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Founders Backwoods Bastard - Founders Brewing Company

Founders Backwoods BastardFounders Backwoods Bastard

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

4,760 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4760
Reviews: 1404
rAvg: 4.33
pDev: 10.62%

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: 4,760 | Reviews: 1,404 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of prototypic


3.75/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: It's a clear, dark brown color with a minimal head. Retention was short and very little lacing was left behind.

Smell: Certainly has a very heavy bourbon smell that dominates the nose. Certainly malty and has an oaked smell about it. Not picking up much else. Bourbon smell is overpowering.

Taste: Again, bourbon dominates here. There are some ancillary notes that are not noticeable by smell. It is somewhat sugary and sweet. Nice and malty. Has a bit of an oaked or wood chip taste to it. All in all, the sweet bourbon taste is predominant and overpowering.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: It's thick and definitely a sipping beer. It's pretty well carbonated. It's potent at 8.7%. I'd be hard pressed to drink more than two in a sitting. Overall, it's a pretty good beer. I'd definitely pick it up again (if I happen to see it).

Serving type: bottle

12-15-2007 03:04:16 | More by prototypic
Photo of BeerTruth


3.75/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Shit, I completely forgot who I got this beer from. If you're reading this, let me know so I can edit the review!

12 oz. stubby bottle poured into a nonic.

Pours a foggy dark mahogany with a tan colored two finger head that quickly dies down to a thin frothy layer of bubbles. A good amount of lacing remains on the sides. Smell is dominate by the bourbon aromas with a good amount of chocolate and caramel malts. Lots of vanilla sweetness and dark fruits, mostly fig and raisins. Some faint woody scents find their way in the nose as well. Smokey malt flavors with a creamy coffee bitterness up front. Molasses and carmelized almonds on the tongue as well. Aftertaste is actually pretty dry and woody, more than I expected for the style. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a fair amount of bubbles. I had a difficult time drinking this one because of the dry aftertaste and boozy flavors. Founders still does a great job once again though. A nice warm feeling left in the tummy after this one.

Serving type: bottle

02-27-2008 03:01:53 | More by BeerTruth
Photo of Gehrig


3.75/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 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.

Serving type: bottle

11-21-2008 23:44:02 | More by Gehrig
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-28-2009 00:33:45 | More by cassanoj
Photo of beertunes


3.75/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Received this bottle as a gift from BA johnmichaelsen when he recently visited my fair town.

Poured into 10oz glass. Poured a slightly hazy medium brown with a bit of a reddish tint. the beer poured very still, no head at all, with just a couple whisps of lacing.

A very sweet, caramel flavor enters the nose. Behind the caramel is a touch of earthy malt and a hint of spiciness. The initial taste is sweet backed by a wallop of alcohol. After the first rush the other flavors become apparent, caramel, peat, spice and a touch of hops.

The body does a nice job of coating the tongue and satisfying the tactile sense without being heavy or overly sticky. Drinkability is very good, however at 10% and the sweet caramel aspects of this beer, I probably wouldn't have more than one at a time.

Overall, a very good beer that I enjoyed a lot. If this were more readily available to me, it would be in my regular rotation. Thanks again, John!

Serving type: bottle

01-10-2010 22:50:28 | More by beertunes
Photo of stephens101


3.75/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours brown with amber hues at the edges. A one-finger tan head settles quickly and leaves a thick streak of lace right above the brew.

Smells malty, sugary and spicy. Big sweet malts, cherries and a good hit of red-hot spiciness hit the palate. A streak of carmel gooiness exists. Goes down extra-creamy with some lingering alcohol heat in the end. I would say it's near full-bodied, and almost, but not quite chewy.

More food than beer? Possibly. A good example of the style? More than likely. A damn good beer either way? Definitely.

Serving type: bottle

01-17-2010 01:08:57 | More by stephens101
Photo of yeahnatenelson


3.75/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance -- Pours a deep brown with ruddy highlights and one finger of sudsy beige head. Nice lacing, woeful head retention.

Smell -- Bourbon, molasses, maple sugar, caramelized malt.

Taste -- Bourbon quite prominent up front with vanilla-like oak sugars, highly caramelized malts, molasses, and rum-soaked raisins. A modicum of herbal, minty hops toward the finish.

Mouthfeel -- Medium-full body with mild carbonation. The alcohol is invisible, even with the barrel aging. Impressive.

Drinability -- Easily the mellowest barrel-aged beer that Founders puts out. However, it has the least going on. A tasty sipper, if a little one-sided. A Wee Heavy worth trying.

Serving type: bottle

11-04-2010 02:30:25 | More by yeahnatenelson
Photo of wspscott


3.75/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle in Duvel tulip
bottled 0/27/09

A: Pours a dark brown color, looks like a dark english brown ale. There is no sign of a head and only a slight hint of off-white lace.
S: A definite "bourbon-ness", some wood and vanilla scents along with some sweetness, no sign of hops.
T: The bourbon is very upfront, not overpowering, but definitely there. The malt character that I expect in a Wee Heavy is not apparent or is hidden under the bourbon. There is absolutely no sign of the alcohol
M: There are some drying tannins here which help to prevent this from being cloying. A medium level of attenuation combined with just enough carbonation also help a lot.
D: A nice beer, not too overpowering with the bourbon character, at the same time, it seems a little one dimensional. I just read my review of Dirty Bastard and it seems like some of that goodness is missing. I like this beer, but don't love it. May have to revisit in the future. Worth trying if you are a bourbon fan or really like barrel aged beers.

Serving type: bottle

11-10-2010 01:56:56 | More by wspscott
Photo of CFHMagnet


3.75/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I tried to be patient pouring this guy, but nothing was coming of it so I upended it and got a finger of yellowy-tan head. The body was a very pretty chestnut brown. The head dissipated down after a while to a ring and dusting up top. Nice lacing was noticed throughout consumption.

Holy Bourbon Batman! This beer smells faintly of malt and oak, and greatly of bourbon.

I got good malt flavor, a bit of oak, and then bourbon strangled every other flavor before they could get to my tongue.

This was medium to heavy in body. Carbonation seemed a little light, and the beer seemed rather boozy at the end.

Serving type: bottle

12-01-2011 14:57:47 | More by CFHMagnet
Photo of iuhophead87


3.73/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Founders Backwood Bastard Fed Ale

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

A- Pours a nutty redish color with a 1 inch tan head with good retention.

S- Am I about to drink Bourbon?

T- Sweet, caramel, maple syrup, vanilla, and BOURBON! Did I say you can taste BOURBON. I've had many bourbon aged beers, but this is over the top but tastes like Dirty Bastard with a few shots of bourbon. Not bad, but not great either.

MF_ Just like it smells! Crisps, dry, and sweet!

D- Not my style, but could drink one or two on a cold winter night.

Serving type: bottle

12-06-2008 03:29:33 | More by iuhophead87
Photo of joeskirkie

New Jersey

3.73/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pretty much a dark opaque mass of black.

Smells of milk chocolate, caramel, a bourbon-like vanilla, a hint of coffee. It' real easy to pick up.

The first taste is vanilla, actually that's pretty much it, the oaky vanilla bourbon like experience.

It's smooth alright. I don't really know what else to say here. I like it. I probably wouldn't go out of my way for it. Is this really a scotch ale?

Serving type: bottle

12-06-2008 22:03:03 | More by joeskirkie
Photo of Shiredave

New York

3.73/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Deep red amber color with a sparse tan head and good lacing. Very clear with only occasional carb bubbles rising through the dense liquid to the top.

Aroma is... negligible. A faint brown sugar/ toffee scent comes out when agitated but it's very mild and uninteresting to me. Sort of Scotch aleish but more sugary, giving off some hot, higher alcohol fumes.

The flavor is more toffee with a strong milk chocolate character. Some oak-y notes mix in nicely but the near cloying sweetness masks much of the woody nuances that struggle to come through. Flavors are muddled and dont really blend in well for me. Alcohol notes are ever present and again, dont mesh well, leaving me with the impression of fermented sugar and little fruity complexity, just thick, one dimensional sweetness. The 50IBU's of hops are all in the boil ( fine for a Wee Heavy) and there is firm bittering at the back end leaving a dry, hoppy aftertaste with more notes of coco and earthy oak.

Quite full bodied and heavy on the tongue. Overall a semi interesting beer due to the oak aging but I think this was a relatively fresh bottle and I would hope a few months in a cellar would allow this beer to come together and blend the independent flavors that seem unfriendly to each other now. A 4 for flavor is being generous, but i think it will age into that number or better with some time.

Serving type: bottle

01-02-2009 16:00:14 | More by Shiredave
Photo of dancinwillie


3.73/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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!

Serving type: bottle

01-13-2009 03:27:21 | More by dancinwillie
Photo of claminat420


3.73/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- poured a dark burgandy brown color. off white one finger head.

S- sweet malt with a sweet caramel blend. woody with a slight cherry or some other fruit hidden deep down inside.

T- the caramel malts and the woodiness of the oak barrels deliver in the front. alil spice from the alcohol and a weird fruit hidden delivers in the backend.

M- medium to heavy bodied. awesome on the carbonation.

D- for 10.2 abv i was expecting more. the four pack isn't to rough to handle.

Overall- this is definitely worthy to pick up.

Serving type: bottle

11-17-2009 08:36:30 | More by claminat420
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-28-2009 06:30:54 | More by BarrelO
Photo of BHwks


3.73/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a pint glass, served around 45-50 degrees. A - cloudy amber in color, very little carbonation, very little head when poured. S - Whew, smells like I'm taking a whiff from a bottle of bourbon (this is a good thing for me as I enjoy bourbon) Reminds me a little of JW Lees/Bourbon County Stout, in terms of smell. T - Definitely dominated by the bourbon. A little fruit/maple flavor after the initial sip, though still dominated by bourbon. M - Very thick, syrupy, almost like when you sip whiskey and savor it before swallowing. D - Not too good. Hot and bourbony, but almost too much. I really don't want another given this one has taken me about an hour to consume.

I've loved this beer in the past though can't remember if it's always this "hot" upon release. Right now the bourbon completely dominates the other flavors. I seem to remember it being a bit more balanced, even fresh. I'd like to give this 6+ months and see if the flavors seem to come together a bit making this a little easier to drink. The potential for greatness is there, just needs a little time I think.

Serving type: bottle

11-09-2010 01:52:07 | More by BHwks
Photo of Augustiner719

New York

3.73/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a tulip glass.

Pours a nice deep brown color with some red hues I. It. Creamy off white head with alcohol sticking to the glass. The aroma is pure malty bourbon with a nice sweet caramelized bourbon aroma. The flavor starts out intense but falls off completely. Really lands flat and boozy on the backend. Initial sweetness and starts out very nice, but dry and austere on the finish. Nothing going on but booze after the first second. As for drinkability, this is ok, not something I want more than one of but for what it is I think it's a definately sipper and a sharing bottle. Worth a shot but not on par with their other bourbon a barrel beers.

Serving type: bottle

11-19-2010 01:54:54 | More by Augustiner719
Photo of colts9016


3.73/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I got this from E, Thank you for the beer. Poured into my Delirium Tremens glass at 47 degrees.

Appearance: A hard pour produced into a thin white that is foamy and bubbly. The head did not produce any lacing on the glass. The color of the beer is a dark ruddy brown color with dark brown hues. The clarity of the beer is opaque and there is some carbonation upon the side of glass.

Nose: A very strong oak bourbon aroma that segways into a peaty heavy sea, and earth. The malt is roasty, toasty with caramel notes and a bit of bready notes. The other aromas are pepper, phenols, alcohol, vanilla, a touch of brett, subtle sweetness, and floral.

Taste: Holy moly a very strong oaky bourbon, peaty, earthy, sea water, and floral. The malt is strong it is roasted, toasted, caramel, and yeast. Other flavors are alcohol, brett, floral, pepper, honey like sweetness, vanilla, and phenols.

The mouth feel is warm, carbonated, chewy, and coating.

Overall: The body of the beer is medium thick and the finish is full. This beer is almost too much. There is no balance in the beer, it has too much booze in the beer. The beer needs to age for a couple of years to mellow it out. The beer is just too strong to drink, it is a sipper.

Serving type: bottle

04-16-2011 07:12:12 | More by colts9016
Photo of jmvecchio1


3.73/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: The beer is dark amber/copper in color with some nice lacing around the top. The caramel and roasted malts have left it with a nice color that signaled to me that a there will certainly a taste behind this beer.

Smell: I got a lot of oaky bourbon and scotch aromas off the beer. The beer has a very sweet alcohol smell to it as well. During tasting, the aroma is what really hung around after the sip.

Taste: The beer is lightly carbonated, which is good as it doesn’t detract from the strong flavors going on. The upfront taste I got was of the sweet malts (which even the 50 IBUs couldn’t fully balance out). The finish left a warming alcohol sensation with each sip. The tastes also didn’t obnoxiously linger long after a sip, but – like I mentioned earlier – the aroma did.

Drink: As it’s a 10.2% ABV, it’s a sipper, but it surprised me with how easily drinking it was. This would be a great beer to enjoy during the colder winter months given that warming alcohol taste.

Serving type: on-tap

07-16-2011 19:08:31 | More by jmvecchio1
Photo of negroobserver

New York

3.73/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance... Dark brown. Hazy. Pours with barely any sign of carbonation. Thin rim of bubbles around the edge of the glass, no more.

Smells.... Malty. The alcohol is at the forefront here. Hint of banana and coconut.

Taste... Malty. Sweet. Light smokey bitter residue on the tongue at the back end. Bitterness that lingers a bit in the mouth. The alcohol is definitely the strongest note here.

Mouthfeel... Hardly any carbonation here. Very flat. No alcohol sting. It's balanced very well with a malty sweetness.

Overall... A nice complex and enjoyable beer. I like it, but I wouldn't recommend it over other beers that are of a similar style. The weak carbonation is very disappointing and really takes away from the experience of enjoying a beer.


Serving type: bottle

12-15-2011 05:39:36 | More by negroobserver
Photo of jwhawkins81


3.7/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Aroma - Cherries, vanilla, a hint of sweet maltiness, and raisins

Appearance - Dark red with a thin light brown head. Not too much carbonation.

Taste - Definitely can get a sense of the base beer Dirty Bastard (a beer I am less than fond of) with a lot of bourbon flavor added.

Mouthfeel - Surprisingly thin thanks to the light carbonation. However the weight of the alcohol was evident.

Drinkability - A sipper not really worth the trouble in my book. However if you're a fan of Scotch Ale's this is something interesting you should try.

Serving type: bottle

03-27-2009 21:42:03 | More by jwhawkins81
Photo of JRed

New Jersey

3.7/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark amber/cloudy red sea, dirty penny topped by off white bubbly head. Aroma is frightening: whiskey anyone? Shot of bourbon, wood, spice, some sweet malt. Begins dull sweetness, toffee, woody, molasses, and then wild nights at the bar kick in with JD shots laced with a little sugar that leads into the aftertaste. A dull blade of taste, mild yet heavy. Thick in body with no carb. My face twitches a bit, I'll be honest. Gandalf is chilling in the woods with Leatherface and I got an invitation for dinner.

Serving type: bottle

11-26-2009 02:22:53 | More by JRed
Photo of Martin2D

New Jersey

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.

Serving type: bottle

11-28-2009 01:40:06 | More by Martin2D
Photo of MetalHopHead6


3.7/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Founders Backwoods Bastard poured dark brown with a hint of red, a nice two-finger head that left a moderate but nice amount of lace.

This was a difficult review. I couldn't finish my first bottle and wondered how I could possibly choke down the rest of the relatively expensive four-pack. The next day, I gave it another try and enjoyed it much more. The trick is you must know what you're getting. This is like a very smooth and creamy whiskey and, as such, must be sipped slowly. The smell and taste are boozy, with hints of very sweet cherry vanilla. The sweet flavor lingers at the finish and is a little too artificial and over-powering. The feel is creamy and it's very drinkable if enjoyed for what it is.

Founders Backwoods Bastard is not as good as good scotch ale, because it's too boozy, and it's not as good as good scotch whiskey if you want to sit back and sip, because it's too thick; but it is a nice creamy after-dinner experience if you have someone with whom to share a 12-ounce bottle.

Serving type: bottle

12-20-2009 20:20:48 | More by MetalHopHead6
Photo of ramseye4


3.7/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A=Pours a very dark brown color, completely opaque, with a thin head.
S=Smells just like the bourbon barrels it was aged in, and with a faint vanilla undertone.
T=Straight Whiskey, with some malts,and with a very strong aftertaste of alcohol. Surprisingly, it is very smooth despite the high ABV.
M=Very full bodied and chewy
D= The strong alcoholic aftertaste makes this one a sipper, I wouldn't want to have more than one of these in an evening.

Overall it is well done, at first the alcohol teetered very close to overpowering the taste but as I worked my way down the glass it became more mellow. As I conclude drinking it, it gives me a nice,pleasant, relaxed feeling.

Serving type: bottle

11-15-2010 14:32:00 | More by ramseye4
Founders Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 4,760 ratings.