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Founders Backwoods Bastard - Founders Brewing Company

Founders Backwoods BastardFounders Backwoods Bastard

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

4,760 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4760
Reviews: 1404
rAvg: 4.33
pDev: 10.62%

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
Ratings: 4,760 | Reviews: 1,404 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of polloenfuego

Ontario (Canada)

4.41/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

From a 12 oz bottle to a tulip.

A: deep drown with reddish hints, this beer pours with a decent one and a half finger head which broke fairly quickly leaving good lacing and a thin foam cap.

S: bourbon, vanilla, malts, leather and molasses.

T: the bourbon comes through first followed by some darknfruitrs and molasses. The booziness does play into the taste, but does not detract from the flavor.

M: medium body, with a dry finish.

O: well...after after a long search and pursuit I finally have this beer in my cellar. I think the chase was worth it. Bourbon barrel aging is either hit or miss for me, and in this case it is hit. It is well done and the bourbon really makes this beer drinkable and enjoyable. A well deserved reputation.

Serving type: bottle

12-29-2013 21:48:43 | More by polloenfuego
Photo of mdagnew

United Kingdom (Northern Ireland)

4.39/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

330ml bottle bought from Drinkstore, Dublin

Poured a deep dark russet brown colour... creamy mocha head poured small and quite fizzy then faded fairly quickly to patchy wispy covering with thicker edging... some light strands of lacing...

Aroma - Vanilla and bourbon upfront followed by lots of rich treacle sweetness mixed with dark fruits (dates, prunes, fig and raisins), toasted bready (mainly fruit loaf) malts, nutmeg spiciness, sweet toasted nuttiness, dark chocolate and liquorice, faint trace of smoke, some of the 10% alcohol just noticeable..

Taste... Bourbon and molasses, alcohol soaked fruits (figs, prunes, date, some raisins also), some light smokiness comes through after the sweetness, fresh vanilla, toasted bready malts, malt loaf, Marsala notes, quite a lot of spiciness - pepper and nutmeg, some light medicinal notes, faint anise...

Feel - Fairly rich and creamy... medium / full bodied... Drinkability is pretty decent even for a beer of 10%..

Overall - An excellent example of a barrel aged beer... highly recommended

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2013 17:11:04 | More by mdagnew
Photo of RaulMondesi


4.41/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Goody goody gumdrops! Raul got himself a Backwoods Bastard and he's not scared!

Smells like Christmas oughta and tastes like Scotland after a cool, long rain. Sweet and sticky like a night that you will never forget, and like being at Irinya Shank's pool party, I wouldn't mind jumping in for another dip.

Sweet, rich, and deep dark in color, Backwoods Bastard almost makes Raul blush. (Almost.)

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2013 03:52:33 | More by RaulMondesi
Photo of redman84

District of Columbia

4.78/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

received two of these in Louisville from the Whole Paycheck. They were limiting sales to one per customer, so my brother and law and sister in law each got me one.

appearance - dark walnut

smell - fantastic notes of bourbon and malts.

taste - damn near perfect. Just behind bourbon county stout and kbs, IMHO.

mouthfeel - smooth and silky

overall - outstanding. Sneaky and drinkable, despite high abv, very very drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

12-26-2013 22:29:36 | More by redman84
Photo of Bouleboubier


4.45/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

(poured into a fat tulip Delirium Tremens glass)

A: large, creme-colored foam stand on pour, translucent mist left above, some spotty lace... murky, deep-rust hued liquid, perhaps a little too dark, though reg. Bastard is dark and the barrel may account for this... looks about right... solid and standard

S: vanilla, crème brûlée, charred animal fat, soured bourbon (if that makes sense) but merely a highlight - something that peaks up through the center.... mildly grain alcoholic aroma

T: ooh wow!... obvious bourbon, bold but in superb balance with a touch of syrupy crystal and huge vanilla flavor.... coffee-cake-ish malt... sweetish, raisin-y, vaguely liqueur-like booze in the finish.... sweetish throughout, really, but not cloying, indicative of high end crystal (120? special B?).... not at all reminiscent of a Scotch Ale in the traditional sense.... moderate-high sense of herbal bitterness (and a flavor I can only describe as like licking a marble counter-top) long after.... all flavors are in excellent balance and proper intensities

M: fantastic, medium-light, compact malty body.... elegantly dry.... definite silkiness from start to a little past midway, yet drops off rapidly and wonderfully

O: several cuts above the Dirty Bastard and easily one of the top 5 bourbon barrel aged beers I've had

Serving type: bottle

12-24-2013 20:42:12 | More by Bouleboubier
Photo of WildRoverBrewery


4.45/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: This poured a very deep brown with just a hint of red highlights. It had a light mocha colored head that was thin, and not lasting. It also left no lacing on the glass. Very light carbonation activity visible. I've seen more impressive looking beers, but nothing about it is off-putting.

Aroma: The nose was huge with caramel, maple syrup, and bourbon notes. It was incredible. It had a touch of figs/dates and booze as well. Outstanding bouquet on this one.

Taste: The caramel and bourbon carried over into the taste. More malty sweet than maple syrup in the taste than in the aroma. I couldn't detect much booze until the bottom of the glass. The notes of figs and raisins were on the back end of the palate as well. Awesome tasting.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, with low carbonation on the tongue. Very smooth, no alcohol burn, no astringency.

Overall, this is a fantastic beer. Probably the best bourbon-barrel aged beer that I've tried, and much better than it's base beer.

Serving type: bottle

12-23-2013 15:57:10 | More by WildRoverBrewery
Photo of Digimaika2

Ontario (Canada)

4.46/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

(4.25) A: Ruby red when held up to light with a thin blanket of head and sparse bubbles forming a ring. Good retention and patchy lacing.

(4.5) S: Caramel-toffee, oak, bourbon, dried dark fruits (dates & raisins), and vanilla. A smooth aroma without a harsh bourbon but rather more oaky-caramel focused. Each aroma can be identified quite easily.

(4.5) T: As per the aroma, with sweet caramel-toffee upfront transitioning into the dry and boozy bourbon-oak qualities. Dark and dried fruits are present including cherries, dates, and raisins. Vanilla and slight nutty elements round this out. Wonderfully put together with all flavours shining both individually and as a whole.

(4.25) M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Syrupy with a clean texture. Perhaps would benefit from a slightly thicker body but drinkability is probably better as is.

(4.5) D: This is delicious and alarmingly drinkable with the oak bourbon barrel qualities well balanced and very complimentary to the other flavours in this. Will certainly be picking up more of this.

Serving type: bottle

12-23-2013 01:40:50 | More by Digimaika2
Photo of 57md


4.49/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

An older and dirtier bastard for sure.

Pours a mahogany color with ruby edges. The half finger of beige head does not linger very long. Bourbon notes are distinctly present in the nose. The blend of malt and bourbon in the flavor profile is near perfect and this offering finishes with a slight malty sweetness. The body is hearty, rich, creamy and smooth – excellent as an after dinner digestif.

This is a well crafted barrel-aged beer that does not end up tasting harsh or cidery. The craftsmanship in the creation of this offering is evident.

Serving type: bottle

12-19-2013 22:36:42 | More by 57md
Photo of 4ster

Quebec (Canada)

4.35/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a large tulip, straight out of the fridge. Best before is hard to tell, but it was a recent batch just released.

A: Very dark brown, poured a initial 2 finger, off-white, light tan/beige head, which died down but has left a very nice froth on top, and lots of lacing to the sides.

S: Lots of bourbon on the nose, followed by some burnt toffee.. but alcohol really dominates the smell here, hard to pick up other aromas.

T: Right off the bat, toffee, caramels, Werthers, lots of roasty malts, not overly sweet, some aging seems to have smoothed it out, but as it finishes, you get that nice vanilla sweetness, and more bourbon on the finish... though the aging/bourbon seems to be overpowering the more typical subtle scotch ale flavours such as tea and wood....

M: Smooth, easy drinking, light carbonation, not overly sticky, only hints of burn on the after taste.

O: Nice beer, well balanced in flavour and booze, the bourbon is a tad strong, but this is a hard thing to control, and does bring an otherwise nice characteristic to balance the toffee sweetness.... not extremely classic as with any aging, but is certainly up there for this style. The beer really comes alive with a bit of time in the glass breathing and warming up, which seems to smooth over the booze a bit. Won't be minding that I picked up a 4 of this one, this winter.

Serving type: bottle

12-19-2013 02:24:09 | More by 4ster
Photo of Ivanhoes_Backpack

New Brunswick (Canada)

3.21/5  rDev -25.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Picked up a 4-pack of these at my local the other day. $17.

A - dark brown, mostly opaque with the slightest rim of off-white head

S - lots of sweetness and scotchy smells, some vanilla

T - scotchy scotch scotch. Having a hard time getting past the scotch on the taste, there's some definite sweetness, but mostly what I taste in this beer is what used to be in the barrel before this beer was in it, and not the actual beer itself.

M - really thin, low carbonation, pretty smooth, like drinking hard liquor

O - admittedly I'm not a big fan of scotch, but I can appreciate it to a certain degree in beer. Unfortunately, it's way too overpowering in this brew. I prefer my beers to have their own flavours and not simply be barrel leaches. I'll give this another go in a few months probably, but will probably try to trade the other two away.

Serving type: bottle

12-17-2013 19:04:48 | More by Ivanhoes_Backpack
Photo of Roguer


4.65/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Extremely dark brew, actually fairly clear (non-cloudy) but almost completely black, with reddish purple highlights. Pours a small, <1 finger beige head which quickly dissipates to an oily sheen.

Smooth bourbon aroma, with some toffee or chocolate behind (I don't think there's chocolate in this beer, but that's what I get). Strong malty grains - wheat - and a hint of tartness, a la red grapes. Despite being fairly subdued, the bourbon is still doing a good job masking other aromas.

Amazingly smooth! I daresay the bourbon comes across smoother and more refined in this beer than in BCBS. Some sweetness, similar to a red grape profile, and smooth oatmeal or wheat as a dominant malt base. There's a strong cocoa finish, not unlike chewing on a chocolate bar. Despite the relatively high IBUs, any present hops are just balancing out the brew, and not providing any bite.

Full-bodied but unbelievably smooth. There's a definite alcohol warmth on the backend. Chewy feel, and nice lingering residual sweetness. Just enough sting to come across as slightly lively, but not so much that you don't want to sip and savor.

Wow, I'm really having a hard time describing everything going on in this beer, other than, "Awesome!" I absolutely did not expect this beer to live up to the hype; I was absolutely wrong.

Serving type: bottle

12-16-2013 01:23:33 | More by Roguer
Photo of ISmith87


4.68/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 12 oz bottle to a clear plastic glass (didn't have anything better while I'm visiting here in Palm Beach). I'm excited to try this one since it's so revered by beer geeks, and is the amped up/oak aged version of Founder's Dirty Bastard, which is a great beer!
A - 4.25 - Nice looking beer. Dark brown/dark red color, with a nice tan head on it. Lacing is really good, coating the glass.
S - 4.5 - Nice vanilla, scotch, caramel, toffee, butterscotch.
T - 4.75 - Great. Vanilla, caramel, toffee, butterscotch, boozey scotch/peat flavors. Raisins and plums. Oak.
M - 4.75 - Nice medium - heavy thick creamy mouthfeel. Alcohol present but it should be at 10.2%. Aftertaste is a boozy scotch with vanilla/cream/caramel flavors.
O - 4.75 - This is a great beer. It's definitely unique, I'd love to put it next to the other wee heavy's because I think it would stand out. Glad I could score this guy at TW in WPB Florida.

Serving type: bottle

12-15-2013 23:11:41 | More by ISmith87
Photo of riversider76

New York

4.43/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark brown with a thin tan head. Not much retention, but a good lace. Aroma is of Carmel malts, brown sugar, whiskey, and dark fruits. Body is thick with some carbonation. Taste is whiskey up front, with dark fruits and malts through out. Nice rich finish. Excellent brew, that warms you up quick!

Serving type: bottle

12-15-2013 20:46:41 | More by riversider76
Photo of MadCat

New Jersey

4.25/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Very dark brown, almost black. Minimal tan head, leaves no lacing

Smell: Very sweet, malty, a little bourbon

Taste: Very sweet malts up front. Oak, bourbon, a little peat. Some vanilla and toffee.

Mouthfeel: Full body, low carbonation

Overall: Pretty good, but not entirely my kind of beer so I'm glad I only picked up one bottle. I expected some booziness, but there was none, even with aging in bourbon barrels. I can see why this is so highly rated.

Serving type: bottle

12-15-2013 03:03:40 | More by MadCat
Photo of jrenihan

Ontario (Canada)

4.2/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

The beer is very dark brown, bordering on black. Small off-white head fades quite quickly, leaving a ring.

Nose contains toffee, bourbon and vanilla. The scent is nice, though exactly what you would expect. Well integrated.

Taste is similar. The bourbon is strong but not overpowering. Strong flavours of toffee and coconut shine through a bourbon/vanilla/oak background. A bit buttery.

Full bodied and moderately carbonated, with quite a chewy feel.

Overall, really quite good. I am not much of a scotch ale fan, and there are some elements of this beer that I don't love, but as a whole package, it is really good. Well done.

Serving type: bottle

12-14-2013 04:32:28 | More by jrenihan
Photo of bball208

New Jersey

4.71/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

This is a really exceptional beer. Front of the mouth, you get vanilla and coconut with a little bit of rye. Very soft mouthfeel, incredible aftertaste. A tad bit of bitterafter taste (50 IBUs) but really a lot going on for this one. I absolutely love this beer, and anyone who doesn't like this type has no place in drinking craft beers

Serving type: bottle

12-13-2013 18:38:55 | More by bball208
Photo of BSK_ONE

New Jersey

3.61/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A - Dark, cloudy, ruby red with quickly disappearing creamy head.
S - Stings the nostrils with bourbon, cherries and oak
T - First sip is a shock, be prepared. As you settle into this one, it gives a nice warm feeling. You can taste the alcohol, which is the reason I gave it a lower ranking.
M - Dry, and numb
O- This is definitely a sit back and sip beer. Strong Scottish ale with a distinct big flavor.

No lie, I grew a full beard instantly while drinking this beer.

Serving type: bottle

12-13-2013 01:43:30 | More by BSK_ONE
Photo of jordanimal


4.29/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours a ruby red, slight purple, or dark brown depending on how the light hits it, an off white creamy head that's about half a finger that dies dow quickly. Slight to almost no carbonation and the smell is of caramel, oak, toasted almonds, vanilla and warm bread(where are those 50 IBUs?). Taste is caramel and oak up front followed light berries and a vanilla sugar finish and finally that delayed hop coating. The mouthful is huge, slightly lighter than a stout, on par with a barley wine. The alcohol to me is very minimal in this one especially for the 10% ABV, the only time present to me was in delayed drinks when I could feel my tongue soaking it in. Well balanced, great example of the style.

Serving type: bottle

12-12-2013 06:14:57 | More by jordanimal
Photo of scotorum


4.43/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 10/12/13

Poured from the 12 oz. bottle into a Samuel Smith English tulip.

a: Clear dark ruby, half finger thick beige head disspiated to thick surface foam and dense lacing.

s: Bourbon

t: Bourbon with hop bite over heavy malt base. Very tasty, bourbon flavor lingers in the mouth. Alcohol is felt on swallow but not with much burn. As it warms caramel malt comes more to the forefront, but this is still more about the bourbon barrel aging.

m: Medium to heavy, very smooth.

o: A superb combination, although the bourbon flavor tops the malt sweetness, the heft of the malt supports that flavor and both mediate the 50 IBU hops.

UPDATE 12/28/13: Had another and was struck by how much this tastes like a heavier-bodied Innis & Gunn Scottish Porter, which I just had a few nights ago, and which is also aged in liquor barrels. I must admit, much as I love I&G, I liked this better because of the more substantial body and slightly better malt/whiskey flavor balance. I like a hefty mouthfeel, and Backwoods Bastard is hard to beat! Of course it also tops the ABV of Innis & Gunn by about 3%.

Serving type: bottle

12-11-2013 06:26:24 | More by scotorum
Photo of HattedClassic


4/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A clear and very dark reddish brown. Almost no head happens when it pours with a little bit of lacing left.

Strong alcohol and bourbon smell with vanilla. Vanilla and caramel pretty much dominate the nose.

Vanilla and a bit of oak but the oak is very faint. The beer also has a little bit of alcohol underneath the vanilla and dominates the aftertaste. A bit of malt is also there but overpowered by the vanilla.

Lightly carbonated and a somewhat thick texture with a a silky feel.

Pretty good occasional beer and indulgent.

Serving type: bottle

12-10-2013 15:27:47 | More by HattedClassic
Photo of chefhatt


4.3/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Had this one stashed in the fridge from last year. I poured it and it has a black color body with just a small head. The aroma is very strong bourbon. The taste has a strong bourbon presence with a nice maltyness to it. The mouthfeel is very smooth and the bourbon lingers on the tongue. Overall this is a damm good beer and i wish i had some to age.

Serving type: bottle

12-10-2013 03:17:59 | More by chefhatt
Photo of Dave1999

North Carolina

3.63/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Pours a very dark red, almost looks black with a small white head.

The smell is sweet malts, cola and whiskey.

The taste is sweet with some whiskey flavors. It taste a bit like a watered down whiskey and coke pretty disappointing.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with very low carbonation.

Was very disappointed with this after looking at the reviews. I hope it was a bad bottle and the other three are better. The watered down whiskey and coke flavor is lingering.

Serving type: bottle

12-10-2013 00:50:20 | More by Dave1999
Photo of Hoptimus-Prime

North Carolina

5/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Ok, 5/5 isn't easily earned but for me , this beer couldn't taste better than it does, perfection!

Pours darker than I expected, dark brown allowing minimal light to shine through. Not much of a head or lacing, but that's not important to me. Corbonatotion levels can make or break a beer and this one doesn't need any more or less.

Smells of Bourbon with a slight sweetness cutting through.

The taste...oh the taste! First impression leads you to believe this I going to be a boozy monster of a beer, BIG bourbon takes front and center only to lead to a sweeter butterscotch flavor that counteracts the alcohol taste perfectly!

Medium bodied and sticky on the tounge , the taste that lingers on the palate is remarkable!

Overall, this is one of the best beers I've had, lives up to the hype and then some! Dangerously drinkable for 10.2%.
Founders has given me another reason to consider them one of the best breweries out there!

Serving type: bottle

12-08-2013 05:08:23 | More by Hoptimus-Prime
Photo of bushwik


3.98/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Decided to get grab a 4 pack of this. The temperatures have dipped down into the teens here in Chicago so I thought it would work well for the season. I typically don't go for this style but I was intrigued after having a nice bourbon aged ale last weekend during the holiday. I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of balance in the beer and the lovely hidden alcohol. It definitely blooms while it warms and everything about the beer becomes a bit more pronounced, the smell the taste and the mouthfeel specifically. A nice creamy mouthfeel with notes of brown sugar, molasses, raisin, vanilla and finally a kick of the bourbon on the tail end that is not overly aggressive like some of the bourbon barrel aged ales out there. I'm gonna hang on to two of these and see how they age, thats if I can hold off from drinking them.

Serving type: bottle

12-06-2013 00:35:04 | More by bushwik
Photo of Mattyb79


4.56/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Finally got ahold of a four pack of this after wanting to try it for a couple years.

A: Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a snifter. Minimal head with the beer being a dark brownish red, almost burgundy color.

S: Mostly bourbon, oak, and vanilla. Very little of the base beer smell makes it through, but that's OK with me.

T: Very impressive combination of sweet bourbon, wood, and heavy malt. The bourbon dominates here.

M: Medium bodied in the mouth with just enough carbonation to tickle the tongue a bit.

O: Very impressed with this brew. The barrel aging does wonders for the beer as I don't really care for Dirty Bastard, but this is great! Can't wait to see how my other three bottles change over the course of the next year.

Serving type: bottle

12-05-2013 19:43:44 | More by Mattyb79
Founders Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 4,760 ratings.