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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.

5,458 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,458
Reviews: 1,431
rAvg: 4.33
pDev: 10.62%
Wants: 699
Gots: 1,582 | FT: 140
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: 5,458 | Reviews: 1,431 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of iabeerbaron
3.6/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A nice brown pour with a small head. Minimal lacing on my class. Aroma of bourbon shines through, making me a bit nervous actually. Add a little vanilla to the smell and now I'm ready to drink it. Not as much whiskey in the flavor, still very present, but not overpowering. Lots of flavors in this. The more I let it sit it started tasting like almond joy candy bars. Really nice brew

iabeerbaron, Nov 20, 2012
Photo of jmarsh123
3.58/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a copper to brown color with a very minimal head.

Aroma is full of bourbon, molasses, brown sugar and sweet caramel malts along with a little oak and vanilla. Very sweet.

Taste is similar to aroma. Less complexity but wonderful balance and taste.

Starts off with a bit of chocolate and roast. The bourbon very much makes its flavor known near the middle and end of the palate and more as it warms. At times it's overpowering, but not terribly hot and it cuts through the sweetness well. Finishes with some bourbony heat.

Pretty thick mouthfeel with low carbonation levels.

Another good -bal from Founders although not great overall. It's a bit too sweet at times and the bourbon got a bit too hot. This review is of an '11 vintage. I much prefer about 9-12 months on these to mellow out some of the flavors. It's sublime then.

jmarsh123, Jan 11, 2012
Photo of Brent
3.58/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Whap - that is the sound of this beer smacking you in the face on first sip. An immediate onslaught of bourbon and vanilla oak, some sweet malt and fusel alchohol. After a couple more sips to acclimate, the alcohol retreats but does not leave the background. Malty sweetness emerges and the beer with a shot impression lingers. A bit more boozy than I care for.

Brent, Feb 22, 2010
Photo of mulder1010
3.58/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

355 ML bottle poured into a tulip
Got in Secret Santa BIF
Shared with Mrkennedy

A-- Poured a dark but opaque burgundy color. Good half finger of light brown head that settled into a solid layer of film/ ringed collar. Good spotty lacing with this.

S-- Nice nose. Bourbon, oak, vanilla, raisin, and lots of coconut. To me not really a wee heavy but more of a barleywine in some ways. Lots of barrel notes and not much of the barrel.

T-- A lot like the smell but some added carmel and a lot alcohol. Nice taste but a lot of the barrel really carries this.

M-- Thin in mid and back of palate. Medium feel and light carbonation. Carmel sweet and dry oak finish. Not bad but not overwhelming. Too much barrel notes.

O-- Nice beer but not that nice. Would have again as the barrel enhances the beer but does leave some fairly large gaps here and there.

mulder1010, Jun 27, 2012
Photo of joepais
3.58/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle poured into a tulip glass produced a fingers worth of tan head that goes to lace sitting on top of a dark brown body

Alcohol, malt and bourbon aromas fill your nose

Tastes of sweet malt, bourbon, you get the barrel flavors as well

Medium smooth mouthfeel

Very big beer, good drinkablity will drink this one again. one per sitting though

joepais, Feb 16, 2008
Photo of Winter
3.58/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a clear deep brownish copper body with a yellowed tan head. Very noticeable oak and vanilla on the nose. There's also sweet caramel, chocolate malt, toffee, a whiff of dark fruit and alcohol. The viscous mouthfeel is full-bodied with light carbonation. Huge vanilla and oak flavors start things off up front. Bourbon follows. It's a very sticky beer. My mouth and lips are coated. Some graininess is apparent in the middle. This is not a sweet beer at all, though and is best enjoyed as a sipper. Alcohol has a strong presence in the finish.

Backwards Bastard is a very different beer than the Dirty Bastard. The oak aging is very apparent in the taste. Also, it's quite a bit less hoppier than its cousin. I wonder, in part, how much the oak aging had an effect on the diminished hoppiness. This is a decent bourbon barrel oak-aged beer, but it seems the more I try these, the more they all start tasting the same. One of these is enough for me in a sitting. The 9.2% abv and body of the beer easily makes this one to sit back and savor.

Winter, Nov 21, 2007
Photo of tsatem
3.58/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle into a snifter, courtesy of calbertb2. Bottled 10/08/10 at 12:54.

A: First off, I absolutely love this label, one of my favorites. Pours a deep mahogany color with a small head that fades quickly. Appears slightly orange while coming out of the bottle. There seems to be a small bit of lacing right off the bat, but not too much of it sticks around.

S: Smells rather too sweet. Bourbon is taking a backseat. Raisins and figs, caramel toffee and vanilla, sweet spices.

T: Lots more bourbon than I was expecting from the nose. All of the sweet tastes from the nose with more caramel in the foreground. A little bit of earthy oak influence, and bourbon plus alcohol heat in the back. I taste a definite bourbon booziness, as if there was bourbon added to the beer rather than the beer being aged in barrels.

M: Somewhat thin, typical of the style but not what I'm used to from bourbon barrel aged beers or beers with such a high ABV. Very nice, mild amount of carbonation.

D (seems to be O now): The bourbon booziness and sweetness is detracting from the drinkability for me. Scotch ales are not my favorite style to start with and I love bourbon barrel aged beers, so I might just be having a hard time not separating these tastes. This is an absolute sipper that I really needed to take my time with.

tsatem, Mar 22, 2011
Photo of sholland119
3.58/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A-Pours a clear ruby amber with little head.

S-Raisins and other dark fruits with more than a little bit of alcohol. Way more alcohol on the nose than I would expect for a 9% alcohol.

T-Very strong bourbon, dark cherries and raisins, a hint of vanilla. Strong alcohol warming in the finish.

M-Moderate carbonation, lingers on the tongue.

D-Even for the style, not very drinkable for me. A little heavy on the alcohol for me to really enjoy more than one.

Probably the first Founders beer I did not love. Their batting average is still pretty high.


sholland119, Jun 29, 2008
Photo of thetomG
3.58/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2009 vintage...

Clearish brown pour. A bit of tan head.

Aroma and flavor are VERY heavy on the whiskey - a bit too much for my taste to be honest. This is one of the biggest bourbon bombs I've ever had - to the point where it tastes less like beer and more like liquor to me. Not bad, but not my favorite by any means.

It does have a very nice smooth mouthfeel, but overall not something I'm going to be seeking out again.

thetomG, Oct 26, 2010
Photo of Roose13
3.58/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass

A: A light brownish red, kinda like the Dirty Bastard. No head at all.

S: Vanilla, oak, wood, sugar. It really smells like a stout, which is probably due to the vanilla, wood and bourbon notes.

T: Tastes like a bourbon to me. Vanilla and wood come to mind first.

M: Medium carbonation, smooth and totally tastes like a liquor.

Overall: Really good. I have three more bottles left in the four back and thinking about letting one or two of them sit around for a while.

Roose13, Nov 22, 2012
Photo of imagineiii
3.58/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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 VMWhelan
3.55/5  rDev -18%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass

A: Pours a dark brownish color that appears more of a reddish-brown when held up to light. Thin head that dissapates within about a minute and leaves some nice lacing the whole time.

S: Wow, you can really smell the bourbon in this one. Also smells of oak, molassas and even some dark fruit in there such as raisin.

T: Mostly malty and nutty. The bourbon is very prevalent as well, a little more so than I really would like in the taste. A little boozy going down.

M: Medium to thick; creamy.

D: For the 10% ABV, this one goes down suprisingly easy. While it is definitely an excellent beer, I'm not sure if I could see myself drinking more than one of these in a night, the molasses gets a little tiring.

VMWhelan, Dec 07, 2010
Photo of HopEnthusiast
3.55/5  rDev -18%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a light cloudy deep amber color with a small foamy head with average retention and minimal lacing. Aroma of scotch and malt. Taste is a fine mix betwen some scotch notes with some deep sweet marley with some light dry fruit notes. Malt definitely mellowed it out a little. Full body with average carbonation and no alcohol ester where noticeable. Bourbon is a little to noticable. Mine as well take a shot. Definitely a unique brew. Still very solid beer as usual from this brewery.

HopEnthusiast, Jan 02, 2009
Photo of gdfan47
3.55/5  rDev -18%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

first off.. im very irish.. and i cant /don't like whiskey

but i figured I would try this beer anyway

it poured a dark copper color without alot of head

the smell is of whiskey and alcohol.. straight up

it tastes like it smells, you can really taste the alcohol too

its pretty smooth but the non whiskey drinking part of me makes it hard to like this beer

i would try it again, maybe I will develop a better taste for whiskey..

there is nothing wrong with this beer, im just not acclimated to whiskey

gdfan47, Nov 29, 2008
Photo of ksimons
3.55/5  rDev -18%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A-a deep ruby color with a nice fingers worth of light tan head

S-some malt smell with smokiness, but mostly just a large amount of bourbon

T-Wow that is a lot of bourbon flavor! I'm really not getting much else out of this beer unfortunately. Edit-as it warms the flavor improves slightly with more malt and caramel, but the bite still masks things too much in my opinion.

M-medium body, light carbonation, pretty hot from the alcohol

Overall I was excited to finally see this beer in my area and to try it. The bourbon is sort of overpowering, feels like I am having whiskey not beer. Maybe some age or warming would help improve things.

ksimons, Nov 19, 2012
Photo of mrquartetman
3.53/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Red, big head

S: Winey, bourbon, oaky like a chardonnay, highly malty

T: Very strong oakiness and bourbon flavor; in fact it's almost all bourbon and oak, and hard to find the beer in the beer. This is, to me, bourbon barrel aging gone over the top.

M: Persistent, very dense, but again, overwhelming bourbon taste stays on the tongue, and is too much.

D: Good once. Next.

mrquartetman, Mar 27, 2009
Photo of devilben02
3.53/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle, this beer has a dense, dark, and cloudy chestnut brown color with a crimson-tinged halo around the edges. The aroma is intensely woody, giving an impression of being in a pine forest at dusk after a storm. There is also a mild, fruity, cherry-like sweetness that wafts out from under the wood. The flavor is similarly rustic, with notes of charred wood and dark caramel, but any nuance to the flavor profile is difficult to appreciate under a substantial alcohol heat. Overall, though, despite some identifiable faults, the total experience with this beer is still satisfying.

devilben02, Sep 18, 2012
Photo of MPLS
3.53/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Picked this one up from a fine selection of single bottles the worlds oak aged and bourbon really stuck out like.

A: Dark copper body with a amber bottom. Cascading head with a soapy head that appears to have gotten just a slight tan. Faint and mild-mannered lacing.

S: Dirty caramel infused bourbon, butterscotch, almond, alcohol.

T: Very sweet and malty, the butterscotch/caramel dominates the beer. Small linger hop profile. I might have had bigger expectations of this beer, maybe it's the style that doesn't work well with the oak-aged bourbon barrels. maybe I'm spoiled with bourbon-aged stouts?

M: Medium bodied would be generous, a bit thin for a "big beer"

D: Hmmm...the bourbon element entices me to want it, but the thin mouthfeel and not to my liking sweetness of this beer make would make me grab for it if it were in the back of the fridge.

MPLS, Nov 18, 2009
Photo of byronic
3.53/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2013 bottle from the LCBO

Pours a nice ruby brown with a thin head forming around the rim.

Unbelievable smell. Caramel and Bourbon. Definitely one of the nicest aromas I've come across.

Bourbon, Bourbon, Bourbon. Far too sweet and all I can taste is the Bourbon and oak barrel aging. It's overwhelming to the senses.

Warming, sipping beer almost like a scotch. Very smooth with low carbonation.

byronic, Mar 18, 2014
Photo of kkipple
3.53/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I've got well over 30 beers languishing in my notes to review, but for some reason - it could be the torrential rain on a dreary November day - I felt like something woody, something soothing, something... bourbony! Thanks to my fridge for hanging onto this one for a while. 2009 vintage.

A. Backwoods Bastard is a dirty looking, sediment-heavy, caramel red with just a touch of lacy head that eventually flattens out. Looks a bit thin and watery, the yeasty bits remain suspended in the brew. One of the odder looking brews to grace this snifter.

S. Initial nose is sweet malt and a pronounced woodiness, followed by brown sugar, a bit of char and a good amount of bourbon and alcohol heat. There's an estery, date-like sweetness that's often found in barrel aged beers, but it too seems overmuch. As it warms you get more: vanilla, a bit of heather-dirt, more nuanced roasty-sweet malt. Not bad. But as a whole the experience is sweet, sharp, and boozy.

T. Hmm... what we have here is an over-bourboned, very sweet Wee Heavy. Now, I love bourbon, but it needs to be in harmony to the beer (see BA Sexual Chocolate for a world-class example) or be so insanely tasty that you just don't care. Backwoods Bastard is not quite there. There's a big estery, brown-sugar sweetness, a LOT of barrel character, and booze to spare. This is 10% and shows. The bourbon is the heart and soul of this beer, the scotch ale (the more interesting flavor to be had) seems to work around it, filling in the cracks in the woody, sweet, alcoholic and warming base. The sweetness is just shy of being too much, and the finish is sugary, woody and warm with some distracting aspirin-like bitterness.

M / D. Strangely thin, not quite watery. Carbonation is low but adds some needed punch; I would prefer more. Not easy to drink, I'm sorry to say. The bourbon is too sharp, the sweetness distracting. Founder's own Old Curmudgeon does this thing better.

Backwoods Bastard isn't exactly a miss, but if I was doing this in a lineup I'd use it of an example of a bourbon beer that doesn't quite hit the mark.

kkipple, Nov 10, 2009
Photo of thain709
3.53/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Poured a deep mahogany brown with some haze to it...the head formed and was very little but I expected that from a 10% beer...some lacing was left

S - Besides the generous amount of bourbon there are very subtle notes of chocolate and vanilla lingering around...pretty inviting nose

T - Just what I expected...bourbon is present from the beginning to the end...a big alcohol burn...the vanilla from the nose is present and provides a strong sweetness to the beer which is needed...I can compare the taste to that of drinking a jack and coke...I guess you could say there's some balance to this beer but it's definitely bourbon barrel aged

M - Medium bodied...slick with a big warming alcohol effect

D - This was my first bourbon aged beer...I wasn't sure what to expect besides the bourbon flavor and this provided lots of bourbon...it smelled nice but maybe this just isn't my style...I'll have to just try more bourbon barrel aged beers!

thain709, Jan 30, 2010
Photo of blackcompg
3.53/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from their 12oz bottle, bottled 10/13/11, about 5 weeks old, here we go...

Appearance - Poured about half a finger of tan head which quickly dissipated. Color is a deep hazy red amber.

Smell - Brown sugar, hints of vanilla, oak, and bourbon.

Taste - Whoah, there's no hidden alcohol here whatsoever. The oaked bourbon is right up front, and lasts throughout the sip. There is a somewhat sweet brown sugar/toffee backbone, with vanilla and drying oak asserting themselves in the finish, along with lingering bourbon heat.

Mouthfeel - Carb is quite low in this, adds tingle at the sides n back of the tongue. Mouthfeel is medium, starts to coat the mouth but is then cut by the bourbon-like alcohol.

Overall - This is truly like sipping a glass of bourbon, I'm nearly tempted to throw some ice in a rocks glass and pour a few fingers to sip! This is not a bad thing really, the flavors are actually very well balanced, but the bourbon and alcohol are the main acts here.

blackcompg, Nov 19, 2011
Photo of Vancer
3.53/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Oh man, I almost pass out when I sniff a brew and get the malty bourbon aroma, no shit, it’s very close to Jim Beam – one of my favorites. And some vanilla tossed in the mix adds nicely to this brew.

In fact, adds TOO much to the quaff, it’s turning into a vanilla malt shake. Sweet to the point of cloying. Holy crap Founders forked up this one.

It tries to settle at mid-bottle, but it stays on the sweet side – and this hides any thought of 8.7% alcohol. But eh, I’ll try again next year.

Vancer, Dec 28, 2007
Photo of inlimbo77
3.53/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured on-tap at Capone's in Norristown, PA into 8oz snifter.

A: poured a rich black color with minimal head, but good lacing during consumption.

S: smells like bourbon, as promised. really smokey from the nose.

T: taste meets the smell. roasted malts, smoke, and caramel are what I got. strong flavors.

M: thick and chewy in the mouth. this beer has a kick with the bourbon flavor.

D: this is a one-a-night type beer. cold, snowy night = perfect. but the strength of the flavors and the 10.2% ABV will get you. extreme brew.

Overall, I like the effort Founders masters put towards this one. not exactly my cup of tea/bourbon, but enjoyed for the time.

inlimbo77, Jan 27, 2011
Photo of tai4ji2x
3.53/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

no date on bottle found. from notes, tasted in june 2009. poured into tulip glass.

dark brown w/ amber hue, ruby-like under the light. almost clear, but some micro particles floating about (decanted 1cm). 1-finger of yellow-tan head, fades to just wisps and creamy ring. it stays around, but the lacing is sparse and splotchy.

aroma: passionfruit and mango (?!), oaky vanilla and bourbony leather hints. brown sugar and caramel - very sweet smell. citrusy and grassy hops are subdued now, blending w/ fruit and malt notes. everything backs off after a while tho...

taste: malt and bourbon upfront, w/ wood and leather. resinous hops giving a moderate bitterness. troupical fruit still peeks through slightly. resinous and leathery/woody into the finish, lingering in the aftertaste.

medium body, almost syrupy, with astringency from the middle onwards. mild to moderate carbonation helps w/ body, almost creamy even, but doesn't lift away enough resins and tannins.


(NOTE: i enjoyed later batches better. re-reviews forthcoming)

tai4ji2x, Oct 04, 2010
Founders Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 5,458 ratings.