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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): 11.60%

Availability: Fall

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

Added by CortexBomb on 01-30-2007

For Trade:
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Reviews: 1,750 | Ratings: 7,770
Photo of stingray
4.84/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

2015 vintage poured at cellar temp into a snifter.

L: Deep red with a tan head, some residual lacing. Lots of sediment in this bottle, don't remember seeing that before. Interesting how brown the foam is compared to how red the beer itself. I love how brown the lacing stays.
S: Bourbon, caramel, toffee. Like a savory bourbon candy. I could sit and smell this all night.
T: Smoky malts, caramel, bourbon and butter. Butterscotch, I guess! 11.6% ABV is very smooth. Heavy bourbon but not a strong alcohol flavor. So smooth and rich. Intoxicating.
F: Carbonation is surprisingly active but provides a creamy mouthfeel. Definitely thicker than your average beer. Not oily or filmy.
O: I go back and forth between this and the Central Waters version. Both are about as good as beer gets, in my book. Don't chill it or you'll miss the warm, smooth bourbon glow. I had it on tap once and it was fully chilled. Caused some odd sharp flavors to come out and couldn't smell the sweet notes. Drink slowly at cellar temp and let the taste and aroma open up as it warms. Dirty Bastard is pretty good, not my favorite; Backwoods is on another level.

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Photo of q33jeff
2.84/5  rDev -33.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.75

Appearance: clear black like a cola, off white head, thick.
Aroma: whiskey
Taste: whiskey is strong, caramel, toast, plum , grape. Not smooth. a bit strong.
Feel: medium carbonation, acidic.
Not my cup of tea. I think barrel aging works better with thicker/darker beers.

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Photo of MACrist
4.74/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

APPEARANCE: More or less an opaque, mahogany-brown. A half finger of khaki head that settles quickly to a ring. Good carbonation when rocking the glass from side to side. Some spotty lacing and legs down the glass.
AROMA: Big brown sugar, mild bourbon/alcohol, lots of dark dried fruits/raisin, figs. A tiny bit of smoke.
TASTE: Very smooth and sweet up front, molasses, dark dried fruits, bourbon comes out on the finish.
FEEL: Medium carbonation, very dry all the way through the sip, full body and pretty chewy.
OVERALL: Nice sipper. The bourbon quality continues to build as you drink but it's not a boozy mess, very flavorful. Sip and relax with this one.

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Photo of brblanch
3.93/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle dated 10/6/2015 poured into tulip. Pours a dark burgundy with thin tan head that quickly dissipates to a ring of small bubbles around edge of glass. Little light passing through. Smell is straight up bourbon and caramel. Taste follows the nose. Pick up bourbon immediately transitioning to sweet caramel and some spiciness I can't quite put my finger on. Alcohol burn lingers and becomes a little off-putting for my taste. Definitely a sipper at 11.6%. Thicker mouthfeel which I enjoyed in this beer. Overall nice beer to try but I've preferred lower ABV scotch ales to this.

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Photo of iliketurtlesthx
4.41/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2015 bottle poured 3/31/2016.

Pours a dark caramel. Very little light shines through it. Smells of barrel, toffee, certainly a bit of brown sugar. Taste is complex! Caramel, toffee, TONS of barrel, and a bit of hops. Other flavors in there too, but I love how the barrel comes through.

This is one of my favorite beers. It never disappoints me! If you enjoy BBA scotch ales, this is a must try. I snagged three four packs so I can one a month. Ages well.

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Photo of Wontonst
4.12/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a dark reddish brown color with a full thick head. Very appealing look. The smokey barrel aging pops out along with vanilla, caramel. Taste is hoppy with notes of toffee, caramel, and malts. Feel is smooth but a bit boozy halfway through, with a malty finish.

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Photo of bin31z
4.52/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours reddish brown with little head. Nose is full of coconut, caramel and barrel char. Palate has the caramel sweetness mix with some barrel charred burned sugar flavors. Doesn't taste 11.6 abv at all. I could sip on this all day, just the right mix of bourbon barrel and base beer. I find some barrel aged imperial stouts to be too much going on, too heavy. This is better in my opinion, a simpler base beer with some great barrel flavors. Only offputting thing is that there is some similarity to cough syrup on the nose and taste, but alot of bourbon aged beers have that characteristic.

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Photo of MaximalC
3.93/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

*Bottled 10/27/14

Pours a deep, garnet color with a modest cap of cream suds. Mild aroma smells of toffee, brown sugar, cherries, and vanilla. Swaths of speckled lacing adorn the glass as the beer recedes.

The taste is sweet and boozy up front, featuring brown sugar, toasted bread, cherry cough syrup, and woody, buttery bourbon with notes of vanilla. Mild, herbal hops lurk beneath the malt and bourbon foreground. Medium-heavy body and mild carbonation make for a slightly syrupy mouthfeel. Palpable stickiness lingers on the lips between sips.

Overall, this is a nice scotch ale that might even be a little too barrel-forward, if I may say so. I don’t know if the fact that this bottle is pushing 17 months makes a difference, but that was my impression. Either way, there’s no denying the quality of the craftsmanship here.

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Photo of Crubbsy
3.91/5  rDev -8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle from 2015 poured into a tulip glass

Appearance: Pours a dark carmelly brown color. Left a foamy and very light tan head that lingered for a minute or so. Lots and lots of solids suspended in this beer. Looks chewy.

Aroma: All carmel, malt and whiskey.

Taste: The carmel malt aroma carry through proportionately to the flavor. First you get a densely sweet and delicious malt, then the smoky whiskey barrel finish.

Mouthfeel: Thick and viscous sugary nectar. nice smooth finish that leaves a thin coating on the mouth and makes the flavor of the beer linger for a while. very pleasant.

Overall: I like the combo of a scottish ale with a barrel aging treatment, although the scottish ale varieties are admittedly not my favorite. The smoky whiskey flavors do a nice job of balancing the super sweet brew that it accompanies.

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Photo of NolaHopHead
4.29/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle, almost 1.5 yrs old. Pours deep reddish brown, thin off white head fades quickly to a ring, lots of soapy lacing. Sugary sweet aroma with bourbon notes, dark fruit, hint of vanilla. Taste is similar, complex blend of maple/brown sugar, bourbon, wood, raisins, burnt notes. None of the flavors overpowers. Some earthy bitterness lingers past the semi dry finish. A little booze coming through at the end. Medium mouthfeel. Very good brew, so many flavors.

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Photo of kaseydad
4.6/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Scary dude on label. I better like this. Nuff said.

Pours a very nice murky brown/copper ale with a nice sized cream colored head. Light lacing.

Nice sweet caramel aromas with some sweet malt and boozy bourbon soaked dark fruits.

Taste is long sweet malt yum, more caramel (like the aroma), bourbon, brown sugar, molasses and just a kiss of hop spice on the tongue. The booze warmness is definitely present but doesn't distract from each sip.

Overall this was a home run. Obviously the past reviews can attest to that, but I consider myself lucky to finally partake in all that is Founders. They know how to brew beer and this is a fantastic brew for the style. Hell it could probably win some Barleywine contests as well. Amazing stuff.

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Photo of GregBinder7
4.73/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Overall great beer. Very good taste, awesome aroma as well. They typically have it on tap for quite some time! Easily one of the best brews Founders makes

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Photo of Phil-Fresh
4.38/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25


A: Lots of bourbon vanilla upfront, some malt sweet malt and oak on the nose.

A: Deep brown color, with an amberish hue, almost opaque, with a moderate head.

T: Lots of bourbon, rich malts with a light brown sugar, molasses character with some oak. This beer does not have a typical Scotch ale flavor profile – but quite tasty.

M: Full bodied with moderate carbonation; very smooth mouth-feel.

O: Pretty fantastic and great one to slowly sip and enjoy the complex taste!

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Photo of JackieKu
4.67/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

On tap.

A: Deep brown. Medium foam with fine retention.
S: Intense oaks: woody and vanilla. Syrup sweet. Sour notes.
T: Intense oaky and malty. Vanilla, woody, butter, caramel, and bread. High sweetness. Moderate bitterness.
M: Full body. Moderate carbonation.
O: The best Scotch ale I've had. Powerful aroma and flavor. Complex and delicious, really great.

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Photo of mctnoyes
4.37/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Not really a scotch ale fan but this one is a HUGE exception! Founders does a fantastic job barrel aging and it gives this strong ale awesome flavor. Look forward to it every year.

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Photo of THSdrummer
4.28/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours an opaque, hazy of plum-maroon with a medium-thin beige head. Not much if any lacing is left behind. Notes of sweet malts, toffee, and oak come through in the nose. It smells sweet overall. Taking a sip provides one with a smooth crescendo of sweet malts and toffee, before peaking and decaying into a still sweet, but oak infused flavor. Mouth feel is fantastic. It's incredibly smooth and well behaved, despite being an 11% beer. Overall, an incredible beer. It's easy and fun to drink, and looks great. Features a little more character in the aroma and taste than other scotch ales/ wee heavies I've had in the past.

Served in a 12oz snifter.

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Photo of alarmclock314
4.15/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle, 2014 version, dated 9/26/14. Pours hazy amber with a medium sized off-tan head. Smells of bourbon, cocoa, cherry, and barrel. The taste follows exactly with bourbon, oak, cherry, cocoa, and vanilla. Could use some more caramel flavors. Some bitterness in the pallet. Medium body and below average carbonation. It's very different from Dirty Bastard; it's less true to the style but full of flavor and well made.

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Photo of MisSigsFan
4.24/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a deep ruby red/brown with a light tan head. Smell is heavy on the bourbon. Rich vanilla, oak, molasses, brown sugar, caramel, and sweet malt. Taste follows the nose for the most part. Slightly boozy on the back end. Mouthfeel is slightly sticky and thick with low carbonation. Overall, a really good BA wee heavy. I wouldn't go out of my way to get it though, even before Founder started distro-ing here. Definitely worth trying though.

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Photo of ranger7
3.46/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Wow. I had this over New Year's Eve. Boozy and sweet; some brown sugar, caramel, and malt. Very boozy and definitely a sipping beer. I'm glad I gave this a try, since I've been looking for it for a couple years now, but I probably wouldn't seek it out again. For what it is, it's fine, but too boozy for me.

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Photo of Sir_Whats-his-face
4.6/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

I was excited to finally get to try one of Founders barrel aged beers, and I think I'm most surprised by how subtle this beer is. The bourbon isn't so in-your-face, but it's integrated so well into the whole that I feel as if that's for the best. It's no bourbon bomb, but it's an extraordinarily balanced beer, and I can't find much- if any- fault with it.

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Photo of retry4z
4.14/5  rDev -2.6%
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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Photo of uvachief
4.06/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle. Scotch Wee Heavy. Pours a nice amber red. Full 2 fingers of head that lingered. Smells of sugars and bourbon. Much like a traditional scotch wee heavy. Taste is thicker than expected. Bourbon upfront and bourbon on the back end. Tastes like a barleywine to me though. Good but not great. Sweet sugars and bourbon. I'll pass next time.

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Photo of NateDyk47
3.24/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

On tap at Founders.

L: dark brown, thin white head
S: bourbon, caramel, maple syrup
T: mostly bourbon, hint of caramel
F: on the heavy side

Not a big fan. Too sweet and too much bourbon.

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Photo of MLoxxer
3.2/5  rDev -24.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

This was my first foray into a high gravity scotch ale. I partook of this beer on tap at Yia Yia's in Lincoln Nebraska. The draw I had exhibited a very nice appearance whose head left behind respectable lacing. The nose and flavor of this beer are very alcoholic, which is to be expected at 12% plus ABV. Although it is interesting, the intrigue to want to try it again just isn't there.

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Photo of Ikeithbot
4.96/5  rDev +16.7%
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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Founders Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
4.25 out of 5 based on 7,770 ratings.
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