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Founders Backwoods Bastard - Founders Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Founders Backwoods BastardFounders Backwoods Bastard

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,649 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 1,649
Hads: 7,334
Avg: 4.25
pDev: 22.59%
Wants: 954
Gots: 2,777 | FT: 260
Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy |  11.60% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: CortexBomb on 01-30-2007

"Wee Heavy", cave aged in oak bourbon barrels.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 1,649 | Hads: 7,334
Photo of cindyjeffsmith
4.87/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearance: hazy mahogany. A thin off white head. Thick lacing for a 10+%.
Smell: sweet caramel. Smoky Bourbon. The nice out of the fridge and gets better and better as it warms.
Taste: As great as the nose. Full and malty with an a nice Scotch like edge to balance. Strangely mellow.
Overall: awesome. Founder's big beers are simply works of art. A creative, great brewery on top of their game.

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Photo of Tuey13
4.87/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

The 2012 edition poured into a snifter... this pours a dark, murky brown with ruby red highlights. Has a very light head that doesn't last very long, expected on a 10.2% ABV.... alcohol legs are definitely present on the glass as well. Looks beautiful!

Smell... wow... vanilla, caramel, butterscotch, brown sugar, rich malts, and of course oak and bourbon. Such a rich earthy smell accompanied by dark fruits.. so pleasant on the nose.

The taste is phenomenal... wonderful oak bourbon flavor... vanilla, caramel, butterscotch, brown sugar, sweet smokey malts... a bit of light coffee on the back. Wow!!

I have to say this is another amazing beer by Founders.... such a well balanced and well crafted beer that you can tell is made with care. I only wish this was year round... but it is worth the savoring when this comes out in the fall.

Try this.... you will love it.

Cheers all!!

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Photo of Gatch
4.87/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 9/23/12

A: Deep, dark amber-brown with yeast suspended throughout. Bubbly, skimpy off-white head that builds very quickly and fades just as quickly. A small ring of foam hangs around along with beautiful wisps of foam on top of the viscous liquid. A quick whirl in the glass brings about a thin layer of foam that fades fast.

S: Buttery, deliciously woody bourbon. Wood, earth, must, vanilla, booze. You get the malty sweetness from the base Scotch Ale. You could get buzzed just from smelling this thing.

T: Holy. Sh*t. F*ck. Bourbon. Buttery, woody, sugary, sweet, malty. Salted caramel. Never overly sweet or bourbon-y, this has so much complexity and amazing layers of flavor. So balanced yet so wood, barrel, and bourbon forward. The Scotch Ale/Wee Heavy is a perfect candidate for barrel treatment. It never loses its true character but allows the bourbon to take center stage. Exquisite.

M: Ahhh...one of the smoothest beers I've had. Thick, viscous, sweet, exploding with flavor. Top notch. The body is luscious. That's the only word I can think of.

O: A very special treat. An obvious upgrade to an already awesome beer. Founders is known to be talented with barrels at their disposal and this only enhances that reputation. Extremely well-crafted with the bourbon character incorporated/infused perfectly. An absolute pleasure to drink. Unbelievable. Damn!

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Photo of Jeffreysan
4.85/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

12 oz bottle, 2013 edition, poured into a goblet

Appearance: Pours a beautiful, completely opaque, deep, dark, mahogany color with an eighth of a finger of white-colored head that quickly dissolved away into no head what-so-ever.

Aroma: Nice aromas of toasted malt, brown sugar, toffee, dried stone fruit such as raisins and prunes, as well as a touch of oak, a touch of vanilla and a lot of boozy alcohol.

Taste: Wow! Absolutely, fantastically, delicious! Strong flavors of bready, toasted malt up front, followed by lots of brown sugar-like sweetness, toffee, dried stone fruit, such as raisins and prunes, a touch of vanilla, a touch of oak, a touch of bourbon and a touch of booze.

Mouthfeel: Slightly chewy and smooth as hell, as there is no alcohol what-so-ever. With an ABV of 10.5%, I’m surprised at how little alcohol there is on the palate. The alcohol is really, really, dangerously masked.

Overall: This is a fantastic, outstanding beer! Awesome flavors wrapped up in an equally awesome mouthfeel. Be careful though, as with its awesome flavors and amazing masked alcohol, you might want to drink more than one at a time which could know you on your ass, real quick!

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Photo of rdilauro
4.85/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Once again, a time to taste some Scotch Ale, Wee Heavy! And this was so much of a treat. The pour is liken to a Rusty Nail (Drambuie and Chivas Regal).
A amber but royal color that stands out in the glass. It shines it pours out high standards. The aroma is amazing. A bit of malt, a big hint of whiskey a small very small amount of hops, even though this is a 50 IBU beer.
The taste! Outstanding. It hits your lips and mouth at the same time with a big robust flavor and feel. Its smooth yet has a bit of an alcoholic burn. To me, this is what I imagine folks from Scotland drinking centuries ago. Big robust, full and a good amount of alcohol to keep you warm and satisfied.
CanI put this in the "5" category? Now, only because I need to separate the beers. I wish that Beer Advocate would give us the ability to rate beers based on their types (ie Stouts, IPAs etc)

A year or so has gone since the last time I tasted this. Better than I remembered. The bourbon bouquet was oh so very present, but it was oh so very soft and mild in the taste. A perfect blend
I picked up a 4pk, had 1 with a co-worker tonite and will age the rest (if I a patient enough)....
BA people may kill me for saying this, but I like this one better than KBS

Wait a second, I thought I was taking beer with this one.. Guess I was wrong. The pour was a nice dark black pure and clean. NOt much of a head. I really couldn't pick up many different aromas.
BUT then I took the fist sip I was really taken back.. Big full and it was Bourbon.

The finish to this ale was exceptional. From start to end, this was a very interesting ale.
Cant say it would always be on the top of my list, but it is very good

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.85/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

12 oz bottle poured into a Founders tulip.
10.2% ABV, 50 IBUs, and Bottled on 10/24/13.

A - It's difficult to see any clarity through this dark beer but it's ruby-hued mahogany color looks beautiful when held up to light. Little head forms over the surface of the beer but the tan skim and ring of foam stick around and dot the glass in specks of lace.

S - Building in intensity as it warms, Backwoods Bastard transitions from bold vanilla and warm bourbon oak nuances to a depth of malt complexity characterized by molasses, dark chocolate covered raisins, and a colossal bready, caramel and toffee sweetness.

T - The aroma suggests Backwoods Bastard to be barrel-forward but it's flavor profile relies heavily on the rich maltiness within, which mimics the aroma quite wonderfully. Pepperidge Farm Milano cookies and gooey caramel covered raisins make for a desert-like flavor that's paired with toffee slivers and finished with oaky bourbon balls; divine.

M - Smooth, delectable, and warming, Backwoods Bastard is anything but rough around the edges as it crosses the palate with simplistic ease, only to finish with a touch of carbonation and alcohol warmth.

O - Backwoods Bastard may have a rough, grizzly exterior, but it's a gooey, soft-on-the-inside sipping dessert beer that's seeping with malty sweetness reminiscent of Milano cookies and home-made bourbon balls. It's moderate barrel-aging makes it great fresh but also allows it to age gracefully for a beer that develops for years to come.

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Photo of MUTINY
4.85/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Quick review. The definition of flavor with the bourbon component is beyond compare. This beer is without a doubt the finest bourbon beer that I've tasted to date.

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Photo of sulldaddy
4.85/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pouring a cellar temp bottle into a snifter.
The beer pours a deep mahogany with garnet highlights. Some small white particles are suspended in the brew. A tightly packed creamy tan head foams up 1 cm with an aggressive pour. The head fades to a frothy edge layer that remains through the sampling. Aroma is instantly deep brown sugar and caramel malt with heavy bourbon and vanilla notes wafting out of the glass. A little boozy scented but not fusol heat like a liquor.
The first sip reveals a slightly thick body but not syrupy or chewy texture, very smooth and EASY to drink. Next to nothing for carbonation that does fizz up when sloshed around in my mouth for a few seconds.
Flavor is all sweet malt, with brown sugar and maybe a little molasses mixing with some toffee. Hits of vanilla and a little bit of wooden dryness mixes in to the flavor. No hops anywhere to be found. I like this beer!!
The booze is very well hidden and I think this beer is dangerously easy to drink. I wish I could get access to this beer more frequently as it may have moved up into my top 5 brews.

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Photo of bricksandivey
4.85/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer was so good it inspired me to attempt a proper review, here we go.

I enjoyed this one in a snifter as recommended.

Look: Dark red to brown color as poured from the bottle When held up to the light it is actually a dark ruby red. Virtually no head to speak of.

Smell: Ok, so definately vanilla, caramel, woody, maybe even a slight coconut or chocolate in there. Some warm alcohol here not overpowering though. Reminds me of KBS, just not as pronounced.

Taste: Caramel,vanilla, bourbon, woody (oak), then at the end the alcohol comes on, not overpowering though.

Mouthfeel: very slight viscous feel, nothing like the the imperial stout from Founders. This one barely coats the palate.

Overall impression: Lighter weight cousin to KBS. Excellent Beer. I'm gonna stop reviewing and enjoy the rest of it.

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Photo of ekardz
4.85/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Beer pours a deep mahogany color, tiny head quickly recedes, hazy, vary little carbonation. Looks delicious, excited to dive in. Smells very very boozy, bourbon, oak flavor. Some malty notes as well as vanilla and resiny - smells like it's going to be a strong one! WHOA! The taste blows me away! DELICIOUS! Super sweet. Malty, vanillay, maybe some raisin notes. Very smooth delicious, full bodied and no burn. Such an incredible mouth feel. INSANE drinkability. Will be seeking out this beer again!

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Photo of sentomaster
4.85/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A- liquid dark brown fudge with a very slight maple colored head peaking for moment before leaving sticky lace down the glass.

S- whoa, big, big nose. Fantastic bourbon, creamy vanilla, and slight dark cherries. Spicy alcohol and a bit of fruity esters lurk along with a smooth caramel sweetness.

T- this brew is unreal. Start to finish it is unreal. Smooth and seductive; complex, nuanced and epic. There's so much going on here but the impression you're left with is silky bourbon, caramel and vanilla backed by peppery alcohol and a rugged malt backbone. Dark fruits, a touch of smoke, and herbal hops interplay.

O- wow, perfection in a bottle. KBS may get the glory, but this beer is the self assured older brother.

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Photo of fitrock2112
4.85/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Well, here it goes. This is probably one of my top two beers that I've had so far. I keep going from KBS to this and back and forth in a good way.

Poured the luscious liquid from a 12 ounce bottle in to a pint glass.

A - The brown liquid pours nicely with minimal head. The viscosity lets you know that this is a quality Scotch Ale.

S - Bourbon, more bourbon, toffee, roasted malts, and little dark fruit maybe raisin.

T - Ridiculous, this is the shit. The stars have aligned and the gods can now destroy the earth, because I have tasted the nectar of the gods. I'm tasting toffee, bourbon, carmel, roasted malts, butterscotch each fighting for your taste buds but all equally winning their pursuit to blend so evenly. This beer is so well blended for a barrel aged beer that it is hard to comprehend. Wow, just WOW!

M - Smooth medium ale leaning towards a heavy, with just enough carbonation for this style.

O - Unbelievably , just a wonderful beer to sip and enjoy on a cool winter night.
Highly Recommended ! CHEERS!!

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Photo of reds2harleys
4.85/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Wow, this is one fantastic beer. Was good in the years past but to me this years is the best yet. Higher ABV then in years past but you can't taste it. No over the top booze hit here at all. Just a nice warmness. Amazing flavor and depth. Really glad I grabbed 2 - 4 packs when I could as it didn't last long before being sold out and I can surely see why. Another home run from Founders. I rank it right up there with their Stouts which coming from me is a helluva statement. Damn good. Think I'm going to have one tonight. Cheers

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Photo of KingEdward
4.84/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Don't feel the need to explain flavor, look, ect... other reviews sum it up. What i would like to say is that the 2015 version is the best version of this beer Founders has made in my opinion. Increased malt bill has added more body and flavor with the bonus of a little more alcohol... Awesome Job Founders!

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Photo of YoDude
4.84/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Founders Backwards Bastard, aged 6 months in my fridge (yes, I am drinking it fresh), 10.2% ABV, a 12 oz. bottle and poured into a snifter glass.

Appearance: Poured deep ruby brown with a very little head and lacing.

Smell: Sweet caramel and smoky malt with a hint of vanilla, no pronounced hop presence, no obvious off flavors.

Taste: Candied dates and baking chocolate. There is also a spicy and earthy aftertaste that I attribute to the oak bourbon barrels used in the aging process and the 50 IBUs of hop flavor.

Mouth feel: Medium to full body and low carbonation. The bitter sweetness clings to the upper palette. There is definitely an umami effect as I keep running my tongue along my upper palette. Also a nice warming alcohol finish.

Overall: Founders has been making great beer for over 20 years. Backwards Bastard is an amazingly subtle yet complex beer. You will find the flavor change with each sip as the beer warms and the taste lingers. You can drink this with almost any rich food and meal course; from roasted garlic Portobello mushrooms, to a medium-rare rib eye, or a flourless chocolate raspberry cake. But why wait for the food. As my favorite late night talk show host would exclaim, “This is a beverage”.

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Photo of scottbrew4u
4.84/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

This beer is exceptional and as smooth a barrel aged beer as I have ever had. Complex esters and rich malty layers do not go over the top with sweetness. Bourbon barrel highlights are what takes this beer up a few notches.

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Photo of Bubba569
4.84/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Had it at Founder's Brewery! The perfect place to taste a near perfect brew!!
Look - Had a small whitish head not long lasting at all.
Smell - Oh my...great mouth watering sweet caramel & bourbon aroma.
Tast - Heaven in your mouth...a lot like Sweet Repute but with more of a Oak "Backwoods" aftertaste, caramelly with a lasting bourbon finish!
Mouth feel - Awesome long lasting sweet, smooth Bourbon taste that coats your pallet.
Overall - Outstanding beer that you'll be sad when it's gone! Founder's did it again!

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Photo of EveningCordial
4.84/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured from bottle into snifter.

A- dark brown/copper body with noticeable carbonation and a short, white head that dissipates fairly quick. Good amount of lacing present.

S- all notes take a back seat to the bourbon in this offering. Alcohol smell us very present. The delicious bourbon gives way to a sweet molasses scent. Also present are hints of vanilla, oak and other woods, leather, maple syrup, and even a little tobacco.

T- sticking to its nose, this ale is very bourbon forward. The warm bourbon heat hits up front and is followed by some creamy vanilla and molasses. Plenty of oak and wood is present, as is some brown sugar and caramel.

M- medium to full bodied. Very creamy without the heaviness of a stout. Decent amount if carbonation and although the initial swallow has heat from the bourbon, the finish is actually quite crisp, smooth, and perfectly balanced.

O- outstanding job by Founders. I'm a sucker for KBS and stouts but this is a homerun for a scotch ale and is just a step behind KBS in my opinion. I know quite a few people who enjoy this offering better actually. It's smooth bourbon bliss in my book.

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Photo of oldn00b
4.84/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pours a rusty copper, thin fuzzy head forms and quickly fades.

Nose is big bourbon forward, vanilla and molasses come through big.

Flavor is fantastic - bourbon, vanilla, and caramel are huge. Slight smoke hint, clove, and pepper hints too. This is a delectable sipper. Surprisingly, "boozy" is one of the last things that comes to mind. Delicate, subtle, sweet but not cloying. Just a fantastic beer.

Feels is near perfect. It's a bit brash, in a good way, but a slightly rough edge does come through.

Overall this is a fantastic beer, one of my favorites for the season hands down.

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Photo of CraftFan5
4.84/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Joint review of Backwoods Bastard and Wulver (only using whole numbers as usual):

A: Poured both aggressively into identical Stone IRS snifters. Backwoods had about a half finger of head, Wulver with about 2 fingers. Both poured a deep ruby red / bronze, with Wulver just a tad darker. Score Backwoods a 4 and Wulver a 5.

N: Backwoods screams bourbon, which is a very good thing. A slight bitterness lies beneath the bourbon and scotch aromas. Wulver was slightly more subdued on the nose with the bourbon less pronounced and no bitterness whatsoever. Score Backwoods a 5 and Wulver a 4.

T: Backwoods is a delight, as usual. Definitely a bit boozy at 10.2% ABV, and I definitely get that hint of bitterness. Should improve as it warms. Bourbon takes a bit of a backseat to the booze and bitterness, as well as the classic scotch ale flavors of caramel and toffee. Now for Wulver after a quick palate cleanser. Wow, these taste very different, considering they're the same style. I don't get nearly the booziness on Wulver despite its 12% ABV. The bourbon and caramel/toffee flavors are blended much better, although I'm not certain that's a good thing, as it's robbed of some complexity. Still extremely tasty. Score both a 5.

M: Backwoods is a bit thin, although I get some coating around the teeth and mouth. This is really where Wulver shines; it's a full-bodied, frothy mouthful of heaven. Score Backwoods a 4 and Wulver a 5.

O: Both incredible, but different beers, and standard-bearers of the BA Scotch Ale style. I've yet to try BA Big Sound, but I'll pull it out of the cellar next year. Very well played by Founders and Thirsty Dog. 5 for each.

Happy Holidays, BA!

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Photo of mfowler314
4.84/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This was the 2015 bottling and it was awesome! I'd not had it before so I can't comment on how it compares to previous years. I had it in the fridge but let it warm up to "cellar temp" before pouring. The look is a nice dark amber or light brown. Nice head that subsided fairly quickly. No lacing though. Smell was butterscotch and bourbon and the later I think I was getting some coconut. Taste was butterscotch and caramel and some bourbon flavoring... very nice. For the ABV I was not tasting the alcohol that much but it is there (if you could see how many time I have to backspace to correct my typing you'd know the alcohol was there!). Not real carbonated - at least by the time I was finishing it - so it feels real smooth. Overall this is an awesome beer and I'm glad I picked up a fair amount of it so I can have one or two every week and still spread it out over a fair amount of time!

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Photo of sjones5045
4.83/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Founders has perfected bourbon barrel aging and with this beer they proved it once again. Now, what is different here is that it's truly unique to have a non stout/dark beer pull off such a smooth tasty flavor with such a high ABV. Once you crack the bottle the smell of malt and bourbon overwhelm and you know you're in for a very different experience. The taste of the base Dirty Bastard is present and it meshes extremely well with the sweet malt and bourbon to create a top notch smooth scotch ale. Overall, it's a must have and one of the best beers Founders has created.

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Photo of HopHunter19
4.83/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

5 - Perfect. Dark mahogany color yet crystal clear on the edges, Ruby/blood red notes. Nice big tan head that leaves a good lacing
5 - smooth. Vanilla, caramel, butterscotch, bourbon, chocolate/caramel malts. light scotch notes.
T - Vanilla, cream, caramel, chocolate/caramel malts, bourbon, oak, very light coffee, overall a very smooth and good beer. Umami/wholesomeness.
M - medium to heavy. Alc covered (amazingly at 11.6%). Aftertaste is bourbon/chocolate/vanilla.
O - God damn this beer is near perfect. The taste is amazing. The only thing keeping me from giving it a 5 is I know if I had it next to a KBS or FW Parabola it wouldn't be as perfect as them. Maybe that's my fault for not being as crazy about this style as I am about bba imperial stouts, but give me a break - I bought a case of this today, I'm thinking about searching out another case tomorrow so I have plenty to last me throughout the year. Great beer!

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Photo of Dagger541
4.83/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This beer was first tried by a friend and I on a chilly Sunday afternoon in-between two music event that we were attending. It was an excellent choice all around. It has and great color and smell and was served in a sniffer glass. It is a sipping beer that will warm you right up. If you think of a scotch ale aged in a bourbon barrel you will have an idea about what this beer tastes like. If you enjoy their Dirty Bastard and you are a fan of whiskey this is a great beer.

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Photo of Katahdin
4.83/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I was totally surpriseed by this beer. At 10.2% and a Wee Heavy one would think it would be a big beer. Not all to my surprise. The beer had a great taste, wonderful texture on the mouth and went down smooth. A ver deceaiving beer, it tastes and is as smooth a s a 5% beer, the alcohol can easily sneak up on you.

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Founders Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
95 out of 100 based on 1,649 ratings.