Founders Backwoods Bastard - Founders Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Founders Backwoods BastardFounders Backwoods Bastard

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
94
outstanding

1,585 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 1,585
Hads: 7,052
rAvg: 4.22
pDev: 10.43%
Wants: 899
Gots: 2,512 | FT: 244
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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 1,585 | Hads: 7,052
Photo of feloniousmonk
4.22/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Hazed, deep dark crimson to brown, slimmed, dunnish head.

Sweet, bourbony aromatics right off the bat. Cherry wood and leather. Spices and smoke. Rich and luxuriant.

Taste: Very complex, too much going on to take it apart at first sip. You get the wood, the whiskey, and below the sweet Scotch ale at the base. Mmm, oaky...mmm, rich and bourbony. Starts sweet, gets dry and well-rounded, nicely balanced, and oozing over with wonderful flavor. You don't feel the 10% right away, but it gets in there, oh, yes...very nice. Not too much bourbon, which can be a detriment at times. If it weren't so strong or so expensive, I'd be at this quite a bit. (651 characters)

Photo of mdfb79
4.3/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I very rarely review a beer twice (first time in bottle and now on draft), but I have had this on draft 2 times in the last 2 weeks (10/4 and 10/11) and it has been signicantly better than the bottle or two I have had, so I figured I would re-revoew this on tap. From notes.

a - Pours a nice dark mohogany brown color with moderate carbonation evident and and two inches of off white head evident. Light lacing left on the glass.

s - Smells of caramel malts, bourbon, chocolate, sugar, maple, dark fruits, and light alcohol. Bourbon is up front but not overpowering; very enjoyable.

t - Tastes of caramel malts, bourbon, chocolate, bready malts, dark fruits, and booze. Again, bourbon is there and very nice, just the right amount.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation. Pretty easy to drink for over 10% and not too hot considering the bourbon.

d - Overall I thought this was a great scotch ale, and much better on tap than in bottles. Bourbon is there mixxing with sweet caramel malts and dark fruits, and it isn't nearly as alcohol-dominated as I remember it. Would love to have it again. (1,099 characters)

Photo of drabmuh
4.55/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Beer is poured from a dateless bottle (start dating your shit Founders) into a Bruery tulip. Beer is brown and mostly clear. Forms a good one finger head of offwhite bubbles, tiny bubbles, that leaves a ton of lacing on the glass. Carbonation is low but steady. Looks really good.

Aroma is strong caramel and bourbon, nicely boozy.

Beer is medium body, minimal carbonation on the palate. Pretty sweet, mildly dry, creamy mouthfeel, easy drinking. This is a very very good beer. Probably my favorite Scotch to date. Amazingly smooth and completely enjoyable start to finish. Thanks Dustin. (591 characters)

Photo of superspak
4.64/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle into snifter, bottled 10/07/11. Pours cloudy dark red color with a small dense khaki head with good retention that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Some spotty lacing clings to the glass. Aromas of huge caramel, toffee, vanilla, coconut, toasted malt, oak, bourbon, and molasses. Simply incredible aromas here with fantastic balance. Taste of huge caramel, coconut, vanilla, toasted malt, bourbon, toffee, molasses, and a bit of spiciness. Fairly clean finish; but some lingering notes of caramel, vanilla, coconut, bourbon, and molasses on the finish for a bit. Medium carbonation and quite full bodied; with a very creamy, silky, and incredibly smooth drinking mouthfeel. Alcohol is almost completely hidden; but there is a small bit of booziness and a slight warming after the finish. Incredible balance of flavors in the taste and aromas. Overall this is definitely a world class brew. Incredible flavor balance, with some unique flavor combination thanks to the barrel aging. I am glad I have more of this; I wonder how it is in a year. (1,060 characters)

Photo of jwc215
4.19/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to BrewerB for this one!

Poured into snifter:

Pours hazed brown with a thin tan head that immediately becomes wispy. Some slowly vanishing lace sticks.

The smell is of raisins, toffee, bourbon (don't know which - but it's a nice one!), and vanilla/oak.

The taste is of raisins, toffee - towards chocolate with some peat. A nice bourbon character comes through strongly, but not overwhelmingly. As it progresses, some cherry and more vanilla come through. Sweet turning to a dry whiskey-like finish. Seems as though the bourbon were added directly to the beer.

The body is medium, but on the fuller side. I would have expected a but more fullness, but this works well enough to (barely) get the given score. Pretty smooth, though with a kick.

This is a nice sipper, to say the least. A tasty maltiness combined with bourbon. I'm a happy man to have tried this one! (876 characters)

Photo of dbrauneis
4.12/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a crystal clear dark amber in color with some mahogany highlights and very light amounts of visible carbonation. The beer has a finger tall beige head with some orangish highlights in it that quickly fades to a very thin ring at the edges of the glass. Light amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate to strong aromas of bourbon (from the barrel aging) with some more moderate notes of vanilla, peat smoked malts, and brown sugar/molasses.

T: Similar to the smell, the taste of this beer has a lot of bourbon from the barrel aging. There is some smoked peat malts upfront with brown sugar and molasses sweetness - just a touch of dark fruits hiding in there as well. Lighter notes of vanilla with just a touch of alcohol in the finish. Overall, the flavor is lightly sweet.

M: A little bit heavier than medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Very light notes of alcohol heat in the finish.

O: Overall a very enjoyable beer and one of the best in the style that I have come across - though I might be a little biased as I really like bourbon barrel aged beers. Definitely one I will be getting again (and this is not even one of my favorite styles). (1,176 characters)

Photo of WesWes
4.3/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a ruby red color with a thin tan head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a warm burnt toffee scent along with a nice oak bourbon aroma. The taste is awesome. It has a wonderful mix of warm burnt toffee with fresh oak and bourbon. The oak contributes an excellent vanilla character. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a damn good beer. I'm generally a huge fan of Scotch ales anyway, but this one is exceptional. The barrel aging adds an additional layer of complexity. The 10.2% abv. is well hidden. (582 characters)

Photo of mdaschaf
4.37/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass

A: Pours a dark brown color with a very small head that dissipates very quickly. Decent lacing down the sides.

S: Lots vanilla and some of the bourbon, which gives a slight alcohol aroma. Also get some oak and a little caramel.

T: The alcohol is very hidden on the taste. Bourbon and caramel upfront. The middle has some darker fruit and a really nice vanilla flavor. Has a warm finish.

M/D: Medium to full bodied. Overall I really like this beer. While very easy to drink considering its abv, I prefer to sip and savor it. Very complex, with a lot of flavor. (591 characters)

Photo of mothman
4.17/5  rDev -1.2%
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. (758 characters)

Photo of Mora2000
4.32/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Exiled for sharing this bottle.

The beer pours a dark brownish-red with a small white head. The aroma is awesome, lots of cherry, vanilla and bourbon. The flavor is just as great, with the same cherry, vanilla and bourbon notes, with the vanilla being the most dominant flavor. There is very little detectable alcohol. The mouthfeel is medium and the carbonation is low. (382 characters)

Photo of stakem
3.88/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is a 2010 bottle poured into a snifter. The brew appears a hazed brown color with some hints of crimson through the body. A yellowish tan froth sits atop the brew and quickly fades to a thin layering atop. Spotty lace work clings all over the glass and a light swirl easily revives just under a finger of froth.

The aroma of this brew includes an immediate punch of bourbon reinforced alcohol along with a bunch of subtle barrel aromas. The oak displays a bit of woody quality that melds into burnt sugars and vanilla. This is quite a sweet and enjoyable smelling brew.

The taste has expected bourbon accented alcohol flavor that is mildly tangy. It also includes a warmth that isn't noticed right away but it creeps into play. Mild fruit almost like raisins mixes with toffee, caramel, and prunes. Just like the aroma indicated, there is a solid amount of barrel character present. The oak comes off with a drying tannic quality that is midly medicinal. The oak is almost raw in nature but blends into some mild spice and vanilla. Across the back is a bit of herbal tinge which starts the constant interplay between sweet verse hoppy verse warming with alcohol.

This is a medium bodied brew with a moderate amount of carbonation. It is a little light in the body for the style but still very enjoyable. I enjoy a little bit of smoked aspect in this type of offering and I didnt really pick up on any of that. Instead, I was left with an enjoyable barrel aged beer that could easily be mistaken for a barleywine/strong ale. Overall a pretty solid offering, I wouldn't mind trying one of these fresh to see if there is any big difference. (1,645 characters)

Photo of ShanePB
4.49/5  rDev +6.4%
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. (1,522 characters)

Photo of Huhzubendah
3.95/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Adam for sharing this brew.

A: The beer has a brown transparent appearance, with tinges of crimson. There is a small head and a touch of lacing.

S: Scents include sweet malts, toffee, oak, and bourbon.

T: The beer packs some flavor. The initial taste brings oak and bourbon flavors, followed by a malty sweetness and peat from the scotch ale lurking beneath the wood and booze.

M: The feel is moderately thin, with a slight alcohol burn in the finish.

D: Drinkability is somewhat limited, as the strength and sweetness make this a slow sipper. (561 characters)

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.42/5  rDev -19%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A slightly vigorous pour produces only enough head to cover the beer for a half second, what is there is a amber tinged tan color. The beer is a dark plum / dark amber color that shows a lightly hazy, cranberry red hue when held up to the light. At the first, the aroma is a nice mix between rich malt notes and oak aromatics. Deeper inspection yields much the same with competing aromas of ripe, bright, concentrated berry notes, some spicy bourbon, soft butterscotch, a touch of molasses, deeply caramelized malt, lightly toasted grain and browned biscuits.

Somewhat sweet, though this beer drinks much richer than the sweetness would suggest. The body of this beer is downright chewy, viscous and mouth-coating. Flavors of berries, hugely caramelized grain and a rich malt character slowly yield to spicy, oak and Bourbon influenced flavors that linger on in the finish. The buttery notes from the oak and Bourbon character really shows through in the finish and it adds a nice compliment to the up front malt focus of this beer. Peppery oak and a bit of hot boozy Bourbon notes provides a sharpness, almost harshness as the beer warms up a bit.

I really like that the malt character plays a slightly bigger role in the flavor profile than the bourbon barrel does; this keeps the integrity of the rich, Scotch ale style, but with an offsetting bourbon component that helps to offset / balance the thick malt character of this brew. Having said that, bourbon barrel aged beers seem to be a bit hard for me to get behind; there is something about the Bourbon notes that add a harshness the beers aged in the barrels that just doesn't quite work for me. As the beer warms up from its initial 50°F / 10°C it picks up more of the sharp, hot, Bourbon flavors which pull this away from being balanced. This is not a bad brew, but the Bourbon character is a bit much, especially as the beer warms up a bit. (1,905 characters)

Photo of BARFLYB
4.24/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a big snifter, late 2008 edition, 50 IBU's 10.2%

A- Founders Backwoods Bastard pours a copper to dark brown color which brings up a one finger tan head. A lot of sediment is there but i poured to quick, my bad. As it dissipates there are a few squiggly lines of head in the middle, while a lot of bubbles creep to the edges of the glass with some build up. Quite nice.

S- BB holds a very rich aroma of good bourbon up front with oak from the barrel, pretty much all I smelled for a while. Sweet and toasty malts follow with some caramel in the mix. I get some fruit (berries) and some wood is also there.

T- My first sip was a rush of bourbon and oak attacking the senses while some malts and vanilla smoothed things out. The cherry presence was also quite a nice touch. The sweetness of the caramel flavor with some spices while woody notes are there. The bourbon never leaves the forefront though.

M- Full bodied with some carbonation. The taste goes on forever while this elixir coats the mouth perfectly leaving bourbon and much sweetness along with some alcohol. A very strong feel, this bastard makes itself known.

D- Regular bastard is great and so is this. I could easily have more than a bottle of this high A.B.V brew in a sitting, no problem. This is probably not for everyone though. I want to do a side by side.

This is my first time trying this and i very much enjoyed it, BB is worth the dollars. The barrel aging in this one is spot on. I was expecting mostly bourbon but recieved much more. I drank this to quickly. Worth seeking out, will get again!! (1,591 characters)

Photo of tdm168
4/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to jtd1969 for sharing a bottle with me.

A - dark amber with a soft, off white head leaving a thin lacing

S - big bourbon aromas, some fruit, caramel

T - caramel, huge bourbon flavors, alcohol, dark fruit

M - warm, medium to full bodied, well carbonated

This is a decent beer. It's a bit simple, but it's good. The bourbon is a bit heavy and the underlying scotch ale at times seems to struggle with it. On the whole, this is a very nice beer that is worth trying. (476 characters)

Photo of Gavage
4.17/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: pours a reddish copper color with a 1/2" head that breaks apart immediately.

Smell: malt sweetness, vanilla, and bourbon are very pleasant on the nose.

Taste: big malt profile with vanilla, bourbon, prunes, black plums, hints of molassess, and a noticeable warming alcohol. Bitterness provides a nice counter balance to the sweetness and high alcohol.

Mouthfeel: lightly dry throughout. Long and mellow aftertaste as the flavors seem to linger for quite a while. Medium bodied beer.

Drinkability: despite the high alcohol, this one goes down pretty smoothly. Very tasty brew. (593 characters)

Photo of Billolick
4.25/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap @ the Armsby Abbey in Worcester, MA. In a snifter, this one sits in all its dark dark amber splendor. Dark tan head, fine wispy lacing. Nose of smoke, berries, vanilla. Very tasty, sipper. More smoke, some cola, dark grains, raisins. Perhaps a bit thin mouthfeel wise to match the ABV and the complexity lurking around here. More tasty, high quality and interesting beer from Founders. (392 characters)

Photo of billab914
4.02/5  rDev -4.7%
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. (680 characters)

Photo of yourefragile
4.64/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

12 oz bottle with a new, infinitely more menacing and creepy looking "bastard" (seriously, it's like Gandalf meets Deliverance) on the label. Neck ring says 50 IBU and 10.2 ABV. Poured into a tulip.

A: Dense, still deep brown slightly reddish color. Thin tannish head that quickly dissipates to a broken ring of tiny bubbles. Some streaks and splotches of lacing and tiny bubbles stick to the glass. It just looks thick.
S: Pretty amazing, even for a bourbon aged beer. Rich and complex as expected, but not overwhelming or too boozy like some others. Pleasing balance of bourbon, vanilla, sweet malt, sugars, light scotch, etc.
T: Entirely different flavors than Dirty Bastard. The scotch flavors are pushed pretty far into the background while bourbon and vanilla dominate from the beginning. Sugars, caramel, toffee, more bourbon, etc. Very sweet, not for everyone, but if you like booze, this is very nice, with minimal alcohol burn.
M: Very thick and smooth, minimal carbonation. Silky on the tongue and finish is sweet and slightly dry.
D: Very drinkable for the style, not something I'd necessarily want to drink more than one of or frequently, but great balance of big flavors makes this a great offering. (1,216 characters)

Photo of rab53
4.19/5  rDev -0.7%
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. (253 characters)

Photo of smakawhat
4.6/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from the bottle in to a thistle/tulip bulb glass

In appearance, this bastard resembles a great head of a nutty light brown with tight bubbles. Head foams almost like a guiness quality creeping up slowly but staying compact. Your typical dark midnight brown color if I could call it that.

The bouquet is fantastic. Giant cream smell, HAZELNUT, chocolate, pralines, light brown sugar, milkshake consistency sweetness on the nose, malt is not noticeable, no smoke, it smells like warm creamy hazelnut hot chocolate.

Taste is fabulous, mild carbonation giving way to some malt and this giant cream finish of nutty hazelnut chocolate and pralines coming through a buttery finish with maple syrup. Medium bodied, not syrupy not wet either. Just a flat out joy.

I am a big bourbon fan, and its sometimes hard to find THIS much flavor, bouquets, and tastes just coming from ONE bourbon. Ironically, the beer does not remind me of whiskey, but that's fine with me because it is flat out exceptional. You don't even notice the high ABV content. What the heck is up in the water in GRAND RAPIDS!!!!

Drinkability is stratospheric! (1,130 characters)

Photo of tempest
4.15/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Bowman (not a BA) for sharing a bottle. This is a darned tasty and drinkable beer. I'm taking it as a sipper, but I could certainly down it faster were I in a hurry. The aroma has smooth oak and mild vanilla bourbon while mellow chocolate notes and burnt caramel come out in the back of the flavor. It drinks like a balanced bourbon-beer candy drink. It's not the most complex BB beer, but it's a fine example of what a barrel can do. (444 characters)

Photo of Stinkypuss
3.98/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Backwoods Bastard pours a ruby mahogony with a dense off white head and some lace. Poured into a snifter to maximize aroma.

Nose is of sweet bready malts and a whiff of bourbon like booziness.

Flavor features some complex maltyness. There is a bourbonesque booze and a woody, earthy note from the barrel aging. Chocolate covered cherries. Vanilla. Oak.Faint resinous hops. Then some clean solvent alcohol in the warming finish.

Luxurious and smooth.

A strong, full flavored beer. Complex and a sipper for sure, though I could drink so much more in an ideal setting. (569 characters)

Photo of Alieniloquium
4.06/5  rDev -3.8%
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. (1,116 characters)

Founders Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
94 out of 100 based on 1,585 ratings.