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Founders Backwoods Bastard - Founders Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Founders Backwoods BastardFounders Backwoods Bastard

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,649 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 1,649
Hads: 7,331
Avg: 4.25
pDev: 22.59%
Wants: 953
Gots: 2,767 | FT: 260
Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company visit their website
Michigan, United States

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: 1,649 | Hads: 7,331
Photo of TCHopCraver
4.39/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours dark hickory-brown into an oversized wine glass. A tiny head disappears quickly. The lacing is mostly dotty and sticky. When held to the light, this crotchety fella is impenetrable to the eye.

S: I don't really know how an aroma can be creamy, but this is. It makes me genuinely excited to partake. The bourbon/oak smells support a caramel-vanilla-maple malt aroma. I find myself taking this into my olfactory organs over and over. In Utopia, this is exactly how autumn in an enchanted forest would smell.

T: Rich. Full. Creamy. Chewy. Everything I detected in the aroma is present in the taste. Somewhat surprisingly, though, the maple sweetness that I smelled is just a little under-represented in the taste. I think the bourbon oak barrel flavor is overwhelming the malt sweetness a tad too much. The taste experience of a sip of this brew is akin to an Orchestra playing the hell out of a Mahler Symphony, only to fall about 10% short of reaching the full color spectrum at the climax of the piece.

M: Repeat the first four sentences of my taste review. I also enjoy the dryness of the finish, but I wish the sweetness of the brew would coat my palate just a a smidge more.

D: Excellent. This is a very well crafted beer. I could imagine having more than one of these in a sitting, but eventually the high a.b.v. would put an end to that.

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Photo of wood2430
4.62/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The first incounter with this beer was remarkable. The appearance came with a wonderful copper color. The bourbon smell was right on point with taste that was an explosion of bourbon, malts, and hops. The mouth was pretter bitter and had a puckering effect because of the bourbon aging.. Overall it was an excellent experience for a seasonal brew..

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Photo of barleywinefiend
3.33/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured deep maroon color with decent carbonation leaving a small dirty white head.Nose of booze, caramel, oak and more booze and whiskey. Taste is just big booze, bourbon, some light vanilla but hot and how does anyone call this a Wee Heavy is beyond me. It is a Strong Ale. In that category, yes it is ok, however, way off balanced, as a strong ale it needs some time to downplay the bourbon. If you like that sort of thing then great. It just took control of this beer and left it undrinkable for me.
Note to richbrew. Lets clear this up?? Lets do that. Whatever floats your boat. Before you criticize reviews and taste of others you might want to review more than 17 beers. Secondly, dont bash other reviews. Its one's own taste and choice.

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Photo of Stigs
4.07/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle, poured into a Dogfish Head signature glass...

A - small amount of light khaki foam falls quickly to some large floating bubbles accompanied by a tan ring. the beer itself is a dark burnt brown with a slight purple hue. random spotty lacing as the beer goes down.

S - bourbon everywhere, mixed with some vanilla, chocolate, cherries, plums, sweet malt...strong whiskey kick at the end. picks up a lot more bourbon as it warms.

T - bourbon again, mixed with some dark chocolate and malted candy (Whoppers)...fruits come in next, bourbon soaked cherries and raisins. definitely some alcohol heat.

M - thick and chewy, adequate carbonation aids in getting some other flavors besides bourbon their opportunity.

D - Had this once before (very fresh) and thought it was way too wild...have a few bottles left and hopefully some age will bring out even more complexities. as far as drinkability goes, abv and tons of sweetness make a single bottle almost too much.

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Photo of fairdinkum2
4.4/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Good looking, great tasting beer. Pours with a deep, dark copper color with a lumpy, creamy head. Good retention with excellent lacing.

Bourbon predominates on the nose with chocolate and coffee notes thrown in.

A well balanced palate. Coffee, chocolate and dried fruits, framed by a muscular bourbon character. Alcohol content is well masked. Other styles tend to sweet notes. This is a somewhat drier style, which adds to its drinkability.

Excellent effort.

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Photo of WeedKing4
4.1/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle pours a dark hazy brown with little floaties seen in the glass. You can smell the burbon on this one, and its definately in the taste too. Mixed with a dark malt taste, and it does drink so damn smooth. The 10.20% is very well hidden. This was a decent beer and glad I got to try it. Never had a burbon barrel aged beer before. Nice offering.

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Photo of sulldaddy
4.85/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pouring a cellar temp bottle into a snifter.
The beer pours a deep mahogany with garnet highlights. Some small white particles are suspended in the brew. A tightly packed creamy tan head foams up 1 cm with an aggressive pour. The head fades to a frothy edge layer that remains through the sampling. Aroma is instantly deep brown sugar and caramel malt with heavy bourbon and vanilla notes wafting out of the glass. A little boozy scented but not fusol heat like a liquor.
The first sip reveals a slightly thick body but not syrupy or chewy texture, very smooth and EASY to drink. Next to nothing for carbonation that does fizz up when sloshed around in my mouth for a few seconds.
Flavor is all sweet malt, with brown sugar and maybe a little molasses mixing with some toffee. Hits of vanilla and a little bit of wooden dryness mixes in to the flavor. No hops anywhere to be found. I like this beer!!
The booze is very well hidden and I think this beer is dangerously easy to drink. I wish I could get access to this beer more frequently as it may have moved up into my top 5 brews.

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Photo of thain709
3.55/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Poured a deep mahogany brown with some haze to it...the head formed and was very little but I expected that from a 10% beer...some lacing was left

S - Besides the generous amount of bourbon there are very subtle notes of chocolate and vanilla lingering around...pretty inviting nose

T - Just what I expected...bourbon is present from the beginning to the end...a big alcohol burn...the vanilla from the nose is present and provides a strong sweetness to the beer which is needed...I can compare the taste to that of drinking a jack and coke...I guess you could say there's some balance to this beer but it's definitely bourbon barrel aged

M - Medium bodied...slick with a big warming alcohol effect

D - This was my first bourbon aged beer...I wasn't sure what to expect besides the bourbon flavor and this provided lots of bourbon...it smelled nice but maybe this just isn't my style...I'll have to just try more bourbon barrel aged beers!

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Photo of GregSVT
4.29/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a Brooklyn Snifter

A: Pours a deep hazy brown with a small head that fades to near nothing and leaves a tiny bit of lacing. Not very impressive looking.

S: The nose is intoxicating, lots of vanilla on top of a chocolatey malt base and a slight roastiness. This almost smells like a Belgian with all the sweet smells arising from the glass. As it warms the whiskey aroma somes out more and more.

T: The taste has a lot of chocolate/cocoa in there with the vanilla from the nose and a slight bitterness on the finish to balance things out. There is a touch of whiskey in there but it's not overpowering. I will say a lot of the scotch ale flavor has been drown out by the barrel aging though.

M: The feel is medium to full with a slick feeling as you swallow. Not too much carbonation but I feel that it helps to bring out the flavors more than if it were very bubbly.

D: I actually like this one compared to KBS and would definitely have more. Great example of what barrel aging can do to a nice Wee Heavy.

Recomended if you can find it. I have 3 more I may age for a while to see if the scotch ale flavors come forward after a year or so.

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Photo of BeerInReview
2.99/5  rDev -29.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A: A dark amber in color with a nice thick white head. Nice lacing all the way through as well.
S: Hello alcohol! Bourbon, bourbon, and more bourbon. It's hard to distinguish other aromas when the bourbon is so strong, though I can faintly smell vanilla.
T: A strong bourbon and heavy alcohol punch up front. Harsh! As the fire subsides oak and vanilla flavors are present.
M: Thin...
D: Let me put it this way, I won't be seeking this beer out again.

However...I think the bottle I had was way too young. The alcohol has not settled and melded. It seems to have some good underlying characteristics that may present themselves better in a years time once the alcohol settles down.

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Photo of WYVYRN527
4.1/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 ounce brown bottle.

A: Pours a hazy mahogany color with a thin eggshell head that has little retention. Lacing is minimal, but the beer itself coats the edge of the glass.

S: Nose is sweet, with caramel, honey, toasted oak and vanilla. There is just a slight hint of charred wood in the backround.

T: Malty notes of caramel, fig, and rasin are present upon sipping at first. It's followed by toasted oak, vanilla and some smoke, along with some warming boozy flavor. Hops do dry out the finish, but are overall masked by the intense flavors brought on by massive amounts of malt and bourbon barrel aging.

M: Massive, full-bodied mouthfeel, great viscosity, and has a long finish.

D: A very good beer for it's style, however, it's high ABV and intense flavor make it a bit heavy to sit down with and enjoy on it's own. It will be interesting to see how it ages.

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Photo of beerjerk
4.75/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured dark with rich, creamy head. Aroma is predominantly bourbon, with hints of malt and caramel. Smokey, oak barrel flavors with a hint of mild whiskey bite over vanilla. A pleasant, drinkable brew that feels nice and warm once it settles and will have you craving another as soon as you polish off the first one. Low carbonation, this makes for a good reading ale.

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Photo of ppoitras
4.12/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle purchased as parts of a couple four-packs from Julio's, Westboro, MA.

Poured into a Chimay chalice, formed a 1/4" tan head over the clear burgundy brew. Head is quickly down to an uneven skim, with heavy legs, minimal lace. Aroma is sweetness and bourbon. Taste starts sweet, a touch of fruit in the middle, and then heavy on the vanilla, with a warming close. Flavors seem very distinct and separate. Mouthfeel is smooth, and drinkability is good. I keep coming back to this one.

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Photo of SpeedwayJim
4.2/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into an Ithaca tulip.

A: Moderate pour yields a quickly upward cascading 1 finger semi-coarse orangy-brown head that flattens rather quickly. Looks like there's sediment in the head too... weird. Beer is a cloudy reddish brown that reveals a bunch of floating indistinguishables. Lacing is very controlled but ample.

S: Nose is slightly boozy, sweet plums, grapes. A touch of oakiness, vanilla, and brown sugar. Also might be some caramel in there.

T: Boozy upfront, sweet, kinda like bourbon. Barrel-aged character is definitely prominent as it fades in and out with the fruitiness. This one is a lot hotter than I expected but completely delicious. Caramel and brown sugar is prominent, supporting a strong malt backbone. Hops are near non-existent though there's a hint of their presence right at the finish which is sticky. Caramel and bourbon last right up until the end.

M: Medium to full bodied, rather flat and smooth with the booziness ticking the back of the throat. Finish is messy and sticky. This one is most definitely a sipper.

D: Delicious. Complex and a real joy to have. The appearance of tiny particles in the beer really threw me off in the beginning but it recovers well. Like a barrel-aged RIS but without the soy sauciness, making it a different experience altogether, but still enjoyable nonetheless.

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Photo of hckyfn9999
3.95/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a murky mahogany with about a finger of cream colored head. Aroma is full of bourbon as you would expect. Caramel, vanilla and fruit also stick out.

Sweet caramel is noticeable upfront. That gives way to slightly boozey, bourbon flavor. A faint smokieness is in the background, with a dry, bitter finish. Body is medium-full. Overall a pretty solid effort and a nice concept.

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Photo of bonkers
4.32/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I poured from a bottle into a snifter. It is murky and muddy in apperance with a slight white head. The nose is full of bourbon, vanilla, oak, and sweet caramel. The taste is bourbon heavy, but not overbearing. It is nicely rounded out with some vanilla. The finish is hot with alcohol. It has a medium/full body and has nice carbonation. I really liked this. The bourbon really works with this one.

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Photo of ipafool
4.72/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Aquired via trade with beerbeerbeerbeer, Thanks brother. Pours a dark copper with a nice two finger head. Smell is dominated with bourbon but in a good way. Also vanilla, oak, brown sugar, love it. The taste is a huge sweetness, plums, bourbon, toffee and caramel. Mouthfeel is perfect silky smooth coats well with a full body. Drinkability is off the charts. A sipper for sure but will seek out again and again, Founders nailed it on this one.

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Photo of becktone
4.69/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

From notes 11-13-09

Eye: Deep red in color with tints of brown. Maybe some yellow tinted orange highlights in there too. This beer isn't clear but its not murky either, hazy is the best word. Its got some transparency but its not great. Head formation and retention are non-existant, could be the glass...Still color is good, but I'd like to see more from the head, something thick and creamy. Although it doesn't form a nice head or keep one, it still has some lacing...as I sip on this it leaves partial walls, but mostly legs of lace adding to this beer's appetizing appearance.

Nose: Big on the dark fruits, plums rasins. Hints at chocolate too. Overall warm aroma. Vanilla tones are evident. Notes of bourbon are evident. This actually has tones of an empty bourbon barrel in it. Heavy and thick aroma, it feels syurpy. (Now I'm actually getting a slightly and faint charred or smokey aroma...maybe its just me though.) The aroma is almost intoxicating. I really can't ask for more.

Tongue: On first sip alcohol, oakiness, bourbon character, and vanilla are present. Dark fruit comes into play as well. Alcohol is definitely detectable, it adds some balance to the brew as well as create some sweetness. Hints of chocolate, smokiness, and definitely some heavily roasted or burnt flavors. This beer has a great malt backbone and a great malt flavor, but a bit more would be nice to contend with the bourbon heat, oakiness, and alcohol.

Feel and Drinkability: Overall this one feels very nice. It warms once it hits the stomach. The beer is heavy on the palate and carbonation is low as it should be, otherwise it'd be way out of balance. Although its heavy on the palate it is far from syurpy. This is one that I'll not hesitate to pick up again...another great offering from Founders, they cease to amaze me.

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Photo of DrinkingAleToday
3.3/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A: Pours a deep amber with a thin off-white head that leaves some spotty laceing.

S: Bourbon and alcohol up front, some vanilla and oak, hints of cocoa.

T: Strong bourbon flavor, oak is more mellow,hints of tabacco, malt in the form of toffee and biscuit, some vanilla and cocoa, bitterness in the finish. Too much bourbon, flavors are unbalanced.

M: Very thin and hot, flavor hits you then seems to just dissapear, no finish.

D: A decent beer but too thin and unbalanced, worth trying but not one that I will try again.

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Photo of glid02
4.12/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at the Brick Store.

Pours a murky reddish-brown color with a one-finger off-white head. The head recedes into a patchy layer on top leaving solid lacing.

Smells of sticky and slightly mineral-like caramel malts with good amounts of whiskey and vanilla. As the beer warms booze-soaked golden raisin aromas waft out.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Caramel malt flavors with huge whiskey and vanilla undertones and hints of butterscotch kick things off. Hints of boozy dark fruits enter into things midway through but allow vanilla to dominate through the mildly bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a nice thickness with grainy carbonation.

Drinkability is good. I finished my glass without a problem and could have another.

Overall I was more impressed with the bottle version I had last year as I feel like the whiskey notes were more well-defined. Still, this remains a very good beer and one that's worth a shot.

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Photo of stephens101
3.73/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours brown with amber hues at the edges. A one-finger tan head settles quickly and leaves a thick streak of lace right above the brew.

Smells malty, sugary and spicy. Big sweet malts, cherries and a good hit of red-hot spiciness hit the palate. A streak of carmel gooiness exists. Goes down extra-creamy with some lingering alcohol heat in the end. I would say it's near full-bodied, and almost, but not quite chewy.

More food than beer? Possibly. A good example of the style? More than likely. A damn good beer either way? Definitely.

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Photo of generalnotsew
4.18/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: Barely any head on this one. Gone in the blink of an eye. Coloring is very coca-cola like. Could all fit the style though.

S: Nice bourbon smell with a lot of oak notes. I had to check to see if it was barrel aged. Did not see anything because it sure smells that way. Hints of caramel. It is like a GOOD bourbon. A bit like the Buffalo Trace I had awhile back.

T: If I had to compare this to anything I would go with a bourbon and coke mixture. I honestly can't describe it any better. Damn warm on the throat too. This is honestly a good alternative to Jack and Coke. I think you could almost fool someone with this.

M: Quite chewy actually. Very thick and warm on the tongue. Carbonation is quite good. And do I mention this stuff warms your tongue and throat?

D: Hmmm. Where do I go with this? It is high if you are a sipper. However I don't see being able to hammer these down but I have to give it a middle score since it is easier to drink than whiskey.

I don't think my score will really reflect how much I am enjoying this. It is my first Wee Heavy. Appearance I gave average but I honestly don't know what these are supposed to look like. Drinkability took a hit but this is a really awesome smelling and tasting beer. Bourbon lovers should really check this out. Get a few for your bourbon loving non craft beer drinking friends. I think this will make then see craft beer in a different light.

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Photo of gabeerfan
4.22/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a tulip glass with a hazy caramel brown with a nice light tan/off white head.
Aromas are pretty much all bourbon. Lots of vanilla, caramel, and candied orange peel. Very boozy, but more subdued than just straight bourbon. Almost no "traditional" beer aromas make it through.
Taste is about the same. Lots of bourbon flavors: vanilla, caramel, candied orange peel. Lots of alcohol flavors. Again, almost no traditional beer flavors in this.
Full-bodied, but pretty smooth mouthfeel. A little syrupy, but not cloying.
Drinkable in the flavor dept., but at 10.2%, it is a definite sipper or night cap.
Great beer. Not sure I could have more than one in a night, but this is a great alternative to regular bourbon.

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Photo of dismal
3.98/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a real nice dark red color with a small white head that quickly dissapears but leaves some head around, enough to leave some pretty good lacing down the glass. The smell is very caramel and very malty. There is also some chocolate that is pretty apparent in the smell as well which starts to stand out more the more I smell it. The taste is very malty and pretty chocolatety. There is a hint of vanilla and if you look for it the taste of the bourbon barrels is right there and adds a nice touch to the taste. The mouthfeel is pretty average, but is good for the style. A high ABV but noticeable in the taste. I'd do this whole four pack in a night easily. Overall this is one I've been wanting to try for a while and am glad I did. I've been getting more into this style lately and this one is up there with the better ones I've had lately. Great stuff but then again what do you expect from Founders!

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Photo of beerthulhu
4.38/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured a dark brazilin cherry with a heavy turbidity. The head was smooth and creamy, khaki in color, and moderately lasting. When held up against the light you can really get a good appreciation for the coloring and the densely packed micro-turbid nature that barely let a sliver of light through totally obstructing any view of the far side of the glass. An extremely vague and faint carbonation could barely be detected which was sparse and slow to rise. Overall a great coloring and turbid affair as well a creamy smooth head, which if lasted longer had a legitimate shot of pefection.

S: The nose was boozy burbon, which was evident upon first opening and remained fairly strong throughout. Carmalized malt, sticky and sweet, with an extract like quality fills the nose with a sweetness along with fresh plums and rum soaked raisins with a grand finale of alcohol laced wooden planks.

t: The flavor was boozy but very well refined and sweet, with the 50 ibus hardly standing a chance at balancing the massive sweetness that this beer throws out at you. Scorched wort, burnt molasses and licorice are all products of this malt forward beer. A huge dry toasted breadiness with dried maple syrup finishes up with caramelized grains and rum soaked raisins. There is as well a nice taste of burbon laced wooden planks. The alcohol is both sweet and spicy but never indicative of its 10.5% nature which I still find hard to believe. The alcohol adds a beautiful flair of flavor and was incredibly smooth and refined.

m: The mouthful was smooth and full bodied, extremely soft and luscious and almost void of any carbonation adding to its fullness as this slides around the tongue. Things finish off with a spicy dry burbon fade.

D: An extremely, almost to much so, drinkable beer considering its high abv. You probably would never guess as the alcohol adds beautiful highlights and added flair, and NOT off balancing hot liquor notes like so many other high abv beers do. Extremely smooth, refined, sweet and joyous to consume.

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Founders Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
95 out of 100 based on 1,649 ratings.