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Founders Backwoods Bastard - Founders Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Founders Backwoods BastardFounders Backwoods Bastard

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BA SCORE
96
world-class

6,861 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 6,861
Reviews: 1,623
rAvg: 4.34
pDev: 10.37%
Wants: 844
Gots: 2,415 | FT: 230
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
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Ratings: 6,861 | Reviews: 1,623
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 oriolesfan4
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%

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 drewone
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%

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 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 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 beernads
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

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+

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 smcolw
3.8/5  rDev -12.4%
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.

Photo of DrBier
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

Photo of InspectorBob
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%

Photo of WesWes
4.3/5  rDev -0.9%
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.

Photo of Rochefort10nh
5/5  rDev +15.2%

Photo of Mora2000
4.32/5  rDev -0.5%
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.

Photo of imperialking
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

Photo of duceswild
4/5  rDev -7.8%

Photo of orangesol
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%

Photo of GClarkage
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%

Photo of nathanmiller
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.42/5  rDev -21.2%
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.

Photo of superspak
4.64/5  rDev +6.9%
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.

Photo of wrightst
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

Photo of Gavage
4.17/5  rDev -3.9%
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.

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Founders Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 6,861 ratings.