Dismiss Notice
Subscribe to BeerAdvocate magazine?

Learn more about beer and save over 53% with a 3-year subscription.

Subscribe now →

Founders Backwoods Bastard - Founders Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Founders Backwoods BastardFounders Backwoods Bastard

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,589 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 1,589
Hads: 7,086
Avg: 4.24
pDev: 23.11%
Wants: 926
Gots: 2,533 | FT: 243
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:
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: 1,589 | Hads: 7,086
Photo of Doomcifer
4.81/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pours a deep mahogany color with decent head that fades away quickly. When held to light, you can see a bunch of "floaties" and haze.

Aroma is very complex. Oak, dark fruits, bourbon, a hint of peat moss, cherries, toffee, alcohol, orange zest....and more. I could smell this stuff forever.

Taste is equally complex. Oak, dark overripe fruits, prunes, peat moss, cherries, caramel/toffee, whiskey, tobacco, heather....the list goes on & on.

Mildly heavy beer, nice carbonation, semi dry finish. Slight boozy finish but not as much as would be expected. Surprisingly smooth yet warming.

I could sip on this all night if it wasn't for the ABV. Phenomenal beer.

 663 characters

Photo of MacMalt
4.81/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

One of my all time favorites! I sip this one on special occasions, especially when celebrating success at work and wins by my favorite teams! I go to great lengths to purchase as much as I can.

 195 characters

Photo of drrone
4.81/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a bottle on 3/1/13. Bottle Dated 10/13/11.

A - Gorgeous hazy dark amber/brown color. Very little head and minimal lacing. It had some floating particles in it.

S - Wonderful nose to it. Bourbon, vanilla, and I think caramel/butterscotch. It makes my mouth water. Fantastic.

T - The taste is amazing. It follows the nose very well with an explosion of bourbon, vanilla, caramel/butterscotch, with an oak and malt finish. Nice balanced booziness to it.

M - Smooth, very easy to drink.

O - I love this beer. I only wish I could have found more of it. Founders did a wonderful job.

 598 characters

Photo of EMV
4.81/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

In bottle poured into a tulip glass.

L: Pours a dark mahogany brown, approaching black. A nice head leaves delicate lacing on the glass.

S: Bourbon. Delicious oaky bourbon plus alcohol, with undertones of malts and light hops.

T: Just a glorious beer, boozy with a wonderful bourbon flavor on top of the malts and caramel of the wee heavy. Mild hop bitterness at the finish keeps it honest.

F: Thick and chewy, moderate carbonation and smooooth.

O: One of my favorites, and great quality as expected from Founders. Serve at cellar temperature for best flavor, and if you like bourbon aged beers this is one of the best. It really works well with the wee-heavy style and the malts are dominant but there's definite complexity once you get past the alcohol. Boozy and delicious. It mellows a little bit with a few extra months of aging but it rarely lasts long enough in my house to get there.

 905 characters

Photo of drewba
4.81/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - murky, translucent dark brown/burnt sugar which pours with a half finger head which quickly recedes to a khaki ring and thin top coating just around the glass. I want more bubbles!

S - This may be one of the most pronounced vanilla aromas i've ever smelled. I know this doesn't make sense, but the vanilla just smells sweet, smooth, creamy, silky. To adapt a classic George Costanza line, "I would bathe myself in Backwoods Bastard if it was socially acceptable". The background aroma is riddled with delicious molasses, oak and a hint of dark fruit and alcohol.

T - After that aroma, how could this be bad? The taste does not dissapoint, the flavors are deep and delicious. The bourbon imparts lots of brown sugar, sweet vanilla and a slight dryness from the wood. The malts are bringing out a lot of nuance - hearty bread, pecan, caramel, raisin, plum. The hop profile is not lost, but not pronounced. A very mild citrus and bitter character is present and does a great job of balancing all of the sweet flavor qualities going on in backwoods bastard.

M - Creamy, smooth, low but tingly carbonation. Medium - thick body is just right.

D - I've got to say, I love bourbon, but this is like the bourbon barrel aged beer for the person who doesn't love a heavy dose of bourbon. The bourbon sweetness is highlighted, while keeping the alcohol heat at bay (though there is a bourbon aftertaste). Because of this, this was a beer I began sipping, but couldn't stay away for long.

 1,486 characters

Photo of rhoadsrage
4.8/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

1yr old 2007 brew
(Served in a snifter)
A- Dark brown body with a faint red glow thick creamy yellowish head good strong carbonation of tiny bubbles.

S- Still a big wet oaky barrel with some nice dark dry malty notes. Make you want to sniff for days.

T- Nice full bourbon flavor with big oaky vanilla flavors and some roasted malt flavors. There is a burnt wood malt flavor to the bourbon in the finish. This lingers for a bit after each sip.

M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel with a creamy texture as long as the head last. There is a soft smooth alcohol heat that supports the flavors.

D- This beer is great fresh and it is just a good with some age on it although I didn't really notice much change.
(Served in a snifter)

A- This beer has a deep auburn-brown body that is a bit dense but still clear. There is a creamy light tan head that sticks to the glass and last long after the beer does. It also has a nice slow carbonation of tiny bubbles that support the head.

S- The smell of big vanilla and bourbon has notes of dry toasted malt and apple wood smoke to them. There is a slight sweetness to the smoke and the aromas are big with some nice depth.

T- The taste of big oak and some nice prune flavors and a bourbon/vanilla flavor to it. There is a soft butterscotch flavor followed by a spicy bourbon note and some bitter hops that finish off the beer nicely.

M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel with a soft heat that lingers with the bourbon and hops taste.

D- This beer has a bit more sweetness to the malt which adds more depth to the bourbon and wood. This is a great beer for the winter months ahead. It will pair well with a warm fire, cold winter nights and perhaps a cigar.

 1,712 characters

Photo of screamking
4.8/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

12 oz bottle poured in snifter.

Appearance- cloudy red-brown with little head. 4.25

Aroma-toffee, butterscotch, oak, alcohol, brown sugar, malty. 4.75

Taste-heavy toffee, lots of toffee, creamy butterscotch, vanilla, some malts, hint of alcohol. 5

Feel-medium body, coats palate well, no burn. 4.5

Overall- first off, I'm not a big fan of dirty bastard but this bourbon aged version is everything I want in a sipping beer. The flavor just keeps evolving as you drink it. Give this beer to a whisk(e)y drinker and watch their eyes open up and explode. Strong bourbon profile. Get a pack if you can, get two if you have the money.4.75

 638 characters

Photo of raverjames
4.8/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark amber with a 2 finger head. Head retention is great.

S: Bourbon, vanilla, smoke, and caramel.

T: Roasty and malty. If you could make a beer taste just like bourbon, it would be just like this. Tons of oak and vanilla.

M: Smooth, sweet, and rich. A tad sweet, though it compliments the heavy bourbon flavor and booze.

D: Great beer that is pretty easy to drink for the abv. Perfect brew for a cold night in front of the fire. Founders doesn't seem to make a bad beer, and this is just another example of their best work.

 532 characters

Photo of drgonzo3705
4.8/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a nice dark brown with slight ruby hues and a decent head that recedes to a thin film but leaves very nice lacing in the glass.

S: Nice soft bourbon smell fills the nose with the candied malts hiding in the back.

T: A sweet caramel taste with the bourbon riding along. The bourbon is pretty well balanced here.

M: Smooth, thick, and creamy makes this beer oh so good.

D: The only place where this loses points is the ABV. The 10.2% it clocks in at this year (2008) is pretty well hidden but a few could easily catch up to you. I love this beer though and plan on stocking up on the next release!

 608 characters

Photo of archiebunkerjr
4.8/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Appearance - Dark caramel brown color. No visible carbonation. Slight head immediately after pour. Head almost disappears within two minutes but never completely disappears.

Smell - Bourbon Sweet Bourbon!!! Caramel, fig and faint alcohol

Taste - Sweet caramel malts. More alcohol on the finish than the nose suggested. Leaves no doubt where this beer was before it was bottled.

Mouthfeel - Very smooth. Not quite syrupy. Just enough carbonation to know it's there but still very smooth.

What's not to love about this beer? I can babysip this beer for over an hour and every sip is better than the last. This is my go to beer when I want to reward myself and quietly revel in my own success. It simply tastes like victory. Another job well done by Founder's.

 761 characters

Photo of aforbes10
4.8/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is just one of 2 beers im reviewing from tastes at Dark Lord day...this one because of how amazingly good it was and because i actually took notes on it. Pours dark, dark brown with reddish hues and a thin wisp of a head. looks exciting. Odor is full of bourbon, oaky and ethanol-laced with chocolate and peat smells too. Taste is absolutely sublime. Bourbon, some vanilla (not too much), oak, cherries, peat, toffee, prunes, other dark dangerous fruits. obvious alcohol warming. i think dirty bastard is definitely a beer that lends itself to barrel aging. what a great beer this is, ill have to head on up to Founders soon. Don't know who brought the growler but thanks!

 677 characters

Photo of Blakaeris
4.8/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours dark red-brown, almost completely opaque. Tan head is slight but leaves decent lacing.

Aroma is chewy toasted caramel malt, chocolate, and an earthy, smoky woodiness blended with vanilla and bourbon.

Taste is very dry and woody with strong oak notes. Rich smokey malt, and chocolate. Finish has sweet vanilla with a bourbon spiciness.

Mouthfeel is full and round.

Flavor is full and rich. Hops are hardly noticeable. Huge smokey malt character matches well with strong woody bourbon. Alcohol is clearly present, but I never would have guessed that it is 9.2%. A tasty and flavorful brew.

 597 characters

Photo of cvfish
4.8/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Poured a ruby brown color that produced a white fluffy head that retained well and produced a nice lacing around the glass

S - A good malty aroma followed by that good old whiskey kick

T - A mix of a two great drinks, with all the malty backbone of deep beer along with great kick of a kentucky whiskey

M - Creamy, smooth, slight carbonation, and moderate body

D - Of all the whiskey infused ales out there, this one is my favorite. Its great, combining to of the great things I like, and in a almost perfect way

 520 characters

Photo of HopsHops
4.8/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured into a white ceramic cup because my last snifter was recently broken...

A - Very nice, dark caramel color with goldish color around the edge under a light...

S - Sweet, sugar, toffee, candy, tangy....Smells great man...

T - Powerful, Chocolate, toffee, some bitterness...well balanced... WOW

M - slightly carbonated just right, creamy, kinda coats the tongue. Excellent..

D - 10.2% abv. I'd be careful it is strong and you probably couldn't tell if youre not paying attention.

 488 characters

Photo of hail_seitan
4.79/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured from 12 oz. bottle into brandy snifter.

A - Radiant auburn body. Quite a bit of sediment, which is likely tasty bourbon sludge. A thin off-white head forms on the top.

S - Well, true to the style it smells like bourbon. Hints of vanilla, burnt sugar, and cherry also are present.

T - Right away, a luxurious oaky vanilla bourbon flavor rushes over the palate. Then comes a malty biscuit and cookie sweetness typical of Scottish ales, with black cherry and a hint of smoke. The finish is wonderfully boozy and comes full circle with a return to bourbon. Delightful.

M - Thick without being syrupy. The carbonation is just enough to lift up the heft of the booze.

O - Right up there with KBS. The barrel-aging process brings a new layer of depth Founders' heavy Scottish ale, which can be a tad on the sweet side. I find that at first this beer can have quite bite from the alcohol, but after 6 months to a year in the cellar it mellows out to be just about perfect.

 977 characters

Photo of FrostyFoster72
4.79/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

It's basically a badass version of their Dirty Bastard (which is great). Bourbon is definitely the front runner on the nose and taste, but absolutely no bad tastes! Smooth my bros, smooth!

 188 characters

Photo of BarrelAgedG
4.79/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from 12 oz bottle(dated 10/3/13) into a brewery labeled snifter. Served out of beer fridge at approximately 50 degrees

A: mahogany brown with a very minimal head

S: smells of caramel, bourbon, and oak(aka god's vagina)

T: very much the same as the smell. Caramel and bourbon come together with a bit of vanilla and oak

M: I guess I would say "medium"? It's not a syrupy stout but its not an ML either.

O: Unrealistically amazing. Founders has produced a world class BA scotch ale. Thank you Founders for this creation and much love for distributing to WI. Too bad I can not enjoy one of these daily

 611 characters

Photo of Optifron
4.79/5  rDev +13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Enjoyued 11/18/2012 during Founders day at Crane Alley in Urbana, IL

Appearance: Dark rust colored. A little hazy. Creamy tan head.

Aroma: Bourbon, wood, bit of vanilla. Malt hiding in there.

Taste: Good god. Amazing. Huge hit of vanilla. Mellow bourbon and wood added to thick malty sweetness.

Mouthfeel: Incredibly velvety, smooth and sweet. Very little carbonation.

Overall: Just amazing BA scotch ale. Leaves me pretty warm in the throat.

 447 characters

Photo of bifrost17
4.79/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a Great Divide Yeti Snifter

A: Really nice looking beer, deep deep dark reddish burgundy. Pours with about a half finger of an off white/tan head that dissipates pretty quickly into a thin white ring around the glass, not surprising since this is a barrel aged beer.

S: W O W ! ! ! Unreal. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but it definitely wasn't this. Huge vanilla initially, followed by bourbon, chocolate, dark fruits, and caramel. Smells delicious.

T: Tastes even better than it smells. So much vanilla, that's the biggest flavor for sure, but you definitely get a lot of the woody notes from the barrel as well. Really nicely balanced, not overly boozy or sweet. Perfectly executed.

M: Smooth, silky, full bodied, light carbonation. The barrel aging makes the mouthfeel of this brew incredible.

O: I'm stunned. I knew this beer was going to be good, but I honestly didn't expect it to be this good. I gave it pretty high marks because I'm really not a fan of Scotch Ales usually, but for me this is so perfect. Backwoods Bastard is now absolutely my favorite Founders beer, don't get me wrong, KBS and Breakfast Stout are up there as well, but I think this takes it to another level. Well done Founders, and thank you Nick for sending this my way. I can't wait to see what happens to my other bottle with some age on it.

 1,359 characters

Photo of Tripel_Threat
4.79/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

5th tasting of the evening. Smell is bourbon and oak, burnt malt, taste follows with hints of vanilla and coconut. This bastard is smoo-oo-oo-ooth. Too smooth. This is sneaky smooth

 181 characters

Photo of redman84
4.79/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

received two of these in Louisville from the Whole Paycheck. They were limiting sales to one per customer, so my brother and law and sister in law each got me one.

appearance - dark walnut

smell - fantastic notes of bourbon and malts.

taste - damn near perfect. Just behind bourbon county stout and kbs, IMHO.

mouthfeel - smooth and silky

overall - outstanding. Sneaky and drinkable, despite high abv, very very drinkable.

 430 characters

Photo of Martyrob
4.79/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

I love this beer. I had some of the 2013 batch for the first time a month ago and when it came out I bought 16 bottles of the 2014 batch and have had it on tap whenever I see it. fantastic beer!

 194 characters

Photo of rawrgasaurus
4.79/5  rDev +13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

serving type: bottle at The Oak in Wyandotte, MI

appearance: poured extremely dark, almost black into a tulip glass with minimal to no head.

smell: caramel, smoke and wood

taste: creamy and smooth

mouthfeel: thick and creamy with little carbonation

Dangerously drinkable. I can see why people rave over it. I think I prefer this to Founders Dirty Bastard, but honestly, I'll drink anything from this brewery.

 413 characters

Photo of lefty418
4.78/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This is an absolutely outstanding beer! It's powerful but not too overwhelming and I love the way it smells right after you open the bottle. Drank all mine up, so I will have to wait until next year for more.

 210 characters

Photo of Pezcraig
4.78/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Very dark brown color with a thin head.
Aroma: Sweet malt and bourbon.
Taste: Bourbon, caramelized malt, maple, vanilla, and dark cherry.
Mouthfeel: Very smooth and silky, creamy and rich.

As stated before, its a sipper. Let it open up, take this slow.
Enjoy this if you can find it.

 296 characters

Founders Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
94 out of 100 based on 1,589 ratings.