Dismiss Notice
Sneak peek! BeerAdvocate magazine #104 (September 2015) featuring Leah & Oscar from Highland Brewing in Asheville, North Carolina. Learn more ...

Founders Backwoods Bastard - Founders Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Founders Backwoods BastardFounders Backwoods Bastard

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
94
outstanding

1,588 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 1,588
Hads: 7,067
rAvg: 4.22
pDev: 10.43%
Wants: 913
Gots: 2,525 | FT: 242
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: 1,588 | Hads: 7,067
Photo of HowardTheDuck
4.06/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Doing a side-by-side with '13 and '14 bottles, as air just have one '12 left that I'll save for a longer vertical in the future. No distinguishable difference on the pour. On the nose, the '13 has a slightly stronger bourbon scent. That carries through to the taste as well, with the '13 also having a just a touch more caramel sweetness. This makes me assume they keep their bourbon barrels on a 3-year rotation like they do with KBS. Overall there's not much difference at all between the batches, now 5 months and 17 months old. Will be curious to see how much difference is present with a bigger lineup in a couple years. (625 characters)

Photo of Catracho5
4.46/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Review for 2013 Backwoods Bastard
12 ounce bottle poured into a Belgian style tulip

A: Dark brown with an off white head that vanished fairly quick, little to no carbonation, looks kind of cloudy, minor lacing.

A: Bourbon sweetness up front, picking up the malts, caramel toffee sweetness with some roasted nut aromas,

T: Bourbon, malts, caramel, toffee, some roasted nut flavors, very nice dry finish, picking up some of the alcohol, slight bitterness at the end that fades fairly quick, tastes really good.

M: Medium mouthfeel with a dry finish slight alcohol burn.

O: Very drinkable, very smooth, tasty, it’s a 2013 and the bourbon and alcohol leave a slight burn on the palate, but overall, very good. Kind of reminds me of a barrel aged barleywine as the Scotch ale characteristics are absent. (806 characters)

Photo of sweet-maltman_1
4.94/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

It is rare that I find a beer that just makes me want to have more than one at a sitting. Backwoods Bastard is just that. It is a very complex brew, similar to a good Scotch Ale but with a lot of subtle complexities. Obviously that comes from the aging process in Bourbon Casks. The taste is dark fruit, peat, chocolate and bourbon. It has a little more hops on the finish than I generally like, but this is a world class brew. Watch out however if you do engage and have more than a couple at a sitting because it is a 10.2% brew and they do sneak up on you. Cheers. (575 characters)

Photo of mchegash
4.33/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - 4.25/5
A beautiful deep shade of red. Minimal head, but some. Clear-ish, but the color is fairly dark so you can't see through super well.

Smell - 4.25/5
Oakey Bourbon and Vanilla is the dominant aroma. Maybe a little bit of spice. I can't detect much else in the aroma, but the aroma is fantastic. The aroma reminds me of NH's Dragon's Milk.

Taste - 4.25/5
Strong oakey bourbon and creamy vanilla flavors, along with some slightly sweet malts. Maybe some chocolate. The 10.2% ABV is masterfully hidden behind the delicious taste. I tried to detect more nuances in the flavor, but couldn't. The oak-bourbon-vanilla flavor is great, but a little more complexity would be appreciated.

Mouthfeel - 4.5/5
Very creamy, lightly carbonated, in between light and medium bodied. I love the feel of this beer in my mouth.

Overall - 4.5/5
This beer definitely lives up to the hype. The oak-bourbon-vanilla flavor is the best I have had among beers with a flavor similar to this (Dragon's Milk and Pilgrim's Dole come to mind). A little more complexity in the aroma and flavor might have improved this beer, but no major complaints. Definitely a beer to sip and savor. Glad I was able to snag the last 4-pack of this at a local liquor store. (1,248 characters)

Photo of Gr8Stouts
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very close to Weyerbacher Insanity, a bit smoother with not as much bourbon. For my taste I prefer Insanity over BB. Great Ale and I will buy it when ever I can find it. (169 characters)

Photo of KM_Seahawk
4.21/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A- clear deep mahogany, very little head that dissipates quickly
S- vanilla, strong bourbon, butterscotch, toffee sweetness, very pleasant
T- just like the nose, butterscotch, vanilla & bourbon up front, some creme brulee, slight oak, tannic and warming alcohol on the end.
M- medium to full bodied, very smooth and creamy, very low carbonation
O - really enjoyable, very tasty and very smooth for the abv. Too bad that I could only get 2 bottles, hopefully I can load up next time. (484 characters)

Photo of von_kaiser
4.4/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Like butterscotch! Let her sit for a bit after taking out the fridge. Glad I loaded up on this stuff this year. Looking forward to see what age has to offer. Cheers! (169 characters)

Photo of MacMalt
4.81/5  rDev +14%
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 Tripel_Threat
4.79/5  rDev +13.5%
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 arizcards
4.3/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Picked up a single from TW Arrowhead in late November for $4.49. Bottled on 9/26/14.

Beer poured reddish-brown with a small head that dissipated quickly.

Nose is oak and booze with vanilla sweetness.

Taste is vanilla, oak, bourbon, caramel, toffee, with a decent amount of hopping so that it is not cloying.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and smooth.

Overall this is a delicious brew. I love subtly barreled brews and this one is very well done at a very reasonable price. Another master crafted brews from the Founders team! (529 characters)

Photo of Bone53
4.48/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

On tap @ Mad Mex

Appearance: Ruby brown with a finger of beige head

Smell: The oaky, vanilla bourbon barrel qualities meld great with the sweet caramel and toffee malt notes

Taste: Sweet caramel and toffee notes upfront then the vanilla and oak from the barrels really shine.

Mouthfeel: Full body; Really coats the palate going down, with thin alcohol and moderate bitterness on the finish

Overall: Really a wonderful beer, especially during these winter months. The sweet malts compliment the bournon barrel quailities very well. I dont know if this is what i imagine the perfect BBA scotch ale to be, but its damn close. The warmer it got the higher i rated it (667 characters)

Photo of TBonez477
4.58/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2012 bottle received in trade. Drinking very smooth.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Drank fresh on tap, increased ratings accordingly. (181 characters)

Photo of snaotheus
4.19/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2015-02-27
12oz bottle split between a couple Georgetown samplers.

Pours cloudy brown with a small head. Smell is delicious bourbon. Yeast and alcohol.

Taste is sweet, malty, bourbon and alcohol. Very nice. Oaky and smoky.

Mouthfeel is smooth and clean. Overall, quite good. (277 characters)

Photo of SierraFlight
3.68/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into nonic. Clear dark ruby/amber with two finger khaki foamy head. Lacing all the way down. Smells of coconut, dark fruits, vanilla, and wood. No obvious bourbon notes. Flavor is malty and sweet with more coconut, vanilla, booze, caramel, and wood. Slight hop bitterness on the swallow. Medium bodied, creamy, low carbonation, and a touch thin. (357 characters)

Photo of mick303
4.6/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2014 vintage, bottled in October, enjoyed in February. Poured a dark ruby brown, with a large initial tan brown head leaving great lacing and a nice retention on the film.

S - wow, this is some degree of wonderful. Rich velvety dark fruits, raisin, dates, molasses, and licorice, mixed with some sweet bourbon vanilla, dark brown sugar, notes of earthy/leathery notes and hints of the malty strength, but the alcohol is hidden. Rich and captivating.

T - again sublimely rich but also so balanced. Rich spice notes, molasses, cinnamon, some ginger maybe? coconut and chocolate, and a huge thick oaky and bourbon character, lots of vanilla to match. Some brown sugar, rum spiciness, with some robust maltiness, and an underlying caramel, not very sweet but flows throughout the beer with a nice even keel of caramelized malt. Bitterness works really well to keep this in proportion, this mixes rich christmas cake and an earthy dunnage warehouse, with lots of bourbon and vanilla. The proportions are fantastic and this is ridiculously easy to drink with hardly any hints of alcohol and a captivating flavour profile. Satisfying.

M - rich, malty and caramel body, big, with an even moderate carbonation, not overly sticky on the palate, but has gentle hints, delivers and then sticks around with a long vanilla/caramel aftertaste.

Any praise this beer gets would struggle to do it justice. It is phenomenal. From the aroma to the aftertaste it is a captivating, thrilling experience and keeps the alcohol so well in proportion with the bourbon and malt flavours. It is unbelievable pleasant and easy to drink, suited well to a cold winter night, and I beer I will be making a concerted effort to acquire more of. A delight! (1,725 characters)

Photo of justjonas
4.27/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Do u like bourbon? Cuz theres a ton of it to be had in this founders offering. Has opened my eyes to what can be done with a bourbon barrel aside from the usual (stout) suspects. Delicious! (189 characters)

Photo of yannimou
2.89/5  rDev -31.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Be warned; there is A LOT of bourbon in this beer. It's sweet and malty, but bourbon is the dominate flavor in this beer. The alcohol is NOT masked at all. Imagine drinking a viscous, carbonated bourbon with 1/4 the alcohol content. That's backwoods. Sorry, but I'm not a fan. I like BBA stouts and even barely or wheat wines. This is not for me. (346 characters)

Photo of mjwellman
4.89/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

I think this may be my favorite beer now. Dark brown in color but somewhat clear. Sweet nutty aroma with bourbon. The tast is carmel and bourbon with a lite sweet taste. No bitterness. This is one of the quintessential beers. I could drink this everyday. (260 characters)

Photo of orcrist_cleaver
4.77/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Looks of deep walnut. Carries a nutty, toffee, vanilla and an amazing bourbon barrel scent. Dark, sweet and vinous fruit. Tastes like figs and dates quite distinctly. Spicy and roasted malt. Clean scotch cask flavor with rough barrel of bourbon. Big bodied beer. Very exceptional. (283 characters)

Photo of ArkyPalmer
3.35/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The Mixed Drink of Beers. Okay head. Nothing special there. Rich, brown color. Smells sweet, you can smell the alcohol as well. Smells of whisky/bourbon. Tastes sweet, but harsh. You can definitely taste the alcohol, it's not masked much at all. A great beer for a whisky drinker, not so much for me. (300 characters)

Photo of JerzDevl2000
4.25/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Finally had a bottle of this up at the Cloverleaf Tavern earlier this week. I thought this was an IPA when I first gave it a go, which speaks more about my lack of discernment than the beer itself. Strong, smooth, and somewhat hoppy, there's enough of a Bourbon-like reminder here to keep this true to form. The aging of this beer really shone through when I had it and even though it warmed me up a bit, this was fabulous stuff that went down easier then I thought!

Appropriately, this was poured into a snifter and I let it up warm up for a bit before giving it a go. This had a nice mahogany hue to it with not a lot of head, a clear appearance, and some lacing that slid down the side of my glass as I worked my way through it. Strong bourbon and caramel notes in the nose with some nuttiness in the taste to go along with the strong, sticky mouthfeel but the latter tended more towards resin and less from sugar as would be found in other Scotch or Brown Ales. Very smooth with some molasses in the aftertaste and just a slight burn that gave this beer a good balance without detracting from the flavor profile.

Wee heavy? More like quite heavy, but this was worth savoring and the warming effect of the alcohol complemented everything else nicely. Founders brews some amazing beers and this one was no exception to it. I need to get a four-pack for this house and age a few as so many here have done. Shame that this was a fall release as I'd love this for all of the cooler months of the year. Yes, it's that good! (1,524 characters)

Photo of bnelson997
4.63/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a snifter. Bottle date of 9/2014. Thanks to marnet for this one.

Appearance- Pours a murky, auburn brown with little to no head. Settles to a nice film on top with legs on the sides of the glass.

Aroma- great balls of bourbon, smells like the inside of a delicious recently emptied oak bourbon barrel.

Taste/mouthfeel- subtle bourbon and oak flavor up front that cascades into toffee, burnt sugar, and dark dried fruit. Hardly any alcohol burn, which is scary because this 10%er is super easy to drink! The oak and sweet bourbon flavors meld very well and it has a nice full mouthfeel.

Overall- this is a fantastic and well rounded brew that has taken all the good things out of the barrel aging and left nothing behind. Drinking this with just under six months of age on it. I would love some more to be able to age and have the barrel flavors develop further. Great stuff! (911 characters)

Photo of priwen
4.17/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Dark brown with thin, tan head. Wonderful smell of bourbon with some malt and vanilla in the background. Bourbon dominates the taste of this one. Very easy drinking given the alcohol. Has a nice, semi-dry finish. Overall a wonderful beer that deserves to be sipped and savored.

12 oz bottle
Bottled date: 10/10/2014
Served in an oversized wine glass (350 characters)

Photo of Kevin_Mawhinney
4.69/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

One of the best barrel aged beers I've had. Pours like motor oil, the head is maybe 1/8th of an inch high bronze color. The smell is a good balance between bourbon, oak, vanilla, nuts and dark fruit. The taste is fantastically layered. Starts with a captivating bourbon dominance, transitions into layers of dark fruit and oak and finishes with a very long vanilla note. The feel is creamy and complex. Laid a few down in the cellar. (433 characters)

Photo of barfootbandit
4.52/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap, good beer. Very dark and almost black and smells oaky and scotch-y. Also tastes very oaky from the barrel aging and slightly overpowers the peated scotch-y malts. Bourbon tastes are incredibly apparent as well and this is a very boozy tasting beer. The scotch ale style has some malty sweetness to balance this out but this beer could use some aging to open up more flavors and depth. Definitely a recommended beer though. (434 characters)

Founders Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
94 out of 100 based on 1,588 ratings.