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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: 1,797 | Ratings: 7,919
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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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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Founders Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
4.26 out of 5 based on 7,919 ratings.
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