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: 8,050
Photo of krustster
5/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance: one of the best-looking beers I have ever seen, if not the very best. I always say this isn't an important category, but this is one of those beers that you really have to see in the glass to fully appreciate. Dark, dark brownish red. Held up to the light it's almost a blood red. Mostly clear with fine sediment suspended in the bottom of the glass. Very generous brownish-white head that lasts for a very long time. Tons of sticky lacing. Incredible appearance. I've had many bottles of this before now, but just looking at it is raising my expectations for this review.

Smell: Incredibly rich, bourbon, oak, candied nuts, caramel, vanilla, toffee, every "sweet" and "rich" adjective you can think of applies here. I'm sure there are some references to dark fruits and whatnot that I'm missing, but to me, it's all about the caramel and pecan pie. In any case, it's a magical experience. I've been just smelling it for about half an hour, and this is my 13th bottle so far this year. It never gets old. Absolutely unreal!

Taste, in accordance with tradition, is similar to the nose. Delicious, rich, decadent, any over-the-top adjective you want to apply will fit in here. Huge bourbon, oak, caramel, toffee, dried fruits or whatever, incredible. This is one of those beers where you go "oh my god bourbon barrels must be actually magic!" and buy a bunch of bourbon barrel stuff that isn't very good, in hopes of duplicating the miracle your mouth just experienced. More than anything else, the flavor I get is pecan pie. And that's one of my favorite types of pie! Oh man. Maybe even french toast. This is so sweet, so rich, so balanced. But not over the top! I like over the top things, but this one is so balanced in spite of how rich and sweet it it is, that it reaches another level. It's almost like a religious experience. What a treat. I could drink this all day... but given its limited nature, I'll say that I could have this as a dessert after any meal.

Mouth feel... a hard category to rate, but I have to give it a perfect score again. It's so sticky, like a syrup. Like maple syrup on french toast! Viscous, but creamy, and with just the right amount of carbonation.

Overall, it would appear that I've given this beer a perfect score. I don't have a ton of reviews, but this is one of only two so far that has gotten such a rating from me. I dunno, for me, most beers fall behind in either mouth feel or appearance, but this one is quite simply perfect all around. I cut myself off once I'd purchased 16 bottles. I have 3 left, and I feel like I made a grave mistake buying as "few" as I did. This beer is an utter masterpiece.

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

Rarely am I given the chance to rate a beer so highly. This is so far beyond any other American Scotch ale, it is the standard for American beers in this style. Bourbon to the fore! Add to that the gentle aroma of citrus with a heavy malty tang; a dense taste of orange peels, lemons, rope, cocoa, butter, oak, new leather shoes... is there anything *not* to envy in this beer? This can go head to head with any UK Scotch ale. Best enjoyed in a snifter or a thistle while playing the piano, or on one's front porch on an almost-spring New England afternoon. An incredible beer by any standard.

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

look: 5
Brilliant Dark Amber.

smell: 5
sweet & malty. vanilla & oak I am also picking up the smell of fresh rye bread which gets more intense as the beer warms

taste: 5
Chocolate covered dark cherries up front with the bourbon finish

feel: 5
Excellent. Creamy & smooth. Lightly carbonated.

overall: 5
Excellent Beer. Will be on the lookout every fall for this.!!

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

Serving type: 12 oz bottle into a snifter

Pours a deep crimson brown, with off white foam settling on top. Smell is of rich caramel, toffee, slight vanilla, and intense oak qualities. It smells awesome. Taste is of initial caramel toffee, with a slight fruitiness, intense bourbon oak flavor after that lingers for a few moments. Feel is medium, with enough carbonation to not be flat. Overall this is a great beer with awesome oak characteristics.

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

I love this beer, i just wish they would come out with this beer more then a month. The bourbon taste at the end of a sip taste amazing!Def a great beer to buy.

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Photo of jewellrunner
5/5  rDev +17.4%

Perhaps a top 5 beer of all time. Despite the warnings to only drink this at room temp, I found it to be delightful cold as well. The carbonation hits the tongue and immediately fades for a smooth mouthfeel. Then there's the bourbon; the delicious, perfectly accented bourbon. It's how bourbon and beer were supposed to taste together. Perfection.

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

this is a really tasty brew, the color is black and when you put it to the light it is an amber color with visible particles all over. i poured into a snifter and it gave me about 3 inches of a cream color head that went away quickly. and once i put it up to my nose i get the aromas of maple syrup, molasses, and dark fruits like fig. the taste of bourbon is noticable and you get a bit of sweetness at the end. i have to slowly consume my last three bottles of this lovely brew.

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Photo of domfreego
5/5  rDev +17.4%

My first bourbon barreled beer and still my favorite.

Smell: Rich bourbon qualities with a hint of sweetness

Taste: Vanilla flavor will hit your palate followed by sweet malts that compliment the barrel in the beer. Let it warm to experience different levels of oak on your palate.

Mouth Feel: Medium body with a smooth finish, definitely not as heavy as other beers in this style

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

2016 batch poured into a snifter. Finger size head that dissipates quickly into barely any. Deep dark brown and smells of oak, scotch, and bourbon, almost like your grandpa's cottage somewhere up north in Michigan. Taste is an outstanding deep malty/toffee undertone with a strong bourbon aftertaste. Overall, this is another great, buy-as-much-as-you-can-while-its-around Founder's classic! I will be cellaring a few alongside my KBS for a year and 3 years to see how age makes this incredible beer taste!!

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

This beer is not for your everyday beer drinker...This beer pours like the red seas...And the aroma of this beer opens up the bourbon barrel. the first sip is a full mouth of delight.But the way it makes you feel is the best.It is to bad thiss beer is very limited...thank-you Founder

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

Another Bourbon-Barrel aged beer from Founders!!

Pours out a pretty dark mahogany with ruby highlights and a thin head.

The aroma has a lot of Bourbon, a decent amount of vanilla, oak, caramel, toffee butterscotch and followed by dark fruits like figs and raisins.

The taste has a decent amount of Bourbon right away and that's followed by the caramel, toffee and butterscotch notes and then that blends into a vanilla, slightly smoky and oaky characteristic and on the back end is where all the dark fruit notes are. The bitterness helps balance out the sweetness, but it's not a bitter beer.

It's medium bodied and has a nice rich mouthfeel. You can feel and taste the alcohol, but it enhances the style of the beer.

Very easy to drink and extremely enjoyable young, but I'm going to age a few bottles as well to see how it is in a year or more.

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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 buddha5050
5/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass

A. small 1/2 finger tight white head with a nice dark/ruby red color nice laceing and alcohol feet. Good carbonation as well.

S: Bourbon, vanilla, oak, dark fruits, cherries, even a little black walnut to me. Sweet.

T: Oh wow! It is so well blended you get the bourbon and vanilla up front a nice sweetness. The best tasting wee heavy I have ever had hands down. Chocolate covered cherry....

M: Medium body, not too sticky like alot of barrel aged beers. Nice carbonation...

O: I can't say enough about this beer, I know I gave it a 5 but this is a rare example of a truly great beer...

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Photo of weareallfalafel
4.99/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottled October 2016, enjoyed December 8th of the same year. Poured from a 12oz bottle into a large snifter. Pours a deep, dark, just short of opaque mahogany with a finger-thick off-white, beige head that dissipated at somewhat slowly and left a little bit of lacing. Carbonation is evident on the sides of the glass when swirled and held up to the light. Smell is big bold caramel, bourbon, molasses, and a touch of spice. Taste follows suit, but of course, more pronounced. Marshmallowy combo of malts and Bourbon is killer and, like the Dirty Bastard, the touch of caramelly sweetness and the loving hop bite, work like a dream together. The feel is full bodied and relatively thick with a carbonation that is lively, but not overly so. Overall, I absolutely love this beer and can't wait to see what age will do for it. Can't recommend this highly enough. Layers of complexity, flavors from across the spectrum, and not too ridiculous a price, either. For me, I'd call it perfect.

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Photo of titletown30
4.99/5  rDev +17.1%

Pours a thin white head, and dark garnet color when held to light. Bourbon flavor is well balanced and has a velvety mouth feel. Hints of toffee and milk chocolate come through with the oak and has a pronounced bourbon finish. If you like bourbon this is an excellent beer. Need to find more!

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Photo of Octavarium77
4.99/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Really one of the best BB brews (brews in general really) out there. Pour this one into a tulip after dinner, sit by the fireplace with a good book, sip, and let how lucky you are to be alive sink in.

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Photo of stompilator
4.98/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into that weird, tall Crate & Barrel glass.

A - Pours a deep, glowing garnet brown. Half-finger beige head.

S - Tons of raisins and currants, toffee, dry caramel, vanilla, slight oak tannins.

T - A deep, viscous caramelly malt character blooms out of the front palate. The line between the malt and oak is completely blurred, but it combines with a rich, extreme sweetness. The chewy dark fruit tones characteristic of Dirty Bastard develop, but have a port-wine-esque heft to them in conjunction with the barrel. The sweetness builds a bit, and the flavors all begin to blur and mingle. The bourbon heat rears its head in the late palate, but remains subtle. The finish is rife with dark fruit, and ultimately the booze and caramel win out.

M - Full-bodied, almost cloyingly sweet. Alcohol burn coats the palate with a slight tingle.

O - The numerous flavors here intertwine beautifully and create a huge dimension to this brew. Oh so rich and takes you places. One of the finest beers I've ever had.

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Photo of inhoc00
4.97/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

brand new backwoods bastard thanks to armaneti's on lincoln - the best shop in chicago. this new label has a blind old man with a hatchet and is labeled as 10.2%alc.

poured into a tripel karmeliet tulip

a - dark dirty brown, translucent to the bottom like a filthy creek (eh backwoods stuff ya know)

s- very sweet brown sugar and baked beans/bacon and bourbon? in a good way of course. very unexpected. a bastard breakfest?

t- this is really really good stuff. very sweet bourbon. almost no alcohol. no bitterness.

m- low carbonation, semi creamy

d- amazingly drinkable. i let my wife take a sip who hates strong beer and she even enjoyed it. tastes nothing like 10.2% excellent beer.

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Photo of seitzka
4.97/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Okay, this is my first review. Let me start by saying, first, thanks for reading. Second, you need to go find this beer. There's a reason I haven't reviewed a beer yet. I haven't discovered one so unique to bother. Seriously though, I'm not sophisticated enough to differentiate the subtle nuances between the many different styles and many different brewers. I've been a cheap beer drinker all my life until the past few months. You'll never witness me ripping on a 30pack of Red Dog, but recently, my tastes have become a bit more refined. I hesitate say but now it's more about the quality than the quantity. I bought six random (local/Michigan) beers tonight. There were porters and trippels but I saved this particular bottle 'til last. I always pick one that I believe will stand out as my final beer. This was it. However, I had to take a trip BACK to the beer store for more of this TONIGHT.

I didn't note the pour, color, bouquet or head. What I did note was the terrific initial taste and the pleasureably sweet subsequent aftertaste. Aftertaste is usually a bad word, but with this beer it is the dessert. Reviews compare this beer to Founder's Dirty Bastard but I taste no similarities. For a heavy HEAVY (10.2%) beer, this is a delightfully pleasant and refreshing brew that far surpasses all expectations.

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Photo of Louisville-Beer-Reviews
4.97/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Slight haze. Very dark ruby/reddish brown, with a thick head and thick lacing.

Aroma: Many smells common to a bourbon barrel aged beer including vanilla, caramel, oak, bourbon, and molasses. Very pleasant, interesting, and engaging aroma.

Taste & Mouthfeel: Very smooth, thick mouthfeel! Immediately noticeable flavors of sweet bourbon and buttery caramel on the tongue, with the buttery flavor existing as much as a smooth, full texture as it does as a flavor. The finish sees the profile move towards dark chocolate and charred oak flavors, with the dark, roasted malt flavor being balanced out by a marshmallow sweetness. At 10.2% ABV, there isn’t any strong alcohol flavor or burn to speak of at all, which makes this a surprisingly drinkable beer given its strength, fullness, and complexity.

Final Word: Highly recommended! Everything about this beer is complex and engaging, while being simultaneously approachable and easy to drink. There are many flavors and aromas to enjoy, so practically any beer drinker will find something to their liking. Other beers contain these same flavors, but this beer presents them fully, completely, and in such good balance that it is worth seeking out above other barrel aged beers.

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Photo of Sycodrummer
4.97/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from the stubby brown bottle into a thistle glass the beer was a chestnut brown color with a tan head rising about 1 finger above the beer. The head is creamy consistancy and holds well throughout the sample. The rest of the beer is still; no streaming carbonation of stray bubbles.

The nose on the beer is incredible. The smell forshadows the taste very well. Big malty mollasses coming through. Caramel, brown sugar, alcohol, and dried fruit all come through.

Taste hits the palate and is nice a sweet upfront. This is what I expected from the style. A robust beer with a huge malt backbone and hints of its strength with just moments of alcoholic heat. Caramel and toffee shine through and sweetness is accented with hints of brown sugar, bread, and mollasses.

The mouthfeel is right on for the style. Big, robust, almost a little creamy, and certainly chewy. Warming slightly and filling.

I thought the beer was spot on for its style in terms of taste and mouthfeel. Some scotch ales come out of the bottle a little thin, but I though this one nailed it. A very enjoyable beer and perfect for a cold night.

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Photo of timobkg
4.97/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into a Chimay glass.

Appearance is a very dark red, like a dark mahogany table at night, with a thin but appropriate head.

Aroma is a unique mix of bourbon and coconut rum, warm and inviting.

The taste is rich, sweet, and smooth, with flavors of mellow bourbon, caramel, and coconut rum. The alcohol is very well hidden, so it tastes smooth and not at all boozy.

Overall, it is an amazing bourbon beer, rich and luxurious. I like my bourbon beers heavy on the bourbon flavor, and this delivers in spades. It's great with BBQ, as an after dinner drink, or really anytime. It's one of the best beers I've had.

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Photo of warrenout330
4.97/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Mad props to Wendy at VE for my reserve on this 4pk!

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my delirium snifter

A- poured a deep reddish brown color.. Ruby highlights to the curves of the glass.... resembles a liquid Ruby in my glass to the light. Off white head, quickly dissovles to nothing minimal lacing

S- big whiff reveals a smack of Bourbon, vanilla and white oak undertones. Dark fruit highlights in the back.

T- like the nose but some more pronounced. Big Bourbon flavors, smooth vanilla, light earthy undertones of oak. Dark cherry twist for sweetness..ting of booze lingering.Huge flavors going on but the balance is the biggest thing going on here

M- smooth, creamy, oily body... light carbonation, kind of prickly on the tongue maybe from the booze?

O- my first experience with this brew, very happy I have the pleasure sipping this right now. Very well done, huge flavors with huge balance.. now I see what all the hype is about...def putting my other 2 way for a couple of years....

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Photo of Ikeithbot
4.96/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Looks brick reddish brown, no head typical of her style

Smells amazing! Heavy oak and bourbon action!

Taste is other worldly. I love wee heavies and this brings it to another level.

Mouthfeel. Baa. Whatever.

Overall. The more I drink it the more I want to rock a kilt. Such a treasure and kudos to founders for making an exceptional brew. It can't be easy and I guess that's why it's only available once a year.

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Photo of cccupps3
4.95/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

i had this beer a few times at Blue Dogg in Warminster P.A. Everytime i see it on a list i will get it because it is one of the best beers that Founders makes. It has an incredible balance of hops and barley. The smokey hint tops it off at the aftertaste. The head is always full and rich with overwhelming aromas that make you want more. Great beer!

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Founders Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
4.26 out of 5 based on 8,050 ratings.
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