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

6,763 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 6,763
Reviews: 1,608
rAvg: 4.34
pDev: 10.37%
Wants: 824
Gots: 2,359 | FT: 227
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: 6,763 | Reviews: 1,608 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of nickfl
4/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - One finger of light brown head on top of a slightly hazy, amber-brown body. The foam settle quickly to a thin layer and leaves moderate lace.

S - Sweet caramel malt that blends with, and becomes indistinguishable from, bourbon barrel aromas of oak, coconut, cherries, and booze. Lots of burnt sugar notes with a little bit of pine sap character.

T - Strong, thick malt up front with toffee, caramel, and brown sugar notes. The bourbon character comes in fast and hard with a lot of spicy alcohol notes and more complex, dark sugars. The finish is spicy and alcoholic with a strong, phenolic smoke note that brings out a lot of the woody, boozy, harshness of the bourbon. Lingering notes of smoke, char, brown sugar, and pine sap stick to the back of the tongue.

M - Moderately thick body, low carbonation, and an only slightly sweet finish with some alcoholic warmth working its way down my throat to settle in the pit of my stomach.

D - I expected something big, round, sweet, and bourbon like, but what I got is something far leaner and meaner than one would expect from a scotch ale. There is a lot of phenolic smoke character in this beer, either from abused yeast or from peat, and it does some strange things when it meets the bourbon. The phenolics seem to bring out a lot of the boozy and astringent qualities of the whiskey that are usually not present in barrel aged beers; combine this with the relative dryness of this brew, and the fact that it is not at all shy about its 10% abv, and you have a weirdly convincing bourbon beer. I'm still not quite sure what I think about this one. It has managed to capture a lot of the harsher qualities of distilled spirits that I prefer not to see in a beer; on the other hand, I have to respect the fact that they have brewed what I can only regard as the liquid equivalent of the grizzled, scotch-irish mountain man that graces the label of the bottle. This is quite a unique beer, and while I won't be rushing out to buy another one, I am certainly grateful for the opportunity to try it.

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

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep reddish brown color, with a thin off-white head, that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains bourbon, vanilla, brown sugar, some fruit, caramelized malts and a touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out with sweet flavors of vanilla, bourbon, caramel and some fruit followed by a very hearty malt character. There’s a significant alcohol sting that comes in next. The hops presence is mild but complementary and brings some balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Smooth and crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, slightly filling, strong kick, good representation of style, this is a solid beer to drink for a while if you’re in the mood for the style but there are others I would drink first including Founders Dirty Bastard.

Photo of Jason
4/5  rDev -7.8%

Photo of Kegatron
4.37/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a snifter.

Pours a deep, murky brown with light plum colored notes around the edges. Very minimal white head that quickly dissipated into a smallish circle around the outer rim with a few wispy traces in middle. Lacing was surprising good considering the small amount of head. Aroma is strong bourbon up front and coats the underlying currents of sweetness, spice, dark fruits, vanilla, and oak.

Taste is very complex. All kinds of stuff going on here. First up is a spicy sweetness melding into hints of vanilla oak and dark fruits. The bourbon flavor is very subtle and nicely compliments the other flavors. Finishes with a bitter hop, smoke, and alcohol combo that completely coats the back of the throat. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a smooth viscous nature. Very nice.

Wow, Founders comes through with another oak-aged wonder. Definitely one to sip and savor to fully enjoy it's complex and warming characteristics. I just wish that I had more than just the one bottle.

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

Backwoods Bastard I've been wanting to try this for quite sometime now, I liked last year's label with the Banjo player adorning the label. Pours a murky mahogany brown amber hue with a large off white tan khaki head forming fine even lacing down the sides of my glass. Aromatics come straight from the barrel, soakin with vanilla/oak and mild charred bitter notes. Peated malt smokiness entertaining me upon a big malty alcoholic Scotch Ale like Dirty Bastard. Whiskey stands out in the nose and in flavor with vanilla/caramel soaked malts bringing in sweetness this beer is pretty amazing. I'm not crazy on either scotch whiskey/bourbon/scotch ale but the flavors combined do much better than each individual for me. Alcohol is so warming it pretty much overbears the carmel/vanilla/charred oak combo in my book this beer is so big I haven't tasted anything like it to date as far as craft beer goes. Carbonation surprisingly smooth and well represented, while the body is thick with residual sugars that didn't make it past residual sugars. Drinkability overall is an intense scenario that I'm sure will be passed on from generation to generation within the beer community.

Photo of RblWthACoz
4.08/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark ruby hued brown with a thin tan head. Nose is malty with an almost cardboard tree kind of thing going on. The first thing I thought when I took a sip was: boozy! Thankfully that seems to fade away as time goes on. What I get after that is a thick malty backbone with a sweet earthy edge. Peaty edge on the backside. Full flavor profile, not a mass of complexity. Feel is smooth on liquid and carbonation is lower. After the booze calms down here this gets better.

Thanks to tburkhart for this one.

Photo of mendvicdog
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%

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

Thanks to Portia99 for supplying this baby on the 08, now time to review the 09. Poured into Allagash tulip glass.

The new 2009 release, and I have refined my reviews and palate a lot since my last review.

A: Rich thick 1 finger head that doesn't seem like it wants to leave at all, and I don't blame it. Super dark molasses brown color that barely lets light through, but when it does it leaves a slight reddish hue with lots of haze.

N: Wow bourbon up the wazzoo! Also lots of oak aromas to dominate the nose. I start to get some brown sugar and molasses or some sweet syrup like aroma behind it, but heavy on bourbon and oak. Judging from my last review I didn't mention the bourbon and oak, so I wonder if it ages by lessening these aromas. I have more 2008 of this so I will have to compare them soon. Also on the nose is slight vanilla and a little alcohol. Then there are some creamy heavy malts, but way on the back side.

T: Taste starts with some rich creamy malts, very delicious malts though, wow! Then adds some interseting fruits like raisin and perhaps fig or date. After that comes the bourbon, which is still adding to the tastes. Next up is oak and vanilla, which round off the flavors well. Its really rich and complex. The vanilla seems to creep up and get stronger as the taste lingers and as the beer warms. Then some burnt brown sugar really takes a punch to this beer. I almost get a slight cream soda like taste. A slight alcohol taste as well, but very light. The flavors are dancing around in my mouth like ecstacy.

M: Pretty thick, almost syrupy, slightly velvety, some alcohol warmth and burn, decent carbonation.

F: Finishes slightly dry but still semi sweet. The alcohol leaves a fresh clean feeling in the mouth like you just finished mouthwash. The vanilla and oak also seem to stick around for a little while adding some nice lingering tastes in the memory. The bourbon also remains, but much less than before. It adds some bitter qualities that seem to stem from some possible hops. The creamy feel and taste also lingered for a little bit. Some oak esters stick around your tongue, or my tongue since I'm the one tasting it dammit. Damn this is such an awesomely awesome beer!

Photo of XmnwildX12
4/5  rDev -7.8%

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

Thanks to weeare138 for this growler shared with tenderbranson69, consumed from a duvel tulip.

A dark ruddy brown with translucent clarity and thick beige cap which leaves a film of spotty lace and settles to a ring of fine beads. The smell is loaded with lots of wood and caramel w/ vanilla and bourbon providing a strong ester and slight spice w/ gentle alcohol indicating a high gravity brew awaits. The smell has light maple and nutty toffee accents in the mix. The feel is thick and rich w/ substantial strength apparent w/ mildly sweet texture and semi-high bitterness w/ a lot of astringency. The alcohol has a slight drying effect as it finishes w/ moderate roastiness.

The flavor of the Scotch ale is strong and rich with a toffee quality w/ pine from the hops and lots of vanilla from the barrel. The taste is nutty with earthy flavor and mild woody taste like a vanilla toffee spice with a moderately strong bourbon flavor. There is a bitter presence that dominates w/ a caramel candy and bitter presence w/ more sweetness evident in the taste as it warms. I was overjoyed when Mike offered this growler to me -A wonderful oak and bourbon element presents itself so well w/ lots of roasted and candy-like notes yet strength is high in the flavor and feel. It fits the style well and has exceptional drinkability in my opinion. I was truly grateful for the gift -I almost drank a whole growler save for 2 pints.

Photo of oline73
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A 2009 bottle poured into a sam adams perfect pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a cloudy, dark reddish amber with a small layer of off white head. Some lacing.

Smell: Sweet malt, dark fruit, vanilla, some warm alcohol and bourbon.

Taste: Sweet malt with some caramel and vanilla. Incredibly smooth bourbon with some brown sugar and a slight alcohol burn in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with smooth carbonation and a dry finish.

Overall: The age has done this one very well. Extremely smooth and complex. I'll definitely have this one again.

Photo of russpowell
4.45/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Revize after drinking this year's offering, this is a great/epic tske on the style, period!

Cheers to Bitterbill ( I think) for this one! Mine is 8.7% abv

Pours caramel/chestnut with 1 finger of tan colored head. Good head retention & outstanding lacing

S: Bourbon sweetness, some oaky notes

T: Toffee, oakyness, & whisky/bourbon up front. Vanilla follows as this warms, dryness, plus a touch of leafy hops, more toffee, raisins & a bit of booze. Finishes dry with whisky notes, & some leafy & herbal hops. Good flavor, but the oakyness is just bit much for me, almost seems artificial

MF: Medium bodied, slightly overgassed, skews a bit too sweet & oaky for me

Drinks good for the abv, & style. This is a bit off style to me, but tasty enough

Photo of MarkyMOD
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%

Photo of DrunkinYogi
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

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

Bought a 4-pack from Armanetti's.

A - Murky brown color. Pours with a thin head that dissipates quickly to an attractive lace. Small amount of carbonation is present.

S - Whiskey & oak. Sweet and malty, some chocolate and molasses in there too. Needs to warm a little from fridge temperature before the flavors come out. Rich!

T - Mmm...bourbon & caramel. Leaves me with an aftertaste of Werther's. Oak and brown sugar flavors in there too. There's a little bit of hops too, although not as much as I'd expect for a beer with 50 IBUs.

M - Not as viscous as I expected for a beer that has heavy caramel taste - a little watery. Nice tingle from the carbonation that complements the bourbon. Smooth finish, without heavy alcohol burn.

D - Drinks awfully well for a 10.2% brew. I'd totally have a couple, even if it results in a short night!

Another great brew from Founder's!

Photo of Rifugium
2.24/5  rDev -48.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

First had: bottle from Pinocchio's beer garden, Media, PA

Definitely the "least good" of any Founders brews I've had. Poured a reddish-mahogany color, muddy, with a spotty white head that receded to a layer of patchy bubbles. Booze-heavy aroma, almost straight bourbon, big and woody (there's a B&B joke in there somewhere). Let's be honest: this tasted like a cheap boilermaker, big on the booze, eliminating almost all complexity that might exist. Tones of oak-aged vanilla come through, but the bourbon just kills the palate almost completely. Tasted way higher in alcohol content than it actually was. Thinner than most Scottish ales I've had, but certainly not as good as some. The texture is more what I'd like to have in that it wasn't too syrupy, and certainly not as peaty, but it just didn't work with the intensity of the booze flavor. Not very good, not very drinkable, and I'll be happy never having it again. Sorry, Founders.

Photo of drabmuh
4.55/5  rDev +4.8%
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.

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.22/5  rDev -2.8%
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.

Photo of beernads
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

Photo of drewone
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%

Photo of wethorseblanket
4/5  rDev -7.8%

Photo of mdfb79
4.3/5  rDev -0.9%
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.

Photo of oriolesfan4
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%

Photo of jwc215
4.19/5  rDev -3.5%
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!

Photo of kojevergas
4.02/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Lucked out and picked this one up locally - albeit for $7.00. 355ml brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a New Belgium stem-goblet in me gaff in low altitude Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are through the roof; heard nothing but great things about this one. 10.20% ABV confirmed. I dig the label.

Served after a period of rest to warm up after leaving the fridge. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a half finger khaki colour head of nice cream and thickness but underwhelming (~20 second) retention - though this is more than excusable for the style. Colour is a very dark ruby-amber; it's not black or brown. Very appealing sleek velvety colour; even if it is quite dark. Nontransparent and (surprisingly) non-opaque. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show. There's a certain luxurious quality to its dark hue.

Sm: Vanilla, alcohol (but a warm, inviting type of alcohol aroma), caramel, dark sugars, dark malts, heavy oak chips, fine bourbon, raisin, and more bourbon. Wow. Rich and decadent. A fantastic aroma; I'm really interested in this one. I can't wait to try it. Complex, subtle, and nuanced. Some of the most vibrant oak in an aroma I've ever experienced. Really appealing. No yeast comes through.

T: Vanilla and oak chips up front, with dark raisiny malts forming the near-perfectly sweet clean body. Fine bourbon undertones are evocative throughout, joining with the oak in the climax for a lovely delivery of more vanilla and fine dark fruit. The bourbon and oak aging here is top notch, with the tones complementing the flavours rather than competing with them. Some caramelized sugar throughout. Malty caramel is fantastic and understated; not overbearing like many beers in the style. Some hints of maple syrup in the early second act. Hop presence is minimal to nonexistent. I don't even get floral character off it. I keep wanting to detect chocolate but there's just a fleeting whisper of it and it's gone. Same with some sort of fruity note in there; almost the slightest hint of plum or perhaps even fig. About as subtly done as they come. That's one tasty beverage. Obscenely well balanced. Quite tasty. I can tell she'll drink better as she warms. The alcohol is present as a light touch of heat to warm the stomach; about as pleasant an alcohol presence as is possible. Wow. This redefines how I look at this style.

Mf: Perfect thickness. Slight undercarbonation. Good rolling smoothness and wetness. suits the flavours quite well. I could use a bit more dryness and coarseness on the finish to encourage the next sip. The biggest flaw with this beer is the mouthfeel; which is too smooth and wet overall (though this does bolster drinkability).

Dr: Sweet mother of fuck that's good stuff. Definitely lives up to the hype. Drinks like a fine bourbon but with improved drinkability. This changes the game for the style in my book. Replaces Old Chub as my idea of the ideal Wee Heavy. Drinkable as hell for the ABV - which is itself very well hidden. The vanilla is delightfully subtle and incredibly well executed. I'd definitely have this on draught, well worth aging as well. Another glowing success from Founders. This is one brewery that really lives up to the hype.

Serve a bit warm. She drinks best that way.

High B+

---
03.23.14: Truncated notes from a 2013 vintage bottle served chilled.

Just has one of the finest bourbon aromas out there. The oak, the vanilla, the toasty character...wonderful. Plenty of cream and sweet Wee Heavy malting too.

Doesn't taste quite as good as the 2012 bottle I initially reviewed. The bourbon is there, but it doesn't blend quite as well with the base beer as I remembered. The malting is actually a bit distracting.

Smooth and wet. Near perfect carbonation.

Overall, not the world class Wee Heavy I remember it as. Chalk it up to batch variation. That said, it's still real tasty. I'll be buying it up in future years.

High B

---
Some brief notes on 2014's vintage:

Has a sanguine-amber body.

Bourbon beckons in the aroma.

Creamy, with great vanilla and the rich toasted oak note that keeps me coming back to this beer again and again. Touches of peat really set it off nicely. Scottish malting is a treat here.

Creamy, supple, rich, and refined. What a treat of a texture. Exquisite.

Hat tip to Founders for another great vintage.

Low B+

Founders Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 6,763 ratings.