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Founders Backwoods Bastard - Founders Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Founders Backwoods BastardFounders Backwoods Bastard

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,590 Reviews
no score

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Reviews: 1,590
Hads: 7,087
Avg: 4.24
pDev: 10.85%
Wants: 927
Gots: 2,533 | FT: 243
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:
Beer added by: CortexBomb on 01-30-2007

"Wee Heavy", cave aged in oak bourbon barrels.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 1,590 | Hads: 7,087
Photo of bigeyedfish
3.87/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle from the Foodery poured into the Duvel tulip. Bottle has IBU's (50) and ABV (10.2) on the top label, but no brewed on-slash-drink-by date. Alas.

Super thick mahogany body with absolutely zero sustaining head. A small ring of gray head forms around the edge of the glass, and there's some accumulation of bubbles in the center, resulting in what can best be described as super-wispy-cloud-like-patterns on the top of the beer sporadically and with no height to them.

The nose is reminiscent of belgian quad's/strong dark ale's. Dark fruits, specifically plums along with some buttery/caramel sweetness interlaced, serving as a homage to the bourbon barrel that the beer is aged in.

You don't get a chance to forget that this beer was aged in a bourbon barrel with the taste. One of the first tastes is of slight whiskey and maybe a slight hint of bitterness. No real fruit presence in the taste- whiskey, some [possible] hop bitterness and a finish of dark chocolate and caramel.

Pretty lacking in respects to mouthfeel- a super smooth beer all around. Not much burn or heaviness despite its alcohol content. A slight twinge of carbonation on the roof of the mouth somewhere between start and finish, but other than that, not much else. No real super palate coating. Just a real smooth, thick beer. If that makes sense.

Drinkability seems to be good- very smooth and pleasantly flavored lead this to go down pretty easy. Not the syrupy-ness of stouts-slash-quads or even some strong dark ales. The barrel aging has really smoothed this out, only the problem seems to be that the barrel is one of the dominant flavors of the beer; instead of enhancing it it seems to have completely altered it into a different beer. Not sure if that's a good thing or not. Still, really good effort from Founders that proves to be a welcome to the thick winter beer staples [barley wines and stouts] that often are heavy and leave coating on the palate, this is pretty clean.

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Photo of Shiredave
3.69/5  rDev -13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Deep red amber color with a sparse tan head and good lacing. Very clear with only occasional carb bubbles rising through the dense liquid to the top.

Aroma is... negligible. A faint brown sugar/ toffee scent comes out when agitated but it's very mild and uninteresting to me. Sort of Scotch aleish but more sugary, giving off some hot, higher alcohol fumes.

The flavor is more toffee with a strong milk chocolate character. Some oak-y notes mix in nicely but the near cloying sweetness masks much of the woody nuances that struggle to come through. Flavors are muddled and dont really blend in well for me. Alcohol notes are ever present and again, dont mesh well, leaving me with the impression of fermented sugar and little fruity complexity, just thick, one dimensional sweetness. The 50IBU's of hops are all in the boil ( fine for a Wee Heavy) and there is firm bittering at the back end leaving a dry, hoppy aftertaste with more notes of coco and earthy oak.

Quite full bodied and heavy on the tongue. Overall a semi interesting beer due to the oak aging but I think this was a relatively fresh bottle and I would hope a few months in a cellar would allow this beer to come together and blend the independent flavors that seem unfriendly to each other now. A 4 for flavor is being generous, but i think it will age into that number or better with some time.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.12/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy deep-amber-red-chestnut. Surprisingly, the off-white head drops shortly.

The aroma is bourbon-like, but also caramelish and sweet. It's sweetish and woody, and welcoming.

In the mouth it's medium bodied with a median carbonation, leaving it smooth and gently creamy.

The flavor is initially caramel malt, brown sugar, and Bourbon, followed by drying notes of woodiness and a snap of alcohol. In the end, although it lingers for quite some time, the maltiness basically evaporates leaving just the wood, bourbon, and alcohol behind.

An interesting and engaging ale!

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Photo of HopEnthusiast
3.6/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a light cloudy deep amber color with a small foamy head with average retention and minimal lacing. Aroma of scotch and malt. Taste is a fine mix betwen some scotch notes with some deep sweet marley with some light dry fruit notes. Malt definitely mellowed it out a little. Full body with average carbonation and no alcohol ester where noticeable. Bourbon is a little to noticable. Mine as well take a shot. Definitely a unique brew. Still very solid beer as usual from this brewery.

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Photo of largadeer
4.32/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Dark, near-opaque ruby-amber with pretty much no head, just a thin ring of foam.

Smell: Big whiskey barrel flavors up front, toffee sweetness, burnt sugar. Faintly earthy. Roasted corn, slight sherry-like oxidation. Very pleasant.

Taste & mouthfeel: Rich caramel malt flavors meet whiskey heat. Medium in body, low carbonation. Earthy bitter finish, hints of burnt grain. Light tannins. Really nice stuff.

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Photo of callmescraps
3.48/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Back in Somerville, had to go to Redbones for a drink with friends. Of course I find something interesting there.

Appearance - A very opaque, almost rust color. Sort of like a very deep apple cider. Only the most modest of heads.

Smell - A little candy, and some malt. Plenty of bourbon back.

Taste - A little sweet, with plenty of bourbon. This one almost seemed to stretch the typical conception of beer. Lots of bourbon booziness, and definitely sweeter than I would have preferred. Still, the malt mellowed it out some.

Mouthfeel - Pretty solid, a dense mouthfeel. A little light on the carbonation.

Drinkability - Well, I had to drive so it was only going to be the one. It tastes even boozier than the abv would suggest. I could picture having one in front of a fire or something, but not out with friends really.

This was a well-made beer that definitely was not my favorite. Just too boozy, with more candy sweetness than I'd prefer. Another reviewer said "If you don't like bourbon, I'd try something else". I guess that's the thing. I DO like bourbon, but not when I'm drinking beer. If I want a nice bourbon I'll pour myself a glass. I think this beer just sort of muddied the line instead of just being the best beer it could be.

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Photo of NCSUdo
4/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle

A: Deep rusty red/brown under a medium to small tan head. Decent retention and lace.

S: Very noticeable bourbon and wood. A bit of a pine character as well. Some toasted, slightly chocolate malt mixed in.

T: Bourbon and wood apparent again. Bit of heat from the bourbon. Sweet throughout, slight bitterness. Hint of citrus hops as well. Toasted malt lingers in the finish.

M/D: Full bodied, a little creamy with a slight prick on the tongue from carbonation. Decent drinkability, a sipper but good enough to have a couple of.

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Photo of mentor
3.1/5  rDev -26.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Label on my bottle is not the same as that in the picture here. Aged in bourbon barrels, my bottle declares. Pours a finger of light brown head over a hazed and particulated brown/red liquid. Smells mild overall. Oak vanilla, old caramel, clean alcohol,

Tastes nicely tannicked oak with supporting sweet and clean alcohol burn. Not much malt flavor and esters are mild. A bit of fig and some caramel bordering on toffee. Vanilla is tame and some dreid cherry. Acid is a bot stronger than I'd like and a soured character is also distracting. Nice creamy md-thick mouthfeel and too much carbonation for the style.

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Photo of TheBear11D
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a solid cherry wood deep reddish amber color with a dark tan brown head that was slow to grow and lasted for a while.

Strong alcohol is the obvious scent with a malt sweetness quick to follow and a bit of woods hidden in the back.

You can taste the alcohol immediately, but the malty sweet flavors cover the alcohol pretty well. The aftertaste is enjoyable.

Medium to thick mouthfeel with lively carbonation.

I am quite surprised at how easy this is to drink considering the ABV, but it is tasty and I will be having this beer again.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.94/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a lightly cloudy deep amber color ale with a small foamy head with average retention and minimal lacing. Aroma of bourbon and sweet malt dominates. Taste is a fine mix betwen some bourbon notes with some deep sweet marley with some light dry fruit notes. Full body with average carbonation and no alcohol ester where noticeable. Bourbon might be slightly too present and somewhat overshadows the malt but still very solid beer from this fine brewery.

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Photo of brdc
3.92/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks Turdfurgison for this one. Small capped bottle poured into a snifter.

Dark reddish brown in color, with minimal tan head despite a vigorous pour. Whatever head is produced vanishes nearly instataneously, and lacing is minimal.
Aroma is mostly bourbon and oak, but sweetish malts, mainly caramel, vanilla and fruits are also present.
Medium bodied, thinner than I would have liked it, has a nice caramel sweetness dominating the flavor profile, but the bourbon and oaky notes are also quite prominent. Molasses, vanilla, butterscotch take a back seat.
Nice one, but not great. Perhaps a bit too thin.

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Photo of MacDomer
4.62/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I picked up two 4-packs of this when it came out and have already gone through half of them. Here's to the 5th one tonight!

A - Great, rich dark stained mahogany color. Can't see through this but it lightens up around the edges for a nice effect. Despite the high ABV, I got a nice head on the pour, though it didn't last for long. However, there's a nice light tan ring left behind and tons of sticky lacing. Tons...

S - Welcoming and warming smell of soft bourbon, vanilla, wood, dark fruits, cherries, and malt. Very inviting. A hint of alcohol. Super.

T - Bourbon is less pronounced in the tast than in the nose for me, while the vanilla and wood pop pout a bit more. Nice wee heavy base with sweet malts, dark fruits, and more malty goodness. Warming alcohol on the finish.

M - Very creamy. Soft, round, really fills the mouth. Medium-full body. More warmth on the way down...perfect for this cold winter night.

D - I was craving this beer tonight - wanted something with bourbon, wood, and some alcohol. And I'm big on wee heavies...love this beer and I will get some every year.

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Photo of hwwty4
4.24/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Received from Mymrnngjckt in SS08.

Poured a 12oz bottle into my Tripel Karmeliet tulip. This beer pours a murky, pond water brown with a tiny head brown head that left no lacing. The aroma reminds me of the best qualities of Bourbon. Caramel, vanilla and oak. The trinity so to speak. That's all that the nose consists of. The flavor is heavy on the caramel/toffee notes, with vanilla, oak, and a hint of butterscotch. The mouthfeel is a bit thin and the carbonation, should be amped up just a bit. This is a good beer, one that I would be happy to imbibe again.

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Photo of PatrickJR
4.04/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into nonic pint glass.

A - Murky dark brown, with garnet highlights on the edges. Two fingers of off white head rise with decent retention. Decent lacing left behind.

S - Wow, great aroma here. Immediately there is a lot of pineapple and coconut aroma making it clear that this has been barrel aged. Bourbon is present in small amounts mingling with generous doses of butterscotch and vanilla. Lots of stuff going on here.

T - Big butterscotch and vanilla flavor are the first flavors to hit the palate. The tropical fruits from the nose come in mid palate with more emphasis on the coconut. Late palate the alcohol peeks through a bit with a clear bourbon-like note. Minor bitterness. Coconut carries on into the aftertaste with slight alcohol astringency and a hint of wood.

M - Carbonation is moderate to low and at a great level. Unfortunately, this light-side-of-medium body isn't working well for the brew. It seems very thin on the palate and doesn't allow enough time for these rich flavors to linger. This brew needs a much fuller body.

D - Certainly better than "Dirty Bastard," the barrel aging has done good things for this beer; but even barrel aging can't make a medicore beer great. The biggest flaw is with the body which just isn't working for a huge wee-heavy. Overall a rich and complex beer.

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Photo of brewbucker
4.2/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tasted on Jan 28, 2008. Pours dark copper with a faint head. Aroma is tart bourbon, malts, vanilla, sugars, oak. I'm usually not into
bourbon barrel beers but this one is quite nice. Nothing is overdone. Flavor is mild bourbon, maybe some cherry,
vanilla, malts and woody hints. I wish I would have bought more now. Oh well. Nicely done.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
4.08/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark ruby hued brown with a thin tan head. Nose is malty with an almost cardboard tree kind of thing going on. The first thing I thought when I took a sip was: boozy! Thankfully that seems to fade away as time goes on. What I get after that is a thick malty backbone with a sweet earthy edge. Peaty edge on the backside. Full flavor profile, not a mass of complexity. Feel is smooth on liquid and carbonation is lower. After the booze calms down here this gets better.

Thanks to tburkhart for this one.

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Photo of klewis
4.17/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

ABV listed at 10.2%

A: Pours a dark, murky brown with a small bubbly head. Light flares of lacing.

S: Obviously bourbon barrel-aged from the first whiff. Strong oak and vanilla aromas and just a touch of booze.

T: Sweet and malty, but a subtle hop presence gives this one a touch more balance than most scotch ales - not to mention an interesting character. Lots of vanilla and earthy oak flavors with some soft tannins and coffee flavors. All of the flavors are nicely balanced and combine to provide a good complexity.

M: Medium-full bodied with moderate carbonation.

D: A very good sipper and quite tasty. Worth picking up.

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Photo of baldycmu
3.96/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The beer pours a cool ruby, almost purple color, with a limited tanish white head. Initial aroma is mostly alcohol/whiskey with a bit of an earthy undertone. The taste is very caramel sweet with a nice bite of alcohol and a touch of vanilla. Great smooth mouthfeel esp. for 10% ABV. Definitely something I would drink again.

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Photo of cnally
4/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

backwoods bastard. must be a mean one.

the beer pours with little head. caramel brown coloring, dense looking.

smell is all whisky and malt. oaky and woodsy with a bit of cream.

the flavor is initially caramel and then a whisky malt flavor hits. that morphs into a creamy, buttery flavor with figs and nuts.

feel is full and warm with the high alcohol content.

well this is a special beer which retains much of the whisky flavor. very different and creamy.

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Photo of wgarton
4.02/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a dark color into a pint glass. There is almost no perceptible color until I hold it under the light, at which point there's a dark-purple-red that shines through. There's a bit of haze when seen through the light. I could have had some more head, though. With the pour there was a thin white head that quickly parted to just a white lacing.

S: Very enjoyable smell. It hints at the coming sweetness and speaks more to the alcohol content than the taste does. There's some cherry in the nose.

T: Sweetness and no hint of alcohol. There's a caramel in there too, as well as some woody flavors likely from the barrel aging.

MF: A good scotch ale carbonation with a little creaminess. Cleanses the palate on the way down, would go really well with a creamy cheese as it would push through it and clean it from the mouth.

D: Overall, this is a beer that is way too drinkable for its abv. Very enjoyable, especially on a rainy night getting ready for the holidays. If i weren't told that this is so alcoholic I may have been in trouble! A god pick.

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Photo of khiasmus
3.88/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours an extremely dark ruby. Perfect clarity is evident when held to the light, and a few bits of sediment are viewable through the garnet. The head pours with three fingers, beautiful light tan that leaves a lacing reminiscent of a snowy windshield in thickness and beauty.

Aroma is a rich bouquet of cedar, bourbon, maple, caramel... The alcohol lends a spiciness and light warmth, but no hotness. For some reason it reminds me of sitting in a wooden rocking chair on a windy night near the ocean and smoking a mild, well-crafted cigar. It doesn't smell like beach or cigar, but somehow smells like that experience. The woodiness I think brings back those memories.

Flavor is balanced towards sweet, tastes a good bit like candied dates. The maple is in there as well, along with a rich finish of earthy hops and some lightly spicy, almost sweet alcohol. The bourbon notes are also very strong, almost lending it a liqueur flavor. Some musty, cavey flavors too, it's apparent that this was aged for a while. However, the overall balance ends up a bit too far towards an almost cloying sweetness for my taste.

Mouthfeel is chewy and thick, with relatively low carbonation and a lightly warming finish, along with some faint dryness on the back of the tongue from the hops.

This beer is an excellent one for a cold night by the fire. Just a bit too sweet and warming to garner a high drinkability score, but certainly worth a try, and a great sipper to share with friends.

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Photo of Sycodrummer
4.97/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from the stubby brown bottle into a thistle glass the beer was a chestnut brown color with a tan head rising about 1 finger above the beer. The head is creamy consistancy and holds well throughout the sample. The rest of the beer is still; no streaming carbonation of stray bubbles.

The nose on the beer is incredible. The smell forshadows the taste very well. Big malty mollasses coming through. Caramel, brown sugar, alcohol, and dried fruit all come through.

Taste hits the palate and is nice a sweet upfront. This is what I expected from the style. A robust beer with a huge malt backbone and hints of its strength with just moments of alcoholic heat. Caramel and toffee shine through and sweetness is accented with hints of brown sugar, bread, and mollasses.

The mouthfeel is right on for the style. Big, robust, almost a little creamy, and certainly chewy. Warming slightly and filling.

I thought the beer was spot on for its style in terms of taste and mouthfeel. Some scotch ales come out of the bottle a little thin, but I though this one nailed it. A very enjoyable beer and perfect for a cold night.

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Photo of bowersdm
4.66/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - shade of dark brown with a small (less than 1cm) tan-like head. The head was gone almost instantly.

S - mmm....a hint of chocolate, lots of alcohol, bourbon/scotch like alcohol smell, malt, vanilla, and oak. mmm....

T - malt followed by the slightest note of chocolate, then hops, then alcohol, and finally, vanilla. Tasty stuff if I may say so myself.

M - I haven't had many scotch ales, so I'm not 100% on this one, but it had a pleasant feel compared to the other scotch ale that I've had.

D - I have a problem with prolonged drinking of scotch/bourbon or anything flavored as such. I can have one fine, but I start to feel sick after that (past puking episode). Because of the alcohol, the brew was a slow drinker and I wouldn't be able to put more than one down, but other's probably could.

A great beer all around.

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Photo of drxandy
4.2/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz to tulip glass, pours a syurpy pine-sol copper reddish amber, tan head fades to lacing

smells of bourbony maltiness, smooth and creamy

taste is of heavy bourbon off the front, caramel malt, solvent alcohol, sweet balanced flavors melded into a delicious concoction.. hops hide way in the back, thwarted by said maltiness. In comparison to dirty bastard, this is pretty much a completely new beer - i had on tap 2 years ago and this still seems like a completely different beer... not bad indeed.

mouthfeel is oily and delicious, smooth and creamy flavors mashed with alcohol, age on this would be delicious even though bourbon overtakes everything, mmmm

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Photo of wheelinshirt
1.8/5  rDev -57.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1

Picked up a bottle of this from Abe's in Bethlehem. I liked the dirty bastard a lot so I figured I would like this. Cost me about $3. 12 oz short brown bottle, twist off lid, poured into a snifter.

Mahogany color with off-white head. Looks pretty nice. The bubbles look somewhat similar to a guinness head forming, at least in the commercials. Good retention (considering the ABV) and lots of lacing. Looks very nice.

The smell reminded me how much I hate whiskey. This is aged in bourbon barrels, but I don't know the difference between bourbon and whiskey and it just smelled like whiskey to me. No malts. No hops. Just whiskey.

The taste is even worse. This beer is so one-sided, at least for me. I can't get over the bourbon taste. It overpowers everything. Where are the kettle-carmelized malts? What happened to the beer parts of this beer? As it sat the bourbon seemed to mellow out a bit but wasn't replaced by anything. Maybe I was just tasting the beer less with time.

Mouthfeel was too thin for the style, but the mistake seems hardly noticeable.

Drinkability is low. This one is almost up there with triple bock, though this at least tastes like something someone (not me) would want to drink. One of the few beers I actually poured out. I was very disappointed in this one, but I probably shouldn't have been so surprised. If you like bourbon, you will probably like this but I still think the dirty bastard is a far superior brew. At least I got a cool bottle out of it (the newer style label).

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Founders Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
94 out of 100 based on 1,590 ratings.