Founders Backwoods Bastard | Founders Brewing Company

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Founders Backwoods BastardFounders Backwoods Bastard

Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company
Michigan, United States | website

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: 1,747 | Ratings: 7,751
Photo of NCBeernut
3.3/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Deep red almost mahogany body generously dusted with particulate and capped by a small bone colored head that is somewhat resistant to forming. First scent to hit is sweet bourbon followed by candy sugars and hints of vanilla and anise. Flavors hit all at once. Bourbon, sweet sugary malts, a bit of vanilla and spicy alcohol. Smooth woody flavors from start to finish, but never coming close to taking over the bourbon. A bit thin a slightly watery...not what I was expecting....

As it continues to warm some slight dark fruit notes come out but really this beer basically tastes like watered down sweet bourbon...I am starting to think that my notes above took a bit of digging to detect.

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Photo of MPLS
3.55/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Picked this one up from a fine selection of single bottles the worlds oak aged and bourbon really stuck out like.

A: Dark copper body with a amber bottom. Cascading head with a soapy head that appears to have gotten just a slight tan. Faint and mild-mannered lacing.

S: Dirty caramel infused bourbon, butterscotch, almond, alcohol.

T: Very sweet and malty, the butterscotch/caramel dominates the beer. Small linger hop profile. I might have had bigger expectations of this beer, maybe it's the style that doesn't work well with the oak-aged bourbon barrels. maybe I'm spoiled with bourbon-aged stouts?

M: Medium bodied would be generous, a bit thin for a "big beer"

D: Hmmm...the bourbon element entices me to want it, but the thin mouthfeel and not to my liking sweetness of this beer make would make me grab for it if it were in the back of the fridge.

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Photo of MunsonRoyE
4.59/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 9/26/14

This was an amazing beer!
The first few sips were mediocre. However, from there on out, the flavors kept on coming out and changing in nothing but a good way. It just kept on getting better and better until the very last sip, and I was sad that my glass, unfortunately, was empty. I've never had one fresh, but at 11 months old, it was simply delicious. I have three more in the cellar and I don't know if they're going to be in there much longer!

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Photo of priwen
4.17/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Dark brown with thin, tan head. Wonderful smell of bourbon with some malt and vanilla in the background. Bourbon dominates the taste of this one. Very easy drinking given the alcohol. Has a nice, semi-dry finish. Overall a wonderful beer that deserves to be sipped and savored.

12 oz bottle
Bottled date: 10/10/2014
Served in an oversized wine glass

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Photo of claminat420
3.73/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- poured a dark burgandy brown color. off white one finger head.

S- sweet malt with a sweet caramel blend. woody with a slight cherry or some other fruit hidden deep down inside.

T- the caramel malts and the woodiness of the oak barrels deliver in the front. alil spice from the alcohol and a weird fruit hidden delivers in the backend.

M- medium to heavy bodied. awesome on the carbonation.

D- for 10.2 abv i was expecting more. the four pack isn't to rough to handle.

Overall- this is definitely worthy to pick up.

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Photo of Marty30
4.4/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to imperialking for this. Poured into a Jackie O's snifter At 50 degrees.

A. Body is A dark muddy brown with a ruby tint.Almost no head as expected,It just gives off some large bubbles.Very little lacing.

S. Big caramel malts hit you in the face,nice bourbon notes shine through,not overpowering by any means.A bit of oak,and dark cherries.

T. Sweet tasting beer,not bad tho fits the style.Bourbon and caramel,a bit of vanilla and oak from the barrels.

M. Feel is awesome,heavy and creamy, coats the palate very well. Not much carbonation but I wouldn't expect there to be.

Overall this is another badass beer from Founders,easily my Favorite brewery. I definately recommend this beer,a must try!

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Photo of swedishmailman
4.47/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a fat tulip.

Appearance is a dark copper that has a slight ruby color when held up to the light. Light tan head that is relatively thin, but sticking around for awhile. Tight bubbles. No light is getting through. Looks inviting.

Aroma is sweet malt, a slight earthy tone, some vanilla, a bit of a fig smell. I get a bit of the bourbon character because I know this is aged in bourbon barrels, but it doesn't scream barrel aged.

Taste is delicious. Huge malt character. It's got a nice butterscotch flavor on the back end. The barrel character shines through here much more than in the aroma. Slight alcohol burn on the finish but nothing overwhelming. Not too boozy at all. A slight warming sensation comes pleasantly with every sip. It's got a pretty sweet finish. No hop character that I can pick up whatsoever.

Mouthfeel is medium-heavy. It's not the thickest beer I've ever drank, but definitely has a syrupy feel to it, especially as it warms up.

Overall this is a damn good beer. It doesn't have an insanely huge barrel character, but it definitely adds to the beer perfectly. One of the better offerings I've had from Founders.

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Photo of pdoran10
4.09/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Backwoods Bastard pours out a deep amber brown color into my New Belgium snifter. I get half a finger of tan head that hints at proper carbonation, but it fades quickly and leaves no lacing.

The smell is vanilla, alcohol heat, bourbon, and caramel sweetness. Really impressive here.

I get flavors of sweet caramel cotton candy up front, with big tannins from the wood, and a boozy vanilla bourbon taste on the finish. Nice complex flavors. A few months of mellowing might make this even more delicious.

Mouthfeel is reasonably chewy with lowish carbonation. Solid here for a barrel aged offering.

Overall a really nice complex beer, can't wait till Founders expansions when they can put out of more of this each year.

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Photo of ramseye4
3.68/5  rDev -13.4%
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.

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Photo of ballewblake
3.9/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From bottle into my Duvel glass.

One finger tan head didn't last long, some soapy bubbles persist on the side. Light lacing. Solid dark brown body. Light malty nose, but not really noticeable. Taste is peppery first, sweet second, alcoholic third. Not really that petty, scotch flavor I was expecting at first. Chocolate notes come through with more drink, almost like a chocolate martini now that I think about it. Mouthfeel is perfect, I like the balance and everything about it on the tongue. Even with the noticeable alcohol, I could drink this pretty easy, no problem. I liked this brew. Thanks to hophead101 for throwing this in the ss09 bif.

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Photo of Gfunk720
4.45/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

2010 bottle out of my Harpoon LE tulip.

A- Deep reddish brown, very clean. Nice off white head, 1 finger or so. Nice lacing too.

S- Smells sweet and bourbony. Notes of vanilla and molassas. Perhaps a touch of oak.

T- Smooth and full of bourbon. The vanilla notes stand out the most to me. Starts smooth, and then really opens up.

M- Pretty much perfect. Just right with the carbonation, and the beer has just the right body.

D- This is a heavy one, but the initial flavor is just so good. A nice sipper on a cold night, very tasty

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Photo of techfed87
4.48/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured a very nice head to it, light in color, but with a very tempting scent to it. Is very slow to dissipate. Scent is very malty, with hints of bourbon.

Taste is much sweeter than I thought it would be. It's kind of an oatmeal with brown sugar kind of sweet. Big mouthful, very malty, a very light, tight flavor. Coming into this, I was expecting something bitter, but it's anything but.

The taste is very light, not to say that it doesn't have body to it, but in the sense that the flavor is quick to disappear once you've done drinking. And with it being a solid 10.2% ABV, this can get you into trouble. This does not taste like a 10% beer.

For only being a seasonal release, I would like nothing more than to see this be available more often. It's just excellent. My only complaint may be that the flavors that I would have expected from the aging in bourbon barrels was not there. Instead, there was something unique to the beer that I like immensley.

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Photo of JasonA
3.98/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep dark carmel, very carmelized looking. Single finger of head, quickly disapating into islands of head with ample lacing.

Roasted medium deep malt. COuld be burbon in there, tough to tell as smells a lot like malt. Sweet port.

Slight vanilla, some bittering/hops almost belgian yeasty flavor also. Bourbon present, not overpowering. Not quite full bodied, could use some depth.

A bit hot, could probably use a bit of time to smooth out. Feels a tad off, not smooth quite enough. ABV present.

Good brew. I want a couple more so they can have some time in the cellar. I would say at least a year.

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Photo of joaopmgoncalves
4.76/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Ordered it from Beer52, and poured to a regular kitchen glass due to lack of proper beer glass.

A: The body is black with amber hues with a very nice beige head that showed lots of consistency, lacing and will to be on top of the beer for all time.
S: The aroma was just perfect, this is totally my kind of beer. You could smell tons of bourbon on this, presenting itself like the basic pillars of the aroma only allowing you to smell the malt a bit later. Gosh, amazing.
T: When you first sip the beer, it's very sweet with a very big profile of awesome bourbon that goes along very well with the malts. Technically, it seems that the "bourbon-ness" of the beer is the same characteristic the malty one, but only read differently on different mouth/tongue zones.
M: The body is medium to high. No bitterness in the end but no one asked for it. To finish it great style, the alcohol goes unnoticed, which makes this a very noble beer. Mouth-wise, perfect, 5.0.
O: I've had very few Founders beers in the past, this is for sure my favorite.

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Photo of titty_mcbitty
5/5  rDev +17.6%

This beer has a very dark ruby brown color with a thin tan head.

The aroma is wonderful: raisins and chocolate hit up front, while prunes and cherries sneak up behind.

The flavor is the most astonishing part of the beer. Licorice, sweet chocolate pudding, juicy dates and raisins, sugar and molasses, maple syrup, oak wood, and much much more. There is a prominent bourbon barrel coat on every sip.

This drinks velvety smooth - a thick mouth-feel. Yet, it maintains drinkability.

This is one of the best beers I've had yet. I'm still trying to comprehend all of the wonderful flavors present in the taste. The balance and the craft of this brew are beyond superb.

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Photo of PerzentRizen
4.26/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I found myself looking for the Jack Daniels trademark. I have to say this beer is insanely good after a steak dinner. I only wish I had a cigar to enjoy with this one.

This was poured into a brandy snifter and enjoyed after a huge porterhouse with family. There was basically little to no head. But the aroma was fantastically delicious. How in the world do they think these things up. Everything was in pefect harmony. I will say that I tried this earlier in the week and did not like it. Rather than slam it I thought I would try another. I ended up chilling it rather than drinking it at cellar temp and the taste improved. Almost like chilling whiskey before drinking it makes it taste better (to me).

The taste is of alcohol, smoke, bourbon, toasted nuts, dried fruit, and strong malt backbone. I cannot detect much in the way of hops. I really ended up liking this one a lot!

The mouthfeel decent. A little watery but very in tune with the style. I don't know how drinkable this one is with over 9% ABV and $16 a four pack but I cannot slam them for either considering the awesome flavor!

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Photo of Humulus85
4.2/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 vintage poured from a 12oz bottle into my Darkness snifter.

Produced a 2" off-white head. Decent retention with minimal lacing. Poured a kind of murky mahogany with vibrant ruby tones when held to light. A very interesting looking brew.

Bourbon, wood, and roasted malt in the nose. Pretty powerful smelling stuff, like I stuck my head in a whiskey barrel.

The bourbon is pronounced throughout, but is never overpowering. Surrounding it are some very nice, rich, roasted malts with vanilla and nutty notes. There is also a subtle smokiness that seems to kinda tie everything together. The aftertaste is what wins me over: it's like I just took a shot of scotch chased with a good red ale.

It's medium bodied with slight carbonation. Smooth for over 10% and it doesn't finish too sweet. Love the aftertaste.

Overall I really liked this brew. I'm far from familiar with Scotch Ales but I think this is a great example. To my ignorant pallet this seems like a "double" Scotch Ale, so maybe not the best choice to someone new to the style. Love the prominent, but clean, bourbon taste. Cheers!

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Photo of spacebear09
4.3/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This is a very interesting and unique ale, never had anything quite like it before. The scent hints at massive bourbon flavor, but the taste is surprisingly mild. Very smooth and easy drinking. Flavors are primarily toffee, caramel, creme brulee, bourbon, and a hint of chocolate. Very refreshing and doesn't have the bite associated with most bourbon aged beers.

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Photo of MAFC_Trainer
4.65/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Look - pours almost black with little to no head or lacing. Held up to a light the body is red.
Smell - sweet malty whisky
Taste - malty sweetness upfront. There's a delicious Scotch aftertaste. The more I drink the stronger the bourbon taste. So good.
Feel - really smooth. Little carbonation.
Overall - this is my first wee heavy. It's awesome. Not overly boozie, especially with being 11.6% alcohol.

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Photo of TheFlern
4.15/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks MaxSpang

Appearance: Slightly dark amber. Bone white head. Lacing is decent.

Smell: Bourbon dominates. The base beer smells good as well. Sweet.

Taste: Follows the smell. Good balance with the Bourbon. I'm a fan.

Mouthfeel: Drinkable for the high ABV and Bourbon aging.

Overall: I would highly recommend this beer.

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Photo of keanex
4.89/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a tulip glass.

A: Deep red, almost opaque, with a thin light caramel colored head. Head retains through the beer as a small coating and nice lacing leaving traces down the side as I drink.

S: A beautiful intriguing mix of vanilla mixed with a fruity aroma, perhaps pear? Hints of caramel and toffee, very sweet smelling with a slight alcohol hint. I'm very much enjoying the scent of this.

T: As a bourbon drinker the first sip was incredibly familiar. A spicy/vanilla bourbon forefront with a thick creamy toffee finish with fruits thrown in the mix. This beer tastes a lot like a world class bourbon, leaving a similar burning down the throat, in a good way.

As I drink more I notice it's a bit sugary, but in a good way that balances out some of the burn.

M: Thick and creamy while rolling easy down with medium carbonation to ease it's thickness up.

O: This beer is absolutely blowing my mind now. It's very complex with a fruity vanilla bourbon character. As a bourbon drinker this is very familiar to me and this is the best scotch ale I've ever had making me warm and tingly with each sip.

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Photo of Hophazzard
4.64/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

My first Wee Heavy and WOW they set the bar pretty damn high with this one. Simply put, it's the best bourbon barrel aged beer that I've tried. Perfectly balanced, super smooth, ideal for sipping on a cold winters night. Outstanding!

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Photo of IPAGeorge
4.3/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter from a bottle.

A. Very little head with a medium viscosity. Brown but light still passes through. Very little head with little retention.

S. A predominant scotch smell. Not too heavy though.

T. Just enough scotch flavor to let you know it's there. A cookie like sweetness follows and then just a bit of bitterness.

M. Light carbonation. Medium mouth retention and a little creamy. Just a touch of heart going down.

O. Very well done by founders. Not too boozy and not too heavy. Nice mouthfeel and just enough heat to let you know it's oak aged. The light carbonation is a nice touch also. Everyone should try it at least once.

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Photo of westweasel
3.97/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a New Belgium goblet.

Appearance: Very dark amber / medium brown. Translucent with tons of floaties throught the beer. A very thin ring of off-white head.

Aroma: The nose is filled with scents of caramel, toffee, milk chocolate, bourbon, and alcohol.

MF - medium to medium full. Medium carbonation

Taste - The strongest malt flavors are toffee, mixed in with some chocolate and caramel. Also mixed in there are a strong alcohol flavor and a hint of bourbon. The alcohol flavor overpowers the malty flavors and lingers after the swallow.

Drinkability - I would like this even more if the straight alcohol flavor was more subtle, and the bourbon and malty flavors were stronger. It still a very enjoyable beer, even with all the floaters in the glass.

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Photo of aficionado
3.89/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this many times. This time, I served it in a Duvel Tulip.

Dark murky brown body with hints of red. Moderate lacing, no head.

Intense bourbon aromas with lots of vanilla bean, loads of dark fruits, dark caramel, and new oak barrels.

Complex taste with an upfront pruney sweetness, artificial dominating vanilla and nutty toasted coconut, hot bourbon, dark caramel, brown sugar, and a drying oak finish. The hot alcohol really punches through, but it's not as intense on the palate as it is on the nose. Still, it is more than noticeable and the finish warms your belly quite a bit.

Mouthfeel is fullish and somewhat creamy/syrupy yet not cloying in flavor. The sweet upfront taste followed by a dry finish turns me off slightly. The carbonation is very fine and lightens the body a bit. I like this beer, but one at a time is enough to satisfy. I would love to age a bottle for 3 years and revisit... if not, I'll pass on it fresh.

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Founders Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
95 out of 100 based on 1,747 ratings.
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