Founders Backwoods Bastard | Founders Brewing Company

BA SCORE
95
world-class
1,830 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:
1,830
Ratings:
8,052
Avg:
4.26
pDev:
10.56%
 
 
Wants:
1,009
Gots:
3,255
For Trade:
288
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 1,830 | Ratings: 8,052
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.

 998 characters

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.

 256 characters

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.

 1,269 characters

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.

 1,095 characters

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.

 1,018 characters

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?

 645 characters

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.

 468 characters

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.

 959 characters

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!

 808 characters

Photo of pzrhsau
4.48/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

A: Nice rich brownish hue topped by a decent sized coffee/tan head.
S: My first reaction is to sense the oak woody aromas coupled with sweet notes from the bourbon aging. You also get a nice combination of sleep malt with a slight sweet caramel scotchiness.
T: It has a smooth combination of flavors both from the bourbon barrels and it has a balanced sweetness from the malt. This combines to create a vanilla/caramel sweetness that is very bold.
D/M: The aging really has given this the characteristic of a scotchy smoothness. It goes down really easily which is scary because you don't overly sense the 10% alcohol that goes into this bad boy. Very nice to sit and enjoy but hard to switch to other beers that do not pair the weight.

 736 characters

Photo of WildRage
2.2/5  rDev -48.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Let me preface this with saying that I love scotch ales - I love Old Chubb, and I typically love beers aged in bourbon barrels - Black Ops comes to mind. That being said, I had a really hard time finishing one bottle of this 4 pack. It was like drinking bourbon - almost no beer taste to be found. If you love bourbon, you will love this beer - but be warned that it is EXTREMELY overpowering. I typically love Founders beers - had the Breakfast Stout and Nemesis on tap last night -- but I can't see myself buying this one again.

 530 characters

Photo of rrski198
3.65/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark, thick, crimson colored. LIttle to no head. Very little lacing.

S: Bourbon, molasses, alcohol. This is backed up by rye, chared wood and dark dried fruits (raisans, prunes)

T: Sweet, creamy, boozy. Bourbon flavor is promenent. I keep getting rye in the flavor(from the bourbon?) Burnt earthy flavors and again, kind of like licking chared wood.

M: Very little carbonation. Very boozy. It lingers on the gums. It is hard to hide a 10.2 ABV.

D: Overall, they are advertising the bourbon barrel aging. They get that for sure. However, I would like to get something else besides Bourbon and sugar. I think it is a good beer, and interesting, however, I wouldn't purchase again (I paid $14 for a 4 pack).

 714 characters

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

Poured into a snifter at the Mohawk House in Sparta, NJ. Deep opaque, reddish-mahogany, with one finger of beige head that retained and laced excellently. Very little visible carbonation. The aroma revealed a huge cherry-vanilla/whiskey/oak essence, with some caramel apple and smoke as well. The taste? Wow...sweet malty, caramel-apple, cherry-vanilla, then followed by more sweet fruitiness before finishing on an ever so subtle bitter peel finish, that hid the alcohol content ridiculously well. As a matter of fact, if it wasn't for the whiskey in the nose, I wouldn't get much hint of alcohol at all. The feel was a silky smooth medium thickness, with no carbonation. The crazy thing is that the alcohol presence is such a non-factor, that you can find yourself having downed three snifters of this stuff, and still be yearning to session more. I know I was. Anyway, I sampled this at my virgin trip to the fine establishment known as the Mohawk House (see review), but even if I didn't like the place, I would've come back just for this beer. I can't remember when I have given a beer review 5's across the board..if ever. This beer is excellently done on all fronts.

 1,173 characters

Photo of Augustiner719
3.77/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a tulip glass.

Pours a nice deep brown color with some red hues I. It. Creamy off white head with alcohol sticking to the glass. The aroma is pure malty bourbon with a nice sweet caramelized bourbon aroma. The flavor starts out intense but falls off completely. Really lands flat and boozy on the backend. Initial sweetness and starts out very nice, but dry and austere on the finish. Nothing going on but booze after the first second. As for drinkability, this is ok, not something I want more than one of but for what it is I think it's a definately sipper and a sharing bottle. Worth a shot but not on par with their other bourbon a barrel beers.

 683 characters

Photo of GabrielM
4.05/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Shared by Wadsey, and incredibly generous BA. Thanks again, Clint! Poured into a tulip.

A - a deep, dark, rich mahogany color with a nice amount of off-white head on top.

S - maple, bourbon, brown sugar, a tinge of alcohol.

T - bourbon and maple sweetness, vanilla and oak. A little alcohol on the back.

M - extremely smooth and perfect amount of carbonation. Very light and airy in my mouth, but with a great variety of flavors.

D - the high ABV and sweetness might get to be a bit much, but with some age and (temperature) warmth, this baby is a winner!

 564 characters

Photo of muttyd
3.92/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Deep brown pour with a tan head that fades into a faint ring. Sticks all over the glass. Aroma is of bourbon, cherry and vanilla. It almost feels as though the bourbon aroma is burning my nose hairs. Big caramel, burnt sugar, roasted malt, and bourbon flavor. Big chewy body, and very boozy. One bottle is enough for me, this is a big beer.

 340 characters

Photo of Mitchster
4.65/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

$3.50 for a 12oz bottle @ Jacks. I've had this before, but haven't reviewed it evidently. 10.2% ABV per the bottle. 50 IBU's.

Pours out to a clear very dark mahogany, forming a nice sized tan head which is thick and leaves a nice sheet of lace and has good retention. The carbonation is moderate to mild. The aroma is rich with vanilla, caramel, souring milk, big amber malts, obvious bourbon notes, rotting cherry and toast. The mouthfeel is thick and hearty with a dense body. The taste opens with rotting cherries and herbaceous hops, followed by vanilla, sweet dates, figs, and a well-balanced bitterness in the middle. Huge malt bill. The aftertaste is a pleasant mix of sweet and bitter with toast, leather, grain husk in the finish. Some people have noted that this is a touch hot, but I like it.

Founders makes great beers and this is no exception. This is exactly what I think of when I think bourbon aged scotch ale, and this is near the top of the list when it comes to bourbon aged beers (The best bourbon aged beer that I've ever had was brewed by Jeremy for the BA party at HopCat...a bourbon aged porter on nitro that tasted like chocolate milk) Great beer. Try it.

 1,182 characters

Photo of stimulus
4.27/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a Founders snifter.

A: Pours a very deep ruby red that is only clear when held up to the light. It has a light tan head that settles quickly.
S: Caramel, vanilla, bourbon, smoke, and a touch of alcohol.
T: Still basic caramel and smoke flavors of the base beer, but these are sweetened by vanilla and toffee from the oak for a bit until the finish, which is oh so much bourbon and definite alcohol.
M: Well carbonated, medium bodied, and even smoother than the Dirty Bastard.
D: The nice bourbon flavors are accompanied by quite a punch of alcohol. I know this beer is 10%, but wow. This could definitely benefit from some aging, which would probably take away the alcohol flavor in favor of the vanilla, bourbon, and smoke notes.

 766 characters

Photo of Pezcraig
4.78/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Very dark brown color with a thin head.
Aroma: Sweet malt and bourbon.
Taste: Bourbon, caramelized malt, maple, vanilla, and dark cherry.
Mouthfeel: Very smooth and silky, creamy and rich.

As stated before, its a sipper. Let it open up, take this slow.
Enjoy this if you can find it.

 296 characters

Photo of polio
4.82/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

this beer is great!
i bought it because the label is awesome.
i drank this beer in a chilled mug. the color of this beer is a dark brown almost red color. very small head. the taste is very creamy. the taste of caramel is very prominent.it goes down smooth and feels great in your mouth.

ps this beer has one of the coolest labels ive ever seen.

 347 characters

Photo of ramseye4
3.68/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A=Pours a very dark brown color, completely opaque, with a thin head.
S=Smells just like the bourbon barrels it was aged in, and with a faint vanilla undertone.
T=Straight Whiskey, with some malts,and with a very strong aftertaste of alcohol. Surprisingly, it is very smooth despite the high ABV.
M=Very full bodied and chewy
D= The strong alcoholic aftertaste makes this one a sipper, I wouldn't want to have more than one of these in an evening.

Overall it is well done, at first the alcohol teetered very close to overpowering the taste but as I worked my way down the glass it became more mellow. As I conclude drinking it, it gives me a nice,pleasant, relaxed feeling.

 674 characters

Photo of thagr81us
4.13/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served from tap into a goblet at the Founders event at Duckworth's. Poured reddish-brown with a minimal off-white head. Maintained excellent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt and bourbon. The flavor was of sweet malt, alcohol, and syrup. It had a medium feel on the palate with light to mild carbonation. Overall this one was very nicely balanced with a nice flavor. The aroma on this one was quite nice as well. Probably one of my favorite Scotch Ales to date. It is also crazy drinkable to weigh in at 10.2%...

 545 characters

Photo of dogfishandi
4.07/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

recieved this in a trade with jpmclaug. thanks again!

12oz stubby bottle pulled from my cellar floor. tough to read date stamped on the neck. *0/08/10?. poured into a standard pint.

pours out a dark ruby red, dark dark brown color. half a finger of tannish fizzy head that disappaited completely after about 5 minutes. no lace to speak of, but has decent legs on the side of the glass.

big bourbony, boozy alcohol is most obvious. with that there is lots of burnt caramelized malt. also bits of maple, vanilla, and oaky woodiness.

lots of boozy bourbon, but behind that theres some complexity to it. lots of burnt caramelized malt. maple, oaky, woody, just bits of smoky peat, maybe not enough. bits of honey and lots of sweetness. the barrel aged qualities of this beer really show strong, not so much the scotch ale qualities. still damn tasty non the less. went very nice with some sharp cheddars as always.

thick viscous, chewy mouthfeel. very light carbonation which definatly compliments the beer.

this is definatly a sipper at 10.2%. one bottle per session is enough. good to share with friends, and definatly a nice night capper.

im very glad i got a chance to try this. if this was readily available to me, i might get some to age, but i prolly wouldnt go out of my way to trade for this. im not sure of the price, but its worth a try.

 1,353 characters

Photo of ohiobrewtus
4.13/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Pours with extremely thin layer of head that is mildly off white. Very clear, reddish/copper color, bordering on brown.

Aroma - Malty sweet with dominant burnt/toasted caramel (likely from kettle caramelization) and slight hints of alcohol, toffee and biscuit. No hops present. Alcohol hotness increases significantly as it warms.

Mouthfeel - Medium full body, medium to medium low carbonation. Overall a slightly creamy, smooth mouthfeel with just a hint of dryness in the finish.

Flavor - The burnt/toasted caramel from the nose dominate, but the toffee/biscuit and malty sweetness continue. Very faint earthy hop bitterness with a slight alcohol warmth in a finish that provides a faint touch of dryness on the back of the tongue and the very back of the roof of the mouth. Alcohol warmth in the finish increases significantly as it warms.

Overall - A great example of the style with exceptional caramel notes and a surprisingly subdued alcohol profile considering the 10.2% abv.

 1,037 characters

Photo of superdedooperboy
3.8/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12-ounce brown bottle poured into a snifter glass. Bottle stamp tells me this was bottled on September 30, 2010 at 17:55, making this fairly fresh at just over a month old.

Pours a deep cherrywood hue with a nice clarity and a small off-white head that dissipates quickly, barely hanging on to the walls of the glass as the contents fade away.

Immediately the aroma gives this away as being barrel-aged, and bourbon barrel-aged at that. A huge whiff of vanilla, woody oak and a distinct bourbon character compromises the foreground, while in the background there is the slightest hint of peat that signals that this is, in fact, a Scotch ale at heart. The note is nearly imperceptible, and if one were not paying attention it would easily be missed, but it is there nevertheless.

The palate opens with sweet and slightly smoky malt notes before quickly being taken over by oaky vanillin, which bombards the palate throughout the remainder of the drink; sweet caramel notes peek through meagerly but have mostly hidden themselves in the pores of the wood. A more distinct wood character mingles with a touch of peat toward the back, perhaps with a little hop character, though it's difficult to discern as things become a little hot and boozy, leading into a long, warming finish. Vanilla and wood linger long afterward.

Drinkability isn't exactly the name of this beer's game. It's evident from the first whiff that this is a sipper, and it's an excellent one at that, though it would definitely be nice if a bit more of the base beer's character would show through after the barrel aging process. For fans of Bourbon and beers aged on Bourbon wood, this is definitely worth a shot, and it makes a heck of a nightcap. Sadly, because the base is so masked by the aging, it becomes a good deal less interesting than it could potentially be. I'd like to see how this cellars, though, as it certainly has cellaring potential and could, mellow and become more intriguing with a bit of age on the bottle.

 2,002 characters

Founders Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
4.26 out of 5 based on 8,052 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