Backwoods Bastard | Founders Brewing Company

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Backwoods BastardBackwoods Bastard
8,535 Ratings
Backwoods BastardBackwoods Bastard

Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company
Michigan, United States

Style: Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.20%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
"Wee Heavy", cave aged in oak bourbon barrels.

Added by CortexBomb on 01-30-2007

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 8,535 |  Reviews: 1,951
Photo of MattGlass08
4.88/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of Bryant1985
4.92/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of Dark_Scarecrow
4.25/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Livyatan1996
4.37/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of DigitGrowler
4.25/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of TheHammer
3.67/5  rDev -15.6%
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.

 3,328 characters

Photo of quadmad
4.06/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of sweetbrew82
4.25/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Nobel96
5/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Photo of mpipe
4.46/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

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.

 205 characters

Photo of Derek
4.37/5  rDev +0.5%
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.

 266 characters

Photo of mnightingale
2.24/5  rDev -48.5%
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.

 623 characters

Photo of thefuzzyone
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of MikeHigham
5/5  rDev +14.9%
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.)

 292 characters

Photo of Locky
4.7/5  rDev +8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Photo of AllOfTheCats
4.69/5  rDev +7.8%
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.

 467 characters

Photo of Kilconey
4.04/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of BeardedWalrus
4.44/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of BklynBryan
5/5  rDev +14.9%
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!

 270 characters

Photo of Tbulling
4.45/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Photo of PicantePinguino
4.31/5  rDev -0.9%
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.

 181 characters

Photo of edthehead
3.87/5  rDev -11%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Waymore
5/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Photo of jrb378
4.14/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of clicktreasures
4.74/5  rDev +9%
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!

 365 characters

Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.35 out of 5 with 8,535 ratings