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: 1,822 | Ratings: 8,022
Photo of JLeege
4.42/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The fresh batch, poured into a snifter.

Appearance- Pours a dark brown with a one finger tan head. Some amber highlights when held to the light. The head fades to a ring around the glass, but leaves nice lace.

Smell- Big bourbon on the nose. Vanilla, caramel, woody tones.

Taste- Mostly bourbon again and lots of caramel. This is sweet, but not cloying. A subtle hop presence and lots of vanilla. A bit earthy, some dark fruits and maple syrup. I guess this really tastes how it should!

Mouthfeel- medium body / low carbonation.

Overall- I find this one to be excellent! The bourbon notes are very present, but not over the top. The abv's are hidden very well. I will be drinking more of this fresh and ageing a few bottles to see what happens.

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Photo of BHwks
3.79/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a pint glass, served around 45-50 degrees. A - cloudy amber in color, very little carbonation, very little head when poured. S - Whew, smells like I'm taking a whiff from a bottle of bourbon (this is a good thing for me as I enjoy bourbon) Reminds me a little of JW Lees/Bourbon County Stout, in terms of smell. T - Definitely dominated by the bourbon. A little fruit/maple flavor after the initial sip, though still dominated by bourbon. M - Very thick, syrupy, almost like when you sip whiskey and savor it before swallowing. D - Not too good. Hot and bourbony, but almost too much. I really don't want another given this one has taken me about an hour to consume.

I've loved this beer in the past though can't remember if it's always this "hot" upon release. Right now the bourbon completely dominates the other flavors. I seem to remember it being a bit more balanced, even fresh. I'd like to give this 6+ months and see if the flavors seem to come together a bit making this a little easier to drink. The potential for greatness is there, just needs a little time I think.

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Photo of salvo
4.35/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Oh wow, this is a big, fantabulous beer! Founders does great things with barrels.

Pours thick and rich into a goblet; motor-oil dark beer spreads over the glass underneath an off-white coating of foam that quickly dissipates. Smells of raisins and dried currants, vanilla, oak, and smoke; hints of leather and tree bark. More aromas emerge as the beer warms, but that will have to wait for subsequent re-reviews. I'm having trouble waiting, though.

Tastes start off with big, sweet, soppy, thick, rich complex molasses and vanilla. Bourbon is assertive and sweet, as is oak and smoke from the charred barrel. Some sweet dried fruit; figs and dates are in the taste not present in the nose. Again, more nuance and complexity comes out as it warms, but I'm not going to be patient enough for this beer to make it all the way to room temperature. ALcohol asserts itself at the end of the sip.

Thick, rich and chewy; very satisfying, this is a great wintertime beer and I'll be putting up a few bottles for those January snow days with an extra log on the ire and time to kill. Drinkability takes a shot because I've had one and i'm done for the night. Pick up a four pack of these before they disappear.

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Photo of StlHopHead77
4/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Pours a deep,dark ruby that is almost black with 1 1/2 fingers worth of quickly dissipating,tawny head that left gorgeous frothy,lacing.

S-The nose is big on bourbon upfront.Bourbon,toast and burnt sugar on first smelling it.Some vanilla and molasses come out as the beer warms.

T-There is a definite bourbon presence on the initial taste but it is by no means overpowering.The bourbon taste mellows to reveal
caramel,vanilla and medium bodied tobacco.The finish is all mellow bourbon sweetness.

M-This beer is full,boozey and quite smooth considering the ABV and Bourbon influence.A very well balanced Bourbon-Barrel aged beer.

D-Obviously this beer is not for people who don't appreciate a good bourbon but for those that due it is a smooth and drinkable must try.

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Photo of therachinator
4.42/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bought this beer in a 12 oz bottle. Poured it into a glass. There was no head. The appearance was a nice caramel color with ruby tints visible in the light. The smell was wonderful. Definite caramel and vanilla notes in the initial smell of the ale. The taste was the same way. Obviously a oak bourbon barrel aged ale. Where I found this beer somewhat lacking was in the mouthfeel. A bit too syrupy for my taste, but this might be what you would expect from a barrel aged ale. The single bottle serving was the perfect amount. Between the intense flavor, mouthfeel, and high alcohol content, one of these is all you need.

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Photo of daledeee
4/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got a four pack of this on my recent excursion to the Wisconsin wonderland.

Poured a very dark nearly black body with a light tan head with some lacing

Nose is different. At first I would have called it pond water. As the beer sat out, it brought forward a sweet malty aroma. Vanilla also comes into the mix.

Taste and mouth feel were the two carrying factors for this beer. I enjoyed the sweetness and malt up front. As the beer goes down the throat it has a rather bitter finish. Also noticed some caramel and very little spice. Overall, this was quite nice. One of the best Scotch ales I have had. This one was way heavy not wee heavy due to alcohol. I don't think they are usually this strong!

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Photo of despainmakesbeer
4.3/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Alcohol, some
malt bourbon, some cherry, masked

good carbonation, still cheery, very toasty almost charted, inside of barrel,

quick head white creamy lace, dark copper with deep red higlights

bourbon at front front, finished slighlty dry with warm bourbon tinge typical of bourbon alone.

Betty drinkable such a high alcohol beer

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Photo of VikingBeer
4.05/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2009 release (I believe), fridge-kept and poured at cellar temp into a Duvel tulip.

A gentle pour, to avoid disturbing the significant sediment, yields a dark-ruby glassful with a half-finger of dense white head, which quickly subsides to a ring around the edge of the glass. What little sediment made its way into the glass hovers just off the bottom, as a few tiny bubbles rise to the surface. Beautiful. 4.5

Unholy Hell, I can definitely tell how this was aged! A gigantic oaky, buttery blast of bourbon-barrels rolls in on the first sniff, bringing with it all that entails: raisins soaked in brandy, roasted nuts (hazelnuts, methinks), burnt sugar, maple, and hints of dried fruit, mainly cherries. Subtle smoky, charred aromas lurk in the background throughout. A big pumpernickel-like spiciness, from the rye in the bourbon or from the yeast, rolls in on the middle.The alcohol is surprisingly muted for the beer's 10.2% alcohol, mainly riding in at the end. Yeast aromas are prominent throughout, with that rich, spicy dark-bread dough smell mingling with the overall spiciness and fruitiness. 4.5

Oh, THERE'S the alcohol... This one is certainly going to be a sipper. Many of the appetizing aromas noted earlier are masked in the mouth by the prominence of the buttery charred-oak and sweet bourbon-barrel flavors. After the shock of the initial bourbon-ball-on-Stanozolol blast of boozy oak and burnt sugar, the nuts, raisins, and dark cherries slide in slowly, but the flavor remains VERY oak-forward. The smoke is relatively subtle, but as in the aroma it is always lurking in the background. The yeastiness mentioned earlier is also very prominent, maintaining a bready, peppery spiciness reminiscent of pumpernickel dough throughout each sip.

Backwoods Bastard is a "brootal" punch of bourbon-barrel oak at first, and this continues to dominate the flavors, but careful, SLOW sipping allows nuances to emerge. Now the hops I've been searching for for 20 minutes finally sneak in, bringing a ghostly bitterness that reveals itself most distinctly in the finish with a candied orange-peel flavor. Most of the bitterness seems to come from the oak and the malts; it's difficult to tell where those end and the hops begin, but it's a hell of a lot of fun trying. 4.0

Damn near dead-on for the style: rich and thick, with just enough carbonation to smooth the ride. I've never had Founder's regular Dirty Bastard, but if it's like this, but without oak and less alcohol, I imagine it's damn near quaffable...or maybe not. 4.0

Well, for a heavily oaked-and-charred, 10.2%, unfiltered Scotch ale, I suppose it's as drinkable as it can be. B.B. is pretty much the antithesis of a session beer, with it's palate-wrecking bourbon-and-oak flavors, sweetness, and high A.B.V., but for those extreme-beer lovers with patience and time to kill, it's plenty sippable. Take at least an hour and play "find the flavors in the oak," or, better yet, drink to accompany a good cigar. Skål! 3.5

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Photo of Chico1985
3.95/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Today after work I was originally going to review Red Stripe Jamaican Lager, but since I got laid off 5 minutes before leaving, I decided to break out something special. And oddly enough, the bottle date is 11/4/09, so this is exactly 1 year old. Coincidence?!?!?!

Pours dark blood red/brown, when held up to the light a boatload of floaties are revealed. Off-white head eventually becomes a slight cap leaving some lacing.

Big wood/oak in the scent, along with bourbon, sweet caramel, vanilla.

Huge bourbon taste with lots of nice flavors in the background. Wood, vanilla and caramel still prevail with notes of brown sugar, dark fruit and chocolate as well. Flavors are great and complex but bourbon reigns supreme, reminds me of drinking straight bourbon almost.

Much like the taste, the mouthfeel has lots of potential but it's just too boozy. Numbing to the tongue just like straight bourbon.

Even after a year, this is definitely a bourbon bomb, a huge beer. It's good but you can tell there's excellence buried underneath it all. I'd say this needs at least another year.

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

12oz bottle into Duvel tulip: 11.04.10 consumption of 09.30.10 batch.
A: Pours a vigorous two finger head. The head is a light tan color, which sits atop a deep amber body, that show almost the deepest of black hazy. The head settles to a island of round head in the middle of the glass. The lacing that is left from the retreating head and sipping, is thick.

S: The aroma is a high intensity of scotch and oak. The warm note of whiskey is also present. There is a deep and boozy character to this aroma. A bit at the end, is still balanced by a very rounded edge for the ABV.

T/M: The taste is a bit masked on the front by the overly creamy and full mouthfeel. The body shows to be a nice rendition for the style, while adding notes of oak at the very end. The sweetness of malts shows some caramel aspects. Notes of the 10.2% are very relaxed and do not get in the way of altering overall enjoyment. The finish is expressed with strong oak notes and adds a adds a cake batter finish.

D: This beer is overly flavorful and very drinkable for the style. Oak adds a nice and lingering finish that it is warm and is enjoyed best in cold weather. Great brew and will enjoy to see how this beer develops.

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

Appearance -- Pours a deep brown with ruddy highlights and one finger of sudsy beige head. Nice lacing, woeful head retention.

Smell -- Bourbon, molasses, maple sugar, caramelized malt.

Taste -- Bourbon quite prominent up front with vanilla-like oak sugars, highly caramelized malts, molasses, and rum-soaked raisins. A modicum of herbal, minty hops toward the finish.

Mouthfeel -- Medium-full body with mild carbonation. The alcohol is invisible, even with the barrel aging. Impressive.

Drinability -- Easily the mellowest barrel-aged beer that Founders puts out. However, it has the least going on. A tasty sipper, if a little one-sided. A Wee Heavy worth trying.

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Photo of cetherid
4.22/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

poured into a tulip


A nice dark ruby color. about a fingers worth of offwhite head. A little opaque but when held up to the light, not too bad. A very beautiful looking beer.


Sweet caramelly malts with a little bourbon. Maybe a tiny hint of vanilla and oak. A very nice smelling beer.


whiskey with some very sweet flavors. Caramel, vanilla...almost butterscotch like. One of the best barrel aged beers I've had.


medium bodied. pretty good carbonation. a little syrupy mouth feel but goes down smooth and not too terribly sweet.


definitely a sipping beer. Incredible flavor, but I doubt I could have more than 1 at a time because of the alcohol and sweetness. The beer is a bit pricey so I don't know if I'd buy another 4 pack, but would definitely grab it on tap.

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Photo of TheSarge
4.28/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured this into a Celebrator glass, for a nice appearance. Pours with about a finger thick of tan head, the body is hazy and dark copper in color.

In the nose there is a cola aroma, caramel, and a slight amount of an herbal finish.

The taste is rich and complex with cherry, toffee/caramel, with a bourbon finish.

The brew is moderately carbonated, and has a smooth oily slickness with a very warm feeling in the end. This is a nice beer to have on a cold October's night.

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Photo of chaz01
3.15/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 ounce bottle that was in my cellar -- no date found on the bottle -- but I believe this was 1-2 years old. Poured into a Founders snifter/tulip glass.

A: Muddy dark brown, thin head recedes quickly.

S: Big notes of bourbon, alcohol and a little rum. That's pretty much all I smell.

T: Starts with a little alcohol and malty sweetness. Some dark fruity flavors mix in with just a bit of tartness. Beer finishes with a little sourness notes.

M: Medium to full bodied, some carbonation provides a tingly feeling in the mouth.

D: Overall a little disappointed -- not sure if the beer just doesn't age well, but the tart sour notes were a bit unpleasant and I would think unintentional.

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Photo of thetomG
3.58/5  rDev -16%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2009 vintage...

Clearish brown pour. A bit of tan head.

Aroma and flavor are VERY heavy on the whiskey - a bit too much for my taste to be honest. This is one of the biggest bourbon bombs I've ever had - to the point where it tastes less like beer and more like liquor to me. Not bad, but not my favorite by any means.

It does have a very nice smooth mouthfeel, but overall not something I'm going to be seeking out again.

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Photo of BeerImmediately
3.79/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Catching up on some old reviews...

Pours with a nice deep amber color with floaties and decent carbonation. 1F head.

Surprisingly very little aroma, just a hint of caramel sweetness. Disappointed in this aspect.

Flavors of toffee-sweet malt, and some alchoholic aftertaste.

MF is the winner here... Incredibly smooth, with just a slight bite in the finish - Scottish!

High drinkability for the ABV, and just an overall really easy drinking Week Heavy.

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Photo of jpmclaug
4.52/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from the bottle into my Founders snifter. I got this as a generous extra from mikesgroove. Thanks! This bottle has an old guy playing a banjo so I believe this is an older bottle. I'm sharing this and some Dirty Bastard with my girlfriend. Interesting to see how the two compare.

A - Brown body with a circle of white head but not much head at all on top. The Backwoods is slightly darker than the Dirty. Not much difference in the two other than that.

S - Sweet bourbon notes dominate this one. Hints of vanilla also but mostly a smooth, sweet bourbon aroma.

T - Real smooth bourbon notes rest on top of a caramel/vanilla/nutty base. The bourbon i really highlighted in this. It is a real smooth bourbon flavor though.

M - medium body with a real light carbonation.

D - Similar to DB this is a sipper. However I enjoy this a lot more. This beer really highlights what a bourbon barrel can do. The bourbon notes are real smooth and delicious. I think when this comes out again I am going to do my best to grab several 4 packs of this.

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Photo of BradLikesBrew
4/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Elijah for the bottle.

An agressive pour produced a minimal and fleeting head.

Brown body with amber hues, looks muddy almost. Dense, rich, syrupy looking body. Murky and unatractive, but appropriate.

Aromas of sweet boozy oak. Bourbon and toffee are prominant.

Rich, malty and sweet. Raisiny, figy, pruny fruit notes. Oak and bourbon on the finish. Starts sweet, but finishes dry.

Syrupy, full body with little carbonation.

More like a barleywine than anything else. Reminds me of the Jubel 2010 I just had. Not balanced, its rich and sweet flavors make this a beer thats best enjoyed in small doses, but is is quite enjoyable.

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

12oz. bottle poured into a John Smith snifter. Bottle dated 11/05/09. Tasted right after a lackluster Dirty Bastard

It pours a fairly low carbonated rustyish brown with a very tiny quick dying head. The beer shows a medium amount of cloudiness.

The nose automatically is the familiar smell of bourbon aging. Wood and vanilla. The beer is particularly smooth in the smell with a great restraint in the aroma that doesn't overpower the nose. It's really inviting and the alcohol is present but not overpowering or harsh, unlike in the lower alcohol Dirty Bastard previously.

SMOOTH, wow this beer is awesomely smooth and the barrel integrates really well. The taste starts off with a nice mellow vanilla and some bourbon. It ends with a mild smokiness as well that is nice and kind of parallels that bourbon taste to just a hint of the scotch.

The body is medium full and a medium amount of carbonation which was surprising considering the lifelessness of the pour. This is a nice sippable beer that shows some nice complexities in the bourbon flavor but isn't filling or harsh in the alcohol content. Overall I really love enjoyed beer which is almost a year old. I think I should try a fresh bottle and then pick up a few more for the cellar because at a year old, this seems like the perfect age.

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Photo of alleykatking
3.99/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12oz bottle. Review from notes...

A- Poured a brownish amber colored. Half finger tan head that has pour retention. Lots of streaky lacing on the sides of the glass.

S- Nice upfront of caramel malts and some lighter darker fruits. Vanilla and oak come about in the middle of the nose with a hint of bourbon. There is a apple like presence as well. Wonderful smelling!

T- Lots of caramel malts upfront and lasts throughout the entire beer. Some light vanilla and darker fruits hint toward the middle. The vanilla lasts longer than the fruits and clash with a oaky bourbon flavor in the ending. A little muted when compared to the aroma.

M- Medium heavy mouthfeel. Carbonation is light for the beer although it works for the beer I think. Caramel malts and darker fruit left on the palate with bourbon and oak notes long into the aftertaste. Flavors were well put together and clean tasting. Alcohol is drying on the palate.

D- This is a nice sipping beer. The higher ABV limits this beer to a couple before moving onto something else. Founder's makes some damn good beers and I like this one like many others do.

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Photo of chinabeergeek
3.53/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

no date on bottle found. from notes, tasted in june 2009. poured into tulip glass.

dark brown w/ amber hue, ruby-like under the light. almost clear, but some micro particles floating about (decanted 1cm). 1-finger of yellow-tan head, fades to just wisps and creamy ring. it stays around, but the lacing is sparse and splotchy.

aroma: passionfruit and mango (?!), oaky vanilla and bourbony leather hints. brown sugar and caramel - very sweet smell. citrusy and grassy hops are subdued now, blending w/ fruit and malt notes. everything backs off after a while tho...

taste: malt and bourbon upfront, w/ wood and leather. resinous hops giving a moderate bitterness. troupical fruit still peeks through slightly. resinous and leathery/woody into the finish, lingering in the aftertaste.

medium body, almost syrupy, with astringency from the middle onwards. mild to moderate carbonation helps w/ body, almost creamy even, but doesn't lift away enough resins and tannins.


(NOTE: i enjoyed later batches better. re-reviews forthcoming)

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Photo of bs870621345
4.74/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to beernerd81 for this as a trade extra. I now love this man for this extra

Pours a deep amber with an off white head of about a half inch. Fades and leaves minimal lacing.

Smells of bourbon and oak right up front with a fruit sweetness in the background. It really only falls short of kbs in smell

Taste is of bourbon and oak, caramel sweetness and fruits. this stuff has really peaked.

Mouthfeel is full and sticky. Love the gentle prick of carbonation.

Drinkability is extremely high. I need more of these bottles as soon as these come out again.

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

This bottle aged close to 10 months. Review will have a bit of a note comparison.

It's a barrel aged scotch ale. Malty beer that started fresh with a big malt/vanilla palate. Great fresh, here's near a year later.

Appearance - Of course the same, amber and clear.

Taste - Fresh- Caramel malt and vanilla. Both notable. Slight oak. Aged - malt tastes of a little age. Sweet caramel. Vanilla. Still very inviting, mucih like it was fresh.

Overall still really enjoy this beer.

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Photo of garuda
4.44/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a thick, murky mahogany with a small tan head that has little retention, but surprisingly good lacing down the glass.

S - Big oak notes with bourbon as soon as I popped the cap. Has a good underlying sweet aromas of raisin and caramel malts, vanilla, and some apple cider.

T - Not as complex as I had hoped for, but still good. Starts off with bourbon vanilla flavors with some caramel malt sweetness mid palate, then big oak flavors with a bit of spice through the long finish. Only a little bit of heat from the booze.

M - Full, viscous body with perfectly low carbonation, but there is some residual sugary buildup coating the palate by the end of the glass.

D - Founders calls it a sipper, and I agree. I wouldn't hesitate to buy this one again, and am looking forward to getting more of this heading into the colder months.

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Photo of drumrboy22
3.99/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12oz. bottle into a McChouffe chalice. Beer was a dark brown/crimson color with a soft, one-finger light brown head. Light carbonation and little lacing.

Aroma was vanilla, bourbon, cherries, malt, caramel and raisins. Smells very sweet and inviting.

Taste was caramel, vanilla, oak and bourbon. Very good, but it's nearly flat and not as complex as the aroma suggests.

A tad hot, but I think this would be a good candidate for a year or two in the cellar. I'd be curious to see how it ages.

A slow sipper that should be allowed some time to warm up.

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Founders Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
4.26 out of 5 based on 8,022 ratings.
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