Backwoods Bastard | Founders Brewing Company

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Backwoods BastardBackwoods Bastard
8,392 Ratings
Backwoods BastardBackwoods 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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 8,392 |  Reviews: 1,911
Photo of OneDropSoup
4.49/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to ralflord for the trade! This was the apparently more 10.5% batch with a different label than that on display.

Pours a solid dark brown (not black) with chestnut highlights. About a finger of khaki head that mellows to a thin foam & leaves a little lacing, but not much. Light action from bubbles, real light.

The smell -- YOWZA!! Smells great -- actually, I usually get the first indication of flavor from licking the cap, & was struck by significant sweet, caramel malt. Actually, chocolate chip cookies came to mind. The smell transported that and a maple smell, plus the sweet sting of bourbon barrel. One of the best smells I've partook.

The taste delivers on all those notes, finishing with a strong bourbon taste & alcohol presence. Oh, the caramel, oh the smoky notes, oh! The mouthfeel is rich & full without being overly unctuous. This is such a good idea -- a bourbon barrel-aged wee heavy. I hate to sound like a beentheredonethat, but the BB-aged imperial stouts are more common & leave a thick, heavy impression -- not bad by any stretch, but heavier & requiring more commitment. This imparts all the sweet & woody flavors without the intense viscosity. I'm into it!

Drank one, could drink another.

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Photo of psulovesbeer
3.58/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served on draft
Rusty looking with minimal head
Smells like a bourban barrel not like a beer at all
Taste is of a smoothed out bourban with a hint of beer maybe a scoth ale in there somewhere
Mouthfeel is smooth with a smokey barrel in there interesting
A unique brew with a good flavor decinetly worth a try

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Photo of Onenote81
3.04/5  rDev -30.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Pours a tawny deep maroon. Very thick and cloudy (yeast?). No light comes through this beer at all. Smells of caramel, chocolate, oak, licorice, molasses. This is a full nose for sure. Mouthfeel is thick and syrupy, almost chewable. Yet there was a slight crispness to it. Flavor is of syrup, booze, some woodsy notes, and big bourbon smack. This wasn't what I expected at all. Way too boozy and thick for my liking. Interesting beer.

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

a: piraat snifter, low khaki head with light retention, the beer itself an opaquely hazy dark amber in color

s: disappointingly on the tame side at first sniff though it does open slightly after further warming, peaty toffee malt base with notes of sweet pipe tobacco speaks to the scotch style, some caramelized oak presence - if on the restrained side for my preference - but very little bourbon aside from a wave of mild booze, aged hops

m: the carbonation and body combo is delicate and on the full side of the medium range

t: good malt structure, but the barrel effect is very underwhelming, flavors of buttery toffee and peat with a toasted grain flavor coming in soon after the sip, pipe tobacco and dried fig, some spicy oak but no or little bourbon, light to moderate hopping, dries a bit in the finish

d: easy enough for a 10.2 percent abv scotch

single from 6-12 Market, Raleigh, NC

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Photo of MikeTaz
4.72/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

One of the top 5 beers I have had thus far. Just a phenomenal brew.

The pour was such a deep red that you almost couldn't see through it. Half inch head that held up for a while and provided a sort of barrier to the gold underneath.

Smell was slightly sweet and some at the table thought chocolate but it wasn't quite that.

Taste was amazing. Superbly creamy and smooth at the front before the oak came through and kicked you at the back.

The beer stood up to everything we ate and seemed to get better as the glass went on. I had intended to keep trying different things they had on tap but this beer stopped me and demanded a second. The ABV is the only thing that would prevent me from downing a 6 pack per sitting.

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Photo of jim102864
3.9/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a cloudy copper brown in me allagash tulip glass. Why must Founders use twist off caps? A scant head but a suprising level of carbonation with a swirl or two. Part of a trade with Hoppymeal. A noticable bourbony nose. Not overwhelming, mind you with a caramel malt base. Big bourbon influence in the taste to go along with a Jim Beam-like alcohol burn in the finish. Very carbonated brew with an alcohol burn that won't quit. It' big at 10.2 abv . The yeast clouds the glass. A little vanilla. Nice brew. A sipper.

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Photo of stewart124
4/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My bottle says it's 10.2%. Whoa!

It pours a hazy amber to burgundy with a decent tan head.

The first hint I pick up on is of course bourbon and a vanilla. There are traces of dark caramalized malts and that figgy/tobacco character.

The taste is quite smooth and finishes with an almost peppery note. It's got some spice and tingles my throat. This is a bit thicker than I envisioned and it's quite delicious. There is a nice spice to this and I'm wondering if that is the bourbon barrel or some hops additions. Lots of caramel sweetness and a slight roasted character.

The mouthfeel is medium-full and the finish still has that spicy bite. The alcohol is fairly hidden and the the tobacco seems to come out as the beer warms.

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Photo of DavoleBomb
3.96/5  rDev -9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass. Received as part of "extras" in a HB BIF from Hogie.

3.0 A: Really dark brown and rather opaque. I couldn't get a good head (about one finger), and not good retention of that either. Head is light brown in color. Decent amount of lacing. There is a bunch of variable sized crap throughout all layers of the brew.

4.5 S: Damn good aroma. Easily makes up for the sloppy appearance. Bourbon barrels come through quite well and also a tinge of alcohol. Dark roasty malts and dark fruits.

4.0 T: Tastes a lot like it smells. Woodiness and alcohol tinge are present foremost. Lots of raisins and tobacco as well, followed by plum. Roasted malt and caramel.

4.0 M: Heavy Medium body. Except for the bite of alcohol, this is otherwise very smooth.

3.5 D: Though I enjoy a wee heavy/barleywine/olde ale now and again, I haven't found one that I find very drinkable.

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Photo of brokenleadedcask
4.49/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Stored for 3-4 months and poured into a snifter

A- Pours deep amber but still is translucent

S- Single barrel bourbon, Werther's caramel candy

T- Oak, vanilla, tobacco, a pinch of smoke, notes of coconut (is this right?) and a little spicy

M- Great mouth feel, flavorful but still light enough. For my taste not hot at all

D- I love the flavor profile on this one, sentimental beer for me. I am completely content with drinking 2 of these and nothing else, then going to bed a happy man

Overall- My favorite Wee Heavy/Scotch ale and was lucky enough to drink quite a bit of it in 2008

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Photo of czfreeman
4.52/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Founders is rapidly moving up my ranks into my favorite breweries. Having sampled the stellar Breakfast Stout, picked up some Kentucky Breakfast yesterday, and just drank a superb Centennial IPA, bring on some Backwoods!
Pours out a deep caramel burgundy mahangony color, light carbonation. The weight of the beer simply pulls the head back into the glass before it even has a change to emerge, nice. Lacing is kept to a minimal.
Smells of candied apple, malts,caramel, vanilla, Burbon, smells like a good snifter of Woodford reserve. Cherry, oaks follow through. Smells exactly what I wanted. A Hillbilly with his distillery created something like this, a Backwoods Bastard indeed.
Wow. This is incredibly balanced. Musty, cherries, oaks, vanilla, all with a huge Burbon complexity. Smooth, caramely sweetness takes the edge off the impending alcoholic burn of a sip of burbon. Smoky leather plays a role in the complexity, all with the over-undertone of a beer increadibly balanced with Burbon.
Drinkablitiy is a sipping level, because it's simply that warming and complex. Burbon is utlilized here with a talent Ive only seen exibited thusfar in Goose Island Burbon stout.
Whereas Wee Heavy ales are generally too sweet for my taste, Founders has incorporated the warming and spicy effect of burbon to provide the seemingly perfect touch of alcholic warmness vanilla-oak complexity. Mouthfeel borders near perfection for the style description and steps taken to craft this brew.
This seemingly perfectly named beer will only grow better with time. I will be making a beeline to my beer store to secure a four-pack for my cellar. In the meantime, this has gotten me even more excited(if possible) about the Kentucky Breakfast Stout chilling in my fridge. Well done Founders.

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Photo of ckeegan04
4.05/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Deep, caramel brown with mahogany shades throughout. At the thinner part of the glass the beer takes on an almost iridescent orange. One finger foamy cap, light brown in color. Excellent retention and leaving a thin sheet of lace behind.

S - Strong boozy aroma of bourbon dominates the nose. Vanilla and a little oak. The bourbon aromas do not let much else come through at all. Hints of some roasted maltiness underneath, but very muted.

T - Wow...bourbon. Lots and lots of bourbon. Big vanilla and oak notes and a very noticeable alcohol burn. This is one of the most bourbony of bourbon aged beers I have ever tried. A light smokiness underneath. Is there a wee heavy in here somewhere or is this just bourbon mixed in with a little caramel? While missing the mark on 'wee heavy', this is still a fine beer. If there was a category for "Bourbon Beer" this would be a 5. I bring it down to a 4 because I would like to taste a little Scotch ale in here.

M/D - Medium to full bodied and surpirsingly viscous. Almost like liquid caramel mixed with a bourbon thinner. Very tasty, but t he alcohol and tastes are very strong, thus knocking the drinkability down a notch.

A very interesting beer and another fun drinker from Founders.

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Photo of jwhawkins81
3.74/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Aroma - Cherries, vanilla, a hint of sweet maltiness, and raisins

Appearance - Dark red with a thin light brown head. Not too much carbonation.

Taste - Definitely can get a sense of the base beer Dirty Bastard (a beer I am less than fond of) with a lot of bourbon flavor added.

Mouthfeel - Surprisingly thin thanks to the light carbonation. However the weight of the alcohol was evident.

Drinkability - A sipper not really worth the trouble in my book. However if you're a fan of Scotch Ale's this is something interesting you should try.

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Photo of robbyc1
2.67/5  rDev -38.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5

Clear amber, decent lace. Nothing special.

Nose has an intriguing oak waft, like fresh oak, with a slight bit of bourbon. Not sure where the actual beer is.

The Oak hits hard up front, with the bourbon to follow, but they linger because the actual beer does not hold up - the storage tastes dominate, and leave this taste very unbalanced, some hops noticiable at the end with slight malt, but malt looses the battle here.

Mouthfeel is good with heaviness, but the drinkability suffers greatly from the lack of balance, you would have to be eating a wood grilled fish to enjoy this, couldn't finish the bottle.

The un-oaked version of this is much better.

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Photo of mrquartetman
3.55/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Red, big head

S: Winey, bourbon, oaky like a chardonnay, highly malty

T: Very strong oakiness and bourbon flavor; in fact it's almost all bourbon and oak, and hard to find the beer in the beer. This is, to me, bourbon barrel aging gone over the top.

M: Persistent, very dense, but again, overwhelming bourbon taste stays on the tongue, and is too much.

D: Good once. Next.

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Photo of thequeen711
4/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Backwards Bastard is a fine brew from my friends at Founders. Nice frothy head out of the tap, beautiful bourbon aroma/taste with hints of oak, malt, caramel, toffee, and vanilla. With a mix like that who could not like this!!! Mouthfeel is refreshing and satisfying, sip after sip.
Drink up and enjoy!

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Photo of clayrock81
4/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an almost blackish body with a one-finger tan head that stickss around for awhile. A rich, thick malt smell of toasted, maple, caramel, molasses, that whiskey smell (oak cask, bourbon...) mixed w/ sour/tart fruits - reminds me of a barleywine the smell is that strong. A thick, full-bodied beer that is strong and a little syrupy/sticky. The malt taste is excellent with cocoa, caramel, toffee, coffee bean, oak, vanilla along w/ minor fruit flavors like cherry (tart fruit). Overall I'd say this is a smooth and creamy scotch ale, but it does have a little dryness in it thanks to that really high ABV, which is mostly hidden. This is a grat sipper to relax with, but I couldn't session this it's so thick and strong.

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Photo of coldmeat23
4.82/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

GLASS: 22 oz. Snifter
TEMP: Cellared @ approx 50 degrees

This one pours a beautiful, deep, rich, copper/amber color. So deep that it's almost opaque. One-finger head of tan colored foam. Retention is decent. Lacing is spotty, but slightly sticky.

Man, the oak comes through in this one. A huge butteriness is also present. Very nice notes of vanilla and bourbon. Nice presence of caramel malts.
This one smells so good. I almost don't want to drink it, for fear that it won't be able to match this nose.

God, that's good.
Rich caramel maltiness blends with a beautiful bourbon flavor. Hints of very ripe dark fruits. Good level of oak flavor, without being smokey. Rich brown sugar and vanilla notes. All of this is covered in a wonderful butteriness.

This one is definitely in the 'full-bodied' category. It's thick and viscous. Just short of 'chewey'. Minor level of carbonation, which works well. (Although, I think a touch more would provide a wonderful creaminess and this one would be perfect.)

Very drinkable. So well balanced and smooth. It's hard to believe that this has 10.2% ABV. Where is it? All that I get is a nice mellow warmth, in my belly. One of the best 'hidden ABV' brews that I know of.

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Photo of youngblood
4/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

50 IBU and 10.2% on neck. Needs to be updated on here. First scotch ale here.
A- Poured with small head (only had 5 oz. pour). Deep amber color.
S- Smells very much like bourbon. I knew I was in for a treat just by the smell. Semi-sweet, obviously upfront alcohol notes.
T- It was like a less potent bourbon. Simply amazing. Sweetness was fit right in between initial alcohol punch and slight hops at the backside.
M- Very nice feel. Crystal smooth and gentle feeling.
D- ABV is a knock out.
Overall, fantastic beer.

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Photo of beerorRIP
4.1/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

50 ibu, 10.2% abv from the neck label.

poured from a bottle to a clear pint glass gave a 1.5 finger head which settled down quickly to a ring of foam on the top. some lacing here and there as small bubbles rush to the surface and keep the sediment from settling quickly. a nice clear deep amber, well clear if i hadn't poured all that sediment in there.

smells nice. bourbon? check. alcohol? check. some sweet malty goodness? check. woody? check. i think i like what i'm getting into...

wow. bourbon... i think there's some beer in here somewhere... oh, there it is. a vanilla taste, some hot alcohol (which reinforces the bourbon taste), and some malts. a woody touch as well, but no smoke. tasty. mouth-warming.

a creamy mouthfeel. again, reinforcing bourbon ideal, it gives your mouth a coating of goodness that makes you feel like you're having a tall glass of beer that might be mistaken for a bourbon-like concoction if it were flat.

this is quite drinkable for what it is. but not something i'd really wanna drink more than one of per session... ok, maybe two. a sipper for certain. guess i'll need to find some fancy snifters or tulips for next time.

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Photo of Sammy
3.95/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A nice little scotch, gotten in trade. Pours medium with good lasting white head, tons of lace.Aroma is decent bourbon. Mouthfeel is easy, average and smooth, good bourbon taste, whiskeyish not too corny, not in-your-face that is well integrated and woody. Very drinkable.

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Photo of ffejherb
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Brass Rail Deli, Campbelltown, PA on 3/12/09.

A - Poured a cloudy, earthy brown akin to iced tea with sparse carbonation and a creamy tan head that receded to a thin, patchy veil and deposited adequate lacing around the glass.

S - Oaky nose with plenty of sweet vanilla notes and caramel malt, as well as a hint of alcohol and a nice bourbon presence that isn't overwhelming at all.

T - Huge bourbon presence in the flavor, but it is cooled down considerably by the vanilla and caramel sweetness. Finishes with a touch of bitterness and more woody/oaky notes.

M - Medium body with a syrupy texture and pretty soft carbonation overall. Finish is sweet on the tongue and is accompanied by some alcohol warmth and traces of hop bitterness.

D - Overall, I was really impressed with this offering from Founders. Backwoods Bastard boasts plenty of borubon flavor with a big vanilla presence, resulting in a bourbon barrel aged brew that isn't too boozy. Drinkability is fantastic for a 9.2% beer.

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Photo of Gyle41386
4.28/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a tulip.

Pours a darkish murky amber. Very little head that quickly comes and goes.

Aroma is of bourbon and oak. Sweet malts, and hints of vanilla from the oak.

Taste pretty much follows the nose, but with more bourbon. Big warming sensation in this one. Pretty sweet. Even more bourbon in the finish. Very smooth, creamy feel. Dangerously drinkable. Didn't really like this after my first couple of sips, but then it grew on me in a huge way.

Founders can't miss with me. Bring on Kentucky Breakfast Stout!

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Photo of ToddT
4.2/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Bright mahogany color with a small off white head. A few dark colored bits floating in the beer and sprinkled over the head. Head falls fast and leaves minimal lacing on the glass.

S- Bourbon and oak dominate the smell. A few notes of roasted malt, vanilla, and toffee as well.

T- Nice bourbon taste carries throughout, prominent but not dominating. Caramel, vanilla, molasses, and oak notes swirl through the backbone of the bourbon. Finish is sweet and dry with a second hit of the oak notes. The sweetness feels slightly out of place next to the bourbon and the oak.

M- Very smooth drinks more like a mixed drink with a carbonated mixer than a beer.

D- Very drinkable for a 10.2% ABV (2008 bottling). Again it feels more like a mixed drink than a beer to me, but a very drinkable mixed drink. Well done.

An interesting well done beer, complex in character and drinkable to boot. Slightly sweet at the finish and high in ABV but otherwise flawless.

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Photo of oracle
3.94/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

another gravity head find 10 oz draft pour

Beer arrived with almost no head at all, just a few bubbles clinging to the glass. No lacing left to mark the passage this most unusual beer.

Color was a deep dark copper brown, without a hint of cloudiness.

Aroma was quite mild, mostly sweet maltiness, without a hint of the suprises to come.

OK, maybe it was a surprise only to me. The chalkboard indicated it was a scotch ale, not a whiskey barrel aged scotch ale.

Normall I don't care for whiskey/bourbon barrel aged ales, but I did like this one. The whiskey flavor was not quite overpowering and the smokiness of the scotch ale shone through nicely.

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Photo of drgonzo3705
4.8/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a nice dark brown with slight ruby hues and a decent head that recedes to a thin film but leaves very nice lacing in the glass.

S: Nice soft bourbon smell fills the nose with the candied malts hiding in the back.

T: A sweet caramel taste with the bourbon riding along. The bourbon is pretty well balanced here.

M: Smooth, thick, and creamy makes this beer oh so good.

D: The only place where this loses points is the ABV. The 10.2% it clocks in at this year (2008) is pretty well hidden but a few could easily catch up to you. I love this beer though and plan on stocking up on the next release!

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Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.35 out of 5 with 8,392 ratings