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Founders Backwoods Bastard - Founders Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Founders Backwoods BastardFounders Backwoods Bastard

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,656 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 1,656
Hads: 7,358
Avg: 4.25
pDev: 22.59%
Wants: 954
Gots: 2,784 | FT: 262
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: 1,656 | Hads: 7,358
Photo of SometimesIfart
3.36/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Founders Backwoods Bastard.


Alright enough of that shit. Stuff finally arrived in my town and this is the first year I was able to actually get ahold of some. At $16.99 a four pack it better be as good as the hype would have you believe. Let's do it.

Look - From the twelve ounce bottle directly into a snifter. Pours smoothly and cleanly with an amber body that is virtually crystal clear like the waters of the bahamas..only y'know, amber like the liquids of my slain enemies instead of blue like the oceans. The head mounts to a solid one finger of slightly off white bubbly head that doesn't stick around for more than maybe thirty seconds. Eventually the head dies down to some weakened cloud formations amongst the top of the swill. Carbonation appears to be very low. No lacing is left after the beer is gone.

Smell - Admittedly the nose isn't as large as what I had expected. Lots of bourbob up front exactly as expected, but I'm not getting a whole lot of the maltyness I assumed would be in this beer. A bit of the oak characteristic comes through, as does some peat levels and smaller amounts of vanilla. Overall this nose is dominated by the bourbon and not much else. It screams a higher ABV than only 11.6%. Maybe it needs to just warm a up a bit and we'll see what we get. Alright now that it has warmed up a bit the vanilla notes really come through and dominate alongside the bourbon but it still isn't quite as strong as I had expected.

Taste - Boozy with a capital B. Big scotch levels boozyness with a large oak presence and a vanilla that lingers well into the afterlife. Really astounded at the notability of the alcohol in this beer given than 11.6% isn't THAT much by todays beer standards. Caramel malts finally do come through but it is once again, highly dominated by the massive level of alcohol.

Feel - Body is as thick as I had expected though a bit cold. Carbonation is very low. The vanilla is there along with the oak barrel bullshat and a big boozyness exactly as expected. Swallows a bit rougher than I was anticipating. Burns at a moderate level as yoy swallow it.

Overall - Well...I'm disappointed. This is an alright beer, do not get me wrong, but there wasn't much more than just a big boozy concoction thrown into a bottle. The oak and vanilla surely come through but I didn't feel there was enough of the actual scotch ale components for this to be considered great. At $16.99 a four pack, and with this specific flavor profile and the absolute failure of booze hiding, I will most definitely pass in the future. I'll have no problem finishing the 4 pack, but there is no way this should be the highest rated scotch ale on here..

I'll drink a second at room temperature to see if anything changes, but at 53F it stands as written.

ROOM TEMPERATURE EDIT. No changes. Cept it looks a bit better.

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Photo of frothy_80
3.66/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

2015 Bottle poured into a tulip glass.

Look- One finger light brown head that is dissipating quickly. Murky dark brown color.
Smell- Burnt sugar, toffee, oaky vanilla character from the barrel, and dark fruits. Slight smokiness. Surprisingly the bourbon comes into play after the malt aromas. The finish is sweet alcohol.
Taste- Upfront are the burnt sugar, caramel, toffee, and vanilla followed with raisins or dates. The oak follows right behind and helps to balance the sweetness of the first initial flavors. The bourbon kicks in at the backside followed by the alcohol.
Feel- Full bodied. Carbonation is higher than I had anticipated but still low to low-med. The alcohol legs coat the mouth making mouthfeel somewhat silky and smooth.
Overall- The aroma and taste are not doing it for me. Every flavor stands out on a singular stature instead of coming together in harmony. As it sits right now, this beer is a flavor disaster. Hopefully this beer balances itself out with age. If it does, this beer is going to be great.

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Photo of kbwalters
4.14/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Look = 4.25 Pours cola brown into an opaque brown with fire red highlights. One finger of brown head fades quickly leaving a medium dense lace. Nice color.
Aroma = 4.5 Very sweet caramel malt upfront with candy and vanilla notes; big bourbon notes come in with oak notes and alcohol.
Taste = 4.0 Big caramel and vanilla flavors upfront before the big bourbon kick rolls in with oak notes complimenting. Low bitterness but sweet with a lingering alcohol taste.
Feel = 4.0 Full bodied, low to medium carbonation, sort of creamy and smooth.
Drinkability = 3.5 Big boozy presence hurts drinkability somewhat
Overall = 4.1125 All around pretty good BB scotch ale here but I’ve got it a notch or two below Wulver and Central Waters.

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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 BlushingMonk
4.89/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours malty brown with small white head. Delightful nose smells of bourbon, toffee, and vanilla. Moderately thin mouthfeel tastes just plan delicious. Alcohol is present, but you'd never guess 11.6% from the taste. Sweet, but not too sweet, carmel, bourbon, and malty cereal. No bitterness to speak of. This is a great beer! Robust and warming. I'll be stocking up to drink now and cellar some too.

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Photo of satoberg
4.41/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

pours cola dark brown, smells of bourbon. Very nice mellow overall taste. Alcohol isn't hidden, but doesn't burn you either. just enough carbonation to make this a great sipper.
Tasted in a Jekyll brewing tulip glass , and at 50º. bet it pairs great with a nicely charred, juicy steak. KBS jr!

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Photo of NotAlcoholicJustAHobby
4.47/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L-Dark, Dark brown almost black with a 1/2 inch off white head. The head recedes to a half centimeter ring with excellent lacing.
S-Malty sweetness with traces of bourbon and hints of roast.
T- a complex mix of malty sweetness, bourbon, caramel and alcohol throughout. Finishes with alcohol warmth.
F- Mouthfeel is thinner than the taste suggests. All the flavor of a stout with the mouthfeel of an ale. A really great combo which makes it stand out.
O-One of the best beers I've ever tasted. My new favorite wee heavy moving just ahead of Old Chub. I'll be buying this whenever I see it.

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Photo of TruePerception
4.29/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Founder's Backwoods Bastard, Bourbon barrel aged Scotch ale. 11.6% ABV.

A: Very dark, yet clear red, appearing black out of the light. Honey colored in the dimple. Light tan head. Decent lacing. Light sheeting.

S: Deep caramels and spiced toffee. Slight cereal grain backing. Quite nice, though a little simple.

T/MF: More of the expected char on the palate, though it is softer and more light. Dark cocoa, cereal grain, dark toffee. All leaning on the sweet side. Finish is more of the cereal grain, with a touch of sweet char. A bit understated overall (for a Scotch ale), but easily the best Scotch ale I've had.

I like this better than the KBS. personally, and it's $10 less a 4-pack.

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle, into a Belgian tulip glass.

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Photo of lastmango
4.54/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured a dark caramel brown with one finger head. Minimal lacing. Nose is wonderful with maple syrup, oak and vanilla. Taste of oak, bourbon, and caramel. This has a bit of a heavy, oily feel. The beer is a sipper and not to be consumed on a heavy meal. With 11.6 abv - watch out! This is one great brew to take the chill off a cold night.

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Photo of Stevem68
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark Amber color. Has an aroma of camel, molasses and booze. Flavor is a sweet, boozy with notes of Carmel and vanilla. Smooth finish with a warm boozy mouthfeel. Overall very delicious

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Photo of JackRWatkins
3.83/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

in a snifter from the bottle at 2 years (bo 10/24/13)

A:1 finger head, creamy, deep red to cola brown, fairly translucent but dark

S: immediate bourbon and malt, subtle vanilla

T: shockingly smooth, sweet malt and strong presence, well balanced, not a trace of bitterness to be found, vanilla, heavy brown sugar notes like a cookie or a graham cracker at times, very drinkable

M: creamy

O: a lovely beer, I will buy this again if I can find it, way better than kbs ever thought about being, relaxing and smooth almost calming, very much worth your time

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Photo of madelfonatree
4.66/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle dated 9/26/2014 enjoyed September 4, 2015 at World of Beer Front Street Columbus Ohio in a pint glass.

Look -Murky clay with thin white head. Fine bubbles. Blotchy lacing.

Smell - Bourbon. 90s Kroger tobacco aisle. Little fruit.

Taste - Bourbon. Raisin. Very plain and straight forward but good.

Feel - Smooth. No bomb. 50 IBU? Couldn't tell.

Overall - 2014 Josh couldn't choke this down but 2015 Josh is begging for more.

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Photo of MunsonRoyE
4.59/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 9/26/14

This was an amazing beer!
The first few sips were mediocre. However, from there on out, the flavors kept on coming out and changing in nothing but a good way. It just kept on getting better and better until the very last sip, and I was sad that my glass, unfortunately, was empty. I've never had one fresh, but at 11 months old, it was simply delicious. I have three more in the cellar and I don't know if they're going to be in there much longer!

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Photo of PolarBear3
4.18/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - Pours a dark brown colour with slightly off white head that dissipates to a thin film

S - Aromas are sweet toffee apple, candy/cinnamon with bourbon/vanilla. Very intense on the nose all round.

T - Slightly boozy but fairly well balanced with the toffee and vanilla very prominent up front, get some figs, raisins before a mild bitterness and spicy finish.

M - Medium bodied with medium carbonation but fairly smooth

O - A very good ale, booziness is there and I am not a fan of the slight bitter finish but overall a must to try

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Photo of Jayroda82
4.51/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Ok... Bottled 10.15.14...... Just cracked this bad boy open on 8.2.15.....

I find myself at my local distributor carrying out a prairie bomb, breakfast oatmeal stout, or kbs(when around) and now this. I love how the kbs is a magician and changes sip to sip from heavy vanilla notes to coffee... The bomb and breakfast a solid stout throughout.... Now this one was a pleasant surprise. Perfectly balanced... No signs of rubbing alcohol. Maybe i got the lucky 4 pack, but this will be my new favorite go to beer in the colder months. If u see it, try it. Good job founders.

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Photo of Andrewharemza
4.25/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Dark brown, Nice and thick mouthfeel with soft carbonation. The barrels have added a very pronounced whisky nose, and it’s a good one, with wood, vanilla and a bit of smokiness. Dried fruit too, which carries into the taste, alongside lots of deep malt, syrup and some smoky spice. Finish is lingering pepper and tar.

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Photo of danh53
2.65/5  rDev -37.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.5

Dark amber pour with one finger head that dissipates quickly and leaves some lacing. Aroma is brown sugar, vanilla, and bourbon soaked raisins and figs. It smells sweet and the alcohol is present, but on the taste, the alcohol really comes through in a bad way. I get rubbing alcohol from start to finish and that pretty much overpowers the other flavors. There is a slight dryness from the oak, but I really don't taste much barrel character or bourbon for that matter, just alcohol. I got the same thing when I tried it fresh last fall and the age has done nothing to change it. I'm going to save my last bottle for 2016 to see if the alcohol smooths out, but safe to say I'll be avoiding the 2015 batch when it hits shelves.

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Photo of do_ob
4.64/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On draft into a mason jar. Poured into a tulip.

Dark, ruby red in color with a sticky 1 finger head of tan foam. Sweet bourbon, vanilla, and cocoa on the nose. This beer has a wonderful aroma. Incredibly smooth and creamy mouthfeel, while not being overly dense. There's a smooth, boozy sweetness immediately upon tasting, followed by an enveloping, evolving array of choclate, vanilla, and dark fruit. These flavors only blend even better as it warms on the palate. The finish is as smooth as silk, and the aftertaste is sticky and sweet.

For anyone reading this review, trying to decide whether or not to try this beer - do it. Buy it, trade for it, whatever. I love bourbon barrel aged beers, and this is probably the most well balanced BBA brew I've ever had. Don't let the 10.2% scare you away if you don't like boozy beers. There's plenty of bourbon flavor, but little "booziness" to this beer. This one exceeded my expedcations.

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Photo of mlockman
4.22/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I had this almost eight months after bottling, and perhaps that is why I was left wishing for a bit stronger bourbon flavor. Still, very good bourbon flavor, just wish it was more intense.

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Photo of -Rick
4.49/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L: a dark brown with red hues
S: vanilla, bourbon, oak, smoke, this this is loaded
T: Sweet caramel, light hear, toffee, roasted malts. Like the smell, loaded with taste
F: creamy and smooth, not real carbonation to speak of
O: a great brew. would certainly try again

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Photo of GOBLIN
4.35/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

In my humble opinion . . . This is the only Founders beer (so far) that lives up to the hype (no I haven't had CBS). Aromas of oak, leather and vanilla. Flavors are spot on. This is a terrific beer. So smooth and highly drinkable for a + 10% abv barrel aged beer too.

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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 manfromanotherplace
4.55/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

this beer causes conflict within myself. Its a very well crafted beer, great tasting but an absolute brutal bully of a beer, even compared to the founder KBS, which is stronger but more drinkable. I dare not try more than one in an evening due to past experiences doing so, seriously, drink more than 2 of these and you are in big trouble! that being said, its still one of my favourites, especially as a sipper on a cold winter night . when used in moderation and drank slowly its a revelation, but drink with caution, the bourbon can sometimes be a little overpowering,but im aging some to see if that mellows it out a bit, but all in all its a great beer.

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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 TheElectricOne
4.34/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

On tap at Track 84 in Warwick, RI:

Appearance: a dark, slightly reddish brown, with a quickly dissipating off white head. Persistent lacing throughout the beer as drunk though.

Aroma: Lots of vanilla, along with some spices like cinnamon and nutmeg. I almost always get vanilla from bourbon-aged brews, and this one was especially powerful, along with LOTS of oaky bourbon. From the smell, I expected lots of boozy heat.

Taste: Much more well-balanced than the bourbon-vanilla rich aroma given off. Really, really smooth with a nice malty backbone. Very sweet, but with quite a bit of bourbon and the vanilla mentioned above. A slow drinker, but extremely enjoyable nonetheless.

Feel: Medium-bodied, with lots of lingering bourbon heat. Creamy and smooth.

Overall: A very unique tasting brew, a little light in color and texture, but very rich in aroma and flavor.

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Founders Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
95 out of 100 based on 1,656 ratings.