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Founders Backwoods Bastard - Founders Brewing Company

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Founders Backwoods BastardFounders Backwoods Bastard

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5,351 Ratings

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Ratings: 5,351
Reviews: 1,428
rAvg: 4.33
pDev: 10.62%
Wants: 671
Gots: 1,555 | 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: 5,351 | Reviews: 1,428 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of beachbum1975
4.05/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

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%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

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%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4


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%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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
Photo of SaCkErZ9
4.72/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass. Dark amber/ chocolate in color with a white head. Pretty good size and some good lacing and retention.

Aroma is oaky and full of vanilla and bourbon. Dark fruits such as raisins and dates. Smoky and earthy and peaty. Wonderful character and a terrific bourbon barrell influence.

Perfect flavor. As far as barrel aged beers go, this may be one of my favorite. Just the right amount of bourbon influence with lots of vanilla and oak and smokiness. I dont really detect the 10% alcohol either. Very well hidden and lovely.

Full bodied and perfect carbonation. I really dig this beer. I cant picture another example of a bourbon aged scotch ale that would stand up to this. Simply delicious.

SaCkErZ9, Nov 12, 2008
Photo of BierFan
3.95/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

The bottle says that the beer has 50 IBUs and is 10.2% abv. Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a cervoise.

Appearance: Dark murky brown with a quarter inch head that fades to nothing.

Smell: The smell is of whiskey and oak with some vanilla.

Taste: The whiskey, oak, and vanilla are present in the taste as well.

Mouthfeel: Full mouthfeel, almost syrupy.

Drinkability: Not something I would want more than a bottle of in one sitting. Definitely a sipping beer.

BierFan, Nov 12, 2008
Photo of gford217
3.98/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of ncvbc poured into a snifter.

Pours a murky dark caramel brown with a very short-lived tan head that receded to a ring quickly leaving bits of lacing.

The aroma is heavy with bourbon and vanilla with the underlying scotch ale coming through a little with roasted caramel malts. There is also a definite brown sugar sweetness as well.

The taste follows the aroma fairly closely with the exception of a very slight hop presence up front before giving way to the massive bourbon and caramel malt backbone. There is plenty of vanilla as well and the oak really comes out in the finish and lingers for a while between sips.

The mouthfeel is almost syrupy with very little carbonation and an alcohol burn.

This is a decent scotch ale and one that bourbon lovers will especially enjoy. It's definitely a sipper and makes a great nightcap.

gford217, Nov 12, 2008
Photo of bebopkola
4.63/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a beautiful dark brown with no head retention, even after a vigourous pour.

First aromas of vanilla, caramel, and bourbon. The bourbon begins to come out more and more after the intial whiff. Extremely enticing aromas, so much going on it's great.

Flavors include vanilla, sweet almost carmel candy like flavor, toffe and definatley bourbon. I love the fact that you can taste the influence of the barrel aging in this beer, it definatley dominates the aroma and taste of the beer and comes out even more as it warms up.

I've had a few other barrel aged, either plain oak barrel or a barrel previously used with some other spirit and this is one of the best. This beer can definatley benefit from cellaring, although good now, I can't wait to revisit this beer after a couple of months.

bebopkola, Nov 10, 2008
Photo of bluejacket74
3.98/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle, Fall 2008. Served in a Sam Adams BL glass, the beer pours a dark red/brown color with a very small tan head that went away quickly. Not much lacing either. Aroma is mostly bourbon, but there's also vanilla, oak, peat and smoke noticable. Taste is similar to the aroma, but the alcohol heat is a little harsh at first. It does mellow a bit when it warms up but you can still tell there's some alcohol there when drinking it. Mouthfeel/body is medium, carbonation is low and it's creamy. Drinkability is decent enough and it is smooth, but the alcohol isn't hidden well at all so that hurts it some. I don't think I'd want to drink more than 1-2 of these at a time. Overall I think it is a decent enough beer, I think aging it some would help.

bluejacket74, Nov 10, 2008
Photo of JohnGalt1
3.83/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz received as a completely great extra from orbitalr0x.. big thanks Donald. 1" head.. slim lacing atop a hazy mahogany/walnut brew.

aroma is vanilla and smoky wood .. caramel and figgy fruits..

Flavor mirrors the aroma but with a bunch of raisin and plum.... vanilla.. a little bit of char.. smokey... caramel.. and sweet bourbon. very smooth.. fairly big body with a low carbonation..

This a pretty great beer.. Alex says it has a year on it.. I am not interested if it is fresh... it just seems like there is too much going on. smoke.. vanilla.. toffee.. Scotch. Bourbon.. nice.. but not tonight.


JohnGalt1, Nov 09, 2008
Photo of gearbike
3.45/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Redish copper color from tap. I do not really like this beer. But that is (sort of) a compliment. It is very true to stile becouse I do not enjoy scotish ales. As in most scotish ale the big alcohol precese is not balanced with any backbone. No real malts or hops. However, it was a great suprise to find a Michigan Beer on tap that I have not tried. Hard to really go wrong with any Founder's.

gearbike, Nov 09, 2008
Photo of TheodorHerzl
3.5/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a dark rustic hue with a thin tan head. The nose is loaded with vanilla, wood, bourbon, cherry, and a slight hint of peat. The flavor profile is pretty intense with initial flavors of vanilla, oak, and dark cherries. The alcohol burn from the bourbon though really took away from this beer for me. It does not meld with the beer and overtook from most of the flavors that I was tasting. I let the beer warm for about thirty minutes and the flavor profile did sweeten a little bit, but the alcohol burn was still quite harsh I think. I really enjoy dirty bastard (the non-barrel aged version) because of the rich caramel malt base, but I never found that in this beer. The mouthfeel is full bodied with plenty of alcohol on the mouthfeel. The drinkabilility wasn't really there for me. I hope with some age on this beer it will settle down a bit.

I like barrel aged beers, but this one was still quite hot for my liking.

TheodorHerzl, Nov 06, 2008
Photo of roadhouse
4.6/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a snifter.

Appears a dark reddish brown with a half inch light tan head. Leaves some decent lacing behind, but it's mostly spotty.

Aroma has lots of caramel malts surrounded in a blanket of bourbon, oak, and vanilla.

When I first sipped this my first reaction was to scream with pleasure. Absolutely delicious. Starts out with a big burst of bourbon and vanilla soaked caramel then follows with some chocolatey and oak tones and a delicious bourbon aftertaste. The is definitely one to cleanse the palate in between sips to enjoy every single one.

Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy, medium-full bodied.

I have had the regular Dirty Bastard and thought it was pretty good but I had no idea it could be improved this much. This stuff is great, I'm gonna have to get another four pack.

roadhouse, Nov 04, 2008
Photo of ATLbeerDog
4.18/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

From a 12oz bottle on 11/02/2008 - Pours a reddish/brown color with small caramel colored head. Almost no carbonation. Smells of sweet bourbon and not much else. First sip is smooth and mellow with the scotch dominating but still balanced with the malts. Oak and vanilla notes are also present. Very nice and drinkable. Not much carbonation here thanks to the barrel aging process. Very nice and tasty.

Bottle on 12/27/08 - Pours a cloudy brownish/red with a frothy ½ inch caramel colored head. A light aroma of bourbon and malt complete the nose. First sip is much more bourbon than the nose indicated. It is all bourbon, and then some malts appear in a supportive role. As it warms, it is still all bourbon but now some hops are present adding to the overall complexity. I am guessing this was aged in some very fresh barrels still loaded with residual bourbon wetness as the beer picked up a ton of flavor.

ATLbeerDog, Nov 02, 2008
Photo of emerge077
4/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2008 label with a sinister, axe-wielding dwarf on the front. Neck label lists 50 IBU, and 10.2% abv.

Poured half the bottle into a 12 oz. snifter. Thin cap of tan foam, that receded after five minutes, leaving a ring of bubbles at the edge, and a cool spiderweb pattern across the mahogany surface.

Big bourbon aroma. A swirl kicks up a sweet maltiness behind it, hinting at the base beer's character. Otherwise it's sweet, woody whiskey and sour mash fumes: hints of corn, cherry, and fried plantain.

Full fledged bourbon flavor too, more or less steamrolling the whole thing. Luckily not as harsh as straight bourbon, but the full flavor is there. Flashes of sweet malt underneath, with a growing warming sensation in the gut with every sip. Low carb and medium body, the strong flavor takes centerstage. Pretty much only good for sipping, even splitting a bottle if you aren't prepared for alot of whiskey in your beer.

1-12-2010 Vintage 2007 bottle, "7169" roughly may '07

Slightly murky red, decent amount of foam. Clear and strong bourbon aroma. Alcohol has mellowed, oxidation is creeping in, but doesn't interfere. Bourbon flavors are front and center, woody sweet maple syrup, brown sugar, drizzled in caramel toffee. Really tasty without the alcohol heat.

emerge077, Nov 01, 2008
Photo of Steaks
4.05/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

god damn i'm drunk. it tastes like you're drinking hard liquor. 10.2%. the smell is straight up bourbon, but it doesn't have the burn you'd expect. it pours black as hell and is easy to drink, but i stumbled several times while drinkin this and lookin at some fine ladies. i haven't thrown up yet. founders is delicious, but i think this beer might be a little much for me. wooo

Steaks, Nov 01, 2008
Photo of jeonseh
3.35/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Brown with a bit of a golden tint to it; small nearly non existent head sits on top.

S - Smoky peat mixed with hint of vanilla and oaky; slight hint of maraschino cherry

T - a bit smoky with hints of oak mixed in; roasted malt comes out as well as a bit of bitterness that hangs on the back; Rather rough flavor profile as the beer seems to want to rip your mouth apart; you can feel the strong bitter flavor ebb and flowing along your palate; nice spiciness comes in on the back side every once and awhile. this is one beer that became much noticablely better when it warmed up . Hints of oak and vanilla increased with the strong bitterness seemed to mellow out.

MF - Has a good bit of tingle to it as it just really makes your toungle tingly; this last for a while; the beer itself is a bit thin for my taste and the style

D - Overall, i wasn't too impressed by this one. It was sort of rough in the mouth and the flavor profile wasn't anything too special. I really didn't care for how the peat, bitterness and oaky spicness came together. They just didn't seem to blend right as one area was always a bit out of whack. We'll see what time does for it but i wasn't too impressed.

jeonseh, Nov 01, 2008
Photo of rudylaw
3.2/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This beer is brown, iced tea-like in color that has a sizeable head.

I get a lot of whiskey upon first sniff and my first taste confirms this. Almost overpowering at first, it does mellow out quite a bit as you continue to drink. Still, it's hard for me to pinpoint other flavors... besides oak.

Overall, somewhat disappointed in this one. Founders does so many beers well, perhaps I'm unfairly holding it up to their stouts. Regardless, one 4-pack is more than enough for me in a season.

rudylaw, Oct 31, 2008
Photo of cannabanaceae
4.05/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Color was murky,dark red. Little brown head. Yeast and char at bottom.

Smell was BOURBON! Vanilla maybe some spicy hops and malts in the mix.

Taste was alcohol, carmel,bisquity malt. mild vanilla notes from oak. Hop bitterness detected in the end. Left a choppy bitter taste in mouth. Got sweeter as it warmed.

This was a great wet barrel bourbon Scottish ale. Glad to get this in trade!

cannabanaceae, Oct 27, 2008
Photo of inhoc00
4.97/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

brand new backwoods bastard thanks to armaneti's on lincoln - the best shop in chicago. this new label has a blind old man with a hatchet and is labeled as 10.2%alc.

poured into a tripel karmeliet tulip

a - dark dirty brown, translucent to the bottom like a filthy creek (eh backwoods stuff ya know)

s- very sweet brown sugar and baked beans/bacon and bourbon? in a good way of course. very unexpected. a bastard breakfest?

t- this is really really good stuff. very sweet bourbon. almost no alcohol. no bitterness.

m- low carbonation, semi creamy

d- amazingly drinkable. i let my wife take a sip who hates strong beer and she even enjoyed it. tastes nothing like 10.2% excellent beer.

inhoc00, Oct 25, 2008
Founders Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 5,351 ratings.