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: 1,831 | Ratings: 8,055
Photo of drewba
4.81/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - murky, translucent dark brown/burnt sugar which pours with a half finger head which quickly recedes to a khaki ring and thin top coating just around the glass. I want more bubbles!

S - This may be one of the most pronounced vanilla aromas i've ever smelled. I know this doesn't make sense, but the vanilla just smells sweet, smooth, creamy, silky. To adapt a classic George Costanza line, "I would bathe myself in Backwoods Bastard if it was socially acceptable". The background aroma is riddled with delicious molasses, oak and a hint of dark fruit and alcohol.

T - After that aroma, how could this be bad? The taste does not dissapoint, the flavors are deep and delicious. The bourbon imparts lots of brown sugar, sweet vanilla and a slight dryness from the wood. The malts are bringing out a lot of nuance - hearty bread, pecan, caramel, raisin, plum. The hop profile is not lost, but not pronounced. A very mild citrus and bitter character is present and does a great job of balancing all of the sweet flavor qualities going on in backwoods bastard.

M - Creamy, smooth, low but tingly carbonation. Medium - thick body is just right.

D - I've got to say, I love bourbon, but this is like the bourbon barrel aged beer for the person who doesn't love a heavy dose of bourbon. The bourbon sweetness is highlighted, while keeping the alcohol heat at bay (though there is a bourbon aftertaste). Because of this, this was a beer I began sipping, but couldn't stay away for long.

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Photo of readbaron
4.15/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep dark brown with a hint of lacing - no head to speak of.

Oak is very prominent in the nose - has the typical earthy oak aroma. Also hints of boozy sweet caramel and a touch of vanilla.

Wow. Lots of bourbon. Tastes a lot like you'd expect from the smell. Very smooth & malty with some oak notes and a lot of boozy caramel sweetness. Not much fruit or vanilla flavor.

Mouthfeel is perfect - medium body, plenty thick, nicely carbonated.

I had no problem polishing off a bottle - at this abv it's probably best to leave it at one 'though.

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Photo of Khazadum
3.25/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Picked up a sole bottle at Lush the other day. Was surprised to see what they had to offer, and realized I had not reviewed this fine brew before. Chilled and killed this evening from my favorite brandy snifter.

A- Tough job on forming a head. What did develop, a minor quarter finger, was a yellowish tinged cream with huge bubbles forming a zig zag through the cap. Barely lasts five minutes to a flaccid skin and limp collar.

Deep, deep brown body. Almost as if we took brown food coloring and nearly saturated a glass. Carbonation is hidden for the most part, not much visualization of it.

S- The oak comes forward more-so than anything else. It has that sweet, earthy aroma. Hints of vanilla characteristic of the style. The bourbon comes forth more so as an antiseptic offering. More alcohol than anything else.

T- An explosion of sweet caramels. Huge malt bomb on the opening. It dies off in a shooting star pattern to reveal the barrel characteristics. Its bourbon sweet without the heat of it melding perfectly with the oak flavors. Woody with vanilla edging. It may have lacked the heat, but as it warms the pure ethanol flavors start to creep from the edges in. It has a extremely dry finish. Very little sweetness to pair it.

M- Highly medicinal. Disgustingly medicinal, actually. It evolves to a bottle of rubbing alcohol, ethyl style. It has the right amount of carbonation, but the flavors you want to linger do not. Thin, mild body. Its such a disappointment here.

D- The alcohol doesn't burn, but it just tastes awful. Truly, truly, gross fora finish. If I could capture the first moments and let them last I'd find this to be a good beer. Unfortunately, that is not the fact. This 10% tastes more like a 20% or worse. I'm forced to drink it further as I hit the middle of the bottle.

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Photo of davesway10
4.11/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I love this beer, the bourbon, vanilla flavors are awsome. So far, ive been nothing but impressed with what founders has to offer. I will buy whatever these guys have to offer. A bit boozy, but this is what i love from barrel aged beers. Can't wait until next years version of this, i'll age at least one until then maybe more.

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Photo of brewerburgundy
3.83/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12oz bottle, shaker pint, bottled 10/8/10.

Beautiful deep auburn with an amazingly persistent head. I finally tracked this woodsy legend down on a beer-centric trip into Missouri. That head is close to the color of old book pages and holds on and laces great despite the abv and bourbon barrel aging.

Dried bananas immediately jumped out at me. That smell breaks down into different, more expected aromas like maple syrup, vanilla, bourbon, very vanilla, oak laden brandy; all very sweet and all barrel with a little raisin fruit.

The flavors are very similar to what I found in the nose, but the alcohol is more present, bitter. Even if Founders doesn't use some maple syrup barrels for this blend, it sure seems like it to me. There is more dried fruit here.

Syrupy, liquor-like mouthfeel that seems appropriate because the beer is dominated by liquor in other aspects.

I'm splitting this bottle with my brother, and we've each nursed a half for nearly an hour. I think this is almost a liquor substitute that isn't very complex this young but still solid and great sipping for bourbon or brandy fans.

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Photo of caskstrength
3.51/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Should review this one, had it a bunch of times.

Pours dark, dark red. Minial white head, fizzy, goes away pretty quick. The color is inviting, which is something I don't think I've said before.

Smells are sugary bourbon. Cherry coke too. Like a Jack and Coke, actually.

Tastes like a Jack and Coke. Sweet carmel and brown sugar with bourbon swirling around it. Maybe some fruit in the background, but mostly brown sugar and bourbon. Not a lot else going on.

Mouthfeel is thinner than it could be, but it works. Besides, Jack and Coke isn't that thick, so this shouldn't be either. Some booze lingers on the aftertaste.

I want to like this more than I do. It's good, it's a fine bourbon barrel beer, but it's not that exciting and when I'm done I rarely crave another one.

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Photo of codewarrior
4.09/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz singleton poured into a snifter.

Picked this little guy up in a trade with Lat, many thanks and welcome to beer trading!

L: Mahogany brown, but transparent. 1 finger fluffy, creamy head.

S: Not nearly as bourbony as I would expect from a bourbon barrel founders. Sweet in the extreme, with a good bourbon balance peaking through in the middle. Tails off into booze-y sweetness.

T: Starts sweet slowly, building into a massive sweetness ... when the bourbon powers through and makes itself known. Tails from there into a good blend of bourbon and malty sweetness. Lingers.

F: Thick and syrupy. Pretty good.

D: Bit of a sipper, but good.

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Photo of WanderingFool
3.92/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Backwards Bastard pours a hazy, dark amber with a very small, fizzy tan head on top. What little foam there is lingers on the surface and sticks a few spots of lace on the glass.

The aroma is very oaky with some vanilla and bourbon mixed in.

Each sip of this full bodied beer is very smooth, slick on the tongue with a very mild carbonated fizz. The flavor is like the aroma with lots of oak, vanilla and bourbon. However, there are also notes of dark fruit, sweet caramel malt and toffee. It finishes with a mild alcohol burn and cherry flavor. The finish almost reminds me of cough syrup. Once gone the bourbon and vanilla flavors linger on the palate.

This is a very tasty beer that deserves to be sipped while the glass warms. I think the oak flavor dominates a bit too much. I'd bet with some age the alcohol notes would fade and make this a better balanced brew. I'll have to throw a bottle into the cellar before they are all gone.

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Photo of Landfill21
4.3/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured this into my pint glass and poured into a dark amber/light brown color with a small head that disappears within a few mins.

Has a great oak smell can definitely smell barrels

Has a very good bourbon taste

Has a medium mouthfeel

Has a very nice driniability but at 10% it only takes a couple to feel nice

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

Pours a deep mahogany color with decent head that fades away quickly. When held to light, you can see a bunch of "floaties" and haze.

Aroma is very complex. Oak, dark fruits, bourbon, a hint of peat moss, cherries, toffee, alcohol, orange zest....and more. I could smell this stuff forever.

Taste is equally complex. Oak, dark overripe fruits, prunes, peat moss, cherries, caramel/toffee, whiskey, tobacco, heather....the list goes on & on.

Mildly heavy beer, nice carbonation, semi dry finish. Slight boozy finish but not as much as would be expected. Surprisingly smooth yet warming.

I could sip on this all night if it wasn't for the ABV. Phenomenal beer.

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Photo of joshuaseresse
3.97/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into a pint glass:

A - Dark brown with slight signs of copper around the edges. Hard pour produces really no head, only bubbles around the edges. Slight lacing retention.

S - Caramel, toffee and vanilla. Traces of barrel and bits of peat and bourbon.

T - Sugar, brown sugar and barrel. Earthy and bits of toffee and copper. Maple syrup and black licorice. Gets boozy after it starts to warm.

M - A bit hot from the booze but thicker and dry toward the end. A bit tingly from the barrel.

D - Pretty easy to drink for a 10.2% and nice for a Minnesota winter day/night. I could drink about 2 before I had enough. Its a bit boozy but I'm ok with that. I'm not much for scotch ales but I do enjoy is one, especially barrel aged.

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Photo of wvsabbath
4.45/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Serving Type - Bottle

Appearance - Golden tan, light brown, not much head

Smell - Hops, whiskey, malts, alcohol, spices

Taste - I had no idea what this beer was til the first drink and wow. Nice scotch ale with oak and whiskey flavors. Its like dirty bastard meets kbs but not so strong. Its very smooth for being so strong. Theres a nice vanilla tone to it along with some carmael.

Mouthfeel - Mouth is covered in all the flavors i described. Tounge will numb slightly from the whiskey tones and alcohol.

Drinkabilty - Well, its over 10% so you cant drink it as you like. I split a 12oz bottle with a friend and was happy, so 1 bottle is enough. I can say, this should be a top 100 beer on here, its fantastic and i hope more people get to drink it.

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Photo of silentjay
4.29/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours slightly murky brown with some purple tinting. a small eggshell colored head quickly recedes to a thin film, yet laces well.

aroma is strongly dominanted by the bourbon. plenty of vanilla, oak, maple. next some scotch ale aromas provide some toffee, nougat, and molasses. smells rich and delicious.

flavor starts actually very fruity with raisins, dates, sweetened dried cherries. vanilla comes next and is supported by some woody earthiness, oak, and pure maple syrup. some dark caramel, toffee, butterscotch (pun intended), brown sugar and a lot of warming, yet pleasant booze. very nice.

very syrupy body with just a touch of carbonation, and a touch of harsh alcohol throughout and lingering.

drinks pretty well for a beer as strong and bourbon-heavy. one in a night is plenty to warm me up, though. one of my favorite winter beers!

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Photo of tmcelvain
3.63/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

This is a big beer. At over 10% ABV, it is not for the faint of heart. Combined with the significant barrel aged flavor, I would imagine a non-enthusiast would balk at this one. I was proved wrong, however, when my wife had a taste and gave it an enthusiastic review. I really like this beer, but cannot give it the best rating due to the heat of the alcohol. There are lots of great flavors, and I'd session it just to explore them all, as it would take some time to get past the bourbon barrel flavor. As a whiskey fan, this one has a lot to offer, but I would classify this as a specialty brew - I could almost taste a little funk that you might find in a brett. I qive this one a very qualified, but very enthusiastic recommendation.


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

Poured at cellar temperature into a 12 oz bottle into a snifter. 2010 release.

A-Deep rich ruby with marked clarity and a thin tan head that settles to a thin ring but offers up some decent lacing. Very rich looking indeed.

S-Warmed brown sugar and caramel malts with vanilla very much in the fore. Molasses and a hint of dark fruit, and of course the oaking.

T-Sweet rich chewy caramel malts and vanilla wash over the palate, then the warming alcohol is present midrange along with bourbon and a touch of cherry and dark fruit which yields to a peppery finish astringent finish that goes on forever. Utterly heavenly.

M-Rich, creamy, chewy and full with ample carbonation. Devine.

D-This is a superb beer. Like so many full flavored brews this should be savored for its complexity and its power. I may have just found my new favorite Wee Heavy. I may also have just killed my palate for the evening. After this, anything you drink will taste like water.

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Photo of Naugled
3.64/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Light brown thin head, cloudy brown body.

Very malty and peaty nose, aroma is reminiscent of scotch and oak.

A very oak forward beer, maybe a bit too much. Has a strong coconut flavor, the malt doesn't come through enough.

good balance though

mouth feel is rich and smooth

over all a very drinkable beer.

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Photo of soze47
3.83/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

My first time trying this one out. I've heard some good things so I'm looking forward to it.

Appearance: Deep brown with ruby highlights. Tan head fizzles up on the pour, but fades quickly.

Aroma: Bourbon is big on the nose. Slight hints of vanilla and roast malt. Bourbon is definitely what shines through strongest.

Taste: There is a high amount of boozy heat throughout the flavor development. Vanilla flavor is substantial off the bat with a nice spicy and woody balance. Some sweetness sticks throughout, but it never gets to be so much that it is over-baring.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: Rather loose and light in body for such a big beer. It gets progressively less drinkable as it warms. The cloying factor gets to be a bit much later in the glass.

Overall: I could see why a little time on the shelf could settle this one down a bit. I do think the bourbon flavor is complex and not without its charm, but a little time to melt into the rest of the flavors could help the overall balance.

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Photo of ccahoon22
4.15/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - dark brown with a thin creamy head that disappears

S - smells so sweet, some vanilla bean and sweet bourbon

T - perfect balance of bourbon, some of these taste too strong of bourbon which i hate. this one tastes so sweet you forget about the 10% abv.

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Photo of mynie
4.63/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On tap at the Blind Pig in Champaign, Illinois. Kudos to them for serving up whole pints of the stuff.

Pours like a thick glass of fluffy, opaque ink. I almost don't want to drink it, it's so pretty.

Smells like sweet, smooth vanilla, burnt caramel, butter, brown sugar, porter barley, chocolate, and scotch.

Tastes like sweet, smooth vanilla, burnt caramel, butter, brown sugar, porter barley, chocolate, and scotch. It's like an imperial stout for kids. There is absolutely no burniness nor any other hint that this is any way alcoholic. (When I say this taste like scotch, I mean it tastes like the very beginning of your fifth sip of a nice, smooth blend, when all you get is the sweetness and warmth since the rest of us has become numb).

This beer's name is inexplicable--it's defined by its smoothness and approachability, which makes it the least bastardly thing I can think of. I can see this easiness actually turning off some beer geeks, it does nothing but excite me since I got a creepy thing for neoteny.

I can't account for the good-but-not-great reviews for this beer. There's a big disparity between the tapped and bottled version, maybe? I dunno. What I do know is that this tasted like a world class brew, and I'd love a chance to try it again.

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Photo of ShogoKawada
2.13/5  rDev -50%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

12oz into Newport Storm pint glass. 2010 bottling. Thought the first bottle was off, so I drank another the following night.

A- Dark roasty brown, a bit of a light brown head that fizzes out.

S- Bourbony notes, caramel/molasses. Nothing great, nothing awful.

T- Taste is bourbony, but not very good. Earthy, musty, dull, and oxidised. There is a heavy burbon note but it's dull and unexciting. Where's the vanilla and oak? All I'm getting is burnt sugar and dull earthy notes. Unappologetic booze permiates, but I've had far boozier beers that incorporate it better.

M- Decent enough body and carbonation but there are some off-notes in the flavor and finish that I'm not really enjoying.

D- Low. Thought I was going to enjoy this one as the chatter in the forums is quite abuzz over this beer. Not the case- I'm going to gift out the two remaining bottles as I don't want to drink this. Not a drainpour, but not enjoyable. I love bourbon, straight up, on the rocks, and in my beers, but this one was a misfire IMO.

What kind of barrels are these in? Remind me never to buy that bourbon.

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Photo of circlenine
4.42/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Consumed and reviewed on 11/23/10.

Bottle poured into a Chimay chalice.

A: This beer pours nice and thin in the same dark brown, light black color as a can of Coca-Cola (we all remember what that looks like right?) Very light carbonation. If the light hits the glass just right, there's a nice deep red hue to the beer. It looks too good not to drink.

S: Noticeable bourbon aroma. It's not overpowering like other bourbon barrels... it's just strong enough to enjoy, but not strong enough to clear your sinuses with a nice strong whiff.

T: The best thing about this beer - as well it should be. Just like the smell, the bourbon is not overpowering.

M: Just the right amount of carbonation. No carbonated bite on the inside of your mouth. Let it sit in your mouth for just a second or two before swallowing and the bourbon taste lingers just long enough after every sip.

D: Can I have another please. Now!!! Yeah, it's that easy to drink. Small sips only please... "savor every morsel" as my momma used to say.

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Photo of ne0m00re
4.09/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Live review of a 12 oz bottle.
A: A mostly clear brownish red; poured with a nice cream head that died to a thinner collar.
S: Strong bourbon, a bourbon vanilla and caramelized or dark candi sugar behind, almost comes off like black cherries and cheese cake. Dessert sweet with a boozey alcohol presence.
T: The booziness is far more conceiled in the taste, until the very end, which lingers like a sip of smooth bourbon. An earthy mellow vanilla caramel, raisins, brown sugar, figs, and some cherries play lead before the booze takes over. Very well done.
M: Thicker, with an undercarbonated mouthfeel.
D: Pretty good. Maybe one bottle is good?

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Photo of ChrisPro
4.04/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - 12 oz. bottle pours murky brown, with only the slightest hint of ruby. Little cream head.

S - Aroma of caramel, vanilla and fig

T - Taste is a nice sweet toffee and caramel, followed by some slight roasted nut. Definitely delicious bourbon on the finish.

M - Medium body with some solid residual sweetness. Very light carbonation, with a slight tannic roasty finish.

D - A little boozy, and I think I'll try to age my remaining bottle and see how it mellows.

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Photo of xnicknj
4.42/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into large snifter glass

Pours a hazed deep auburn with burgundy and copper hues, almost deep brown in the middle. A lighter head disappears quickly, leaving behind some streaked film and spots of lacing.

Lovely evidence of the barrel aging right up front with warm oak, bourbon, vanilla, and a hint of smoke. Touches of leather and malted sweetness as well.

Potent bourbon right up front quickly mixes in with caramel malt sweetness. Notes of dark fruit including figs and raisins dance through with a bit of caramel. Earthy tones from the barrel aging create flavors of oak, vanilla, dark chocolate, and leather. Finishes with boozy warmth, bitterness, and some dark fruit sweetness.

Fuller body, some dry and stickiness in the feel. Definitely a super slow sipper, but delicious if you're into bourbon and whiskey flavors. You can feel this beer going all the way down, and despite it's super bold flavors, I found it very tasty.

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Photo of TheHoppiest
4.67/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the Founders squat 12 oz bottle into an oversized snifter. As always, I love the Founders cover art - this time with an old-timey back woodsman with a wide-brimmed floppy hat and a grisled countenance.

Pours a deep, deep ruddy ruby, almost mahogany, with a small amount of sediment. A thin ring of caramel-colored head, with a thin pool in the middle of the glass.

Smells of yeast, boozy grapes, solvents, and earthy grain.

Tastes of sweet malt, caramel, yeast, and definite bourbon whiskey. Earthy, woody, and bold, this is a sipper of a beer. Leafy notes mid-way through the beer, with some bite that's not quite bitter.

Mouthfeel is somewhat sharp, full, and bold. Warm in the mouth and down to the belly, you feel this beer throughout.

I love this beer. Yet another winner for Founders!

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Founders Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
4.26 out of 5 based on 8,055 ratings.
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