Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

Founders Backwoods Bastard | Founders Brewing Company

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
1,756 Reviews
no score
Send samples
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:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 1,756 | Ratings: 7,780
Photo of Barracudas
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Great beer from Founders! It lives up to it's reputation! The smell is sublime and the taste is just so subtle. They did a very good job with the barrel aging! It also has a very nice kick!

 189 characters

Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
3.81/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

9/26/16, 1 month old, Served at 45 degrees in a snifter.

Backwoods pours a mahogany and prune juice colored body, much like its brother, the Dirty Bastard. The head is tall and egg foam yellow, spilling over and staying at 2 fingers in my snifter. The body when held up to the light looks a lot like a cranberry-cherry cocktail. Just deep, dark reds with a little light at the bottom.

Wouldn't you know, it smells just like Dirty Bastard. Raisin, prune, plum, maybe some fig and cherry notes. Very faint bourbon barrel.

The flavor of this beer is pretty singular...but still a bit complex. Its got the signature DB flavor, but what surrounds it is enhanced notes of dark cherry, fig, and a shot of whiskey. Some hottness, dryness, and peated malt finish out the profile. The more it warms it develops licorice flavors as well.

Feel is sticky, hot, dry, and smooth...in that order.

Overall, a bit disappointed here. I was expecting more from this BBA version but alas, it's simply DB with some enhanced notes. Not even close to KBS like some are raving about - KBS is in a different zip code entirely. I'm glad I got a chance to try one rather than investing in a 4 pack. For the price, it's a loser.

 1,209 characters

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

Serving type: 12 oz bottle into a snifter

Pours a deep crimson brown, with off white foam settling on top. Smell is of rich caramel, toffee, slight vanilla, and intense oak qualities. It smells awesome. Taste is of initial caramel toffee, with a slight fruitiness, intense bourbon oak flavor after that lingers for a few moments. Feel is medium, with enough carbonation to not be flat. Overall this is a great beer with awesome oak characteristics.

 449 characters

Photo of Cthulhusquid
4.73/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Look: One finger white head, dark brown body.

Smell: Oak, dark fruits, some caramel, maybe a hint of peat.

Taste: See above. This is pretty fruit and oak forward.

Feel: Medium body and carbonation, a small alcohol bite but turns to warmth. No wonder, with the 11.6% abv.

 273 characters

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

2016 batch poured into a snifter. Finger size head that dissipates quickly into barely any. Deep dark brown and smells of oak, scotch, and bourbon, almost like your grandpa's cottage somewhere up north in Michigan. Taste is an outstanding deep malty/toffee undertone with a strong bourbon aftertaste. Overall, this is another great, buy-as-much-as-you-can-while-its-around Founder's classic! I will be cellaring a few alongside my KBS for a year and 3 years to see how age makes this incredible beer taste!!

 507 characters

Photo of Boccu
4.3/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours with a nice head. Fades quickly. Coloring is like maple syrup. Light bourbon,Carmel aroma. Taste is of light scotch, Carmel, dark fruit to roasted nuts. Light smoke which balances it. Then with a nice bourbon oak finish. Big stout fan.

 242 characters

Photo of DrinkThemAll
4.24/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a snifter.

Pours a mahogany and half a fingers off white head.

Smells of bouron and oak. Sweet malts and maybe a tad bit of toffe. Some bread as well. Smells like a Trappist.

Taste of sweet malts, oak and a tad of bourbon and toffe. Very bready and Very smooth for its alcohol content.

Mouth was very nice. Medium bodied with a nice oaky smooth finish.

I would definetly drink this guy again. I think I would prefer a breakfast stout instead, but a solid beer nonetheless

 513 characters

Photo of captaincoffee
4.11/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy deep brown with smallish cream colored head. Head dissipates a bit quicker than expected leaving spots of lace and a ring around the glass. Nose is dates, burnt sugars, vanilla, barrel cellar mustiness, and a bit of sour apple. Flavor follows, and although initially sweet, turns much drier that expected and quite woody with mostly oak into the finish where it wasn't very present early. Hot/boozy even after cellaring for 1 year. Mouthfeel is not cloying at all, but just medium with the booze thinking it out. Overall, a good beer, but I can't go as high as most here as I just don't think it comes together cohesively in the end.

 652 characters

Photo of Mateo2699
4.33/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Dark brown mahagony hue, small off white colored ring of head with very little lacing. Rich maltiness in the aroma, big hints of oak and bourbon with doses of brown sugar and caramel. Following the nose well, big brown sugar, sweet malt and caramel hit the palate initially with nice sweet bourbon kick in the back end. Medium mouthfeel, somewhat boozy after taste with low carbonation.

 386 characters

Photo of joaopmgoncalves
4.76/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Ordered it from Beer52, and poured to a regular kitchen glass due to lack of proper beer glass.

A: The body is black with amber hues with a very nice beige head that showed lots of consistency, lacing and will to be on top of the beer for all time.
S: The aroma was just perfect, this is totally my kind of beer. You could smell tons of bourbon on this, presenting itself like the basic pillars of the aroma only allowing you to smell the malt a bit later. Gosh, amazing.
T: When you first sip the beer, it's very sweet with a very big profile of awesome bourbon that goes along very well with the malts. Technically, it seems that the "bourbon-ness" of the beer is the same characteristic the malty one, but only read differently on different mouth/tongue zones.
M: The body is medium to high. No bitterness in the end but no one asked for it. To finish it great style, the alcohol goes unnoticed, which makes this a very noble beer. Mouth-wise, perfect, 5.0.
O: I've had very few Founders beers in the past, this is for sure my favorite.

 1,041 characters

Photo of Hyptochrons
4.33/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

dark brown ruby colored with a caramel head that hangs out and leaves excellent lacing. pungent aromas of caramel, dark fruit, oak & scotch. on the palate is toffee, caramel, vanilla, and a good amount of barrel character. mouthfeel is decent, medium bodied.

 258 characters

Photo of Amguerra305
4.27/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

pours a deep dark brown mahogany color. Glows like a dark red amber when held up to the light. Not entirely opaque. The barrel does not predominate the smell like other barrel aged beers. Definitely prevalent boozy oaky barrel but balanced out by the sweetness of the actual beer. Notes of toffee and caramel with a touch of butterscotch. Taste follows the smell but the butterscotch becomes more pronounced. The sweet taste of the beer predominates with a lingering hop/burnt bitterness hint on the back end. It is surprisingly viscous but still medium heavy body. Definitely coats your lips and leaves them a little sticky but nothing out of this world. Overall I would say this is an excellent Scotch ale the only improved with the barrel aging. The barrel definitely added a nice complexity to what is most likely an already great beer. Definitely worth seeking out.

 882 characters

Photo of gman1602
4.69/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours as a Wee Heavy ought to and smells like a Scottish isle. Bourbon barrels make a nice sweet bourbony note on the aroma of the Scottish malt, while the flavor is a really nice balance and finish of scotch ale and bourbon barrel. Develops on the taste buds like a fine scotch. Freakin excellent. There is a slight bitterness and that is why this is not a 5 (some may not even notice!). Still, worth seeking, worth buying enough bottles for aging, and a steal for it's 11.6% of smiles it pours on the mind.

 508 characters

Photo of vinicole
4.04/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Dark red/brown. Thin head. Some lacing. Carbonation dies away slowly.
Rich aroma of caramel malt, vanilla, oak, dried vine fruit and then the bourbon.
The taste follows the bouquet but more so. Both sweet and bitter.
Full bodied and boozy. Smoother and easier to drink as it warms.
Definitely a sipper but the alcohol is a bit too much for my liking.

 350 characters

Photo of beer4colin
4.87/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

What can be said that I have not said before....Dirty Bastard is great, Backwoods is mind boggling! This is as good or better than KBS or the elusive CBS. My absolute favorite beer ever!

 188 characters

Photo of PerfecTool
4.72/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This is my favorite offering from Founders. I think its just now getting the respect it deserves alongside KBS. Had it on tap the other day...the scotch really blends nicely with the bourbon. Not too sweet or bitter - just right!

 232 characters

Photo of FriedSlug
4.15/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Ruddy reddish brown with an off white head. Smell is caramel, sweet malt, vanilla and toffee. Very sweet caramel toffee taste with booze and bitterness. Really nice beer.

 170 characters

Photo of kemoarps
4.18/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This is my 2014 bottle; brewed 12(?)/01/2014, enjoyed on 5/23/2016. Thanks @WesMantooth for sending this along in your Founders-full second NBS BIF#3 box!

Deep chestnut brown pour with a light creamy ring around the lid and a dragon spiral of effervescence across the central gathering point. Artistically appealing?

Nose provides some traditional layers of caramel and boozy raisin and leather and tobacco. Some dried dark fruits in there as well. As it warms these become more prominent. Bourbon is primarily relegated to finishing touch duties with some round oakiness and a smootheness in the finish.

Flavour provides an interesting study between the butterscotch/toffee and oak and then on the other side we have some distinguished guests from the lands of leather and dried prune and the like. Comes together beautifully though. Barrel serves to tie it all together beautifully. Smoothe and drinkable, though the alcohol isn't quite as masterfully hidden as some other contemporaries. Highly recommend, and excited to see what my other, older bottles are doing these days...

Thanks Corey!

 1,099 characters

Photo of bbtkd
4.06/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Founders Backwoods Bastard, 11.6% ABV, 50 IBU. Pours thin to medium, walnut brown, nice four finger head that dissipates quickly, decent lacing. Nose is bourbon, some caramel, some sweetness. Taste is light bourbon, oak, caramel, lightly bitter. Some carbonation burn. Decent mouthfeel for the style. Overall an incredible beer. I'll have to stock up when it's in season again.

 384 characters

Photo of jsmooth72
4.9/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Had a 2014 Cellar Aged bottle. $8

Very Very Good. The nose is all bourbon as you would expect. This beer is so smooth great taste of smooth bourbon soft light mouth feel, definitely the Ale version of KBS. This beer leaves very little to be desired. Excellent buy worth the taste. Comes out in fall. Buy a six pack and age half of them for a couple of years. Definitely a good bang for your buck.

 398 characters

Photo of Samlover55
4.21/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2014 edition bottled 10/1/14 from the cellar
12oz bttle into libbey tulip
L-inky black with slightest hint of brownish-red, tan foam head about finger thick, good retention turns into lacing
S- sweet malty aroma, jumps out at you, enticing with hints of warming booze as well
T- starts off sweet and strong with the alcohol hitting in you the face, but in a nice warming way, slight bitterness, surrounded by the bourbon, all coming together for a finish that begs for another sip
F- full-bodied, warm and heavy on the tongue, a real sipper
O- This beer is warm and inviting while keeping you real honest with bourbon-barrel taste along with some hop-bitterness. i'm really glad i got to try this one

 700 characters

Photo of Xenoreactive
3.33/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Had fresh on draft and a 1 year cellared bottle pour.

L: Nice dark and viscous pour. Not much head.

S: Hmm. Getting alot of burnt tobacco, dark malts, caramel and an overpowering barrel hit.

T: Flavorful, but again, overpowering barrel flavors. Seems like alot of the complexities open up with a 20 minute warmup phase, but this is still too hot.

F: A little sticky but I want more body. This need a soft character to invite all these flavors. And it's just not present.

O: I guess some people just masturbate furiously to any Founder's release. This is indeed a bastardized brew.

 586 characters

Photo of FBarber
4.37/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a barrel aged snifter - blind tasting.

Pours a crisp reddish hue with a thin tan head. Head slowly dissipates leaving a thin tan lacing along the top. Great color for the style.

Smell was of raisins, blackcurrant, and oak, maple. An overarching boozy smell was noted, hallmark of barrel aging. Also got some minor notes of peat and scotch - very pleasant for the style.

Taste is immediately remarkable because it is so smooth and mellow. Notes of vanilla, wood, raisins, prunes come through giving way to undertones of bourbon soaked oak, bready malts, biscuits finally finishing with a pleasant mild bitter taste.

Feel was thin and light, but not watery - tons of flavors here keep it hefty but its still very drinkable. Medium carbonation keeps it crisp.

Overall this was tasted as part of a blind tasting of five barrel aged wee heavies. Wonderful example of the style - and given the availability and price point for this one, its unbeatable.

 969 characters

Photo of BeernOnThe4thOfJuly
4.79/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Deep amber. Almost no head. Powerful brown sugar and maple nose. Whiskey notes, as well. Brown sugary flavor with dark fruits. Very sweet. Just a hint of hops at the end with gentle bourbon. Syrupy mouthfeel.

 208 characters

Photo of woemad
4.34/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle courtesy of the largesse of @Ri0. Acording to the rear label, this was bottled on September 26th, 2015

Poured into an Iron Goat snifter, this was a very dark brown color, but took on a rubyish tint when held up to light. There was initially a large, creamy, beige-tan colored head, but it dropped fairly quickly, leaving spotty lace.

Big, boozy, oaky and sweet aroma to this. There’s elements of toffee, caramel, licorice, vanilla, smoke, wood and bourbon.

Wow! This is a complex-tasting beer, with all the elements noted above, for the most part tremendously well balanced against one another. There’s a fair amount of bourbon heat up front, but not enough to drown out the other elements.

Fairly full bodied, with a creamy mouthfeel.

I'm really glad this comes in a 12oz bottle. A bomber would have been too much of a good thing. Although it’s got some “heat” to it, this is a quite drinkable beer for something at the bigger end of the style. Still, I can’t help but feel that a couple years laydown this might be truly amazing. Something to fantasize about in a dream future where Founders is distributed to Washington. Huge shout out to Ri0 for getting me one of these!

 1,206 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Founders Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
4.26 out of 5 based on 7,780 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.
  • Extreme Beer Fest® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • Free Trial Subscription

    Reside in the US? Interested in a free 1-month trial subscription to the print edition of BeerAdvocate magazine?

    Yes! Sign Me Up!