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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.

5,462 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,462
Reviews: 1,431
rAvg: 4.33
pDev: 10.62%
Wants: 699
Gots: 1,584 | 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: 5,462 | Reviews: 1,431 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of travisd13
4.45/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a Pike tulip.

A- Pours a dark brown / black that shows dark red color around the edges when held to the light. Head is about 1/4" and light tan in color...dissapates very quickly.

S- Vanilla/oak, carmel, and well bourbon! A little alcohol.

T- Bourbon front with a strong alcohol presents. Nice and malty with a hint of caramel. The bitter hop finish hides the alcohol better than expected...well done!

M- Smooth and silky due to the low carbonation. By silky I don't mean thick...if anything I'd call it a little thin for the style.

D- If it wasn't for the 10.2% I could drink this all night. However...I think two is my limit. I still call it drinkable!

travisd13, Jan 25, 2009
Photo of ejquin
4.1/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

a: Cola brown with very thin white head that fades quickly.

S: Loads of vanilla and bourbon. Litt le bit of caramel and some molasses sweetness and a slight amount of fruitiness

T/M: Medium and chewy. Taste is of caramel and lots of vanilla, though not an overpowering bourbon character, fades to slight hop biterness. Milky sweet. Feels strong but not 10%.

D: Above average for the abv.

ejquin, Jan 23, 2009
Photo of madtowndmb1
4.65/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is one of my favorite beers that I've had in a while! I can't get over the bourbon and dark cherry scent! I love it!

And the taste is just as great! It's a malty sweetness quickly washed out by bourbon then finished by the cherries that I smelled. When i smelled this I thought, only if it could taste like that! And it did! I wish this was a year-round brew!

I already miss this beer and can't wait for it to come around again. I have like 3 left and I'll have to ration them till next year I guess!

madtowndmb1, Jan 20, 2009
Photo of kbeals
4.08/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I liked the Dirty Bastard so I figured I'd give this a try.

A- A dark ruby red bottom fades into a nearly opaque black top. About three fingers of creamy light brown head.

S- Bourbon, bourbon, and more bourbon, oh and some caramelized malts come into play.

T- First the bourbon/alcohol taste comes into play, followed by a bit of malty aftertaste. Finishes with a slightly dry finish. The alcohol warms the chest after all is said and done. Very pleasing.

M- This beer was velvety smooth with little to no carbonation.

D- Due to the high ABV I probably wouldn't drink more than a few of these.

This beer was excellent and a definite recommendation.

kbeals, Jan 19, 2009
Photo of gabrielsyme
4.4/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle.

Pours rich mahogany, little head. Just like the Dirty Bastard in appearance.

Smell is caramel sweetness.

Taste is pretty big - molasses, syrupy, caramel, chocolate, and maybe some cherry. Alcohol is definitely noticeable (my bottle says 10.2%). The bottle says 50Ibus, but I don't taste much bitterness.

gabrielsyme, Jan 16, 2009
Photo of brantadid
4.33/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a nice mahogany color with a thin white head. Beer appeared viscous in the glass. Lots of body.

Tons of bourbon and oak in the nose. Tons of malt in the nose.

Wow! Tons of bourbon on the palate. Some spicy from the bourbon barrels. Malty, burnt flavors. Lots of vanilla in the back palate.

Not much carbonation and viscous, coating mouthfeel. Very silky on the palate. Alcohol is definately present, but not in a harsh way. It is nice and warming.

Overall, a fun, slow sipper. I wish I had more.

brantadid, Jan 16, 2009
Photo of MCDuhamel
4.08/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip glass at around 55 F. Thanks to Liz for the sample!

A: Pours a dark mahogany that shows a luminescent but somewhat cloudy garnet when held against light. A dark ivory head forms quickly, dissipating to a thin foam cap in short order. Some moderate lacing on the sides. Visible carbonation is more active than expected. Nice enough to look at, but nothing unexpected or exciting.

S: The nose is full of vanilla and oak, with a hint of red fruit.

T: The first impression on the palate is of oak and tannin, followed quickly by vanilla yielding to malt. Strong caramel/toffee notes are evident. The beer is supported by obvious alcohol spiciness and warmth; no subtlety to the strength here. The finish shows some hops bitterness which, with the medium carbonation, prevents the beer from being at all cloying despite its sweetness.

M: The mouthfeel is a bit light for a wee heavy, and perhaps reflects a little more carbonation than one might expect.

D: Despite its strength, this would be an easy beer to have two of in a session. There is nothing cloying or overpowering about the beer, which maintains nice balance.

Overall: Its nice to find an oak-aged beer that isn't a stout. This is a very good oaked beer that shows the wood and vanilla characteristics typical of such beers without losing proportion.

MCDuhamel, Jan 16, 2009
Photo of waltonc
4.35/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Hazy, almost but not quite murky, amber/brown color with insubstantial white head. Taste is really nice caramel, malt, toffee, and bourbon. Wow is this a nice-drinking brew. Really nice to be able to just buy 12 ounce bottles of a delicious bourbon barrel aged Scottish Ale. Contrast this with so many brewers that only sell this caliber of product in a wax topped 750 ml bottle for a lot more money. Medium bodied, medium/low carbonation, slightly sticky. I could easily have another.

waltonc, Jan 15, 2009
Photo of PittBeerGirl
4.45/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to my Secret Santa Raznug for this one!!

A- Body appears to be a dark brown color. Pours with a minimal <1/2 finger head that immediately fades to a very thin collar and no lacing is left behind in the glass. When held up to the light one can see that this is actually.

S- Sweet bourbon with an alcohol burn on the nostrils balances well with the dark malt profile offered by this Scottish ale. Sweet, like molasses and a chocolate presence added with bourbon sweetness and burn. Nice..

T-Upfront is a bit of roasted (but not quite bitter) malt that offsets the sweet caramel and bourbon flavors going on. The finish adds a touch of dark chocolate to what is already going on along with a bourbon alcohol burn. The bitterness is very well hidden the entire way through and the character of this beer is complex, slightly sweet, and very warm.

M- Low to medium carbonation and a body made up mostly of somewhat thick, very smooth, caramel and dark malt. Goes down very easily.

D- The more I acquaint myself to them the more I am loving Scotch Ales. This is a darn good one. The bourbon is a perfect compliment to this beer and I think its great. The alcohol is definitely not hidden...but it is not obnoxious either. Wonderful and definitely my favorite Founder's brew! IMO, it easily Trumps Breakfast Stout and KBS. Wasn't expecting this to be so good!

PittBeerGirl, Jan 15, 2009
Photo of dancinwillie
3.73/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark mahogany, with crimson around the edges. Light tan head, small, but thick. Light comes through the brew, but barely, and many suspended particles remain.

Aroma is bourbon heavy, chocolate light.

The Bourbon flavors have mellowed, somewhat. I forget when I bought this, but it was too much for me at that time. I like when the flavors start to mellow, and become more carmel tasting. This one could have used about 3 - 6 more months, but not too bad. Some carmel flavors have started to develop, along with the chocolate flavors from the aroma. Deep and rich, the bourbon is also still here, although lessened, as mentioned. Hopping bitterness is detected, although flavor is not too evident. Wow, as this warms, the chocolate/caramel flavors really start coming to the front. Bitterness also becoming more pronounced, which is nice, as to balance the sweetness. Alcohol is not evident.

Mouthfeel is medium thick/thin, about right in the middle really. Carbonation has mellowed since the first 3 from the 4-pack were enjoyed. Smooth and chewy, long bittersweet finish.

Overall, a heck of a lot better than I remember. I didn't think I would enjoy this Bastard as much as I have. A real treat, and now I know, as far as my tastes go, I should get a 4-pack, and hold of drinking it for at least 6 months. Cheers!

dancinwillie, Jan 13, 2009
Photo of PhillyStyle
4.13/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The beer poured a murky dark red, when held up to light, with noticeable particles floating in the beer. A nice light mocha color head that was dense and very well retained.

Strong whiskey aroma dominates. Also some malt and a light vanilla note, probably from the barrel, but the whiskey is heavy and dominates.

You immediately taste the bourbon, so much so that it almost knocks you over, it is that strong. There were also some hints of malt and the alcohol, but the bourbon pretty well dominates. Also, there was a slight sweetness to it that lingered in the aftertaste.

The beer is very smooth, creamy, and easy to drink, one. I am not sure that I could handle too many of this at one go. That is the only reason for the slightly lower drinkability score. Overall, a very good beer, one that I hope to encounter many more times.

PhillyStyle, Jan 12, 2009
Photo of Beertracker
4.47/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Founders Backwoods Bastard pours up with a modest carbonation that creates a low, thin creamy tannish-white colored head that just rings the slightly hazy, deep chestnut brown-dark ruby body. The aroma is quite rich with a sweet caramel character that shows hints of burnt molasses, buttery toffee & treacle candy with underlying notes of biscuits & baker's chocolate. As the beer warms, the bourbon notes (charred wood, cherry, leather, smoke, vanilla, etc...) become more apparent. The flavor starts off rather bold with a solid kettle caramelized sweetness that's offset quickly by a blast of bitterness followed by some roastiness that combines to offer a bittersweet, bourbon laced finish that is quite deceiving. This is a great little, Wee-beasty from those Backwoods Bastards in Grand Rapids!

SLAINTE! Beertracker

*Trader's Note: Many thanks to hoppymeal for this one.

Beertracker, Jan 12, 2009
Photo of aerozeppl
4.1/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Super dark red color to the point of being black/brown. Poured with minimal white head that quickly went to the edge of the glass.

S: Hints of the barrel. Tons of malt. Hints of whiskey as well. Really nice amount of sweetness as well. The barrel really bring out what you want in a wee heavy.

T: Really nice. Nice mix of whiskey and malt. Tons of sweetness just like the nose. The malt is there no doubt all the way through.

M: Heavy medium body. Nice syrupy tone.

D: Almost too drinkable. Very nice beer.

aerozeppl, Jan 11, 2009
Photo of tpd975
4.38/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to SeaBass and Kiefdog for providing this one.

A: Pours a murky shade of brown with a small tan head. Little retention with a smattering of lace.

S: The aromas are very earty with tons of oak, bourbon, vanilla, brown sugar and dark fruit. This one is a real treat to the senses.

T: Big bold bouquet of flavors. Tons of bourbon up front with great notes of oak and vanilla. Red fruits with hints of darkened brown sugar. One tasty ass brew!

M: Full in body, rich and creamy.

D: Awesome. This one gives no hint at the ABV it packs. I had the base beer Dirty Bastard and was not impressed. Put on wood this beer becomes quite possibly the best of the style.

tpd975, Jan 11, 2009
Photo of dsa7783
3.9/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

"Bourbon-barrel aged ale" on the front logo sticker along with a "backwoods bastard" carrying an axe...
Single, twelve-ounce bottle purchased from
Gary's in Madison...
Appearance: Dark-brown hue, giant head, minimal lacing, no carbonation...
Smell: Strong, thick aroma replete with hints of bourbon, vanilla, oak...
Taste: Flavor strongly complemented the aroma... Very rich, thick, full-bodied stuff... The bourbon flavor is very pronounced... Hints of oak, vanilla, caramel, scotch...
Drinkability took a hit due to the hefty abv and strong bourbon taste...
Otherwise, unique, good stuff...

dsa7783, Jan 11, 2009
Photo of ZAP
3.23/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

...seems thin in the body...

...has a decent dose of hop bitterness on the finish...

...oak and bourbon notes are very subtle but add a little vanilla and caramel to the taste...

...more vanilla and nougat evident on aroma than taste....

...feels boozy and alcoholic...

...this is OK but far from a great beer...

...abv makes this a sipper but the body does not...

ZAP, Jan 10, 2009
Photo of Bighuge
4.1/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark burgandy. Thin beige head dissipates quickly. Not much for lace, but not much expected for 10.2%. Nice aroma of caramel and bourbon like vanilla notes and a little dark cherry. Definitely smells like a winner. Nice warmth to this beer. Not too boozy, which is good, but rather a "glow" to it. And the bourbon is noticeable in the alcohol notes. Nice little chocolate and caramel notes on the buds. A little bitterness coming from the 50 IBUs. This makes for a nice little nightcap. A sipper.

Bighuge, Jan 08, 2009
Photo of BARFLYB
4.25/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a big snifter, late 2008 edition, 50 IBU's 10.2%

A- Founders Backwoods Bastard pours a copper to dark brown color which brings up a one finger tan head. A lot of sediment is there but i poured to quick, my bad. As it dissipates there are a few squiggly lines of head in the middle, while a lot of bubbles creep to the edges of the glass with some build up. Quite nice.

S- BB holds a very rich aroma of good bourbon up front with oak from the barrel, pretty much all I smelled for a while. Sweet and toasty malts follow with some caramel in the mix. I get some fruit (berries) and some wood is also there.

T- My first sip was a rush of bourbon and oak attacking the senses while some malts and vanilla smoothed things out. The cherry presence was also quite a nice touch. The sweetness of the caramel flavor with some spices while woody notes are there. The bourbon never leaves the forefront though.

M- Full bodied with some carbonation. The taste goes on forever while this elixir coats the mouth perfectly leaving bourbon and much sweetness along with some alcohol. A very strong feel, this bastard makes itself known.

D- Regular bastard is great and so is this. I could easily have more than a bottle of this high A.B.V brew in a sitting, no problem. This is probably not for everyone though. I want to do a side by side.

This is my first time trying this and i very much enjoyed it, BB is worth the dollars. The barrel aging in this one is spot on. I was expecting mostly bourbon but recieved much more. I drank this to quickly. Worth seeking out, will get again!!

BARFLYB, Jan 07, 2009
Photo of tempest
4.15/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Bowman (not a BA) for sharing a bottle. This is a darned tasty and drinkable beer. I'm taking it as a sipper, but I could certainly down it faster were I in a hurry. The aroma has smooth oak and mild vanilla bourbon while mellow chocolate notes and burnt caramel come out in the back of the flavor. It drinks like a balanced bourbon-beer candy drink. It's not the most complex BB beer, but it's a fine example of what a barrel can do.

tempest, Jan 05, 2009
Photo of DefenCorps
4.2/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I did a side by side of a bottle of Dirty B from March of 2007 and the 07 Backwoods B along with Chris towards the end of the first night of our epic tasting. Thanks for the bottle go out to czoch75

A: Like the Dirty B, this one's crimson with ruby highlights but doesn't have the head or the retention of the DB with only one ring to show for my efforts at pouring this.

S: On the nose, ton of bourbon up front with some pleasing oxidation. Again, there's a hint of wet cardboard but the malt backbone is rich and bready with rum-soaked plums

T: Opens up with a good bit of bourbon. Once this has had time to breathe, the booziness tames a bit and the bourbon is more balanced. Sweet dark fruit character with great plum and mild raisin character. Dark brown sugar. Drying on the finish with some tannic character. Warming this up does bring out more oak and vanilla, resulting in a wonderful palate.

M: Moderate carbonation, medium body and a great finish with some alcohol heat

D: Side by side with the DB, this is one treat!

**Edit 03 August 2012**
I'm drinking my last bottle of the 08 vintage. It still doesn't look like much. The nose is super mellow. The bourbon has fallen off, but there is a nice vanilla note. The base beer has mellowed out too, with a little bit of caramel, leather, a touch of smoke and some fruit present. Some solvent too. The palate is a little stale with a dull and mildly papery oxidation, a muddling oak astringency and very muted flavors. Some fruit - faint raisin and faint citrus - is present on the mid-palate. Drying, oak-laden on the finish with harsh tannins. I really can't taste much. There's some faint tartness, but that just makes the beer all the more confusing. What a waste, I should have drunk this 2 years back.

DefenCorps, Jan 05, 2009
Photo of Riverwarrior
3.88/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

S = Huge bourbon notes with a little caramel in the background.

T = Bourbon flavor took center stage on this one. There were some caramel and malt sweetness that came through near the end. The finish was very balanced and semi-sweet with some bourbon notes lingering.

MF = Body was medium with slightly less than moderate carbonation. Incredibly smooth and creamy.

Overall, this was a very well balanced beer. I really enjoyed the creaminess and smoothness. I don't care for huge bourbon flavors in my beer, but this one was very enjoyable.

Riverwarrior, Jan 04, 2009
Photo of bigeyedfish
3.88/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle from the Foodery poured into the Duvel tulip. Bottle has IBU's (50) and ABV (10.2) on the top label, but no brewed on-slash-drink-by date. Alas.

Super thick mahogany body with absolutely zero sustaining head. A small ring of gray head forms around the edge of the glass, and there's some accumulation of bubbles in the center, resulting in what can best be described as super-wispy-cloud-like-patterns on the top of the beer sporadically and with no height to them.

The nose is reminiscent of belgian quad's/strong dark ale's. Dark fruits, specifically plums along with some buttery/caramel sweetness interlaced, serving as a homage to the bourbon barrel that the beer is aged in.

You don't get a chance to forget that this beer was aged in a bourbon barrel with the taste. One of the first tastes is of slight whiskey and maybe a slight hint of bitterness. No real fruit presence in the taste- whiskey, some [possible] hop bitterness and a finish of dark chocolate and caramel.

Pretty lacking in respects to mouthfeel- a super smooth beer all around. Not much burn or heaviness despite its alcohol content. A slight twinge of carbonation on the roof of the mouth somewhere between start and finish, but other than that, not much else. No real super palate coating. Just a real smooth, thick beer. If that makes sense.

Drinkability seems to be good- very smooth and pleasantly flavored lead this to go down pretty easy. Not the syrupy-ness of stouts-slash-quads or even some strong dark ales. The barrel aging has really smoothed this out, only the problem seems to be that the barrel is one of the dominant flavors of the beer; instead of enhancing it it seems to have completely altered it into a different beer. Not sure if that's a good thing or not. Still, really good effort from Founders that proves to be a welcome to the thick winter beer staples [barley wines and stouts] that often are heavy and leave coating on the palate, this is pretty clean.

bigeyedfish, Jan 04, 2009
Photo of Shiredave
3.73/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Deep red amber color with a sparse tan head and good lacing. Very clear with only occasional carb bubbles rising through the dense liquid to the top.

Aroma is... negligible. A faint brown sugar/ toffee scent comes out when agitated but it's very mild and uninteresting to me. Sort of Scotch aleish but more sugary, giving off some hot, higher alcohol fumes.

The flavor is more toffee with a strong milk chocolate character. Some oak-y notes mix in nicely but the near cloying sweetness masks much of the woody nuances that struggle to come through. Flavors are muddled and dont really blend in well for me. Alcohol notes are ever present and again, dont mesh well, leaving me with the impression of fermented sugar and little fruity complexity, just thick, one dimensional sweetness. The 50IBU's of hops are all in the boil ( fine for a Wee Heavy) and there is firm bittering at the back end leaving a dry, hoppy aftertaste with more notes of coco and earthy oak.

Quite full bodied and heavy on the tongue. Overall a semi interesting beer due to the oak aging but I think this was a relatively fresh bottle and I would hope a few months in a cellar would allow this beer to come together and blend the independent flavors that seem unfriendly to each other now. A 4 for flavor is being generous, but i think it will age into that number or better with some time.

Shiredave, Jan 02, 2009
Photo of NeroFiddled
4.1/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy deep-amber-red-chestnut. Surprisingly, the off-white head drops shortly.

The aroma is bourbon-like, but also caramelish and sweet. It's sweetish and woody, and welcoming.

In the mouth it's medium bodied with a median carbonation, leaving it smooth and gently creamy.

The flavor is initially caramel malt, brown sugar, and Bourbon, followed by drying notes of woodiness and a snap of alcohol. In the end, although it lingers for quite some time, the maltiness basically evaporates leaving just the wood, bourbon, and alcohol behind.

An interesting and engaging ale!

NeroFiddled, Jan 02, 2009
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
Founders Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 5,462 ratings.