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Founders Backwoods Bastard - Founders Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Founders Backwoods BastardFounders Backwoods Bastard

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5,364 Ratings

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Ratings: 5,364
Reviews: 1,429
rAvg: 4.33
pDev: 10.62%
Wants: 673
Gots: 1,558 | FT: 143
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: 5,364 | Reviews: 1,429 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of bebopkola
4.63/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a beautiful dark brown with no head retention, even after a vigourous pour.

First aromas of vanilla, caramel, and bourbon. The bourbon begins to come out more and more after the intial whiff. Extremely enticing aromas, so much going on it's great.

Flavors include vanilla, sweet almost carmel candy like flavor, toffe and definatley bourbon. I love the fact that you can taste the influence of the barrel aging in this beer, it definatley dominates the aroma and taste of the beer and comes out even more as it warms up.

I've had a few other barrel aged, either plain oak barrel or a barrel previously used with some other spirit and this is one of the best. This beer can definatley benefit from cellaring, although good now, I can't wait to revisit this beer after a couple of months.

bebopkola, Nov 10, 2008
Photo of bluejacket74
3.98/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle, Fall 2008. Served in a Sam Adams BL glass, the beer pours a dark red/brown color with a very small tan head that went away quickly. Not much lacing either. Aroma is mostly bourbon, but there's also vanilla, oak, peat and smoke noticable. Taste is similar to the aroma, but the alcohol heat is a little harsh at first. It does mellow a bit when it warms up but you can still tell there's some alcohol there when drinking it. Mouthfeel/body is medium, carbonation is low and it's creamy. Drinkability is decent enough and it is smooth, but the alcohol isn't hidden well at all so that hurts it some. I don't think I'd want to drink more than 1-2 of these at a time. Overall I think it is a decent enough beer, I think aging it some would help.

bluejacket74, Nov 10, 2008
Photo of JohnGalt1
3.83/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz received as a completely great extra from orbitalr0x.. big thanks Donald. 1" head.. slim lacing atop a hazy mahogany/walnut brew.

aroma is vanilla and smoky wood .. caramel and figgy fruits..

Flavor mirrors the aroma but with a bunch of raisin and plum.... vanilla.. a little bit of char.. smokey... caramel.. and sweet bourbon. very smooth.. fairly big body with a low carbonation..

This a pretty great beer.. Alex says it has a year on it.. I am not interested if it is fresh... it just seems like there is too much going on. smoke.. vanilla.. toffee.. Scotch. Bourbon.. nice.. but not tonight.


JohnGalt1, Nov 09, 2008
Photo of gearbike
3.45/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Redish copper color from tap. I do not really like this beer. But that is (sort of) a compliment. It is very true to stile becouse I do not enjoy scotish ales. As in most scotish ale the big alcohol precese is not balanced with any backbone. No real malts or hops. However, it was a great suprise to find a Michigan Beer on tap that I have not tried. Hard to really go wrong with any Founder's.

gearbike, Nov 09, 2008
Photo of TheodorHerzl
3.5/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a dark rustic hue with a thin tan head. The nose is loaded with vanilla, wood, bourbon, cherry, and a slight hint of peat. The flavor profile is pretty intense with initial flavors of vanilla, oak, and dark cherries. The alcohol burn from the bourbon though really took away from this beer for me. It does not meld with the beer and overtook from most of the flavors that I was tasting. I let the beer warm for about thirty minutes and the flavor profile did sweeten a little bit, but the alcohol burn was still quite harsh I think. I really enjoy dirty bastard (the non-barrel aged version) because of the rich caramel malt base, but I never found that in this beer. The mouthfeel is full bodied with plenty of alcohol on the mouthfeel. The drinkabilility wasn't really there for me. I hope with some age on this beer it will settle down a bit.

I like barrel aged beers, but this one was still quite hot for my liking.

TheodorHerzl, Nov 06, 2008
Photo of roadhouse
4.6/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a snifter.

Appears a dark reddish brown with a half inch light tan head. Leaves some decent lacing behind, but it's mostly spotty.

Aroma has lots of caramel malts surrounded in a blanket of bourbon, oak, and vanilla.

When I first sipped this my first reaction was to scream with pleasure. Absolutely delicious. Starts out with a big burst of bourbon and vanilla soaked caramel then follows with some chocolatey and oak tones and a delicious bourbon aftertaste. The is definitely one to cleanse the palate in between sips to enjoy every single one.

Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy, medium-full bodied.

I have had the regular Dirty Bastard and thought it was pretty good but I had no idea it could be improved this much. This stuff is great, I'm gonna have to get another four pack.

roadhouse, Nov 04, 2008
Photo of ATLbeerDog
4.18/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

From a 12oz bottle on 11/02/2008 - Pours a reddish/brown color with small caramel colored head. Almost no carbonation. Smells of sweet bourbon and not much else. First sip is smooth and mellow with the scotch dominating but still balanced with the malts. Oak and vanilla notes are also present. Very nice and drinkable. Not much carbonation here thanks to the barrel aging process. Very nice and tasty.

Bottle on 12/27/08 - Pours a cloudy brownish/red with a frothy ½ inch caramel colored head. A light aroma of bourbon and malt complete the nose. First sip is much more bourbon than the nose indicated. It is all bourbon, and then some malts appear in a supportive role. As it warms, it is still all bourbon but now some hops are present adding to the overall complexity. I am guessing this was aged in some very fresh barrels still loaded with residual bourbon wetness as the beer picked up a ton of flavor.

ATLbeerDog, Nov 02, 2008
Photo of emerge077
4/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2008 label with a sinister, axe-wielding dwarf on the front. Neck label lists 50 IBU, and 10.2% abv.

Poured half the bottle into a 12 oz. snifter. Thin cap of tan foam, that receded after five minutes, leaving a ring of bubbles at the edge, and a cool spiderweb pattern across the mahogany surface.

Big bourbon aroma. A swirl kicks up a sweet maltiness behind it, hinting at the base beer's character. Otherwise it's sweet, woody whiskey and sour mash fumes: hints of corn, cherry, and fried plantain.

Full fledged bourbon flavor too, more or less steamrolling the whole thing. Luckily not as harsh as straight bourbon, but the full flavor is there. Flashes of sweet malt underneath, with a growing warming sensation in the gut with every sip. Low carb and medium body, the strong flavor takes centerstage. Pretty much only good for sipping, even splitting a bottle if you aren't prepared for alot of whiskey in your beer.

1-12-2010 Vintage 2007 bottle, "7169" roughly may '07

Slightly murky red, decent amount of foam. Clear and strong bourbon aroma. Alcohol has mellowed, oxidation is creeping in, but doesn't interfere. Bourbon flavors are front and center, woody sweet maple syrup, brown sugar, drizzled in caramel toffee. Really tasty without the alcohol heat.

emerge077, Nov 01, 2008
Photo of Steaks
4.05/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

god damn i'm drunk. it tastes like you're drinking hard liquor. 10.2%. the smell is straight up bourbon, but it doesn't have the burn you'd expect. it pours black as hell and is easy to drink, but i stumbled several times while drinkin this and lookin at some fine ladies. i haven't thrown up yet. founders is delicious, but i think this beer might be a little much for me. wooo

Steaks, Nov 01, 2008
Photo of jeonseh
3.35/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Brown with a bit of a golden tint to it; small nearly non existent head sits on top.

S - Smoky peat mixed with hint of vanilla and oaky; slight hint of maraschino cherry

T - a bit smoky with hints of oak mixed in; roasted malt comes out as well as a bit of bitterness that hangs on the back; Rather rough flavor profile as the beer seems to want to rip your mouth apart; you can feel the strong bitter flavor ebb and flowing along your palate; nice spiciness comes in on the back side every once and awhile. this is one beer that became much noticablely better when it warmed up . Hints of oak and vanilla increased with the strong bitterness seemed to mellow out.

MF - Has a good bit of tingle to it as it just really makes your toungle tingly; this last for a while; the beer itself is a bit thin for my taste and the style

D - Overall, i wasn't too impressed by this one. It was sort of rough in the mouth and the flavor profile wasn't anything too special. I really didn't care for how the peat, bitterness and oaky spicness came together. They just didn't seem to blend right as one area was always a bit out of whack. We'll see what time does for it but i wasn't too impressed.

jeonseh, Nov 01, 2008
Photo of rudylaw
3.2/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This beer is brown, iced tea-like in color that has a sizeable head.

I get a lot of whiskey upon first sniff and my first taste confirms this. Almost overpowering at first, it does mellow out quite a bit as you continue to drink. Still, it's hard for me to pinpoint other flavors... besides oak.

Overall, somewhat disappointed in this one. Founders does so many beers well, perhaps I'm unfairly holding it up to their stouts. Regardless, one 4-pack is more than enough for me in a season.

rudylaw, Oct 31, 2008
Photo of cannabanaceae
4.05/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Color was murky,dark red. Little brown head. Yeast and char at bottom.

Smell was BOURBON! Vanilla maybe some spicy hops and malts in the mix.

Taste was alcohol, carmel,bisquity malt. mild vanilla notes from oak. Hop bitterness detected in the end. Left a choppy bitter taste in mouth. Got sweeter as it warmed.

This was a great wet barrel bourbon Scottish ale. Glad to get this in trade!

cannabanaceae, Oct 27, 2008
Photo of inhoc00
4.97/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

brand new backwoods bastard thanks to armaneti's on lincoln - the best shop in chicago. this new label has a blind old man with a hatchet and is labeled as 10.2%alc.

poured into a tripel karmeliet tulip

a - dark dirty brown, translucent to the bottom like a filthy creek (eh backwoods stuff ya know)

s- very sweet brown sugar and baked beans/bacon and bourbon? in a good way of course. very unexpected. a bastard breakfest?

t- this is really really good stuff. very sweet bourbon. almost no alcohol. no bitterness.

m- low carbonation, semi creamy

d- amazingly drinkable. i let my wife take a sip who hates strong beer and she even enjoyed it. tastes nothing like 10.2% excellent beer.

inhoc00, Oct 25, 2008
Photo of sgoodship
3.93/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to d0b for pointing me in the right direction to pick this up at Evanston 1st Liquors.

A: Very dark, hazy brown. Nice dark reddish edges against the light. A vigorous pour hardly generates a head. Nice spotting on the glass. A very delicate ring and a wispy head.

S: Candy sweet roasted malt. Alcohol - of the bourbon persuasion of course. Some dark cherry. A little medicinal.

T: There is definitely a hint of vanilla, some dark cherry type fruit. More dominant is the great roasted sweet malt but it gets dominated by the alcohol. I like the bourbon essence but the alcohol burn takes away from some of the enjoyment for me. The aftertaste is a combination of tea and alcohol bitterness.

M: A touch of carbonation prickliness, a medium/light body. Pretty smooth overall but a little sharp with the alcohol at the finish.

D: This is not my favored style of ale but I did enjoy it. It was nice to drink it out of a thistle glass and just sip away. The kind of beer that makes you question what beer is - a sophisticated and acquired taste. I tend to enjoy high ABV brews that mask the alcohol a little better but I will look forward to the other 2 bottles I have left. It's a quality brew and I would recommend giving it a try. I ate some Gouda with this - good call. It balances it out very nicely.

sgoodship, Oct 24, 2008
Photo of bluemoonswoon
4.38/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz stubby brown bottle, poured into an imperial pint glass. This years batch claims to be 10.2% ABV.

A: Pours a clear and dark, glowing amber. Iced tea red, much like the dark horse doppelbock. The beer is topped with a one inch thick, creamy loooking, sandy brown head.

S: Smells very similar to the Curmudgeon, notes of vanilla and oak are very noticable, but this beer seems just a bit sweeter than its old ale counterpart.

T/MF: Heavy on vanilla, heavy on oak, slight bourbon/whiskey flavors and closes with a bit of a grainy finish. Its funny, this beer seems to have more character than the Curmudgeon. Slight peatiness in the finish, but otherwise quite sweet and smooth. Halfway through the glass and the bourbon on this is becomming more noticable. This beer seems a bit differnet than the Dirty Bastard that I am familiar with, which itself seemed a bit sweeter and a bit fuller than this beer, but that was about a year ago the last time I had a DB and again, this is not to take anything away from this beer, which is quite interesting in itself. The oak and vanilla notes make for quite the complex beer when coupled with an already nice caramel sweetness. The beer is full bodied but still remains quite creamy and smooth on the tongue.

D: Insanly high, heavier and bigger (it seems) than the Old Ale, this beer is a champion of barrel aging and has done very well for itself. Looks pretty, drinks easy and feels great on the pallate, a great beer all around.

bluemoonswoon, Oct 19, 2008
Photo of jwinship83
4.15/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle with new art. higher, 10.2%abv

A- small sticky off white head on top of a dark brown body with ruby highlights

S- earthy peaty malts, a touch of smoke, some bourbon, vanilla, oak, and some cherries maybe

T- strong bourbon and oak taste. very slight aftertaste. the alcohol isnt that well hidden. earth, peat, cherries, vanilla,

M- extremely smooth and creamy. warming from the alcohol all the way down.

D- the ABV and the taste of alcohol make this one hard to want a second. however, i do feel that its a much improved version of dirty bastard and wish it would be a year round staple.

jwinship83, Oct 19, 2008
Photo of paco1029384756
4.53/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark ruby color with a large foamy off white head, a beautiful beer.

Scent of oak, cherries, bananas, vanilla, alcohol, and some roasted malts. Almost has a charred character with the oak, and that combining with the other characteristics give this an excellent aroma and balance.

Taste of bourbon and oak dominate initially, cherries and cinnamon come in quickly, roasted malts and some alcohol become apparent as it warms. Finishes dry with tons of oak and bourbon flavor, incredible.

Mouthfeel is dense and heavy, extremely smooth.

Founders has once again created another amazing beer. A must try as far as I'm concerned. Founders is rapidly becoming one of my favorite breweries.

paco1029384756, Oct 18, 2008
Photo of srandycarter
3.88/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours dark brewed tea, small head leaves fast. Persistent thin lacing remains.

S - Deep sweet malt, whiskey and spice.

T - Flavor matches smell. The finish is brutal booze and wood.

M - Creamy, coating medium bodied and good carb.

D - Very overbearing, would tire easily.

srandycarter, Oct 07, 2008
Photo of flexabull
4/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle courtesy of warriorsoul, thanks again!

Pours a dark and slightly cloudy brown color, with a nice white head.

Aromas are very nice. Dark fruits, brown sugars, caramel, booze, and some oak notes as well.

Taste is very boozy. Lots of dark fruit flavors, slightly sweet, sugary and oak like. Finish is crisp and dry, with a mineral hop bite, and a lot of warmth from the alcohol. This beer tastes much more potent than it actually is. I've had beers that are 11+% in ABV that don't taste this hot. It's not bad, but it's a bit much.

Mouthfeel is very full. Suffers a little bit from the alcohol burn, feels a bit prickly on the finish. But not bad at all.

Drinkability is good. This is a nice Wee Heavy. (A favorite style of mine.) But I think there is just too much barrel aged flavors and alcohol burn to make this a great beer. Solid, and certainly worth a try. I'll have to compare notes later when I crack open my Alesmith Barrel Aged Wee Heavy and see how it compares.

flexabull, Aug 09, 2008
Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.95/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

"No poor bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making other bastards die for their country."

--General George S. Patton

Murky tawny with a hint of ruby and edges of bright orange. The golden brown sugar hued head is surprisingly small, but it's nicely creamy and is starting to lay down some lace. The score is a reflection of the appearance right after the pour, rather than how the beer looks several minutes later.

If you like bourbon whiskey, the nose is a good one. It features the caramelized sugar, vanilla and oakiness of that spirit. It would be nice if the scotch ale qualities of the beer were more evident.

Backwoods Bastard is good beer, but it isn't the incredibly good beer that was expected. My assumption is that it's Dirty Bastard that has been 'aged in oak bourbon barrels', as the label reads. A great beer (Dirty B) and a shot of bourbon should have resulted in something more amazing. Part of the problem is an overly thin, inadequately bubbled mouthfeel.

The flavor is increasingly enjoyable, which is why I want it to be fuller, rounder, deeper and more complex. For whatever reason, some bigger beer tends to shrink and simplify when it's barrel-aged. If I didn't like bourbon so much, the taste score would be at least one notch lower.

Regarding specifics, the spotlight is on boozy caramel, loads of crushed vanilla bean and sugared oak. Those flavors don't obliterate the qualities of the wee heavy, but they do pound them into submission. In the end, a better mouthfeel would have increased the scores on either side of it.

Speaking of which... what else is there to say? The beer is too thin for the style and the ABV. I'm not sure what happened since Dirty Bastard has such an enjoyable mouthfeel. Slight improvement with warming manages to keep it above average.

Every one of the above scores was barely achieved. Founders managed to take a great beer and a great concept (bourbon barrel aging) and turn it into 'merely good' beer. It would still be fantastic if they make this a regular release because the potential for greatness is definitely there. Thanks prototypic.

BuckeyeNation, Aug 02, 2008
Photo of Crosling
3.68/5  rDev -15%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brown color with a full forming head that lasts well. Fairly nice nose that shows hints of vanilla and whiskey, with also some nice notes of the original beer (a little toastiness.) Flavor is of a very sweet beer that is mainly dominated by oak, a touch of coconut and whiskey notes. I like it, but it is not a complex beer. The original beer should really have a lot more character and is missing malt depth.

Crosling, Jul 30, 2008
Photo of objectivemonkey
4.38/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A wee heavy soaked up in bourbon barrels. Excellent....

Into a nonic pint glass, pours a crimson russet brown, with a nice half inch light tan head, down to a thin film, ok lacing left on the glass. Putting your face up to it, you don't get half a yard away from this thing without realizing its a bourbon soaked beast, with a smattering of thickish malt and oaks, some vanilla and molasses.

And the bourbon takes the lead in taste too, though more bold characters come through. The malt is thick and chewy, actually pretty sweet, nice caramels, roasted malt, with some raisin, smoky peat, all slathered up with a good bourbon glaze over it all. Which, for me, in this, works quite well. The mouth is quite full, very warm, though the alcohol doesn't quite get too aggressive, but on the verge. Overall, its meant to be taken slow, but probably a nice cap to the wee heavy kick I'm just getting out of.

I'd received two or three of these from nflmvp, and I'm most thankful for these treats.

objectivemonkey, Jul 30, 2008
Photo of sholland119
3.58/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A-Pours a clear ruby amber with little head.

S-Raisins and other dark fruits with more than a little bit of alcohol. Way more alcohol on the nose than I would expect for a 9% alcohol.

T-Very strong bourbon, dark cherries and raisins, a hint of vanilla. Strong alcohol warming in the finish.

M-Moderate carbonation, lingers on the tongue.

D-Even for the style, not very drinkable for me. A little heavy on the alcohol for me to really enjoy more than one.

Probably the first Founders beer I did not love. Their batting average is still pretty high.


sholland119, Jun 29, 2008
Photo of brewcrew76
4.4/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Murky ruby with a thin tan head.

S - Very sweet, bourbon, charred oak, vanilla, toffee, caramel and brown sugar. Very nice but the sweetness takes over a little too much.

T - Very sweet, milk chocolate, caramel, toffee, bourbon ice cream, vanilla, carmalized brown sugar and dark fruits.

M - Thick and chewy, low carbonation with a touch of syrup followed by a creaminess.

D - I had this at the end of the Great Taste and thought it was awful. Nice to try it with a clean palette to taste the complexity. On the sweet side but it brings out a nice candy/dessert like flavor.

brewcrew76, Jun 28, 2008
Photo of amiles
4.9/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I really believe this is a beer that should get more attention. Sure it came out at the same time as Breakfast Stout and was overlooked, but this is one amazing beer. I bought everything I could find last fall and still have quite a few of these left.

A: Heavy pour creates a big bubbled foam over a cloudy dark reddish brown body.
S: Bourbon, Vanilla, Toffee, Malts. Mmm...
T: Amazing. I'm glad the bourbon flavors have not feel short since this one is starting to feel alitle bit of age. Sweet from the bourbon, oak and vanilla touches. Finish with some balancing malts.
M: Feels good, what can I say? Medium carbonation.
D: More please?

Damn fine, interesting, bourbon bomb of a beer. I can't wait till this fall to get more.

amiles, Jun 21, 2008
Founders Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 5,364 ratings.