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Founders Backwoods Bastard - Founders Brewing Company

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Founders Backwoods BastardFounders Backwoods Bastard

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1,710 Reviews
no score

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Reviews: 1,710
Hads: 7,594
Avg: 4.25
pDev: 10.59%
Wants: 972
Gots: 2,989 | FT: 276
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: 1,710 | Hads: 7,594
Photo of YCantWeNotBeSober
4.48/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz pour from bottle fresh from Founder's into wineglass

A- Pours a clean mahogany ruby red caramel color. Thin tan head with minimal lacing.

S- Bourbon, Brown sugar, Caramel, Dark fruits - Sweet and pungent

T- Initial sweet raisin flavors hit the tongue, followed by balanced caramel, molasses, brown sugar sweetness with a hint of roasty, darker malt flavor. Heavy Graham Cracker / Vanilla flavors. Bourbon sweetness rounds out the flavor profile with a little heat in the finish. As the beer warms vanilla starts to take the stage. Black Cherry or chocolate-covered cherries are distinguishable when exhaling through the nose. Overall a very complex flavor.

M - Thick, slightly oily mouthfeel. Fairly carbonated.

O - Very impressed by this beer. It has re-defined the style for me. A great sipper that competes with some of Founder's others Barrel Aged behemoths. After buying two 4pks, I'm ready to commit to stocking up on this to get me through til next years release.

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Photo of JohnnyI
4.48/5  rDev +5.4%
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 johnnnniee
4.48/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Received in trade from barak316, thanks for the opportunity.
Pours a slightly murky reddish brown with a tiny off white head that never really musters, but never fully dissipates either. Smells of sweet caramel and brown sugar with lots of dark fruit and oak and bourbon. The smell is heavenly really. Taste is as sweet as advertised but have enough bourbon warmth to keep is slightly balanced. Lots of dark sugars and dark fruits round out the flavor nicely. Medium to thick body with a light level of carbonation and a sweet sugary almost syrupy mouthfeel. I enjoyed the heck out of this beer! I only wish it were a little easier to obtain.

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Photo of Zach136
4.48/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Deep ruby red, thin head, but respectably longevity considering barrel aging and alcohol content.

Aroma/Flavor: Rich notes of bourbon, oak, dark fruit, and a touch of smoke. Palate has a touch of warming booze.

Mouthfeel: Medium+ bodied, light carbonation, silky.

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Photo of pzrhsau
4.48/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

A: Nice rich brownish hue topped by a decent sized coffee/tan head.
S: My first reaction is to sense the oak woody aromas coupled with sweet notes from the bourbon aging. You also get a nice combination of sleep malt with a slight sweet caramel scotchiness.
T: It has a smooth combination of flavors both from the bourbon barrels and it has a balanced sweetness from the malt. This combines to create a vanilla/caramel sweetness that is very bold.
D/M: The aging really has given this the characteristic of a scotchy smoothness. It goes down really easily which is scary because you don't overly sense the 10% alcohol that goes into this bad boy. Very nice to sit and enjoy but hard to switch to other beers that do not pair the weight.

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Photo of SR_619
4.48/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

This is as close to perfect as I've had - cracked open a 1 year old bottle (2014 issue) recently and am having a hard time going back to lesser beers!

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Photo of kylelenk
4.48/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bottle and on tap.

A- A very burnt caramel color with hardly any head when poured appropriately into a snifter.

S- Very deeps hints of vanilla, alcohol, oak, caramel, and tobacco.

T- Very creamy mouthfeel fresh and when aged. Has nice velvety mixes of caramel and brown sugar. Dark currant and figs mix with an almost absent hop presence. A noticeably hidden booze taste comes at the epilogue. Let it warm up and the flavors blend even more.

M- Very light on carbonation and an easy mouthfeel. Only complaint is it feels a bit "thin." Very easy to take back two or three in a round.

O- Overshadowed by other barrel aged beers from Founders. I find BWB easily available and this year...incredibly inexpensive at $12 a four pack.

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Photo of flyingpig
4.48/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

355ml bottle from Good Spirits Co, Glasgow (£4.80):
Another excellent Founders beer, one of their best yet. Tonnes of complexity with good roasted malts, dark fruits & sweetness apparent throughout. Easy to drink despite the strong abv., the balance is excellent too & it's definitely a beer I'll be on the look out for again.

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Photo of SeanRedd
4.48/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I had to review this beer...Burnt cranberry color, thick and oily, light bubbles, sappy center. Light and firm head...nose of dark berries, tons of seeds. Fig newtons, to dried strawberries, to chocolate dipped grain. A biscuity body drizzled in fruity, burnt, boozey, caramel spread, finishing dark, bitter chocolate. A touch of robitussen enters as it warms; thats fine, its the best tasting robitussen I ever drank. Excellent ale...don't need really more than 120z a sitting either.

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Photo of Bone53
4.48/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

On tap @ Mad Mex

Appearance: Ruby brown with a finger of beige head

Smell: The oaky, vanilla bourbon barrel qualities meld great with the sweet caramel and toffee malt notes

Taste: Sweet caramel and toffee notes upfront then the vanilla and oak from the barrels really shine.

Mouthfeel: Full body; Really coats the palate going down, with thin alcohol and moderate bitterness on the finish

Overall: Really a wonderful beer, especially during these winter months. The sweet malts compliment the bournon barrel quailities very well. I dont know if this is what i imagine the perfect BBA scotch ale to be, but its damn close. The warmer it got the higher i rated it

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Photo of letsgopens
4.48/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a really pleasing, deep copper/cedar with a nice thick beige head that holds well and leaves some average lace. A decent amount of small rising bubbles. Very appetizing.

Initially malty in the nose with some dark fruit and a light slightly vanilla bourdon hint. Certainly those oak barrel characteristics are in full effect.

Now for the taste. Wow, really complex. There is a lot there flavor-wise. Many times in bourbon barrel aged brews there is a lot of the harsher characteristics of the bourbon, but not that gorgeous, inherent complexity of flavor. The vanilla really comes out, as does the slight floral note and fruitiness. Roasty and warm with some malty sweetness, honey, molasses and the subtle smoky note of charred oak. Mellow but very pronounced. Exactly what I was hoping for. Just a hint of booze in the finish, but not at all harsh. Founders really hint the nail on the head with this one.

Smooth and velvety on the tongue with moderate carbonation. Full, buttery finish that lingers a bit on the palate. I'm often not big a fan of many similar selections, but this one really captured the most appetizing qualities from the barrels without dragging some of the overpowering harshness along. Another fantastic selection form Founders

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Photo of morimech
4.49/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I think this is the ultimate winter beer. Full of complex aromas and flavors and enough booze to keep you warm. Pours a ruddy brown color with a small tan head that quickly settles to bubbles around the glass. Some sticky lacing is left on the glass. The aroma is a mixture of vanilla, caramel, scotch, rich malt, and some earthiness. The flavor likewise is complimented nicely by barrel aging. Hints of vanilla and scotch along with the richness of the malt makes this a nice sipper. Alcohol warmth in the finish. Full body with carbonation that gives the beer a nice soft texture. Fits this beer nicely. This beer is a sipper so that limits drinkability.

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Photo of ShanePB
4.49/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2011 bottle less than two months old. Served from the bottle at Canal St Pub, poured into a 12 ounce goblet.

A: Rustic amber bronze colored body, fairly clear though not completely. Tiny tan head forms but quickly dissipates, leaving almost no lace behind unless you have it a vigorous pour to form more of a head.

S: Boozy bourbon notes, wood, oak, vanilla and some roasted malts. The bourbon is the focus all while the Scotch Ale style aromas try to break through. If you love bourbon, this is probably one of the most aromatic non-stout barrel aged beers I've come across. Intoxicating, smooth and boozy; wonderful.

T: Bourbon dominates yet again, but it's not harsh or overly boozy. You know it was bourbon barrel aged on first sip, and if you don't care for the spirit, you won't like this. Complex toffee, vanilla and faint yeasty notes are mid-palate. Warming on the swallow and into the linger in the back of the throat to the chest. Ridiculously smooth, blended and balanced. Hands down, this is my favorite Scotch Ale I've ever tasted.

M: Incredibly smooth, lower on the carbonation but enough to break up the flavors and provide balance. Feels like drinking a very well made, crafted bourbon whiskey.

Backwoods Bastard was a very early beer I had when I first started drinking craft beer, and while I do remember enjoying it I don't think I appreciated it as I do now. It's so complex, flavorful and smooth; unlike many other bourbon barrel aged beers. One of my Fall favorites that I cannot get enough of.

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Photo of mirish72
4.49/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Lucky enough to pick this up the other night. Have heard great things so I was psyched to find it and didn't even flinch at the $15 price tag.

Poured into a Chimay goblet. Poured a dark copper, caramel color with a little lacing.

On the first whiff, I noticed was the amazing bourbon aroma. Upon another sniff, the beer had an incredicle mix of burnt, smokey, oakey aromas, really complex but amazing.

It has an equally complex taste, one that was multi-layered and seemed to get better with every sip. It definitely handles the impressive malts, but it also balanced the alcohol well. You can tell this is strong (10.2%), but it really works well.

I am usually not a huge fan of Scotch ales, but this is the cream of the crop. A really amazing beer, I am going to pick some more up to age in the cellar. Also, you gotta love the artwork and the labeling on the packaging. Really a perty brew.

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Photo of OneDropSoup
4.49/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to ralflord for the trade! This was the apparently more 10.5% batch with a different label than that on display.

Pours a solid dark brown (not black) with chestnut highlights. About a finger of khaki head that mellows to a thin foam & leaves a little lacing, but not much. Light action from bubbles, real light.

The smell -- YOWZA!! Smells great -- actually, I usually get the first indication of flavor from licking the cap, & was struck by significant sweet, caramel malt. Actually, chocolate chip cookies came to mind. The smell transported that and a maple smell, plus the sweet sting of bourbon barrel. One of the best smells I've partook.

The taste delivers on all those notes, finishing with a strong bourbon taste & alcohol presence. Oh, the caramel, oh the smoky notes, oh! The mouthfeel is rich & full without being overly unctuous. This is such a good idea -- a bourbon barrel-aged wee heavy. I hate to sound like a beentheredonethat, but the BB-aged imperial stouts are more common & leave a thick, heavy impression -- not bad by any stretch, but heavier & requiring more commitment. This imparts all the sweet & woody flavors without the intense viscosity. I'm into it!

Drank one, could drink another.

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Photo of brokenleadedcask
4.49/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Stored for 3-4 months and poured into a snifter

A- Pours deep amber but still is translucent

S- Single barrel bourbon, Werther's caramel candy

T- Oak, vanilla, tobacco, a pinch of smoke, notes of coconut (is this right?) and a little spicy

M- Great mouth feel, flavorful but still light enough. For my taste not hot at all

D- I love the flavor profile on this one, sentimental beer for me. I am completely content with drinking 2 of these and nothing else, then going to bed a happy man

Overall- My favorite Wee Heavy/Scotch ale and was lucky enough to drink quite a bit of it in 2008

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Photo of gatorhophead
4.49/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Cracked my first bottle tonight and poured half the bottle aggressively into a 13oz snifter.

A.) Pours a dark reddish-brown with about a 1/4" head which fades pretty quickly, but leaves a nice lacing on the glass,

S.) A total assault on the olfactory receptors, cherries, molasses, bourbon, oak, chocolate, and boozy. Is this really beer?

T.) Just like it smells, starts out with with sweet dark fruit flavors and bourbon giving way to hints of molasses, chocolate and oak with a boozy warmth at the finish

M.) Slightly creamy, but not syrupy as the smell might suggest and just the right amount of carbonation.

D.) Certainly not the most drinkable 10% beer I've had, could probably drink one more, but it's one of the most unique.

This is one fantastic beer and I'll be buying some to cellar

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Photo of portia99
4.49/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, 2009 release. Poured into a Portsmouth goblet.

A - Pours a thick, deep amber color, almost brown until held to the light...nearly opaque. No head at all, just a thin collar of cream colored bubbles around the edges.

S - Sweet and caramelly up front. Sugar, bourbon and an overall fruitiness make up the aroma profile on this one. As it warms, vanilla becomes much more dominant. Reminds of a night in a bar in SF with Noa Noa rum...total vanilla goodness. Amazing aroma on this beer.

T - Bourbon up front, followed by a big hit of vanilla. Alcohol makes it presence well known. Sweet and malty, lots of caramel, leaves a sugary sweetness coating the lips. Some oaky wood flavors too. Very complex, and quite good.

M - Thick and full bodied. I wouln't call it syrupy though. Carbonation is low to medium, which is appropriate, and I feel complements the flavors in this beer. Smooth and thick, coats the mouth with sweet, sugary, and vanilla bourbon flavors...really nice.

D - Hmmm...hard to say totally. I think this ultimately is a sipper...10.2% alcohol and plenty of bourbon in the nose and flavor...but it is so smooth, it really begs you to take sip after sip after sip. On a really snowy day, sitting in front of the fire after dinner with one of these is just the right combination. For what it is, really good...but more than one of these will cause me some problems for sure.

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Photo of Damian
4.49/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Drank from a 12 fl. oz. (355 ml) bottle purchased at Downtown Wine & Spirits, Somerville, MA
Bottled on 9/28/12
Served in a snifter

With an aggressive pour, a billowing, three-finger tall, super tight and creamy, khaki colored crown topped the turbid, chestnut-mahogany liquid. The head settled into a thick dollup of bubbly foam. Thick, patchy streaks of lacing trickled down the glass.

The aroma was amazing. Super rich and robust. Very malt forward with loads of caramel and toasted malts. Bourbon notes came through strong. Lots of fragrant vanilla. Heavy dose of toffee and brown sugar sweetness. Super raisiny and figgy. Slightly spicy.

Boozy, bourbon notes hit hard right off the bat in the flavor profile. Like the nose, the beer was very malt dominant. Copious amounts of sweet caramel malts were apparent. Tons of fresh vanilla bean. Dark fruit notes (raisins, plums and figs) came through strong in the center. Somewhat spicy. The finish was very hot, almost to the point of being stinging. As the beer warmed and the flavors became more pronounced, the booziness seemed to be less of an issue.

On the palate, the beer was somewhat thinner than expected. Moderately creamy. Soft and supple with a fine, mellow effervescence.

If you can get past the overwhelming booziness of this beer, you will likely be blown away by the amazingly rich, robust and complex flavor profile. I cellared my bottle for a year and thought that it was far smoother than how I remembered the glass that I had on-tap. All in all, Backwoods Bastard is a fantastic example of what barrel aging can do to a fairly ordinary base beer.

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Photo of soughtbygod
4.49/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

this beer pours a dark muddy brown that is very cloudy and thick with an off white two finger head.

The smell is boozy, bitter chocolate, oak, and vanilla

The taste is awesome, so awesome its like barrel aged tootsie rolls i totally get chocolate, rum, even cherries

mouthfeel is smooth, warm high in alcohol

overall a very good beer will be looking for more of this

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Photo of thedoubler55
4.49/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured a very dark brown, almost black in color, not to much head or lacing around the glass.

S: Slight hint of scotch and oak, and some brown sugar. Malts are present on the nose as well.

T:The alcohol is not so present, hints of maple and oak, very easy drinker for the high abv, and good taste as well.

M: Not to much carbonation, a bit sticky and good heavyness on the mouthfeel.

O: Very good scotch ale, great tasting and smooth, founders does it again.

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Photo of kbrown
4.49/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Dark crimson. Creamy tan head retained after pour.

Smell- Fresh glazed donuts, nutmeg, bourbon, malts, cinnamon, vanilla.

Taste - Sweet fig & bread balanced so well by the hop backbone. The bourbon adds the complexity that you expect.

Mouthfeel- Hearty, smooth throughout. Favorable aftertaste.

Overall- Unique. This blows away any wee heavy that I' ve had.

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Photo of csrbv
4.49/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12oz bottle into a Maredsous Tulip Glass.

Appearance: rich red-brown hue with plenty of haze. Very little frothy tan foam with a bit of an amber cast. Quite good.

Smell: very sweet aroma, to the point of a malt molasses, perhaps. Along with that is a good woody aroma from the barrel, contributing vanilla and almond-like character. Very good, although massively sweet.

Taste: sweet malt, vanilla, alcohol, more sweetness, an oak woodiness, and finally a bit of bitterness at the end. The alcohol lends a bit of dark fruit character, cherry and plum. I like a lot of the flavors here. Good, but doesn't taste quite as good as it smells.

Mouthfeel: huge body, great carbonation, silky smooth creamy wonderful texture. The body on this thing is just massive, as the sweetness ought to indicate. Wonderful.

Overall: I know this is supposed to be a strong beer, but it is so smooth, quite a good beer!

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of BradtheGreat7
4.49/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My 200th beer review on Beer Advocate and its one of my favorites anywhere in the world. Granted ive reviewed 500 plus beers I only have so much time to record them all on here, so its very much a work in progress, but this is one that deserves to be written about.

12 oz brown stubby Founders style bottle with may be my favorite from Founders. Label is of a dude looking like he's straight out of the backwoods in my home state of Kentucky. He is the backwoods bastard and the artwork is simply bad ass. The colors are just meant to be paired together. I've poured this in many styles of glassware over the last few years, but my favorite for this is a nonic pint glass or a stemmed tulip style glass.

A - dark mirky brown with highlights of burnt brown and ruby red. Head is of a small size but leaves a nice ring of splotchy lace with some decent stick. This brew is gorgeous regardless of the head with its cloud covered body and the small sediment floating about.

S - sweet caramel with a load of bourbon goodness up front. Rich vanillas and oak barrels. Darkest of fruits with some cinnamon like spice, and a touch of smoke. Barrel aged aromas at its finest. Even hints of milk chocolate from the bourbon oak in the finish. Nice whiffs of faint Booze as backwoods warms.

T - lovely rich caramel notes to start with the more desired bourbon notes of vanilla, chewy caramel, and a charred Oakiness. A nice solid hit of dark fruit blends lovely with the bourbon sweets. Spice provides lovely but soft cinnamon stick notes. A touch of chocolate just before a bourbon barrel inspired finish with an awesome booziness that only grows in depth as it warms.

M - full bodied and creamy mouthfeel. Thick as usual from Founders and packed with loads of mouth coating flavor. The thickness and texture is an example of perfection. Some booze but the bourbon barrel characters are to die for. A highly enjoyable beer.

O - I love Backwoods Bastard and its one of my highlights, beer wise, every late Fall. It's a simply stunning Bourbon Barrel giant and a true 'as good as it gets' type creation. The definition of perfection with a nice, big wee heavy and bourbon barrel brilliance!

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Photo of beantown_hopster
4.49/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottle to snifter. Bottled 9-13-15.

I'm a big old chubb boy, eh, wording.... and had high hopes for this scotch ale. Here goes...

Poured black though when held up to the light you can see your finger through and it appears amber... no head and smells great off the bat. The mouthfeel is much thinner than I expected but light and compliments the flavors well. As far as the flavor... this is a great, great scotch ale. Vanilla and piney/woodsy, without the generic piney taste you might find in other lesser wintery brews. The bourbon is there too, it is there hard and warms my cold heart. The breadiness, breadness? dark fruitcake breadyness on the back end is a great ending.

I'm going to enjoy having these in the hopster beer fridge, as I watch the Mrs. do a number on my IPAs not knowing what she's missing.

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Founders Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
95 out of 100 based on 1,710 ratings.