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Founders Backwoods Bastard - Founders Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Founders Backwoods BastardFounders Backwoods Bastard

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,650 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 1,650
Hads: 7,337
Avg: 4.25
pDev: 22.59%
Wants: 954
Gots: 2,775 | 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: 1,650 | Hads: 7,337
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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Photo of youngleo
4.03/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured to a caramelish head and about 1 fingered at that. Head hung around and left some good lacing with every swallow. Brew itself was a dark brown in color. Boozy smell was very evident with the opening of this bottle. Also smelled of caramel and hops. When opening, I didnt think I was going to enjoy this brew. But I was wrong. Strong bourbon taste at first. Then you got a nice creamy slightly bitter taste of booze, caramel and dark roasted coffee. Flavors blended pretty good. Felt thicker in the mouth. Carbonation was good. You couldnt make this a session beer. After drinking I sure had a good buzz. But it wood be nice to enjoy every now and then.

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Photo of hardy008
4.42/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Reddish brown color with a small tan head with a bsmall amount of lacing. Smells of sweet caramel malt, dark fruit, oak, and bourbon. Has a nice sweet flavor with a little bit of a bitterness at the end. The oak, bourbon, caramel, and dark fruit combine beautifully to make a great beer.

Medium bodied, nicely carbonated, smooth and creamy. This is a very drinkable Scotch Ale. I have to wonder if Founders is capable of making a bad beer? It seems like everything they make is either very good or great.

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Photo of beertunes
3.72/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Received this bottle as a gift from BA johnmichaelsen when he recently visited my fair town.

Poured into 10oz glass. Poured a slightly hazy medium brown with a bit of a reddish tint. the beer poured very still, no head at all, with just a couple whisps of lacing.

A very sweet, caramel flavor enters the nose. Behind the caramel is a touch of earthy malt and a hint of spiciness. The initial taste is sweet backed by a wallop of alcohol. After the first rush the other flavors become apparent, caramel, peat, spice and a touch of hops.

The body does a nice job of coating the tongue and satisfying the tactile sense without being heavy or overly sticky. Drinkability is very good, however at 10% and the sweet caramel aspects of this beer, I probably wouldn't have more than one at a time.

Overall, a very good beer that I enjoyed a lot. If this were more readily available to me, it would be in my regular rotation. Thanks again, John!

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Photo of dmamiano
4.21/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

fairly dark brown with ruby edges while holding to the light. Small tan head that goes away quickly.
sweet malts, boozy, well ripened fruits. Dates or figs come to mind. Really sensing an almost bourbon nose
bourbon notes dominate the palate. Big and boozy..wooden, earthy. Sweet caramel and bing cherries...well may not be bing.
Nice big mouthfell.

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Photo of Gtreid
4.09/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle purchased at Discount Liquor in the Mke. Poured into my CCB tulip.

A: Rich, brown color. The pour creates a small half inch light, kahki head that leaves a little spotty lace.

A: Burbon, vanilla, and caramel. Pretty sweet. The burbon really takes center stage in the nose. I get a very pronouces earthiness as well.

T: Pretty nice. The burbon is not overwhelming but you know it's there. The sweetness is in the form of the vanilla and caramel. I also get a small chocolate flavor. It finishes smooth and tangy.

M: As with most barrel aged brews, the mouthfeel is slick and smooth. Pretty low carbonation levels, heavy body.

D and overall impression: Drinkability is above average for the style, the high ABV with the burbon will limit it some. Overall, I am very pleased with this brew. The barrel did its job here, very solid, and recommended. Skal.

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Photo of dstc
4.67/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a thick looking cloudy brown with a slight orange tint. Has a small tan head that falls to nothing but a rim. Not really any lace.

Real nice fruity malt nose. Smells like deep red fruits, plums, raisins. Alcohol is present. Smells awesome.

Taste mimics aroma. Nice and sweet. Fruit taste is nice and backed by big alcohol. Just wonderful.

Medium to full in the mouth with a slight alcohol bite.

This beer is truly awesome. Love it.

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Photo of ballewblake
3.9/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From bottle into my Duvel glass.

One finger tan head didn't last long, some soapy bubbles persist on the side. Light lacing. Solid dark brown body. Light malty nose, but not really noticeable. Taste is peppery first, sweet second, alcoholic third. Not really that petty, scotch flavor I was expecting at first. Chocolate notes come through with more drink, almost like a chocolate martini now that I think about it. Mouthfeel is perfect, I like the balance and everything about it on the tongue. Even with the noticeable alcohol, I could drink this pretty easy, no problem. I liked this brew. Thanks to hophead101 for throwing this in the ss09 bif.

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Photo of jera1350
4.54/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours into a snifter a murky muddy brown with one finger of tan suds which are pretty tight. Leaves some lacing on the glass.

Smells absolutely delicious. Dark rum, sweet coconut milk, vanilla bean and buttercream frosting scents fill the nose.

Very impressive taste that is very similar to the nose. It reminds me of drinking a rum cake with decadent buttercream frosting. A nice whiskey booziness with pleasant vanilla and coconut notes. Some dates and raisin flavors also come through.

For a beer of the ABV and complexity, it's hard to believe it's not fuller bodied. Smooth, but not as full and creamy as one would think.

I think this is incredibly drinkable. Probably a sipper for most though. This one could really get me in trouble. I love every facet of the flavor. This would make a great after dinner beer and would bode quite well in some dessert recipes or over ice cream. Yet another outstanding beer from Founders and it may be my overall favorite.

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Photo of jampics2
4.32/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle of 2009 vintage, split with friends courtesy of Cookie.

Pours a nice shade of brown with red highlights. What small head was forced with the vigerous pour quickly dissapears.

Smell is amazing. Wood supplies a ton of coconut and vanilla. Bourbon also, but it's far more subdued in the nose than in the taste.

Taste is straight-up bourbon at first, then a nice caramel malt base and the sublime wood flavors of coconut and vanilla come shining through. Wow, this is a booze bomb fresh, I much prefer it with a year or so on it to taste more subtle flavors. But still very good, just be prepared for the bourbon heat!

Mouthfeel and drinkability are both excellent for the style. I've been fortunate enough to try several bourbon barrel aged malt heavy beers in the past year, and this is towards if not at the top of the list. Great beer from Founders!

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Photo of shanecb
3.7/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Murky brown, rather dark at the center but lighter at the edges. Medium tan , frothy head when poured that leaves a layer on top for quite awhile. The color looks a little more on the red side if you can get some decent light through it. Very appealing appearance!

S - Wow, how fantastic! Up front is notes of caramel, malt, vanilla, and definitely bourbon. Smells a little bit like chocolate when it all melds together, or maybe a chewy toffee. Some earthy backbone to it also, with just a hint of alcohol detectable. It's such a delightful smell. The maltiness you would expecct from a Scotch ale blends so well with the plethora of aromas from the bourbon.

T - Quite a bit of what is in the aroma. At first it seems sort of sweet, with that vanilla and caramel I was hoping for. The maltiness accompanies these flavors. Next up the bourbon flavor really seems to kick in, and is pretty enjoyable. Some light alcohol flavor, with the smoothness of a quality bourbon. Aftertaste seems rather earthy to me, maybe a little woody. The bourbon seems to stand out quite a bit in some sips. It's a very good flavor, but I would almost prefer the bourbon toned down just a little bit. It's okay how it is, but I think a little muted, with smooth bourbon undertones would be nice as well. In fact, the more I drank, the more the bourbon taste seemed to be just too much. I would love to give taste a better rating, but the bourbon taste was a little much after awhile. The is almost the only part of this beer I think needs better balance.

M - Really not a ton to say about mouthfeel. It's pleasant; smooth and malty like I would expect from a Scotch ale, with not a whole lot of carbonation on the tongue.

D - One or two are very drinkable, but it reminds me a little too much of bourbon to drink a few. It's not a fault of the beer at all, it's just a personal preference. I would definitely want to break up drinking multiple bottles of this with something clean and crisp.

Overall, a really fantastic brew!

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Photo of NYCWheatFanSC
4.25/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A - murky light cola brown color that fades around the edges when held to light. Small dark eggshell head that somewhat slowly fades to a collar around the glass, leaving significant lacing.

S - Dark fruits and earthen nuts, with a bit of a sweet kick given by hints of brown sugar and vanilla. Reminds me a bit of a "Papier lite".

T - Similar to the nose: brown sugar and vanilla dominate, with some datey, raisiny goodness in the back accompanied by wood. The alcohol and bourbon are extremely well hidden, had no idea this weighed in at 10% until I read the BA breakdown.

M - Perhaps a bit overcarbonated, creates a bit of a sting but not too distracting.

D - A great scotch ale, and one that I would happily return to again.

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Photo of mothman
4.17/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into Town Hall Chalice.

Pours a small beige tan head. Fades to a thin layer. Color is a murky ruby hued bark brown.

Aroma: Oak and bourbon with vanilla right up front. Lots of malts, caramel, molasses and cherries. I really like this, but the bourbon is so dominate.

Taste: Right away, I get bourbon, oak, vanilla, and cherries. Then the caramel comes in and at the end I get some molasses and a touch of booze.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, creamy, and a some heat from the bourbon. Medium bodied with a lower amount of carbonation. Ends slight boozy, but fairly clean.

Overall, a solid beer, but the scotch notes were not as apparent as one would expect. I do like it, but I am very curious to what would happen with some age on it. I recommend this one.

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Photo of thirtysixbelow
4.52/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a - dark reddish brown color with a thin dark tan head.

s - cherry vanilla with woody notes and a hint of whisky/alcohol.

t- whisky, woody, sweet heavy caramel malts up front. something in the middle that I can't put my finger on, kinda chocolate cherry maybe, but it's great. A slight bitter finish.

m - well carbonated for such a high alcohol content

d - just when you think you have tried everything! i've had some beers before that were aged in bourbon barrels but none have had whiskey notes like this one. i'm not a huge fan of really malty caramel beers like double bocks and wee heavies but this one gets balanced out nicely with the whiskey bite and slight hop bitterness. if you like whiskey you must try this.

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

Got a bottle, poured it into the Sam Adams perfect pint glass.

A: IT poured a smooth, rich deep amber with a reddish center, with a thin beige head, of which the lace was very delicate.

S: I was hit by the aroma, which smelled of oak, vanilla, paint thinner and bourbon.

T: It seemed like I had taken a shot of whiskey and dropped it into an ale. Very strong evidence of bourbon and tannins.
Very strong vanilla and raisins, and a hint of fig.

M: Mouthfeel is mushy, and makes the tongue work a bit to get through it, like dream walking. Not too thick, just enough to let you know it's taking over your mouth for the next 19 minutes.

D: A very unique bourbon,er, beer. It goes down like a shot, but sips like a beer. Sipped it while making a good chicken dinner. Perfect for a snowy winter night.

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

Consumed 12/30

A: This beer pours a nice murky deep dark amber, lighter hues around the edges. 1/4 inch of light khaki color head that recedes immediately leaving spotty lacing.

S: Nose is of caramel malts, muted bourbon, dark fruit, vanilla and booze.

T: Taste is very sweet upfront - caramel malts that quickly move in to dark fruits, raisin is the most apparent. A nice oaky flavoring comes in with a taste of bourbon and the finish is all vanilla.

M: Medium body, medium carbonation, rich and creamy feel.

D: Very tasty, nicely balanced, goes down easily, one or two would do me, but a nice one to sit and enjoy.

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Photo of olympuszymurgus
4.44/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

love the label, love that founders is in va. after having drank one from the bottle, i didn't realize how light in color this would be. it is, after all, a scottish, but silly me, here i thought i had a stout in my belly. somewhere around carnelian in color and reaking of bourbon, vanilla, caramel, oak, and alcohol. caramel and vanilla up front then washed back with bourbon. a little sweet. much better in a glass. i could drink eleven of these if it were prudent.

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Photo of burnstar
4.41/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an opaque deep reddish mahogany with a small head that recedes quickly. Big sweet complex bourbon aroma with notes of fruit and oak. Taste is quite sweet. Again a very pleasant bourbon flavor. Carmel malt. A tiny bit of bitterness in the finish. Medium bodied. Finishes dry with a hint of warming alcohol. Pretty easily drinkable although this is a sipper given its flavorfulness and abv. Really nice and interesting beer overall.

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

12oz bottle poured into a snifter

Pours a chestnut amber with a distinct haze and a cream colored head that rose and fell quickly. Slight delicate lace develops over time.

The aroma is ripe with vanilla and oak. Sweet sticky caramel with bourbon dipped cherries. Very appealing to me.

Loads of caramel and cherries with a vanilla sweetness throughout. Oak and brown sugar with a sturdy alcohol base. The bourbon is really front and center here.

Medium to full bodied with a chewiness and heavy dose of bourbon in the finish.

I found this to be very drinkable given the heartiness of this ale. The sweetness complemented the dryness of the wood enough not to be overbearing.

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

When pouring this beer I get a ruby highlight, but it's mostly a deep copper/brown. There is also an off white head that lingers for most of the beer. The best part of this sweet nectar is the nose though. It's filled with bourbon, oak, vanilla, caramel, and bready malts. It's an absolutely great nose. The flavour is pretty god damned good as well. There is a rich malty flavour mixed with a bunch of caramel flavours and great bourbon/oak flavour. This is one of those beers that mixes all the flavours but nothing over powers. Initially there is a lot of bourbon, but it quickly meshes with all the other flavours. There is also a great sweetness that is quite pleasant.

This is definitely a great beer, but it's one of those beers I'd only have one maybe two in a night.

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Photo of PhunkyBeerGuy85
3.67/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

A Poured this beer hard (and i mean hard) into a sam adams perfect pint glass and still got only a finger's worth of head. Very dark, muddy brown that sor of reminds me of maple syrup.

S Smells of strong bourbon and fruit. Vanilla, cherry, and slight hints of spicy herbs. Very bitter, but undeniably pleasant.

T This beer is a whiskey lover's dream. Reminiscent of a boiler-maker, but so much smoother. The light cherry and vanilla flavors tickle the tongue at first, then the dark, malty flavors of the whiskey and (almost) chocolate flavors take over all the way to the finish.

M Burns slightly. Leaves the smoky flavor of bourbon lingering in the back of the throat. not for the light-hearted, but all-in-all very enjoyable.

D Personally, I can't drink very much whiskey. Sadly, I also can't drink very much of this beer. The flavors are amazing, the brew is expertly crafted, but there is simply too much of a bite for this beer lover. I enjoy the strong, flavorful beers as much as the next person, but one or two will do.

O Very good brew. One to consider on those long, cold, winter nights.

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Photo of farrago
3.97/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

An aggressive pour gets you maybe a half finger of deep tan foam, swift to evacuate the premises, nothing close to lacing present. Super-cloudy brown-red mud in appearance, barely lightens at the rims, looks like you could catch a catfish in it. Smells like someone hit you in the face with a coconut custard pie, butterscotch, caramel, no kidding about those bourbon barrels, plum to prune, date and maraschino cherry fruit scents, close to zero room for anything else. Full-bodied, thick and treacly, you almost spoon it into your mouth. again, the coconut custard, butterscotch, caramel, vanilla fudge, caramelized brown sugar flavors far and away dominant. Candied orange peel is there. Cherry, plum fruit, once more, in a candied, boozed up fashion. Splash of ginger and allspice. There is nothing subtle about this beer, it's on you like white on rice. You must drink it under carefully thought out circumstances. You have been warned.

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Photo of Fish113d
3.64/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served chilled into a tulip glass.

Pours a dark mahogany color with little head forming. A tannish surface layer does form and seems to sit on top like oil on top of water.

Definitely some booze on the nose up front. Sweet vanilla and oak also hits my nose with just a bit of fruit (cherries or plums).
Nothing too fancy, but nice and subtle.

Sweet fruit flavors come first with a bit of oak and some booziness. The bourbon flavors are definitely there, and so is the malts, but nothing over the top fancy with this one...straight shooter.

Fairly dry medium body with plenty of alcohol coming through to burn my palate. Chewy actually and not as dry as expected on the finish, but definitely the aftertaste sticks around.

Fairly drinkable brew...fair offering by Founders. A bit too "boozy" to drink more than 1 or 2, but enjoyable.

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

Backwoods Bastard I've been wanting to try this for quite sometime now, I liked last year's label with the Banjo player adorning the label. Pours a murky mahogany brown amber hue with a large off white tan khaki head forming fine even lacing down the sides of my glass. Aromatics come straight from the barrel, soakin with vanilla/oak and mild charred bitter notes. Peated malt smokiness entertaining me upon a big malty alcoholic Scotch Ale like Dirty Bastard. Whiskey stands out in the nose and in flavor with vanilla/caramel soaked malts bringing in sweetness this beer is pretty amazing. I'm not crazy on either scotch whiskey/bourbon/scotch ale but the flavors combined do much better than each individual for me. Alcohol is so warming it pretty much overbears the carmel/vanilla/charred oak combo in my book this beer is so big I haven't tasted anything like it to date as far as craft beer goes. Carbonation surprisingly smooth and well represented, while the body is thick with residual sugars that didn't make it past residual sugars. Drinkability overall is an intense scenario that I'm sure will be passed on from generation to generation within the beer community.

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Photo of champ103
4.52/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a nearly opaque ruby/brown color. A large light beige head rises to over two fingers. The foam has good retention, and lots of sticky lace is left behind.
S: At first an interesting mix of vanilla oaky sweetness and peat/smoke aromas that is just awesome. Toasted caramel malt and molasses. Cherries and other dark fruits. The nose really balanced and develops a lot more as this warms up.
T: Again, lots of vanilla and oak from the bourbon barrels. Sweet caramel malt. Peat and smoke. Sticky molasses. Dark fruits that follow the nose. Some boozey alcohol as well.
M/D: A full body that is thick, creamy and rich. Velvety smooth. The ABV is huge, but this is a great beer to sip on.

The bourbon aging really works well here, and is extremely well balanced with with everything else that is going on. I love how the barrel aging has not taken away from the Scotch Ale base. Highly recommended.

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Founders Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
95 out of 100 based on 1,650 ratings.