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: 1,835 | Ratings: 8,070
Photo of wvsabbath
4.45/5  rDev +4.5%
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.

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Photo of silentjay
4.29/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours slightly murky brown with some purple tinting. a small eggshell colored head quickly recedes to a thin film, yet laces well.

aroma is strongly dominanted by the bourbon. plenty of vanilla, oak, maple. next some scotch ale aromas provide some toffee, nougat, and molasses. smells rich and delicious.

flavor starts actually very fruity with raisins, dates, sweetened dried cherries. vanilla comes next and is supported by some woody earthiness, oak, and pure maple syrup. some dark caramel, toffee, butterscotch (pun intended), brown sugar and a lot of warming, yet pleasant booze. very nice.

very syrupy body with just a touch of carbonation, and a touch of harsh alcohol throughout and lingering.

drinks pretty well for a beer as strong and bourbon-heavy. one in a night is plenty to warm me up, though. one of my favorite winter beers!

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Photo of tmcelvain
3.63/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

This is a big beer. At over 10% ABV, it is not for the faint of heart. Combined with the significant barrel aged flavor, I would imagine a non-enthusiast would balk at this one. I was proved wrong, however, when my wife had a taste and gave it an enthusiastic review. I really like this beer, but cannot give it the best rating due to the heat of the alcohol. There are lots of great flavors, and I'd session it just to explore them all, as it would take some time to get past the bourbon barrel flavor. As a whiskey fan, this one has a lot to offer, but I would classify this as a specialty brew - I could almost taste a little funk that you might find in a brett. I qive this one a very qualified, but very enthusiastic recommendation.


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Photo of caddybuyer
4.35/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured at cellar temperature into a 12 oz bottle into a snifter. 2010 release.

A-Deep rich ruby with marked clarity and a thin tan head that settles to a thin ring but offers up some decent lacing. Very rich looking indeed.

S-Warmed brown sugar and caramel malts with vanilla very much in the fore. Molasses and a hint of dark fruit, and of course the oaking.

T-Sweet rich chewy caramel malts and vanilla wash over the palate, then the warming alcohol is present midrange along with bourbon and a touch of cherry and dark fruit which yields to a peppery finish astringent finish that goes on forever. Utterly heavenly.

M-Rich, creamy, chewy and full with ample carbonation. Devine.

D-This is a superb beer. Like so many full flavored brews this should be savored for its complexity and its power. I may have just found my new favorite Wee Heavy. I may also have just killed my palate for the evening. After this, anything you drink will taste like water.

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Photo of Naugled
3.64/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Light brown thin head, cloudy brown body.

Very malty and peaty nose, aroma is reminiscent of scotch and oak.

A very oak forward beer, maybe a bit too much. Has a strong coconut flavor, the malt doesn't come through enough.

good balance though

mouth feel is rich and smooth

over all a very drinkable beer.

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Photo of soze47
3.83/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

My first time trying this one out. I've heard some good things so I'm looking forward to it.

Appearance: Deep brown with ruby highlights. Tan head fizzles up on the pour, but fades quickly.

Aroma: Bourbon is big on the nose. Slight hints of vanilla and roast malt. Bourbon is definitely what shines through strongest.

Taste: There is a high amount of boozy heat throughout the flavor development. Vanilla flavor is substantial off the bat with a nice spicy and woody balance. Some sweetness sticks throughout, but it never gets to be so much that it is over-baring.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: Rather loose and light in body for such a big beer. It gets progressively less drinkable as it warms. The cloying factor gets to be a bit much later in the glass.

Overall: I could see why a little time on the shelf could settle this one down a bit. I do think the bourbon flavor is complex and not without its charm, but a little time to melt into the rest of the flavors could help the overall balance.

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Photo of ccahoon22
4.15/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - dark brown with a thin creamy head that disappears

S - smells so sweet, some vanilla bean and sweet bourbon

T - perfect balance of bourbon, some of these taste too strong of bourbon which i hate. this one tastes so sweet you forget about the 10% abv.

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Photo of mynie
4.63/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On tap at the Blind Pig in Champaign, Illinois. Kudos to them for serving up whole pints of the stuff.

Pours like a thick glass of fluffy, opaque ink. I almost don't want to drink it, it's so pretty.

Smells like sweet, smooth vanilla, burnt caramel, butter, brown sugar, porter barley, chocolate, and scotch.

Tastes like sweet, smooth vanilla, burnt caramel, butter, brown sugar, porter barley, chocolate, and scotch. It's like an imperial stout for kids. There is absolutely no burniness nor any other hint that this is any way alcoholic. (When I say this taste like scotch, I mean it tastes like the very beginning of your fifth sip of a nice, smooth blend, when all you get is the sweetness and warmth since the rest of us has become numb).

This beer's name is inexplicable--it's defined by its smoothness and approachability, which makes it the least bastardly thing I can think of. I can see this easiness actually turning off some beer geeks, it does nothing but excite me since I got a creepy thing for neoteny.

I can't account for the good-but-not-great reviews for this beer. There's a big disparity between the tapped and bottled version, maybe? I dunno. What I do know is that this tasted like a world class brew, and I'd love a chance to try it again.

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Photo of ShogoKawada
2.13/5  rDev -50%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

12oz into Newport Storm pint glass. 2010 bottling. Thought the first bottle was off, so I drank another the following night.

A- Dark roasty brown, a bit of a light brown head that fizzes out.

S- Bourbony notes, caramel/molasses. Nothing great, nothing awful.

T- Taste is bourbony, but not very good. Earthy, musty, dull, and oxidised. There is a heavy burbon note but it's dull and unexciting. Where's the vanilla and oak? All I'm getting is burnt sugar and dull earthy notes. Unappologetic booze permiates, but I've had far boozier beers that incorporate it better.

M- Decent enough body and carbonation but there are some off-notes in the flavor and finish that I'm not really enjoying.

D- Low. Thought I was going to enjoy this one as the chatter in the forums is quite abuzz over this beer. Not the case- I'm going to gift out the two remaining bottles as I don't want to drink this. Not a drainpour, but not enjoyable. I love bourbon, straight up, on the rocks, and in my beers, but this one was a misfire IMO.

What kind of barrels are these in? Remind me never to buy that bourbon.

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Photo of circlenine
4.42/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Consumed and reviewed on 11/23/10.

Bottle poured into a Chimay chalice.

A: This beer pours nice and thin in the same dark brown, light black color as a can of Coca-Cola (we all remember what that looks like right?) Very light carbonation. If the light hits the glass just right, there's a nice deep red hue to the beer. It looks too good not to drink.

S: Noticeable bourbon aroma. It's not overpowering like other bourbon barrels... it's just strong enough to enjoy, but not strong enough to clear your sinuses with a nice strong whiff.

T: The best thing about this beer - as well it should be. Just like the smell, the bourbon is not overpowering.

M: Just the right amount of carbonation. No carbonated bite on the inside of your mouth. Let it sit in your mouth for just a second or two before swallowing and the bourbon taste lingers just long enough after every sip.

D: Can I have another please. Now!!! Yeah, it's that easy to drink. Small sips only please... "savor every morsel" as my momma used to say.

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Photo of ne0m00re
4.09/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Live review of a 12 oz bottle.
A: A mostly clear brownish red; poured with a nice cream head that died to a thinner collar.
S: Strong bourbon, a bourbon vanilla and caramelized or dark candi sugar behind, almost comes off like black cherries and cheese cake. Dessert sweet with a boozey alcohol presence.
T: The booziness is far more conceiled in the taste, until the very end, which lingers like a sip of smooth bourbon. An earthy mellow vanilla caramel, raisins, brown sugar, figs, and some cherries play lead before the booze takes over. Very well done.
M: Thicker, with an undercarbonated mouthfeel.
D: Pretty good. Maybe one bottle is good?

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Photo of ChrisPro
4.04/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - 12 oz. bottle pours murky brown, with only the slightest hint of ruby. Little cream head.

S - Aroma of caramel, vanilla and fig

T - Taste is a nice sweet toffee and caramel, followed by some slight roasted nut. Definitely delicious bourbon on the finish.

M - Medium body with some solid residual sweetness. Very light carbonation, with a slight tannic roasty finish.

D - A little boozy, and I think I'll try to age my remaining bottle and see how it mellows.

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Photo of xnicknj
4.42/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into large snifter glass

Pours a hazed deep auburn with burgundy and copper hues, almost deep brown in the middle. A lighter head disappears quickly, leaving behind some streaked film and spots of lacing.

Lovely evidence of the barrel aging right up front with warm oak, bourbon, vanilla, and a hint of smoke. Touches of leather and malted sweetness as well.

Potent bourbon right up front quickly mixes in with caramel malt sweetness. Notes of dark fruit including figs and raisins dance through with a bit of caramel. Earthy tones from the barrel aging create flavors of oak, vanilla, dark chocolate, and leather. Finishes with boozy warmth, bitterness, and some dark fruit sweetness.

Fuller body, some dry and stickiness in the feel. Definitely a super slow sipper, but delicious if you're into bourbon and whiskey flavors. You can feel this beer going all the way down, and despite it's super bold flavors, I found it very tasty.

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Photo of TheHoppiest
4.67/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the Founders squat 12 oz bottle into an oversized snifter. As always, I love the Founders cover art - this time with an old-timey back woodsman with a wide-brimmed floppy hat and a grisled countenance.

Pours a deep, deep ruddy ruby, almost mahogany, with a small amount of sediment. A thin ring of caramel-colored head, with a thin pool in the middle of the glass.

Smells of yeast, boozy grapes, solvents, and earthy grain.

Tastes of sweet malt, caramel, yeast, and definite bourbon whiskey. Earthy, woody, and bold, this is a sipper of a beer. Leafy notes mid-way through the beer, with some bite that's not quite bitter.

Mouthfeel is somewhat sharp, full, and bold. Warm in the mouth and down to the belly, you feel this beer throughout.

I love this beer. Yet another winner for Founders!

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Photo of pzrhsau
4.48/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

A: Nice rich brownish hue topped by a decent sized coffee/tan head.
S: My first reaction is to sense the oak woody aromas coupled with sweet notes from the bourbon aging. You also get a nice combination of sleep malt with a slight sweet caramel scotchiness.
T: It has a smooth combination of flavors both from the bourbon barrels and it has a balanced sweetness from the malt. This combines to create a vanilla/caramel sweetness that is very bold.
D/M: The aging really has given this the characteristic of a scotchy smoothness. It goes down really easily which is scary because you don't overly sense the 10% alcohol that goes into this bad boy. Very nice to sit and enjoy but hard to switch to other beers that do not pair the weight.

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Photo of WildRage
2.2/5  rDev -48.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Let me preface this with saying that I love scotch ales - I love Old Chubb, and I typically love beers aged in bourbon barrels - Black Ops comes to mind. That being said, I had a really hard time finishing one bottle of this 4 pack. It was like drinking bourbon - almost no beer taste to be found. If you love bourbon, you will love this beer - but be warned that it is EXTREMELY overpowering. I typically love Founders beers - had the Breakfast Stout and Nemesis on tap last night -- but I can't see myself buying this one again.

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Photo of rrski198
3.65/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark, thick, crimson colored. LIttle to no head. Very little lacing.

S: Bourbon, molasses, alcohol. This is backed up by rye, chared wood and dark dried fruits (raisans, prunes)

T: Sweet, creamy, boozy. Bourbon flavor is promenent. I keep getting rye in the flavor(from the bourbon?) Burnt earthy flavors and again, kind of like licking chared wood.

M: Very little carbonation. Very boozy. It lingers on the gums. It is hard to hide a 10.2 ABV.

D: Overall, they are advertising the bourbon barrel aging. They get that for sure. However, I would like to get something else besides Bourbon and sugar. I think it is a good beer, and interesting, however, I wouldn't purchase again (I paid $14 for a 4 pack).

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Photo of donniecuffs
5/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into a snifter at the Mohawk House in Sparta, NJ. Deep opaque, reddish-mahogany, with one finger of beige head that retained and laced excellently. Very little visible carbonation. The aroma revealed a huge cherry-vanilla/whiskey/oak essence, with some caramel apple and smoke as well. The taste? Wow...sweet malty, caramel-apple, cherry-vanilla, then followed by more sweet fruitiness before finishing on an ever so subtle bitter peel finish, that hid the alcohol content ridiculously well. As a matter of fact, if it wasn't for the whiskey in the nose, I wouldn't get much hint of alcohol at all. The feel was a silky smooth medium thickness, with no carbonation. The crazy thing is that the alcohol presence is such a non-factor, that you can find yourself having downed three snifters of this stuff, and still be yearning to session more. I know I was. Anyway, I sampled this at my virgin trip to the fine establishment known as the Mohawk House (see review), but even if I didn't like the place, I would've come back just for this beer. I can't remember when I have given a beer review 5's across the board..if ever. This beer is excellently done on all fronts.

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Photo of Augustiner719
3.77/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a tulip glass.

Pours a nice deep brown color with some red hues I. It. Creamy off white head with alcohol sticking to the glass. The aroma is pure malty bourbon with a nice sweet caramelized bourbon aroma. The flavor starts out intense but falls off completely. Really lands flat and boozy on the backend. Initial sweetness and starts out very nice, but dry and austere on the finish. Nothing going on but booze after the first second. As for drinkability, this is ok, not something I want more than one of but for what it is I think it's a definately sipper and a sharing bottle. Worth a shot but not on par with their other bourbon a barrel beers.

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Photo of GabrielM
4.05/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Shared by Wadsey, and incredibly generous BA. Thanks again, Clint! Poured into a tulip.

A - a deep, dark, rich mahogany color with a nice amount of off-white head on top.

S - maple, bourbon, brown sugar, a tinge of alcohol.

T - bourbon and maple sweetness, vanilla and oak. A little alcohol on the back.

M - extremely smooth and perfect amount of carbonation. Very light and airy in my mouth, but with a great variety of flavors.

D - the high ABV and sweetness might get to be a bit much, but with some age and (temperature) warmth, this baby is a winner!

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Photo of muttyd
3.92/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Deep brown pour with a tan head that fades into a faint ring. Sticks all over the glass. Aroma is of bourbon, cherry and vanilla. It almost feels as though the bourbon aroma is burning my nose hairs. Big caramel, burnt sugar, roasted malt, and bourbon flavor. Big chewy body, and very boozy. One bottle is enough for me, this is a big beer.

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Photo of Mitchster
4.65/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

$3.50 for a 12oz bottle @ Jacks. I've had this before, but haven't reviewed it evidently. 10.2% ABV per the bottle. 50 IBU's.

Pours out to a clear very dark mahogany, forming a nice sized tan head which is thick and leaves a nice sheet of lace and has good retention. The carbonation is moderate to mild. The aroma is rich with vanilla, caramel, souring milk, big amber malts, obvious bourbon notes, rotting cherry and toast. The mouthfeel is thick and hearty with a dense body. The taste opens with rotting cherries and herbaceous hops, followed by vanilla, sweet dates, figs, and a well-balanced bitterness in the middle. Huge malt bill. The aftertaste is a pleasant mix of sweet and bitter with toast, leather, grain husk in the finish. Some people have noted that this is a touch hot, but I like it.

Founders makes great beers and this is no exception. This is exactly what I think of when I think bourbon aged scotch ale, and this is near the top of the list when it comes to bourbon aged beers (The best bourbon aged beer that I've ever had was brewed by Jeremy for the BA party at HopCat...a bourbon aged porter on nitro that tasted like chocolate milk) Great beer. Try it.

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Photo of stimulus
4.27/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a Founders snifter.

A: Pours a very deep ruby red that is only clear when held up to the light. It has a light tan head that settles quickly.
S: Caramel, vanilla, bourbon, smoke, and a touch of alcohol.
T: Still basic caramel and smoke flavors of the base beer, but these are sweetened by vanilla and toffee from the oak for a bit until the finish, which is oh so much bourbon and definite alcohol.
M: Well carbonated, medium bodied, and even smoother than the Dirty Bastard.
D: The nice bourbon flavors are accompanied by quite a punch of alcohol. I know this beer is 10%, but wow. This could definitely benefit from some aging, which would probably take away the alcohol flavor in favor of the vanilla, bourbon, and smoke notes.

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Photo of Pezcraig
4.78/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Very dark brown color with a thin head.
Aroma: Sweet malt and bourbon.
Taste: Bourbon, caramelized malt, maple, vanilla, and dark cherry.
Mouthfeel: Very smooth and silky, creamy and rich.

As stated before, its a sipper. Let it open up, take this slow.
Enjoy this if you can find it.

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Photo of polio
4.82/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

this beer is great!
i bought it because the label is awesome.
i drank this beer in a chilled mug. the color of this beer is a dark brown almost red color. very small head. the taste is very creamy. the taste of caramel is very goes down smooth and feels great in your mouth.

ps this beer has one of the coolest labels ive ever seen.

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Founders Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
4.26 out of 5 based on 8,070 ratings.
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