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: 1,830 | Ratings: 8,053
Photo of Wontonst
4.12/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a dark reddish brown color with a full thick head. Very appealing look. The smokey barrel aging pops out along with vanilla, caramel. Taste is hoppy with notes of toffee, caramel, and malts. Feel is smooth but a bit boozy halfway through, with a malty finish.

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Photo of bin31z
4.52/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours reddish brown with little head. Nose is full of coconut, caramel and barrel char. Palate has the caramel sweetness mix with some barrel charred burned sugar flavors. Doesn't taste 11.6 abv at all. I could sip on this all day, just the right mix of bourbon barrel and base beer. I find some barrel aged imperial stouts to be too much going on, too heavy. This is better in my opinion, a simpler base beer with some great barrel flavors. Only offputting thing is that there is some similarity to cough syrup on the nose and taste, but alot of bourbon aged beers have that characteristic.

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Photo of MaximalC
3.93/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

*Bottled 10/27/14

Pours a deep, garnet color with a modest cap of cream suds. Mild aroma smells of toffee, brown sugar, cherries, and vanilla. Swaths of speckled lacing adorn the glass as the beer recedes.

The taste is sweet and boozy up front, featuring brown sugar, toasted bread, cherry cough syrup, and woody, buttery bourbon with notes of vanilla. Mild, herbal hops lurk beneath the malt and bourbon foreground. Medium-heavy body and mild carbonation make for a slightly syrupy mouthfeel. Palpable stickiness lingers on the lips between sips.

Overall, this is a nice scotch ale that might even be a little too barrel-forward, if I may say so. I don’t know if the fact that this bottle is pushing 17 months makes a difference, but that was my impression. Either way, there’s no denying the quality of the craftsmanship here.

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Photo of Crubbsy
3.91/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle from 2015 poured into a tulip glass

Appearance: Pours a dark carmelly brown color. Left a foamy and very light tan head that lingered for a minute or so. Lots and lots of solids suspended in this beer. Looks chewy.

Aroma: All carmel, malt and whiskey.

Taste: The carmel malt aroma carry through proportionately to the flavor. First you get a densely sweet and delicious malt, then the smoky whiskey barrel finish.

Mouthfeel: Thick and viscous sugary nectar. nice smooth finish that leaves a thin coating on the mouth and makes the flavor of the beer linger for a while. very pleasant.

Overall: I like the combo of a scottish ale with a barrel aging treatment, although the scottish ale varieties are admittedly not my favorite. The smoky whiskey flavors do a nice job of balancing the super sweet brew that it accompanies.

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Photo of NolaHopHead
4.29/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle, almost 1.5 yrs old. Pours deep reddish brown, thin off white head fades quickly to a ring, lots of soapy lacing. Sugary sweet aroma with bourbon notes, dark fruit, hint of vanilla. Taste is similar, complex blend of maple/brown sugar, bourbon, wood, raisins, burnt notes. None of the flavors overpowers. Some earthy bitterness lingers past the semi dry finish. A little booze coming through at the end. Medium mouthfeel. Very good brew, so many flavors.

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Photo of kaseydad
4.6/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Scary dude on label. I better like this. Nuff said.

Pours a very nice murky brown/copper ale with a nice sized cream colored head. Light lacing.

Nice sweet caramel aromas with some sweet malt and boozy bourbon soaked dark fruits.

Taste is long sweet malt yum, more caramel (like the aroma), bourbon, brown sugar, molasses and just a kiss of hop spice on the tongue. The booze warmness is definitely present but doesn't distract from each sip.

Overall this was a home run. Obviously the past reviews can attest to that, but I consider myself lucky to finally partake in all that is Founders. They know how to brew beer and this is a fantastic brew for the style. Hell it could probably win some Barleywine contests as well. Amazing stuff.

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Photo of LAp
4.45/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours a ruby-mahogany with a dark tan head. Nose is thick caramel malt, with prominent elements of toffee on a faint bourbon background. The palate follows the nose. The bourbon is appropriately subdued, and allows the Wee-Heavy notes (more rich toffee, molasses, and brown sugar) to come through more strongly. Mouthfeel is medium-thick/thick, with minimal carbonation. One of the quintessential Wee Heavies in my mind. An outstanding beer.

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Photo of GregBinder7
4.73/5  rDev +11%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Overall great beer. Very good taste, awesome aroma as well. They typically have it on tap for quite some time! Easily one of the best brews Founders makes

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Photo of Phil-Fresh
4.38/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25


A: Lots of bourbon vanilla upfront, some malt sweet malt and oak on the nose.

A: Deep brown color, with an amberish hue, almost opaque, with a moderate head.

T: Lots of bourbon, rich malts with a light brown sugar, molasses character with some oak. This beer does not have a typical Scotch ale flavor profile – but quite tasty.

M: Full bodied with moderate carbonation; very smooth mouth-feel.

O: Pretty fantastic and great one to slowly sip and enjoy the complex taste!

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Photo of JackieKu
4.67/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

On tap.

A: Deep brown. Medium foam with fine retention.
S: Intense oaks: woody and vanilla. Syrup sweet. Sour notes.
T: Intense oaky and malty. Vanilla, woody, butter, caramel, and bread. High sweetness. Moderate bitterness.
M: Full body. Moderate carbonation.
O: The best Scotch ale I've had. Powerful aroma and flavor. Complex and delicious, really great.

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Photo of mctnoyes
4.37/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Not really a scotch ale fan but this one is a HUGE exception! Founders does a fantastic job barrel aging and it gives this strong ale awesome flavor. Look forward to it every year.

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Photo of THSdrummer
4.37/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours an opaque, hazy of plum-maroon with a medium-thin beige head. Not much if any lacing is left behind. Notes of sweet malts, toffee, and oak come through in the nose. It smells sweet overall. Taking a sip provides one with a smooth crescendo of sweet malts and toffee, before peaking and decaying into a still sweet, but oak infused flavor. Mouth feel is fantastic. It's incredibly smooth and well behaved, despite being an 11% beer. Overall, an incredible beer. It's easy and fun to drink, and looks great. Features a little more character in the aroma and taste than other scotch ales/ wee heavies I've had in the past.

Served in a 12oz snifter.

Score for 2015: 4.25 | 4.25 | 4.25 | 4.5 | 4.25 | Compiled Score: 4.28

Backwood's Bastard 2016 pours a rich, deep hue of burgundy so dark very little light pokes through. Head formation bubbles up quickly and accumulates about a finger thick in a beige color. Unfortunately, head retention is moderate, with very little lacing afterwards. Aroma is a blast of flavors, with notes of oak, bourbon, boozy burn, roasted malts, caramel, toffee, and burnt sugar. It certainly smells sweet, and with its high level of complexity, it's fun to just sniff. Beer is meant to be drank though, so how does it taste. Complex and warming in a quick pairing of words. Flavor profile opens with oak, caramel, toffee, burnt sugar, before reshaping into bourbon, and a slightly, fleshy boozy burn. Despite all of this complexity, the beer finishes watery wiping the bold flavors off of the palette. It makes taking another sip easy, but makes it difficult to savor. The watery finish starts to break up as the beer warms, finishing slightly more boozy and oaky. Mouth feel has a medium consistency, while remaining filling. Its a strange pairing. Perhaps it needs more time to mellow out and smooth. Overall, it's a sublime beer with a high level of complexity and character. While there is plenty going on, and to consider and think about, it almost leaves a little something to be desired. Fortunately, (or unfortunately) it remains easy to drink at 11.2% ABV, especially compared with other limited Founder's offering. This fresh bottle of 2016 does have a bit more spice then the 2015 bottle I had earlier this year which was aged for about 3 months in a stone cellar prior to my consumption of it.

Served in a 12oz snifter.

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Photo of alarmclock314
4.15/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle, 2014 version, dated 9/26/14. Pours hazy amber with a medium sized off-tan head. Smells of bourbon, cocoa, cherry, and barrel. The taste follows exactly with bourbon, oak, cherry, cocoa, and vanilla. Could use some more caramel flavors. Some bitterness in the pallet. Medium body and below average carbonation. It's very different from Dirty Bastard; it's less true to the style but full of flavor and well made.

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Photo of MisSigsFan
4.24/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a deep ruby red/brown with a light tan head. Smell is heavy on the bourbon. Rich vanilla, oak, molasses, brown sugar, caramel, and sweet malt. Taste follows the nose for the most part. Slightly boozy on the back end. Mouthfeel is slightly sticky and thick with low carbonation. Overall, a really good BA wee heavy. I wouldn't go out of my way to get it though, even before Founder started distro-ing here. Definitely worth trying though.

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Photo of ranger7
3.46/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Wow. I had this over New Year's Eve. Boozy and sweet; some brown sugar, caramel, and malt. Very boozy and definitely a sipping beer. I'm glad I gave this a try, since I've been looking for it for a couple years now, but I probably wouldn't seek it out again. For what it is, it's fine, but too boozy for me.

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Photo of Sir_Whats-his-face
4.6/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

I was excited to finally get to try one of Founders barrel aged beers, and I think I'm most surprised by how subtle this beer is. The bourbon isn't so in-your-face, but it's integrated so well into the whole that I feel as if that's for the best. It's no bourbon bomb, but it's an extraordinarily balanced beer, and I can't find much- if any- fault with it.

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Photo of retry4z
4.14/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a bottle, chilled. Golden-brown with very little head. Huge bourbon aroma with caramel and sweet fruit notes. Taste includes toffee, marmelade, caramel, brown sugar, maple syrop, and vanilla, and leaves some bitterness on the throat. Medium carbonation with a full-bodied, syropy feel. Overall a nice example of bourbon flavor showing up on the nose but not as much on the tongue. A somewhat bitter scotch ale that's a sipper, and would go nicely with a cigar or a dessert.

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

12oz bottle. Scotch Wee Heavy. Pours a nice amber red. Full 2 fingers of head that lingered. Smells of sugars and bourbon. Much like a traditional scotch wee heavy. Taste is thicker than expected. Bourbon upfront and bourbon on the back end. Tastes like a barleywine to me though. Good but not great. Sweet sugars and bourbon. I'll pass next time.

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Photo of NateDyk47
3.24/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

On tap at Founders.

L: dark brown, thin white head
S: bourbon, caramel, maple syrup
T: mostly bourbon, hint of caramel
F: on the heavy side

Not a big fan. Too sweet and too much bourbon.

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Photo of MLoxxer
3.2/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

This was my first foray into a high gravity scotch ale. I partook of this beer on tap at Yia Yia's in Lincoln Nebraska. The draw I had exhibited a very nice appearance whose head left behind respectable lacing. The nose and flavor of this beer are very alcoholic, which is to be expected at 12% plus ABV. Although it is interesting, the intrigue to want to try it again just isn't there.

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Photo of Ikeithbot
4.96/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Looks brick reddish brown, no head typical of her style

Smells amazing! Heavy oak and bourbon action!

Taste is other worldly. I love wee heavies and this brings it to another level.

Mouthfeel. Baa. Whatever.

Overall. The more I drink it the more I want to rock a kilt. Such a treasure and kudos to founders for making an exceptional brew. It can't be easy and I guess that's why it's only available once a year.

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Photo of Dinglehacker
4.29/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Genty poured into chalice. No head, fizzy lacing that dissipates. Deep brown, ruby-brown when held to light.

Smells of molasses and dark malty ale, chocolate and toffee, like a tray of brown sweets at Christmas. Indicative of its style.

Taste: syrupy mash, rich creamy chocolate, roast toffee, very full bodied. Soft custard aftertaste.

Feel: pretty smooth. The savory flavors are soft on the palette. The only carbonated bite comes from the faint ale taste.

More personality than its exemplary but standard Founders cohorts Curmudgeon (Old Ale) and Dirty Bastard (another Wee Heavy). If you're a fan of the style, it is essential drinking. If you like dark rich beers in general, it will likely tickle your fancy. Serve it at your next Samhain.

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Photo of MaillardRx
4.61/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: dark amber with a thin light-colored meniscus for a head that leaves an equally thin lace
S: malt, whiskey, malt again, whiskey again... I could smell this all day
T: a robust and mature malt bill, whiskey, raisins, currants, oak, coffee, a little bit of smoke, pepper, molasses, brown sugar
M: more chewy than I was anticipating but in a very good way, it's got good girth to it
O: start to finish this was a very complete beer and great example of the style; it warmed the cockles of my heart and I'm very grateful to Kyle for it.

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Photo of BarrelAgedForrest
4.95/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

WOW! Not sure what else to say here. I got to enjoy one bottle of this and was sadly hooked with no where to get a fix! (We got 1 case of it in our entire town) Then next thing you know we go to Round table to get a salad and low and behold founders is doing a tap take over there (WTF?) To say the least I was the only guy to ask for it properly served in a tulip glass (They had some) Also I was told I drank most of the keg lmao.

Pours a nice caramel brown from the tap and bottle. The tap had more Head Retention then the bottle. On the nose you are left diving into the depths with bourbon and sweet oakey vanilla up front, followed by caramel and some chocolate. ( at least i was) The mouth feel is very warm and creamy, emphasis on the boozy warmth. Great for a cold evening! get hints of smokeyness as well. Taste wise, i got the same as on the nose but with a bit more maltiness then what I picked up on the nose. Absolutely wonderful and a great pleasure to get to enjoy it while it was here!

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Photo of M_C_Hampton
4.82/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A: poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass, red brown with a short tan head that dissipates leaving a little lacing, clear

S: malty, oak, bourbon, bread, prunes, raisins, vanilla, chocolate covered cherries

T: cherries, raisins, bourbon, oak, prunes, vanilla, chocolate, smoky peat

M: full and heavy, lower carbonation, alcohol well hidden

O: Fantastic beer with a wealth of flavor complexity. Perfect for a cold winter evening.

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Founders Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
4.26 out of 5 based on 8,053 ratings.
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