oberon
4.03/5  rDev -6.9%

Ahh the Lions,enough said.Backwoods Bastard poured into a small tulip glass an awesome deep mahogany with with amber hue,a tight formed clingy tannish colored head atop,great clarity and a great pour.Deep complex malt aromas with the bourbon barrel showing through,vanilla and cherry notes dominate with some wood and a tinge of sweet alcohol.Obviously not a beer to start turkey day with but I did,its a sipper but not a head knocker.Flavors are pretty sweet up front with vanill,caramel and cherry flavors dominating,the bourbon flavor is prevelent but not overpowering,theere is a noticeablr drying leafy finish.A great beer,like I said asipper but it wont slow you down to much,a few of these and I might enjoy the Lions game.

oberon, Nov 27, 2008
Photo of vurt
4.4/5  rDev +1.6%

12 oz. bottle picked up in a trade with kirok1999, poured into a tulip glass. The neck ring indicates this version is 10.2% ABV instead of 9.2%.

The Backwoods Bastard is a turbid brew, with a color between reddish-amber and auburn. It pours with very little evidence of carbonation. Swirling the glass raises only a thin veil of ivory colored foam which dissipates quickly, though the foam does tend to hang around longer as the beer warms. This beer doesn't create much lacing, just some sticky dots of foam on the glass. Not very attractive, but maybe this beer has a nice personality.

First impression is a big hit of bourbon followed by a rush of sugar sweetness. Delicious caramel and oaky vanilla aromas evolve afterwards, along with a faint spiciness that reminds me of gingersnaps. A fair amount of alcohol wafts from the surface and gently stings the nostrils.

Bourbon, vanilla, and oak flavors wrapped up in a creamy malted-milk base, with notes of molasses, marzipan, caramel, brown sugar, and a little anise. An underlying fruitiness makes me think of golden raisins, figs, and dates. Delicious. A woody bitterness creeps in at the finish, along with an alcohol bite and an evanescent floral note.

Body is on the heavy side of medium, and gloriously smooth. This beer fills the mouth and coats the palate. Carbonation is low but appropriate for a barrel-aged beer. Alcohol provides warmth and, by the end of the glass, numbness.

The rich aroma, luscious flavors, and low carbonation make this a pleasure to drink. But the heat of the alcohol does become a bit distracting towards the end. I'm glad this is available in 12 oz. bottles. Anything larger would be just too much.

vurt, Nov 27, 2008
Photo of HopHead84
4.2/5  rDev -3%

Awesome extra from Bigdaddywil. Very dark reddish amber, almost brown. A one finger, off-white head lingers for a short minute. The lacing disappears quickly. Immediate slap in the face (nostrils) from the bourbon. Nice. Huge sugary malt notes in the nose with some caramel and brown sugar. Initial taste is sweet and malty bourbon, with some caramel and vanilla as well. Very boozy and delicious. The finish is remarkable. Long bourbon alcohol finish that lingers, imparting a sticky coating to the back of the tongue. Full bodied with good carbonation. Backwoods Bastard leaves my mouth dry and wanting another drink.

HopHead84, Nov 27, 2008
Photo of NCBeernut
3.25/5  rDev -24.9%

Deep red almost mahogany body generously dusted with particulate and capped by a small bone colored head that is somewhat resistant to forming. First scent to hit is sweet bourbon followed by candy sugars and hints of vanilla and anise. Flavors hit all at once. Bourbon, sweet sugary malts, a bit of vanilla and spicy alcohol. Smooth woody flavors from start to finish, but never coming close to taking over the bourbon. A bit thin a slightly watery...not what I was expecting....

As it continues to warm some slight dark fruit notes come out but really this beer basically tastes like watered down sweet bourbon...I am starting to think that my notes above took a bit of digging to detect.

NCBeernut, Nov 26, 2008
Photo of Monkeyknife
4.33/5  rDev 0%

Poured from the bottle a clear dark amber with a creamy off-white head on top.

Aroma of malts, dark ripe fruit, wood, and alcohol meet the nose.

Tastes of a strong ale with a big vanilla kick. This caught me by surprise, but I like it. Dark ripe fruit fruit, toffee, bourbon, and a boozy punch follow.

Medium bodied, smooth and creamy, with a moderate carbonation.

Awesome beer. The strong ale with a vanilla kick really appeals to me. Wait for the snow to fall and grab a couple of these for the evening. Trust me, you'll enjoy it.

Monkeyknife, Nov 26, 2008
Photo of craytonic
4.4/5  rDev +1.6%

Appearance: Pours a dark ruby-orange with a 1.5" head. Murky.

Smell: This beer makes it abundantly clear, in both smell and taste, that it was aged in bourbon barrels. It actually smells just like a bourbon barrel - smokey oak, vanilla, brown sugar, vanilla, molasses, and caramelized sugar. Smells like bourbon.

Taste: - Like bourbon, but sweeter. Nice vanilla tones, a great and well-balanced beer.

Mouthfeel: Could have been a tad fuller, needs a little work on the mouthfeel and carbonation.

Drinkability: If you love bourbon, you will love this beer. I will have to get some more.

craytonic, Nov 25, 2008
Photo of brewdlyhooked13
4.75/5  rDev +9.7%

Appearance - pours a muddy reddish brown, a thin, barely existent cover of bubbles on top. Some light ropes of lace, some dots in there too.

Aroma - peaty malts, big whiskey notes, this smells like wood and booze. A heady sniff for sure.

Taste - roasted malts, sweetened with chocolate and a with light cereal quality at first. The swallow issues in a deliciously sweet, whiskified flavor. Dark chocolate provides a fine complement to the bourbon flavor. Vanilla also hits about the same time, this beer is tasty start to finish.

Mouthfeel - a smooth brew, carbonation is low key, the body is good and sturdy.

Drinkability - this is one to cherish IMO. Aging a few is a must.

brewdlyhooked13, Nov 24, 2008
Photo of Billolick
4.28/5  rDev -1.2%

On tap @ the Armsby Abbey in Worcester, MA. In a snifter, this one sits in all its dark dark amber splendor. Dark tan head, fine wispy lacing. Nose of smoke, berries, vanilla. Very tasty, sipper. More smoke, some cola, dark grains, raisins. Perhaps a bit thin mouthfeel wise to match the ABV and the complexity lurking around here. More tasty, high quality and interesting beer from Founders.

Billolick, Nov 23, 2008
Photo of strykzone
3.6/5  rDev -16.9%

A cloudy brown tea looking brew with a minimal tan head that soon becomes a ring. Aroma is dark fruit with yeast, whiskey (Jack Daniels), with more whiskey. It is almost a Jack and Coke nose.

Flavor is more complex but still is full of whiskey. Throw in some bitter dark chocolate, strong coffee, vanilla, licorice, brown sugar, and wood. Like the aroma, it is whiskey dominated throughout but the chocolate grows along with the temperature.

Feel is creamy but just a bit thin. It also provides some zing on the tongue and whiskey can be felt, especially on the back of the tongue.

Whiskey lovers will enjoy this beer because that is what dominates both aroma and flavor. There are other aspects that make it interesting and it is definitely flavorful.

strykzone, Nov 23, 2008
Photo of xpimptastikx
3.9/5  rDev -9.9%

A big thank you to crazynelson for an awesome trade.

Pours a caramel stream with a thin sheet of off white head. Smells mostly of bourbon, oak, vanilla, and alcohol. Tastes like malt, caramel, oak, vanilla, some raisin I think. Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy, but could be less carbonated still. You can smell the alcohol, but you can't feel it much.

xpimptastikx, Nov 22, 2008
Photo of avalon07
4.43/5  rDev +2.3%

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a brownish-red color and a cloudy consistency. Not much head at all, but some solid lacing.

S: Aroma of bourbon, malt, coffee and sweets.

T: You get a big blast of bourbon up front, along with malt and some chocolate. There's a dose of toffee when when finished. Complex and tasty.

M: A decent amount of carbonation and a slighty slick, syrupy finish. Full-bodied.

D: This is a likable, drinkable beer, especially on a cold, cold night.

avalon07, Nov 22, 2008
Photo of Gehrig
3.75/5  rDev -13.4%

Thick, muddy mahogany body with orange highlights topped by a durable layer of tan head, smearing moderate decorative lacing on the reliable Yankees pint glass; excellent presentation, but the highest score, alas. Fairly prominent bourbon smell, which is good, bit little else. I am fairly certain that this is less the case of an overpowering bourbon aroma smothering the rest of the beer, and more a case of a moderate bourbon aroma that is insufficiently complemented by other aspects. Still, the bourbon, molasses, and light vanilla bean are nice.

The flavor, however, is somewhat disappointing. There is bourbon throughout, and Backwoods bastard improves and becomes more complex as it warms. But it's really not a complex beverage. With the bourbon is light caramel, vanilla bean, and a coffee hint. But nothing but the bourbon stands front and center. Even the bourbon should be more pronounced, honestly. Nor is the mouthfeel exactly dazzling. It's a touch flat though creamy, smooth but oddly thin, especially for a beer I expected to be bold and malty as the style so frequently is.

Not bad, but could use significant improvement. Goose Island Bourbon County Stout, this isn't.

Gehrig, Nov 21, 2008
Photo of Foxman
4.22/5  rDev -2.5%

It pours a quite clear mahogany with dark amber margins. A thin finger of light tan head dwindles in an instant to fine surface swirls. Cords of lacing rope the inside of the glass.

In the aroma, the malt is dense and obviously sweet with brown sugar, toffee, and plum, and earthy with cocoa and medium strength coffee. A touch of soy and a vapory vent of alcohol round things out.

Upon sipping, thick malt washes in with sloe, brown sugar, mocha coffee, and unsweetened cocoa, not to mention molasses and dark toffee. Baked biscuit and roasted nuts provide a ground for a warm current of overt alcohol. Mere hints of hop spice tease before malt asserts again with slightly sweet caramel and dark baked bread. Bitterness builds steadily toward a finish that crisps but never forgoes the grain as it fades. This is a tasty malt beast with no pretense or pretending.

Between medium and full bodied, the flow is like light treacle and it ends with a dry gust.

First comes malt, second comes malt, and third comes the malt, always malty, nutty, and earthy sweet. Lord, I wonder what the wort smells like as it boils! Anyway, this malty bastard also sports a seriously buff ABV that heats and hazes. Still, it drinks happily, if malt be your thing. So I'm not sure if I mentioned malt, but it is malty, and damned proud of it. Enjoy it, friends, for the no-airs prideful creation it is.

Foxman, Nov 20, 2008
Photo of CrellMoset
4.33/5  rDev 0%

12 oz. bottle courtesy of afterexile - thanks!! A very fast and courteous trader. Poured into a 12 oz. brandy snifter.

Appearance: The bottle is graced by what truly can only be described as a "backwoods bastard." Very apropos artwork. It pours a thick, ruddy brown, more dirty than truly dark, with one good finger of a foamy, creamy tan head that has average retention but leaves a nice patchwork web of fine-bubbled lacing and a sheen of foam.

Aroma: Wonderful bourbon notes here, intermingled with vanilla, heavy oak, and a good dose of chocolate. It's not thick, but surprisingly light and airy, helped along by the estery bourbon, no doubt. Sweet fruits come through as it warms, cherries and pears predominantly, and agitation reveals a few darker notes, as well as a huge dose of caramel that didn't come through in the first few whiffs. Very complex.

Taste: Well balanced. Malts are obviously dominant, but it hits just the right balance between sweetness and dry, roast and toast. There's a lot of caramel here, toast, burnt sugars, and a nice balance between coffee and ever-so-slightly-milky chocolate, definitely with more coffee than was present in the nose (where things were definitely tilted towards the latter). Obviously, there's a healthy dose of bourbon, as well as hints of vanilla (though less than in the nose) and wood (perhaps moreso than in the nose). I'm really impressed with this one. Sure, the already-high abv% coupled with a dose of bourbon makes this one a little hot, but that's really the only knock - everything is in harmony here.

Mouthfeel: Not nearly as thick as it probably should be. The carbonation is mild, but does result in bubbles that are probably a little too large, which takes away somewhat from the "creamy, milky" feeling that I think this beer should be going for with these flavors. Still, damn good.

Drinkability: Many thanks to afterexile for this stellar brew, and I was very impressed by it. Founder's has continually managed to blow me away, and this beer's no exception. Drinkability suffers slightly from the heat and the nearly-double digit abv%, but that's alright. It's still an expertly constructed beer, flavorful, wonderfully aromatic, well-integrated with all the bourbon notes and whatnot, and very drinkable despite the high alcohol. Definitely recommended.

CrellMoset, Nov 19, 2008
Photo of imagineiii
3.58/5  rDev -17.3%

I bought a 4 pack of this stuff so it better be good...

Old guy on bottle, label says 10.2% and doesnt mention being a wee heavy, just ale.

Poors with relatively little head or carbonation. Dark brown wood color.

Smells like bourbon, vanilla, and malty sweet goodness.

Tastes like a wee heavy with bourbon added, alot of bourbon. This style works really well with bourbon, but something about the aftertaste (smoke?) is a turn off.

Heavy in the mouth. Engulfs the entire palate (thats the bourbon)

Drinkable? hardly, but i dont think it should be.

Glad I tried this, but 1 would have done just fine

imagineiii, Nov 18, 2008
Photo of younger35
3.85/5  rDev -11.1%

Picked up a four pack of this Founders delight from Dobby's in Palatine, IL. Founders is in my top 5 favorite breweries. Can't wait to give this a try. Drank from my Ithaca Excelsior tulip while watching the Browns vs. Bills.

Appearance- Pours a very dark crimson blood red brown with a nice one finger super creamy tan head. Once the head recedes a fairly thick collar is left with a bit of splotchy lacing.
Smell- Not as intense as I was expecting but still a nice nose. The bourbon whiskey is dominant with a nice woodiness and vanilla aspect. Dark brown sugar and toffee add a lightly sweet presence that obviously goes great with the vanilla and bourbon. Maybe even a slight smokiness? Although I may be imaging this knowing it's a Scotch Ale (of sorts).
Taste- Ridiculously smooth and silky. 10.2%? My ass. This brew shows NO signs of any sort of booze. Rich woodiness that is full of vanilla and caramelized sugar. Light cherry and raisin as it warms with a bit of red licorice sweetness. A very slight bitterness lingers on the sides of the tongue that seems to be more of the malt/barrel than any sort of real hop presence.
Mouthfeel- Very thick and rich with a silky smooth chewiness and very light, downy carbonation.
Drinability- This beer is really smooth and easy drinking and does a great job of covering the alcohol. It's not big and brash like I was expecting but in the end, I think that turned out to be a good thing. The barrel aging may have added a bit of one dimensionality but it's still tasty. Recommended for sure!

younger35, Nov 18, 2008
Photo of beachbum1975
4.05/5  rDev -6.5%

Drinking this one while watching the Bengals play the Eagles. Thanks to newtonty for sharing. Hopefully this beer performs better than my Bengals...

My label is different from the one currently pictured on BA. I've got an old, creepy looking Appalachian with a double sided, old world-style axe staring at me with a blank expression. No freshness date on the bottle to be seen.

Pours a darker brown, murky caramel with an almost ruby hue at the edges of my tulip. Tops with a tan 1/8 inch head that remains for a while. Looks like what I was expecting.

Smells of vanilla, bourbon and caramel.

Tastes of caramel, vanilla, figs, light smokiness and the expected, mellow bourbon flavoring throughout. Very smooth and drinkable. Medium bodied, slippery and medium to full flavor.

Nice stuff!

beachbum1975, Nov 16, 2008
Photo of danielocean03
4.72/5  rDev +9%

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass. The bottle reads "50 IBU's" and "10.2%" around the top of the bottle's neck label. Appearance is a semi-translucent dirty dark brown with a thick foamy head of light tan that is a full two fingers high before slowly falling back to a moderate ring of lace. Aroma is rich, full of oakiness and vanilla, bourbon comes through strong. Also notes of earthy grains and smokiness, sweet dark fruits also present. The taste opens with a big warming bourbon flavor that makes a transition to the vanilla and smoky oak flavors, buttery diacteyl notes, slightest hint towards the big abv% which this beer hides quite well. Aftertaste is lightly sweet but clean. Mouthfeel is silken-smooth, lightly carbonated with a medium body, syrupy in texture, coats the mouth and throat. Drinkability is outstanding for a 10% brew, you are tempted to follow one with another as wonderful as this beer is. This is a beer you sit and sip quietly to appreciate; I would suggest limiting it to one of these per sitting. Easily one of my top ten, highly recommend trying, definitely worth the higher price tag.

danielocean03, Nov 16, 2008
Photo of possumfollower2
4.43/5  rDev +2.3%

Head was a creamy dirty blonde. The color deep, deep amber--par for the course of Scotch ales. Nose was full of dark toffee and hints of leather. Just the tiniest hint of smoke. As the regular Dirty Bastard I thought the beer was okay, a little thin but quaffable. But in this conception, the bourbon-barreling made the beer richly textured yet not stick to the roof of your mouth. I am about to put my feet up and enjoy the rest of this glass as the wind howls outside and winter really begins. I recommend each of you do the same.

possumfollower2, Nov 16, 2008
Photo of seitzka
4.97/5  rDev +14.8%

Okay, this is my first review. Let me start by saying, first, thanks for reading. Second, you need to go find this beer. There's a reason I haven't reviewed a beer yet. I haven't discovered one so unique to bother. Seriously though, I'm not sophisticated enough to differentiate the subtle nuances between the many different styles and many different brewers. I've been a cheap beer drinker all my life until the past few months. You'll never witness me ripping on a 30pack of Red Dog, but recently, my tastes have become a bit more refined. I hesitate say but now it's more about the quality than the quantity. I bought six random (local/Michigan) beers tonight. There were porters and trippels but I saved this particular bottle 'til last. I always pick one that I believe will stand out as my final beer. This was it. However, I had to take a trip BACK to the beer store for more of this TONIGHT.

I didn't note the pour, color, bouquet or head. What I did note was the terrific initial taste and the pleasureably sweet subsequent aftertaste. Aftertaste is usually a bad word, but with this beer it is the dessert. Reviews compare this beer to Founder's Dirty Bastard but I taste no similarities. For a heavy HEAVY (10.2%) beer, this is a delightfully pleasant and refreshing brew that far surpasses all expectations.

seitzka, Nov 15, 2008
Photo of nlmartin
4.47/5  rDev +3.2%

This beer was served lightly chilled and in a tulip glass.

Appearance: The beer pours a murky brown coloration. The head was a thin cream coloration that quickly went away. Speckles of lacing rim my glass as the beer journeys down my throat.

Smell: Boozey bourbon and oakey vanilla lead the charge. This rides a very nice tide of smokeyness, peat, toasted maltyness dark fruits raisins.

Taste: This delivers a pleasing vanilla and bourbon flavor. This combines well with maple syrup, toasted malt, soft smokeyness, a bit of butterscotch and fruityness. A bourbon soaked malt driven beer.

Mouthfeel/ Drinkability: This beer has a full body. It is lightly carbonated. The beer even pulls off a bit of creamyness. This beer is a sipper by many peoples standards. I had to restrain myself from guzzling this malt bomb.

nlmartin, Nov 15, 2008
Photo of MasterSki
4.43/5  rDev +2.3%

Bought a 4-pack from Armanetti's.

A - Murky brown color. Pours with a thin head that dissipates quickly to an attractive lace. Small amount of carbonation is present.

S - Whiskey & oak. Sweet and malty, some chocolate and molasses in there too. Needs to warm a little from fridge temperature before the flavors come out. Rich!

T - Mmm...bourbon & caramel. Leaves me with an aftertaste of Werther's. Oak and brown sugar flavors in there too. There's a little bit of hops too, although not as much as I'd expect for a beer with 50 IBUs.

M - Not as viscous as I expected for a beer that has heavy caramel taste - a little watery. Nice tingle from the carbonation that complements the bourbon. Smooth finish, without heavy alcohol burn.

D - Drinks awfully well for a 10.2% brew. I'd totally have a couple, even if it results in a short night!

Another great brew from Founder's!

MasterSki, Nov 14, 2008
Photo of SaucyA
4.28/5  rDev -1.2%


A - Into da snifta. Pours a deep, clear amber/mahogany. The frothy tan head quickly settles to a wispy layer. Minimal, yet present lacing.

S - Smells like barrel-aged Dirty Bastard. Heavy carmelized sugar, brown sugar, bourbon, booze. German chocolate cake. A malty monster.

T - A nice little treat, and a great dessert beer. Runs all over the place... molasses, brown sugar, barrel, bourbon, chocolate caramel torte. Nice alcohol warmth, and a relatively hoppy finish for a Wee Heavy.

M - Great medium-heavy body, as well as a creamy, fine carbonation.

D - At 10.2%, it's the only limiter. This is a fantastic offering from the boys at Founders.

Notes: This is as good as last year... and that makes me happy. I was a little nervous seeing as I wasn't a fan of this year's Breakfast Stout, but this got me reconsidering.

A fantastic brew from a fantastic brewery.

SaucyA, Nov 13, 2008
Photo of IBUnit63
4.13/5  rDev -4.6%

12 oz. into Cab glass...

Deep, dark raisin/bourbon color wityh thin, wispy, yeasty head. Maybe not huge lacing but a lot of thick trails.

Ooohhh, bourbon/vanilla oak is creamy and woody as hell. Slightly cool to the nose at first with some raisins, oatmeal and peanut butter. Maybe a tad too much salt and butter (diacetyl?) but very good nonetheless.

There's a whole lot going on here. Oak, vanilla, caramel malt, coffee, dry hot chocolate, bourbon and raisins. Finish is even, clean and powerful. With warmth, bourbon emerges forth to calm sweetness.

Complex feel to this - takes a while to get together but emerges with Beautiful Chemistry on the back end. Finish is full - wood cleans this out - bourbon provides mild alcohol burn. Creamy caramel malt and vanilla coats, soothes, relieves.

Sweetness comes back with time and brings some booze with it too. It's enjoyable as hell but has some heft in there. Definitely a sipper.

IBUnit63, Nov 13, 2008
Photo of jamie2dope
3.88/5  rDev -10.4%

As soon as I heard that this beer had come in locally, I raced over to an establishment that had it in stock. Interesting label, with a guy with a big beard that looks a lot like this crazy guy I used to talk to on the bus when I was back at Umass (we called him Gandalf). Anyway, pours a very murky dark raspberry brown color. A bit more heading would raise the score of appearance a bit, as there is little, if any. Great smells of candied apple, custard, bourbon, and other sweet fruit come through. Taste is of more apple, some cinnamon, chocolate, sharp acidic twang, and some molasses. There is also a bit of a medicinal aspect to the beer as well, perhaps a result of barrel aging. Body is large and malty, with little hop presence. This would make for beer to pair with dessert, or on its own with a pipe or cigar. This beer conjures up thoughts of changing leaves from Fall, which is a great thing. I might consider putting this in the lineup for Thanksgiving beers this year. Great beer, Founders is amongst my favorites right now. Happy Trails

jamie2dope, Nov 13, 2008
Founders Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 5,342 ratings.