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: 8,069
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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 ...

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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.

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Photo of MargotDarko
4.94/5  rDev +16%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is where it's at for me. I picked up a $4 single on a whim, and I was totally blown away. I hadn't been drinking as much beer in the past several years, but this was a game changer. It sent me on a path to seek out more and more different craft beers and really get back into it. The only thing slightly negative about it for me is that it can be a little too intense. I can only handle one bottle in a sitting, and it needs to be a looong sitting to avoid feeling wasted.

It looks amazing poured out, but I enjoy it straight from the bottle too, because I don't get that powerful eye watering effect of breathing into the glass on accident or the non-beer-drinkin' hubby's comments on the smell filling up the room. Another benefit of drinking from the bottle is looking at the label. You look straight into his eyes every time you need a reminder that you do not eff with the Backwoods Bastard and you do not eff around with this beer.

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Photo of BeerAndGasMasks
4.3/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

From the growler, it pours a clear reddish brown with a moderate head. The nose gets the bourbon, smoke and roasted malts. The mouth gets a bit of alcohol along with the molasses and smoke, Careful drinking, but good!

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Photo of ZebulonXZogg
4.4/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Shared bottles from 2014 and 2016.
L: Color of a dirty copper penny with a beige head.
2016 has a bigger head but both receded quickly.

A: Malts, molasses, dark fruits, smoke and obviously bourbon.
I thought the bourbon aromas were more pronounced in the 2014 edition.

T: Overall both of these were sweet with molasses and toffee flavors. A nice warming effect from the Barrel aging.

M: I thought the 2014 version was smoother and creamier, but I have no complaints about 2016.

O: One of my favorite beers. I preference the 2014 edition because the bourbon notes were more subdued. Either, or, this is one terrific beer.

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Photo of azurel
4.19/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2016 edition
Poured into a tulip...Pours a dark brown/mahogany with a 2 finger tan head that lingers awhile. Leaves minute lacing.

Aroma is of scotch, barrel notes, malt, caramel.

Taste is amazing follows the aroma with a boozyness upfront of scotch then fades into slight smoke, vanilla barrel notes mid swallow. Finishes with a nice scotch boozy heat.

Mouth feel is thick viscous, creamy, full. You know your drinking something substantial.
One of the best.

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Photo of augustgarage
4.03/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4.25

2016 release, bottled September 22nd, 2016; poured from a 12oz bottle into my Gordon thistle:

Deep carmine body, clear with a faint surface slick. Sticky legs, but next to no lacing.

Bourbon in the nose - potent with hints of stone fruit and sweet malt, but the base beer is largely overwhelmed by the bourbon aromatics (tobacco, vanilla, leather, candy-corn, etc.).

Flavor follows the nose with greater intensity of both the bourbon (including a flourish of alcohol) and the malt (chewy and rich without being cloying or grainy). Low bitterness, and no obvious hop contribution flavor-wise. Faintly smokey medium-dry finish with successive waves of melanoidins and stone fruit with a hint of sherry-aged single malt. More spirit than barrel throughout.

Rich yet somehow thin mouth-feel; carbonation could be a bit higher maybe.

Very excited to have this available locally, though the price is becoming prohibitive ($4.50/12oz), and while the bourbon contributes very good flavor, it doesn't necessarily elevate the style.

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Photo of Riff
4.66/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pours a clear, dark brown, with about a half finger of off white head that dissipated slowly. Smell is bourbon, caramel, and peaty scotch, they are light and not overpowering. Taste is delicious. Smoke, bourbon, oak, vanilla, and caramel. Feel is good, medium-heavy body, silky smooth. No overpowering lingering flavor. Outstanding beer overall, wish the smell was a little stronger but oh man, otherwise this is a great beer and a must have.

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Photo of Holderness
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

L -- Dark brown head. Make sure to aerate heavily --makes a two finger tan head if properly poured. Minimal lacing
S -- Scotch whisky, molasses, malts, raisins, figs
T -- Same as it smells, plus maple syrup, bourbon, and burnt caramel.
F -- Potent.
O -- Worth the money. Very rustic, medeival feel

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Photo of weareallfalafel
4.99/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottled October 2016, enjoyed December 8th of the same year. Poured from a 12oz bottle into a large snifter. Pours a deep, dark, just short of opaque mahogany with a finger-thick off-white, beige head that dissipated at somewhat slowly and left a little bit of lacing. Carbonation is evident on the sides of the glass when swirled and held up to the light. Smell is big bold caramel, bourbon, molasses, and a touch of spice. Taste follows suit, but of course, more pronounced. Marshmallowy combo of malts and Bourbon is killer and, like the Dirty Bastard, the touch of caramelly sweetness and the loving hop bite, work like a dream together. The feel is full bodied and relatively thick with a carbonation that is lively, but not overly so. Overall, I absolutely love this beer and can't wait to see what age will do for it. Can't recommend this highly enough. Layers of complexity, flavors from across the spectrum, and not too ridiculous a price, either. For me, I'd call it perfect.

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Photo of dprice
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Look: maple syrup color with perfect amount carbonation
Smell: definitely getting a scotch and bourbon, vanilla burnt rasins
Taste: smooth scotch and bourbon are very pronounced throughout but easy to drink.
Feel: for me this is a great beer definitely enjoy this style scotch and bourbon blended well
Overall: this beer is a great example of the wee heavy style to date one of my favorite founders beers

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Photo of seansean95
4.81/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Look: pretty minimal tan head. Dark, dark brown, but not completely opaque.

Smell: very potent alcohol scent backed up with smoky sweet, almost raisin-y tones.

Taste: fantastic. That sweet smoky flavor hits first but there are after tones of malts and chocolate.

Feel: smooth. Perfect amount of carbonation.

Overall: one of the best beers I've had in a while and another gem from Founders. Definitely pick it up if you see it.

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Founders Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
4.26 out of 5 based on 8,069 ratings.
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