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Founders Backwoods Bastard - Founders Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Founders Backwoods BastardFounders Backwoods Bastard

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,658 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 1,658
Hads: 7,362
Avg: 4.25
pDev: 22.59%
Wants: 954
Gots: 2,786 | FT: 262
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: 1,658 | Hads: 7,362
Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.25/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

I'll just say this is one of my favorite scotch/wee heavy's out there. No doubt the bourbon barrels did wonders with a style I'm kinda meh towards. Pours out a substantial dark brown pour, earthy, beige head, somewhat thin on the top, but probably better than average for anything that aged in a bourbon barrel.

Smell is nice and luxurious. Bourbon, plenty of oak, vanilla and caramel throughout the aroma. Pleasant and not heavy or boozy.

Taste, smooth, again, more of that caramel, vanilla, bourbon and oak mixture, the base beer is just right to soak it all up and not compete, but peacefully coexist with all the aforementioned flavors. The right amount of malt sweetness to it. This really takes a less than interesting dirty bastard and makes it an excellent beer. I think this beer might be disappointing to a big fan of scotch ales, but a big turn on to someone who isn't really into that style, but likes bourbon barrels for flavoring.

Drank during the Christmas 2012 poker game.

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Photo of bluejacket74
3.99/5  rDev -6.1%
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.

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Photo of spinrsx
3.98/5  rDev -6.4%
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.

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Photo of scruffwhor
4.03/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a great, deep ruby that stubbornly lets a little light pass through it. Makes me think of a mans cognac or brandy. No head or lace to speak of. Very meaty aroma of sugared fruits, like pruins, figs, and apricots with a definite touch of oak and alcohol. The taste starts with vanilla and malty figs. A good oaky finish but with a bit too much alcohol that lingers a little toolong. Still a good sipping beer. The palat is thick and fruity with an undeniable oak and creamy standard vanilla tone. Good for a long sipping night cap. No more than one a day. I'm glad I got to try this beer. Considering I really like the old dirty bastard.

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Photo of dgilks
4.17/5  rDev -1.9%
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.

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Photo of sweemzander
4.57/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle poured into a snifter. Bottled on 11/05/09. Only 2 days old, now thats fresh!

(A)- Pours a super dark mahogany that is borderline black. Produced a good off-white head that dissipated to bubbles after leaving behind some tiny bits of webbing behind.

(S)- Some light berry fruits with a toffee, fig, and a woodiness mixed together to create an interesting aroma. Definitely some smokiness present from those oak barrels.

(T)- Wow, great dark berry fruits, fig, raisin, cocoa & vanilla. Some cola-ish nuances that remind me of Dr. Pepper. A silky woodiness that has a slight smoky/mineral characteristic. Fantastic Complexity and character to it.

(M)- Great carbonation level with a great body to it. There is a slight warming sensation as it goes down, but otherwise the 10.2% abv is integrated very well. Sweet, but in a balanced way. The fruits & wood counterbalance the sweetness well.

(D)- A very good beer. I was expecting something extremely potent (it is!) but in a much more delicate/complex sense. The oak bourbon barrels really makes this brew shine. If it tastes this good fresh, this should be really interesting with a year of age on it. Well done, once again Founders!

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Photo of DrDemento456
4.2/5  rDev -1.2%
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

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

I found a 4-pack of this at Stimmel's in Bowling Green Ohio. Tonight my wife and I are drinking it, poured into Sam Adams glasses. The beer's appearance is 50% perfect: hazy dark brown color with loads of fine floaties but absolutely no head. I can feel the carbonation when I drink it but really no foam on top.

The aroma is strong, bourbon and malt, maybe you could guess it was even a rum and coke. The flavor is way complex, rum, coke, bourbon, sweet and roasted malts, unreal. Alcohol is really evident as well, which limits the drinkability for me.

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Photo of clayrock81
4/5  rDev -5.9%
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.

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

On-tap at the Brick Store.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo of avalon07
4.42/5  rDev +4%
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.

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Photo of jrallen34
4.22/5  rDev -0.7%
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.

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Photo of barczar
4.09/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours an clear deep amber with a small beige head that dissipates immediately, leaving a foamy ring around the sides of the tulip.

Booze and chocolate malt dominate the aroma with a slight peaty element creeping in as it warms. Raisins and figs appear in the background.

A cola-like sweetness opens the flavor profile, with bourbon, oak and vanilla taking center stage, together with malted milk balls. Booze becomes apparent as the flavor lingers. The finish is slightly bitter. Chocolate becomes more apparent as it warms.

Medium heavy body with almost no carbonation. Alcohol provides a warming feeling.

Overall a very good nightcap. Could benefit from a little age to tame the alcohol.

Years later, tried again fresh in 14, and the fruity notes are excellent in aroma. Flavor still boozy and vanilla dominant. Upped my rating a bit.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.56/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Old Toad in Rochester, NY, for their Bourbon and Blues night.

Pours a dark brown, clear-ish color. Somewhat hazy. Half inch head, a small amount of visible carbonation. Not much lacing.

Smells like bourbon, some cocoa, and vanilla.

Tastes incredible. So smooth and sultry- Lots of bourbon flavor, without any alcohol burn. Very subtle, smooth, and sweet. Additional flavors of molasses, caramel coconut, vanilla, and cocoa.

Medium-full mouthfeel, low but present carbonation.

A truly exceptional scotch ale/wee heavy. Founder brought the big guns here.

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Photo of VelvetExtract
4.62/5  rDev +8.7%
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.

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Photo of THECPJ
4.42/5  rDev +4%
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.

the CPJ

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Photo of DefenCorps
4.17/5  rDev -1.9%
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.

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Photo of dirtylou
4.3/5  rDev +1.2%
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

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Photo of tbeckett
4.07/5  rDev -4.2%
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.

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Photo of barnzy78
4.15/5  rDev -2.4%
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!

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Photo of ccrida
4.32/5  rDev +1.6%
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.

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.85/5  rDev +14.1%
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.

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Photo of Jwale73
4.12/5  rDev -3.1%
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.

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Photo of xnicknj
4.42/5  rDev +4%
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.

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Photo of rfgetz
4.37/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Murky, dark mahogony w/ almost no head but thin lacing

S - Burbon, earth and oak leading to hints of vanilla sugar

T - Vanilla oak with a nice burbon taste. a complex boozy balance of flavors

M - Thick and full bodied, mild carbonation but perfect warmth and smooth as can be.

D - Have one of theese and you will be good for a while. No need to rush to finnish this one.

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Founders Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
95 out of 100 based on 1,658 ratings.