Founders Backwoods Bastard | Founders Brewing Company

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Founders Backwoods BastardFounders Backwoods Bastard

Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company
Michigan, United States

Style: Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.20%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
"Wee Heavy", cave aged in oak bourbon barrels.

Added by CortexBomb on 01-30-2007

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Reviews: 1,830 | Ratings: 8,052
Photo of spursfaninla
4.09/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

It is a good founders, not my favorite founders, and not my favorite bourbon beer, but solid. It has a great lack of aftertaste. Taste is better as it goes along.

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Photo of jngrizzaffi
4.2/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours a very dark and hazy amber color with a 1/2 finger head. Head retention is minimal. Lacing is good. Aroma of toffee, bourbon and dark fruits. Taste is excellent! I get bourbon, some dark fruits, sweet malts and toffee. Actually very smooth and well blended. Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Slightly warming.

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Photo of DrMullet
3.8/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a dark ruby/brown.
Smell is sweet toffee and bourbon.
Taste is sweet malt, raisin and dark fruit.
Bourbon finish.
Mouthfeel is not too thick.

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Photo of mkh012
3.99/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2016 version, poured in March 2017. Bottle is 6 months old.

Deep reddish-brown with a short-lived head.

Nose is earthy raisin and wood with hints of dark chocolate and toffee.

The taste follows. Scotch Ales aren't typically my thing, nor are beers that overdue the barrel character. This is pretty restrained though, particularly for an 11% ABV beer. Scotch, wood, and dark fruit. Suggestions of anise, caramel, and dark chocolate.

Mouthfeel is medium. An initial zip of carbonation tapers into a smooth finish.

Overall, do you like Scotch Ales? This is definitely a good one. Just not my go-to flavor profile or style.

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Photo of OldManMetal
4.17/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

The 2016 iteration of this barrel-aged Scotch Ale is a great-looking beer: a large, pebbly peach/tan head sits atop an effervescent, deep-brown beer, leaving excellent lacing in the form of dense sheets and thick bands. The nose is big and heady: bourbon and more modest coconutty oak lactones over a fairly rich, light-complected caramel character that shows a bit of butterscotch at the top; significant alcohol overtones ride atop everything else. Up front, the palate is darkish, slightly bitter caramel with hints of bourbon; mid-palate the malt character becomes darker yet as a semi-sweet chocolate character joins the caramel. The bourbon and coconut notes are much more subtle than on the nose, acting more as accents than as the center of attention. Significant alcohol overtones keep the malt well in check, preventing the beer from coming across as the least bit sweet. The finish is a good hit of caramel and booze, and is quite warming; the linger is a lasting modest oaky bitterness that has a slight solvent-like tang. Retrogustative olfaction is redolent of bourbon, and is quite boozy. Mouthfeel is commensurate with the medium body, and is slightly warming; the texture is medium-creamy, slightly slick, and slightly peppery from the somewhat restrained carbonation. (12 oz bottle, 142 days after pkg)

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Photo of Cfred371
4.46/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Look: Backwoods pours a murky mid brown, with a light khaki head that quickly becomes a ring.

Smell: Oak, malt, and with a swirl some of the bourbon comes out and coconut. Very nice.

Taste: The oak, bourbon, molasses, brown sugar, a lot of great barrel character

Feel: Medium bodied, Backwoods is pretty sweet, and has just the slightest bitterness show on the finish.

Overall: My bottle is two and a half years old, and considering the age, the barrel character is enormous. A wonderful beer worth seeking out.

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Photo of DJ-Hophead
4.69/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

355 ml bottle, Beautiful Beers, Bury St. Edmunds - Pours dark brown with small tanned foamy head. Medium carbonation. Aroma - dark stoned fruits, molasses, whisky notes, spice notes. Tasty - roasted malts - molasses, lovely sweet caramel in the background, light bitter finish with a little alcoholic warmth. Lovely sweet lingering high ABV ale. A true BA belter.

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Photo of Bum4ever
3.99/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

L: reddish brown with small light tan head.
S: first note is caramel followed by oak. Light bourbon and maybe dried cherries. Also some chocolate at the end.
T: toffee and caramel followed by sweet fruit and oak. Very little bourbon.
F: thinner than I expected with a little oak lingering feel.
O: really good but not great. As someone who loves bourbon, I think it's a little too hidden. Would still buy again based on the overall solid flavor and easy drinkablilty.

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Photo of CHickman
4.36/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2016 Release, bottled 09/22/16, 11.2% ABV: it pours dark chestnut brown color with a thick 2 finger tan head that was full of tiny bubbles, fading slowly and leaving very good spotty lacing and a foamy ring around the edge of the glass.

Smells of toffee, caramel, roasted grains, light bourbon, woody notes, oak barrels, dark fruit, cocoa, hints of vanilla and coconut, and a wave of sweet malty aromas. The malty dominance brings out brown sugar, wheat bread, syrup and spent mash, then finishing off with some more bourbon. The bourbon is soft and mixes well, it reminds me of a well aged KBS or Bourbon County Stout.

Tastes sweet and malty up front with toasted grains that seem rum soaked, followed by vanilla, toasted oak, bourbon, brown sugar, toffee, dark fruit, raisins, maple syrup, tea leaf, mild piney hops, sticks and/or earthy notes, wood and cocoa powder. The flavor lacks any smoked grains and appear supplemented by the bourbon barrel accents. Really, really complex and tasty even though it deviates from a traditional Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy.

Mouthfeel is very smooth yet thick with texture while seeming thin as it slides down easy, even with the light burn from the booze, the evident ABV and mild carbonation. It's dominated by malty bread components with recurring caramel, oak, bourbon and sweet fruity flavors. Overall a fine beer that was dynamic and quite enjoyable.

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Photo of Mindcrime1000
3.86/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

2016 release

Pours dark (brown with red highlights) but not opaque. Not much head retention, but excellent sticky lacing.

The aroma is somewhat unbalanced with very strong bourbon and vanilla at the very fore, with only a hint of malt and peat in the background.

The flavor follows its nose in both good and bad ways. There is a good balance of malts and hops (a touch at the end) but the bourbon, vanilla, and ethanol is pretty prevalent.

The flavor is big, the body is not. Like many barrel aged offerings I've tried lately, this one is a little thin. However, the carbonation is excellent and helps keep what is otherwise a sweet beer from getting cloying.

Overall this is fine, but if I want a good off-beat wee-heavy I will stick with Founders's other "Bastard." The bourbon is just a bit too strong on this one. I'm wondering if this one is just too young. I'm going to tuck a couple of bottles away and try them to see if the bourbon notes will mellow.

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Photo of goingbrokeonbeer
4.35/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pour is dark brown with a slight red tint and two finger beige head. Smell is scotch, molasses, and dark fruits. Taste follows smell with the addition of some caramel. Feel is medium with nice carbonation, overall a great brew.

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Photo of MNAle
4.35/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2016 version. Dark brown with a tinge of ruby. Moderate tan head that recedes quickly. Excellent aroma of bourbon and dark fruit. Moderate to thick mouth feel, little carbonation. Mild bittering and very nice fruity taste, with the outstanding bourbon taste at the forefront. Very, very nice, indeed. Little bittering, but what there is shows up in the finish. No alcohol warmth despite the 11+% ABV. Very smooth. Outstanding beer, Founders.

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Photo of flaskman
4.75/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

I poured a 2014 into a tulip glass while watching a movie. It was over 2 years old and had aged beautifully. Dark amberish with a decent head. It smelled like raisins and figs with a sweetness that said "try me". It was very smooth with the perfect amount of heat and enough of the bourbon to give that taste that I love without overpowering the great scotch ale that it is. I loved it.

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Photo of Blackop555
4.73/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours deep Brown. Short, thick, short-lived tan head.

Smells caramel malt, vanilla, bourbon, light nut.

Taste caramel and vanilla. Also strong Bourbon and hints of smoke and dark fruit. Finish is semi-sweet with vanilla, malty linger with a touch of bitter. High side of full-bodied. Creamy medium carbonation.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4.7/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured into a MacAndrew's thistle glass. Pours a slightly hazy, dark brown-amber with a thin light khaki head with good retention and lacing. Aroma of deep caramel malt, dates and figs, hint of plums, bourbon. Flavor follows with caramel malt, toffee, dates, figs, dried plums, bourbon and a touch of oak and peat. Medium bodied with good creaminess, nice mouth feel. It's clear why this has a good reputation. All the classic flavors of a scotch ale with a good bourbon overtone. Well balanced with integrated flavors. Many good scotch ales have a little astringency in the finish; that is absent here, very smooth from start to finish. I see why Founders has such a following. Glad to see them in the West Coast. I will get this one again.

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Photo of aronamerican
5/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Ahhh, the annual meet and greet with the Bastard. How could I forget the boisterous rambunctiousness that ensues when you egress from your hiding spot?

Looks like cola, tastes like a libation suitable for the gods.

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Photo of kitch
4.39/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A 355ml bottle with a best by date of 6th April 2017. Poured into a snifter glass.

Appearance: A clear deep amber brown colour with a one finger tanned head that had decent retention and left nice spotty lacing.

Aroma: Caramel, toffee, vanilla, oak, bourbon and booze with perhaps a hint of sweet dark fruit.

Taste: It’s what you expect from the aroma with sweet melted caramel, toffee, vanilla, raisins, oak and bourbon with a light nuttiness on the finish.

Mouthfeel: Creamy, full bodied with low carbonation. Alcohol is well hidden yet there is a nice lasting alcohol warmth.

Overall: Just great! A really nice sipper with wonderful aromas and great taste.

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Photo of ApolloXII
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

As the first Founder's beer I've had,
Lest I say my hopes were high.
And as soon as I heard this one came in,
Obviously it was a beer I had to buy.

First, the nose, huge notes of bourbon,
Butterscotch, caramel, and malt
Earthy, beautiful tones of spice
This beer is without a fault.

And the flavor- oh, the flavor!
So much barrel and balanced still
Sweet fruit, anise, and some heat
I wish my cup was always fill.

I've had a lot of barrel aged beers,
Hundreds of them, at least
This one here is the perfect combo
Of malt and hops and yeast.

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Photo of Koral
4.54/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

2014 Bottle, buddy of mine shared with me on New Year's

Look: Deep amber/brown, light tan head
Smell: Intense caramel notes, of course bourbon as well
Taste: Holding on to this beer does amazing things for the flavors. Lucky my buddy wanted to share this one. Sweet caramel, little bit of toffee, with a perfect bourbon finish that definitely smoothed out as the years have passed
Feel: perfect for a beer of this alcohol content. Smooth and velvety.
Overall: One of my favorite beers, and age only made it better, in my opinion. If you can find an aged version on tap or in bottles, go and get it, you will not regret it.

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Photo of Jim_Benz
4.75/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

OMG. Seriously. This is the best barrel-aged beer I've ever tasted. I'd give some details, but bursitis in both shoulders makes even this micro-review/rave difficult. Maybe I'll have another for pain relief? Twist my arm ...

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Photo of Thomas_Wikman
4.34/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I got this Scotch Ale via a beer trade, and I thought it was great.

Look: very dark brown, with a one inch bubbly mocca colored head.

Aroma: Wonderful bourbon aroma, some smokiness, maybe caramel.

Taste: taste of bourbon, but not too much, just right, raisins, vanilla, a bit smoky, caramel, very delicious.

Feel: It’s full bodied, creamy and smooth.

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Photo of MargotDarko
4.94/5  rDev +16%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is where it's at for me. I picked up a $4 single on a whim, and I was totally blown away. I hadn't been drinking as much beer in the past several years, but this was a game changer. It sent me on a path to seek out more and more different craft beers and really get back into it. The only thing slightly negative about it for me is that it can be a little too intense. I can only handle one bottle in a sitting, and it needs to be a looong sitting to avoid feeling wasted.

It looks amazing poured out, but I enjoy it straight from the bottle too, because I don't get that powerful eye watering effect of breathing into the glass on accident or the non-beer-drinkin' hubby's comments on the smell filling up the room. Another benefit of drinking from the bottle is looking at the label. You look straight into his eyes every time you need a reminder that you do not eff with the Backwoods Bastard and you do not eff around with this beer.

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Photo of BeerAndGasMasks
4.3/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

From the growler, it pours a clear reddish brown with a moderate head. The nose gets the bourbon, smoke and roasted malts. The mouth gets a bit of alcohol along with the molasses and smoke, Careful drinking, but good!

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Photo of ZebulonXZogg
4.4/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Shared bottles from 2014 and 2016.
L: Color of a dirty copper penny with a beige head.
2016 has a bigger head but both receded quickly.

A: Malts, molasses, dark fruits, smoke and obviously bourbon.
I thought the bourbon aromas were more pronounced in the 2014 edition.

T: Overall both of these were sweet with molasses and toffee flavors. A nice warming effect from the Barrel aging.

M: I thought the 2014 version was smoother and creamier, but I have no complaints about 2016.

O: One of my favorite beers. I preference the 2014 edition because the bourbon notes were more subdued. Either, or, this is one terrific beer.

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Photo of azurel
4.19/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2016 edition
Poured into a tulip...Pours a dark brown/mahogany with a 2 finger tan head that lingers awhile. Leaves minute lacing.

Aroma is of scotch, barrel notes, malt, caramel.

Taste is amazing follows the aroma with a boozyness upfront of scotch then fades into slight smoke, vanilla barrel notes mid swallow. Finishes with a nice scotch boozy heat.

Mouth feel is thick viscous, creamy, full. You know your drinking something substantial.
One of the best.

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Founders Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
4.26 out of 5 based on 8,052 ratings.
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