Founders Backwoods Bastard | Founders Brewing Company

8,098 Ratings
no score
Send samples
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

For Trade:
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 8,098 |  Reviews: 1,838
Photo of kevindp9
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%

Photo of mmulebarn
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of Beer4B
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of jmarsh123
3.56/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a copper to brown color with a very minimal head.

Aroma is full of bourbon, molasses, brown sugar and sweet caramel malts along with a little oak and vanilla. Very sweet.

Taste is similar to aroma. Less complexity but wonderful balance and taste.

Starts off with a bit of chocolate and roast. The bourbon very much makes its flavor known near the middle and end of the palate and more as it warms. At times it's overpowering, but not terribly hot and it cuts through the sweetness well. Finishes with some bourbony heat.

Pretty thick mouthfeel with low carbonation levels.

Another good -bal from Founders although not great overall. It's a bit too sweet at times and the bourbon got a bit too hot. This review is of an '11 vintage. I much prefer about 9-12 months on these to mellow out some of the flavors. It's sublime then.

 838 characters

Photo of HarmonMW
4.75/5  rDev +11.5%

Photo of ricecracker420
4/5  rDev -6.1%

Photo of bbadger
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%

Photo of SerialTicker
4.06/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at the World Expo of Beer in Frankenmuth, Michigan.

Appearance: Darkness. A few bubbles on top, no lacing, and just a pitch black beer -- about what I expected this beer to look like.

Smell: Huge scotch and oak aromas... maybe some dark sort of chocolate malt notes, but mainly oaky scotch.

Taste: A couple people I was with claimed it tasted like liquid smoke and dumped it out, but I quite enjoyed this one -- it tastes almost exactly like it smells. It drinks almost like straight scotch with some warming on the finish, but there isn't a HUGE alcohol sort of flavor. The finish is also woody with some dark chocolate and malt to round it all out.

Quite good, and I think it's awesome that Founders chose to put some truly great stuff on-tap at the World Expo of Beer.

 782 characters

Photo of Budlum
4.09/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of chefhatt
4.28/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Had this one stashed in the fridge from last year. I poured it and it has a black color body with just a small head. The aroma is very strong bourbon. The taste has a strong bourbon presence with a nice maltyness to it. The mouthfeel is very smooth and the bourbon lingers on the tongue. Overall this is a damm good beer and i wish i had some to age.

 350 characters

Photo of ksimons
3.56/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A-a deep ruby color with a nice fingers worth of light tan head

S-some malt smell with smokiness, but mostly just a large amount of bourbon

T-Wow that is a lot of bourbon flavor! I'm really not getting much else out of this beer unfortunately. Edit-as it warms the flavor improves slightly with more malt and caramel, but the bite still masks things too much in my opinion.

M-medium body, light carbonation, pretty hot from the alcohol

Overall I was excited to finally see this beer in my area and to try it. The bourbon is sort of overpowering, feels like I am having whiskey not beer. Maybe some age or warming would help improve things.

 643 characters

Photo of DelicateDelirium
4.75/5  rDev +11.5%

Photo of dpgoblejr
4.76/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Reddish brown hue with vanilla and bourbon in the aroma. Tastes of bourbon, vanilla, and oak with a touch of heat on the finish. Nicely done Founders!

10/28/15 Edit. 2015 version is quite delightful with sweet vanilla and maybe some more malt making the flavor profile much more enjoyable than the 2014. Rated 4.6 late year but it's going up now.

 352 characters

Photo of Lantern
4/5  rDev -6.1%

Photo of Goblinmunkey7
3.9/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2010 bottle pulled from the cellar. Had it fresh, too hot to review properly. Here's hoping age helps.

Appearance: Almost no carbonation on a muddy brown beer. Head is off-white, minimal, and drops to a super-thin collar. No cap, no lacing. Very still.

Smell: Huge punches of vanilla, oak, booze soaked wood, straight bourbon, toffee, and biscuity malts. Faintly smoky. Caramel sweetness rounds out the back. Sharp bite of alcohol. Bourbon is pronounced, but has faded a touch over the 2 year sit. Hits to peated scotch. Vaguely roast. Sweet, bready. Still heavy on the bourbon and the wood.

Taste: Bourbon, chewy caramel malts. Deeply caramelized sugars. Bready, biscuits, sharp bites of alcohol. Vanilla, toffee, caramel candy, even some brown sugar. Nice balance of oak. Incredibly malty. Minor peat in the back. Vaguely smoky. Drinks closer to scotch than bourbon. Balance is far greater after some age. Some fruitiness as well. Mainly plum and apple. Slow alcohol burn.

Mouthfeel: Silky smooth medium body. Almost no carbonation. Dry burn on the back. Clean finish overall.

Overall: Fresh it's a big, hot mess. Aged, it's got nice balance and depth. Not stellar, but not bad either. Being forced to put age on in order to make it drinkable hurt it a bit in the long run.

A serious sipper even with age. Smooth, big, and boozy. Drink it fresh and you'll feel like you just took a dozen shots of iffy whiskey. Drink it aged.

 1,433 characters

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

Murky brown and ominous in my snifter. Strong aromas of bourbon and oak greet my nose right away. Caramelized booze, sweet malts too.

First sip instantly reminds me this is a scotch. Bourbon and oak charge forward quickly, bringing with them a caramel-y, boozy complexion. Big spike of auxiliary flavors in the middle before the dry finish.

Dark fruit and malts are the centerpiece here, so I was concerned that the boldness of the ancillary barrel flavors would overwhelm things. Fortunately, we're talking about a Founders beer, and they'd never do such a thing.

Medium body, good amount of carbonation. Would love a creamier version, but not sure if it's stylistically possible. Bourbon-aged beers aren't really my thing so drinkability suffers, but objectively it's quite drinkable.

Seriously, the Founders brewmasters are rock stars.

 842 characters

Photo of tclipse
5/5  rDev +17.4%

Photo of cindyjeffsmith
4.87/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearance: hazy mahogany. A thin off white head. Thick lacing for a 10+%.
Smell: sweet caramel. Smoky Bourbon. The nice out of the fridge and gets better and better as it warms.
Taste: As great as the nose. Full and malty with an a nice Scotch like edge to balance. Strangely mellow.
Overall: awesome. Founder's big beers are simply works of art. A creative, great brewery on top of their game.

 396 characters

Photo of ocelot2500
4/5  rDev -6.1%

Pours garnet color with a quickly fading white head that leaves little to no lacing.

Smells of bourbon and rich malts.

Tastes of a more subdued barrel character but plenty of malts. Malts lead off with notes of caramel and toffee. Plenty of sweetness. Barrel notes add in with vanilla and fragrant wood. Touches of dark fruits come through as well. Finishes with some lingering oak.

Mouthfeel is medium with a slight amount of carbonation.

Overall, this is a good barrel aged beer.

 490 characters

Photo of benloho
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of djtomain
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%

Photo of HopsForBrains
4.75/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of brewskifan55
4.12/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter. Thanks, cvm4.

A: Apricot amber. Not much head or lacing.

S: The barrel aged bourbon comes rumbling through. Strong and inviting.

T: Whoa! Bourbon rich with vanilla and caramel. A biting good finish. Alcohol seeps in with a 10.2 buzz. Sweet, robust. Reminds me of a Red Brick 17th Anniversary.

M: Light with low carbonation.

O: A fabulous sipper. One to celebrate with. Slow down and taste the burn.

 427 characters

Photo of scotorum
4.41/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 10/12/13

Poured from the 12 oz. bottle into a Samuel Smith English tulip.

a: Clear dark ruby, half finger thick beige head disspiated to thick surface foam and dense lacing.

s: Bourbon

t: Bourbon with hop bite over heavy malt base. Very tasty, bourbon flavor lingers in the mouth. Alcohol is felt on swallow but not with much burn. As it warms caramel malt comes more to the forefront, but this is still more about the bourbon barrel aging.

m: Medium to heavy, very smooth.

o: A superb combination, although the bourbon flavor tops the malt sweetness, the heft of the malt supports that flavor and both mediate the 50 IBU hops.

UPDATE 12/28/13: Had another and was struck by how much this tastes like a heavier-bodied Innis & Gunn Scottish Porter, which I just had a few nights ago, and which is also aged in liquor barrels. I must admit, much as I love I&G, I liked this better because of the more substantial body and slightly better malt/whiskey flavor balance. I like a hefty mouthfeel, and Backwoods Bastard is hard to beat! Of course it also tops the ABV of Innis & Gunn by about 3%.

 1,105 characters

Photo of domdomdomdom
4.06/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Founders Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
4.26 out of 5 based on 8,098 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.