Welcome to BeerAdvocate!

Looking to talk, rate or trade beer? Join today by creating your free account.

Dismiss Notice
Curious about recent updates to the site and app? Check the Announcements forum for updates.
Dismiss Notice
Love Belgian Beer?

Join us Sep 17 in Portland, Maine for Return of the Belgian Beer Fest, featuring hundreds of authentic Belgian beers and Belgian-inspired offerings.

Tickets + more: beeradvocate.com/belgian

Founders Backwoods Bastard | Founders Brewing Company

1,742 Reviews
no score
Send samples
Founders Backwoods BastardFounders Backwoods Bastard

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

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 1,742 | Ratings: 7,740
Photo of Cmun01
4.45/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Incredible beer, I agree with other reviews for the alcohol level this was very smooth. Hard to find beer, could only buy 2 four packs in my town in PA. Nice subtle taste and smell of chocolate, carmel and bourbon.

 215 characters

Photo of Gfunk720
4.45/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

2010 bottle out of my Harpoon LE tulip.

A- Deep reddish brown, very clean. Nice off white head, 1 finger or so. Nice lacing too.

S- Smells sweet and bourbony. Notes of vanilla and molassas. Perhaps a touch of oak.

T- Smooth and full of bourbon. The vanilla notes stand out the most to me. Starts smooth, and then really opens up.

M- Pretty much perfect. Just right with the carbonation, and the beer has just the right body.

D- This is a heavy one, but the initial flavor is just so good. A nice sipper on a cold night, very tasty

 537 characters

Photo of FondueVoodoo
4.45/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to TheSevenDuffs for sending this west.

A: chestnut brown with a bare bones off white run if retention. All the excitement is saved for the smell & taste.
S: Reminiscent of all things traditionally masculine. Bold with dried fruits, cherries, plums, and plums soaked in brandy. Heavy wet oaks, fresh cigar boxes, tanned leather and a dankness of wet wool. Cue Earnest Hemingway.
T: the wet oaks come to the forefront and are complimented with dark dried fruits, leather finished with vanilla and a note of brandy.
M: Low carbonation and a thin ale, while still satisfying in the feel, without sticking too heavy on the palette.
O: An excellent example of using barrel aging to develop complexity and create an ale that stands up well as an aperitif. The fruits, leather, vanilla, wood and dankness all suggest to me a mix of old world pleasures.

 866 characters

Photo of soupyman10
4.45/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Deep maroon color with a small head and a touch of lacing. Nose is huge bourbon - delicious, if fairly straightforward. Flavor is similar, huge bourbon and malt. A complex taste - dried fruits, a hint of alcohol spiciness, and then bourbon all over the place again. Absolutely delicious. Body is nice and full, somewhere between syrupy and full bodied. Overall, a delicious one - glad I got to try it. Another winner from Founders.

 431 characters

Photo of LanceW
4.45/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

What a wonderful beer.

A: The brew was thick in appearance but not too malty in the mouth. I drank it a night so the color was dark so that is all I could say.

S: The smell was sweet and faint hint of alcohol was in the back ground along with notes of barrel aged

T: Full of flavor. Very dark and the taste of the barrel age came through on a perfect balance. Some time the taste of what was previously brewed in the barrel can be strong but this was an equal pairing.

M: Thick but not syrupy.

D: Oh yeah.

 513 characters

Photo of justintcoons
4.45/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter.

A: Pours a beautifully clear chestnut brown with ruby red highlights. Has 1 finger of khaki-colored head that dissipates quickly. A moderate stream of carbonation rises from the center. Tight lacing webs around the edge of the glass.

N: Huge bourbon notes with vanilla and oak really showcase on the nose. Underneath is rich caramel, molasses, dark fruit and some pleasant booze notes.

T: Huge vanilla and bourbon notes with hints of oak upfront. Rich caramel, molasses, candy sugar, dates with hints of leather, tobacco and some slight cocoa. Finishes with oak, bourbon, brown sugar and subtle floral notes (that seem almost clove-esque.)

M: On the lighter side of medium bodied, surprisingly. Silky, creamy and sticky with some bitter bite in the finish.

O: A delicious, malty Bastard expertly aged in oak bourbon barrels. Comes off smooth and easy drinking for 10.2%. Although there's a slight hint of booze it seems rather pleasant. This is the best Wee Heavy around, hands down!

 1,011 characters

Photo of IPA1978
4.45/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A- dark cola in color, thin head little to no retention, wine like lacing.

S- Dark fruits, vanilla, toasted marshmallows, cocoa, boozy, reminds me of port.

T- Thick rich dried fruits, figgy pudding, vanilla, caramel, oak, hops are there but hard to discern amongst the strong flavors but bitters and brings it all together. Finishes surprisingly dry and a boozy but not overwhelmingly so.

M- velvety smooth light carbonation, fills the mouth with a warming fullness similar to port.

O- An absolute surprise, possibly the best bourbon barrel aged beer I've had. A bit rough at times but I can see this beer approaching perfection with some age

 647 characters

Photo of 4amepiphany
4.45/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2013 bottle, can't read the date, but I assume it's quite fresh on the shelf.

The season is winter, I've had a craving for anything aged in a barrel. Picked up a 12oz single at my local shop for something to drink for the night. I've heard about this brew, and I finally got to see it sold in singles, so I grabbed it with no hesitation.

Poured cold into a KBS snifter. A wonderful dark amber color, and it hits you with bourbon notes right away. I was afraid it was going to be too boozy, at 10.2%. I let it sit for a few minutes before taking the first sip, and WOW. Full of flavor. Bourbon, vanilla, oak, but... a bite of alcohol that quickly dissipates along the palate! VERY well done. Probably the most appealing feature to me. All the taste, none of the burn. I'm halfway through the snifter and I can feel the warmth slowly embracing me. I can't seem to stop taking sips even though I should slow it down a bit. This beer is wonderful. Pick one up when you can.


 981 characters

Photo of FoundersFanatic
4.45/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- dark brown/ruby color, looks very appealing

S- smells like booze. Bourbon or whisky smell pretty much dominates

T- tastes like bourbon/whisky, a bit of caramel maltiness, and finishes with a bit of a spicy note. Very boozy

M- alright, pretty smooth, but a bit thin for the taste

O- a very good beer that will sort of remind you of CBS or KBS without the coffee and deep complex flavors. It's basically 3 flavors of bourbon/whisky, caramel malt, and spice note finish. Very strong and will knock you out. A very good beer

 527 characters

Photo of RichD
4.45/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into my Newport Storm snifter.

A: Pours a dark auburn with about a finger of a light tan head. Leaves some lacing on the glass throughout.

S: Smells of sweet bourbon and that may be it. I think I may even smell the alcohol. Nothing too overpowering though.

T: Smooth bourbon is the prominent flavor in this. Founders seems to do a superb job when it comes to barrel aging their beers. I've had the Dirty Bastard and the taste is very different from this. It's delicious for what it is though.

M: Medium mouthfeel and of course there's some warming at the end of each sip.

Overall: This is a great barrel aged brew from Founders and I know why this is highly sought after. I'm glad my local store still has cases upon cases of this because that means that they're basically aging it for me. The boozy taste has mellowed out over the last few months and I cannot imagine aging this more than a few months regardless of what it says. Either way this is delicious and I will definitely keep buying when I run out of what I have.

 1,036 characters

Photo of rye726
4.45/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark mahogany with a silky tan head that displays nice lacing and retention.

Nose has lots of bourbon, oak and vanilla up front followed by dark fruits, chocolate, caramel and roasty malts.

Taste has candy malts, figs, plums, whiskey, cocoa, oak and vanilla.

Medium body is a bit over carbonated, but drinks quite well once it opens up.

Another great ale from Founders, never had a bad beer from these guys.

 419 characters

Photo of AJacob81
4.45/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

on-tap into a tulip 11.13.12 @ Jak's Tap in da West Loop. From notes.

A - mahogany brown, deep amber highlights w a creamy off white head of 1 finger. great legs, patchy lacing.

S - big oaky bourbon straight away, brown sugar and vanilla in after. peat and a hint of smoke just detectable underneath it all. As usual for Founders, a top-notch bouquet.

T - closely follows the nose w brown sugar and peat more enhanced. alcohol heat picks up as beer warms but smooth port, sherry, rum-soaked raisins and melted butter as well. finish is lingering and caramel sweet but not cloying.

M - medium body, medium carbonation. smooth, dangerously easy drinking.

Worth the hype, but I really wish this was easier to get in bottles.

 729 characters

Photo of TBonez477
4.45/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2012 bottle received in trade. Drinking very smooth.
Drank fresh on tap, increased ratings accordingly.

 181 characters

Photo of WildRoverBrewery
4.45/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: This poured a very deep brown with just a hint of red highlights. It had a light mocha colored head that was thin, and not lasting. It also left no lacing on the glass. Very light carbonation activity visible. I've seen more impressive looking beers, but nothing about it is off-putting.

Aroma: The nose was huge with caramel, maple syrup, and bourbon notes. It was incredible. It had a touch of figs/dates and booze as well. Outstanding bouquet on this one.

Taste: The caramel and bourbon carried over into the taste. More malty sweet than maple syrup in the taste than in the aroma. I couldn't detect much booze until the bottom of the glass. The notes of figs and raisins were on the back end of the palate as well. Awesome tasting.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, with low carbonation on the tongue. Very smooth, no alcohol burn, no astringency.

Overall, this is a fantastic beer. Probably the best bourbon-barrel aged beer that I've tried, and much better than it's base beer.

 992 characters

Photo of divineaudio
4.45/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle into a snifter. bottled on 11/05/09.

looks like an unpolished jewel in the glass with just a bit of light catching the nearly opaque, deep chestnut color. head is thin and dissipates quickly, but i'll forgive that a little considering the high alcohol content.

smells of oak, bourbon, maple syrup and booze.

taste is far more mellow than i was expecting. lots of carmel malt, with notes of oak and vanilla. a nice balance of hop character comes in and fades to a slight alcohol spiciness. i'm kind of surprised at how well the flavors blend together here.

body is lighter than i expected and exceptionally smooth.

this is one superbly crafted beer. dangerously drinkable and perfect for a cool michigan night. 9 month old bottle and doing just fine.

 769 characters

Photo of boilermakerbrew
4.45/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A- Pours a very deep amber-brown. Hazy with a small tan head. Head retention is ok, and lacing is good.

S- Lots of peaty malts like Dirty Bastard, with only subtle hints of bourbon mixed in. Boozy scents follow.

T- Nice mellow mix of bourbon and peated malts all the way through. Drinks like a Dirty Bastard with a little more kick. Bourbon is most present on the finish, lingering on the tongue and providing a slight dryness.

M- Thick and creamy. Heavy in the booze department. Kind of chewy on the finish. Good beer to sit and sip for a while.

Overall, another world class beer from Founders. The things they do with a bourbon barrel astound me. Big thanks for yaknowbrady for sending me this and some others out of the kindness of his heart.

 749 characters

Photo of wvsabbath
4.45/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Serving Type - Bottle

Appearance - Golden tan, light brown, not much head

Smell - Hops, whiskey, malts, alcohol, spices

Taste - I had no idea what this beer was til the first drink and wow. Nice scotch ale with oak and whiskey flavors. Its like dirty bastard meets kbs but not so strong. Its very smooth for being so strong. Theres a nice vanilla tone to it along with some carmael.

Mouthfeel - Mouth is covered in all the flavors i described. Tounge will numb slightly from the whiskey tones and alcohol.

Drinkabilty - Well, its over 10% so you cant drink it as you like. I split a 12oz bottle with a friend and was happy, so 1 bottle is enough. I can say, this should be a top 100 beer on here, its fantastic and i hope more people get to drink it.

 757 characters

Photo of IrishHockey
4.45/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2012 vintage bottle poured into a Founders snifter

The first thing I notice when I poured this into the glass is how dark it is, not quite what I was expecting. I held the glass to the light and it almost has a ruby color. Very nice.

The smell on this is just straight up sexy. I get a little bit of the vanilla, but I smell the bourbon. It's not overpowering at all. It's light and beautiful.

The taste is wonderful, but not as good as the smell. I get the vanilla, some oak, and toasted something in the after taste. I don't know what is toasted that I taste, but its good. The bourbon also plays a big role in taste as well.

This is a beer that I can enjoy all winter long. It's a drink that I can sit with by a nice roaring fire while watching hockey or football. I can even see drinking this with some buddies while bullshitting about life.

All in all I wish my bottle shop would have more than a one bottle limit. Guess I'm gonna have to road trip it for some more.

 978 characters

Photo of turbotype
4.45/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Not going type a wall of text here, just wanted to say that I think this brew lives up to the hype. Its a unique brew that is as deep, dark and boozy as you heard, and its terrific. Pours thick very little head that rises over time, then slowly recedes. Smells of sweet caramel and bourbon and tastes the same. A hint of bitter vanilla in the finish. Feel a little flat in mouth, as expected from a barrel aged brew. As someone else in the review section said, this blows away any Scotch Ale/Wee Heavy I have ever had.

Updated July 17 2014 to say this...
Age this beer. Trust me. So good.

 589 characters

Photo of brian23456
4.46/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Clouded, murky brown/reddish with little to no head

S- Mmmmm, Bourbon, oak and vanilla. Smells good to me!

T- Very malty with a good dose of bourbon. There is also oak, honey, vanilla, caramel and some more bourbon. The more I drink the more complex it becomes. Sweet and very very tasty on a cold Wisconsin night, defintaley a dessert beer.

M- Slightly viscous for a Scotch ale, smooth, low carbonation.

D- Goes down easy considering the ABV, I'm having no trouble getting this down although the flavors make me want to savor this brew.

Great scotch ale, the only big complaint is the lack of carbonation, but that won't keep me from buying a couple 4 packs! A fine dessert beer.

 688 characters

Photo of MNishCT77
4.46/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle acquired in the greater Washington D.C. area, 2012 vintage (bottled 10/5/12), poured into my NEBCO Gandhi-Bot snifter, drank 10/3/13 over an hour:

A: 3/3 - dark mahogany-brown coloration, minimal clarity and even , pours thickly into a subtle glass lacing

S: 11/12 - rich, intense bourbon-soaked malt flavor and alcohol

T: 18/20 - on the anterior tongue, it's expected from the aroma...rich malt and bourbon/rum complexity is intense; in the middle of the mouth, the flavors continue to envelope with an intense malt complexity (figs, caramel and toffee) with a huge alcohol profile ; the bourbon barrel just sits on the tongue until taking the next sip

M: 4/5 - high bodied; appropriate carbonation; alcohol just sits on the tongue like a sumo wrestler on opioids

O: 9/10 - I have had this beer before around this time last year, and, while I thought that the flavor profile was intense then, I was hoping that it would settle in and some of the malt complexity would shine though; however, it's still one of the most intense tasting beers ~1 year after bottling; it's an excellent beer but a small sipper that should be the last beer of the evening in a snifter

TOTAL = 45/50

 1,197 characters

Photo of crossovert
4.46/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz brown stubby bottle. 2010 vintage.

It pours an extremely deep and dark plum color. Just sitting there it looks black. The head is thick and tightly foamed and has a bit of creaminess. It is off-white and sticks for a nice while before receding with some nice lacing.

The bourbon and oak dominate the smell, though you can smell traces of the scotch ale underneath. It has a subtle fruitiness that provides a bit of freshness to the tried and true bourbon oak scent.

The flavor is very smooth and nice. It has a rich flavor of buttery toffee that meshes very nicely with the bourbon. There are notes of vanilla and milk chocolate caramel as well. The 50 IBUs are nice and keep this one pretty balanced. The bitterness is slightly tannic with a good deal of woodiness, hops, and a slight roasty bitterness. the fruitiness isn't as pronounced in the taste, but there is a nice bit of prune underneath it all that adds an extra layer of depth.

The mouthfeel is rich and full-bodied with an exquisite carbonation. It has an alcohoic punch but it isn't overt.

After having Dirty Bastard I didn't think this one would be this good, but this is exquisite.

 1,158 characters

Photo of TreyIsWilson
4.46/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a deep brown with a hints of red and a thin white head.

S - Lots of vanilla, caramel, oak, and bourbon.

T - Just like the smell. Nice mix of vanilla, bourbon, and oak. Slighty boozy finish.

M - Medium mouthfeel with little to no carbonation. Very easy drinking for the ABV.

O - An awesome beer. This is such a well balanced beer with the flavors blending seemlessly. I will have to save a few of these for the colder months.

 439 characters

Photo of jakecattleco
4.46/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle into a tulip glass. Very dark, almost more black than red in color, with 2 fingers of tan head. The nose just screams BIG beer! However, the taste is very well balanced and smooth, almost shockingly so based on the nose. Good carbonation, and the finish seems almost a bit spicy. I will quite happily have this in my fridge for the colder months. Quite impressed, well done Founders!

 402 characters

Photo of scxcrunner
4.46/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

appearance: dark amber with an off white tan head that dissipates quickly. Smell is bourbon, sugary dark fruits/candy, and vanilla. Taste: bourbon, vanilla, caramel, and some coconut. mouth feel is smooth slightly syrupy.

 223 characters

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

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Return of the Belgian Beer Fest

    BeerAdvocate Brings its All-Belgian Fest to Portland, Maine on September 17, 2016. Tickets are on sale now.

    Learn More
  • Get the Mag

    Become a BeerAdvocate magazine print subscriber today.