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Founders Backwoods Bastard | Founders Brewing Company

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
95
world-class
1,742 Reviews
THE BROS
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Founders Backwoods BastardFounders Backwoods Bastard
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company
Michigan, United States | website

Style: Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.60%

Availability: Fall

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

Added by CortexBomb on 01-30-2007

BEER STATS
Reviews:
1,742
Ratings:
7,740
Avg:
4.25
pDev:
10.59%
 
 
Wants:
1,001
Gots:
3,082
For Trade:
283
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 1,742 | Ratings: 7,740
Photo of alcstradamus
4.24/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a murky brown color with a finger of head. Not much lacing, but the head rises up again with a swirt.

The aroma is thick with caramel malts, oak, sweet raisin, vanilla, and toffee. Mesmerizing, really.

The flavor is very oak forward. Lots of raisin and malty sweetness. A bit of boozy heat in the finish. Vanilla flavor is also quite evident. The flavors here are amazing, but there is a bit of a plastic element that prevents me from giving higher than a 4 for the taste.

The body is on the full side of medium. Not quite as big as I would like a wee heavy to be, but quite nice still.

Overall this is simply a fantastic beer and one that I will seek out every year when it is released. I have had a sample before this bottle that I thought was mind blowing, so I'm not sure if the plastic is just due to having an off-bottle or what. Perhaps I just didn't detect it before. Either way, it still tastes great.

 920 characters

Photo of fropones
3.82/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a nice reddish brown with too much yeast suspended in it. Minimal head.

S - Bourbon. Lots of bourbon. Caramel and vanilla.

T - Sweet, bourbon notes, a bit of heat in the back. Caramel, vanilla and oak. A bit simple.

M - Medium bodied, low carb.

D - Fairly drinkable. Alcohol is fairly apparent. I had one of these a while ago when I first bought the fourpack and this was not as good as I remember, unfortunately.

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Photo of berkey
3.95/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a tulip 06/06/10. Been looking forward to this one for awhile. Allowed to warm slightly before pouring and a little more before tasting.

Forms a large and fairly well retained light tan head. Dense dark brown body shows some garnet and surprisingly high amount of suspended sediment throughout.

Strong notes of vanilla, oak, and toffee. Slightly sweeter and a lot more dessert-like than I usually get in the style but still very nice.

Oak and vanilla Bourbon flavors remain a big part of the show but are very well integrated with the rest of the beer. More toffee and a subtle hop bitterness in the aftertaste.

There's a very slight heat here which is enough to remind one this is a big beer but overall it's still pretty easy drinking. The suspended sediment didn't cause any problems on the mouthfeel although I wish this was just a little more viscous.

A very nice beer but as good as it was it's still probably not among my favorites from this brewer. Founders continues to climb the ranks of my favorite breweries.

 1,050 characters

Photo of beveritt
4/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: Thanks go out to fellow Beer Geek DoctorDog for providing this one; quite some time ago. Label depicts a bearded old man carrying a double headed axe over his shoulder. no clear freshness date, but at 10.2%, I don't think it will be an issue. Poured into a small tulip.

Appearance: Pours with 3/4 finger of medium tan head. This settles to a thin ring around the glass and a few islands of foam here and there. The beer itself is a deep, rich mahogany, dark enough that you can't see through it.

Smell: Sweet, caramel malt upfront with an underlying graininess. Hazelnut and a slight sourness in the finish.

Taste: Slightly sweet caramel malt upfront with a subtle undertone of milk chocolate. Strong overtones of your typical oak flavors; specifically vanilla and cherries. Mild yet lingering bourbon flavor in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Slightly higher than average carbonation; enough to tickle the throat. Body is decent.

Drinkability: Another bourbon beer from the recent barrel aged craze. Good, and complex in flavor. But not a favorite.

 1,059 characters

Photo of RomaniIteDomum
4.3/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours garnet with a nice tan head.

Lots of bourbon in the sose, followed by vanilla, figs, some chocolate, and... Twizzlers.

The taste is a tad more gentle on the bourbon with the cherry Twizzler-like taste soothing the fire, but the vanilla leads the show with the bourbon catching up in the end.

This is nice and chewy in the mouth with some burn in the finish.

I really like the complexity of this beer. Too bad I didn't pick up more when I was able. I wouls have liked to age a few.

 490 characters

Photo of beeragent
4.36/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter from a 12oz bottle.

A - Poured a dark copper, forming a very thin tan head with light spots of lace.

S - Strong malty aroma with noticeable notes of oak and alcohol throughout.

T - The sweet malts coat the palate first, followed by the oak flavor coming through after the swallow. There is a slight alcohol burn in the finish. Awesome full flavor!

M - Heavy bodied with low carbonation. Taste lingers on the palate and very smooth.

D - Great flavor, aroma, and body! Whats not to like about this beer? The oak flavor from the barrel comes through nicely on this one, and is not too overpowering. The only drawback, which really isnt one, is the higher abv prevents this from being a sessionable ale.

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Photo of gatornation
3.15/5  rDev -25.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

the pour is dark brown like a wee heavy should be with a little head and a tan ring with minimal lacing..the smell is caramel and burnt toffee with a big bourbon boozy smell vanilla bean and cream smell..whoa !! the taste is boozy bourbon first so much so i dont taste the toffee and biscuit and caramel of a wee heavy..this is just a bourbon hit first with a whiskey/alcohol taste..just not my thing..the mouth fell is booze first with some caramel and toffee ..i dont know this brew is just not 4 me..so low score on drink ability..is this beer brewed well for the style ..oh yeah because as it warms it does mellow out... i just cant give it high grades for me IMO i will not buy it again. i just feel like im drinking booze instead of a fine craft brew IMO.. but will recommend it to scotch ale lovers with high bourbon notes if thats your likes

 849 characters

Photo of kirkpjr
4.05/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From notes - 5/6/10.

Poured into a tulip.

A: Pours a very dark brown that light up with red when held to light. Two fingers of light beige head. Lacing develops immediately.

S: Maple syrup, light bourbon, and cream. This is one of the more unique beers I've smelled. Biscuits and breadiness here, with some very sweet malts - smells almost like pancakes with some type of bourbon butter.

T: Oak, vanilla, sweet malt, and bourbon. Pretty much tastes just like it smells. Very warming and filling.

M: Creamy with lightly above average body. Moderate carbonation. Nice lingering, warming bourbon finish.

D: Quite boozy. Couldn't have more than 1 or 2. Nice filling after dinner beer though.

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Photo of BetterDarker
4.66/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle poured into snifter

A: Deep reddish brown, very thin off white head which quickly dissipated.

S: Right up front, the aroma is inviting. Clearly bourbon, but not overpowering at all. Hints of vanilla, some hops. So far so great, looks and smells fantastic!

T: I was surprised in my initial taste. I immediately thought of Nemesis, which is odd as BB is classified as a Scotch Ale aged in bourbon and Nemesis is a wheatwine. Not surprisingly, I think BB is a great tasting brew. Vanilla, bourbon, oak with no alcohol taste. Very tasty and quite smooth.

M: Smooth and creamy, on the thick side.

D: Dangerous. While the complex flavors and aroma beg to be savored, it's so damn tasty and smooth it goes down rather quickly. Could drink a four pack of this easily, except I can't afford that, both in the wallet and gut.

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Photo of FishGetter
4.37/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

An attractive brown apperance, much like a dark tea. Small sediment swims around glass from a complete pour. Thin head fades quickly to a scabby head.
Nice mellow burbon aroma with trails of toasted oak barrel. Great buttery burbon aroma, not too overpowering.
Smooth mellow burbon flavors. Great to see time in barrels was not overdone. Sweet toasted maltiness blends with buttry notes from the burbon. Very mild hop bitterness adds to the complexity of brew. Burbon flavor hangs around throughout drink with a touch of liquor at finish.
Big thick mouthfeel that is very plesant as it rolls around mouth. Oak dryness lingers in mouth after drink.
Although flavors from barrel aging are the dominate charecter, Founders did a grat job on blending a quality ale foundation. One of the best barrel aged offerings available.

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Photo of BillRoth
4.7/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this at Capone's on draft and really enjoyed. Grabbed a bottle from Matt in his bottle shop for later,
Enjoyed in my Magic Chouffe snifter, and "wow" what pleasure when controlled for temperature and glass.Full flavors of bourbon and wood, vanilla and that soft fullness that comes from excellent aging. The alcohol is only evident in it's creep; nothing that impacts the drink enjoyment. I am a rabib double imperial stout boy, who unabashedly loves Founders Canadian Breakfast Stout. But this is a wonderful drinking experience that needs to explored again and again.

 573 characters

Photo of emmasdad
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours from the bottle a deep, rich mahogany color, with a nice cap of light brown foam, which rather quickly settles in along the side of the glass, leaving only random bubbles upon the surface. Aromas of bourbon, dark brown sugar, caramel, toffee and vanilla. On the palate, this beer is absolutely delicious, with more great bourbon flavor, toasted malt, caramel and a little bit of milk chocolate. The bourbon here is integrated so well, and the 10% alcohol is barely noticeable. Another incredible effort from Founders.

 523 characters

Photo of levifunk
4.67/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

tasted side by side with Dirty Bastard (DB)

appearance - dark, red, nutty haze. good carbonation.

smell - caramel/vanilla and bourbon. booze smell isn't as strong as DB

taste - very smooth, far less boozy and bitter than DB. caramel and vanilla sweetness balanced well with the bourbon flavor. Higher ABV than DB, but booze flavor is very well masked.

mouth - medium to heavy body. carbonation slightly less than DB.

overall - phenomenal beer. DB is good, but this blows it away. i could drink this every day.

 514 characters

Photo of TK5150
4.25/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Mixed review of the 2009 and 2011 vintages.

A-Dark brown with a beige head. When held up to the light is a nice dark amber.

S- Sweet bourbon, big vanilla, toasty oaky notes, caramel. Great.

T- Sweet bourbon, vanilla, toasted oak, lingering caramel sweetness. One of the best caramel flavors I've had in a beer actually. Somewhat watery at the finish though. Dry lingering effect long after the swallow.

M- Medium bodied (2009), somewhat fiull bodied (2011).

D- Dangerously drinkable and one of the two best scotch ales I've ever had (the other was also barrel aged).

 572 characters

Photo of BTPete
4/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz poured to tulip

A: Dark brown, minimal head and lacing. Lots of little bubbles rising from bottom of glass.

S: Smells like sweet booze with hints of oak/vanilla.

T: Sweet, malty, with some caramel or toffee, dark fruit. The oak gives nice hints of underlying vanilla.

M: nice medium/full bodied beer. Pretty carbonated.

D: Shockingly smooth and drinkable for 10.2%. Obviously you could have a few of these and they would sneak up on you. I think this one is another winner from Founders.

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Photo of wxjunkie
3.48/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Backwoods Bastard

Appearance: Mahogany with a light creamy head

Nose: brown sugar first, then a little bourbon. Both aromas are tough, too, they have some bite and after you smell this beer you'll be a little better prepared for what's next ...

Taste was carbonated for sure, but all that aging in oak barrels hits you quick and the 10% ABV is obvious right away.

Palette: Again, carbonated and quite heavy.

Drinkability: Do you like heavy? Do you like bourbon? This is a good beer for you then. At more than $5 a bottle in Louisville, I will buy a bottle every now and then for an in-your-face bourbon beer experience, but I doubt I'd ever order a second.

 661 characters

Photo of haddon
4.22/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

pours a dark cola color with a light creamy head that dissipates quickly. good lacing down pint glass

wow, love the smells that attack the nose! sweet brown sugar, molasses, vanilla & bourbon

starts off caramel, brown sugar & lots of bourbon. the malts go away quickly leaving only the oak, bourbon and strong alcohol taste behind

medium/full body that is slighty heavy. the carbonation is quite noticeable

I don't know if it is very drinkable to the average joe but I happen to love bourbon so its right up my alley. the 10% abv & bourbon barreled aged can really cause this one to sneak up on ya! definitely worth the experience.

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Photo of cpetrone84
4.3/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Fresh Growler from Fatheads

A-pours a slightly hazy sunset red color, hues of orange shining through. The head is a light tan color, tight, about one finger with some retention and a little lace.

S-notes of bourbon right up front, light hints of oak and vanilla in the middle, dark fruity sweetness in the back. Plums, figs, and rum soaked raisins.

T-the taste has a lot of great components that work really well together, it isn't huge but it is extremely well done. The bourbon is faint and the oak and vanilla are more pronounced. Hints of chocolate at first, toffee and caramel take over. The vanilla oakiness and hints of bourbon are in the middle with some sweeter dark fruits in the back. Ripe plum is quite nice with notes of slightly rum soaked raisins. The finish actually adds a touch of herbal hoppiness and a hint of bitterness to throw even more complexity but not over-doing anything, it works so well!

M-medium body and extremely smooth; but the carbonation is just a little light. The soft smooth feeling on the palate is enticing, it coats the mouth completely and again very softly. The finish is a little bit thin, not quite enough carbonation taking away slightly from the overall feel of the beer; but the smooth, syrupy, soft texture is quite nice.

D-this is actually insanely drinkable for a 10%+ beer. The alcohol is so well hidden, slightly warm at the very back but not at all detracting from the beer, just letting you knoww this is a beast. The complexity is a beautiful blend or flavors that work well together and transition so nicely. Glad I have a whole growler for the evening!

 1,617 characters

Photo of Arenbeer
4.52/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Thanks to Beerwolf77 for this great brew!

12oz stub into a snifter glass

A- Pours a dark cloudy reddish brown with a thin off white head that's barely there.

S- Strong bourbon smell hits the nose first, following lingering oak/wood notes. Sweet malts and caramel are also apparent.

T- Creamy caramel malts compliment a strong bourbon and vanilla wood flavor that I really love. For being such a high ABV beer the alcohol is hidden very well! Big fan of that

M- Smooth medium body, with lower carbonation and little bitterness in the finish. A real easy drinker.

SkÅL!

 576 characters

Photo of rhinos00
4/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a tulip glass.

2008 vintage

A- Pours a dark brown color with shades of tan throughout. Produced a fingers width of cream colored head. Reduced to a thin, foamy ring around the glass.

S- Bourbon, oak and sweet malts. Little bit of caramel. The aromas meshed very well together.

T- Upfront notes of bourbon and sweet malts come through. Complexity is added with caramel and oak barrel flavors. Finishes with great cohesion: bourbon, sweet malts attributable to wee heavys, and a bit of caramel.

M- Medium bodied with good carbonation. Could have used more viscosity.

D- Very drinkable. The bourbon was there, but very mellow. No alcohol heat for big beer.

Overall, a very nice beer. Recommended.

 728 characters

Photo of Beejay
3.92/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Cloudy, very red amber. Nice full tan head on top.

S: Sweet, burnt caramel, raisons, oak, and bourbon.

T: Heavy alcohol at first, then burnt caramel, oak and Bourbon. Very nice once you settle into it. A good bit of bite from the hops at the finish.

M: Feels heavy. But plenty of carbonation.

D: Definitely a sipper of a beer. Nice, tons of carmel in there. Roasty, oaky and really does taste like something out of the backwoods.

 438 characters

Photo of thecarster1
3.27/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

a- bottle poured into a tasting glass, not much head to be had due to the high alcohol, chesnut brown with a slight haze, really great label, love the artwork.

s- lots of alcohol, walnut, loads of malt, and straight up bourbon.

t- right off the bat this beer shows that it's not playing around, loads of alcohol, bourbon, a slight buttery-ness, carmelized brown sugar, dark fruits, oak. this is one complex bad boy.

m- medium bodied.

d- this is one strong, potent beer. i'm glad i had the chance to try it, but this isn't something i could polish off on my own with much ease. the alchohol and strong flavors in the bastard hinder the drinkability a bit, overall though this is a pretty fine beer.

 701 characters

Photo of Lolli1315
3.52/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A- Very dark brown, almost opaque but not quite. Small head that disappears quickly. Not much left to stick to the glass.

S- Large hints of alcohol are thrown out immediately followed with a lacing of wood chips and vanilla. Finishes with a subtle sweetness.

T- A strong taste of wood along with vanilla evident from the aging. Back end of the beer is overshadowed by the taste of alcohol as it becomes somewhat overwhelming.

M- Medium body, lacks on carbonation that could help this finish crisper.

D- This is a sipping beer, but quite easy or someone to drink over dinner or for a relaxing drink after a meal.

 616 characters

Photo of CHSLBrew
2.73/5  rDev -35.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a snifter.

A-Poured with a dark tan/khaki head which receded quickly, probably owing to the higher ABV, eventually down to pretty much nothing. Virtually opaque brown beer with slight garnet highlights and an eerie, swampy glow.

S-Vanilla oakiness, slightly woody right away. Dark and sweet, like a rich sugar candy, with a bit of tasty sugar and a hit of spirits.

T-The oakiness stands prominently forefront in this beer. Oaky vanilla character pairs with a large malty-sugary sweetness. Bitterness seems to derive from several aspects, a bit from the oak, a bit from the alcohol, and minimally from the hops. Malty-boozy notes rise later in the flavor finishing residaully oaky and alcohol.

M-Full-bodied beer feels solid, slow-moving, and sticky. Carbonation was predictably low-level.

D-This beer is not very drinkable by the standards of high ABV brews. The alcohol was very prominent, and the barrel aging seemed to give it a bit too much of a harsh spirit-like quality.

 1,007 characters

Photo of BigIrishman
4.22/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed in a thistle glass

Appearance: Pours dark ruby with zero visibility and almost no head.

Smell: Sweet oak over smooth malty background. Hints of vanilla, licorice, and even some caramel. This is pretty complicated and very good.

Taste: Like candy. Seriously though, this beer is hugely complex. It starts sweet and develops smooth caramel malts before a twinge of plum, raisin, and grapes come through. There is a slight bitter finish that cleans the palate.

Mouthfeel: Creamy and almost oily.

Drinkability: It's going to be tough for a barrel aged wee heavy to be very drinkable but this one definitely pushes that limit.

 635 characters

Founders Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
95 out of 100 based on 1,742 ratings.
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