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Founders Backwoods Bastard - Founders Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Founders Backwoods BastardFounders Backwoods Bastard

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1,590 Reviews
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Reviews: 1,590
Hads: 7,091
Avg: 4.24
pDev: 23.11%
Wants: 932
Gots: 2,534 | FT: 244
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
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Reviews: 1,590 | Hads: 7,091
Photo of BurgeoningBrewhead
4.33/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Looks great in the glass, smells like almost pure bourbon...taste has that similar twang that all befell KBS as well: where the bourbon seems to be somehow applied on top of the beer instead of a part of it, reaching an almost buttery flavor that almost puts you off, but not quite.

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Photo of dpgoblejr
4.6/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Reddish brown hue with vanilla and bourbon in the aroma. Tastes of bourbon, vanilla, and oak with a touch of heat on the finish. I've never been a huge fan of any aging but this one works well. Nicely done Founders!

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Photo of breakingbland
4.33/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

This is an excellent bourbon barrel aged beer. The oak/vanilla/bourbon is somewhat downplayed compared to others that I've tried which often come across as cloyingly sweet. This been lets the underlying beer come through.

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Photo of JohnnyI
4.48/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

As an initial foray in to the beer review community, what better brewery to start with than Founders? And what better selection than 2014 Backwoods Bastard? Admittedly, I am a little partial due to the fact that I grew up in metro Detroit, and was spoiled with the likes of world class breweries such as Founders and Bells. Now that I am living in South Carolina, I can appreciate their genius even more. Well it's Monday night.... what better way to usher in tedious Tuesday morning meetings than a midnight Wee Heavy that clocks in at 10.2%! I have tried many other Scotch Ales (Orkney, Old Chub, Innis & Gunn, McEwans, and more) but this one raises the bar for me. Dirty Bastard was always a favorite, but the barrel aging of this masterpiece sets it apart. The bourbon notes perfectly marry with the sweet caramel malts creating a warm and especially inviting beer. This is not for the faint of heart though. I would call it dangerously drinkable for those that can enjoy the aroma & warmth of bourbon and appreciate the syrupy splendor of sweet Scotch Ale. Give it to your friend that drinks Blue Moon and watch them recoil in horror. Share with an afficianado of spirits and you might find a convert. Best enjoyed in the company of a true Beer Advocate. This is simply too good to trifle with those that cannot appreciate it's perfection.

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Photo of larryarms847
4.68/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pours a rusty brown with soft red hues and a very appealing single finger of lathery foam.

Caramel, bourbon, vanilla, and oak.

Oh my! Tons of vanilla, presumably from the bourbon barrels, of course (delicious) notes of bourbon, woody, caramel malts, and toffee.

Medium-bodied, low-medium carbonation, warming, and smooth as hell.

Overall, my favorite Founders brew second to KBS.

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Photo of Jaxbrew
4.75/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2013 vintage. Really nice barrel influence on this to have such a presence after more than a year's aging. Nice cherry/plum flavors and hints of vanilla from the oak.

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Photo of CraigP83
4.02/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Dark Brown, Lightly Carbonated.
Odor: Caramel, Whiskey, Charred Oak
Taste: Reminds me of drinking a Rootbeer & Windsor, There is a light fizz that dances on your tongue, coffee syrup aftertaste.

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Photo of mabermud
4.34/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Look: Deep and dark
Smell: Sweetness + bouron
Taste: Good balance. A weaker Wulver.
Feel: Low carb.
Overall: Wulver is better...I would take either, but prefer Wulver.

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Photo of TheItalianStallion
4.32/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12oz poured into a tulip

A: Pours a bright amber that is very similar to bourbon or whiskey in color. Dense 2 finger head that dissipates after a minute or 2 to a thin collar. There are only a few spots of lacing randomly dotting the glass.

S: Caramel right up front with a good amount of oak and bourbon notes. Big aromas of toffee and brown sugar blend everything together perfectly.

T: Sweet flavors of bourbon and caramel dominate with a solid oakiness on the finish. Toffee and brown sugar are also there, but nowhere near as pronounced as the bourbon and caramel flavors. The bourbon takes center stage in this beer and is one of the main flavors, as opposed to faintly existing in the background. Alcohol is masked well, but becomes evident as the beer warms.

M: Body is medium-full with low carbonation and a smooth mouthfeel. Alcohol is only really detectable on the finish as the beer warms.

O: This is a very interesting beer with an amazing aroma of caramel and big bourbon flavors that are a major part of everything. There is definitely some oak on the finish, but it is not overwhelming and is the perfect touch. This is a great beer, but personally I would like it more if the bourbon was slightly less pronounced. Nonetheless, it is a fantastic beer and now I am regretting only buying a single 12oz.

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Photo of Immortale25
4.26/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a Due South Brewing Co. snifter.

A- Pours a dark brown color with a 1/8 inch tan head that doesn't retain long before becoming a paper-thin ring around the edge of the glass and a small bubbly center patch of surface foam. Non-resilient lacing leaves tiny clots behind.

S- Bourbon presence is heavy with notes of oak and vanilla. Also some dark fruit and raisin.

T- Flavor is smoother than the aroma lets on. The bourbon provides a moderate booze flavor that's balanced out by the overall sweetness of the drink. Notes of caramel, sherry and more vanilla.

M- Slightly creamy with medium-low carbonation and a body leaning toward the fullish side.

O- This is a great beer but not exactly worthy of all the hype. Thirsty Dog's Wulver on the other hand...

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Photo of threeviews
4.9/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

12oz bottle (Bottled On Date: 10/14/14) into a 11oz Libbey Snifter glass
A- Pours a gorgeous (and mostly clear) mahogany, bordering on ruby red color. Although it's retention is low (after all, it is 10.2% ABV), the head grows to a strong 1+ finger's worth of a creamy, khaki colored head. (4.75)

S- The complexity imparted by the barrel aging is immediately apparent. Heady aromas of Caramel, Toffee, Vanilla, Coconut, Bourbon, Chocolate and pinch of Smoke all contribute to the massively complex nose. The balance between beer and barrel is exquisite and there is absolutely no detectable alcohol. (4.75)

T- The complexity in the nose carries through in the flavor. A caramel/toffee/chocolate/bourbon sweetness coats the palate and lingers for a time before a mild, peat smoke and oak tannin comes to the fore. The beer ultimately finishes dry as a from the hops helping to contribute to the calculated, 50 IBUs . (5.0)

M- The body is medium-full with a decent amount of carbonation, yet is able to maintain a creamy mouthfeel. This is unquestionably a sipper, but more due to its complex flavor profile rather than it falling heavy on the palate. As it rises to room temperature, the 10.2% ABV only surfaces in the form of a slight warming in the chest. (4.75)

O- Regardless of style, this is simply one extraordinary BBA beer. The base beer (Dirty Bastard) is excellent in its own right, but after time in a bourbon barrel transforms it into a sublime libation. Founders continues to release very solid, barrel-aged beers with Backwoods Bastard being one that is often overlooked. (5.0)

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Photo of EveningCordial
4.84/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured from bottle into snifter.

A- dark brown/copper body with noticeable carbonation and a short, white head that dissipates fairly quick. Good amount of lacing present.

S- all notes take a back seat to the bourbon in this offering. Alcohol smell us very present. The delicious bourbon gives way to a sweet molasses scent. Also present are hints of vanilla, oak and other woods, leather, maple syrup, and even a little tobacco.

T- sticking to its nose, this ale is very bourbon forward. The warm bourbon heat hits up front and is followed by some creamy vanilla and molasses. Plenty of oak and wood is present, as is some brown sugar and caramel.

M- medium to full bodied. Very creamy without the heaviness of a stout. Decent amount if carbonation and although the initial swallow has heat from the bourbon, the finish is actually quite crisp, smooth, and perfectly balanced.

O- outstanding job by Founders. I'm a sucker for KBS and stouts but this is a homerun for a scotch ale and is just a step behind KBS in my opinion. I know quite a few people who enjoy this offering better actually. It's smooth bourbon bliss in my book.

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Photo of drdiesel9483
4.23/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Look - cloudy brown with a good tan head and great lacing.
Smell - strong bourbon oak booze smell
Taste - boozy bourbon oak barrel vanilla taste
Feel - medium body with lots of fizzzz
Overall - boozy bourbon barrel beer and pretty good.

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
4.34/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

32 oz growler into a wine glass.

Appearance: Pours a dark chestnut color. The head is two fingers high, and mocha in shade. No, retention isn't that good, but the head still leaves behind plenty of sticky lacing on my glass. (4)

Smell: I shouldn't really judge the aroma straight from the fridge; letting it warm up will reveal notes of caramel, vanilla, and coconut. Gentle notes of oak barrel and smoke also appear. The nose reveals deft usage of barrels: it's rich and decadent, with the barrel-aging adding a powerful layer of complexity - and while all of this is happening, it still doesn't seem remotely harsh or boozy. (4.25)

Taste: It starts off with notes of vanilla, caramel, chocolate, and brown sugar; afterwards, it gives way to an oaky finish. Additional notes of general bourbon and tea leaf also appear. This is a very oak-laden beer, yet the base beer meshes perfectly. And while the powerful oak presence may create an illusion of alcohol, in reality this beer isn't boozy in the slightest. Powerful yet delicate, how can I not love this? (4.5)

Mouthfeel: For something slightly over 10%, this is amazingly clean and crisp. Yet, it still features a full body and a decadent overall feel. Carbonation is nearly perfect. Seriously, something so big and bold shouldn't be so drinkable... (4.25)

Overall: Wow. It's bourbony without being harsh, it's big without being moronic, and...well, it's just a damn good BA scotch ale. The base beer serves its purpose brilliantly taking the edge off of the barrel presence without diluting its glory. As a bourbon barrel showcase, it's absolutely fantastic. (4.25)

4.35/5: A blueprint on how to make a bourbon-bomb of a beer

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Photo of Furlinator
4.27/5  rDev +0.7%

Pours a hazy dark copper. The 1/4 inch khaki head fades to a thin ring on top and leaves spotty lace.

The smell is of burnt brown sugar, roasted malt, vanilla, bourbon and faint cocoa.

The taste is of brown sugar, roasted malt, Earthy oak and vanilla.

The texture is heavy bodied with low carbonation.

Heavenly aromas combine with impressive flavors with seamless bourbon barrel presence. World class.

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Photo of ctjoumas
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

Color of the beer is a deep brown color with great clarity. Not much head - only a thin layer which quickly dissipated. Outstanding smell of bourbon with a hint of caramel. Mouthfeel is a bit lighter than expected and the up front taste is very similar to the smell. A hint of sweetness coupled with coffee notes mixes with the bourbon creating a nice flavor. Finishing taste is back to the flavor of -bourbon with what I detect as a bit of hoppiness at the end.

Overall, great beer and the first of the bourbon barrel beers I've tasted. Definitely a fan and will be on the lookout for more.

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Photo of Andrew041180
4.26/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Here goes, first bourbon barrel aged beer...

The look is much the same as the standard dirty bastard. The aroma is mostly bourbon with some sweetness. Uh oh. The first taste is a major surprise, having expected lots of harsh bourbon. Actually, while the bourbon is present, the most amplified characteristic is vanilla, which sets in hard at mid palate. Other flavors are something of a syrupy caramel, and of course a bit of alcohol on the finish. The feel is wonderful. Silky smooth. My only regret was that I didn't drink it faster. Not sure what happened, but after about 30-40 minutes the beer became sticky and cloying. My ratings reflect the first half of the beer. Still, I like to sip the heavy stuff, not sure I'd go back for this one.

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Photo of McStagger
4.24/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

From notes.

A: Hazy bronze. Copper notes on the edge. Tan head.

S: Oxidized. Tawny port, caramel, toffee, some dried fruit.

T: Big sweet maltiness. Again tawny, vanilla, slightly toasted.

M: Thick, but not overly so. Big malty body with minimal carbonation to support it.

O: Very good. Bourbon barrel aged Wee Heavy is a killer idea.

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Photo of Brackh
4.75/5  rDev +12%

Medium brownish red pour (looks like dirty bastard). The smell doesn't jump out at you. You have to get down in there to smell it. Bourbon comes through though. Once you get past that there are all kinds of yummy smells in there. It tastes like bourbon. All the great flavors without the alcohol burn. It isn't overpowering. Keeps you coming back for more to try and figure it out. Great balance. Great beer.

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Photo of TBoneJones
4.77/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Snifter pour: Deep mahogany body, rich in appearance, with a thick ring of beige head. Lacing moderate but nice.
Smells oaky, brandy-like, sweet dark fruit, even some chocolate and fig. Impressive.
Now this is a delicious beer. Tastes much like the aroma, but with a nice red wine-like aspect in feel right off the bat. Taste involves some oak burn of course, but it's also smooth with sweet dessert malts, and imparts a terrific nutty and milk chocolate taste throughout. Toffee too, and even vanilla end notes are picked up, but make no mistake, this never approaches being overly sweet/ cloying.
Grand balance here. Medium creamy. Some late heat just as an oak barrel should provide.
In the end, this functions well as a flavorful post-supper nite cap in the late year season. More world class from Founders.

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Photo of RickS95
4.18/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Kind of an odd pour. Very brown with a slow cascading head. However, as it sits, the beer darkens to an extremely dark ruby brown and the head lightens to a creamy white. Moderate retention, but once it starts to die, it dies quickly. Each sip produces an attractive spotty lace.

There isn't much scent, it's very subdued. What's there is a combination of rye and caramel. As the beer warms, you start to pick up the oaky, smokey notes from the barrels.

A lot of depth in the flavor from the barrels. Bourbon is very present, the alcohol shining in this beer. Oak, vanilla, caramel and spicy rye made appearances at different times. Spirit drinkers would like this.

This beer packs some heat, literally and figuratively. It starts off sweet, but heat is growing as the beer works its way from the front of the tongue to the throat. There's an almost number effect on my gums and throat. Sweetness is dominant early on before a spiciness begins and transitions to the warming finish. It's a heavy beer and very warm.

Overall this is another great beer from Founders. This one means business. It's very strong, but if you sip it, it's a great nightcap.

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Photo of IPAGeorge
4.3/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter from a bottle.

A. Very little head with a medium viscosity. Brown but light still passes through. Very little head with little retention.

S. A predominant scotch smell. Not too heavy though.

T. Just enough scotch flavor to let you know it's there. A cookie like sweetness follows and then just a bit of bitterness.

M. Light carbonation. Medium mouth retention and a little creamy. Just a touch of heart going down.

O. Very well done by founders. Not too boozy and not too heavy. Nice mouthfeel and just enough heat to let you know it's oak aged. The light carbonation is a nice touch also. Everyone should try it at least once.

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Photo of MorgothBauglir
4.66/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Purchased 4 pack for $15 at local beer store. Bottles printed "bottled 09/24/2014". Label dated 2014 w/ cool Gandulf the grey looking " Bastard" holding a double-headed axe design... Now, I'm not a big fan of scotch ales but all the high reviews of this one made me decide to give it a shot. Here we go!
A: A deep redish caramel color.
S: Strong caramel with hints of malt & booze.
T: A caramel blast up front followed by a strong malt backbone with vanalla & toffee notes. Booze flavor is there in the aftertaste with lingering malt. A malt bomb for sure, but in a good way, sweet but not cloying.
M: Coats the tongue with its malty/boozy goodness.
O: I am impressed. Founders really produced a solid brew here that definitely raised my opinion of Scotch Ales. This is some good stuff here, & definitely one you should try if you get the chance!

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Photo of orangemoustache
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%

A gift from a friend. Pours a deep reddish mahogany. The nose is sweet and boozy. Lots of bourbon flavor with a strong malt backbone. Very little vanilla shines through. Mostly oak and dark sticky fruits. The feel is thin with a nice alcohol burn on the tongue. This one is a perfect sipper enjoyed next to the dim light of the Christmas tree.

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Photo of ColdOneKev
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%

A - Dark brown almost black, small tan head. Deep ruby highlights at the edges.
S - Vanilla, dark fruit, sweet malt, molasses, brown sugar.
T - Vanilla, sweet malt, toffee, light peat.
M - Thick, low carb. Coats the palate.
O - An excellent brew and I am not a huge fan of scotch ales. I wish I picked up more than a single because I'd love to see how this beer ages.

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Founders Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
94 out of 100 based on 1,590 ratings.