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Founders Backwoods Bastard - Founders Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Founders Backwoods BastardFounders Backwoods Bastard

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1,706 Reviews
no score

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Reviews: 1,706
Hads: 7,578
Avg: 4.25
pDev: 22.59%
Wants: 972
Gots: 2,967 | FT: 277
Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company
Michigan, United States | website

Style | ABV
Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy | 11.60% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: CortexBomb on 01-30-2007

"Wee Heavy", cave aged in oak bourbon barrels.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 1,706 | Hads: 7,578
Photo of hardysf
3.63/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is a meh beer to me. To each their own. I think this beer is like watered down bourbon. The barrel and bourbon notes really come through. Little if any other tasting notes. The bourbon flavors are good, but if I wanted bourbon on the rocks, I'd order bourbon on the rocks. Founders usually crushes it in my book, but I think this one just isn't for me. I'll have to give it another try on a different day.

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Photo of HorseheadsHopHead
4.82/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a stem glass. Bottled on 10/06/15.

Comes in a very dark reddish brown color; looks almost black in the glass but has ruby tints when held up to the light. A faint stream of carbonation is visible, as are some sediment chunks, and a semi-aggressive pours yields a finger of creamy tan head.
The aroma is very bourbon-forward. A sweet and spicy blend of kerosene, vanilla extract, pecans, and chilies. Behind the massive booze note lies oak, butterscotch, brandy-soaked cherries, figs, and raisins.
In the taste, the malt character is prominent. Butterscotch, toffee, molasses, and a hint of licorice up front, and then cherries, figs, dates, earth, and peat smoke in the middle. Finishes with heavy notes of bourbon, oak, and vanilla--warm, but not hot, and smooths out fairly well with sweetness coating the tongue.
The body is quite full, though not thick or syrupy; it flows smoothly across the palate, creamy like root beer, with only a light tingle of carbonation, and the aftertaste smacks of residual sugars, though it balances out fairly nicely and doesn't seem cloying.

This is a very nice BBA aged beer. Complex and quite drinkable for being 11.6% alcohol. Definitely worth buying. I might even buy a few packs while I have the chance.

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Photo of mfowler314
4.84/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This was the 2015 bottling and it was awesome! I'd not had it before so I can't comment on how it compares to previous years. I had it in the fridge but let it warm up to "cellar temp" before pouring. The look is a nice dark amber or light brown. Nice head that subsided fairly quickly. No lacing though. Smell was butterscotch and bourbon and the later I think I was getting some coconut. Taste was butterscotch and caramel and some bourbon flavoring... very nice. For the ABV I was not tasting the alcohol that much but it is there (if you could see how many time I have to backspace to correct my typing you'd know the alcohol was there!). Not real carbonated - at least by the time I was finishing it - so it feels real smooth. Overall this is an awesome beer and I'm glad I picked up a fair amount of it so I can have one or two every week and still spread it out over a fair amount of time!

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Photo of Social_Lubrication
5/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

look: 5
Brilliant Dark Amber.

smell: 5
sweet & malty. vanilla & oak I am also picking up the smell of fresh rye bread which gets more intense as the beer warms

taste: 5
Chocolate covered dark cherries up front with the bourbon finish

feel: 5
Excellent. Creamy & smooth. Lightly carbonated.

overall: 5
Excellent Beer. Will be on the lookout every fall for this.!!

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Photo of TH28
4.39/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Vertical comparison of 2014 and 2015 versions. Both in bottle. 2014 bottle date - 10/7/14. 2015 bottle date - 9/26/15. Appearance: Both a deep amber red/ brown, with minimal khaki foam head. 2015 version is almost perfectly clear, while the 2014 is noticeably murky and cloudy. Aroma: 2014: Rich oak and cherry dominate, with smoky tobacco and a touch of vanilla. 2015: A strong woody oak aroma with high vanilla and smoky notes. The cherry and tobacco notes picked up on the aged 2014 not present in the fresh 2015 version. Taste: 2014: Rich maltiness with strong cherrywood flavor, giving way to a distinct coconut and vanilla. Bitterness barely there. 2015: A strong punch of fresh oak wood and vanilla, with those flavors much stronger than the 2014 version. Fresh version has not developed the dark fruit/cherry flavors found in the 2014 version. Mouthfeel: 2014: Medium body with light creaminess and low carbonation and a touch of alcohol warmth. 2015: Medium body with a more syrupy character than 2014. Missing 2014 creaminess. Carbonation low, with a similar alcohol warmth. Finish: 2014: Leaves a malty finish with lingering cherry and coconut. 2015: Very malty on the finish with a lingering vanilla bean flavor. Overall: Can’t go wrong with either, both are amazing, but I prefer the 2014 aged version to the fresh 2015. 2014 has developed a softer melding of all the rich scotch ale and oak barrel flavors, with the development of dark fruit, cherry, coconut, and tobacco notes not found in the 2015. 2015 has a much sharper taste profile with fresh woody and strong vanilla that are present but subdued in the 2014 version. My advice, this is beer that is definitely better with some age on it.

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Photo of Cmun01
4.45/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Incredible beer, I agree with other reviews for the alcohol level this was very smooth. Hard to find beer, could only buy 2 four packs in my town in PA. Nice subtle taste and smell of chocolate, carmel and bourbon.

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Photo of Jaz2886
4.4/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Delectable. After the initial sniff, I was expecting a certain finish. That...I did not get. It was sweet, subtle, and smooth. Definitely a great way to end our night.

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Photo of LloydDobler
4.77/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This beer is outrageous! Never had anything over 10% that was this smooth. Light sweetness, mild warming alcohol, and just a touch of smoke. Bright garnet when held up to the light and clear as could be. I was expecting this to be overly sweet and burning with booze, but is was just the opposite. This beer walks softly and carries a big stick... errr, AXE! Everything here comes together so nicely it blows me away!

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Photo of HopHunter19
4.83/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

5 - Perfect. Dark mahogany color yet crystal clear on the edges, Ruby/blood red notes. Nice big tan head that leaves a good lacing
5 - smooth. Vanilla, caramel, butterscotch, bourbon, chocolate/caramel malts. light scotch notes.
T - Vanilla, cream, caramel, chocolate/caramel malts, bourbon, oak, very light coffee, overall a very smooth and good beer. Umami/wholesomeness.
M - medium to heavy. Alc covered (amazingly at 11.6%). Aftertaste is bourbon/chocolate/vanilla.
O - God damn this beer is near perfect. The taste is amazing. The only thing keeping me from giving it a 5 is I know if I had it next to a KBS or FW Parabola it wouldn't be as perfect as them. Maybe that's my fault for not being as crazy about this style as I am about bba imperial stouts, but give me a break - I bought a case of this today, I'm thinking about searching out another case tomorrow so I have plenty to last me throughout the year. Great beer!

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Photo of mschrei
4.65/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Brownish purple like a wine/scotch hybrid. Sweet oak and alcohol scent. Taste is totally boozy yet smooth. Very little burn. Sweet but not syrupy. Well balanced, delicious.

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Photo of MAFC_Trainer
4.65/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Look - pours almost black with little to no head or lacing. Held up to a light the body is red.
Smell - sweet malty whisky
Taste - malty sweetness upfront. There's a delicious Scotch aftertaste. The more I drink the stronger the bourbon taste. So good.
Feel - really smooth. Little carbonation.
Overall - this is my first wee heavy. It's awesome. Not overly boozie, especially with being 11.6% alcohol.

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Photo of reds2harleys
4.85/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Wow, this is one fantastic beer. Was good in the years past but to me this years is the best yet. Higher ABV then in years past but you can't taste it. No over the top booze hit here at all. Just a nice warmness. Amazing flavor and depth. Really glad I grabbed 2 - 4 packs when I could as it didn't last long before being sold out and I can surely see why. Another home run from Founders. I rank it right up there with their Stouts which coming from me is a helluva statement. Damn good. Think I'm going to have one tonight. Cheers

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Photo of 2ellas
4.08/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

When held up to the light, it's a deep crimson. Has a thin white head
smells strongly of scotch and oak. I get some coconut too
Taste matches the smell nearly perfectly
mouthfeel is a bit thin with lower carbonation
a very interesting and enjoyable sipping beer that I will drink again!

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Photo of Hophazzard
4.59/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My first Wee Heavy and WOW they set the bar pretty damn high with this one. Simply put, it's the best bourbon barrel aged beer that I've tried. Perfectly balanced, super smooth, ideal for sipping on a cold winters night. Outstanding!

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Photo of Beers-es
4.1/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

From a 32 oz growler. The look of this beer is fantastic--a dark ruby/orange with the light behind it. Half-inch tan head didn't linger too long. The smell is bourbon and booze, though after it warmed the sweeter malt came through, and a little later, there was some chocolate and vanilla, and what briefly smelled like coconut. Taste was heavy on bourbon and alcohol, which gave way to a little malt sweetness, finishing with a slight bitter dryness. A little sweet, but not too sweet. Smooth feel that left a kind of alcohol coating on the tongue. I'd love to try this one after a year or so of aging. Seems to have all the elements to be taken to another level.

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Photo of GretchenVK
4.42/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This years, 2015, was definitely a bit different from pst years. I felt like it was a but thinner, even though the ABV went up, but overall had a thinner viscosity. Overall still a very good beer

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Photo of K-Dog
4.39/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

So this year's version has a higher alcohol content so naturally I assumed would be more hot and would probably want to age to mellow out. Boy was I wrong. Founders somehow increased the alcohol content but the result was a smooth creamy taste of vanilla and bourbon. Got a 4 pack and was planning on aging 3 of them, but it's gonna be hard not to drink them sooner.

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Photo of Buck89
4.31/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a snifter. Dark copper, rusty brown color with a moderate tan head. The one-finger head didn't stay around very long, but it left some nice tracks in the glass. The nose was full of whiskey, oak, vanilla, toffee, and plum. After one whiff, I was excited about this and the first taste did not disappoint. My mouth was flooded with waves of whiskey, vanilla, wood, chocolate, plum, and caramel. Very well-balanced - the boozy tones were most prominent but seemed like a great platform for the other players. Nice warming smooth whiskey on the finish. Creamy mouthfeel with medium carbonation. This is a stellar brew.

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Photo of BlackBeerPirate
4.17/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Taste: big and bold spiced peat and malts, warming bourbon moth feel of alcohol.
Clear deep red copper color.
Big oaked malt nose.
Full body.
Tan refined head with nice lace.
50 IBUs

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Photo of mr-jj
4.16/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter from a 12 oz bottle.

Color is deep mahogany with a one finger off-white head. Notable lacing. Smell is oak, scotch, and caramel. Pretty boozy. Flavor is similar, with some dark fruits. Body is medium/full with moderate carbonation. Overall, a very tasty beer.

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Photo of Hop_God
4.57/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: deep Mahogany. Ruby to almost brown. Wine almost no head

S: one of the best smells I've experienced. Sweet candy. Oak. Scotch. Booze. Maple syrup.

T: oak. Scotch. Booze. Candied dark fruits.

F: creamy almost. Smooth. Booze front but soft finish. Low carb.

O: this is fantastic. Wonderfully done oak aged offering. Sweet but bitter. Balanced but boozy. Bravo.

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

Poured into snifter
Look; Nice deep garnet with a one finger head. Mild carbonation visible
Smell; Malts, oak and booze.
Taste; Well integrated oak and bourbon with the original maltiness of the Wee Heavy Ale. Nice vanilla presence. Smooth taste, the alcohol present in the smell is under wraps in the taste.
Feel; Creamy, a warming presence from the alcohol.
Overall; To me, this meets the hype. Very enjoyable.

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Photo of SometimesIfart
3.36/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Founders Backwoods Bastard.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2015 Bottle poured into a tulip glass.

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

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

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

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Founders Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
95 out of 100 based on 1,706 ratings.