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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

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Reviews: 1,789 | Ratings: 7,902
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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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Photo of Masonz223
4/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Smell: Carmel lots of vanilla burbon slight expresso
Taste: upfront vanilla Carmel middle of the mouth burbon toffee finishes with some oak vanilla and a slight coffe roastiness.
Feel: very slick feeling in the mouth light carbonation
Overall: very tasty you get all the barrel aged qualities. the taste disapears pretty quickly wish the flavor lingerd longer in the aftertaste. You don't really taste the alchool in this one but you do feel it!

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Photo of stingray
4.84/5  rDev +13.6%
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
4.01/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

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.
Bottle (9/26/16) to snifter.

Coming around on this. Definately enjoying this much more than 2 years ago. I did not note the date back then, but this is very fresh.

Aroma, look, taste, feel notes are all still accurate, I am just enjoying this more. OA 2.84 way up to 4.01.


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Photo of MACrist
4.74/5  rDev +11.3%
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 -7.7%
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 +3.5%
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 -3.3%
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 +6.1%
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 -7.7%
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 -8.2%
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 +0.7%
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%
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 LAp
4.45/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours a ruby-mahogany with a dark tan head. Nose is thick caramel malt, with prominent elements of toffee on a faint bourbon background. The palate follows the nose. The bourbon is appropriately subdued, and allows the Wee-Heavy notes (more rich toffee, molasses, and brown sugar) to come through more strongly. Mouthfeel is medium-thick/thick, with minimal carbonation. One of the quintessential Wee Heavies in my mind. An outstanding beer.

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Photo of GregBinder7
4.73/5  rDev +11%
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 +2.8%
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 +9.6%
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 +2.6%
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
4.37/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | 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.

Score for 2015: 4.25 | 4.25 | 4.25 | 4.5 | 4.25 | Compiled Score: 4.28

Backwood's Bastard 2016 pours a rich, deep hue of burgundy so dark very little light pokes through. Head formation bubbles up quickly and accumulates about a finger thick in a beige color. Unfortunately, head retention is moderate, with very little lacing afterwards. Aroma is a blast of flavors, with notes of oak, bourbon, boozy burn, roasted malts, caramel, toffee, and burnt sugar. It certainly smells sweet, and with its high level of complexity, it's fun to just sniff. Beer is meant to be drank though, so how does it taste. Complex and warming in a quick pairing of words. Flavor profile opens with oak, caramel, toffee, burnt sugar, before reshaping into bourbon, and a slightly, fleshy boozy burn. Despite all of this complexity, the beer finishes watery wiping the bold flavors off of the palette. It makes taking another sip easy, but makes it difficult to savor. The watery finish starts to break up as the beer warms, finishing slightly more boozy and oaky. Mouth feel has a medium consistency, while remaining filling. Its a strange pairing. Perhaps it needs more time to mellow out and smooth. Overall, it's a sublime beer with a high level of complexity and character. While there is plenty going on, and to consider and think about, it almost leaves a little something to be desired. Fortunately, (or unfortunately) it remains easy to drink at 11.2% ABV, especially compared with other limited Founder's offering. This fresh bottle of 2016 does have a bit more spice then the 2015 bottle I had earlier this year which was aged for about 3 months in a stone cellar prior to my consumption of it.

Served in a 12oz snifter.

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Founders Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
4.26 out of 5 based on 7,902 ratings.
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