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Founders Backwoods Bastard | Founders Brewing Company

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Founders Backwoods BastardFounders Backwoods Bastard

Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company
Michigan, United States | website

Style: Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.60%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
"Wee Heavy", cave aged in oak bourbon barrels.

Added by CortexBomb on 01-30-2007

User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,739 | Ratings: 7,721
Photo of krs0123
4.88/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

My favorite bourbon barrel beer. The backbone of a scotch ale, but the beautiful, powerful bourbon comes through perfectly. While many reviews of bourbon aged beers include vanilla notes, this beer is bursting with vanilla. Pours the same beautiful red as dirty bastard. An epic experience in every bottle.

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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 mmcsporran
4.42/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I purchased this at Consumer's Beverages in Buffalo and really enjoyed this beer. The bourbon barrel aging really comes through. The taste was smooth, a tad sweet, but the bourbon and alcohol content balances this well. Absolutely will look for this again.

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Photo of Karibourgeois
4/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear dark brown pour with a tan one-finger head. Strong aroma of alcohol and caramel. Taste has a strong bourbon flavor upfront backed by sweet malty flavors of caramel and bread. Can also taste some light earthy bitterness but the bourbon flavor dominates from start to finish ending with an alcohol warmth in the throat.

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Photo of Anglophile1117
4.73/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Beer bought at Trader Moe's in Lee, Massachusetts, my home town and home of Moe's Tavern on 12/30/15. Beer was bottled on 09/24/15. Opened it up and took a good sniff while it was in the bottle. I could smell the oak from the barrel eminating from bottle. Poured into a glass and saw a one and a half finger head form. It disapated after a few moments. Left decent lacing in the glass as I sipped it. As I sipped it I got a mouth full of Bourbon and some dark fruit notes. Mostly Bourbon though.
By comparison, New Holland Brewing Dragon's Milk is a close second to this beer.
Overall an excellent beer on this fine New Years Eve. Would definitely buy this again.

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Photo of HopsAreDaMan
4.22/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz, bottled 09/30/2015. My first time drinking this beer.

Look: Pours a cloudy amber color, but clears when it warms. A small amount of light-caramel-colored head that dissipates rather quickly and leaves behind a thin ring at the edges. No lacing to speak of when swirled.

Aroma: Very nice: fresh, boozy, dark fruit, reminds me of a well done old ale.

Taste: Very sweet (perhaps caramel) and somewhat boozy, with dark fruits, and as others have mentioned, a bit of butterscotch.

Mouth-feel: medium, slick (almost buttery), and very smooth.

Overall: After all the hype, and waiting a few months to drink this beer, I have to say that it lives up to the expectations: it is a quality beer, and I have never had anything quite like it. I Look forward to seeing how this ages.

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

One of my absolute favorite beers. This has in incredible flavor and the bourbon barrel aging adds an unusual smoothness to this beer. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!

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

Look - A deep amber/burgundy/brown'ish type color. Not much head to speak of. Alcohol legs.
Smell - Could have smelled this all night long!! WOW! Tons of caramel/toffee/almond & bourbon on the nose. A fantastic smelling beer.
Taste - Follows the nose beautifully. Bourbon, caramel, toffee, molasses, vanilla, oakiness

Overall - OUTSTANDING! I will seek this out every year from here on out.

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Photo of DoctorZombies
4.29/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Dark brown pour with beige head; thin cap; thick lace; very good clarity. Sweet malt and bourbon nose. Toffee flavor with a boozy bite; bourbon with smooth oaky vanilla notes. Creamy, medium plus mouthfeel; moderate carbonation; alcohol bite on tip of tongue. Overall quite good with toffee and bourbon linger.

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Photo of THSmusicman
4.78/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

12 oz. bottle ( yay for Wegmans re-stocking this!) into a Teku.

Look: Dark, dark, dark. The head is a dark khaki color with half a finger of dense head that subsides relatively quickly, as expected for a high ABV beer.

Smell: Wow. Chocolate, vanilla, single malt scotch, a bit of brown sugar and a bit of spice.

Taste: This beer is a bourbon bomb. Getting a ton of vanilla, chocolate, coconut, and a malted milk ball taste. A bit of a smokey taste in the background.

Feel: Feels a bit thin to me but not too thin for the style. It would certainly be a bit thicker if it wasn't for the barrel aging. This beer would be a solid 5 all around if it was just a tad thicker.

Overall: This beer is one of my favorites. I could drink this everyday and never get sick of it! I was fortunate enough to get a good bit of this this year. I'm definitely going to grab this whenever I see it.

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Photo of beantown_hopster
4.42/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | 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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Photo of rodbeermunch
4.35/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Brown pour, dark and earthy, producing an average beige head. Aroma was great, solid bourbon forward, malty, earthy. Lots of caramel and toffee.

Sweet taste, not peaty, earthy goes smooth, bourbon without the sting. This and CW bal scotch are elite 1st tier bal scotch ales.

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Photo of Tuck_leepulin
4.27/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle poured into a snifter, bottled on 10/06/2015.

Appearance: Pours a hazy ruby with 1/2 finger of head that recedes to a fine film around the edge.

Smell: Oaky with plenty of malt and peat

Taste: Barrel character up front with vanilla and american oak pronounced then some malt in the middle with a warm finish

Mouthfeel: A bit thinner than id like but ill chalk this up to the length of time in the barrels

Overall: Scotch ales are one of my least favorite styles but I recognize how good dirty bastard is. This takes the style to a new level and work fantastic with the bourbon barrels. They compliment each other very well.

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Photo of Sheppard
4.52/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep rich brown, with light brown head. The aroma of booze bursts out of the glass. The taste is a luscious chocolate, some nutty-ness, some dried fruit. The mouthfeel is smooth and thick. This is a phenomenally tasty Scotch Ale/Wee Heavy.

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Photo of SD-Alefan
4.63/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

2015 vintage
Pours from the bottle a nearly opaque brownish-red with ruby highlights and a light tan head that quickly fades leaving plenty of lacing.
The aroma is loaded with caramel and vanilla, oak and a whisp of booze.
Tasty brew with caramel and toffee flavors leading the way and then the flavors of the barrel -- oak and vanilla and bourbon. A touch of dark fruit as it warms and a pleasing bitterness. Plenty of taste from the barrel but not overly boozy.
Mouthfeel is medium and smooth.
Outstanding brew.

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Photo of ajm5108
4.57/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep, viscious amber with a good measure of foam. Lots of vanilla bourbon on the nose, a little caramel & the oak. Malt is there but buried. Incredibly smooth beer, the vanilla really comes out, and has a flavor akin to the burnt top-layer of a creme brûlée. Definitely a good hint of caramel malt, full-bodied and chewy despite the smooth texture. Burnt sugar is there, and the bourbon /wood flavor is also present but very well blended. It isn't overpowering at all, and compliments the malt profile of the Scotch ale style. Incredibly well blended and smooth, with great flavors. One of the better bourbon aged beers in what seems like a never ending barrage these days. Par excellence.

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Photo of ccg
4.19/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a wine glass and a tumbler for comparison, because I don't have the right glassware for it here.
It's a beautiful, earthy brownish color with a thin layer of foam that sticks to the glass. In the tumbler, it almost looks like a glass of carbonated bourbon.
The smell is clearly bourbon, with its vanilla, caramel, and oak. A good amount of sweet malt as well.
The taste is top-notch. The bourbon is clearly present but without completely dominating the malt. They complement each other well. I also get caramel and sweet, dark fruit, like figs or dates.
The mouthfeel is also in line with other scotch ales, but definitely a good example of it. It's rich without feeling like it's coating my teeth and giving me cavities.
Possibly the best scotch ale I've ever had. Founders knows how to barrel age a beer, that's for sure.

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Photo of larryi86
4.38/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Thank you SomethingClever for this
12 oz bottle, dated 9/24/15, poured into a tulip

A- A clear deep ruby red with a small off-white head.

S- Caramel malts, toffee, light smoke, bourbon, oak, very nicely balanced.

T- Toffee, caramel, hints of smoke, vanilla, bourbon, oak, touch of earthy spice.

M- Smooth, medium body.

O- A tasty and smooth bourbon barrel aged beer. I haven't try much in this style, by this is definitely winner. Wish I could get this in MD or DE, I would definitely pick this up every year.

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Photo of leadpaint76
4.64/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This has a nice bourbon nose and taste to it. This is a great beer to have a cigar or steak with. One of the best beers I have had this summer. Have a great day my friends.

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Photo of woodychandler
4.37/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I (finally) reviewed Dirty Bastard from a CAN, but I hold out NO hope that they will ever CAN this one. That's okay, since it still helps me to reduce the bottle backlog here at Chez Woody.

From the bottle: "Ale aged in Oak Bourbon Barrels"; "Bottled 10/10/2014".

I Pop!ped the cap and just let it sit for a moment. I went with a light pour, producing a brief finger of tawny head that quickly reduced to wisps. Color was a hazy Brown to Dark Brown (SRM = > 22, < 27). I tried not to rouse the lees, but (un)clearly, I was unsuccessful. 8=( Nose smelled like straight up, straight on bourbon! I am not a huge liquor drinker, although I have an affinity for rye whiskey. Bourbon is not really my thing, but I know it when I smell it. Mouthfeel was medium. The taste was definitely of bourbon, but it was much less than I remember it being a year ago. I may be losing my mind, but man, this was smooooth for 10.2% ABV! It tasted of wood, coconut, caramel,but not at all sweet. It was impressive, really. The finish was smooth, in the twilight zone of semi-sweet and semi-dry. You tell me. Wow! Just ... wow. I just kind of sat back and licked my lips and contemplated how I might possibly follow this one.

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Photo of Dravin
4.63/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Bottled 9/30/2015. Poured aggresively into a Duvel tulip.

Look -- One finger of quickly dissipating tan head. I can't fault the quickly disappearing head given the ABV of this brew. The body of the beer is a beautiful deep ruby. Forget rose colored glasses, this is what I want to see the world through.

Smell -- Bourbon is dominate, there is no questioning that this beer is bourbon barrel aged. Hints of malt sweetness peek out at your from behind the bourbon like a bashful cheerleader.

Taste -- Bourbon, lots and lots of bourbon. Hints of caramel mesh with vanilla and a delightful bitterness underlays everything and lingers playfully for the next sip. Hints of smoke.

Feel -- Wonder luscious body from both the gravity of the beer and a lazy but present carbonation.

Overall -- You have the silky rich body of a wee heavy combined with upfront bourbon. The malt is a perfect foundation to enhance and allow the bourbon to shine. Beer and bourbon had a baby and it's beautiful but it quite obviously takes after the bourbon. If I wanted the bourbon to be the supporting character rather than star element I'd probably be disappointed. I'm perfectly content with the bourbon being the star, but it's something for anyone considering picking up this beauty of a beer to keep in mind.

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Photo of WoodBrew
4.56/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

This is a solid beer. It poured a rich amber with white head that did not leave much head. The scent and taste had a strong bourbon base. The mouthfeel was fuller in body with smooth carbonation. Overall this beer is fantastic and borders a barley wine. Probably one of the best wee heavys ive ever had.

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Photo of DASA10
4.24/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Anything put out by Founders deserves recognition. This is not an exception to that statement. This beer caters to those attracted to the style. Unique.

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

this is a really tasty brew, the color is black and when you put it to the light it is an amber color with visible particles all over. i poured into a snifter and it gave me about 3 inches of a cream color head that went away quickly. and once i put it up to my nose i get the aromas of maple syrup, molasses, and dark fruits like fig. the taste of bourbon is noticable and you get a bit of sweetness at the end. i have to slowly consume my last three bottles of this lovely brew.

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Photo of gryffilion
4.42/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

This beer poured an amber-brown to full brown, clear, with about a half inch head that dissipated within 20 to 30 seconds.

Aroma-wise, it smells of molasses, burnt caramel, and toffee. Very Christmasy in its own way.

The flavor is intensely malty, with chocolate notes mixing with raisin bread and spice cake like some kind of dessert explosion. However, it's not sweet per se. Somehow it all works beautifully.

The feel is quite nice. Smooth, luxurious, like the leather armchair I want to be sitting in when I enjoy this.

I don't always drink malty beers, but when I do...

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Founders Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
95 out of 100 based on 1,739 ratings.