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Founders Backwoods Bastard - Founders Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Founders Backwoods BastardFounders Backwoods Bastard

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6,103 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 6,103
Reviews: 1,496
rAvg: 4.34
pDev: 10.6%
Wants: 734
Gots: 1,941 | FT: 181
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: 6,103 | Reviews: 1,496 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of minterro
4/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A & S: strong smell of bourbon and caramel. Smells like a hard alcohol only a bit sweeter. Very cool murky dark mud colored beer. Light tan colored head that doesn’t pour much and fades pretty quick. Light lacing clinging to the glass.

T & M: powerful is probably the best way to describe this beer in one word. Warming from the high alcohol content, it’s almost a bit too strong at least at first. After letting it sit for sometime the sweeter malts and caramel flavors come out a bit more. Full bodied, moderate carbonation.

O: I thought it would be a bit better but I still really enjoy it. I couldn't have more then one.

minterro, Oct 30, 2011
Photo of rab53
4.15/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a brilliant reddish-brown. Thin white head fades rapidly. Aroma is dominated by bourbon, not so much oak. More bourbon and malt in the taste. Warm alcohol. No hop presence. Very low carbonation, mimicking a liquor. Would definitely buy this again.

rab53, Oct 30, 2011
Photo of pdoran10
4.08/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Backwoods Bastard pours out a deep amber brown color into my New Belgium snifter. I get half a finger of tan head that hints at proper carbonation, but it fades quickly and leaves no lacing.

The smell is vanilla, alcohol heat, bourbon, and caramel sweetness. Really impressive here.

I get flavors of sweet caramel cotton candy up front, with big tannins from the wood, and a boozy vanilla bourbon taste on the finish. Nice complex flavors. A few months of mellowing might make this even more delicious.

Mouthfeel is reasonably chewy with lowish carbonation. Solid here for a barrel aged offering.

Overall a really nice complex beer, can't wait till Founders expansions when they can put out of more of this each year.

pdoran10, Oct 29, 2011
Photo of HOPPYKC
4.28/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Got this from the good guys at Royal, gotta thank the guy i talk to on the phone for saving me one while i was in class at UMKC.

This thing immediately smells of bourbon. I will say that i was turned off a bit in the fact that the previous night i had had a little too much to drink and this brought back some of the spins for me. Now getting on to it. This is an amazing brew. The bourbon is nice and mellow once it warms and this is extremely drinkable for a nice 10% er. A nice dark red to brown hue, no head at all, it was really fresh so a little carbonation was noticeable. I will say that the feeling is a little think for my taste overall, but this is worlds above some of the other wee heavies ive had.

HOPPYKC, Oct 29, 2011
Photo of Sensaray
4.38/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a slightly hazed deep burnt mahogany with a half inch of tan head that dissipates quickly to a thin head.

Smells like bourbon and toffee, big puffs of alcohol maybe a bit of dark fruit and chocolate.

First sip brings a spice and nice alcoholic burn leading to a straight bourbon taste closing with toffee/caramel sweetness that lingers for awhile. Some hints of chocolate and vanilla in there too.

Very smooth mouthfeel and slightly hot. Good level of carbonation for this beer.

Tastes really really good and potent.

Sensaray, Oct 29, 2011
Photo of ChugginOil
4.18/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I've tried this on tap before with age on it and this bottle is pretty fresh. Bottled on 10/07/11.

Pours a dark toffee color with less than a fingers worth of light tan head. This brew has a lotta legs.

The nose is rich and boozy with notes of bourbon, vanilla and caramel. Lots of boozy undertones warn me of a potent beer.

The taste is sweet and dessert-like. Vanilla, toffee, bourbon, caramel and some booze. Some biscuit-like notes are coming through in the backend. The alcohol is less noticable in the taste opposed to the nose.

The mouthfeel is rich and creamy with a nice thickness to it. Very comfortable on the palate.

Overall, Founders nails it everytime and this is no exception. Great bourbon aged brew that holds great characteristics. The barrel really work some magic in this beer. The nose is really heavy on the booze and suggests that this brew should be cellared for a little while.

ChugginOil, Oct 28, 2011
Photo of Zraly
3.9/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark ruby brown with a brown head. Smells of oak and booze.

Very rich, toffee-like notes enriched with vanilla and wood. The body is relatively hefty but appropriate carbonation lifts it and thus prevents any cloying or overbearing backbone. Interesting nutty note in the finish. A bit chewy but dries down a bit in the finish.

A nice fireside sipper. It could work with a bourbon-spiked bread pudding.

Zraly, Oct 28, 2011
Photo of bbeane
4.03/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Poured into an oversized snifter... starts with a small brown head that almost disappears completely. Beer is dark brown in color, a shade of ruby when held up to the light

S- Smells great... notes of chocolate, raison, fig, and bourbon. After some swirls of the snifter more sweet malts come out with light notes of bourbon. Bourbon and heat intensifies as it warms

T- Not as complex as the aroma... Starts with malty sweet taste accompanied by notes of bourbon and wood. Finishes with the oaky bourbon taste intensifying and some notes of vanilla

M- Medium body and light carbonation

O- Wasn't as good as I had expected, but a quality libation for sure. I thought the nose was amazing with the body and taste lacking abit. All in all worth trying once for sure

bbeane, Oct 28, 2011
Photo of aorloski
4.03/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Fresh Bottle

Appearance - Beautiful maroon / dark red, barely a head on it and what is there disappears rather quickly. Alcohol sticking to the glass, great lacing.

Smell - BOURBON, seriously in your face. It kind of smells like i just smelled a shot of jim beam, but it is pretty balanced. A nice warm vanilla undertone to move you through the bourbon smell. You can smell the wood and definitely reminiscent of a scotch ale. Smells amazing

Taste - Definitely follows the nose, bourbon, vanilla, oak, deep deep malts and dark fruits. It tastes a little hot right now but this is a pretty fresh bottle.

Mouthfeel - thick and chewy, little carbonation. nice for this style

Overall - I had this beer for the first time when it had a year on it and i was absolutely blown away. I think i prefer this beer with more age on it. When i found out my local shop had it i went and bought three 4 packs because thats how much i loved it when i first had it. However, the newer bottle tastes a lot different than an aged one. I really wanted to review this one higher, i should have taken notes on the first one. But honestly this is a spectacular brew.

aorloski, Oct 28, 2011
Photo of Duhast500
4.38/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Goose Island pint glass.

The color is a deep maroon with about finger and a half of foamy brownish head.

The smell is malty with some nice bready aroma and an interesting caramel aroma. Things seem to be well balanced even here in the nose.

The taste is sweet malts and some bourbon barrel overtones. Some oak flavor is there throughout the flavor. Some nice bitterness that goes back into a sweet malt flavor.

The feel of this beer is bold and complex with plenty of flavor to dwell over. Bitterness it countered by some sweet malt and things seem to battle back and forth but always seems to even things out toward the end.

Duhast500, Oct 27, 2011
Photo of r0nyn
4.15/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a Duvel tulip. Shared with a fellow beer geek.

Pours a semi-translucent mahogany hue with ruby highlights. Head is about a quarter-inch high before it starts receding. Leaves a massive amount of sticky, spotty lacing clinging to the inside of the glass. Compared to other, stronger beers, this one has a normal ABV, but legs are still visible floating at the top. You can definitely tell that this beer has been through barrel-aging because the smell is full of that distinctive bourbon aroma along with sweet malts, roasted vanilla and oak notes. Quite enticing.

Strong caramel flavors make up the heavier part of the taste, along with very subtle vanilla notes providing a potently sweet overall taste. There's also a ton of alcohol, but it's not overpowering, but instead provides a warming presence and actually serves to complement the other tastes. Oak chips and honeyed molasses round everything out. Very interesting and tasty. The beer has a medium body in terms of mouthfeel, coupled with a smooth texture and pleasing finish.

Barrel-aging usually makes big beers better and Backwoods Bastard is a fine example of this. The base beer was already a good brew and the addition of bourbon barrels has only made it better. Founders really does know how to keep pushing the envelope and come out winners a vast majority of the time. Prost!

r0nyn, Oct 27, 2011
Photo of starrdogg
4/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 vintage.

A: Pours a somewhat cloudy reddish brown with a small tannish-white head. Lacing is very heavy and doesn't run down back into the glass.

S: Aroma is of bourbon, oak and some sweet fruits (maybe cherries?). Very nice and unique.

T: Flavor is a nice mix of bourbon, oak, vanilla and dark fruits combined with your normal scotch ale maltiness. It's a little bit boozy, but not overwhelmingly so. Bourbon isn't as intense as I remember this beer being from the past and it's fruitier than I recall.

M: Medium-thick bodied with good carbonation.

O: I thought this beer was absolutely outstanding at first, but as I continued to drink it, it seemed to lose something. I couldn't tell if it just wore on me or if it got more boozy as it warmed up while the other flavors seemed to mellow. Still, it's a very nice beer, but not an excellent one.

2012 Update: The 2012 batch has a really nice barrel character to it, lots of bourbon, oak and vanilla. Unfortunately it kinda ends up being "bourbon barrel aged generic malty beer" as the base beer doesn't offer much other than support for the barrel flavor. It reminds me of a lesser Firestone Walker Double Double Barrel Ale. I'd probably give it a similar score but for different reasons.

starrdogg, Oct 27, 2011
Photo of Ungertaker
4.72/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 vintage poured into a New Belgium globe.

A- Deep burgundy with a khaki head that faxes to 1/8" and leaves a sticky lacing on the glass.

S- Bourbon, oak, cherries, molasses

T- It starts with bourbon, then gains a dried fruit character. All the while, a subtle sweetness lingers. The bourbon comes back heavier in the end and is joined by a faint boozy burn.

M- Thick and viscous at cellar temp. The carbonation is at a level similar to that of other barrel-aged beers, low.

O- Phenominal; This is my favorite Founder's beer. I love the complexity that the barrel-aging brings to it. I am disappointed that it will not be as abundant this year as it was last.

Ungertaker, Oct 27, 2011
Photo of Cyberkedi
4.72/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Woody, malty aroma has a strong overtone of bourbon - no surprise there! - and a hint of molasses. It pours a luscious clear dark caramel with a decent light tan head that leaves some good lacing. Rich, malty flavor has notes of molasses and horehound with a strong but not fierce bite from the bourbon and a woody, slightly fruity undertone. Smooth, fizzy texture has average body. Overall, delicious and recommended!

Cyberkedi, Oct 27, 2011
Photo of KDawg
4.15/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass. pours a dark amber color with a small head.

complex and deep nose with aromas of malts, dark cherries, spices, raisins, and a hint of smoke

full bodied and really smooth with real deep flavors of caramel, malts, dark cherries, a touch of roast coffee and some toffee

This is rich and big. It holds the alcohol very well and is certainly not a gulping beer. The feel is really good and deep

KDawg, Oct 27, 2011
Photo of MsRif
3.2/5  rDev -26.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had bottled after many opportunities to have it on tap. Poured a nice brownish/red color (mahogany). Decent retention, but not great. Lacing was almost non-existent.

Aroma was that of bourbon, oak, smoke and vanilla. Definitely had a warm alcohol burn! Taste was even more bourbon-y. Vanilla, oak and smoke all seemed to be an afterthought. The complexity was not smooth. This was a hard beer to drink, honestly. I don't agree with those who note sweetness...maybe there was a minor amount of sweetness but it was overwhelmed by bourbon flavor.

Mouthfeel was smooth. Medium-bodied beer that went down smoothly aside from the bourbon struggle! Overall, I liked this brew well enough...but the bourbon was just TOO overwhelming! The balance of flavor was not good enough for my taste. Still, I would be willing to try it again...maybe next time, on tap!

MsRif, Oct 27, 2011
Photo of Rifugium
2.23/5  rDev -48.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

First had: bottle from Pinocchio's beer garden, Media, PA

Definitely the "least good" of any Founders brews I've had. Poured a reddish-mahogany color, muddy, with a spotty white head that receded to a layer of patchy bubbles. Booze-heavy aroma, almost straight bourbon, big and woody (there's a B&B joke in there somewhere). Let's be honest: this tasted like a cheap boilermaker, big on the booze, eliminating almost all complexity that might exist. Tones of oak-aged vanilla come through, but the bourbon just kills the palate almost completely. Tasted way higher in alcohol content than it actually was. Thinner than most Scottish ales I've had, but certainly not as good as some. The texture is more what I'd like to have in that it wasn't too syrupy, and certainly not as peaty, but it just didn't work with the intensity of the booze flavor. Not very good, not very drinkable, and I'll be happy never having it again. Sorry, Founders.

Rifugium, Oct 27, 2011
Photo of cps98
4.13/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got a Backwoods Bastard from a friend, so I figured I’d give it a try tonight. Beer was chilled to ~45deg and poured into a snifter.

A – Beautiful mahogany color, with a nice toffee colored 2 finger head. Great head retention, stuck around for pretty much the entire drink.

S – I could smell a nice light burnt oak, with a warm alcohol aroma.

T – The first thing I tasted was malty sweetness. It was followed by light bourbon undertones. And finally a nice light oak with mild hop bitterness.

M – A really nice smooth beer that blended the alcohol well with the sweetness from the malt and hop bitterness. The carbonation was perfect. When I finished the beer there was a ton of lacing left in the glass.

O – Overall I really enjoyed this beer. I thought the flavors all complimented each other well. I would recommend this beer to anyone who likes bourbon barrel aged beers.

cps98, Oct 26, 2011
Photo of Jesstyr
4.33/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Found a 4-pack of this at Total Wine, and it is everything I expected. Served in a chalice style glass.

Pours murky brown mahogany with with reddish hues. Head is a light tan, single finger that remains throughout the drink. Strong scent of caramel with a great bourbon background, oak, and toasted malt.

Flavor is where this beer knocks it out of the park. The mix of malt and caramel with smoky bourbon and a light alcohol burn. This is what I want from a beer. Toffee and butterscotch are there as well. Body is medium with very light carbonation. Overall this is a great beer.

Jesstyr, Oct 26, 2011
Photo of Dope
4.03/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: A dark brown, slightly reddish/mahogany pour. Small tan head that disappears almost immediately. Decent lacing.

S: Very strong. Tons of bourbon, oak, caramel, caramelized brown sugar, molasses. Maybe some fig and plums and raisin? Strong alcohol too.

T: Pretty much exactly like the nose. Lots of bourbon and oak from the barrel. Huge caramel malt and burnt brown sugar. Dark fruits are there too. Certainly a bit of a bite from the alcohol. No noticeable hops. Almost no bitterness.

M: Not as heavy as you would think. Pretty medium bodied despite the higher ABV. Relatively smooth if not for the bourbon and alcohol bite.

O: Good sipping beer on a cold night. Lots of strong flavors (and ABV) in this one. Try to enjoy it warm, it's way better. Not really my style of beer but a good example of the style nonetheless.

Dope, Oct 25, 2011
Photo of Alieniloquium
4.05/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a goblet. Bottle dated 10/8/10.

Appearance - Like its baby brother Dirty Bastard, it's got nearly no head and a dark brown body with flecks of ruby. A few bubbles and a ring around the surface show the only signs of life.

Smell - Bourbon and lots of it. When it's cold, it only smells of bourbon and charred oak. As it warms, it smells significantly better. The malt character comes through as caramel and burnt sugar. Good bit of buttery scotch ale back there too.

Taste - Bourbon and oak again in the flavor. Bitterness, too. Maybe from the oak or maybe from the hops, not sure. Again, the malt profile doesn't shine until it warms. When it does, it's exactly as the smell indicates: caramel, burnt sugar, and some butter. Not complex, but good.

Mouthfeel - Hot for sure. You taste all of the 10.2%. Otherwise, it's not such a big beer. It's not as thick as 10.2% would indicate and the carbonation keeps it from being syrupy. Still slow drinking from the booze.

Overall - The base beer, like Dirty Bastard, just isn't that interesting. The bourbon aging makes it quite nice, though.

Alieniloquium, Oct 25, 2011
Photo of tigernipples
4.43/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Listening to The Girls - Father, Son, Holy Ghost while reviewing this sucker.
2011 Vintage.
Let it warm about 30 minutes out of the fridge.

A: Pours very dark with amber when the light hits certain ways. Nice khaki head.
S: giving it a swirl to generate the head again. malted candied sugars right up front leading into pretty blatant bourbon that flows and ends seamlessly into a vanilla. i could smell this all day but they'd fire me and lock me up somewhere if i had this Duval glass glued to my nose all day every day.
T: sweet malts that (like the nose) lead to the bourbon and vanilla. getting a nice caramel that keeps the backbone of this beer.
M: medium to full body.
O: I love this beer. I'm a sucker for oaked beers that have a tail end of vanilla. backwoods is underrated. KBS,CBS, ect.. get all the attention. this batch of backwoods hit my store same day as CBS made its rounds. while people pillaged the toowns for CBS, backwoods sat on the shelf waiting for me. id say even if you don't like scotch ales, this being barrelled makes it easy for anyone with one tastebud in thier lousy mouths. keep buying and racing around states looking for KBS/CBS and leave this for me. Founders youre my fave.

tigernipples, Oct 24, 2011
Photo of Yagman3000
4.05/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served from a 12 oz. bottle into a Dogfish Head goblet.

Appears a rich dark brown, deep in color, with a small foam layer refusing to subside.

Smells of bourbon with a nice fig and prune background.

Taste is strong of the bourbon with some vanilla and burnt sugar at the forefront. Mouthfeel affects experience.

This beer needs to be thicker and heavier. While the barrel aging has given it a certain warm appeal, I wish it had more on the tongue.

Unfortunately I've had different experiences with Founders. I want to really like their beers but I find them sometimes falling a bit short.

Yagman3000, Oct 24, 2011
Photo of jnn4v
4.43/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Light chestnut color, bordering on mahogany since it's got some deep ruddy hues. Very little off-white / light tan head. Hazy, but still translucent. No visible sediment.

S: Delicious blend of scents fills the glass. Caramel, toffee, vanilla, bourbon, oak, toasted butter, and butterscotch.

T: Absolutely delicious flavor that follows up nicely on the scent. Butterscotch, toffee, and caramel are first and foremost. Alcohol heat is only slightly evident, and mostly in the aftertaste. Hints of fresh oak as bitterness as well as charred oak bourbony flavours throughout the mid to after taste.

M: Good density and viscosity. This is fresh, so perhaps that's why it's a bit more carbonated than I'm used to for a wee heavy / scotch ale? Especially for a bourbon-barrel-aged version.

O: Very good beer. One of my absolute favorite scotch ales, and something I go for (when accessible) whenever I'm in the mood for bourbony flavors but without the bite.

jnn4v, Oct 23, 2011
Photo of BostonBrewins
4.33/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Dark brown with ruby hues, a dark copper. Sports a decent tan head that disipates rather quickly.

S - Very aromatic, smells fantastic. Notes of caramelized sugar, brown sugar, raisins, vanilla, and well aged whiskey (bourbon, scotch, etc) enter my nostrils and swirl around my head in a dizzying whirlwind.

T - As you would expect, oaky bourbon and scotch flavors are star here. What really sets this one apart is the undertones of vanilla, brown sugar, and a dash of cream. Boozy yet very smooth.

M - Body is fairly heavy and the carbonation level is around medium.

O - A scotch ale that actually tastes like scotch?!? That's bloody brilliant. Great job of pushing the envelope while staying faithful to a much underrated style.Yet another example of why Founders is one of America's top notch breweries.

BostonBrewins, Oct 23, 2011
Founders Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 6,103 ratings.