Backwoods Bastard
Founders Brewing Company

Backwoods BastardBackwoods Bastard
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Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy
Ranked #1
Ranked #395
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: 1,991 | Ratings: 8,680
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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Photo of PicantePinguino
4.31/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Extremely sweet - but in a wonderfully smooth way. Intensely tastes of molasses and licorice with a distinctly pungent aroma. Definitely tastes barrel aged. I like this quite a bit.

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Photo of clicktreasures
4.74/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

DID NOT want to spend 20 bucks on 4 beers to share at a 4th of july party... but I had to sample one on the ride to the party and WOW! nope NOT sharing these jewels... Absolutely on the best beers Ive had in a long while.. from the carmel color to the hint of coconut taste.. simply awesome.. I did let my gf sample a taste and even she was convinced.. it is great!

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Photo of kevin3046
4.34/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours a dark dirty brown with a thin tan head. Decent lacing. The smell is of cooked molasses and malt with caramel and bourbon. Tastes of heavy malty syrupy malts with some fruity and spicy notes, and light hops. Very chewy mouthfeel and moderate carbonation. There is no doubt that this is a very well made beer. But it is a little too syrupy sweet and malty for my taste. It could stand a few more hops and a little less malts. Still, a very good beer, but one at a time is enough to satisfy you for a while. Would not recommend this for a session beer.

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Photo of dukeandduke
4.16/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

6/7/18: 2017 release, 12 ounce poured into snifter. ($6 per beer, four pack, purchased at Capone's). Pitch black pour, razor thin lacing. Strong bourbon aroma, Chocolate and bourbon predominant taste, hint of coffee. Strong carbonation holds, thin texture, easy drinking. ABV packs a punch.

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Photo of spectru
3.59/5  rDev -18%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Semi-opaque dark chocolate with a thin tan colored head, lots of lacing; A rich aroma with a whiff of alcohol, a hint of bread; Rich full-bodied flavor, chocolate and alcohol. Feels alcoholic, tangy, moderate carbonation. "Aged in oak bourbon barrels" the label says - The flavor leaves no doubt. Interesting - glad I tried it, but not one that I will drink frequently,

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

Pours a cloudy chestnut color with huge cream head

Bourbon, vanilla, maple in the nose

Sweet malt, sugar, vanilla, maple, bourbon. Hint of alcohol in the finish, nice complex blend.

Medium-thick mouthfeel.

A lovely sipper.

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Photo of AZBeerDude72
4.35/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Dark ruby red with a thick tan foamy head and very sticky lacing.
N: Big bourbon notes up front with some coffee, chocolate, and caramel.
T: Lots of bourbon on this one with a mix of coffee, chocolate, and a semi-sweet feel of caramel/vanilla.
O: Wow, big flavors on this one, outstanding bourbon notes but at the same time the rest of the flavors come thru. Well done barrel aged beer.

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Photo of Korymiller
4.03/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

L: Dark red like a scotch ale, very light head.

S: So much going on here. Getting bourbon, oak, fruit, vanilla.

T: Very smooth and creamy. I pick up quite a bit from the scotch.

F: Awesome feel, thin and smooth for the ABV. I could drink a couple of these in a sitting.

O: Really good barrel-aged beer for the price and availability.

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Photo of jrc1093
4.34/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 2016 (bottled on 10/6/16)

Look: deep amber-brown with a short-lied but beautiful off-white head; lots of lacing follows each sip

Smell: lightly charred oak chips tossed with dark fruit strike first, synchronizing perfectly with the oncoming bourbon and vanilla

Taste: the more decadent side of the fruits and bourbon arrive, but never become too cloying amongst scotch notes which have now become firmly established as the backbone of the flavor profile; an unexpectedly savory dark chocolate finish also presents itself on occasion

Feel: so smooth and creamy, and there really is no trace of alcohol in this

Overall: this is almost stunningly well-structured, and the 1.5 years of aging has only seemed to reveal the nuance in this beer's myriad of flavor even further. I'm usually one for more of a bite to my higher ABV brews, but the character shown in this one despite the lack of a kick just can't be ignored; I'm no expert on the style by any means, but it's tough to imagine another scotch ale topping this, at least in terms of flavor and mouthfeel.

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Photo of taxandbeerguy
4.41/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

2017 release. 12 oz bottle from the US. Served cool into a tulip glass. I was super excited when I saw this was waiting for me at home. Cracking this bottle has a slow eruption of foam that requires quick thinking to get it in the glass.

Appearance - Pours clear and the darkest shade of ruby I've ever seen. Near black unless held up to natural light when a mahogany and ruby mixture appears again. Capped with two fingers of yellowy tan head, pretty decent retention, curtains of lacing stick to the glass.

Smell - Oh Yeah! Single malt whiskey is apparent on the nose, with toffee and butterscotch, figs, raisins and dates, with hints of oak as well as bourbon. Complex, inviting, everything good it's got in spades. Smells like a boozy Christmas cake too.

Taste - Hard to describe since there's so much going on. Initially sweet with toffee and butterscotch and caramel, followed by a hit of booze (bourbon mostly). Some earthy hops shine through momentarily before oak and whiskey come through to enhance the middling bitterness. Figs and raisins are interspersed. If I have a complaints it's the the full breadth of flavors don't linger on the plate quite as long as I'd hoped, because they are some delicious flavors.

Mouthfeel - Carbonation is present, but super smooth and sticky, this slides down the throat way too easily. A nice little whiskey burn at the end, but luscious, thick and slick.

Overall - Yeah, this is about as good as a wee heavy can get, loads of flavor, amazing aromatics and a feel to die for. The only thing I'm missing is smoke, but with some high quality whiskey flavors in there, I can live without the smoke, I might try this a bit colder to see how the flavors change while warming up, but hats off to FOunders on creating a near perfect Wee Heavy.

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

Pours a deep dark ruby red brown. Smells of scotch and bourbon with slight maple. What a taste... tastes exactly how it smells and it’s near perfect. Light body with slight carbonation. Leaves a wickedly thick bourbon aftertaste... in a good way.

= I put this close to KBS from Founders. A wee heavy done about as good as I’ve had.

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Photo of beersampler6
3.75/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Nice dark rich color with mild head, smells of bourbon, maple and malt. Nice deep taste, just like it smells with additional notes of mild floral hops and fruitiness. Smooth mouthfeel, not too heavy, light carbonation, alcohol taste not too strong throughout. Definitely a beer to sip slowly and savor.

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Photo of IronLover
4.26/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Dark brown in color with ruby hues and a hazy appearance. Poured with a tall, creamy, dark tan foam with very good retention. Sweet bourbon, earthy dark malt and toasty malt aromas with notes of vanilla, dark fruit and brown bread. Full bodied with medium light carbonation. Rich, creamy smooth feel up front followed by pleasant boozy warmth through the finish. Medium high, boozy bourbon flavors with sweet dark and toasted malt flavors. Medium light, earthy hop bitterness through the middle is difficult to distinguish from the prickly, boozy bite. Dark malt with dark caramel notes on the back end with hints of dark toasted crust. Finished with mellow, sweet, boozy bourbon notes, hints of vanilla and earthy dark malt. Although I am not a bourbon drinker, this was pretty tasty. Definitely a sipper. Malt character was able to show through just enough to balance the boozy scotch presence. Fabulous feel , with pleasant warmth.

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Photo of degueulasse
4.09/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

The beer may look like a beautiful, Grade A maple syrup, but it smells like malty caramel, and the bourbon tastes are matched with a sugary (but not too sugary) body of amber, toffee, orange rind, and Fuji apple. That this beer is both perfectly carbonated and delectably smooth is simply further evidence that Founders has the knack.

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Photo of Djoneil
3.86/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Draught 12oz snifter at the BrassTap in Mount Vernon, Baltimore. Founders knows bourbon. Interestingly, given the (slightly) lower ABV, the bourbon is more pronounced here than in yesterday's 2018KBS - which in my VERY subjective opinion works against this beer.

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Photo of DodgerLove
4.17/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Look - Beautiful deep ruby red, can barely see a finger through the glass. The head is a nice half finger, colored a hazelnut brown. The lacing is absolutely superb, very thick.

Smell - First note for me is strong oaked bourbon, but there are subtle hints of vanilla here as well. A bit of sweet fruit comes through as well, most likely raisins.

Taste - The immediate flavor is strong bourbon, has that nice spiced bite at the back of the throat as well. Subtle hints of cherry and vanilla.

Feel - Full bodied and chewy. Not overly thick and actually has a little bit of carbonation which works great here.

Overall - This is a fantastic scotch ale, great oaked bourbon flavor with a nice spicy kick complimented with sweet raisins and molasses. Definitely a slow sipper, hints of vanilla and spice really play up as the beer warms.

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Photo of hungryghost
4.46/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2016 release.
Pours dark, hazy brown, little to no head, perhaps due to age.
Aroma is nice, sweet, caramelized malt, hint of booze.
Taste complex and fantastic, low carbonation. Brown sugar, some fruit I can't put my finger on maybe dark cherry, roasted and caramelized malt, a hint of bitter chocolate perhaps. Touch of caramel in every sip. And of course the bourbon! It is not overly boozy, just a friendly reminder. Made for the perfect dessert beer.

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Photo of qrazvan
4.21/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Dark orange-brown colour, pouring with acidity and a decent head.
Smells of bourbon, caramel and fermented grapes.
The taste is surprising, with a mellow sweet initial sensation, hiding some dark fruits, honey, sweet cherries with some fermented fruits. The woody, oak whiskey barrel scents are leaving their mark, after which a really dry feel on the palate is covering everything and a lingering alcoholic feel, like after a bourbon is leaving you the sensation that you forgot what was in the glass.
Very interesting and well-crafted beer, but somehow the aftertaste is leaving room for improvement.

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

Bottle from Brewers Haven. Dark brown / mahogany, small fizzy head subsides to ring. Aroma is big and full, roast malts, molasses, peat. Taste comes with some alcohol warmth, sweet and slick, more brown sugar, caramel, tobacco. Velvety feel. Definitely a world class beer.

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Photo of pirateclem
4.18/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I'm a bourbon guy, I like bourbon. I live in Kentucky Bourbon country so, I know my Bourbons.

This drinks like a Bourbon and it is my favorite Bourbon barrel aged beer yet. It tastes like someone mixed two fingers of Buffalo Trace with something between a scottish ale and a light thin stout.

The nose is good, but not great. It's lighter than I expected for something so dark. The initial flavors to me are dark red berries mixed with brown sugar and vanilla. Lots of that Bourbon influence coming through. A little smokiness and a tart flavor at the end.

Really good stuff.

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Photo of YungAnejo
4.04/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

2017 release
Let warm for half an hour, 12oz bottle normal pour into a snifter, about a quarter-inch of tan head that dissipates quickly into pea size groups of bubbles, almost muddy looking body but deep red when put to a flashlight, light stringy lacing

Aroma is immediately sweet bourbon/molasses, but on second take I’m getting some plum, cherry, like dark fruit, no alcohol presence

Taste up front is bitter sweet bourbon, booze, bitter fruit, smokey malt finish, maybe even getting some rye kick to it

Mouthfeel is a lot lighter then I’d expected, moderate carbonation, finish is long, but there’s no alcohol burn present which is weird for the percentage.. kinda bummed since I’d expected some warmth for this cold night lol

Overall a nice barrel aged brew, definitely worth a try, I have one more I plan to have later this year when the 2018s are released, but I can’t help feel that this could’ve been better fresh, since In my experiences the longer I age the barrel dominates everything..

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Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
Beer rating: 97 out of 100 with 8680 ratings