1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

Founders Backwoods Bastard - Founders Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Founders Backwoods BastardFounders Backwoods Bastard

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
96
world-class

6,647 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 6,647
Reviews: 1,580
rAvg: 4.34
pDev: 10.37%
Wants: 804
Gots: 2,258 | FT: 209
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: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Founders Backwoods Bastard Alström Bros
Ratings: 6,647 | Reviews: 1,580 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BillRoth
4.7/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this at Capone's on draft and really enjoyed. Grabbed a bottle from Matt in his bottle shop for later,
Enjoyed in my Magic Chouffe snifter, and "wow" what pleasure when controlled for temperature and glass.Full flavors of bourbon and wood, vanilla and that soft fullness that comes from excellent aging. The alcohol is only evident in it's creep; nothing that impacts the drink enjoyment. I am a rabib double imperial stout boy, who unabashedly loves Founders Canadian Breakfast Stout. But this is a wonderful drinking experience that needs to explored again and again.

Photo of atrocity
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

Photo of rab53
4.19/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a brilliant reddish-brown. Thin white head fades rapidly. Aroma is dominated by bourbon, not so much oak. More bourbon and malt in the taste. Warm alcohol. No hop presence. Very low carbonation, mimicking a liquor. Would definitely buy this again.

Photo of iL0VEbeer
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

Photo of Wasatch
4.3/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks goes out to BrewerB for this brew.

Pours a nice brown color, nice carbonation, nice one-finger creamy tan head, lots of nice sticky lacing left behind. The nose is malty, slight bourbon notes, with some toffee. The taste is very nice, malty, slightly sweet, very nice bourbon notes, and some toffee. Medium body. Very drinkable, this is a very tasty brew, thanks for the extra Brian.

Photo of biegaman
3.6/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Backwoods Bastard, to use the parlance of the South, looks like something the cat dragged in (if not worse). It looks like a mud fence daubed with tadpoles. It's flat, opaque and turbid with no exuberance or highlights what so ever. With my own fingers I've fished out clumps of sediment that looked like hot fudge, they were lumpy and rubbery like phlegm. Then again, I guess I'd look like shit too if I spent all those months in a barrel.

The aroma smells undeniably good but it's boozy enough to make me feel like the underside of a turnip green. This thing perspires bourbon and booze like a hooker sweats in church. It's a potent smell of spiced cherries, coffee, macerated prunes, chocolate, bitter tea leaves, truffles, toffee and burnt wood. That would all be fine if not for the intense concentration of raw bourbon. So far things are comin' up a bad cloud.

And I say that because I was hoping to drink a *beer*, not a bourbon. This has the vanillin, leather, tobacco leaf, charred oak and cinnamon spice flavours - all wonderful and intense and highly sophisticated flavours, but flavours belonging to the bourbon not the beer. All the sticky toffee pudding, nutty, caramelly and peaty malts and leafy hop flavours I love about Founders' Dirty Bastard are buried. It's definitely tasty but it's all a little too heady.

What's not helping is that the carbonation is slower than cream rising' on last years buttermilk. Plus the alcohol; I'm starting to worry I'll be staggering around like a blind horse in a pumpkin patch. It's musky, burnt, leathery mouthfeel leaves a savory, earthy, cigar box kind of aftertaste that is sophisticated but stiff. Because of its sweet flavours and thickness it's started to remind me of (fortified) vanilla and chocolate pudding.

As it warms, this thing get's hotter than a June bride and leaves your mouth dry enough to spin cotton. If there's one thing I hate about barrel aged beers it's having to pick wood splinters out of my teeth and that's exactly what I'm doing here. I can hardly taste the beer beyond all this burnt, tobacco leaf tasting oak. It's not acceptable in wine to show this much of the barrel or alcohol so what makes brewers think it's ok in beer?

Barrel aging is a lot like remixing a song - it leads to different, unique, interesting renditions. Sometimes, however, a song is just better left alone, especially if the remix distorts the original to a point of it being unrecognizable. In my opinion Founders has taken a great song - one of their greatest hits in fact - and gone and ruined it. Maybe (excessive) bourbon barrel aging isn't my thing - but hey, whatever blows your dress up.

Photo of John_M
4.27/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Have to say I wasn't all that thrilled with the dirty bastard, but this beer here is a whole nuther kettle of fish.

The beer pours an impressive dark amber red color with good head retention and lacing. The nose is otherworldly. I get a huge complex, sweet malty aroma, with nuances of cherry, vanilla, almond and chocolate. This beer smells incredible and you can tell it's not for the faint of heart. This is clearly a very big beer. On the palate this beer is incredible. It's very sweet and very rich, but there is so much going on it doesn't tire out your palate. There is again lots of cherry and vanilla on the palate, and the beer has almost a fruit cake flavor about it. However, there is enough bitterness from the hops in the finish to keep it from becoming tiring to drink. The abv. is noticeable, but not intrusive, though I agree the high abv., coupled with the richness, certainly make it difficult to have more then one.

This is an exceptional beer. As far as I'm concerned, dump the dirty the bastard and only make this liquid nectar from now on.

Photo of KAF
4/5  rDev -7.8%

Photo of HopHead84
4.17/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Awesome extra from Bigdaddywil. Very dark reddish amber, almost brown. A one finger, off-white head lingers for a short minute. The lacing disappears quickly. Immediate slap in the face (nostrils) from the bourbon. Nice. Huge sugary malt notes in the nose with some caramel and brown sugar. Initial taste is sweet and malty bourbon, with some caramel and vanilla as well. Very boozy and delicious. The finish is remarkable. Long bourbon alcohol finish that lingers, imparting a sticky coating to the back of the tongue. Full bodied with good carbonation. Backwoods Bastard leaves my mouth dry and wanting another drink.

Photo of ShanePB
4.49/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2011 bottle less than two months old. Served from the bottle at Canal St Pub, poured into a 12 ounce goblet.

A: Rustic amber bronze colored body, fairly clear though not completely. Tiny tan head forms but quickly dissipates, leaving almost no lace behind unless you have it a vigorous pour to form more of a head.

S: Boozy bourbon notes, wood, oak, vanilla and some roasted malts. The bourbon is the focus all while the Scotch Ale style aromas try to break through. If you love bourbon, this is probably one of the most aromatic non-stout barrel aged beers I've come across. Intoxicating, smooth and boozy; wonderful.

T: Bourbon dominates yet again, but it's not harsh or overly boozy. You know it was bourbon barrel aged on first sip, and if you don't care for the spirit, you won't like this. Complex toffee, vanilla and faint yeasty notes are mid-palate. Warming on the swallow and into the linger in the back of the throat to the chest. Ridiculously smooth, blended and balanced. Hands down, this is my favorite Scotch Ale I've ever tasted.

M: Incredibly smooth, lower on the carbonation but enough to break up the flavors and provide balance. Feels like drinking a very well made, crafted bourbon whiskey.

Backwoods Bastard was a very early beer I had when I first started drinking craft beer, and while I do remember enjoying it I don't think I appreciated it as I do now. It's so complex, flavorful and smooth; unlike many other bourbon barrel aged beers. One of my Fall favorites that I cannot get enough of.

Photo of billab914
4.02/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Dogfish snifter. Poured a dark copper almost brown color with a small head that disappeared quickly.

Aroma is strong with Bourbon with some sweet vanilla and caramel notes. Taste also has a lot of bourbon flavor along with some sweetness. There is some vanilla and caramel much like the nose but also a hint of coffee or a latte in the finish.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and and light on carbonation. Drinkability is probably as good as it can be for a 10% beer that has a lot of bourbon flavor. I enjoyed one but couldn't drink this on a regular basis or more then one in a sitting. An enjoyable treat though none the less to have on occasion.

Photo of ppoitras
4.12/5  rDev -5.1%
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.

Photo of Kelp
4.12/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ok so this brew is probably better than I am giving it. Not to say that it wasn;t a very enjoyable brew. It's just that i had bourbon county earlier today and yes i know stout vs. ale is different, but i did and so be it. The appearance is a nice medium golden hue. Has a nice mellow smell of bourbon with a wee bit of vanilla and toffee. A nice mellow bourbon taste followed by vanilla and spice. Feels a bit heavy for an ale, but still easily drinkable. I enjoyed this brew just not as much as the previous brew i had. I could have a had one or two more but that would be it before the bourbon sweetness got to me. Definitely worth a try though.

Photo of sendbeer
5/5  rDev +15.2%

Photo of Zaphog
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%

Photo of dmorgan310
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

Photo of PEIhop
5/5  rDev +15.2%

Photo of Cynic-ale
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%

Photo of liamt07
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%

Photo of rolltide8425
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

Photo of Alieniloquium
4.06/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a goblet. Bottle dated 10/8/10.

Appearance - Like its baby brother Dirty Bastard, it's got nearly no head and a dark brown body with flecks of ruby. A few bubbles and a ring around the surface show the only signs of life.

Smell - Bourbon and lots of it. When it's cold, it only smells of bourbon and charred oak. As it warms, it smells significantly better. The malt character comes through as caramel and burnt sugar. Good bit of buttery scotch ale back there too.

Taste - Bourbon and oak again in the flavor. Bitterness, too. Maybe from the oak or maybe from the hops, not sure. Again, the malt profile doesn't shine until it warms. When it does, it's exactly as the smell indicates: caramel, burnt sugar, and some butter. Not complex, but good.

Mouthfeel - Hot for sure. You taste all of the 10.2%. Otherwise, it's not such a big beer. It's not as thick as 10.2% would indicate and the carbonation keeps it from being syrupy. Still slow drinking from the booze.

Overall - The base beer, like Dirty Bastard, just isn't that interesting. The bourbon aging makes it quite nice, though.

Photo of GarthDanielson
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured on-tap and served in a snifter, the beer is almost completely black, with some deep blood-ruby highlights around the edges. Thin, sparse, frothy, beige head that settles slowly into an uneven covering. Aromas are darkly sweet and earthy, with a heavy dose of caramel, molasses, and cherries blended with a good booze character and some woody smells. Flavors are bold and rich all over the front of the tongue, with a decent alcohol warmth that hits the throat immediately. Taste profiles include a strong bourbon backbone, with rich caramel and molasses sweetness rolling off. Good balance of sweet characteristics, with a roasty feel, and a kick of light cherry sweetness at the end. Super rich and smooth, with a good, full body to carry both the flavor and the ABV. Aftertaste is slightly sharp thanks to the ABV, with oaky and earthy flavors. The finish is slightly cloying, with a slightly astringent feel from the booze. This is a good brew that is fairly easy to drink despite the increased alcohol presence. This is an ass kicker!

Photo of beerthulhu
4.38/5  rDev +0.9%
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.

Photo of JohnGalt1
3.82/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz received as a completely great extra from orbitalr0x.. big thanks Donald. 1" head.. slim lacing atop a hazy mahogany/walnut brew.

aroma is vanilla and smoky wood .. caramel and figgy fruits..

Flavor mirrors the aroma but with a bunch of raisin and plum.... vanilla.. a little bit of char.. smokey... caramel.. and sweet bourbon. very smooth.. fairly big body with a low carbonation..

This a pretty great beer.. Alex says it has a year on it.. I am not interested if it is fresh... it just seems like there is too much going on. smoke.. vanilla.. toffee.. Scotch. Bourbon.. nice.. but not tonight.

3.5/4/4/3.5/3.5

Photo of Rhettroactive
4.39/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From 12oz bottle to Bruges hybrid glass on 4/5/12
*From notes

-- Vintage 2011 --

*Opened side by side with a bottle of the 2010 vintage.

A: Dirty cider-crimson. A good pour yields a 2.5 finger head and decent if not middle of the road lacing. Solid collar and minor lacing follow.

S: Amazing stuff. Woody and sweet bourbon smother the base beer. Just about at peak in my humble opinion.

T: Starts out with a rush of brown liquor. It moves to the mid, where a sweet spine stands tall. The woody, tannic quality kicks in on the back to finish. Even after six months in the bottle, this is still rather hot. Yet it's toned down just enough to give you a good "pop". As it warms, lots of coconut and vanilla exude themselves, as they should. Lingering hints of dark brown sugar are warmly welcomed.

M: Sure it could be thicker, but it's pretty damn big as-is. Bold cabronation and a rich, complex feel add to the top notch presentation.

O: What a treat this beer is. And I'll be quite honest: I'm glad no one really talks about it. This is just as good, dare I say maybe even then some of their other BA offerings. At six months in, this is about at peak and drinking beautifully. A hearty recommendation for the BA Wee Heavy lovers, and beer geeks in general.

2010 Vintage

A: About the same. No real difference, other then a tad bit lighter in color.

S: The bourbon is much calmer. There's a big raisinated sweetness to the bouquet. Less coconut and vanilla, more straight wood.

T: Mellow. The heat subsided quite a bit. More dark, dried fruit and less whiskey. Shorter finish.

M: Actually thicker and bigger then the 2011. More carbonation, yet a silkier feel.

A:3.5 / S:4 / T:4 / M:4.5 / O:4

Verdict: Drink this one around four to eight months after release for maximum enjoyment.

Founders Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 6,647 ratings.