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Founders Backwoods Bastard - Founders Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Founders Backwoods BastardFounders Backwoods Bastard

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
96
world-class

5,458 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,458
Reviews: 1,431
rAvg: 4.33
pDev: 10.62%
Wants: 699
Gots: 1,583 | FT: 140
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: 5,458 | Reviews: 1,431 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of mdfb79
4.33/5  rDev 0%
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.

mdfb79, Oct 19, 2011
Photo of MarkyMOD
4.25/5  rDev -1.8%

MarkyMOD, Dec 17, 2013
Photo of beernads
4.5/5  rDev +3.9%

beernads, Feb 18, 2013
Photo of Mora2000
4.33/5  rDev 0%
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.

Mora2000, Feb 24, 2010
Photo of jwc215
4.2/5  rDev -3%
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!

jwc215, Mar 01, 2009
Photo of DrunkinYogi
4.5/5  rDev +3.9%

DrunkinYogi, Sep 14, 2012
Photo of Rochefort10nh
5/5  rDev +15.5%

Rochefort10nh, Dec 02, 2011
Photo of smcolw
3.83/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Cloudy brown color. Modest head to begin with--it settles to a single layer of fine bubbles. Touches of shapely but random lace.

For the smell, there is the typical caramel, candy sugar notes (of course). But there's also an unusual sourness.

The taste is chocolately sweet. Strong alcohol presence. It's like a brown ale with a shot of rum. Rich body, like a true wee heavy.

smcolw, Mar 20, 2010
Photo of Gueuzedude
3.43/5  rDev -20.8%
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.

Gueuzedude, Feb 16, 2008
Photo of kojevergas
4/5  rDev -7.6%
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

kojevergas, Nov 15, 2012
Photo of XmnwildX12
4/5  rDev -7.6%

XmnwildX12, Nov 28, 2013
Photo of oriolesfan4
4.25/5  rDev -1.8%

oriolesfan4, Feb 17, 2013
Photo of Gavage
4.2/5  rDev -3%
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.

Gavage, May 31, 2008
Photo of GClarkage
4.25/5  rDev -1.8%

GClarkage, Jul 04, 2014
Photo of imperialking
4.5/5  rDev +3.9%

imperialking, Dec 19, 2011
Photo of InspectorBob
4.25/5  rDev -1.8%

InspectorBob, Nov 29, 2011
Photo of drewone
4.25/5  rDev -1.8%

drewone, Dec 29, 2013
Photo of yourefragile
4.63/5  rDev +6.9%
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.

yourefragile, Dec 08, 2008
Photo of corby112
4.3/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very dark chestnut brown, almost black color that is completely opaque with only the slightest of mahogany edges and a thin coffee colored head that slowly fades into a lasting ring.

Roasted malt aroma with an awesome oak presence that gives off a nice wooden aroma with sweet vanilla notes and a good dose of bourbon/whiskey. Hints of burnt toast, chocolate, toffee and oatmeal.

Full bodied with a nice roasted malt flavor that is kind of nutty with a big oak, vanilla and whiskey presence. Chocolate malt, caramel, toffee, burnt toast and oatmeal notes are also detectable. Kind of sweet up front with a silky malt backbone with a very nice touch of bourbon and a bitter dry finish.

corby112, Sep 03, 2009
Photo of wrightst
4.5/5  rDev +3.9%

wrightst, Jul 11, 2014
Photo of orangesol
4.25/5  rDev -1.8%

orangesol, Jan 09, 2013
Photo of weeare138
4.22/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appears a dense, murkey dark brown with a small, 2 finger, light tan head that quickly fades out into a mild collar. Scattered streaks of lacing are left around the glass.
Smell is of rich toffee, caramel, vanilla, bourbon, apple smoked meat...pretty nice aroma on all counts.
Taste is of the mentioned aromas with the vanilla, oak, and bourbon coming through with some raisin notes and lip smacking goodness with a hint of cocoa.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied, smooth, warming, lightly carbonated, and yummy.

weeare138, Nov 23, 2007
Photo of stakem
3.88/5  rDev -10.4%
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.

stakem, Jan 25, 2012
Photo of dbrauneis
4.1/5  rDev -5.3%
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).

dbrauneis, Dec 11, 2012
Photo of Billolick
4.28/5  rDev -1.2%
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.

Billolick, Nov 23, 2008
Founders Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 5,458 ratings.