Founders Backwoods Bastard - Founders Brewing Company

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Founders Backwoods BastardFounders Backwoods Bastard

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BA SCORE
96
world-class

7,028 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7,028
Reviews: 1,650
rAvg: 4.34
pDev: 10.37%
Wants: 891
Gots: 2,494 | FT: 248
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
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Ratings: 7,028 | Reviews: 1,650
Photo of bluejacket74
3.99/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle, Fall 2008. Served in a Sam Adams BL glass, the beer pours a dark red/brown color with a very small tan head that went away quickly. Not much lacing either. Aroma is mostly bourbon, but there's also vanilla, oak, peat and smoke noticable. Taste is similar to the aroma, but the alcohol heat is a little harsh at first. It does mellow a bit when it warms up but you can still tell there's some alcohol there when drinking it. Mouthfeel/body is medium, carbonation is low and it's creamy. Drinkability is decent enough and it is smooth, but the alcohol isn't hidden well at all so that hurts it some. I don't think I'd want to drink more than 1-2 of these at a time. Overall I think it is a decent enough beer, I think aging it some would help.

Photo of puboflyons
4.48/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From the 12 fl. oz. bottle. Sampled on December 13, 2012.

It pours an attractive looking amber-brown with a full off-white foamy, fluffy head that lingers on and on.

On the nose there are an array of sensations that make this rather complex. I get bourbon, wood, sweet caramel malts, butterscotch, dark fruit, and a little smoke.

The body is medium to bold and pretty smooth.

The taste has some punch with sweet maltiness and vanilla which quickly evolves into a biting, long lingering bitterness that coats my throat. This is an excellent take on the Wee Heavy style.

Photo of spinrsx
3.98/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12oz Bottle received in trade with iguenard - thanks!

Appearance - Hazy brown colour with a good size frothy beige coloured head. There is a low amount of carbonation showing and there is some fantastic lacing. The head lasted for around 5-6 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Malts, caramel/butterscotch, dark fruits, leather/earthy

Taste & Mouth - There is a below average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, sweet butterscotch+caramel, and dark fruits. There is also woody/boozy notes and a hint of vanilla.

Overall - A little disappointed with the mouthfeel, but the scent is fantastic. For such a full bodied beer it's a shame that it comes across as a little watery. The taste is solid and the alcohol is well hidden. Good stuff and I'm looking forward to trying the 2013 bottles.

Photo of DrDemento456
4.2/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

bottled 9/30/10 almost 8 months old.

A - Surprisingly I got a ring of head that turns to a lace ring. Color is a deep murky brown with an amber hue.

S - Well it's hard to defer from the bourbon but it does have a bit of caramel and maple in the mix. Maybe some toffee.

T - Bourbon has relaxed a bit and is not that aggressive. The taste is mostly that of bourbon then a sweetness of toffee or butterscotch and the the finish is fairly sweet with little burn. As it warms the oak becomes more clear making the bourbon feel less "warming".

M - Very warming the bourbon may have settled but the feeling is still there. Worth sipping.

Overall I remember having this fresh and almost gagging but after about 8 months possibly at the most a year (if you want to age it) it's about as good as it will get. Very tasty bourbon beer that's worth the $4.50 price tag (especially considering some can't even find this right now) At the most one a sitting since the bourbon goes right to your head

Photo of jrallen34
4.22/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into my Darkness glass...A ruby copper, murky ugly. Little carbonation, only about half a finger rises later, falls quick, and only has a very thin film. No lacing...The aroma is really light, malty, smoke, oak and vanilla, what I get is nice. Reminds of a ba bw, wish it was stronger, could be great. Vanilla really shows off as it warms...The taste is really mostly smooth bourbon with lots of vanilla, oak shows off as well. This is really good, however on the finish there is a scotch note that I don't like. Starts to kill the drinkability.

I really enjoy this except for a split second on the finish. A non heavy handed barrel aged that displays mostly the bourbon but very enjoyable and drinkable.

Photo of THECPJ
4.42/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

reviewed from notes:

appearance: redish brown with 1 finger head

smell: vanilla, caramel, bourbon

taste: vanilla, caramel, malts, bourbon

mouthfeel: mild carbonation, medium to full body,

drinkability: this is a sipper beer. But damn do I love it. I'm a hophead at heart but damn this is tasty. Will except this beer with open arms anytime I can get it.

Cheers,
the CPJ

Photo of dirtylou
4.3/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz single, onbtained in some bif or another...missed its limited distribution in madison

appearance: garnet-mahogany body in my bells tulip, khaki cream head with fairly strong retention...definitely a sexy scotch ale here

smell: caramel and chocolate, bourbon and brandy, sweet malts, brown sugar and dates

taste: lovely big scotch ale, caramel, milky chocolate, raisin/plum/date

mouthfeel: thick, creamy, boozy

drinkability: woooowee

Photo of avalon07
4.42/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a brownish-red color and a cloudy consistency. Not much head at all, but some solid lacing.

S: Aroma of bourbon, malt, coffee and sweets.

T: You get a big blast of bourbon up front, along with malt and some chocolate. There's a dose of toffee when when finished. Complex and tasty.

M: A decent amount of carbonation and a slighty slick, syrupy finish. Full-bodied.

D: This is a likable, drinkable beer, especially on a cold, cold night.

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

Shared with MrKennedy and mulder1010. Thanks for cracking this Owen.

Clear, dark, burnished amber colour with a small, smooth, off-white head.

Masses of caramelised toffee, chocolate and oak. Bourbon as well. Really nice and complex.

Full body with moderately-low carbonation. Good.

This is a massively rich, complex Scotch ale with lots of oak and bourbony sweetness. The spirit is well integrated. Very nice.

Photo of rudzud
4.47/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Shared by jlindros so I wouldn't have to crack one of my bottles. Poured into a snifter.

A - Poured into a snifter a clear ruby with a nice head that faded to leave a nice, slightly thick blanket.

S - Wow, the aroma...magical. Butter, oak, bourbon, with light sweet malts.

T - Very nice bourbon notes here with more oak. The ABV isnt noticeable at all...very smooth and creamy tasting with great harmony between flavours.

M - Smooth and creamy, this stuff is deliciously drinkable.

O - Overall this beer was delicious. Sad I only have two bottles of this. Wish I had more.

Photo of ccrida
4.32/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle (big thx to milwaukeeclassic!) with a really cool graphic of a creepy looking rip van winkle type character with an axe over his shoulder. Poured into my Deschutes snifter, Backwoods Bastard is a dark garnet/brown, with a quickly fleeting tan head that leaves scattered lace.

Smell is big vanilla and stone fruits, with clean alcohol vapors and light phenols coming out as it warms.

Taste is also rather malty, strong cherry and raisin fruit notes (special b?), more vanilla then wood, which I definitely prefer, with very light, plasticy phenols. Pretty clean though overall, not as robust as I was expecting, but frankly, for the size, that makes it all the better. Jeeze, really like this, though much more of a barleywine by my mind, not as intense maltiness, and a bit too fruity for a scotch ale. But frankly, it doesn't say anything about style on the label, so I won't ding it. I'm impressed with how smooth this is at this strength, being that it's on the younger side.

Mouthfeel is pretty smooth, pretty light body for the size, with a dry finish.

Drinkability is really good, a tasty strong ale, basically an English style BW by my book, but enjoyable for sure. This bottle is on the newer side, but I'm sure it will age well. The funny thing is I just remembered that it was bourbon barrel aged. Didn't get much of that. Some vanilla from the oak though, which is really all I want from the barrel anyways.

Photo of xnicknj
4.42/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into large snifter glass

Pours a hazed deep auburn with burgundy and copper hues, almost deep brown in the middle. A lighter head disappears quickly, leaving behind some streaked film and spots of lacing.

Lovely evidence of the barrel aging right up front with warm oak, bourbon, vanilla, and a hint of smoke. Touches of leather and malted sweetness as well.

Potent bourbon right up front quickly mixes in with caramel malt sweetness. Notes of dark fruit including figs and raisins dance through with a bit of caramel. Earthy tones from the barrel aging create flavors of oak, vanilla, dark chocolate, and leather. Finishes with boozy warmth, bitterness, and some dark fruit sweetness.

Fuller body, some dry and stickiness in the feel. Definitely a super slow sipper, but delicious if you're into bourbon and whiskey flavors. You can feel this beer going all the way down, and despite it's super bold flavors, I found it very tasty.

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

I did a side by side of a bottle of Dirty B from March of 2007 and the 07 Backwoods B along with Chris towards the end of the first night of our epic tasting. Thanks for the bottle go out to czoch75

A: Like the Dirty B, this one's crimson with ruby highlights but doesn't have the head or the retention of the DB with only one ring to show for my efforts at pouring this.

S: On the nose, ton of bourbon up front with some pleasing oxidation. Again, there's a hint of wet cardboard but the malt backbone is rich and bready with rum-soaked plums

T: Opens up with a good bit of bourbon. Once this has had time to breathe, the booziness tames a bit and the bourbon is more balanced. Sweet dark fruit character with great plum and mild raisin character. Dark brown sugar. Drying on the finish with some tannic character. Warming this up does bring out more oak and vanilla, resulting in a wonderful palate.

M: Moderate carbonation, medium body and a great finish with some alcohol heat

D: Side by side with the DB, this is one treat!

**Edit 03 August 2012**
I'm drinking my last bottle of the 08 vintage. It still doesn't look like much. The nose is super mellow. The bourbon has fallen off, but there is a nice vanilla note. The base beer has mellowed out too, with a little bit of caramel, leather, a touch of smoke and some fruit present. Some solvent too. The palate is a little stale with a dull and mildly papery oxidation, a muddling oak astringency and very muted flavors. Some fruit - faint raisin and faint citrus - is present on the mid-palate. Drying, oak-laden on the finish with harsh tannins. I really can't taste much. There's some faint tartness, but that just makes the beer all the more confusing. What a waste, I should have drunk this 2 years back.
3.5/3/2.5/2.5/2.5

Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.85/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

12 oz bottle poured into a Founders tulip.
10.2% ABV, 50 IBUs, and Bottled on 10/24/13.

A - It's difficult to see any clarity through this dark beer but it's ruby-hued mahogany color looks beautiful when held up to light. Little head forms over the surface of the beer but the tan skim and ring of foam stick around and dot the glass in specks of lace.

S - Building in intensity as it warms, Backwoods Bastard transitions from bold vanilla and warm bourbon oak nuances to a depth of malt complexity characterized by molasses, dark chocolate covered raisins, and a colossal bready, caramel and toffee sweetness.

T - The aroma suggests Backwoods Bastard to be barrel-forward but it's flavor profile relies heavily on the rich maltiness within, which mimics the aroma quite wonderfully. Pepperidge Farm Milano cookies and gooey caramel covered raisins make for a desert-like flavor that's paired with toffee slivers and finished with oaky bourbon balls; divine.

M - Smooth, delectable, and warming, Backwoods Bastard is anything but rough around the edges as it crosses the palate with simplistic ease, only to finish with a touch of carbonation and alcohol warmth.

O - Backwoods Bastard may have a rough, grizzly exterior, but it's a gooey, soft-on-the-inside sipping dessert beer that's seeping with malty sweetness reminiscent of Milano cookies and home-made bourbon balls. It's moderate barrel-aging makes it great fresh but also allows it to age gracefully for a beer that develops for years to come.

Photo of Cyberkedi
4.7/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Woody, malty aroma has a strong overtone of bourbon - no surprise there! - and a hint of molasses. It pours a luscious clear dark caramel with a decent light tan head that leaves some good lacing. Rich, malty flavor has notes of molasses and horehound with a strong but not fierce bite from the bourbon and a woody, slightly fruity undertone. Smooth, fizzy texture has average body. Overall, delicious and recommended!

Photo of tectactoe
4.18/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Brewed in 2011. Pours a very deep copper-orange color, very cloudy, very hazy, and very heavy looking. Almost no noticeable carbonation and practically no head formation, even after a vigorous pour. The aroma is full of vanilla, bourbon, and burnt oak chips. The mouth contains a heavy dose of bourbon, vanilla, and caramel malt up front. The background contains a bit of sweetness, and I'm really tasting a faint cherry flavor, which goes well with the heavy vanilla. There's also a slightly buttery and bready aftertaste. No noticeable "hop" bitterness but the bourbon provides the sought after "bite" on the tongue. The body is thick and chewy and leaves the mouth quite sticky.

Overall, a very good bourbon forward beer that must be sipped slowly. The alcohol is heavy but soothing and warm, rather than harsh and abrasive. Founder's can do no wrong.

EDIT: had a bottle from 2010. Bourbon notes are more mellow, much heavier on the vanilla and oak accents. Much to my surprise, this one had more carbonation. Once again, awesome brew.

Photo of Durge
4.47/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a tall glass at room temperature this wee heavy shows a deep mahogany with rosy/root beer colored edges. It produces a solid, light tan head that settles into a nice blanket and leaves a respectable web of lacing. The aroma offers deep vanilla scotch and woodsy malt, subtle dark fruits and heavy grains. Completely enticing. The first taste brings intense scotch malt with super sweet pine and deep fig/prune. Vanilla certainly comes back as well with a sure alcohol presence but one that does not block the urge to go back to the well to keep the flavor coming. Bourbon and oak can definitely be identified, as advertized. It's just such a classic medley of all things a scotch ale should be, and then some. It's a pretty hefty brew with fairly full body, nearly cloying except that the flavor works right through it to make it drinkable enough for the style. It's finely, but thoroughly carbonated and makes for a smooth, somewhat silky feel that works well despite the seriousness of this brew. I'd say the 10% ABV-plus is evident but very well managed here. It's just a great, serious scotch ale. A wee heavy, yes, exquisitely so!

Photo of barnzy78
4.15/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz. 2008? 10.2% ABV with a different label than pictured. I bought this at a small town liquor store in March. I am unsure of the release date as the guy at the store said it was on their shelves for a couple of months. I grabbed a 4-pack and didn't question him any further.

Pours opaque brown with a minimal beige head that leaves no lacing on the glass. Aromas are of bourbon, alcohol, malts, toffee, and caramel. Mouth-feel is thick with an oily feel that coats the palate well. Strong bourbon, toffee, soft caramel chews, malts, mild fruitiness such as golden raisins are all present. Hints of oak and vanilla also present. Finish is very sweet, but the alcohol warmth tames it and keeps it in balance - also some spiciness adds to the finish. Lots of malt presence, which is accurate for the style.

This is an interesting take on a Wee Heavy/Scotch Ale and I do like it. I'm not sure if I would get it again, but I definitely recommend it if you can get your hands on it - well worth the try!

Photo of clayrock81
4/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an almost blackish body with a one-finger tan head that stickss around for awhile. A rich, thick malt smell of toasted, maple, caramel, molasses, that whiskey smell (oak cask, bourbon...) mixed w/ sour/tart fruits - reminds me of a barleywine the smell is that strong. A thick, full-bodied beer that is strong and a little syrupy/sticky. The malt taste is excellent with cocoa, caramel, toffee, coffee bean, oak, vanilla along w/ minor fruit flavors like cherry (tart fruit). Overall I'd say this is a smooth and creamy scotch ale, but it does have a little dryness in it thanks to that really high ABV, which is mostly hidden. This is a grat sipper to relax with, but I couldn't session this it's so thick and strong.

Photo of tbeckett
4.07/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

A - Pours near black, sort of a deep red colour. Not opaque. Two finger beige head on top fades to an island. Good carbonation coming up. Lot's of bits floating in the body. Little lace which is fine given the ABV, island of retention remains.

S - Sugar, mild wood, a little vanilla and bourbon but faint. Some dark fruit.

T - Very tasty. Sugary, dark fruit, barrel present but doesn't dominate. Sweet, but not cloying.

M - Sweet alcoholic finish. No burn. Good carbonation, medium body.

O/D - This is a pretty cool Scotch ale. The barrel aging definitely shows but doesn't overpower the base, which is quite pleasant. A good sipper.

Photo of Jwale73
4.12/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another big thanks to 2BDChicago for the chance to try this. 12oz. bottle served at 51 degrees in a tulip. Pours a slightly hazy, brownish-maroon hue with a creamy, quarter inch, tan-colored head that quickly disperses towards the shoulders forming a frothy band around the edges. Great nose on this beer - bourbon notes, brown sugar, raisins and prunes along a robust, malty backbone. Aromas are very much reminiscent of an old ale. Taste follows nose; however, the bold aromas are somewhat hollowed out in the flavor profile; nothing really pops. That said, I also get some buttery notes as well as a slight earthy hops presence at the finish. Mouthfeel is medium-light with a pleasant, even carbonation as well as a trace of acidity. There's also a little bit of residual alcohol heat that lingers at the back of the throat between quaffs. Overall, a very good beer. I'm not really getting the wee heavy on this, so I am rating more to preference than style. Another great beer from Founders; however, not a beer that I would cellar for an extended period of time as I feel like this brew could develop some oxidized flavors.

Photo of VelvetExtract
4.62/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A-Pours a deep brown with beautiful crimson highlights. Very small head. Leaves tan splotches of lacing. Liquid is translucent. The color of the beer is pretty.

S-The bourbon is quite evident and it frankly smells pretty delicious. Along with the bourbon is some sweet caramel and molasses. Dark fruits and even some nuttiness. Alcohol is evident but it also solidifies the bourbon aroma.

T-What a beautiful mixture of chocolate and bourbon. Oak and vanilla. Dark fruit, nuts. Caramel sweetness. The initial taste was purely delicious. The bourbon is set to a perfect intensity. The flavor really surprised me, it exceeded my expectations.

M-Creamy. Carbonation is mellow but enhances the feel. Medium to heavy body. Drying. Bourbon lasts on the palate. Feel is a great complement to the flavor.

O/D-This far exceeded my expectations. I usually don't love Scotch Ales, but this one is delicious. Looks like I need to buy a four pack instead of just a single. $4.15 for a bottle is pricey but its worth it. This is a gem. Founders is among the best.

Photo of thagr81us
4.13/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served from tap into a goblet at the Founders event at Duckworth's. Poured reddish-brown with a minimal off-white head. Maintained excellent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt and bourbon. The flavor was of sweet malt, alcohol, and syrup. It had a medium feel on the palate with light to mild carbonation. Overall this one was very nicely balanced with a nice flavor. The aroma on this one was quite nice as well. Probably one of my favorite Scotch Ales to date. It is also crazy drinkable to weigh in at 10.2%...

Photo of champ103
4.52/5  rDev +4.1%
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.

Photo of Brenden
4.32/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours thick, a dark bronzed brown that can't be seen through. I'm assuming the lightness of the head and lacing is due to the high ABV, but I get a somewhat dense one finger ot so and, when it dissipates, a decently thick foam that manages to leave some thin patching with lots of webbing.
There's plenty of enticing elements in a rich, complex aroma: some caramelized sugars, a boozy note (bourbon? I suppose it would make sense), something nutty, something woody, perhaps even earthy, a strong malt, a light spiciness, dark fruits, a sweetness alongside the initial (vanilla, perhaps), even something leafy. This MUST be inhaled quite a few time to get it all. It's pretty intense.
It's all in the flavor. I didn't know what to expect out of the whole "oak-aged, bourbon barrel" thing, or even if it would make a difference in there. But it's there. I have to wonder if the rich oak notes I'm detecting would be there otherwise, and I can certainly doubt that it would have the tasty scotch / bourbon flavor otherwise as well. There's a gentle alcohol burn in the finish; otherwise, a very high ABV was well masked. Just as a side note, I was told I needed to grab one of these without knowing anything about it first, so I did a "blind" test. I had no idea beforehand what it was.
Just looking through the reviews beforehand, I came upon one that claimed this was too thin. My only response was to laugh to myself. Either there's no chance a bottle that seemed thin could possibly have been good or someone drinks way too much motor oil. This stuff came out as thick as I've ever seen a liquid pour from a bottle. It was thick on my tongue and in my mouth, huge, rich and creamy. This is massively full-bodied. Not only that, but there was even just the right crispness to it in a low carbonation that allowed it all to work together.
The only reason I wouldn't drink a barrel of this in a sitting would be to remain conscious and for the slight alcohol burn.

Founders Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 7,028 ratings.