Founders Backwoods Bastard | Founders Brewing Company

BA SCORE
95
world-class
1,835 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score
Send samples
Founders Backwoods BastardFounders Backwoods Bastard
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company
Michigan, United States
foundersbrewing.com

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
1,835
Ratings:
8,071
Avg:
4.26
pDev:
10.56%
 
 
Wants:
1,012
Gots:
3,261
For Trade:
286
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 1,835 | Ratings: 8,071
Photo of Absolut
4.33/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a dark boozy black.

Smells of bourbon vanilla dark fruit.

Taste is bourbon, dark fruit boozy and coffee

Very delicious beer. Worth the hype!

 151 characters

Photo of jjamadorphd
4.41/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Finally, I got my hands on one of these bastards, damn is it good...

Many times for me these hyped beers end up being a anticlimactic experience - where others describe an almost divine experience, my palate ends up being sadly unimpressed. Well, not the case here. Though it wasn't entirely impressive going into the glass, once it settled, it was something to behold. The brew has a dark caramel color, very dark, with tan head that keeps around and light amount of lacing. The smell was almost perfect, almost, as you are assailed with roasted malts, the strong boozy scent of bourbon, and chocolate, definitely some chocolate notes in there. The mouthfeel is carbonated, but not heavily, it is certainly full-bodied, and has a strong astringent quality on the tongue. Quite possibly this is the my least favorite aspect of the brew. The taste is truly special - bourbon, chocolate notes, the roasted malts - everything that I smelled I tasted as well, a big plus in my book.

So what I experienced was certainly up to the hype - this is certainly a bastard of a beer.

 1,081 characters

Photo of Nicolaiw
4.09/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours dark brown / reddish with small tan head.
Aroma has oak, dried dark fruits, raisins, plums, sherry,
Taste is oak, dried dark fruits, sweet, bitter cocoa.

 161 characters

Photo of spursfaninla
4.09/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

It is a good founders, not my favorite founders, and not my favorite bourbon beer, but solid. It has a great lack of aftertaste. Taste is better as it goes along.

 164 characters

Photo of jngrizzaffi
4.2/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours a very dark and hazy amber color with a 1/2 finger head. Head retention is minimal. Lacing is good. Aroma of toffee, bourbon and dark fruits. Taste is excellent! I get bourbon, some dark fruits, sweet malts and toffee. Actually very smooth and well blended. Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Slightly warming.

 330 characters

Photo of DrMullet
3.8/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a dark ruby/brown.
Smell is sweet toffee and bourbon.
Taste is sweet malt, raisin and dark fruit.
Bourbon finish.
Mouthfeel is not too thick.

 154 characters

Photo of mkh012
3.89/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2016 version, poured in March 2017. Bottle is 6 months old.

Deep reddish-brown with a short-lived head.

Nose is earthy raisin and wood with hints of dark chocolate and toffee.

The taste follows. Scotch Ales aren't typically my thing, nor are beers that overdue the barrel character. This is pretty restrained though, particularly for an 11% ABV beer. Scotch, wood, and dark fruit. Suggestions of anise, caramel, and dark chocolate.

Mouthfeel is medium. An initial zip of carbonation tapers into a smooth finish.

Overall, do you like Scotch Ales? This is definitely a good one. Just not my go-to flavor profile or style. Becomes a touch astringent as it approaches room temperature.

 689 characters

Photo of OldManMetal
4.17/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

The 2016 iteration of this barrel-aged Scotch Ale is a great-looking beer: a large, pebbly peach/tan head sits atop an effervescent, deep-brown beer, leaving excellent lacing in the form of dense sheets and thick bands. The nose is big and heady: bourbon and more modest coconutty oak lactones over a fairly rich, light-complected caramel character that shows a bit of butterscotch at the top; significant alcohol overtones ride atop everything else. Up front, the palate is darkish, slightly bitter caramel with hints of bourbon; mid-palate the malt character becomes darker yet as a semi-sweet chocolate character joins the caramel. The bourbon and coconut notes are much more subtle than on the nose, acting more as accents than as the center of attention. Significant alcohol overtones keep the malt well in check, preventing the beer from coming across as the least bit sweet. The finish is a good hit of caramel and booze, and is quite warming; the linger is a lasting modest oaky bitterness that has a slight solvent-like tang. Retrogustative olfaction is redolent of bourbon, and is quite boozy. Mouthfeel is commensurate with the medium body, and is slightly warming; the texture is medium-creamy, slightly slick, and slightly peppery from the somewhat restrained carbonation. (12 oz bottle, 142 days after pkg)

 1,320 characters

Photo of Cfred371
4.46/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Look: Backwoods pours a murky mid brown, with a light khaki head that quickly becomes a ring.

Smell: Oak, malt, and with a swirl some of the bourbon comes out and coconut. Very nice.

Taste: The oak, bourbon, molasses, brown sugar, a lot of great barrel character

Feel: Medium bodied, Backwoods is pretty sweet, and has just the slightest bitterness show on the finish.

Overall: My bottle is two and a half years old, and considering the age, the barrel character is enormous. A wonderful beer worth seeking out.

 519 characters

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

355 ml bottle, Beautiful Beers, Bury St. Edmunds - Pours dark brown with small tanned foamy head. Medium carbonation. Aroma - dark stoned fruits, molasses, whisky notes, spice notes. Tasty - roasted malts - molasses, lovely sweet caramel in the background, light bitter finish with a little alcoholic warmth. Lovely sweet lingering high ABV ale. A true BA belter.

 363 characters

Photo of Bum4ever
3.99/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

L: reddish brown with small light tan head.
S: first note is caramel followed by oak. Light bourbon and maybe dried cherries. Also some chocolate at the end.
T: toffee and caramel followed by sweet fruit and oak. Very little bourbon.
F: thinner than I expected with a little oak lingering feel.
O: really good but not great. As someone who loves bourbon, I think it's a little too hidden. Would still buy again based on the overall solid flavor and easy drinkablilty.

 471 characters

Photo of CHickman
4.36/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2016 Release, bottled 09/22/16, 11.2% ABV: it pours dark chestnut brown color with a thick 2 finger tan head that was full of tiny bubbles, fading slowly and leaving very good spotty lacing and a foamy ring around the edge of the glass.

Smells of toffee, caramel, roasted grains, light bourbon, woody notes, oak barrels, dark fruit, cocoa, hints of vanilla and coconut, and a wave of sweet malty aromas. The malty dominance brings out brown sugar, wheat bread, syrup and spent mash, then finishing off with some more bourbon. The bourbon is soft and mixes well, it reminds me of a well aged KBS or Bourbon County Stout.

Tastes sweet and malty up front with toasted grains that seem rum soaked, followed by vanilla, toasted oak, bourbon, brown sugar, toffee, dark fruit, raisins, maple syrup, tea leaf, mild piney hops, sticks and/or earthy notes, wood and cocoa powder. The flavor lacks any smoked grains and appear supplemented by the bourbon barrel accents. Really, really complex and tasty even though it deviates from a traditional Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy.

Mouthfeel is very smooth yet thick with texture while seeming thin as it slides down easy, even with the light burn from the booze, the evident ABV and mild carbonation. It's dominated by malty bread components with recurring caramel, oak, bourbon and sweet fruity flavors. Overall a fine beer that was dynamic and quite enjoyable.

 1,394 characters

Photo of Mindcrime1000
3.86/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

2016 release

Pours dark (brown with red highlights) but not opaque. Not much head retention, but excellent sticky lacing.

The aroma is somewhat unbalanced with very strong bourbon and vanilla at the very fore, with only a hint of malt and peat in the background.

The flavor follows its nose in both good and bad ways. There is a good balance of malts and hops (a touch at the end) but the bourbon, vanilla, and ethanol is pretty prevalent.

The flavor is big, the body is not. Like many barrel aged offerings I've tried lately, this one is a little thin. However, the carbonation is excellent and helps keep what is otherwise a sweet beer from getting cloying.

Overall this is fine, but if I want a good off-beat wee-heavy I will stick with Founders's other "Bastard." The bourbon is just a bit too strong on this one. I'm wondering if this one is just too young. I'm going to tuck a couple of bottles away and try them to see if the bourbon notes will mellow.

 975 characters

Photo of goingbrokeonbeer
4.35/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pour is dark brown with a slight red tint and two finger beige head. Smell is scotch, molasses, and dark fruits. Taste follows smell with the addition of some caramel. Feel is medium with nice carbonation, overall a great brew.

 227 characters

Photo of MNAle
4.35/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2016 version. Dark brown with a tinge of ruby. Moderate tan head that recedes quickly. Excellent aroma of bourbon and dark fruit. Moderate to thick mouth feel, little carbonation. Mild bittering and very nice fruity taste, with the outstanding bourbon taste at the forefront. Very, very nice, indeed. Little bittering, but what there is shows up in the finish. No alcohol warmth despite the 11+% ABV. Very smooth. Outstanding beer, Founders.

 441 characters

Photo of JakeScully
4.42/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I have chosen to pour this wee heavy into a mug, instead of another glassware that wouldn't fit. And I don't own any proper Founders glass anyway. Best by 04/06/17...

Backwoods bastard is pretty heavy, as puts the label 'Extra Strong Beer' (11,1%)..Oh, 'bière extra forte' it's even in french. We appreciate it, but I guess this translation is more aimed at the québécois, because we normally don't get this in France.

This has a brownish color, taste bourbon, brown sugar, milk.. this is definitely a very complex brew and I don't have the knowledge or palate to detect every aroma. I've been milking this for an hour now, still do as I write this. You don't chug a beer like that uh?

Overall, an excellent Scotch Ale which is a style I don't remember ever trying, and I have proudly added another major American brewery to my 'bucket list'. Still looking forward to try new ones... Cheers!

 897 characters

Photo of flaskman
4.75/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

I poured a 2014 into a tulip glass while watching a movie. It was over 2 years old and had aged beautifully. Dark amberish with a decent head. It smelled like raisins and figs with a sweetness that said "try me". It was very smooth with the perfect amount of heat and enough of the bourbon to give that taste that I love without overpowering the great scotch ale that it is. I loved it.

 393 characters

Photo of Blackop555
4.73/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours deep Brown. Short, thick, short-lived tan head.

Smells caramel malt, vanilla, bourbon, light nut.

Taste caramel and vanilla. Also strong Bourbon and hints of smoke and dark fruit. Finish is semi-sweet with vanilla, malty linger with a touch of bitter. High side of full-bodied. Creamy medium carbonation.

 312 characters

Photo of LiquidAmber
4.7/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured into a MacAndrew's thistle glass. Pours a slightly hazy, dark brown-amber with a thin light khaki head with good retention and lacing. Aroma of deep caramel malt, dates and figs, hint of plums, bourbon. Flavor follows with caramel malt, toffee, dates, figs, dried plums, bourbon and a touch of oak and peat. Medium bodied with good creaminess, nice mouth feel. It's clear why this has a good reputation. All the classic flavors of a scotch ale with a good bourbon overtone. Well balanced with integrated flavors. Many good scotch ales have a little astringency in the finish; that is absent here, very smooth from start to finish. I see why Founders has such a following. Glad to see them in the West Coast. I will get this one again.

 742 characters

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

Ahhh, the annual meet and greet with the Bastard. How could I forget the boisterous rambunctiousness that ensues when you egress from your hiding spot?

Looks like cola, tastes like a libation suitable for the gods.

 217 characters

Photo of kitch
4.39/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A 355ml bottle with a best by date of 6th April 2017. Poured into a snifter glass.

Appearance: A clear deep amber brown colour with a one finger tanned head that had decent retention and left nice spotty lacing.

Aroma: Caramel, toffee, vanilla, oak, bourbon and booze with perhaps a hint of sweet dark fruit.

Taste: It’s what you expect from the aroma with sweet melted caramel, toffee, vanilla, raisins, oak and bourbon with a light nuttiness on the finish.

Mouthfeel: Creamy, full bodied with low carbonation. Alcohol is well hidden yet there is a nice lasting alcohol warmth.

Overall: Just great! A really nice sipper with wonderful aromas and great taste.

 666 characters

Photo of ApolloXII
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

As the first Founder's beer I've had,
Lest I say my hopes were high.
And as soon as I heard this one came in,
Obviously it was a beer I had to buy.

First, the nose, huge notes of bourbon,
Butterscotch, caramel, and malt
Earthy, beautiful tones of spice
This beer is without a fault.

And the flavor- oh, the flavor!
So much barrel and balanced still
Sweet fruit, anise, and some heat
I wish my cup was always fill.

I've had a lot of barrel aged beers,
Hundreds of them, at least
This one here is the perfect combo
Of malt and hops and yeast.

 547 characters

Photo of Koral
4.54/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

2014 Bottle, buddy of mine shared with me on New Year's

Look: Deep amber/brown, light tan head
Smell: Intense caramel notes, of course bourbon as well
Taste: Holding on to this beer does amazing things for the flavors. Lucky my buddy wanted to share this one. Sweet caramel, little bit of toffee, with a perfect bourbon finish that definitely smoothed out as the years have passed
Feel: perfect for a beer of this alcohol content. Smooth and velvety.
Overall: One of my favorite beers, and age only made it better, in my opinion. If you can find an aged version on tap or in bottles, go and get it, you will not regret it.

 625 characters

Photo of Jim_Benz
4.75/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

OMG. Seriously. This is the best barrel-aged beer I've ever tasted. I'd give some details, but bursitis in both shoulders makes even this micro-review/rave difficult. Maybe I'll have another for pain relief? Twist my arm ...

 224 characters

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

I got this Scotch Ale via a beer trade, and I thought it was great.

Look: very dark brown, with a one inch bubbly mocca colored head.

Aroma: Wonderful bourbon aroma, some smokiness, maybe caramel.

Taste: taste of bourbon, but not too much, just right, raisins, vanilla, a bit smoky, caramel, very delicious.

Feel: It’s full bodied, creamy and smooth.

 356 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Founders Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
4.26 out of 5 based on 8,071 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.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.

    Subscribe