Founders Backwoods Bastard - Founders Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Founders Backwoods BastardFounders Backwoods Bastard

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BA SCORE
96
world-class

6,454 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 6,454
Reviews: 1,535
rAvg: 4.34
pDev: 10.37%
Wants: 767
Gots: 2,121 | FT: 192
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:
Scotch Ale aged in bourbon barrels.

(Beer added by: CortexBomb on 01-30-2007)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 6,454 | Reviews: 1,535 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of alamode
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

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

Pours a murky brown color with a finger of head. Not much lacing, but the head rises up again with a swirt.

The aroma is thick with caramel malts, oak, sweet raisin, vanilla, and toffee. Mesmerizing, really.

The flavor is very oak forward. Lots of raisin and malty sweetness. A bit of boozy heat in the finish. Vanilla flavor is also quite evident. The flavors here are amazing, but there is a bit of a plastic element that prevents me from giving higher than a 4 for the taste.

The body is on the full side of medium. Not quite as big as I would like a wee heavy to be, but quite nice still.

Overall this is simply a fantastic beer and one that I will seek out every year when it is released. I have had a sample before this bottle that I thought was mind blowing, so I'm not sure if the plastic is just due to having an off-bottle or what. Perhaps I just didn't detect it before. Either way, it still tastes great.

Photo of theminutemen
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

Photo of funkyaudio
4.75/5  rDev +9.4%

Photo of ninaturner
3.5/5  rDev -19.4%

Photo of polopaul20
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

Photo of riversider76
4.43/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark brown with a thin tan head. Not much retention, but a good lace. Aroma is of Carmel malts, brown sugar, whiskey, and dark fruits. Body is thick with some carbonation. Taste is whiskey up front, with dark fruits and malts through out. Nice rich finish. Excellent brew, that warms you up quick!

Photo of closisinthehouse
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

Photo of objectivemonkey
4.38/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A wee heavy soaked up in bourbon barrels. Excellent....

Into a nonic pint glass, pours a crimson russet brown, with a nice half inch light tan head, down to a thin film, ok lacing left on the glass. Putting your face up to it, you don't get half a yard away from this thing without realizing its a bourbon soaked beast, with a smattering of thickish malt and oaks, some vanilla and molasses.

And the bourbon takes the lead in taste too, though more bold characters come through. The malt is thick and chewy, actually pretty sweet, nice caramels, roasted malt, with some raisin, smoky peat, all slathered up with a good bourbon glaze over it all. Which, for me, in this, works quite well. The mouth is quite full, very warm, though the alcohol doesn't quite get too aggressive, but on the verge. Overall, its meant to be taken slow, but probably a nice cap to the wee heavy kick I'm just getting out of.

I'd received two or three of these from nflmvp, and I'm most thankful for these treats.

Photo of cindyjeffsmith
4.88/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearance: hazy mahogany. A thin off white head. Thick lacing for a 10+%.
Smell: sweet caramel. Smoky Bourbon. The nice out of the fridge and gets better and better as it warms.
Taste: As great as the nose. Full and malty with an a nice Scotch like edge to balance. Strangely mellow.
Overall: awesome. Founder's big beers are simply works of art. A creative, great brewery on top of their game.

Photo of jsurfs82
4.75/5  rDev +9.4%

Photo of BedetheVenerable
3.88/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: 12oz brown pop top, imaginative label, bottled 10-08-10. Poured into a New Belgium globe

Appearance: Pours a sienna hue, with tons of tiny sediment in suspension, topped with a nice sandy tan cap which shows pretty nice retention.

Smell: Here we get back on track. It's like liquid, slightly boozy, sticky toffee pudding, full of tons of dark, burnt caramel and toffee and dark, date-like fruitiness. As this approaches cellar and then room temperature, I'm also getting mild hints of bourbon-soaked cherries. At room temp, nice tobacco and vanilla extract notes emerge as well.

Taste: Definitely more booze in the flavor than in the aromas. This is fairly sweet (which I like), with a booziness that is half-way between warming/enjoyable and intrusive. The alcoholic esters come across in a dark fruity sort of way. It's sweet, with some toffee and dark caramel notes, but not much malt depth, which is really a bit disappointing.

Mouthfeel: Slick, pleasantly boozy, medium side of full-bodied.

Overall: This is a tasty beer, no doubt. With almost a year on it, it's a pleasantly (for the most part) boozy cold-weather-appropriate sipper that's stays relatively close to the British style of Wee Heavy. Yet, for about $12 a 4-pk, it doesn't have quite the depth or complexity I'd need for it to become a regular seasonal purchase.

Photo of MikeWard
3.5/5  rDev -19.4%

Photo of Reaper16
3.83/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz. bottle served into a Chimay goblet

Pours a thick looking reddish-brown that is reminiscent of caramelized sugar. This may not make sense to anyone but me but it looks like it will have toffee flavors (this color in the past for me has accompanied toffee flavors in beer). No head, not even what you could call a cap. There is an infitisimal amout of off-white foam that -- to my surprise -- doesn't lace all that poorly.

Backwoods Bastard is a cacophony of aromas. Tree bark, maraschino cherries, gooey caramel, cinnamon, pine nuts, vanilla bean... its all there simultaneously. Bringing up the back end are traces of alcohol fusels that ground some of the scents in a "bourbon" context (though I must confess that I don't really smell bourbon). Its malty and phenolic and kind of Belgian and pretty nice.

The first things that my tongue picked up on were the familiar iced tea flavors from the Founders Dirty Bastard that serves as the base beer for Backwoods Bastard. Then I get smacked with some relatively strong alcohol flavors. Slight brown spirits flavor, sure, but it mostly subsides and becomes other kinds of tastes. Cherry and pear come to mind, but not the flesh of the fruit, not really. More of a pear skin kind of taste. There is a large woodsy, smoky quality to this beer. The bourbon barrels impart more barrel taste than bourbon taste, for sure.

I like the mouthfeel. Its medium-bodied at first but swish it in your mouth and it thickens up proper. Drinkability can't be scored higher than 'average.' Its 10.2% ABV and tastes like it. The flavors, especially the smoky bark flavors, are too much to warrant opening a second bottle after you finish the first.

Its always cool when breweries barrel-age a style of beer that isn't typically barrel-aged. I can't think of any other notable Scotch Ales that are aged in bourbon barrels, which makes this a nifty beer to try if only for the story of it. Make no mistake -- it's not a gimmick. The barrel flavors -- while perhaps not executed to the degree that they should be -- do improve upon the base beer. This is a fine sipper.

Photo of sleazo
3.9/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A_Pours a reddish dark brown with a small but long lasting cream head. It settles into a nice slick and leaves impressive lacing.

S_Sweet caramel malt mixes well with a strong bourbon woodsy aroma.

T_Sticky sweet with caramel at the start, with a potent kick of bourbon hitting the palette right afterwards. There is a nice hop kick at the end but this definitely leans towards the sweet side. There is a decent twang that can be expected from a wee heavy. Alcohol starts to show up a bit more and burn as it warms.

M_Not too sticky but leaning that way.

D_I am not the biggest fan of bourbon barrel beers but this one is pretty damned good. Avery interesting wee heavy

Photo of deadonhisfeet
4.38/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This was bottled on 10/13/11 and reviewed on 12/12/11. Served in a snifter.

Appearance was very, very dark. When held up to the light, the color is identifiable as dark, dark mahogany with significant haze (unfiltered). As with many high abv, barrel-aged beers, carbonation is low and the thin tan head quickly dissipates. The beer has a pronounced bourbon nose. Vanilla, oak, and butterscotch tones predominate. There's a lot going on here in the nose and it takes some patient swirling to dig it out. Your patience is definitely rewarded.

Flavor is wonderful. First, you get sweet malty caramel, toffee, and creme brulee flavors. Then you get vanilla and bourbon with a touch of coffee and a gentle hop kiss. The barrel-aging goes wonderfully with this style. Drinking it reminds me of the taste of Asbach Uralt (those wonderful brandy-filled German dark chocolates). The mouthfeel is a bit on the thin side, but somehow this only seems to add to the (illusion of) drinkability.

This is an amazing beer. It is like a luxury model of one of my all time favorite beers - BBC's Bourbon Barrel Big Brown. I do love barrel-aged stouts, but I wish more brewers would make barrel-aged versions of easy-drinking sweet, malty beers like brown ales and Scottish/Scotch ales. The oaky tones of the bourbon just go perfectly with these beers.

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

Served into a snifter.

A - Pours a deep brown with a hint of amber. Two-finger light-khaki head. Retention is superb and leaves some lacing behind.

S - Big caramelized sugar, lots and lots of bourbon booze, vanilla and a touch of oak.

T - Sugars hit the tongue, followed by bourbon and wood. Sugars seem to be from some dark fruit, although nothing near the potency of a Belgian. As the beer warms, the booze takes the backseat, simply adding a subtle touch of heat throughout.

M - Warm throughout. Medium-plus body with fair carbonation.

O - This is a good beer that not many others mimic. The craftsmanship is noted and I look forward to grabbing a 4-pack each year.

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

Presentation: Thanks go out to fellow Beer Geek DoctorDog for providing this one; quite some time ago. Label depicts a bearded old man carrying a double headed axe over his shoulder. no clear freshness date, but at 10.2%, I don't think it will be an issue. Poured into a small tulip.

Appearance: Pours with 3/4 finger of medium tan head. This settles to a thin ring around the glass and a few islands of foam here and there. The beer itself is a deep, rich mahogany, dark enough that you can't see through it.

Smell: Sweet, caramel malt upfront with an underlying graininess. Hazelnut and a slight sourness in the finish.

Taste: Slightly sweet caramel malt upfront with a subtle undertone of milk chocolate. Strong overtones of your typical oak flavors; specifically vanilla and cherries. Mild yet lingering bourbon flavor in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Slightly higher than average carbonation; enough to tickle the throat. Body is decent.

Drinkability: Another bourbon beer from the recent barrel aged craze. Good, and complex in flavor. But not a favorite.

Photo of stealth
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%

Photo of e30todamax
4.75/5  rDev +9.4%

Photo of Walkerjgt
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%

Photo of Blanco
3.93/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

reviewed from notes.

very dark amber color with white head. smell is off sweet cherries and strong bourbon. taste is similar although bourbon is more forward and dark fruit taste is more nondescript than the specific cherry flavor in the smell. also strong malt flavor. medium bodied. I enjoyed this one more than it's brother beer, Dirty Bastard. The bourbon adds a nice complexity I enjoy far more than the straight malt in Dirty Bastard.

Photo of VncentLIFE
4.63/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 batch, review done for cellaring purposes, but still needs to be reviewed. Ill add updates as it ages.

Pours a very deep mahogany blackish-brown with red hues. Carbonation is kind of low, and there is no head whatsoever.

Smells sweet and like alot of dark fruits (raisins and plums). Hints of caramelized sugars. Almost scary sweet, but my hopes will stay up.

I want to say it tastes sweet (and it really does), but it is backed up by the booze. It feels like a spiked raisin wintery christmas ale. I get a kind of nutty feeling that compliments the dark fruits really well. Maybe its more of a spiced cake. As i meandered through this beer, it transforms with more and more spices. The booze is warming, and makes it a nice sipper. I get more of the bourbon as it warmed for about 30 minutes. It became very smooth with notes of vanilla and bourbon.

It has a syrupy sweet feel, probably from all the non-fermentable sugars. Full bodied.

Ive had Wee-Heavies that are more on the smokey end, but this one leans more toward a doppelbock. I rather like it. What a great idea to open this while I was marinated pork chops in GLBC Christmas Ale. Lets see how this puppy ages!

Update at 2 months

Pour is the same, but the smell has lost some dark fruits and gained a barleywine smell. carbonation leaves what looks like a film at the top. It has actually gained more vanilla and beautiful oak barrel notes. I actually like it more now than before.

Photo of wiltznucs
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%

Photo of KCBeerNerd
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

Founders Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 6,454 ratings.