Backwoods Bastard
Founders Brewing Company

Backwoods BastardBackwoods Bastard
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Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy
Ranked #1
Ranked #392
4.38 | pDev: 10.05%
Founders Brewing Company
Michigan, United States
Backwoods BastardBackwoods Bastard
Notes: Expect lovely, warm smells of single malt scotch, oaky bourbon barrels, smoke, sweet caramel and roasted malts, a bit of earthy spice and a scintilla of dark fruit. It’s a kick-back sipper made to excite the palate.
Reviews: 1,987 | Ratings: 8,668
Photo of CBV
4.47/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

I did not consider price in this review. If I factor the cost and convenience of availability this beer is a 5. A great beer to have in the fridge at all times.

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Photo of dacrza1
4.47/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

DATE: December 1, 2018... OCCASION: the tree is up in all its glory... time for part two of my Founders big beer comparisons... GLASSWARE: Duvel tulip... pours a dark black body that sports an off-white, thick, creamy head that arcs into extensive coral... the thick scent of vanilla, creme brulee, lactic acid, sweet bourbon, peat, and more bourbon--this hits with strength and allure....its first sip is ridiculously smooth and easy... there is not a hint of alcohol in its medium body, with a creaminess that resides well after it begins... subtly destructive... the vanilla and bourbon make this an unbelievable flavor, with residual peat, brackish malts that rise like sweet rye... this is a beer I cannot believe was available for eight bucks a grunt, making an event of the night... takes the Dirty Bastard and ups the ante..

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Photo of jpkand
4.33/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Definitely looks beautiful. Dark dark copper with a dense and almost luscious tan head. Bourbon comes through on the nose, a little vanilla, and caramel. Taste is very nice. The bourbon really does add something to the acotch ale that really ramps up the interest. The bourbon is strong and very forward, but then you get a nice sweetness of caramel/maple syrup, with a noticeable lingering bourbon after taste with a bit of bitter abv. A very nice style, perfect for the end of a chilly day working outside and relaxing.

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Photo of MoreBeer4me
5/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Stone The Crows! LOL! This is one badass beer. Absolutely insane flavor explosion! Yes....It's a 5 out of 5 for what it is and the style of beer. Tastes like a creamy Makers Mark with some sweet coconut and vanilla added. Fabulous!

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Photo of Pratik
4.16/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Good bourbon flavor, dark, rich and heavy flavor. Need to pair this with a piece of dark chocolate for an after dinner dessert. Must be enjoyed slightly above the room temperature where the beer isn't too cold and will give a soothing feel and flavor to enjoy.
1. Good rich body with three layers 4/5
2. Perfect smell throughout the drink, until the last sip 4.25/5
3. Perfect low crisp that helps you hold the beer flavor and does not overpower the taste 4/5
4. Rich body with a good flavor accompanied with a heat that helps you relax 4.5/5

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Photo of jeffdr123
4.14/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

From a bottle at the Reserve in Sarasota. Lots of alcohol in this one. Great for reading a book on philosophy. Complex mix of malt and plumb and syrup. Sip and read. But don't drive.

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Photo of Beerdanza
4.16/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a beautiful deep copper color, with a short tan head that lingers and laces. The aroma is bourbon and molasses, with a good dose of booze, which is perfect for the style. The taste starts out with a big bourbon note, followed by maple syrup, and finishing with coffee and a slight hops bite. An excellent beer for sippin' on a fall evening. Guaranteed to warm you up!

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Photo of CaptFrothy
4.31/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

fantastic seasonal favorite, as if Innis and Gunn and Belhaven had a bastard child. Malty with just the right touch of bourbon barrel finish, smooth malty whiskey barrel wonderfullness, malty smooth on the front side, whiskey barrel on the backside, lip smacking goodie.

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Photo of NeilSilber1
4.77/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pours dark caramel with nice head. Notes of whiskey / scotch. Taste of bourben barrel ale whiskey with brown sugar and coffee. Great strong brew!

“...Expect lovely, warm smells of single malt scotch, oaky bourbon barrels, smoke, sweet caramel and roasted malts, a bit of earthy spice and a scintilla of dark fruit. It’s a kick-back sipper made to excite the palate.”

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Photo of WickedBeer
3.94/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

2017 Release.

This beer pours a deep rusty brown, murky and dark, but with a reddish hue that you can spot in certain lighting. The head is about two and a half fingers thick, frothy and leaving small archipelagos of lace around the glass as it settles.

Sweet, dark fruit, oak, malt, and molasses greet the nose. It’s got a subtle but present peat and as it warms, hints of chocolate as well. At first I wasn’t a huge fan of the nose , but as it warms I really get a well-balanced complexity that only improves with every sip.

For 11+%, I expected a heavier, more in-your-face flavor profile. Granted, this is 2017’s release, so it seems that time has only mellowed this beer. Peat, malt, bitter fruit, booze, and light hops characterize a beer that functions well together as a whole, but I expected just a little more when combining the complimentary oak bourbon barrels and scotch ale style.

Smooth, medium mouthfeel. A fairly low but apparent carbonation. Smooth, warm, and not overly boozy. Sticky finish.

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Photo of CAMRAhardliner
4.56/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours deep mahogany with cherry glints. The gigantic tan head lasts forever and drapes the glass in lace. Malty, peaty aroma. Rich. complex malt flavors explode in the first sip. Peaty, roasty, turbinado sugar, vanilla all in the mix. Oakiness and warming alcohol in the back. Ripe berries and cocoa too. Full bodied with light, creamy carbonation. Light bitterness and thick maltiness in the finish. Alcohol heft is understated throughout.

A fantastic Wee Heavy, a celebration of malts. Juicy and complex. A must try world class beer.

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Photo of JimboBrews54
3.5/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This one is alright. I am not overly impressed as I thought I would be by this one. I thought the barrel aged series would kick the dirty bastard up a few notches, it did not.

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Photo of GratefulFC
4.58/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Pours a dark dark brown. Low carbination. Smell is malt, caramel, currents, plums, raisons. Taste is malt, currents, slight nutty flavor. Brown sugar undertones. Alcohol is very well hidden. Coffee accents as it warms.

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Photo of RobN43
4.69/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Deep in color, relaxed lacing; fell easily to the side of the glass. The nose of a great former brew, reminded me of Les Trois Mousquitaires Rauchbier, sweet and subtly oaky. I will grab another 4-pack very soon.

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Photo of wl2bill
4.34/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A little heavy handed on the smoky notes otherwise a great beer. This is definitely a sipper,the flavors and aromas change nicely as it warms. A very enjoyable beer.

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Photo of tone77
3.92/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a cola color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is of molasses, whiskey. Taste is whiskey, dark fruits, molasses, malts, somewhat sweet, alcohol is present throughout. Feels medium/full bodied in the mouth and overall is a quality beer worth trying.

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Photo of Radcpa
4.27/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Dark semi-transparent appearance with tan head that disipates quickly. Aroma is a sweet malt with bourbon. Taste is also a pleasant blend of malt and boubon that is slightly sweet and smooth.

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Photo of Dr_Gonzo
4.5/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a tall clear pint glass. Opaque brown body, looks like root beer or cola. Finger head, sticky lacing.

Strong molasses notes, bourbon, oak, vanilla, toffee, butterscotch, figs, raisins, and dates.

Initially very sweet, upfront with notes of butterscotch, caramel, dark fruit, and toffee. Vanilla body. Dark chocolate aftertaste. Feels very creamy smooth.

A delicate oaky beer compiled with dark flavors, along with a sweet assortment of notes for balance. Excellent.

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Photo of TheHammer
3.67/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: An opaque brown body that is even when put up to direct light reveals little. A finger of head was produced that did not produce any lace but retained exceptionally well.

Smell: Very potent, but I don't think I am a fan of what this brew portends. In particular I pickup a strong molasses note, powerfully roasted malt and a solvent like quality that comes from a high alcohol brew that doesn't hide that fact well. Warming brings it out more, but it is completely irrelevant as it's strong at time of pour.

Taste: Shortbread and toffee malt starts us out masterfully as there is just the right amount of underlying sweetness, it continues to build with a slight charred oak hit with hints of raisins. Sadly while doing so, what I feared creeps into the beer, a powerful alcohol twang that punctuates the beer with some earthy hops giving it a very strong whiskey like note. Don't get me wrong, it's still good, but that undisguised alcohol should either be concealed or embraced without as much sweetness to start.

Mouthfeel: As stated, it has a solvent quality to it that is undesirable to me, unless you are really playing up the scotch and whiskey aspect. This one does at the end, but certainly doesn't at the start. That leads me to my biggest issue with the beer, it's transitioning, and it's not too often I encounter this problem (because most brewers don't seem to be able to pull it off). Most times when I take issue with transitioning, it's because the beer doesn't go from one flavor to another in a smooth fashion. That it feels either rocky or a 90 degree turn. I don't get that here, as it seems to make it journey from almost excessively sweet, to boozy, bitter, charred whiskey in a fairly graceful fashion. The issue is that it's simply too far a spectrum in such a short period of time. It's like a one day cruise. Sure, it's nice and I get to my destination, but it seems like the cruise was a waste and I could have flown for cheaper. Anyways, the carbonation is good and the aftertaste is still a bit boozy and cloyingly sweet.

Drinkability: Not as heavy as I would expect from something this boozy, but just on the heavier end of medium bodied. It's not quite a meal, but would say an appetizer for sure. Not exactly what I could call refreshing, but Scotch ale doesn't usually fill that niche. I like that it avoids dry aspects but I'm not a big fan of the feeling it leaves.

Final Thoughts: When I drank this, my mind actually wandered to a quote from a Sherlock Holmes adventure. I decided to look it up. It was from "The Adventure of the Norwood builder" where Holmes explaining how he caught the criminal in this adventure said "But he had not that supreme gift of the artist, the knowledge of when to stop." which pretty much echoes my sentiment on a lot of beer from the US (apart from the tried and true stereotype that macro lager is water, but I digress). This beer I feel perfectly expresses that sentiment. There is such an extreme transition here, that it comes across as drowning out it's own substance. Cranking the volume to 11 often deafens the listener to the music. Pretty much, the niche of this beer is after dinner in the fall or winter instead of whisky, because dinner wasn't substantial enough. As good as this beer is, it's far too small a niche for my liking.

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Photo of mpipe
4.31/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

Sweet, bourbon, nuts, caramel with amazing mouth feel. Most barrel aged tend to be heavy; not this fine release. Finishes well (slightly dry in a good way) and very balanced. The 11% is ok with me as well.

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Photo of Derek
4.37/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a bit of head, but it dissipates... only a little leg.

Aroma of bourbon and beer nuts is seriously enticing.

Lots of whiskey (seriously boozy) and fresh oak in the flavour, nuts, caramel, sponge toffee, raisin.

Light residual sweetness with a drying finish.

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Photo of mnightingale
2.24/5  rDev -48.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 1.5

I was very disappointed by this beer and was not even able to finish it. I am a huge fan of Founders and especially of their Dirty Bastard, so I figured that I would naturally enjoy the Backwoods Bastard. I was incorrect. The scotch flavor was so overpowering that I could not enjoy it, and it tasted nothing like beer.

With all the positive reviews, I wonder now if there was something wrong with the one I was served. If someone offers me one in the future, I would be willing to give it another try and modify my review if it was different. But as it stands, I can't recommend this to anyone who wants a drinkable beer.

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Photo of MikeHigham
5/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Chewy and wholesome mouth feel with a pronounced caramel-bourbon flavor. Hints of toasted butter and brown sugar. I’m not much into smelling my beer, but when I do, I smell Backwoods Bastard.
(P.S. If the alcohol content weren’t so high, I’d be marinating my ...well you get the idea.)

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Photo of AllOfTheCats
4.69/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Barrel aged wee heavies have slowly become my favorite style. This beer has a great price point at around $14/4pk and drinks best at about the 2-3yr mark. This beer is pretty hot and not great fresh, and so I'd definitely recommend some time on it. Other than Lagunitas' High West-ified, this is probably the best BA value you can find, and definitely my favorite from Founder's offerings. So happy they made this available year round! I stocked up and so should you.

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Photo of BklynBryan
5/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Searched far and wide for this drink! Finally found a couple bottles of the 2017 release!! Man what a drink! 11.21% alcohol. Yeah you get the scotch! Yeah you get the bourbon flavor too!! Nice brew here. Extraordinary nose with exceptional flavor. Has a nice kick to it!

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Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
Beer rating: 97 out of 100 with 8668 ratings