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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: 1,750 | Ratings: 7,771
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 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 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 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 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 Masonz223
4/5  rDev -5.9%
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 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 ichorNet
4.66/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Appearance: Deep brown amber with some suspended solids. Patterned lacing coming down in tiers. Excellent foam and solid retention

Scent: Wooden and phenolic with maple, vanilla, roasted malt and nuttiness (walnuts?) spicing it all up. Earthy, musty and sweet

Taste: Evocative of the beer’s name and style; the oak aging lends the vanilla aspect while scotch, toffee, caramel and peaty malt provide an alluring center

Mouthfeel: Smooth drinking with low-medium carbonation rounding out a full-bodied middle. Finish is divine and evolves subtly over time

Drinkability: I could drink more than one of these in a row, but it would hurt. That said, this is a sipper and should be treated as such

Overall: This is fantastic beer. I think it would be very difficult to seek this out and find it disappointing, honestly. Founders have taken a strong, malt-forward beer and made it even more relentless in its approach and that is something I find intense and uncompromising. Wholeheartedly recommended!

Read full review @ http://blogs.lowellsun.com/beer/2012/11/22/founders-backwoods-bastard/

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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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Photo of Janderson91
4.47/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

One of my favorite beers from my favorite brewery. Bottled on date has been rubbed off but it was purchased about two months ago. Enjoyed on 11/30/11.

A - Poured into a tulip. Very dark deep red color, almost purple with a small off-white head. Leaves no lacing.

S - Great aroma. Vanilla, wood, toffee, maybe some leather and some dark fruits as well. Very rich.

T - Similar to the aroma. Everything in the aroma is there, very sweet beer, but the alcohol helps cut it. Also a very slight hoppiness on the back end.

M - Mouthfeel is very nice. Thick and rich to match the flavor of this one.

O - Overall, this is an excellent beer. Just about perfect.

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Photo of camil1mj
4.2/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 poured into my Founder's snifter.

A: Deep brown with some light able to penetrate. Slight khaki colored head that dissipates quickly.

S: Oak, caramel, malt with strong bourbon notes.

T: Tastes are similar to the smells. Caramel, malt giving way to the bourbon overtones.

M: Medium to heavy bodied with slight syrupy characteristics.

O: Great brew by Founder's. I am going to keep this on my radar so that I can buy some and throw them in the cellar next time.

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Photo of dancinwillie
3.68/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark mahogany, with crimson around the edges. Light tan head, small, but thick. Light comes through the brew, but barely, and many suspended particles remain.

Aroma is bourbon heavy, chocolate light.

The Bourbon flavors have mellowed, somewhat. I forget when I bought this, but it was too much for me at that time. I like when the flavors start to mellow, and become more carmel tasting. This one could have used about 3 - 6 more months, but not too bad. Some carmel flavors have started to develop, along with the chocolate flavors from the aroma. Deep and rich, the bourbon is also still here, although lessened, as mentioned. Hopping bitterness is detected, although flavor is not too evident. Wow, as this warms, the chocolate/caramel flavors really start coming to the front. Bitterness also becoming more pronounced, which is nice, as to balance the sweetness. Alcohol is not evident.

Mouthfeel is medium thick/thin, about right in the middle really. Carbonation has mellowed since the first 3 from the 4-pack were enjoyed. Smooth and chewy, long bittersweet finish.

Overall, a heck of a lot better than I remember. I didn't think I would enjoy this Bastard as much as I have. A real treat, and now I know, as far as my tastes go, I should get a 4-pack, and hold of drinking it for at least 6 months. Cheers!

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Photo of SammyDavisJrJrJr
4.29/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Could there be any better way to spend a day off? Homebrewing while drinking a Founders limited release in the morning, visiting a brewery (Flossmoor) for the first time in the afternoon. Into to Affigem Goblet...

A - A dark, thick looking beer with amber tints. A small amount of head pokes out through this thickness, and leaves a small ring of head.

S - The very expressive bourbon (vanilla, smoke, cherry) qualities mix well with the slight peat smoke from the Bastard, Very enjoyable.

T - The flavor that wins the race to hit my tongue first was the scotch-ale like sweetness, and it blended quickly with the cherry flavors from the bourbon barrels. Smoke mixed in at midpalate, and helps balance this beer out at this point. At the swallow, I was hit with alcohol and peat. The peat lasts well into the finish, where the hops balanced everything out, and left with cherry, peat, hops, and some spice. Focused and tasty, very enjoyable.

M - Full and silky, basically what you would expect from a big beer like this.

D - This was really good, but I would say that the bourbon did overwhelm the scotch ale. I don't know if this would be any better, but I am curious is this beer would have worked better with more balance between the two.

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

A-pours black and has a thick appearance w/ little to no head.

S-Sweet bourbon...vanilla...oak

T-Picked up the alcohol immediately...very creamy taste. The taste of the alcohol progesses nicely...not overpowering but definitely the star. Sweet taste.

M-Little to no carbonation...very pleasant mouth feel...even holding in the mouth...the alcohol was not overpowering and I detected the other flavors...the oak...caramel.

D-I enjoy this beer each time I have it...this years vintage is no exception. I can put down mulitples on this.

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Photo of sbxx
3.5/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Apple cider. Light ring of khaki head that settles into a thin ring.

Smell - That sweet spice of Jim Beam with hints of cocoa, brown sugar and caramel.

Taste - Bourbon up front, fades into the classic Dirty Bastard flavor.

Mouthfeel - Thin body, light carb, slick & sticky finish.

Overall - A little too thin and bourbon forward, but still decent. Might rather just have a classic Dirty Bastard. The barrel doesn't seem to do much for this one, unlike KBS, which I think is excellent.

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Photo of JJKBeerLvr
4.08/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into pint glass in November 2015. I like the bottled date of 9/26/2015 on the bottle, and I drank it about 2 months after bottling.

Appearance: Very deep amber with dark tan head. Beer color is opaque but not cloudy. Head is medium, and leaves a thin film on the glass.

Smell: Aroma filled with mix of roasted malt, caramel, and some chocolate. Nice variety and balance, with a little aroma from the bourbon barrel.

Taste: There is a nice mix of sweetness from the malt and bite from the hops. There is a strong scotch flavor, and also a little chocolate flavors, balanced with a bit of hops. This was done in a nice combination with the other flavors. There is a nice variety of flavors in the aftertaste too, that lasts for a minute. I like how the flavors vary overtime with the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied, and very smooth. Strong alcohol, which confirms the 11.6% on the bottle.

This is an extremely smooth full-bodied Scotch Ale. It is an interesting combination of flavors, and I would definitely drink this again. Overall a very good beer, and another winner from Founders

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Photo of SummitVA
4.47/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Deep mahogany pour with ample carbonation.

S - Vanilla, bourbon, oak, toffee, wonderful malt complexity, and a little booze.

T - Vanilla and oak foremost, followed by sweet toffee, burnt sugar, and bit of coconut--this lingers along with the vanilla and bourbon. Somewhat boozy. Tannic quality in the finish that lends a dryness.

M - Heavier side of medium. Definitely chewy, but not overpoweringly so.

O - Another fantastic barrel-aged brew from Founders. Wish I would have bought more.

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Photo of Sensaray
4.37/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a slightly hazed deep burnt mahogany with a half inch of tan head that dissipates quickly to a thin head.

Smells like bourbon and toffee, big puffs of alcohol maybe a bit of dark fruit and chocolate.

First sip brings a spice and nice alcoholic burn leading to a straight bourbon taste closing with toffee/caramel sweetness that lingers for awhile. Some hints of chocolate and vanilla in there too.

Very smooth mouthfeel and slightly hot. Good level of carbonation for this beer.

Tastes really really good and potent.

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Founders Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
4.25 out of 5 based on 7,771 ratings.
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