Backwoods Bastard | Founders Brewing Company

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Backwoods BastardBackwoods Bastard
8,424 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: 8,424 |  Reviews: 1,922
Photo of WakeandBake
4.32/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Founders,served in a snifter. A ruby/purple color with a thin white cap that fades quickly and leaves some nice lacing. Aroma is vanilla, oak,alcohol(Burbon)and maybe even some dry barly grain. Flavor is very earthy peaty,lots of burbon notes oak,vanilla,alcohol,rye bread,brown sugar,very complex.Full mouthfeel,medium carbonation,dry boozy finish. Very good brew if you like burbon but not something that I would drink more than one of at a sitting.

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Photo of beer2day
4.32/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours very dark with a strong reddish tint. 1/2 finger head does not stay around for long.

Nose is insane. Heavy, heady aroma from the bourbon casks. Woody flavors along with vanilla come through. Like opening a bottle of your favorite whiskey.

Unexpectedly creamy in the mouth. You taste and feel the alcohol from start to fire-breathing finish. A little caramel sweetness in the finish as well.

Not for the timid, but very, very good.

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Photo of Yetiman420
4.3/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Second go around with Backwoods Bastard. The first time it totally blew me away and I sought out another 12 pack worth (not that easy given it was well past it's original distribution date).

Scotch ale is a style I could do without. Founders has an outstanding body of work and I can appreciate Dirty Bastard, just not enjoy it.

Aging it in bourbon barrels is a whole other story. The second go around I'm equally impressed and amazed with the bourbon balance. The aroma seems a bit heavy and lends the strongest bourbon element to the experience.

The actual flavor is a bit more balanced. The strong malt profile of the scotch ale is very much balanced out by the bourbon.

I look forward to seeing how these age over months and years.

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Photo of nrbw23
4.29/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a slightly hazy brownish red with some debris floating around in the brew also. Head is small and a creamy color that has pretty much no retention and leaves a little lacing here and there.

S- Smacked right in the face with bourbon all over the place. Also can pick up some vanialla, a woody smell, burnt malts and some alcohol.

T- Again bourbon that dominates this brew, some roasted and sweet malts, some darker fruits and alcohol.

M- Medium in body and pretty low carbonation.

D- I really like this brew a lot just don't think I could have too many of them at one sitting but still find very easy to drink. Highly recommendend.

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Photo of cvfish
4.8/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Poured a ruby brown color that produced a white fluffy head that retained well and produced a nice lacing around the glass

S - A good malty aroma followed by that good old whiskey kick

T - A mix of a two great drinks, with all the malty backbone of deep beer along with great kick of a kentucky whiskey

M - Creamy, smooth, slight carbonation, and moderate body

D - Of all the whiskey infused ales out there, this one is my favorite. Its great, combining to of the great things I like, and in a almost perfect way

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Photo of LunaChick
4.4/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I'm not sure how Founders does it. I haven't had one yet that wasn't exceptionally good.

This beer pours deep brown with mahagony and ruby hues. Thin head quickly dissapates. A thin ring in the glass but minimal.
Aroma starts strong with oak and vanilla. Dry almost. The bourbon is very strong. In the middle the malts come through with some sticky notes of chocolate. Finishes warm.

Taste. What amazes me is how this isn't a burning hot waft of alcohol. Nope. The flavor of oak is strong. Rich, sweet, vanilla and caramel laces through. Wow. Its very very thick in the mouth from the sweetness. Malts are very pronounced towards the middle. Chocolate comes through. Allowed to develop in the glass, the flavor of bourbon comes through. Notes of cinnamon and spice intermingle.

My advice? Drink slowly and allow it to warm for the full experience. The alcohol is firm but not hot, overpowering or otherwise the only flavor. In the mouth, full bodied flavor that is chewy. Slightly less carbonated than some, its extremely smooth.

Drinkability? Its too drinkable. And very very strong. Sip with care. Enjoy.

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Photo of GRPunk
4.34/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into a tulip glass.

A- It poured with a murky brown body. The head was quite minimal and left some decent sticky spots on the glass.

S- It had a very sweet aroma, like a nice sour mash whiskey. There was some lighter smoke-like scents along with some woody and alcohol notes. Everything became more pronounced with warmth.

T- It's like Dirty Bastard on steroids. It had a great whiskey-like flavor with peat smoke tones, something of a sour malt and a bit of an alcohol burn.

M- Light carbonation, a bit of a coating effect, and a slight alcohol burn make for a nice drinking experience.

D- It's a good sipper. The robust flavor makes me want to try it again. I'd suggest it to any Scotch Ale fan.

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

Grabbed this one on a recent trip to NJ and just poured it into my snifter tonight.

A: The head on this drops faster than my girlfriend's dress on prom night. Kind of spritzy head to start. But it pours a radiant ruby copper that is brilliant. It is not opaque, yet not clear as it has some chill haze.

S: Smell starts with sweet, sweet caramel that blends nicely with the oak aging. The smell is refined but not very complex or forthcoming. The whiskey notes jump out at the very end however.

T: The taste is dry and the Kentucky mash really seems to come through as it warms. The sweetness in the smell isn't as noticeable in the taste. The caramel is blended nicely with the bourbon. This is not extremely flavorful, but it is nonetheless a good resulting beer.

Overall, this is a nice beer to have on a cold winter night like tonight, but not one I could drink all the time. Grab it if you have access.

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Photo of Amalak
3.38/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I had this beer off the tap at Barcade in Brooklyn.It came in a brandy snifter and had a very dark if not black color to it. It had a very strong alcohol scent to it.

This beer tastes a lot like a port, actually. Very heavy and smokey, thus the scotch ale branding. It's definitely a good beer but this is just not my type.

I had this again off the tap on Jan. 17, 2013, and I would score it exactly the same.

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Photo of Avagadro
4.7/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

10.2% ABV
Notch is in the center of the bottom of the label, which I believe indicates a bottling date around november.

A: Red in color and very hazy. There are several small clusters of yeast around the head. Visible carbonation is minimal.

S: Smoke, oak, and alcohol are beautifully combined in the nose. Great bouquet, but a bit weak.

T: Delicious! Vanilla and oak predominate with caramel, dark toast, and spicy ethanol all playing supporting roles.

M: Very creamy. Similar to a good scotch.

D: I would love a lifetime supply of this brew. I've purchased it on several occasions, and I feel that it is well worth seeking out. Give it a try.

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Photo of Wasatch
4.3/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks goes out to BrewerB for this brew.

Pours a nice brown color, nice carbonation, nice one-finger creamy tan head, lots of nice sticky lacing left behind. The nose is malty, slight bourbon notes, with some toffee. The taste is very nice, malty, slightly sweet, very nice bourbon notes, and some toffee. Medium body. Very drinkable, this is a very tasty brew, thanks for the extra Brian.

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Photo of callmemickey
3.99/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark brownish red body. Just a coating of off white head. Very little lacing.

S: Bourbon and all that comes with it. Vanilla, oak, alcohol... then comes the beer... dark chocolate and caramel.. not much in the way of hops, but thats ok

D: This is like jack and coke meets beer... its rather nice... the aromas in the nose are well positioned in the taste profile.. nice bourbon finish

M: Smooth. Slightly carbonated. Slightly alcoholic burn too.

D: I don't know. For as much as I enjoyed the beer I just didn't want another. I like bourbon aged beers (including KBS/oaked aged yeti/etc) and this is the first one I wasn't willing and ready to have another.

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Photo of Pamola
4.3/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got this brew in a trade from d0b. Very psyched to try this beer. wee heavies are a favorite of mine and he hooked me up with a great extra.

A: Poured silky smooth into a pint glass. minimal light brown head. Beer itself is a hazy dark cherry only translucent on the edges. It's not a gorgeous beer, it just screams rich. I love it.

S: Twangy sweet and sharp. Almost a prune juice scent here and there. I wish there were a little more malt character, but the nose is intriguing.

T: Holy crap. Loving this. The oakiness to the scottish malts and overt alcohol is incredibly complex. Buttery and toffee flavors with a pungent red wine finish. Bittersweet and potent and wonderful.

M: Light for a scotch ale, but perfectly rounded and complete. oak gives it a silkiness that's very nice.

D: I suppose i could drive to mass for this beer, which is becoming a distinct and imminent possibility. I would love to have this in my fridge at all times.

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Photo of travisd13
4.44/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a Pike tulip.

A- Pours a dark brown / black that shows dark red color around the edges when held to the light. Head is about 1/4" and light tan in color...dissapates very quickly.

S- Vanilla/oak, carmel, and well bourbon! A little alcohol.

T- Bourbon front with a strong alcohol presents. Nice and malty with a hint of caramel. The bitter hop finish hides the alcohol better than expected...well done!

M- Smooth and silky due to the low carbonation. By silky I don't mean thick...if anything I'd call it a little thin for the style.

D- If it wasn't for the 10.2% I could drink this all night. However...I think two is my limit. I still call it drinkable!

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

a: Cola brown with very thin white head that fades quickly.

S: Loads of vanilla and bourbon. Litt le bit of caramel and some molasses sweetness and a slight amount of fruitiness

T/M: Medium and chewy. Taste is of caramel and lots of vanilla, though not an overpowering bourbon character, fades to slight hop biterness. Milky sweet. Feels strong but not 10%.

D: Above average for the abv.

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Photo of madtowndmb1
4.62/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is one of my favorite beers that I've had in a while! I can't get over the bourbon and dark cherry scent! I love it!

And the taste is just as great! It's a malty sweetness quickly washed out by bourbon then finished by the cherries that I smelled. When i smelled this I thought, only if it could taste like that! And it did! I wish this was a year-round brew!

I already miss this beer and can't wait for it to come around again. I have like 3 left and I'll have to ration them till next year I guess!

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Photo of kbeals
4.08/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I liked the Dirty Bastard so I figured I'd give this a try.

A- A dark ruby red bottom fades into a nearly opaque black top. About three fingers of creamy light brown head.

S- Bourbon, bourbon, and more bourbon, oh and some caramelized malts come into play.

T- First the bourbon/alcohol taste comes into play, followed by a bit of malty aftertaste. Finishes with a slightly dry finish. The alcohol warms the chest after all is said and done. Very pleasing.

M- This beer was velvety smooth with little to no carbonation.

D- Due to the high ABV I probably wouldn't drink more than a few of these.

This beer was excellent and a definite recommendation.

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Photo of gabrielsyme
4.33/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle.

Pours rich mahogany, little head. Just like the Dirty Bastard in appearance.

Smell is caramel sweetness.

Taste is pretty big - molasses, syrupy, caramel, chocolate, and maybe some cherry. Alcohol is definitely noticeable (my bottle says 10.2%). The bottle says 50Ibus, but I don't taste much bitterness.

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Photo of brantadid
4.3/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a nice mahogany color with a thin white head. Beer appeared viscous in the glass. Lots of body.

Tons of bourbon and oak in the nose. Tons of malt in the nose.

Wow! Tons of bourbon on the palate. Some spicy from the bourbon barrels. Malty, burnt flavors. Lots of vanilla in the back palate.

Not much carbonation and viscous, coating mouthfeel. Very silky on the palate. Alcohol is definately present, but not in a harsh way. It is nice and warming.

Overall, a fun, slow sipper. I wish I had more.

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Photo of MCDuhamel
4.04/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip glass at around 55 F. Thanks to Liz for the sample!

A: Pours a dark mahogany that shows a luminescent but somewhat cloudy garnet when held against light. A dark ivory head forms quickly, dissipating to a thin foam cap in short order. Some moderate lacing on the sides. Visible carbonation is more active than expected. Nice enough to look at, but nothing unexpected or exciting.

S: The nose is full of vanilla and oak, with a hint of red fruit.

T: The first impression on the palate is of oak and tannin, followed quickly by vanilla yielding to malt. Strong caramel/toffee notes are evident. The beer is supported by obvious alcohol spiciness and warmth; no subtlety to the strength here. The finish shows some hops bitterness which, with the medium carbonation, prevents the beer from being at all cloying despite its sweetness.

M: The mouthfeel is a bit light for a wee heavy, and perhaps reflects a little more carbonation than one might expect.

D: Despite its strength, this would be an easy beer to have two of in a session. There is nothing cloying or overpowering about the beer, which maintains nice balance.

Overall: Its nice to find an oak-aged beer that isn't a stout. This is a very good oaked beer that shows the wood and vanilla characteristics typical of such beers without losing proportion.

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Photo of waltonc
4.32/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Hazy, almost but not quite murky, amber/brown color with insubstantial white head. Taste is really nice caramel, malt, toffee, and bourbon. Wow is this a nice-drinking brew. Really nice to be able to just buy 12 ounce bottles of a delicious bourbon barrel aged Scottish Ale. Contrast this with so many brewers that only sell this caliber of product in a wax topped 750 ml bottle for a lot more money. Medium bodied, medium/low carbonation, slightly sticky. I could easily have another.

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Photo of PittBeerGirl
4.46/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to my Secret Santa Raznug for this one!!

A- Body appears to be a dark brown color. Pours with a minimal <1/2 finger head that immediately fades to a very thin collar and no lacing is left behind in the glass. When held up to the light one can see that this is actually.

S- Sweet bourbon with an alcohol burn on the nostrils balances well with the dark malt profile offered by this Scottish ale. Sweet, like molasses and a chocolate presence added with bourbon sweetness and burn. Nice..

T-Upfront is a bit of roasted (but not quite bitter) malt that offsets the sweet caramel and bourbon flavors going on. The finish adds a touch of dark chocolate to what is already going on along with a bourbon alcohol burn. The bitterness is very well hidden the entire way through and the character of this beer is complex, slightly sweet, and very warm.

M- Low to medium carbonation and a body made up mostly of somewhat thick, very smooth, caramel and dark malt. Goes down very easily.

D- The more I acquaint myself to them the more I am loving Scotch Ales. This is a darn good one. The bourbon is a perfect compliment to this beer and I think its great. The alcohol is definitely not hidden...but it is not obnoxious either. Wonderful and definitely my favorite Founder's brew! IMO, it easily Trumps Breakfast Stout and KBS. Wasn't expecting this to be so good!

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Photo of dancinwillie
3.68/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark mahogany, with crimson around the edges. Light tan head, small, but thick. Light comes through the brew, but barely, and many suspended particles remain.

Aroma is bourbon heavy, chocolate light.

The Bourbon flavors have mellowed, somewhat. I forget when I bought this, but it was too much for me at that time. I like when the flavors start to mellow, and become more carmel tasting. This one could have used about 3 - 6 more months, but not too bad. Some carmel flavors have started to develop, along with the chocolate flavors from the aroma. Deep and rich, the bourbon is also still here, although lessened, as mentioned. Hopping bitterness is detected, although flavor is not too evident. Wow, as this warms, the chocolate/caramel flavors really start coming to the front. Bitterness also becoming more pronounced, which is nice, as to balance the sweetness. Alcohol is not evident.

Mouthfeel is medium thick/thin, about right in the middle really. Carbonation has mellowed since the first 3 from the 4-pack were enjoyed. Smooth and chewy, long bittersweet finish.

Overall, a heck of a lot better than I remember. I didn't think I would enjoy this Bastard as much as I have. A real treat, and now I know, as far as my tastes go, I should get a 4-pack, and hold of drinking it for at least 6 months. Cheers!

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

The beer poured a murky dark red, when held up to light, with noticeable particles floating in the beer. A nice light mocha color head that was dense and very well retained.

Strong whiskey aroma dominates. Also some malt and a light vanilla note, probably from the barrel, but the whiskey is heavy and dominates.

You immediately taste the bourbon, so much so that it almost knocks you over, it is that strong. There were also some hints of malt and the alcohol, but the bourbon pretty well dominates. Also, there was a slight sweetness to it that lingered in the aftertaste.

The beer is very smooth, creamy, and easy to drink, one. I am not sure that I could handle too many of this at one go. That is the only reason for the slightly lower drinkability score. Overall, a very good beer, one that I hope to encounter many more times.

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Photo of Beertracker
4.47/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Founders Backwoods Bastard pours up with a modest carbonation that creates a low, thin creamy tannish-white colored head that just rings the slightly hazy, deep chestnut brown-dark ruby body. The aroma is quite rich with a sweet caramel character that shows hints of burnt molasses, buttery toffee & treacle candy with underlying notes of biscuits & baker's chocolate. As the beer warms, the bourbon notes (charred wood, cherry, leather, smoke, vanilla, etc...) become more apparent. The flavor starts off rather bold with a solid kettle caramelized sweetness that's offset quickly by a blast of bitterness followed by some roastiness that combines to offer a bittersweet, bourbon laced finish that is quite deceiving. This is a great little, Wee-beasty from those Backwoods Bastards in Grand Rapids!

SLAINTE! Beertracker

*Trader's Note: Many thanks to hoppymeal for this one.

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Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.35 out of 5 with 8,424 ratings