Founders Backwoods Bastard | Founders Brewing Company

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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:
1,747
Ratings:
7,751
Avg:
4.25
pDev:
22.35%
 
 
Wants:
1,001
Gots:
3,085
For Trade:
278
User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,747 | Ratings: 7,751
Photo of Avantyawn
2.26/5  rDev -46.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

A: Deep brown red, barely any head

S: Nutty, smoky, malty, bourbon, molasses

T: Tastes a bit like a watery bourbon cocktail. Tastes sloppy. The bourbon flavor is overwhelming. Why do I only taste the bourbon and not any of the awesome base beer here? Doesn't work.

M: Mouthfeel is too thin , a bit too dry, not melded together well. Tastes like a mixed drink gone flat.

O: Overall, I really did not enjoy this beer, a rarity as I always enjoy Founders beers. I don't get the melding of flavors, they don't seem to work in my opinion. I love Dirty Bastard, but do not dig this.

 580 characters

Photo of charlesw
2.29/5  rDev -46.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Deep brown amber. Small head even with great lengths taken.

Smells of mineral spirits.

Kind of weird in the mouth. Sweet and thick, chocolate milk, hot alcohol. Not what I expected at all. Some bourbon especially in the aftertaste (back and sides of the mouth) along with a lingering bitterness.

I have absolutely no idea why this is classified, here, today, as a Scotch Ale.

Too sweet and thick, not enough flavor, misplaced bourbon (to try to hide the hot alcohol?).

Bleh.

 479 characters

Photo of Murchmac
2.43/5  rDev -42.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Well Younger35, you can't win them all.

The picture of Gandalf the Grey as a hillbilly farmer on the label should give it away. Pours a brownish brackish like the marsh lands frodo crossed with Sean Astin.

Smells cloying and sweet? Redundant, Gollum Gollum.

Tastes sticky icky sweet and alcoholy, like a pint from the green dragon and the bartendress that samwise gange eventually marries.

Aftertaste of stinginess, the beer turns blue when orcs are near.

I can see how some people like this beer, for me, it's like Mordor where the very air you breathe is poison.

 571 characters

Photo of Jacurdy60
2.43/5  rDev -42.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

A-Deep ruby read with a bubbly head. Poor retention and little to no lacing at all.

S-Srong, potent scotch whisky and vanilla

T-Followed the nose, mostly. Some banana was in there as well

MF-Too carbonated and crisp, I was expecting something smoother

O-I did not enjoy this beer at all. It might be because I dislike liquor and it strongly resembled a scotch whisky. I guess this kind of beer is not my style, and now I definitely know so.

 444 characters

Photo of Cresant
2.48/5  rDev -41.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Poured this 12 oz. brown bottle into a Sam Adams glass. No date. The body was cloudy and the color of brown leather. The modest head faded to a filmy ring.

Smell was bourbon. Only bourbon.

Taste was a bourbon smack in the face. There was a lingering sweet aftertaste.

Mouthfeel was medium to full in body. I have to say I "don't get" this one. Seem one dimensional to me. Too much up front bourbon flavor. I prefer muted bourbon notes, not feeling like I'm drinking a mixed drink.

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Photo of RobPete
2.52/5  rDev -40.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 1.75 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

This is an ok beer. I didn't expect the strong bourbon presence. It was evident from the time I popped the top until the time the final remnants finished rolling off my tongue. To me, this was too overbearing. It was as though Founders took some ale and mixed it 50/50 with Beam. Beautiful deep red color and felt great on the tongue. Just couldn't get over thinking that I was drinking a cocktail.

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Photo of Pinknuggets
2.53/5  rDev -40.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Bottle to fiddlehead pint glass

A: light brown color with ruby red accent thin tan head that dissipates quickly

S: reeks of booze smells more like a malt liquor then beer

T:follows the nose tastes like like burning alc liquor wasn't this barrel aged? Maybe it needs some more time there is dense wood like flavor but alc is really just overwhelming here

M: thin and light bit too heavy would be drinkable if it wasn't for the alc

O: well this totally sucked maybe its not my style but just tasted like liquor not beer maybe it needs time to mellow out or the style isn't for me but I hated it

 599 characters

Photo of LiquidBread219
2.63/5  rDev -38.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A= It was dark in color like a brown. No real head.

S= The only thing I smell in this beer is bourbon.

T= The taste is the same as the nose bourbon and that's about it.

M= Right amount of Carbonation for this beer.

D= A lot of people like this beer but I just don't like it at all hard to get through IMO. I have a few bottles left I'll gift them and probably won't try this one again.

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Photo of danh53
2.65/5  rDev -37.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.5

Dark amber pour with one finger head that dissipates quickly and leaves some lacing. Aroma is brown sugar, vanilla, and bourbon soaked raisins and figs. It smells sweet and the alcohol is present, but on the taste, the alcohol really comes through in a bad way. I get rubbing alcohol from start to finish and that pretty much overpowers the other flavors. There is a slight dryness from the oak, but I really don't taste much barrel character or bourbon for that matter, just alcohol. I got the same thing when I tried it fresh last fall and the age has done nothing to change it. I'm going to save my last bottle for 2016 to see if the alcohol smooths out, but safe to say I'll be avoiding the 2015 batch when it hits shelves.

 727 characters

Photo of robbyc1
2.67/5  rDev -37.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5

Clear amber, decent lace. Nothing special.

Nose has an intriguing oak waft, like fresh oak, with a slight bit of bourbon. Not sure where the actual beer is.

The Oak hits hard up front, with the bourbon to follow, but they linger because the actual beer does not hold up - the storage tastes dominate, and leave this taste very unbalanced, some hops noticiable at the end with slight malt, but malt looses the battle here.

Mouthfeel is good with heaviness, but the drinkability suffers greatly from the lack of balance, you would have to be eating a wood grilled fish to enjoy this, couldn't finish the bottle.

The un-oaked version of this is much better.

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Photo of KingMoomie
2.68/5  rDev -36.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

For me, this is a classic example of how a beer can change year by year.

When I heard that Backwoods Bastard was coming in this week, I was very excited. Founders is one of my favorite breweries, and I have loved this beer since the first year it was released.

I grabbed a bottle to drink at the bar, and everything started out good. The appearance was fine, just as I remembered, with a slightly dark color and a great bourbon nose.

I was talking to someone when I took my first sip, but I immediately realized that something was different.

Keep in mind that I do love bourbon aged beers, this was different. From the first sip you get an extreme booziness that dominates the beer. I tried to think back if I had ever thought it was this way in previous years, and decided I had not.

After passing it around for others to try and coming to the same conclusion, I finished it myself, but not in the way I envisioned.

The mouthfeel was fine, but as far as drinkability, it comes up far short.

As much as it pains to do, I have to review this beer poorly, and will be waiting until next year's batch to try it again.

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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 ms11781
2.78/5  rDev -34.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Bottled on 10/02/2010. Poured from a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass.

Pours a very cloudy, very dark brown color with a small tan head that doesn't last very long. No real lacing to speak of.

Nose is a lot of bourbon up front. Not really overpowering as the scent isn't strong at all. But it is all bourbon. Slight oak and maybe a hint of sweet malt but not much at all.

Taste is some bourbon up front but it fades quickly to reveal a very sweet malt that is almost candy like. Slight warming from the alcohol as each sip finishes. Not really the malt flavor I expect from a scotch ale. Not even close actually.

Feels medium to thick in the mouth. Low carbonation that doesn't seem out of the ordinary for a beer of this ABV and style.

Drinkability is ok. Goes down smooth enough and, while the alcohol is high, it's not really a problem. Definitely a one and done due to the ABV though.

This is a difficult beer to rate for me because I do like some things about it but it doesn't have any characteristics of a scotch ale. Tastes like a decent bourbon barrel "something", just not a decent bourbon barrel aged scotch ale.

 1,131 characters

Photo of falloutsnow
2.82/5  rDev -33.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.75

From: Binny's, Champaign, IL
Date: 2013-08-09
Glass: Tulip

I've had this fresh and aged, on tap and in bottles, and I'd say this is one that shouldn't be aged and is comparable on tap and in bottles.

As far as bourbon barrel aged beers go, Backwoods Bastard is a "balanced" attempt at the style, the bourbon not being excessively present, though it is still the dominant aroma and flavor here, aside from the ethanol. While not ridiculously one-dimensional as other bourbon barrel aged beers, this is still a fairly boring base of flavors, mostly of bourbon, ethanol, and behind-the-scenes caramel-like Maillard reaction sweetness. For me, nothing essential.

Pours a 1cm tall head of medium and large-sized bubbles, yielding an appearance something like cola foam, but somewhat longer lived. Retention is below average at under one minute, the head fading to a thin ring around the perimeter of the glass and a small island of thin foam atop the body of the beer. Body is a very dark amber brown color, with light bringing out slightly brighter amber brown hues. Carbonation not visible through the nearly opaque (90% opacity) body.

Aroma of bourbon that has been "smoothed out" substantially by what was initially a malt-forward beer, with very faint hints of dark caramel-like sweetness, brown sugar, and cocoa. Not unpleasant, but the bourbon far outweighs any other element here, and thus this exhibits the same problems as many other one-dimensional bourbon beers.

Taste is predominantly of bourbon and ethanol, with the underlying heavy caramel malts smoothing this out and providing a semblance of sweetness. Front of palate of bourbon-soaked heavy caramel malt, ethanol, and slight vanilla. Mid-palate of substantial bourbon, heavy and spicy ethanol, and notably heavy caramel malts to sweeten and smooth out these other two large flavors, though failing somewhat. Back of palate detects heavy ethanol and bourbon, with little traces of vanilla and heavy maillard reaction products. Aftertaste of bourbon, ethanol, and caramel-like maillard reaction byproducts.

Beer is medium bodied, with carbonation of medium-low intensity, resulting in a somewhat foamy (1/2) and smooth (1/2) mouthfeel that's a bit light and even slightly watery for the style. Ethanol easily felt in the nostrils as heat and as burning on the throat and tongue, Closes dryly, with heavy stickiness clinging to the lips and palate.

 2,416 characters

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

**
11/30/2014
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 jeffthecheff
2.87/5  rDev -32.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Thanks to Joe for the bottle. Your just helping me beat you in the race to 200, dude. Poured into a tulip glass on a snowy day while watching the winter Olympics. It has a dark red/brown color with just a wisp of a tan head. There are some small, flaky particles floating throughout.

The nose contains some toasted, oaky wood and alcohol. Vanilla is a bit strong and reminds me of vanilla extract. I would like more subtlety here. I'm not generally in to bourbon aged beers, so I appreciated that this didn't smell like it had a straight shot of whiskey in it, but the aromas of the beer itself were a bit underwhelming.

Flavor is rich caramel up front with some oak wood on the finish. Vanilla in the middle, and a bit too strong again. Slight dark fruits on the back. I'm glad this doesn't taste like whiskey, but there is a slight burn on the tongue and throat. The mouthfeel is unimpressive, and is the low light of this beer. It has a thin impact for its size. A bit thin, which carries a slightly syrupy liquor flavor in the finish. I would prefer heavier malt in the flavor mouthfeel.

This beer took me way to long to drink. It had some decent attributes, and some nice, subtle barrel character, but the base beer didn't impress me. It feels a bit lifeless in the mouthfeel, and the flavors just weren't my bag.

 1,321 characters

Photo of yannimou
2.89/5  rDev -32%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Be warned; there is A LOT of bourbon in this beer. It's sweet and malty, but bourbon is the dominate flavor in this beer. The alcohol is NOT masked at all. Imagine drinking a viscous, carbonated bourbon with 1/4 the alcohol content. That's backwoods. Sorry, but I'm not a fan. I like BBA stouts and even barely or wheat wines. This is not for me.

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Photo of HardTarget
2.95/5  rDev -30.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Appearance: Hazy dark brown glass holds a trace of head that gives some lacing to the glass.

Smell: Boozy bourbon. Oak is heavy and a bit raw. As some of that off gasses, some raisin sweetness is noted.

Taste: Bourbon is hot and forward and overwhelms most of the other flavors except the oak, which lingers well after the swallow. Hard to get any beer flavor here, every sip is a shot of bourbon.

Mouthfeel: Medium heavy body, firm but not fizzy carbonation, oily slick finish.

Overall: Gratuitous oaking, 15 yard penalty, repeat the down. A little disappointed, expected a better beer from Founders. This might mellow out in a cellar for a while, but I don't think that much wood is going away. I also think they left half the bourbon in the barrel, it drowns out anything else that might have contributed to the taste. Not being a real Bourbon fan, this kills the review.
Thanks to Illudium for the bottle.

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Photo of psuKinger
2.97/5  rDev -30.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Bottle poured into standard shaker pint glass because I need to save my snifters for New Year's Day football/friends tomorrow. No freshness date readily visible on the bottle, but for a big 10.2% scotch ale like this I don't anticipate age to be an issue.

A: Hazy dark brown color with a nice bubbly 1 finger white head that dissipated quickly.

It did leave a moderate amount of nice lacing on my glass as I worked through it.

S: Huge sweet smell of prunes, licorice, and other dark fruits and candied sugars is detectable even as I pour, before I even try to put my nose to the glass for a test.

When I go to my nose I can pick up a little alcohol as well.

T: Taste follows the nose, dark fruits and candied sugar with an alcohol presence. I can definitely pick up on the bourbon-barrel flavors. This is only my second bourbon-barrel aged brew, but the Goose Island Bouron County Stout that I'd had before this had similar charachteristics, so I think that's a good indication that I'm picking up on the *notes* that I should be.

The taste quickly turns from cool, light, and carbonated to full as the dark fruits and candied sugars move in quickly at the middle of the taste. The beer finishes with the distinct sweetness/pucker of bourbon and a warm booziness on the tongue.

M: This beer is well-carbonated and sticky sweet in the mouth, and finishes with a boozy-warm feeling.

D: I think I just don't much care for bourbon-barrel aged beers. This beer has a lot of interesting things going on, but it's just "not for me". A little boozier than I'd like, but it's really that overwhelming bourbon-sweetness that turns me off here. And at 10.2%, you probably wouldn't want to pound several of these in a given night even if you liked it.

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Photo of BeerInReview
2.99/5  rDev -29.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A: A dark amber in color with a nice thick white head. Nice lacing all the way through as well.
S: Hello alcohol! Bourbon, bourbon, and more bourbon. It's hard to distinguish other aromas when the bourbon is so strong, though I can faintly smell vanilla.
T: A strong bourbon and heavy alcohol punch up front. Harsh! As the fire subsides oak and vanilla flavors are present.
M: Thin...
D: Let me put it this way, I won't be seeking this beer out again.

However...I think the bottle I had was way too young. The alcohol has not settled and melded. It seems to have some good underlying characteristics that may present themselves better in a years time once the alcohol settles down.

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Photo of colt45n
3/5  rDev -29.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Pours a copper red w/ very little head

S: Lots of sweet bourbon smell mixes in with caramel malt

T: similar to nose oak/bourbon flavors, Nice sweet caramel finish. Not very hot in taste. Smooth but complex and put together.

M: Very smooth with small carbonation. Surprisingly smooth without a syrupy feel.

Not to bad considering this is not really a style that Ive ever much enjoyed.

 390 characters

Photo of Jasonclick
3/5  rDev -29.4%

This is my first time having this beer (2014) and I love Bourbon Barrel Aged beers but this one is way too much bourbon. It's pretty much like bourbon that was aged in a beer barrel. No head. Low carb. Served in my Oskar Blues Rocks Glass which looks like a glass you'd drink whiskey from... very fitting. Founders- calm down the bourbon. It takes away from the beer.

 367 characters

Photo of Minkybut
3/5  rDev -29.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I poured this average brew into my tumbler at 45 degrees. The beer was a strong tea colored affair. The head was non-existent with only a slight tan few bubbles on top. The beer had a slight sour smell but was very carbonated feeling in the mouth. I will not buy this one again.

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Photo of ibbjamin
3.02/5  rDev -28.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Paid $5.99 for a 12oz bottle from Perry's Liquor in Livermore, CA. Poured into a Bruery tulip to review.

Half inch tan head consistent of relatively large sized carbonation bubbles. No retention. Dark raisin brown in color. Minimal lacing.

Aroma is (in order) molasses, caramel malts, brown sugar, bourbon, oak and toffee.

Oak and caramel malt hold up the dominating bourbon flavor. Quite boozy.

Mouth is better carbonated than I was expecting. Alive and even some crispness. Medium body, medium finish of oak and bourbon. Proper drinkability.

With this beer rated quite well, I am beginning to think I should take a break altogether from purchasing bourbon barrel aged beers. This is another example of one that is just too boozy. I guess I like to separate my bourbon and beer drinking habits.

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Photo of deebo
3.03/5  rDev -28.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Keg from 2009.

A-Tan head that sticks. Cloudy brown and dirty looking.

S-Oaky wood aroma is strong. Not much else comes through.

T-Smoked malts predominant, wood/oak, and a definite bourbon taste.

M-Alcohol vapors are very noticeable. Medium bodied with moderate carbonation.

D-Too much bourbon flavor to make this one more than a sipper for me. Bourbon whiskey lovers will like this one.

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Founders Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
95 out of 100 based on 1,747 ratings.
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