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: 1,813 | Ratings: 7,983
Photo of NoLeafClover44
4.14/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a DFH signature glass. Bottled 9/28/12. Thanks, Andy.

A - Pours a two-faced dark color that depends on the lighting. Black walnut in the shade and a bright ruby color in the light. Very little head and just a trace of lacing.

S - The bourbon is immediately apparent with big sour mash and oak aromas. Some mellowing vanilla and earthy peat as well. Rich and sugary, full of dark fruits. Complex and powerful aroma that works really well.

T - Starts off with brown sugar and plum. A mix of fruits, including banana, give this some belgian characteristics. Caramel and molasses malts contribute to the sweetness. Vanilla comes through in the middle with some bitter baker's chocolate and oak. The bourbon is apparent on the finish, but not as powerfully as in the aroma. Very solid.

M - Initially a bit too carbonated, but after letting it sit for a few minutes it is damn near perfect. Smooth carbonation with a thick body that coats the tongue. Less booze flavor than I would have anticipated.

O - A very good take on a style I don't drink very often. There is a lot going on in the aroma with fruits, vanilla, and the forward bourbon contributions. The flavor is good, but doesn't live up to the aroma in my opinion. It improves considerably in flavor and mouthfeel as it warms. I am happy to have gotten a four pack so I can put a few down and try them with some age. Overall, a very good beer that I wish came to my area.

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Photo of BeerDawgs
4.14/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - A dark brown with no clarity, head, or lace. Just dark!

S - Ok, sweetness, and bourbon. Bourbon dominates. Toffee, brown sugar.

T - Very sweet! Lots of sugar, toffee, caramel, and finishes with a huge burst of bourbon, from the aging process. Amazingly smooth for a bourbon barrel agad beer.

M - Medium bodied, smooth, lightly carbonated.

O - The best Bourbon barrel aged brew I have had. And I have not had many that I have enjoyed. This one is actually smooth and balanced. Good stuff!

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Photo of JamGrover1983
4.14/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle presence is strong. Can definately smell the alcohol and berry woody notes at the spout of the bottle. Initially poured about 2 ounces in a snifter. The color is rich and with full body. Upon initial swirl again the booze eminates strong but there is a very rich oak smell. The head is full but quickly dissipates as expected with the high alcohol content. The thickness of the beer is impressive and hold well to the glass. The temperature at taste is about 45 degrees Fahrenheit and this is where I feel the beer is at its best. Has a great mouth feel and the aging of the beer really shows through. The taste is super crisp and bites like a good whiskey. Over the course of an hour the drink warms but holds up well. Overall it makes for an overall enjoyable experience. There is a little room for improvement as the color muddied a bit as it warms , but I do enjoy this beer. Founders rarely disappoints me and this one holds up strong.

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Photo of retry4z
4.14/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a bottle, chilled. Golden-brown with very little head. Huge bourbon aroma with caramel and sweet fruit notes. Taste includes toffee, marmelade, caramel, brown sugar, maple syrop, and vanilla, and leaves some bitterness on the throat. Medium carbonation with a full-bodied, syropy feel. Overall a nice example of bourbon flavor showing up on the nose but not as much on the tongue. A somewhat bitter scotch ale that's a sipper, and would go nicely with a cigar or a dessert.

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4.13/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle into Duvel tulip: 11.04.10 consumption of 09.30.10 batch.
A: Pours a vigorous two finger head. The head is a light tan color, which sits atop a deep amber body, that show almost the deepest of black hazy. The head settles to a island of round head in the middle of the glass. The lacing that is left from the retreating head and sipping, is thick.

S: The aroma is a high intensity of scotch and oak. The warm note of whiskey is also present. There is a deep and boozy character to this aroma. A bit at the end, is still balanced by a very rounded edge for the ABV.

T/M: The taste is a bit masked on the front by the overly creamy and full mouthfeel. The body shows to be a nice rendition for the style, while adding notes of oak at the very end. The sweetness of malts shows some caramel aspects. Notes of the 10.2% are very relaxed and do not get in the way of altering overall enjoyment. The finish is expressed with strong oak notes and adds a adds a cake batter finish.

D: This beer is overly flavorful and very drinkable for the style. Oak adds a nice and lingering finish that it is warm and is enjoyed best in cold weather. Great brew and will enjoy to see how this beer develops.

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Photo of thagr81us
4.13/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served from tap into a goblet at the Founders event at Duckworth's. Poured reddish-brown with a minimal off-white head. Maintained excellent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt and bourbon. The flavor was of sweet malt, alcohol, and syrup. It had a medium feel on the palate with light to mild carbonation. Overall this one was very nicely balanced with a nice flavor. The aroma on this one was quite nice as well. Probably one of my favorite Scotch Ales to date. It is also crazy drinkable to weigh in at 10.2%...

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Photo of mscudder
4.13/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served into a snifter.

A - Pours a deep brown with a hint of amber. Two-finger light-khaki head. Retention is superb and leaves some lacing behind.

S - Big caramelized sugar, lots and lots of bourbon booze, vanilla and a touch of oak.

T - Sugars hit the tongue, followed by bourbon and wood. Sugars seem to be from some dark fruit, although nothing near the potency of a Belgian. As the beer warms, the booze takes the backseat, simply adding a subtle touch of heat throughout.

M - Warm throughout. Medium-plus body with fair carbonation.

O - This is a good beer that not many others mimic. The craftsmanship is noted and I look forward to grabbing a 4-pack each year.

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Photo of errantnight
4.13/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A smooth, easy sipper... once it's had a little bit of time. This beer just needs some time... time to round off the rough edges, time to tame any loose high alcohols.

Once it does, this beer is an absolute delight.

A rich, deep, lightly hazed amber brown with a tenacious little head.

The aroma brings big, delightful bourbon notes, forward but not searing, brown butter, brown sugar and vanilla.

On the palate this is rich, creamy and smooth, the bourbon dropping away to a caramel, vanilla, brown bread with toast. Whatever the bourbon barrels have stripped away in body with the wet from the barrels has been delicately laid back in with soft, supple tannins. And like a good bourbon, this warms gently as it drinks. And like a good barrel aged beer, presents no noticeable heat on the back palate as it swallows.

I have long been critical of over-barreled beers, and I imagine in previous years, or exceptionally fresh, that this beer could suffer from the traits it plays with here, but pulls off. I've had several over the last few months, and it's a beer that I'd always be glad to dust off from the cellar and pour into a snifter or tulip and nurse as the evening's cool settles in.

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Photo of ohiobrewtus
4.13/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Pours with extremely thin layer of head that is mildly off white. Very clear, reddish/copper color, bordering on brown.

Aroma - Malty sweet with dominant burnt/toasted caramel (likely from kettle caramelization) and slight hints of alcohol, toffee and biscuit. No hops present. Alcohol hotness increases significantly as it warms.

Mouthfeel - Medium full body, medium to medium low carbonation. Overall a slightly creamy, smooth mouthfeel with just a hint of dryness in the finish.

Flavor - The burnt/toasted caramel from the nose dominate, but the toffee/biscuit and malty sweetness continue. Very faint earthy hop bitterness with a slight alcohol warmth in a finish that provides a faint touch of dryness on the back of the tongue and the very back of the roof of the mouth. Alcohol warmth in the finish increases significantly as it warms.

Overall - A great example of the style with exceptional caramel notes and a surprisingly subdued alcohol profile considering the 10.2% abv.

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Photo of chilly460
4.13/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - This beer pours a medium ruby brown color. It has a two finger light tan head on it, good lacing all the way down the glass

S - Whoa, big whiskey smell hits immediately. Follows with some brown sugar, vanilla, caramel, and more booze. Whiskey (oddly not much bourbon smell here, more raw alcohol type smell) overpowers everything else. Dirty Bastard is fairly hoppy for the style, but I don't pick up any hops in this beer.

T - Yahtzeee!!! The first sip hit like a ton of bricks, eyes watered as if I just had a shot of straight bourbon. Other patrons sitting around said the same thing, this keg must have been pulled from a very strong barrel that still had some bourbon in it. The taste is of bourbon with definite vanilla and oak notes. There are good notes of caramel, and canned fruit in a sweet syrup, some toffee too. Eventually, by about the fourth good sip, the bourbon hit calms down and you get a nice smoothing effect, plenty of complexity...the bourbon and sweetness of the beer come together well.

M - Thick mouthfeel with lower carbonation. This beer is smooth as all hell and chewy. I don't know how Founders gets the mouthfeel so perfect in everything from an IPA to a Scotch Ale, but they do. Once the booze numbs you, it goes down the hatch really well.

O - Definitely a sipper, but this is one that just comes together right. It would be better with less booziness on the initial hit, but that seemed to go away as it warmed and I got further into the glass.

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Photo of mvanaskie13
4.13/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a custom shaped glass: color is amber brown, head is light tan with fine bubbles and presents 1/2 inch thick, head dissipates to a top then a ring, mild lacing.

Smell is vanilla, oak, light raisin/aged fruit, caramel, then some boozy heat but not exactly 'bourbon' like.

Taste is on the same plane as the aroma with vanilla heavy, oak undertones, caramel and figs/raisins; further warming brings forth some coconut, toffee and nuts. Booziness is strong, but not in anyway detracting - pleasant warming like a good bourbon based drink.

Mouthfeel has moderate carbonation, some sharper bite at the end.

Overall a pleasantly drinkable beer with deep flavors and some strong booziness with surprisingly strong vanilla/coconut like flavors.

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Photo of radioscooter
4.13/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Got this in a trade with Baltimorebeerguy. I've been wanting to try it for a while, as I work my way through the wee heavys. Hard to find around here.

Aggressive pour into a pint glass. 2 finger head that drips down beautfiully with complex, syrupy lacing.

Stays firm after a few minutes. Pits and valleys. Dark copper, auburn, mahogany color. Slightly cloudy. Aroma weighs heavily on the bourbon side. Nothing Scotchy here. Getting vanilla and burnt sugar.

Let warm for 5 minutes.

Hit with the bourbon boozines right off the bat. Sticky, toffee, vanilla, malty, chewy creamy,

Nothing wrong with that, I like many bourbon beers. But it seems that when you age things in b. barrels, it either marries up to the style of brew, or it doesn't. When it does, you've got amazing things like Goose Island Rare stout. When it doesn't, you get things like Kentucky Bourbon Ale that just taste like you poured bourbon in with the original beer.

This one is somewhere in between. Yeah, I'm getting the malty, dark ale feel but it doesn't really say Scotch Ale to me a whole lot.

It IS delicious though and my only complaint is a slightly dry, phenolic finish. I'm not grabbing this when I want a Scotch Ale, but it's a wonderful sipper when you want that Bourbon feel but don't want the heaviness of a stout.

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Photo of ChugginOil
4.13/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I've tried this on tap before with age on it and this bottle is pretty fresh. Bottled on 10/07/11.

Pours a dark toffee color with less than a fingers worth of light tan head. This brew has a lotta legs.

The nose is rich and boozy with notes of bourbon, vanilla and caramel. Lots of boozy undertones warn me of a potent beer.

The taste is sweet and dessert-like. Vanilla, toffee, bourbon, caramel and some booze. Some biscuit-like notes are coming through in the backend. The alcohol is less noticable in the taste opposed to the nose.

The mouthfeel is rich and creamy with a nice thickness to it. Very comfortable on the palate.

Overall, Founders nails it everytime and this is no exception. Great bourbon aged brew that holds great characteristics. The barrel really work some magic in this beer. The nose is really heavy on the booze and suggests that this brew should be cellared for a little while.

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Photo of diesel59
4.12/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

having spent my summers in scotland back in the 80s as a we lad... i have had a few scotch ales in my youth and have to say that this one stands alone and above most...(probably because i am a huge bourbon fan as well)... but all aside another great product from founders... who have set the bar in many catagories...

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Photo of glid02
4.12/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at the Brick Store.

Pours a murky reddish-brown color with a one-finger off-white head. The head recedes into a patchy layer on top leaving solid lacing.

Smells of sticky and slightly mineral-like caramel malts with good amounts of whiskey and vanilla. As the beer warms booze-soaked golden raisin aromas waft out.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Caramel malt flavors with huge whiskey and vanilla undertones and hints of butterscotch kick things off. Hints of boozy dark fruits enter into things midway through but allow vanilla to dominate through the mildly bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a nice thickness with grainy carbonation.

Drinkability is good. I finished my glass without a problem and could have another.

Overall I was more impressed with the bottle version I had last year as I feel like the whiskey notes were more well-defined. Still, this remains a very good beer and one that's worth a shot.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.12/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy deep-amber-red-chestnut. Surprisingly, the off-white head drops shortly.

The aroma is bourbon-like, but also caramelish and sweet. It's sweetish and woody, and welcoming.

In the mouth it's medium bodied with a median carbonation, leaving it smooth and gently creamy.

The flavor is initially caramel malt, brown sugar, and Bourbon, followed by drying notes of woodiness and a snap of alcohol. In the end, although it lingers for quite some time, the maltiness basically evaporates leaving just the wood, bourbon, and alcohol behind.

An interesting and engaging ale!

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Photo of vandemonian
4.12/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this at the Founders tasting at Big Hunt in DC in November 2010. It was poured into a small glass and never really had much head, but it did show some lacing. If you swished it around in the glass the head would appear briefly. The smell was sweet with a hint of raisins and buttery whiskey. The flavour was malty yumminess with a vanilla buttery finish. The alcohol is quite noticeable in the aftertaste. It tasted like acidic Jameson to me: like Jameson and coke. That might not sounds like high praise, but I really like Jameson and coke... so yeah. This beer tasted a lot like whiskey barrel and not much like beer. Really nice and really unusual, but I don't think the aging process improved this over the regular Dirty Bastard Ale.

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Photo of drtth
4.12/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Duvel glass. Glass of cold water on the side to sip from periodically.

Appearance: The beer pours out a clear light reddish brown with a 1/3" off-white head that quickly recedes to a smallish ring of foam and a thin patch of foam on the liquid. Sipping leaves some small patches of lacing and areas of sparse speckled lacing. For most of the beer there is some scattered lacing.

Smell: The aroma fills the nose with bourbon, vanilla and a trace of oak. This mixture is accented by light caramel, some cocoa and a dash of tart cherry.

Taste: The flavor is a complex mix of caramel and brown sugar mingled with the vanilla from the barrel, the taste of bourbon, some oakiness and a trace of alcohol. In the background and quite persistent trough out is a citric bitterness.

Mouthfeel: The mouth feel is medium bodied, smooth and creamy with the medium to light carbonation. The finish is long with the caramel malt sweetness leaving the scene first leaving the wood and bourbon flavors behind to slowly disappear into dry citric final bitterness.

Drinkability: This beer goes down smoothly a sip at a time, with each sip leaving me wanting another. I won't hesitate to have this one again. And am already thinking that it would be a fine beer to serve as a digestive after a tasty meal with good friends. However there also is a bit of rough edge to the bitterness on this one and I'm thinking it needs a few more months in the bottle for the flavors to become truly integrated and smoothed out.

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Photo of ppoitras
4.12/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle purchased as parts of a couple four-packs from Julio's, Westboro, MA.

Poured into a Chimay chalice, formed a 1/4" tan head over the clear burgundy brew. Head is quickly down to an uneven skim, with heavy legs, minimal lace. Aroma is sweetness and bourbon. Taste starts sweet, a touch of fruit in the middle, and then heavy on the vanilla, with a warming close. Flavors seem very distinct and separate. Mouthfeel is smooth, and drinkability is good. I keep coming back to this one.

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Photo of dbrauneis
4.12/5  rDev -3.3%
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).

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Photo of grees20
4.12/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked this baby up in a recent NEPA case split. Thanks guys.

I went with an aggressive pour and all I got was as a decent, but thin head. It has a dark amber color with nice good carbonation forming many bubbles.

A nice malty aroma with hints of bourbon, some vanilla and dark fruits (maybe raisin?).

A little thinner in the mouth than I expected. Has a sweet, malty start and a wonderful bourbon finish.

The bourbon aroma and taste is just right, it's not overpowering. Overall, a drinkable beer that I'm sure will get better with some age.

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Photo of tedpeer
4.12/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce poured into a pint.

A - Pours a deep red/brown with a sand colored head that quickly settled to a thin layer. Light lacing.

S - Bourbon, malt, vanilla.

T - Roasted malt, dark fruits, Alcohol warmth.

M - Thick, medium carbonation, smooth.

D - Good beer.

I really enjoy both this and Dirty Bastard, although this is better.

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Photo of tayner
4.12/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

bottle sayd 8.7% not the 9.2 listed on here

Poured dark brown with a very little head, leaving just a ring around the edge

nose was strong bourbon, some woody oak, and dark malts

I expected taste to be dominated by bourbon, but surprisingly it was a little less than the smell which indicated a bourbon bomb. this was more balanced than that.. sweet malt, bourbon, mossy oak, figs.

Thick and coating, not too carbonated.

Pretty easy to drink even for the high abv. think it would be too much to have more than one or two, like drinking a beer and a shot of bourbon, but i could drink one every day.

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Photo of suspect
4.12/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Bruery Tulip.

A: Clear mahogany brown. Aggressive pour leads to a slowly rising thick light brown/beige head that disappears slowly leaving thick lacing.

S: Bourbon. It gave me those shivers you get after taking a shot of whiskey...that's how strong it is. Holy cow. Malts are present as are some dark fruits but this is a one trick pony. And that pony is drunk off of bourbon.

T: Bourbon mellows a bit leaving some spices and malts but still, the bourbon is humongous here.

M: Smooth finish, big bodied. Huge bodied. Perfect carbonation.

O: A sipper. Total nightcap beer. Tastes and feels like bourbon. Damn.

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Photo of mavbrew
4.12/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a mahogany color with reddish tint when held up to light. The head is a finger thick and light tan in color, slowly dissipates and leaves little lacing.

S: The scent is pretty complex, the bourbon/scotch scent hits you right up front. Caramel malts are present as well and hints of vanilla and oak/wood characteristics.

T: The upfront taste is without question a massive bourbon flavor that punches the back your palette and sticks around for a while. Following is the oak taste and well as slight malty backgrounds and a bit of alcohol which is expected. The finish is dry and has bourbon flavor.

M: Medium bodied with low carbonation. The feel is woodsy and bourbon.

D: This is not a beer for the average beer drinker. This is a gnarly beer, very strong bourbon presence and the 10.2% does not go unnoticed, definitely a sipper. However, if you like bourbon and aggressive beers then give this one a try.

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Founders Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
4.26 out of 5 based on 7,983 ratings.
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